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Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

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"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

Kansas Supreme Court allows death sentence

A divided Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld a man's death sentence it once had thrown out in the 2004 shooting deaths of a woman and her boyfriend.

The 4-3 ruling Friday let stand the Barton County sentence of 37-year-old Sidney Gleason in the killings of Mikiala Martinez and Darren Wornkey. The state's high court had vacated the death sentence in 2014, only to be overruled a year ago by the U.S. Supreme Court and ordered to review Gleason's case again.

Writing for the court in that ruling, then-Justice Antonin Scalia - a month before his death - voiced exasperation about the Kansas court, which has tossed out death sentences 7 times in 20 years, with 5 of those decisions later reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Since Kansas reinstated capital punishment in 1994, the state high court has affirmed 4 death sentences since December 2015. In November, voters retained 4 of the Kansas justices who had been targeted for ouster, partly because of the Scalia-scorned overturned death sentences.

"When the Kansas Supreme Court time and again invalidates death sentences because it says the federal Constitution requires it, review by this court, far from undermining state autonomy, is the only possible way to vindicate it," Scalia wrote.

In October, Kansas' high court upheld the death sentence of Gary Kleypas, who was convicted of the 1996 rape and stabbing death of a Pittsburg State University student and became the first person condemned in Kansas after it reinstated the death penalty.

On Friday, the Kansas court's majority rejected Gleason's claim that his sentence was unconstitutional because it was more severe than the 25-years-to-life sentence given to an accomplice, Gleason cousin Damien Thompson.,

"The wheels of justice are turning," Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said of the ruling.

Prosecutors said Gleason and Thompson were part of a group that robbed and stabbed a 76-year-old man in his Great Bend home in February 2004. Gleason and Thompson were accused of later plotting to kill the 19-year-old Martinez because she'd been present during the robbery and they worried about what she would tell police. Authorities said they also planned to kill Wornkey, 24, if he got in the way.

Gleason repeatedly shot Wornkey as he sat in a Jeep outside a home he shared with Martinez, prosecutors said, and with Thompson drove Martinez out of town, where Thompson strangled and shot her as Gleason watched.

Thompson later agreed to testify against Gleason and was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 25 years. But Thompson reneged on the agreement.

The Kansas Supreme Court later tossed out Gleason's death sentence and those imposed separately on brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr in a 2000 quadruple-killing crime spree known as the "Wichita massacre." The court found, among other things, that juries in both cases should have been told that evidence of the men's troubled childhoods and other factors weighing against a death sentence did not have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year rejected that, with Scalia writing there is no requirement to tell jurors in a death sentence case that they can consider a factor favoring the defendant even if it's not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

Kansas has 10 inmates now on death row but hasn't executed anyone in more than half a century.

Source: Associated Press, February 4, 2017

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