Texas: Gov. Abbott should grant death row inmate Rodney Reed a reprieve, before it’s too late

Convicted murderer Rodney Reed is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Nov. 20, but Gov. Greg Abbott has the power to stop it.
As it stands, there’s no indication that Abbott will. He has only stopped one execution since becoming governor 5 years ago.
Reed was sentenced to death in 1998, after being convicted of the brutal 1996 rape and killing of a 19-year-old woman from central Texas, Stacey Stites. And though the governor has yet to weigh in on this specific case, he supports capital punishment, as do most voters in the state. According to a June 2018 poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune, fully three-fourths of Texans strongly or somewhat support the death penalty.
But the question at hand has nothing to do with the death penalty, per se. Granting a reprieve would simply be the right thing to do — and a necessary precaution against the doubts that would linger, if Reed is executed as scheduled.
Reed has consistently maintained his innocence, and legitimate questions …

Executions in Indonesia may be delayed until after Ramadan

Cilacap: Gateway to Nusakambangan Island
Cilacap: Gateway to Nusakambangan Island
Jakarta: Indonesian Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo has flagged the latest round of executions in the country may be delayed until after the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan.

The nation has been on tenterhooks over the timing of the executions, with various officials indicating they could be held within days.

Mr Prasetyo had earlier said the preparations had all been made and it was merely a matter of choosing the day.

The firing squads had been prepared, spiritual counsellors appointed and prisoners on death row transferred to Nusakambangan, known as Indonesia's Alcatraz, where the executions will take place.

But when asked on Wednesday night if he would wait until after the fasting month was over, Mr Prasetyo said: "Well, maybe. Well, executing (during) fasting (month) is not good, is it? And on the 25th there is still (someone) who will lodge a judicial review."

Mr Prasetyo has previously indicated he would like to see drug kingpin Freddy Budiman, who will appear in court on Wednesday, included in the third wave of executions.

Freddy was sentenced to death in 2013 for importing ecstasy after police seized 1.4 million pills.

However he infuriated authorities by continuing to run a drug syndicate spanning three countries - Netherlands, Pakistan and Indonesia - behind bars.

The numbers to be executed have fluctuated, with Central Java police spokesman Alloysius Liliek Darmanto most recently indicating 15 drug offenders would be killed.

He even suggested the nationalities to local reporters - Indonesians, Chinese, a Pakistani, Nigerians, Senegalese and a Zimbabwean - although he was later slapped down by Mr Prasetyo, who said the final decision was his and it hadn't been made.

On Wednesday night, Mr Prasetyo again said there was no fixed date and the number of people had not been decided either.

"We'll just wait until the last moment because again we want to better prepare and be more successful in the implementation," he said.

Amnesty International recently said some of the death row prisoners at risk of being executed did not receive a fair trial and their cases were emblematic of systemic flaws within the Indonesian justice system.

"President (Joko) Widodo has the chance to show true resolve by halting these executions and ordering a full independent review of all death penalty cases," said Rafendi Djamin, director of Amnesty International's South-East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

Fourteen drug offenders were executed in Indonesia last year, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald, Jewel Topsfield, May 19, 2016

Convicted Drug-Traffickers to Be Executed After Idul Fitri: Attorney General

Jakarta. A third round of executions for death-row inmates convicted of drug-trafficking will be staged after the Muslim holy day of Idul Fitri in July, Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo said on Thurday (19/05).

“It's not proper to do the executions during the fasting month,” Prasetyo told reporters at the Attorney General’s Office in Jakarta, as reported by Tribunnews.

The Idul Fitri is expected to fall on July 6 and 7.

Prasetyo said the timing of the executions has also been influenced by recent legal challenges made by the death-row convicts to annul their death sentence. “Some of the death-row inmates have filed case reviews,” he added.

However, the Attorney General said preparations for the executions are still on track, even though the government has not released the official list of death-row inmates who will face the firing squad.

Reports said 10 foreigners are among a total of 15 names in the government's execution list, but authorities have yet to confirm the information.

