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…

Iraqi Kurdistan hangs 3, breaking death penalty moratorium

Masoud Barzani
Masoud Barzani
A Kurdish man and his 2 wives, convicted of abducting and murdering 2 schoolgirls, were hanged last week, the 1st judicial executions in the Kurdistan Region since a death penalty moratorium in 2008.

The hangings were announced by District Judge Abdulrahman Zebari, who had issued the death sentences in April 2014 at a court in Duhok city.

"The 3 convicts were hanged shortly after death sentences were signed by the Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani in accordance with protocol," Zebari said.

The 3 offenders were convicted for the abduction and murder of 2 schoolgirls in 2011 and 2012.

Apart from terrorism-related cases, no other death sentence has been carried out since 2008, because President Barzani has imposed a moratorium by refusing to sign the execution orders.

The judge said the president was asked to make an exception and sign the verdicts for the 3 offenders, due to the gravity of the crime.

They were hanged for the deaths of 2 11-year-old girls, Avan Haji and Havin Hasan, who were kidnapped in Zakho before being abused and murdered.

1 of the girls was reported missing in November 2011 and the other in March 2012.

The male offender was initially investigated by police in 2012 but was released for lack of evidence, police said.

"It was through 1 of his wives that we could charge the man again and find evidence," Captain Nashaat Sulaiman of the Zakho police force, told Rudaw.

"Initially, 1 of his wives came and complained that the man was beating her but then she revealed the bigger crimes concerning the 2 girls," Sulaiman said.

The man was a construction worker and had 6 children from the 2 marriages.

Both his wives were also charged and sentenced to death "for complicity" and "because of the gravity of the crime," the verdict read.

Kurdistan's Supreme Court did not overrule the sentences, despite lawyers' objections.

"There were growing public demands that we should respond to the cruelty with which the crimes were committed," the judge said.

The number of inmates on death row in Kurdistan has grown to a record high as authorities continue to maintain a de facto moratorium on death penalty.

In the region's 3 provinces, there are now 205 prisoners who have been sentenced to death. The number is higher than in any year since the 1990s, when the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) established its autonomous courts, virtually independent of Iraq's judiciary.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and UN Special Representative for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov have urged Iraq to impose a moratorium on the death penalty and called on the Kurdistan region to abolish it permanently.

Source: rudaw.net, August 24, 2015

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