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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…

Afghan Mullah Leading Stoning Inquiry Condones Practice

Rokhsahana was stoned to death by Taliban for eloping in Afghanistan
in Oct. 2015. The man with whom she was eloping has not been stoned.
KABUL, Afghanistan — After men believed to be Taliban fighters forced a 19-year-old named Rukhshana into a freshly dug pit and methodically stoned her to death for adultery, a video of the killing surfaced on the Internet and incited outrage.

Western embassies and human-rights groups denounced the attack as another example of abusive treatment of women by the Taliban. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan called it a “heinous act” and ordered an investigation, sending a delegation to the central province of Ghor, where the attack took place.

One of the leaders of that presidential delegation, however, is a prominent, pro-government mullah who believes the stoning and flogging of adulterers is perfectly justified — as he made clear both in a sermon on the Ghor killing at Friday Prayer and in a subsequent interview on Friday.

“If you’re married and you commit adultery, you have to be stoned,” said the mullah, Maulavi Inayatullah Baleegh, during his sermon at Pul-e Khishti mosque, Kabul’s biggest, on Friday. “The only question was whether this was done according to Shariah law, with witnesses or confessions as required,” he said. “It is necessary to protect and safeguard the honor of women in society, as it was done in the past during the time of the prophet.”

Maulavi Baleegh, who is a prominent member of the National Ulema Council, the country’s highest religious authority, and is an adviser to Mr. Ghani on religious affairs, said he was told he would lead the presidential investigating commission when it goes to Ghor this week.

His theological support for the sort of stoning he is being sent to investigate is emblematic of the national conundrum over the role of Shariah law, particularly when it comes to punishment for so-called moral crimes. The Afghan Constitution recognizes Shariah as well as civil law, but a presidential decree known as the Elimination of Violence Against Women Act, issued in 2009 but never ratified by Parliament, outlawed the stoning and flogging of adulterers.

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Source: The New York Times, November 7, 2015

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