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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Indonesia: Pakistani drug smuggler gets death

Faiq Akhtar is assisted after collapsing in Semarang District Court on Tuesday as he was sentenced to life imprisonment for smuggling 97 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine while his fellow pakistani got death penalty.

The panel of judges at the Semarang District Court in Central Java has sentenced one of two Pakistani nationals found guilty of smuggling 97 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine to death.

In two separate trials, judges sentenced Faiq Akhtar to life imprisonment on Tuesday, while Muhammad Riaz was sentenced to death on Monday.

The two men were charged under the 2009 Narcotics Law for smuggling the drugs through Tanjung Emas Port in Semarang.

Another foreign national accused of involvement in the smuggling is US national Philip Russel, aka Kamran Muzaffar Malik, who will hear his verdict at the same court on Wednesday.

The prosecutors had demanded the death penalty for all three foreign nationals earlier this month.

Five Indonesians who were also involved in the drug smuggling have already been sentenced by the court. They are Tommy Agung Pratomo and Citra Kurniawan who both received life sentences and Restiyadi Sayoko who was sentenced to 20 years in prison. The other two convicts are Didi Triono and Peni Suprapti, Riaz’s wife, who were sentenced to 15 years’ and 18 years’ imprisonment, respectively, in addition to a fine of Rp 1 billion (US$ 75,000).

As reported previously, the drugs were imported from Guangzhou, China to Indonesia through Tanjung Emas Port in Semarang at the end of 2015 concealed inside a consignment of generators. The drugs were hidden inside 54 of the generators and stored in a warehouse disguised as a furniture factory in Pekalongan village, in Jepara, Central Java, where they were discovered in a National Narcotics Agency (BNN) raid on Jan. 27.

Riaz was found guilty of masterminding the smuggling operation as the court learned that he had arranged the importation of the generators. Riaz roped in Phillip Russel to arrange the financing of the operation.

Russel then allegedly hired Faiq, a junior-high school graduate, who worked as an office boy in Russel’s company in Jakarta, to pay local people large sums to help the ring with the smuggling.

Presiding judge in Faiq’s trial Sartono said the sentence was lighter than that sought by the prosecutors, which was the death penalty.

“The aggravating factor is the imported goods could destroy the nation’s youth. The mitigating factor is that he was not the mastermind of the network, he was merely an agent,” Sartono said in the trial on Tuesday.

Upon hearing this Faiq collapsed in front of the judges. His attorney Reffendi explained that his client had passed out because he did not really understand the sentence.

“He speaks only a little Indonesian. He does not understand what a life sentence is. We will explain it to him and ask him if he wants to file an appeal,” he said.

Another Pakistani drug smuggler, convicted in a different case, Zulfiqar Ali, avoided a round of executions in Nusakambangan prison island in Cilacap, Central Java, on July 29.

International and domestic observers have slammed Indonesia’s use of the death penalty, which has been condemned as a violation of human rights.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has executed 18 death row convicts in three rounds of executions last year and this year. The executions of the convicts, which included foreign nationals, caused tension between Indonesia and the respective home countries of the convicts.

Despite repeated calls from human rights activists, the government has insisted that drug convicts should be executed, saying that drug misuse claims the lives of thousands of Indonesians every year.

Source: Jakarta Post, November 16, 2016

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