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America's Secret Death Penalty Drugs

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Governments have gone to great effort to keep the sources and methods of their death penalty regimes secret.
In November, the Omaha World-Herald sent a simple records request to the Nebraska state government. Along with several other news outlets, the paper wanted to know the source of the drugs to be used in an upcoming execution—the first in the state in more than 20 years.
In the past the Nebraska Department of Corrections would have provided this information, but now it refused. Officials there insisted that the supplier of the drugs the state intended to use, in the name of its citizens, to sedate, paralyze, and stop the beating heart of an inmate were exempt from Nebraska's public record law.
In December the Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued to challenge the denial.
Nebraska is just the latest state to decide the executioner's black hood of anonymity also covers the pharmacies that mix the deadly compounds used to kill prisoners. As letha…

Malaysia: Vietnamese Mom Escapes Gallows, Jailed 20 Years for Drug Trafficking

Meth bust at Malaysian airport (File photo)
Meth bust at a Malaysian airport (File photo)
March 28, 2016: A Vietnamese woman shed tears of joy in court after she was spared the gallows in Malaysia for allegedly trafficking in 2.1kg methamphetamine at the Penang International Airport in 2011.

Nguyen Thanh Ngoc Tuyet, 28, in red and white prison clothes, who was sitting in the dock was seen sobbing when the Federal Court announced its verdict to set aside her conviction for drug trafficking.

However, the mother of a child, would have to spend 20 years in jail after the Federal Court’s five-man panel chaired by Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif convicted her for possession of the drugs.

He, however, ruled that on totality of evidence, the court was satisfied that Nguyen Thanh was in custody of a bag in which the methamphetamine was concealed.

Nguyen Thanh was found guilty by the George Town High Court on July 18, 2012 for trafficking in the drugs at the arrival hall of the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas at 10.10am on June 26, 2011 and was sentenced to death.

She lost her appeal at the Court of Appeal on March 20, last year to set aside her conviction and death sentence even though two Vietnamese police officers had testified that they had recorded statements from a woman named Tran Tranh Tam who had said that she had did not tell Nguyen Thanh that the goods she was transporting was drugs but instead told her they were clothes.

Nguyen Thanh was allowed by the Court of Appeal to bring in new evidence in the form of two police statements and oral evidence of three Vietnamese witnesses including Tran Tranh.

However, Tran Thanh who was serving an eight-year jail sentence in Vietnam for selling drugs chose not to come to Malaysia to testify.

In her defence, Nguyen Thanh claimed that she had picked up the bag (in which drugs were found) belonging to her friend Tran Tranh and she had no knowledge of the contents of the bag.

In mitigation for a lenient jail sentence, her counsel K. Simon Murali said Nguyen Thanh was an innocent victim who was manipulated by her friend and African boyfriend to act as drug mule.

He said his client has yet to see her daughter who was only one month old when she (Nguyen Thanh) was arrested in 2011.

Source: Bernama, March 28, 2016


Malaysia: Home Ministry says 12 executed in last 6 years

Malaysia has executed 12 out of a total 829 people who were sentenced to death since 2010, the Home Ministry said today.

In a written parliamentary reply to Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, the ministry added that 95 others have received either a royal pardon or had their death sentence commuted.

"The sentence has been handed out due to the offences of murder, drug trafficking, smuggling firearms, and also kidnapping," the ministry said.

Gobind had asked the government to give a breakdown on the death sentences meted out since 2010.

Last week, prison authorities came under criticism for what was described by Amnesty International as the "secretive" hanging of a 34-year-old man at the Taiping prison.

This was because Gunasegaran Pitchaymuthu was reportedly given very short notice regarding his execution.

Discussions and debates to abolish death penalty in Malaysia, especially under the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) had been taking place in Malaysia since 2011, but no legislative amendments had been proposed to date.

Source: themalaymailonline.com, March 30, 2016

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