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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Beijing Says AI Death Penalty Report Is Biased against China

A Chinese police officer lights an inmate's cigarette shortly before his execution.
A Chinese police officer lights an inmate's
cigarette shortly before his execution.
The Chinese government said Amnesty International has "biased opinions" on China and refused to comment on its death penalty report released on Wednesday, which estimates that "thousands" were executed in China last year.

Asked at a press conference about the AI report, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry Lu Kang refused to comment and said AI tends to have biased opinions on China.

According to the human rights organization, the number of death penalty executions in 2015 at 1,634 were the highest in 25 years.

The global rise in the figure was attributed to 3 countries - Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan - who were responsible for 89 % of all the executions carried out in 2015, excluding China.

Data from the world's 2nd largest economy were not included as China considers this information to be a "State secret," although the AI report notes that "thousands of executions" were carried out in the Chinese territory.

AI Hong Kong's William Nee told EFE, AI asks governments across the world for information on capital punishment to prepare the report, and a "majority" responds to the request in "a professional manner."

"It is not a complicated task. It is completely hypocritical that China calls our report biased when it refuses to give us information and continues treating capital punishment figures as a State secret," he denounced.

Despite the lack of transparency, he said AI has "no doubt" that China is in top spot as the country with the highest number of executions in the world.

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune, April 7, 2016

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