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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 -…

Merkel in Saudi Arabia: Chancellor must help juveniles who face beheading

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Saudi Arabia
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been urged to use a visit to Saudi Arabia today to press for the release of three juveniles who face beheading for allegedly attending protests.

Mrs Merkel is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia today for talks focused on issues of 'mutual interest', including German cooperation with Saudi security forces.

The visit takes place amid fears for three prisoners who were arrested as children in 2012, tortured by Saudi police, and sentenced to death on charges that relate to political protests.

Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood al-Marhoon were sentenced to beheading and, in Ali’s case, ‘crucifixion’ despite their being 17, 15, and 17 respectively at the time of their arrest. 

All three juveniles were convicted on the strength of their forced ‘confessions’. They could be executed at any time.

In January 2016, German officials condemned the execution of 47 people en masse by the Saudi authorities, including several juveniles. 

At least one juvenile who was executed – Ali al-Ribh – was convicted on charges relating to protests, as were Abdullah, Dawood and Ali.

Commenting, Harriet McCulloch – a deputy director at international human rights organization Reprieve – said: “As Chancellor Merkel visits Riyadh, the Kingdom continues to oversee horrifying abuses – from torture and forced ‘confessions’ to the death penalty for juveniles such as Ali al Nimr. Mrs Merkel must make it very clear that Germany will not support Saudi security forces while they are are involved in executions and police torture - and she must urgently call for the release of Ali, Dawood and Abdullah."

Source: Reprieve, April 30, 2017

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