Last year, the execution of a dozen of foreigners convicted for drug-trafficking prompted a wave of international condemnation of Indonesia's continued use of capital punishment and diplomatic pressure from many countries.

After the executions—which included those of Bali Nine duo Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan—Australia temporarily recalled its ambassador to Indonesia.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 19, 2016

New hope emerges for Indonesia death row inmates

Government official says probation scheme could see sentence commuted if enough remorse is shown

The death penalty in Indonesia will not be abolished but condemned inmates could avoid the firing squad if they show enough remorse for their crimes while awaiting execution, a government official said May 18.

The government is to propose handing death row inmates a 10-year probationary period, according to Enny Nurbaningsih, an official of the ministry of law and human rights.

"It is hoped they will show enough remorse so that their sentence can be reduced to life imprisonment," she told a May 18 seminar in Jakarta titled: "Death Penalty in a Democratic Nation."

"The emphasis is that the death penalty is only the last resort," she said.

Indonesian pro-life groups in cooperation with the Catholic bishops' conference and the Catholic University of Atma Jaya organized the seminar in which many speakers called for the abolition of the death penalty.

According to Asas Tigor Nainggolan, coordinator of the pro-life groups, the government was preparing to execute 14 death row inmates by firing squad this year, although the dates of the executions and the names of those to be executed had yet to be confirmed.

Last year at least 14 people, many of them foreigners, were executed. Most were condemned to death for drug trafficking in line with a policy laid down by Indonesian President Joko Widodo to execute all drug traffickers.

2 people who escaped execution last year were French national Sergei Areski Atlaoui and Mary Jane Veloso of the Philippines. They were reprieved, as they had to undergo legal processes in their respective countries.

Some at the seminar saw the possible government proposal to lay down a 10-year probation period as a positive step, but many called for the complete abolition of the death penalty, calling capital punishment a product of an imperfect and unjust legal system.

Laws are not perfect and judges can make mistakes, Archbishop Ignatius Suharyo of Jakarta, told participants.

"Don't be too confident. When you think that laws are perfect, that is the beginning of injustice," the archbishop said.

"Trials can be misleading," added the president of the Indonesian bishops' conference.

Jesuit Father Franz Magnis Suseno, a philosophy professor at Jakarta's Dryarkara School of Philosophy, said the death penalty should be abolished because it is an instinct for revenge.

The problem is that once it is done it is irrevocable. "We have to realize that judges can make mistakes, too," the German-born priest said.

According to Father Suseno, death penalty has not proven to have a deterrent effect.

Source: ucanews.com, May 19, 2016

Death row grandmother Lindsay Sandiford sends letter thanking her supporters as she faces death by firing squad in Indonesia

Lindsay Sandiford
Lindsay Sandiford
A British grandmother facing execution in Indonesia has sent a letter thanking her supporters amid fears she could be killed by firing squad within weeks.

Lindsay Sandiford from Redcar on Teesside, has been on death row since December 2012 after attempting to smuggle cocaine into Bali after arriving on a flight from Bangkok.

The 59-year-old admitted smuggling 4.8kg (10.6lb) of the drug but said she was pressured by a smuggling gang.

Today, Miss Sandiford released a letter which was posted on Twitter by her friend Denise Stepo, also known as Dee, where she said she was overwhelmed by the support she has received.

The letter reads: 'Dear friends and supporter, this week has been a good week. I am delighted to see my good friend Dee.

'Was lovely to have her here albeit the time has been short.

'I also wanted to thank you for your messages of love and support.

'I am overwhelmed with your kindness. I want to say a massive thank you to all my Indonesian friends and supporters I am amazed by your caring. This has really touched me.

'Please feel hugged, much respect, Lindsay.'

Ms Stepo posted an image of the letter on Twitter with the caption: 'Message from Lindsay to her many supporters... time to abolish #deathpenalty globally.'

The letter comes weeks after it was feared that her death could be imminent as Indonesia is in the final stages of preparing for a new wave of executions on its infamous Nusa Kambangan island.

Source: dailymail.co.uk, May 18, 2016

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