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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Saudi Court Sentences 14 to Death in Attacks on Security Forces

Public execution in Saudi Arabia
Public execution in Saudi Arabia
RIYADH — A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced 14 men to death on Wednesday in connection with attacks on security forces in a Shiite area in the country’s east, the Al Arabiya satellite network reported.

Of the 24 people tried, one was acquitted and nine others were given sentences ranging from three to 15 years, the network said. 

Those sentenced to death were accused of terrorism.

The men were arrested a few years ago, when protests by members of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite minority roiled the Qatif area of Eastern Province, leading to clashes with the security forces that left dead about 20 protesters and a number of police officers.

Many Shiites complain of discrimination in the Sunni-majority kingdom whose official creed considers some Shiite beliefs and practices heretical.

The Saudi government characterized the protesters as rioters who harbored armed groups, and it has put some of them on trial on charges that include terrorism. 

Western human rights groups have accused the Saudi government of using the courts to stifle dissent and convicting activists on trumped up charges.

The executions could escalate tensions with Saudi Arabia’s regional Shiite rival, Iran. 

Saudi Arabia’s execution of an outspoken Shiite cleric in January sparked protests in Tehran, and Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties after protesters stormed its embassy.

The men’s death sentences can be appealed.

Source: The New York Times, Ben Hubbard, June 1, 2016

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