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…

Mother of Saudi man sentenced to crucifixion begs Obama to intervene

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr
US president urged to rescue Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, sentenced to be beheaded and crucified for allegedly attending anti-government protests

The mother of a teenage Saudi protester sentenced to crucifixion has begged Barack Obama to intervene to save her son’s life.

In her first interview with foreign media, Nusra al-Ahmed, the mother of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, whose case has reverberated around the world, described the intended punishment as “savage” and “backwards in the extreme”.

Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Reprieve, the US talkshow host Bill Maher and the British prime minister, David Cameron, have all weighed in with calls for clemency to stop Nimr, who was 17 at the time of his arrest, from being beheaded and then crucified.

The death sentence comes as the oil-rich state faces increasing diplomatic scrutiny over the severity of its penal system and as it takes over the chair of the UN human rights council.

Asked how she was coping knowing that at any moment her son could be put to death following the Saudi supreme court’s rejection of his appeal, Ahmed said: “For other people every hour is composed of 60 minutes, but for me every hour is 60 beats of pain.”

She said her son had been detained sometime after joining Shia demonstrators in the eastern coastal city of Qatif seeking equal religious rights in the Sunni-majority country.

The official charges levelled against Nimr included attending a protest, using his phone to encourage further support for the demonstrations and possessing a gun, an accusation which the family strongly denies.

Source: The Guardian, October 14, 2015

Saudi juvenile's mother appeals to Obama

The mother of a juvenile set to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia has appealed to President Obama to save her son.

Speaking to the Guardian in an interview published today, Nusra al-Ahmed, the mother of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, said that "Obama can interfere and rescue my son … To rescue someone from harm, there is nothing greater than that. My son and I are simple people and we don’t carry any significance in this world but despite that, if he [Obama] carried out this act, I feel it would raise his esteem in the eyes of the world. He would be rescuing us from a great tragedy.”

Ali's sentence of 'crucifixion' - beheading followed by the public display of his body - was recently upheld, after his arrest and torture in 2012 for attending protests. Another juvenile arrested at protests, Dawoud al-Marhoon, also faces beheading.

Asked last month what the US Government's view was on Ali's case, a State Department spokesperson said the US had 'concerns', but failed to condemn the sentence.

Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at human rights organization Reprieve, said: “Saudi Arabia’s planned executions of Ali al-Nimr and another juvenile, Dawoud al-Marhoon, have rightly caused a global outcry. But the response of the US – the Saudis’ closest ally – to these outrages has been woefully inadequate. The beheading of these two boys, who were arrested and tortured for merely attending protests, would be a grotesque miscarriage of justice. President Obama must listen to the call from Ali’s desperate family, and step in now to urge the Saudis to change course.”
  • Nusra al-Ahmed's interview with the Guardian can be seen here.
  • The US State Department spokesperson's comments can be seen here.
Source: Reprieve, October 14, 2015

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