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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…

Indonesia: Trail of legal violations up to execution of 4 inmates

Indonesian police officers
The 3rd batch of executions during President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration early on Friday saw 4 of the scheduled 14 inmates executed before firing squads and this latest round of killings has sparked criticism of the government over its negligence in conforming to the law in conducting the controversial form of punishment.

The Attorney General's Office (AGO) executed 4 death-row convicts, all of whom were drug traffickers - Indonesian Freddy Budiman and Nigerians Seck Osmane, Michael Titus and Humphrey Jefferson - leaving the remaining 10 alive pending their ongoing legal processes.

The execution of the 4, however, is considered by some to have been against the law as many procedures were omitted by the government.

Rina, a spiritual mentor from the Gita Eklesia foundation who accompanied Osmane before his execution, said there was no clear explanation from the AGO as to why only 4 convicts had been executed and why Osmane was 1 of them.

"We don't know why only 4 people were eventually killed. All spiritual mentors were asked to wait. Until 10 p.m., they finally said only [death-row convicts] numbers 6,7,9 and 11 [would be executed]," she told a press conference at the office of the Foundation of the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI) in Central Jakarta.

She added that the executions disregarded the convicts' basic rights since the 4 were sent to their place of execution while seeing that the others had suddenly been spared.

Muhammad Afif of the Community Legal Aid Institute, who accompanied Nigerian Humphrey Jefferson, said the government had violated the 1964 Law on Execution Procedures, which stipulates that death-row convicts have to be informed about the certainty of their execution 72 hours beforehand.

"Jefferson was given notification on July 26 at 3:40 p.m., while the execution was carried out on July 29 at 12:50 a.m., which is less than 60 hours," he said.

The government is also guilty of another violation in the fact that 3 of the 4 convicts - Freddy, Osmane and Jefferson - were in the process of appealing for clemency when they were executed.

Freddy filed an appeal a day before his execution, while Jefferson filed his on Monday and Osmane on Wednesday, Erasmus Napitupulu from the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) said.

Under the 2010 Clemency Law, death row convicts cannot be executed if they or their relatives appeal for clemency and the President has not yet rejected it.

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo argued it was too late for the convicts to apply for clemency.

Legal activist and lawyer Julius Ibrani of the YLBHI also questioned the excessive budget used to carry out the executions, saying that Rp 7 billion (US$532.000) had been used up even though all the executions had yet finished.

"The budget for the death penalty was given to 2 institutions, the attorney and the police. 2 budgets allocated for 1 activity can cause misuse of state budget," he said.

Another criticism comes from human rights activist Haris Azhar, who highlighted his conversation with Freddy. Freddy said he had shelled out around Rp 450 billion to the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) and another Rp 90 billion to officials at the National Police to buy protection for his drug business.

Haris said Freddy had pointed to the involvement of 2-star generals from the Indonesian Military (TNI). According to Freddy, the generals had accommodated Freddy's business by providing facilities for he and his associates to use while serving his sentence on the secluded prison island of Nusakambangan.

Source: Jakarta Post, August 1, 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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