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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…

'An embarrassment that Malaysia practises death penalty': AI

Meth bust at a Malaysian airport
Meth bust at a Malaysian airport
It is an international embarrassment that Malaysia is 1 out of only 24 United Nations member states that still practises the death penalty, said Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni.

"The recent triple executions cheapen suggestions by Attorney-General Apandi Ali and Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri, who both agree that death penalty reforms are due."

Last year saw the highest number of executions carried out around the world in the last 25 years, according to Amnesty International.

According to Amnesty International's Death Sentences and Executions 2015 Report, at least 1,634 people were executed last year. This represented a 54% increase in the number of executions when compared with 2014.

Malaysia, the report noted, was among the 5 Commonwealth member states that executed convicts, apart from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Singapore.

Malaysia is also 1 of 13 retentionist countries - states which retain and use the death penalty for ordinary crimes - in Asia Pacific and 1 of the 12 countries which carried out executions last year.

The most recent executions were those of Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu, Ramesh Jayakumar and Sasivarnam Jayakumar in March.

The hangings drew flak from various quarters for the seeming secrecy of the executions and the near lack of notice given to their next of kin by the authorities.

Shamini repeated calls for an immediate moratorium on all death penalty cases so it would "not be used again".

"We are calling for a stop, not just on the death sentence for Sirul but for others as well."

She said this when asked whether Amnesty supported commuting the death sentence for Sirul Azhar Umar, the former police commando convicted of killing Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Amnesty International, however, noted that some progress was made last year after Putrajaya announced legislative reforms to review the country's mandatory death penalty laws.

In Malaysia, the mandatory death penalty is handed down for certain drug offences, murder, use of firearms and treason.

Source: freemalaysiatoday.com, April 6, 2016

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