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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…

Iranian Billionaire Can Avoid Death Penalty by Repaying Cash

Babak Zanjani
Babak Zanjani
The death sentence of Iranian billionaire Babak Zanjani can be commuted if he cooperates by returning the money he was convicted of embezzling, Justice Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi said.

“Whenever we see the money back in our bank account, we will say that he has cooperated,” Pour Mohammadi said, according to a report Tuesday by the Iranian Students News Agency. “So far, we haven’t seen him cooperate.”

An Iran court sentenced Zanjani to death on Sunday after finding him guilty in an oil fraud case. Zanjani was convicted of embezzling $2.7 billion from the state-run National Iranian Oil Co. during transactions intended to circumvent international sanctions on crude exports, according to state media.

Zanjani was cited by his lawyer as saying after hearing the ruling that his sole aim was to “serve the political establishment,” according to state-run Tasnim news agency. Lawyer Rasoul Kouhpayezadeh said he will appeal the death sentence.

Identify Roots

The embezzlement occurred during the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, around the time when international sanctions against Iran peaked in 2012. Zanjani, who previously operated as an informal dealer at the oil ministry, was arrested in December 2013 after the election of President Hassan Rouhani and brought to trial last year.

Rouhani said it was imperative for Iran to eradicate corruption if it is to compete internationally in the post-sanctions era.

“What people want to know is, who gave him the permission to sell oil and where did all the money go?” Rouhani said in a meeting on Monday, according to the Aftab news website. “If we find a corrupt person, we need to identify the roots and dry them up because we can not have economic revival in a society where corruption is present.”

Source: Blomberg, March 8, 2016

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