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Editorial: In a civilized society, not even the most vicious crimes justify a death sentence

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It is soul-bruising to contemplate the torture that 10-year-old Anthony Avalos endured in his Lancaster home for more than a week before dying last year. Whippings with a looped cord and belt. Repeatedly held upside down then dropped on his head. Getting slammed into pieces of furniture and against the floor. Hot sauce poured on his face and mouth.
The road map of the abuse stretched from head to toe on his small malnourished body — bruises, abrasions, scabs and cuts visible on the outside. Traumatic brain injury and soft tissue damage on the inside. All allegedly perpetrated by his mother, Heather Barron, and her boyfriend, Kareem Leiva.
RELATED | California: Prosecutors seeking death penalty in Anthony Avalos torture case
If ever a set of circumstances called for the death penalty, this would be it. Few were surprised when Los Angeles County prosecutors said Wednesday that if the couple is convicted of the torture-murder, the jury will be asked to recommend a death sentence.
Such ca…

Death Penalty Becomes Stumbling Block for India-Germany Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty

Germany has refused to sign a pact for cooperation on criminal matters with Indian due to the death penalty provision in Indian law.

Since 2007 both India and Germany has been negotiating to sign the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty in criminal matters but has not been able to reach a conclusion due to Berlin's strong reservation to the provision of death penalty in Indian law.

"Its (MLAT) importance has been underscored by our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) and Chancellor (Angela Merkel). The negotiations have not been progressing on account of differences on the issue of 'death penalty'.

"I am aware that this matter is handled by your Ministry of Justice, however, we seek your active support so that the treaty is concluded at an early date," Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told his German counterpart Gunter Krings in Delhi on Monday.

Mr Krings is in Delhi as part of the delegation of Ms Merkel, who is on a 3-day visit to India. Mr Krings and Mr Rijiju on Monday signed 2 MoUs on security matters.

An MLAT is an agreement between 2 or more countries for the purpose of gathering and exchanging information in an effort to enforce public laws or criminal laws.

Mechanisms have been developed among nations for requesting and obtaining evidence for criminal investigations and prosecutions.

When evidence or other forms of legal assistance, such as witness statements or the service of documents, are needed from a foreign sovereign, states may attempt to cooperate informally through their respective police agencies or, alternatively, resort to what is typically referred to as requests for 'mutual legal assistance'.

The Law Commission has already recommendation for abolition of death penalty except in terror-related cases.

However, the Home Ministry is believed to be against it maintaining that time was not ripe yet to remove it completely from the statute book keeping in mind the threat from terrorism.

Source: ndtv.com, October 6, 2015

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