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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Malaysia: Death row inmate spared the noose thanks to royal pardon

Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah
Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (center)
A man who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in 2009 has received a 2nd chance at life after Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah granted him a pardon.

Shahrul Izani Suparman, 33, and his family were told of the news a week ago at the Sungai Buloh prison.

His mother, Sapenah Nawawi, 59, who had been working together with Amnesty International Malaysia to save his life, said she was very happy that her son got a second chance.

"I am very grateful to God. I would like to thank His Royal Highness for granting him a pardon and thank you to everyone who has been fighting to save his life," she told a press conference on Monday.

In September 2003, Shahrul Izani, then 19, was arrested during a routine roadblock after being found in possession of 622gm of cannabis.

In December 2009, he was convicted by the Shah Alam High Court for drug trafficking, an offence that carries the mandatory death penalty.

Amnesty International Malaysia took up Shahrul's case, making calls to the Selangor Pardons Board to commute the death sentence.

More than 10,000 signatures from all over the world were collected in an appeals campaign that began in 2015.

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said that while this battle was won as a life had been saved, the use of the death penalty continues.

"The secrecy surrounding executions in Malaysia (further) tarnishes our eroding human rights record at the global level.

"Now that the Sultan of Selangor has granted Shahrul's clemency application, we hope that the Federal Government will exercise its political will and abolish the mandatory death penalty as a 1st step towards total abolition," she said.

Source: thestar.com.my, February 27, 2017

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