Iran: Annual report on the death penalty 2017

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 13, 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
This number is comparable with the execution figures in 2016 and confirms the relative reduction in the use of the death penalty compared to the period between 2010 and 2015. 
Nevertheless, with an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per one million inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
2017 Annual Report at a Glance:
At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges - 98 more than in 2016.At le…

Texas bishops call for abolition of death penalty

The Walls Unit, Huntsville, Texas
The Walls Unit, Huntsville, Texas
The Catholic bishops of Texas Oct. 10 called for the abolition of the death penalty, denouncing its effects not only on victims and others immediately affected, but also on society.

"Capital punishment vitiates our hearts' capacity for mercy and love," the bishops said in a statement released by the Texas Catholic Conference in Austin. "The death penalty not only does not correspond to the common good, it actually does great harm to it."

The statement, released on the World Day Against the Death Penalty, comes at a time when support of the death penalty among Americans - including Texans - is declining.

Survey results released Sept. 29 by the Pew Research Center showed that Americans' support for the death penalty is the lowest it has been in more than 4 decades. It said only 49 % of Americans currently favor the death penalty for people convicted of murder. That's a drop from 56 % who said in March 2015 that they supported it. The new survey shows 42 % of Americans now oppose the death penalty.

In Texas in 2015, 56 % of people surveyed said they supported the death penalty for convicted murderers, down from 75 % in 1993.

The bishops' statement also served as their annual address to Texas Catholics during Respect Life Month, observed by the U.S. Catholic Church every October.

The month offers Catholics an opportunity to "reflect on the precious gift of life and recommit ourselves to working toward a culture that truly welcomes and protects human life in our society," the Texas bishops wrote.

"This year we bishops draw particular attention to our consistent call for the abolition of the death penalty in Texas, as we recognize this is undeniably a pro-life issue," they said.

In their statement, the bishops cited several ways they said carrying out the death penalty inflicts harm:

-- Capital punishment "is used disproportionately on the poor, minorities and people with mental disabilities.

-- Costs involved in capital punishment cases "are 3 times" that of cases in which the convicted are sentenced to life imprisonment.

-- The "finality of death" does not allow for rehabilitation of prisoners, nor does it provide "consolation for victims' families."

-- Studies have shown that states have executed innocent people and that crime rates are not affected by a state's use of the death penalty.

"The death penalty negatively influences our children's moral formation and our culture as it fails to allow for mercy and redemption," the bishops said.

"Our call to abolish the death penalty is not a call to deny justice," they wrote. "On the contrary, it is a call to the whole community to recognize that the death penalty does not fulfill justice, nor does it console the inconsolable."

A news release said the Texas Catholic Conference, which is the bishops' public policy arm, will be working in the upcoming session of the Texas Legislature to improve the rights of jurors serving in death penalty sentencing cases.

According to Jennifer Carr Allmon, the conference's executive director, Texas law "is intentionally misleading as it requires judges and attorneys to lie to jurors about the level of unanimity required for a death sentence."

"While we will continue our efforts to end the use of the death penalty in Texas, this legislation will at least improve the fairness of the current system," she said in a statement.

Fewer Texas juries are giving death sentences than at any time in the past 2 decades, the Catholic conference said. Texas's highest court for criminal cases - the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals - has granted a high number of reprieves over the past 2 years, it said, because of concerns "about the fairness and accuracy of death penalty convictions."

Texas has the highest rate of executions of any state. This year, the state will carry out its lowest number of executions since 1996.

Source: cruxnow.com, October 11, 2016

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