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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…

Death-row convicts moved to Nusakambangan ahead of executions

Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia
Police boat patrolling the strait between Nusakambangan and the mainland.
Several death-row inmates have reportedly been moved to Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, signaling that their executions will be held in the near future.

Three death-row convicts from Tembesi prison in Batam were quietly transferred to Nusakambangan prison on Sunday evening. They are inmates whose verdicts were final and binding.

Using official prison authority vessel KM Pengayoman, the three inmates from Batam were taken across from the Wijayapura Quay in Cilacap to “execution island” at around 8 p.m. local time. They are Agus Hadi, 53; Pudjo, 42; and Suryanto, 53.

“They are death-row inmates from the Batam Class II Penitentiary,” Abdul Aris, warden of Batu prison in Nusakambangan, told journalists on Sunday. They were convicted for drug-trafficking charges, he went on.

Abdul further explained that the three Batam inmates were put together with several other death-row convicts in Batu prison. There were 59 death-row convicts waiting for their executions in Nusakambangan, he added.

Law and Human Rights Ministry Central Java chapter head of correctional institution division Molyanto confirmed the transfer of the three death row inmates from Batam to Nusakambangan.

However, he could not yet confirm whether they would be executed in the upcoming round of executions, the third under President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration.

“Nusakambangan today received three drug inmates who have received the death penalty. Concerning whether they are on the list of convicts to be executed, we still don’t know,” Molyanto told journalists on Sunday.

Earlier, Attorney General M Prasetyo confirmed the execution of drug-related death row inmates whose verdicts were final and binding would be carried out soon, saying that all preparations had been made and it was now just a matter of time, he said.

Prasetyo further said that the third round of executions would be conducted on Nusakambangan, the same location as the previous executions of 14 drug convicts in January and April 2015.

Source: Jakarta Post, May 9, 2016


Indonesia announces new round of executions

Indonesian special police
BRIMOB: Indonesia's special police force
Jakarta: Thirteen drug offenders on death row in Indonesia are listed to face the firing squad in a further round of executions expected within weeks.

Central Java police spokesman Alloysius Liliek Darmanto told Fairfax Media about 130 officers from BRIMOB - Indonesia's special police operations force - had been prepared to carry out the executions.

"The current number [of prisoners to be executed] is still 13," he said. "We don't have details of the names. We just wait for instruction from the Attorney-General's Office."

In a further sign the executions are imminent, three prisoners on death row for drug offences were on Sunday night transferred from Batam to Nusakambangan, where the executions will take place.

The three Indonesians - Suryanto, 53, Agus Hadi, 53, and Pudjo Lestari, 42, - were taken to Batu island, one of seven prisons on the island known as Indonesia's Alcatraz.

Last year 14 people - including Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan - were executed by firing squad in Indonesia.

The executions led to international condemnation, with several countries whose citizens were killed, including Australia, temporarily withdrawing their ambassadors in protest.

Further executions were put on hold for a year, ostensibly because of the weak economy, however Indonesian authorities have confirmed they are now preparing for a third round.

The prisoners are expected to be given only 72 hours notice of their deaths, as mandated by Indonesian law.

Chief security minister Luhut Panjaitan recently said Indonesia wanted to avoid the "soap opera" surrounding last year's executions, when speculation about the date dragged on for months.

Foreigners on death row for drug offences include Filipina maid Mary-Jane Veloso, Briton Lindsay Sandiford and Frenchman Serge Atlaoui.

Click here to read the full article

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, May 9, 2016

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