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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 -…

Portugal calls for “total abolition” of death penalty around the globe

Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal on Monday at the United Nations called on countries that still have the death penalty to call a “de facto” moratorium as a first step towards “total abolition” of the death penalty.

According to the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Augusto Santos Silva, speaking at the opening session of the 34th meeting of the Human Rights Council, in Geneva, Portugal rejects all the reasons and arguments that attempt to justify the application of the death penalty and that the country calls on all countries that still have the penalty to establish a ‘de facto’ moratorium as a first step towards the total abolition of the death penalty.

He noted the importance that Portugal gives to the “evolution of the death penalty” noting that Portugal was a pioneer in abolishing it “precisely 150 years ago.”

Portugal has called for the death penalty to be abolished in Equatorial Guinea, a country which joined the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP), in 2014, based on a commitment to abolish it.

Background


Portugal was a pioneer in the process of abolishment of the capital punishment. No executions have been carried out since 1846, with the formal abolishment of capital punishment for civil crimes occurring in 1867.

The method of capital punishment used in Portugal was by hanging.

Portugal was the first country in the world to begin the process to abolish the death penalty,abolishing it in stages - for political crimes in 1852, for all crimes except the military in 1867, and for all crimes in 1911.

In 1916 Portugal entered in World War I and it was re-established only for military crimes in war time with a foreign country and only in the theater of war.

With the new Constitution in 1976, it was again abolished for all crimes.

The last execution in Portugal took place in Lagos in 1846. A possible execution of a soldier of the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps carried out in France during World War One remains poorly documented.

In the 2008 European Values Study (EVS), 51.6% of respondents in Portugal said the death penalty can never be justified, while only 1.5% said it can be always justified.

Sources: theportugalnews.com, Wikipedia, February 28, 2017

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