This is America: 9 out of 10 public schools now hold mass shooting drills for students

How "active shooter" drills became normal for a generation of American schoolchildren.
"Are you kids good at running and screaming?" a police officer asks a class of elementary school kids in Akron, Ohio.
His friendly tone then turns serious.
“What I don’t want you to do is hide in the corner if a bad guy comes in the room,” he says. "You gotta get moving."
This training session — shared online by the ALICE Training Institute, a civilian safety training company — reflects the new normal at American public schools. As armed shooters continue their deadly rampages, and while Washington remains stuck on gun control, a new generation of American students have learned to lock and barricade their classroom doors the same way they learn to drop and roll in case of a fire.
The training session is a stark reminder of how American schools have changed since the 1999 Columbine school shooting. School administrators and state lawmakers have realized that a mass shoot…

International lawyers urge Pakistan not to execute mentally ill prisoner

Click here to sign Reprieve's online clemency petition.
Over 60 lawyers from common-law countries around the world have urged Pakistan’s President to halt the execution of a severely mentally ill man next Wednesday (2nd November).

A series of medical assessments have confirmed that death row prisoner Imdad Ali is “insane,” and a government psychiatrist who has been treating him for eight years has confirmed that there is “no doubt…that he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.”

Despite this, last week Pakistan’s ministry of the interior confirmed that the authorities plan to hang Mr Ali this Wednesday (2nd). Mr Ali’s lawyer at Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), Sarah Belal, has said that Mr Ali is unable to understand that he faces execution.

In a letter sent to the President of Pakistan, Mamnoon Hussain, 65 lawyers who are experts on capital cases from the USA, UK, India, Singapore, Nigeria, Botswana and Malawi wrote that:

"[We] note with some dismay the impending execution of Imdad Ali. If ever there were a case where mental illness was obvious to people ten thousand miles away, this is the one. Mr. Ali himself has a long history of paranoid schizophrenia, recognised by the prison staff, and everyone who has contact with him.”

Article 45 of Pakistan’s Constitution grants the President powers to “grant pardon, reprieve and respite, and to remit, suspend or commute” death sentences, and under international law, the President has a duty to review death penalty cases. In their letter, the lawyers urge the President to use his power to grant mercy to Imdad, saying:

“The very purpose of executive clemency is to provide a last fail safe to prevent executions in cases – such as this one – where there are clear and compelling reasons to remit an execution.” They add: “Mr. Ali’s case is precisely the kind of case which warrants executive clemency. The man is so unwell that he doesn’t understand the notion that he is to be executed… We strongly urge you to accept Imdad Ali’s mercy petition…allowing him to live”.

UN human rights experts, Pakistani psychiatrists and parliamentarians have called on the government to halt Mr Ali’s execution, while the UK’s Foreign Office has said it is “very concerned” over the case. Nearly 30,000 people have signed a petition calling on Pakistan’s President, Mamnoon Hussain, to grant mercy to Mr Ali.

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director at international human rights organisation Reprieve, said: “If the Pakistani authorities go ahead with Imdad Ali’s hanging next week, they will be committing a grave, irreversible breach of Pakistani and international law. As the 65 expert lawyers have noted in their letter, President Hussain has the power to grant mercy to Imdad. Not to do so would be an abdication of his constitutional duties - and Imdad's execution would be an irremovable stain on Pakistan's justice system and reputation in the world.”

The lawyers' letter is available on request or from Reprieve's website.

Source: Reprieve, October 30, 2016. Reprieve is an international human rights organization. 

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