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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…

Saudi authorities block contact with death row political prisoners

Public execution in Saudi Arabia
Public execution in Saudi Arabia: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Reports have emerged that the family of political prisoners facing execution in Saudi Arabia have been unable to make regular, scheduled calls with the prisoners, raising concerns over their well-being.

Ali Adubisi, the director of a Saudi human rights organisation in Europe who is assisting activist Sheikh Nimr and six other political prisoners, told Reprieve that Mr Nimr yesterday failed to make a regular weekly call – something which has never happened previously during over three years in prison.

Sheikh Nimr is facing beheading and crucifixion by the Saudi authorities over his involvement in political protests. Families of other political prisoners facing execution – including juveniles Ali al Nimr and Dawoud al Marhoon – have also expressed concern over their recent inability to make contact with them.

The highly secretive nature of the Saudi justice system means that prisoners are usually executed without their families or lawyers receiving any prior warning – making the apparent block on communications by the Saudi authorities particularly concerning.

The news comes as the UK Government reveals that, despite cancelling a bid to provide services to the Saudi prisons system, discussions with the Saudi Government over judicial cooperation are still “ongoing.” Reprieve is calling on the Government to provide further details on what such cooperation involves, and what safeguards are in place to ensure that the UK will not be complicit in Saudi Arabi’s death penalty system.

Commenting, Kate Higham, caseworker at international human rights organisation Reprieve said: “The apparent blocking of contact between families and political prisoners is deeply concerning - especially since those facing execution include several people sentenced to death as children over their involvement in political protests. The Saudi authorities need to ensure that legal representatives and families have unfettered access to their clients and loved ones, in addition to reviewing and overturning these unjust sentences.”

Source: Reprieve, November 3, 2015

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