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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

'Disgraceful', Amnesty International says of Kho Jabing's hanging

Singapore's Changi Prison, where hangings are carried out
Singapore's Changi Prison, where hangings are carried out
"A cold state machinery that knows no compassion, that would rush a man to his death out of procedural efficiency."

Amnesty International condemned today the execution of Sarawakian Kho Jabing in Singapore that was carried out hours after his appeal against the sentence was rejected.

"It is disgraceful that Kho Jabing was executed, particularly with such indecent haste, after his final appeal was denied this morning," said Josef Benedict, deputy director of Amnesty International's South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office, in a statement.

"Clemency should have been granted, more so given the uncertainty and divided opinion surrounding Kho Jabing's fate over the past 6 years. Singapore is at a crossroads.

"It must decide whether it wants to join most of the world by protecting human rights and ridding itself of the death penalty, or remain among the minority of countries that insist on the implementation of this cruel and inhumane punishment," he added.

International newswire AFP reported Singapore police as confirming that 32-year-old Kho was hanged today, 6 years after he was sentenced to death in 2010 for murdering a construction worker.

Kho's case had sparked a renewed debate on the death penalty as he was re-sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 after Singapore amended its mandatory death sentence for murder, but the prosecution appealed and the Malaysian's death sentence was reinstated in 2015.

Kirsten Han from Singapore anti-death penalty group We Believe in Second Chances said death row inmates should be seen as people who have made mistakes, bad decisions, and who might have been cruel but have families and struggles.

"The government says it kills people like Jabing to keep us safe.

"I don't know how Jabing's death has kept me safe; it's simply made me feel more hurt, more outraged and more fearful of a cold state machinery that knows no compassion, that would rush a man to his death out of procedural efficiency," Han wrote on Facebook.

The Star reported Malaysian Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Nancy Shukri as saying in a written parliamentary reply Tuesday that Putrajaya has yet to decide on whether to amend the mandatory death penalty. Capital punishment in Malaysia is imposed on offences like murder and drug trafficking.

Source: themalaymailonline.com, May 21, 2016


Amnesty International urges Singapore to abolish death penalty

The risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated as long as the death penalty is kept on the law books.

Amnesty International (AI) has urged the authorities in Singapore, in a strongly-worded statement, to immediately halt all executions and commute all death sentences, as 1st steps towards the full abolition of the death penalty.

The execution of Kho Jabing marks a huge step backwards for Singapore which has reduced the implementation of the death penalty in recent years, added the statement. "Following the official moratorium on executions established in Singapore from 2012 to 2013, at least 13 people have had their death sentences reviewed and eventually commuted."

"New sentencing discretion has resulted in several individuals being spared the gallows."

AI was "strongly condemning" the sudden execution of Kho Jabing, undertaken with "shameful haste" on Friday. "The rushed execution, that occurred mere hours after his final appeal was rejected, marked a cruel and inhuman end to Kho Jabing's life after a 6 year legal battle in the courts."

In this instance, said AI, it also has strong concerns around the basis on which the death sentence of Kho Jabing was re-imposed, after a split decision in the courts. "In modern day Singapore, the answer to crime does not lie within the hangman's noose."

"Moreover, there's no evidence that the death penalty was more of a deterrent to crime than life imprisonment."

AI opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime. "The taking of another's life by execution is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment," said the statement. "The risk of executing an innocent person can never be eliminated as long as the death penalty is kept on the law books."

"Such practices violate the right to life, a fundamental right of every human being."

Furthermore, said AI, under international law and standards the use of the death penalty must be restricted to the "most serious crimes" which has been interpreted to mean intentional killing.

Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national, was executed at 3.30pm on 20 May 2016. Kho Jabing and a co-defendant were convicted of murder on 30 July 2010 and both were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty.

However, after the 2012 review of the mandatory death penalty laws, on 14 August 2013, the High Court found the murder to be non-intentional and resentenced Kho Jabing to life imprisonment and 24 strokes of the cane.

On 14 January 2015, the Court of Appeal re-imposed the death penalty on Kho Jabing in a 3-to-2 split decision.

An appeal admitted on 3 November 2015, 3 days before his scheduled execution, was dismissed on 5 April 2016.

Another last minute application by his lawyers, granted on 19 May 2016, resulted in a temporary stay of execution.

On the morning of 20 May 2016, Kho Jabing appeared in Court, hoping for a chance of reprieve. However, he was executed not long after this appeal was dismissed.

Source: freemalaysiatoday.com, May 21, 2016

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