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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Al-Qaida hacked gay activists to death in Bangladesh

Xulhaz Mannan
Gay rights activist Xulhaz Mannan had started Roopbaan, ‪Bangladesh‬'s
first ‪‎LGBT‬ magazine. You're outraged? Like the Facebook page!
NEW DELHI (AP) — Bangladesh’s prime minister vowed to hunt down and prosecute assailants who fatally stabbed two men, including a gay rights activist who also worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina blamed the main opposition party and allied militants for Monday night’s killings. But a different group of radical Islamists claimed responsibility Tuesday for the attack, raising doubts about Hasina’s repeated assurances that authorities have the security situation under control even as months of deadly attacks continue against outspoken atheists, moderates and foreigners.

The victims of the most recent attack were identified as USAID employee Xulhaz Mannan, who previously worked as a U.S. Embassy protocol officer, and his friend, theater actor Tanay Majumder.

Mannan, a cousin of former Foreign Minister Dipu Moni of the governing party, was also an editor of Bangladesh’s first gay rights magazine, Roopbaan. Majumder sometimes helped with the publishing, local media said.

The banned group Ansar-al Islam, the Bangladeshi branch of al-Qaida on the Indian subcontinent, claimed responsibility in a Twitter message Tuesday for what it called a “blessed attack.”

It said the two were killed because they were “pioneers of practicing and promoting homosexuality in Bangladesh” and were “working day and night to promote homosexuality … with the help of their masters, the U.S. crusaders and its Indian allies.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned the “barbaric” murders in a statement Monday and said the U.S. government would support Bangladeshi efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Police said no arrests have been made in the attack, which involved at least five young men who posed as courier service employees to gain access to Mannan’s apartment building.

Prime Minister Hasina quickly blamed the radical Jamaat-e-Islami group and its political ally, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

“Everybody knows who are behind these killings,” Hasina told party policymakers in a meeting Monday night after the attacks, which came just days after a professor of English was hacked to death on the street of a northwestern city.

Repeating the government’s usual accusations, Hasina said the opposition was orchestrating the attacks to destabilize the country and upset her secular rule, while also retaliating against the government’s efforts to prosecute war crimes committed during the country’s 1971 war of independence.

The opposition denies the allegations, saying they are being scapegoated for Hasina’s failure to maintain security and placate the country’s desire for Islamic rule.

The U.S. government and numerous rights groups have lambasted Hasina’s government for failing to keep civil society safe. Earlier this month, the U.S. said it was considering granting refuge to a select number of secular bloggers facing imminent danger in Bangladesh.

State Department spokesman John Kirby said Monday that remained an option, while describing Mannan as a “beloved member of our embassy family and a courageous advocate” for gay rights, and pledging U.S. support to Bangladeshi authorities “to ensure that the cowards who did this are held accountable.”

The rights group Amnesty International noted that Bangladesh considers homosexual relations a crime, making it harder for gay activists to report any threats against them.

The group’s South Asia director, Champa Patel, said the attack “underscores the appalling lack of protection being afforded to a range of peaceful activists in the country.”

Source: The Associated Press, April

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