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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…

Singapore must immediately halt the scheduled execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha

Chijioke Stephen Obioha
Chijioke Stephen Obioha
Singapore must immediately halt the execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian national on death row for possession of drugs, Amnesty International said today.

On Wednesday, Chijioke Stephen Obioha's family was informed that his appeal for clemency has been rejected. He is set to be executed on Friday 18 November 2016.

"The Singapore government still has time to halt the execution of Chijioke Stephen Obioha. We are dismayed that clemency has not been granted in his case but remain hopeful that they won't carry out this cruel and irreversible punishment against a person sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for a crime that should not even be punished by death," said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

"The death penalty is never the solution. It will not rid Singapore of drugs. By executing people for drug-related offences, which do not meet the threshold of most serious crimes, Singapore is violating international law. Most of the world has turned its back on this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. It is about time that Singapore does the same, starting by restoring a moratorium on all executions as a first step towards abolition of this punishment."

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, regardless of the method of execution or the crime for which it is imposed, and believes that there is no credible evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.

Background


Chijioke Stephen Obioha was found in possession of more than 2.6 kilograms of cannabis in April 2007, surpassing the amount of 500 grams that triggers the automatic presumption of trafficking under Singapore law. Under Singaporean law, when there is a presumption of drug possession and trafficking, the burden of proof shifts from the prosecutor to the defendant. This violates the right to a fair trial by turning the presumption of innocence on its head.

Drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of the "most serious crimes" to which the use of the death penalty must be restricted under international law. International law also prohibits the imposition of the death penalty as a mandatory punishment. Amnesty International opposes the use of the death penalty outright, regardless of the crime.

As of today 103 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and 141 are abolitionist in law or practice.

Source: Amnesty International, November 18, 2016

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