Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Executions not a priority: Indonesia's Attorney General

Attorney General M. Prasetyo
Attorney General M. Prasetyo
After executing over a dozen drug convicts amid international outrage since January, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) claims that it has yet to schedule a third round of executions, following the most recent one in April.

Attorney General M. Prasetyo said on Friday that the AGO had yet to discuss the next executions, specifically those of Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and Mary Jane Veloso of the Philippines.

“I have not even thought about it yet. We are focusing on other, more important tasks that need to be completed soon,” he told reporters at the AGO headquarters in South Jakarta.

“We hope that it was clear through the first and second round of executions that we will be firm and not tolerate any drug violations,” said the attorney general.

Both Atlaoui and Veloso were slated to be among a group of death row inmates who faced a firing squad on April 29 for drug trafficking charges.

However, Atlaoui’s most recent appeal was rejected by the Jakarta State Administrative Court (PTUN) on June 22.

Atlaoui has repeatedly denied the charges against him, saying that he had been hired to install industrial machinery at what he thought was an acrylics factory in Tangerang, Banten, where he and several others were busted in a 2005 police raid.

Mary Jane Veloso, Serge AtlaouiMeanwhile, Veloso’s execution was delayed by the AGO at the last minute after she was named a witness in a human trafficking case being investigated by Philippine authorities. She was arrested in possession of 2.6 kilograms of heroin at Adisucipto International Airport in Yogyakarta in 2010.

Superstar Filipino boxer Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, who is also a member of the Philippine House of Representatives, made efforts to meet with Veloso and the Indonesian House of Representatives on July 10.

However, Prasetyo has said that the meeting was unlikely to result in a postponement of Veloso’s execution as the AGO was “waiting on the legal process in the Philippines to conclude”.

Meanwhile, National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) member Siti Noor Laila said that the commission remained firm in its anti-death penalty stance.

“As we have said previously, Komnas HAM still does not agree with the death penalty because it violates the right to life,” she told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

Siti Zuhro, a senior political analyst with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), told the Post on Friday that the government’s position might well be due to international pressure.

However, she noted that it would be unwise for Indonesia to back down from conducting further executions as it would show the country was reluctant to uphold its laws, an image that it was currently trying to shed.

“[President Joko] “Jokowi” [Widodo] has already affirmed that we are at a red light with drugs and that we will uphold our law,” Zuhro said.

Zuhro added that being firm about the executions could work positively for Indonesia, especially during the creation of international treaties, as it would show that the state held true to its word.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Fedina S. Sundaryani, July 25, 2015

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