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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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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…

Saudi executes Syrian for drug trafficking

Saudi Arabia on Thursday beheaded a Syrian for drug trafficking, bringing to 108 the total number of executions this year, the interior ministry announced. 

Qassem Mohammed al-Hilal had been convicted of importing a "large amount of amphetamine pills" into the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, said a ministry statement carried by state news agency SPA. Authorities resumed executions.

Authorities resumed executions last week after a pause for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday that followed it.

The number of locals and foreigners put to death this year is up sharply from 87 during the whole of 2014, according to AFP tallies.

But this year's figure is below the record 192 that human rights group Amnesty International said took place in 1995.

Human Rights Watch has accused Saudi authorities of waging a "campaign of death".

Echoing the concerns of other activists, the New York-based group said it had documented "due process violations" in the legal system that make it difficult for defendants to get fair trials even in capital cases.

Under the kingdom's strict Islamic sharia legal code, drug trafficking, rape, murder, armed robbery , homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

The interior ministry has cited deterrence as a reason for carrying out the punishment. It has also talked of "the physical and social harm" caused by drugs.

Source: Agence France-Presse, July 31, 2015

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