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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…

Bangladesh set to execute top Jamaat leader Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes

Motiur Rahman Nizami
Motiur Rahman Nizami
Bangladesh is set to hang fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami for war crimes during the 1971 independence struggle against Pakistan.

Authorities today served the death warrant to 72-year-old Mr Nizami, two months after the apex court upheld his death penalty.

"We received the death warrant earlier this morning and served it to the convict (in the death row)," an official of the suburban high security Kashimpur Jail briefly told reporters.

Attorney general Mahbubey Alam, meanwhile, said the top leader of the country's biggest Islamist party would now get 15 days' time to seek review of the judgement by the Supreme Court itself in his final bid to evade the gallows. He, however, said that the scope of reviewing the judgement in a war crimes case is very slim.

"If he prefers not to get the judgement reviewed within the time-frame or if his petition is rejected, the government may execute the verdict anytime in the subsequent days," Mr Alam told newsmen.

He said Mr Nizami, however, could seek presidential mercy immediately if the review petition was rejected but he would not get any extra time to decide for seeking the clemency.

Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-BD) originally sentenced Mr Nizami to death in October 29, 2014. The apex court upheld the verdict on January 6 this year.

According to TV reports Mr Nizami's lawyers sought to meet their client in jail as the death warrant was issued to know his mind if he wants to exhaust the opportunity of filing a review petition.

Leader of infamous Al-Badr force in 1971, Mr Nizami is the last remaining top perpetrators of crimes against humanity whose fate now hangs on the balance.

He was found guilty of systematic killings of more than 450 people alone in his own village home in northwestern Pabna siding with the Pakistani troops during the liberation war.

Mr Nizami at that time was the chief of the student front of Jamaat, which was opposed to Bangladesh's 1971 independence.

4 opposition politicians, including 3 leaders of the Islamist party, the Jamaat-e-Islami, have been convicted by a war crimes tribunal and executed since late 2013.

2 others, former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam and ex-Bangladesh Nationalist Party minister Abdul Alim, earlier were handed down "imprisonment until death" penalty instead of capital punishment due to their old age as they exceeded 80.

They subsequently died in the prison cells of a specialised state-run hospital due to old age ailments.

Source: Deccan Chronicle, March 16, 2016


Bangladesh Islamist party chief intends to seek review of death penalty

Bangladesh's largest Islamist party chief Motiur Rahman Nizami Wednesday said he will file a review petition with the Supreme Court against its verdict that upheld his death sentence for war crimes in 1971.

Nizami, president of the Bangladeshi Jamaat-e-Islami party, expressed his interest to file a review petition in consultation with his lawyers as his death warrant was read out to him on Wednesday morning in a prison in Kashimpur on the outskirts of capital Dhaka where he is being kept condemned, the prison's Superintendent Prashant Kumar Banik told journalists.

Also on Wednesday Nizami was allowed to meet his lawyers and a son, he said.

Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal-1 issued Nizami's death warrant Tuesday night hours after the country's apex court released its full verdict in this connection.

Bangladesh's Supreme Court on Jan. 6 upheld a death penalty for the 73-year-old Motiur Rahman Nizami over war crimes during the country's war of independence 44 years ago.

Nizami served as agriculture and industries minister in Khaleda Zia's 2001-2006 cabinet.

The apex court upheld capital penalty for the Islamist party chief on 3 charges and life imprisonment on 2 charges.

On Oct. 29, 2014, the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT-1) handed down capital punishment to Nizami for war crimes which include mass killings of intellectuals.

According to the rules, Nizami has an opportunity to file a review petition against the verdict within 15 days.

If his review petition is rejected, the last option for him will be to seek presidential mercy.

Nizami was indicted in 2012 with 16 charges of crimes during the 1971 war.

Source: Xinhua News, March 16, 2016

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