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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…

Sri Lanka urges Saudi not to stone to death maid for adultery

Sri Lanka said on Friday it was calling on Saudi Arabia to pardon a domestic worker sentenced to death by stoning after she admitted committing adultery while working in the Arab nation.

An official from Sri Lanka's Foreign Employment Bureau said the married 45-year-old woman who was working as a maid in Riyadh since 2013 was convicted of adultery by a Saudi court in August.

Her partner, also a Sri Lankan migrant worker, was given a lesser punishment of 100 lashes on account of being single.

"She has accepted the crime 4 times in the courts. But the Foreign Employment Bureau has hired lawyers and have appealed against the case," Upul Deshapriya, spokesman for the Foreign Employment Bureau, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"The appeal is going on. Also from the foreign ministry side, they are in negotiation with the Saudi government on a diplomatic level."

Officials from the Saudi Embassy in Colombo did not respond to requests from the Thomson Reuters Foundation on whether they would consider the plea for clemency.

Oil-producing Saudi Arabia follows Sharia, or Islamic law, and is often criticised by human rights groups for the wide range of crimes such as adultery, drug smuggling and witchcraft which carry the death penalty.

Stoning, a form of execution where a group throws stones at a person buried waist or chest deep in the ground until they are dead, is still carried out in parts of the Muslim world.

In 2013, Saudi Arabia beheaded a young Sri Lankan housemaid for the killing of an infant left in her care, rejecting repeated appeals by Colombo against her death sentence.

Thousands of men and women from the Indian Ocean island travel to the Middle East every year to seek jobs as maids or drivers.

According to Central Bank data, 279,952 Sri Lankans went to work in Middle Eastern nations in 2014, generating over $7 billion in remittances, around 9 % of total GDP.

Saudi Arabia, which is current chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council Panel, has executed over 150 people this year, mostly by public beheading, the most in 20 years, rights group Amnesty International said this month.

Foreigners, mostly guest workers from poor countries, are particularly vulnerable as they typically do not know Arabic and are denied adequate translation in court, Amnesty said.

Riyadh says it provides fair trials to all defendants.

Source: Reuters, November 27, 2015

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