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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…

India: Hoshiarpur boy's 2 killers to be hanged on October 25

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The parents of Hoshiarpur boy Abhi Verma, who was kidnapped and murdered for ransom at 16 in February 2005, have welcomed the orders to execute convicts Vikram Walia and Jasvir Singh in the wake of the President's rejecting their mercy petition.

Ravi Verma and his wife, Anita, are relieved that a long legal battle has come good. "Justice will prevail after almost 12 years," said Ravi Verma. "The execution of the convicts will not bring our child back but it will deter those who play with the lives of others."

Walia and Jasvir Singh will be hanged in Patiala jail at 9am on October 25. The 2 along with Jasvir's wife, Sonia, had kidnapped Abhi, a Class 9 student of DAV School here, and killed him with an overdose of anaesthesia. Walia and Jasvir Singh were then in their early twenties. Walia lived in Model Town here and Jasvir at his aunt's in Milap Nagar, the house where they kept the boy.

Mastermind Walia was known to goldsmith Ravi Verma. After kidnapping Verma's son, he even went to his house with Jasvir, and offered fake sympathies. Even after killing the boy, they continued to demand '50 lakh ransom from his family.

Sonia, Abhi's former tutor, was involved in everything from the kidnapping and intoxication of the boy to the destruction of evidence. They dumped the body in a field in Jalandhar district, from where it was recovered on the disclosure statement of Jasvir.

On December 21, 2006, the district and sessions judge gave death penalty to all 3. On May 30, 2008, the high court upheld the sentence. In January 2010, the Supreme Court commuted only Sonia's sentence to life imprisonment.

To prolong the trial, Walia and Jasvir challenged capital punishment awarded under Section 364-A (kidnapping for ransom) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) but, in August 2015, a 3-member Supreme Court bench headed by justice TS Thakur dismissed that appeal. Jasvir and Sonia sought conjugal rights from the court to bear a child but that, too, was declined. Walia and Jasvir filed a mercy petition with the President, which he turned down this August.

Issuing death warrants, the Hoshiarpur district and sessions judge has ordered the Patiala Central Jail superintendent to make necessary arrangements for the execution. His legal aid, Maninder Pal Singh, said that the convicts had exhausted all their legal means and their hanging was imminent.

Source: Hindustan Times, October 4, 2016

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