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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…

Saudi executes 4 for murder, including 3 brothers; 105 executed this year

Medieval and barbaric: Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Medieval and barbaric: Public beheading in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi authorities executed 4 citizens on Sunday convicted of killing 6 members of their tribe, the interior ministry said.

The killings took place due to a land dispute among members of the Quthami tribe, the ministry said in a statement on the official SPA news agency.

The 4, including 3 brothers, were executed in the western city of Taif, bringing to 105 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year.

Saudi Arabia's growing use of the death penalty has prompted Amnesty International to call for an "immediate" moratorium on the practice.

The kingdom imposes the death penalty for offences that include murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy.

Most people executed are beheaded with a sword.

On Thursday, authorities carried out the 100th execution of the year.

"Saudi Arabia is speeding along in its dogged use of a cruel and inhuman punishment, mindless of justice and human rights," said Amnesty's Middle East and North Africa head Philip Luther.

"At this rate, the kingdom's executioners will soon match or exceed the number of people they put to death last year," he said.

Amnesty says the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences in 2015, making it the 3rd most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan.

Amnesty's figures do not include secretive China.

"The Saudi Arabian authorities must immediately establish an official moratorium on executions and abolish the death penalty once and for all," Luther said.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for "terrorism" offences on a single day in January.

They included prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose execution prompted Iranian protesters to torch Saudi diplomatic missions, triggering a diplomatic crisis between the 2 arch-rivals.

Source: Middle East Eye, July 24, 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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