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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Hamas executes fighter for spying for Israel

Hamas militants prepare to execute a person suspected of collaborating with Israel in Gaza City on Aug. 22, 2014.
Hamas militants prepare to execute a Palestinian suspected of
collaborating with Israel in Gaza City on Aug. 22, 2014.
Occupied Jerusalem: Human Rights Watch has condemned Hamas’ execution of one of its own fighters after the Palestinian militant group’s military wing said the killing was carried out at the weekend.

The Al Qassam Brigades — the armed wing of Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip — said it had executed one of its members on Sunday, with sources familiar with the case calling him a senior official accused of spying for Israel.

“The Al Qassam Brigades announce that the death penalty pronounced against its member Mahmoud Eshtawi has been applied today,” the Brigades said in a statement.

Responding to the announcement, Sari Bashi, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, called it “another extrajudicial killing by forces linked to Hamas”.

“If Hamas really cares about defending the rights of Palestinian people, it will act to punish and prevent the killing of any Palestinian in rogue procedures outside the semblance of law and justice,” said Bashi.

Hamas has long carried out executions against those accused of spying in the Gaza Strip, including in public squares in the Palestinian territory and often without transparent trials.

However, this killing appeared to be the first time Al Qassam itself had sentenced one of its own through a court martial and executed him.

Al Qassam did not provide details on the accusations against him, other than to say that “the Brigades’ military and Islamic judicial committee issued the sentence because he violated rules and ethics.”

Eshtawi’s duties included overseeing tunnels that have previously been used to store weapons and carry out attacks against Israel, sources said.

According to the sources, he was in charge of a large unit and was previously a close associate of Mohammad Deif, the Al Qassam chief who has been a frequent target of Israeli assassination attempts.

Since the start of 2016, four Gazans have been handed death sentences after being accused of spying for Israel.

The Gaza Strip has seen three wars with Israel since 2008.

Source: Agence France-Presse, February 8, 2016

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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people