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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 -…

Saudi Arabia executes three Pakistani nationals for heroin smuggling

Medieval and barbaric: Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Medieval and barbaric: Public beheading in Saudi Arabia
Three Pakistani nationals were executed in Saudi Arabia on Sunday after being convicted of smuggling heroin into the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday executed three Pakistani nationals convicted of smuggling heroin, bringing the number of executions in the kingdom to 26 this year.

The state-run SPA news agency said the three had been found guilty of "smuggling quantities of heroin in their stomachs".

It named the three men as Mohammed Ashraf Shafi Mohammed, Mohammed Aref Mohammed Anayt and Mohammed Afdal Asghar Ali.

SPA reported 153 people being executed in the ultra-conservative kingdom last year, a number confirmed by London-based rights group Amnesty International.

Most executions in 2016, including that of high-profile Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, were carried out in a single day in January.

Nimr was behind a string of Shia protests in 2011 demanding reform in the Sunni-ruled kingdom.

"It is a bloody day when the Saudi Arabian authorities execute 47 people, some of whom were clearly sentenced to death after grossly unfair trials," Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme, said at the time.

"Carrying out a death sentence when there are serious questions about the fairness of the trial is a monstrous and irreversible injustice," he added, urging Saudi authorities to "heed the growing chorus of international criticism and put an end to their execution spree".

Amnesty reported 158 death penalties in the country for 2015, the highest annual rate in the past two decades.

Saudi Arabia has a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

The kingdom is one of four countries – the others are North Korea, Somalia and Iran – which still carries out public executions.

Source: The New Arab, April 10, 2017

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