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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

UN Special Rapporteur "appalled by reports of the recent execution by the Belarusian authorities"

Miklos Haraszti is appalled by reports of the recent execution by the Belarusian authorities. He condemned Belarus' continued use of death penalty after reports that a man whose complaint was before the UN HRC had been executed, despite a specific request from the HRC for a stay of execution.

"I am appalled by reports of the recent execution of Siarhei Ivanou by the Belarusian authorities," said Miklos Haraszti, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

Reports indicate that Siarhei Ivanou, who was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in 2015, was executed on around 18 April this year.

Ivanou's brother had petitioned the Committee, arguing that Ivanou's trial had been unfair. During the trial, he remained handcuffed and was obliged to wear special clothes with the label "capital punishment" on them. It was also alleged that he was not brought promptly before a judge upon arrest and had limited access to a lawyer.

Ivanou's execution means Belarus, since 2010, has executed eight people whose cases were registered for examination by the Committee under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Belarus is a State party.

Belarus remains the only country in Europe and Central Asia that applies the death penalty, despite repeated calls for its abolition from many in the international community, including the members of the European Union and the Council of Europe.

Haraszti once again urged the Belarusian authorities to adopt a moratorium on the death penalty, as an interim legal step towards it full abolition, UN press service informs.

The human rights expert also voiced grave concern at news that another defendant, Siarhei Hmialeuski, was sentenced to death by a court on 6 May. "The news testifies to the lack of progress on the human rights situation in Belarus," he said.

The Human Rights Committee had requested the Belarusian authorities not to carry out the sentence, pending the examination of Ivanou's case.

Non-compliance with the Committee's request for interim measures constitutes a violation, by Belarus, of its obligations under the Optional Protocol to ICCPR.

"The decision to proceed with the execution of the death penalty amounts to both a callous disdain for and a grave breach of Belarus' international human rights obligations," said Nigel Rodley, Special Rapporteur on new communications and interim measures.

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

Source: eurobelarus.info, May 17, 2016

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