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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 -…

Pakistan to debate relaxing infamous blasphemy law

A debate over the misuse of Pakistan's blasphemy law is set to begin next week. 

The law, which carries a death penalty for insulting anything related to Islam and the prophet Muhammad, is often used as a way to settle personal scores against Christians.

The law's been used to hold mother of five Asia Bibi on death row since 2010. 

She was arrested after an argument erupted between her and a group of Muslim women when they became angry at her for drinking the same water as them.

The group accused her of insulting Muhammad - a claim which she denies.

In December, a Christian shopkeeper was arrested and charged with blasphemy after page torn from the Qu'ran was found outside his house by a rival shop owner.

The Christian shopkeeper - who is illiterate - could face a death sentence.

In a move praised by human rights campaigners, Pakistani politicians will discuss ways to install checks and balance on the rules.

But Beth Fuller from Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors told Premier that any changes might not go far enough.

She said: "One of the changes that they have talked about making to these laws is to change the punishment from a mandatory death penalty to life imprisonment which is obviously still a very severe punishment.

"It's difficult to see how these laws could be changed significantly at the moment. But if they are we would welcome that and it would be fantastic to see the change it would make to lives of Christians in Pakistan."

Pakistan ranks as the 6th worst country in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according Open Doors.

Source: premier.org.uk, January 20, 2017

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