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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Czech Republic: "Last Address" project commemorates victims who were executed by Communist regime

"Last Address" commemorative plaque
"Last Address" commemorative plaque
The country's Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes on Tuesday launched a new project to commemorate victims of former Czechoslovakia's communist regime. Called "Last Address", the idea was inspired by similar initiatives in Russia. Within the project, plaques will be installed at victims' final addresses - recalling their lives and what they stood for, for which they died.

Tuesday is the 67th anniversary of the execution of Milada Horakova a member of parliament and democrat found guilty in a notorious show trial in 1950 staged by Czechoslovakia's Communist regime. The death penalty was carried out in spite of last minute pleas for clemency from the likes of Albert Einstein and the Pope. The day has seen a number of commemorative events honouring her memory but also that of others who suffered and perished as enemies of the regime. "Last Address" focusses on those who never came back.

Michaela Stoilova, the main organizer of the project at the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, told Czech Radio more:

"The project marks the last address of people who were arrested for political reasons and never returned. That means either people who were sentenced to death or whose deaths were hastened by the regime ... It was inspired by an organization called gulag.cz ... After a pilot program, we decided to focus primarily on victims of the Czechoslovak regime, as opposed to victims of Soviet repression in general."

One of four plaques to go up on Tuesday is at the Swedish Embassy in Prague, honouring the memory of Veleslav Wahl, a zoologist executed in 1950. A total of 4 plaques around Prague have already been approved while a 5th is pending. Michaela Stoilova again:

"We were interested in the fate of Veleslav Wahl; as it happens Josef Ruzicka, the father of his wife who was also a political prisoner, also lived at the address. But that is a coincidence. We highlighted the fact in the materials but the primary focus here is on the on lives destroyed for political reasons. How the information is used, or used comparatively, is up to others to assess."

If you'd like to see the exact addresses of the plaques which went up on Tuesday, please visit http://www.posledniadresa.cz

Source: radio.cz, June 28, 2017

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