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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…

Saudi national executed for killing policeman

Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed one of its citizens in the southern city of Abha after he was convicted of killing a policeman, the interior ministry said.

Ali Assiri shot and killed the policeman while being arrested, the ministry said in a statement published by the official SPA news agency.

The ultra-conservative kingdom has carried out 134 executions, including of many foreigners, so far this year, according to an AFP count. This far exceeds a toll of 87 for the whole of 2014.

Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners, alongside China, Iran, Iraq and the United States.

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

The interior ministry says the death penalty is an important deterrent.

The vast majority of executions are carried out by beheading, some in public, but a few are carried out by firing squad.

Source: Agence France-Presse, October 13, 2015

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