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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…

Irish juvenile Ibrahim Halawa marks 1000 days facing death penalty in Egypt

Egypt protests
An Irish student who was arrested in the wake of protests in Egypt marks 1000 days of detention facing a potential death sentence.

Ibrahim Halawa faces the death penalty despite having been a juvenile - aged just 17 - at the time of his arrest in August 2013. He is being subjected to an ongoing mass trial alongside hundreds of adults, which has been delayed on multiple occasions.

Following his arrest, the Egyptian police beat Ibrahim and denied him medical treatment. He has since been subjected to periods of solitary confinement in cells with no light or toilet.

Despite the fact that Ibrahim was a juvenile when he was arrested he has been held in adult prisons and is being tried by adult courts. International human rights organisation Reprieve has discovered that hundreds of children - including some as young as 6 - were arrested in the same breakup of protests as Ibrahim. Efforts to have Ibrahim's case transferred to a juvenile court have been rejected.

The 493 defendants in Ibrahim's mass trial are charged with attending an illegal protest during which protesters allegedly caused deaths and criminal damage. They are being held jointly responsible for these offences, despite a lack of specific evidence linking the vast majority of them to these crimes.

Commenting, Harriet McCulloch, Deputy Director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, which is assisting Ibrahim, said:

"Ibrahim has now suffered 1000 days of appalling mistreatment in violation of both international and Egyptian law. It is a scandal that the Egyptian authorities continue to seek the death penalty for Ibrahim despite his having been a child at the time of his arrest. The Egyptian authorities must immediately call an end to this mass trial and others like it and release Ibrahim and the hundreds of others like him who have been illegally detained for so long."

Source: reprieve.org, May 12, 2016

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