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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…

German hostage beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants in Philippines

German national Jurgen Kantner and his partner, Sabine Merz, in 2009
German national Jurgen Kantner and his partner, Sabine Merz, in 2009.
(CNN) A German man has been beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern Philippines after a deadline to pay his ransom passed, the Philippine government has said.

A video posted by the Philippines-based Islamist extremist group Abu Sayyaf and distributed by SITE Intelligence Group identifies the man as Jurgen Kantner, who has been held captive since November.

It was the second time Kantner, 70, had been abducted. He was held along with his partner, Sabine Merz, by Somali pirates for nearly two months in 2008.

In a text message to CNN, Philippines Secretary Jesus Dureza, the Presidential Peace Adviser, said the government strongly condemned "the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim."

"Up to the last moment, many sectors, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, exhausted all efforts to save his life. We all tried our best. But to no avail," he said.

A German official said the government was still checking the video's authenticity.

The group had demanded 30 million Philippine pesos ($600,000) in exchange for Kantner's release, setting a deadline of February 26.

Abu Sayyaf announced in November last year that they had kidnapped Kantner and his partner in the waters off Malaysia's Sabah state, according to Philippine officials.

Residents of Laparan Island in the southern Philippines Mindanao chain of island discovered a body of a woman soon after, believed to be Merz's.

In September, Abu Sayyaf freed a Norwegian man it had held captive for almost a year, according to CNN Philippines.

War against Abu Sayyaf


The beheading emerges as the Philippine government wages a war against Abu Sayyaf, based in the restive Muslim-majority province of Mindanao in the country's far south.

Abu Sayyaf is a violent extremist group of some 200 to 400 members that is largely fragmented.

The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, but the south has historically had a large Muslim population. Abu Sayyaf's stated aim is to establish an independent Islamic state on the southern island of Mindanao.

The group first became active in the early 1990s and was responsible for bombings across the southern Philippines and in the Malaysian state of Sabah.

The seas around the Philippines are the most pirated in the world, according to data producer IHS Markit.

Source: CNN, Kathy Quiano, Nadine Schmidt and Angela Dewan, February 27, 2017

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