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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…

Family of paralyzed death-row Pakistani plead for mercy

Abdul Basit
Abdul Basit
The family of a paraplegic death row prisoner in Pakistan have begged the authorities to cancel plans to execute him this Tuesday (22nd).

Abdul Basit, 43, is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of an illness he contracted in prison that was left untreated. A recent jail medical report confirmed that he is “bed-bound” with “almost no chance of recovery.” Pakistan’s Jail Manual gives no instructions on how to execute disabled prisoners, and Basit’s lawyers have petitioned the government to grant him mercy, on the basis that his execution would constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment – prohibited under Pakistani and international law.

At a recent hearing at the Lahore High Court, the judge ruled that Basit could legally be hanged, and commented that “international laws should be kept aside” when considering whether prisoners on Pakistan’s 8000-strong death row should be executed.

Speaking yesterday to lawyers at Justice Project Pakistan, Basit’s family begged the government to grant mercy. His mother said: "My son has already suffered a lot. He is half dead. It was all because of the jail authorities that he is disabled today. I appeal to Pakistan's President for mercy.

“I am not educated but I know and I am sure this is not what Islam teaches – this is not what the law tells. Can't they see that he has suffered for years? Who says that this is justice? How can they do this to a paralyzed man? Please have mercy on my son."

Pakistan has executed nearly 250 people since resuming executions in December 2014. Recent reports have suggested that the vast majority of those killed have had no links to terrorism, despite a claim by the authorities to be hanging ‘terrorists.’ Among the prisoners hanged so far have been juveniles, mentally ill prisoners, and people with strong claims of innocence.

Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at human rights organization Reprieve, said: “It is outrageous that the authorities are pushing ahead with their plans to hang Basit, and that the courts are now accepting the government’s argument that Pakistan’s international obligations can be openly flouted. This execution will be a grotesque spectacle, and – like the hundreds of hangings before it – will bring neither justice nor security to Pakistan. The international community must call on Pakistan to respect international law and halt this execution without delay. ”

Source: Reprieve, September 20, 2015

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