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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Pakistani convict Zulfiqar Ali is innocent, must be released soon: Indonesia's Commission on Human Rights

Zulfiqar Ali
Zulfiqar Ali
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) is calling for President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to pardon Pakistani death row inmate Zulfiqar Ali, saying he is innocent and should be released after already having been imprisoned on a drug conviction for a decade without any concrete evidence.

"We ask the President to pardon Zulfiqar Ali for the sake of justice and humanity and release him from all punishment as soon as possible," Komnas HAM commissioner Hafid Abbas said in a statement on Wednesday.

Komnas HAM had also conveyed a set of recommendations to Jokowi on Sept. 27, one that had also been given to then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono more than 2 years ago.

Ali escaped the 3rd round of executions of drug convicts on the Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, on July 29.

Hafid noted that the judges had succumbed to public pressure and went beyond the demands of prosecutors, who had sought a life sentence, for the mere sake of their public image, since public opinion deemed corruption, terrorism and drug-related offenses to be extraordinary crimes.

"That also influenced the atmosphere of the trial, so the judges imposed a more severe punishment than the prosecution demand for the death penalty," he said.

Police arrested Ali based on a statement from Gurdip Singh, an Indian national arrested on allegations of heroin possession at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on Aug. 24, 2004. 

Gurdip retracted his statement against Ali. However, the court went on to sentence him to death in June 2005.

Source: The Jakarta Post, October 6, 2016

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