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…

Over 300 executed in Pakistan since December 2014

Gallows at an unidentified Pakistani prison
The government of Pakistan has executed at least 300 people in the past 11 months, it’s emerged.

In a rare admission, an anonymous Interior Ministry official said yesterday that Pakistan’s total for hangings “now stands at 311” since the country resumed executions 11 months ago today. Setting aside the religious holidays, during which no executions took place, according to Pakistan’s own figures they have executed at least one person a day for the last eleven months.

The figure was revealed amid confusion over the scale of Pakistan’s death row, believed to be the largest in the world. Two weeks ago, the Pakistani government said that some 6,000 people were facing execution in the country; however, this contradicts another government estimate, of 8,000, made by the Interior Ministry at the beginning of the year.

Reprieve has collated all of the publicly available data on the executions that have taken place since the moratorium broke, and has identified 300 individuals. Among these, Reprieve has found just 16 individuals (less than 0.06% of all executed) who could be linked to a prescribed terrorist organization. Reuters revealed in July that to date, more than 83% of those executed had no links to militancy.

Police torture and forced ‘confessions’ are common in Pakistan, and there are concerns that many of those on the country’s death row were sentenced after unfair trials. Since more than 73% of births are unregistered in Pakistan, there are also fears that many of those who have been executed may have been juveniles when arrested. Among those killed so far was Aftab Bahadur, who was 15 at the time of his arrest for a crime which all eye witnesses in the case said he was innocent. 

Commenting, Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “The Pakistani government has no idea how many people it has on its death row, let alone how many are innocent or were sentenced to death as children. It is appalling that the authorities are proceeding with executions at this rate. If they continue to execute one person a day, by the end of next year they will have killed nearly a thousand people - among whom there will almost certainly be a large number of juveniles, and innocent people tortured into ‘confessing’ to crimes they didn’t commit. This senseless massacre will not make Pakistan any safer, and must be stopped.”
  • The Pakistani Interior Ministry source on the number of those executed is here.
  • Reuters' investigation into the identities of those executed so far can be seen here.
Source: Reprieve, November 17, 2015. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. 

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