FEATURED POST

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…

Iran: 250 Executions So Far In 2016

Public hanging in Mashhad, May 17, 2016
Public hanging in Mashhad, May 17, 2016
Iran Human Rights (26 JULY 2016): According to a report published by Iran Human Rights (IHR), Iranian authorities have executed at least 250 people between January 1 and July 20 of this year. This represents an average of more than one execution each day. Still, the execution numbers so far in 2016 are significantly lower than the numbers for the same period in 2015.

Last year, Iranian authorities executed more than 700 people in the first seven months of the year. The execution numbers for the whole year were more than 969, the highest in more than 25 years.

"Despite the significant reduction in the number of executions compared to the last two years, Iran remains on top of the list of executioners after China. Moreover, there is no indication that the reduction in the number of executions so far is due to a change of policy by the Iranian authorities. The numbers are lower than last year most probably because of the parliamentary elections in February and March of this year and the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in June," says Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for Iran Human Rights.

IHR's analysis of the execution trends in Iran shows the number of executions as normally very low in the month of Ramadan, the weeks around the Iranian New Year (March 20) and in the weeks before the parliamentary and presidential elections.

"More than 40 executions were carried out in the first three weeks of July, and we are concerned the executions will further increase in the coming months. We call on the international community and all countries with diplomatic relations with Iran to put the situation of the death penalty in Iran on top of the agenda in their bilateral talks with the Iranian authorities," says Amiry-Moghaddam.

According to IHR's report, as in the past years, drug offenses and murder charges count for the majority of the executions carried out so far this year. Iranian authorities continue their practice of executing people in public places in front of ordinary citizens, including children. There are also several possible minor offenders among those executed so far in 2016; IHR is investigating further into these cases.

Some facts from IHR's recent report on executions between January 1 and July 20 2016:
  • 45% of the executions were reported by official Iranian sources
  • 47% of the executions were due to drug-related charges
  • 39% of the executions were for murder charges
  • 19 people were hanged in public spaces

It is important to emphasize that IHR is still investigting some of the execution reports, which have not been included here due to lack of sufficient details.

Source: Iran Human Rights, July 26, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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