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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Iran: Nine Prisoners Hanged on Drug Charges

Iran Human Rights (FEB 20 2017): Nine prisoners have reportedly been hanged in Iran on drug related charges.

Two Prisoners Executed in Dizel Abad (Kermanshah province, western Iran)

According to close sources, two prisoners were hanged on drug related charges on Saturday February 18 at Dizsel Abad Prison. 

The prisoners have been identified as Mohammad Karim Azizpanah, 43 years of age, sentenced to death on the charge of trafficking three kilograms and 350 grams of crystal meth, and Hamid Reza Reybaz, 35 years of age, sentenced to death on the charge of trafficking two kilograms of crystal meth and 200 grams of crack.

"Mohammad Karim is father to two sons. The drugs were in no way his. He was a driver who was driving a passenger to Kermashah when he was arrested and never returned," a family member of Mr. Azizpanah tells Iran Human Rights.

Prisoner Executed in Shiraz (Fars province, southern Iran)

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, a prisoner was hanged at Shiraz Prison on the morning of Tuesday February 20. 

The prisoner has been identified as Ismael Hassanzehi, sentenced to death on drug related charges. 

The report says that prison authorities had told Mr. Hassanzehi's family to travel from Sistan & Baluchestan to Shiraz Prison in order to have their last visit with him, but when they arrived, they were given Mr. Hassanzehi's dead body instead.

Six Prisoners Executed in Birjand (South Khorasan province, eastern Iran)

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, six unidentified prisoners were hanged at Birjand Prison on drug related charges. 

The exact dates of the executions are not known, but it is reported that they were carried out in the last few days.

Iranian Authorities Silent on Executions

Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not announced these nine executions.

Source: Iran Human Rights, February 20, 2017

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