Iran: Annual report on the death penalty 2017

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 13, 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
This number is comparable with the execution figures in 2016 and confirms the relative reduction in the use of the death penalty compared to the period between 2010 and 2015. 
Nevertheless, with an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per one million inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
2017 Annual Report at a Glance:
At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges - 98 more than in 2016.At le…

Can Alabamians afford the specter of 16 or more scheduled executions in a row?

A March 25, 2014 article from the Associated Press quotes Alabama Assistant Attorney General Clay Crenshaw saying that 16 death row inmates "have exhausted [all] appeals and are awaiting execution." Today, the exact number among the 185 inmates on Alabama's death row whose last remaining hope is clemency is unknown. However, even following the execution of Christopher Brooks on January 21, the number of inmates "out of court," with no further avenues of appeal, is at least 16, and it may be higher. This means that anytime it wants, the AG's office can, following the 2 year moratorium on executions that officially ended with Mr. Brooks, ask the courts to schedule 16 or more executions in a row.

The question is: Whatever personal beliefs Alabamians hold on the morality of the death penalty, is the scheduled killing of 16 or more people - one right after the other - a risk worth subjecting Alabama's fragile economy to?

Consider the steady drumbeat of publicized death and denunciations from around the United States and the world that would result, with the possibility, each time, of a gruesome botch, like the infamous Oklahoma execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29, 2014. Generating an avalanche of negative press abroad, reporters witnessing Lockett's execution said he "writhed, groaned, and convulsed" taking 43 minutes to die.

Imagine 16 or more potential Lockett-like executions lined up - like ducks in a row - in Alabama. Picture the accompanying emotional baggage with each detail about the condemned, the crimes of which they were convicted, and the nitty gritty of each of their executions painstakingly picked through by the press . . . . How much negative publicity would Alabama see as a result? How much condemnation from foreign countries who abhor the death penalty would it reap - countries whose investment dollars Alabama's slowly rebuilding economy depends upon?

A June 2014 article by Michael Tomberlin titled, "Alabama, Birmingham benefit from growing levels of foreign direct investment," noted that "[the 5 top source countries of companies investing in Birmingham as a percent of jobs are Germany (14 %), Japan (12.9) Canada (11), Spain (8.8) and France (7.7)." Furthermore, "[t]he 5 leading source countries companies investing in Alabama as a % of the jobs are Germany (16.2 %), Japan (13.5), Republic of Korea (9.6), England (8.6) and Canada (7.5)." That means just a little less than 2 years ago, at least 41.5 % of foreign investment in Birmingham came from foreign countries that long ago abolished the death penalty and, at least 32.3 % of foreign investment in all of Alabama, likewise, came from abolitionist countries.

In addition to the already well-documented costs of capital punishment then - to Alabamians' morals, the judicial system and taxes (see the Equal Justice Initiative's website for detailed studies and support on all these) - can Alabama really risk ramping executions up when doing so will offend, even alienate, so many potential foreign investors - not to mention the Pope?

The University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research is already predicting slow growth for Alabama's economy in 2016, and so, even if folks don't care so much about what foreigners think of Alabama's refusal to, as the New York Times Editorial Board put it on January 16, "join the rest of the civilized world and end the death penalty," don't Alabamians at least want those foreign dollars? Isn't it great that foreign companies like Mercedes-Benz and Airbus have chosen to invest in Alabama? Wouldn't it be awful if the state's rekindled lust for executions drove them, and foreign companies like them, away?

We already know Europeans hate the death penalty by their refusal to ship lethal injection drugs to the US and, just recently, after Saudi Arabia held mass executions, it was reported on January 15 by Eve Hartley of the Huffington Post that, "the brutal Saudi justice system [had] strain[ed] relations between" Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom.

Putting aside all the very many good reasons already advanced to end the death penalty, isn't the most obvious in Alabamians' wallets? Is there really so much green in there already that accelerating - instead of taking immediate steps now to end the death penalty - is worth it?

Source: al.com, Stephen Cooper, Feb. 19, 2016. Mr. Cooper is a former D.C. public defender and worked as an Assistant Federal Defender in Montgomery, Alabama between 2012 and 2015, where he represented death row inmates.

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