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

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…

Indonesia puts executions on hold due to weak economy

Indonesia Attorney General M. Prasetyo
Indonesia Attorney General M. Prasetyo
Indonesia Attorney General M. Prasetyo said on Thursday that the Attorney General's Office (AGO) would not carry out a 3rd round of executions of inmates until the country gets out of the current economic slowdown.

Prasetyo said that another round of executions could trigger an international outcry that could derail President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's campaign to fix the economy.

"The Attorney General's Office is currently helping the government in prioritizing the economy," Prasetyo told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

This year, the AGO conducted 2 rounds of executions, the 1st involving 6 convicts in January and the 2nd another 8 in April. The executions sparked condemnations from domestic and international human rights campaigners, as well as risked Indonesia's diplomatic relationships with the respective countries of origin of the foreign inmates.

Earlier in September, the AGO had sent a budget proposal for the execution of 14 foreign and domestic drug convicts to the House of Representatives Commission III overseeing legal affairs, but the plan was put on hold after the country entered a period of economic slowdown.

Prasetyo said that the 3rd round of executions would likely be conducted next year, but he did not give details regarding the plan.

The Attorney General said that the AGO was working to help the economic recovery, including by setting up a team that would help local government officials make budget decisions.

"Some of them are reluctant to make decisions [on budgets] because they are afraid of being prosecuted by law enforcers," he said.

Separately, human rights watchdog Setara Institute chairman Hendardi called Prasetyo's argument for the delay "insensitive."

"The decision to delay the executions is not something to brag about, especially because it was not made based on humanitarian reasons. From his argument we can see that he does not know what law enforcement is," Hendardi told the Post on Thursday.

Hendardi called on Jokowi to meet international demands by abolishing capital punishment in the country.

"Any delay in the executions is not a solution. The government must issue a moratorium on the death penalty. After the moratorium, it should move further to completely abolish the inhumane practice," Hendardi said.

In addition to the executions in April, 8 drug convicts were executed on the Nusakambangan prison island near Cilacap in Central Java. They were Indonesian Zainal Abidin, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, Ghanaian Martin Anderson and Nigerians Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Raheem Agbaje Salami and Okwudili Oyatanze.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines was spared after a woman who allegedly recruited her to act as a drug courier gave herself up to police in the Philippines. The AGO said that it would include Veloso in the next round of executions after the legal process in her own country finished.

The AGO has yet to release the names of the 14 drug convicts that it wants to put to death in the next round of executions.

Source: kathmandupost, October 22, 2015

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