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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Pakistan hangings pass 400

Pakistan has executed over 400 people since resuming hangings in December 2014, according to new research from international human rights organisation Reprieve.

The country has become one of the world’s most prolific executioners since lifting a moratorium on hangings which had been in place for several years.

According to publicly-available data analyzed by Reprieve, June has seen four hangings so far, bringing the total since the lifting of the moratorium to 404 – although the figure could be higher as not all executions in the country are necessarily reported.

72 of those hangings have taken place in 2016, which means that Pakistan likely holds its position in the world’s top five executioners for the year so far - behind China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, but ahead of the USA. 

Pakistan has seen a number of controversial death penalty cases recently. Abdul Basit, a paralysed prisoner who needs to use a wheelchair, continues to be held under sentence of death despite concerns that there is no way to execute him that would not carry a high risk of prolonged suffering. He recently told his lawyers that, during a previous attempt to hang him, the prison authorities had built a slope or ramp up to the gallows in order to take him to be hanged in his wheelchair.

Also facing potential imminent execution is Muhammad Anwar, despite his having been arrested as a child. His case is currently before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, as both Pakistani and international law prohibit the execution of people arrested for alleged offences which took place when they were under 18.

Commenting, Maya Foa, Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team said: “That Pakistan has gone from a non-executing state to executing over 400 people in little over 18 months is truly shocking. The Pakistani Government seems indifferent to the plight of the many prisoners who should not even be on death row – those arrested as children, or suffering from severe physical or mental illnesses. They need to put a halt to all executions until a full review of this chaotic capital punishment system can be carried out.”

Reprieve estimates that Pakistan’s current rate of execution for 2016 so far means it maintains its place in the world’s top five executioners, according to available figures. Reprieve is yet to finalise estimates for Saudi Arabia and Iran, but the former is believed to have executed close to 100 people, and the latter 195 (according to Iran Human Rights), in 2016 so far. Due to state secrecy, figures are unavailable for China but guesswork by human rights organizations tends to put them in the thousands. According to the Death Penalty Information Centre (DPIC), US executions for 2016 so far total 14. Due to the conflict in Iraq, it is extremely difficult to determine the use of the death penalty there, but according to Cornell Law School’s ‘Death Penalty Worldwide’ site, there have been 22 executions confirmed for 2016.

Source: Reprieve, June 7, 2016

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