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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Bangladesh: 3 JMB men's death penalty commuted to life term

Bangladesh High Court
The High Court yesterday commuted the death sentence of two activists of the banned Islamist outfit JMB to life imprisonment in a case filed for their involvement in the 2005 series bomb blasts in Shariatpur.

The two convicts are Kamruzzaman alias Swapan, now 31, and Malek Bepari alias Malek Zehadi, now 32.

The bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain delivered the verdict after hearing the death reference of the case and the appeal filed the convicts challenging their conviction and sentence handed down by the trial court.

The HC commuted the death sentence of JMB activists Kamruzzaman and Malek to life imprisonment considering that they have been in jail custody for long 12 years, and there was no casualty in the incident of bomb blasts in Shariatpur and they were very young during the incident on August 17, 2015, Abu Hanif, a defence lawyer for the convicts, told The Daily Star.

He said both Kamruzzaman and Malek, who are now in Kashimpur jail, have to suffer in jail for 30 years from the day of their arrest, as the HC did not say that their imprisonment is until death.

As part of its countrywide terror campaign, the JMB on August 17 in 2005 simultaneously blasted several bombs at the office of Shariatpur deputy commissioner, court premises, in front of Dak Bungalow and in Palong Bazar area of the district. That day, the Islamist outfit exploded bombs in 63 districts out of 64.

Following the blasts, Shariatpur Sadar Police Station Sub-inspector Badruzzaman filed a case against some unidentified people.

Later, investigation officer of the case Kamal Hossain submitted the charge sheet accusing the two along with the then JMB chief Shaikh Abdur Rahman and its operations commander Siddikul Islam Bangla Bhai.

Abdur Rahman and Bangla Bhai were among the six militants executed in March 2007 for killing two Jhalakathi judges.

A Shariatpur court on January 28, 2013 sentenced Kamruzzaman and Malek to death in the case.

The death reference of the case reached the HC in seven days from Shariatpur court for examining the death sentence and the convicts then filed an appeal with the HC challenging the lower court verdict.

Meanwhile, a Dhaka court yesterday sentenced three JMB members to different terms of imprisonment in a case filed for blasts in front of Ananda Cinema Hall in Dhaka's Farmgate area during the series bomb blasts, reports our court correspondent.

The convicts are Abdullah-al-Fattah Shakil, Tarek Iqbal and Rezaul Karim Reza.

Shakil and Reza, now in jail, were given 17 years in jail and fined Tk 50,000, in default to serve six more months in jail.

Iqbal, now on bail, was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment and fined Tk 50,000, in default to serve another six months in prison.

The court cancelled bail of Iqbal and sent him to jail with conviction warrant. Two others were also sent to jail after the verdict.

Judge Kamrul Hossain Mollah of the Metropolitan Sessions Judge's Court of Dhaka handed down the sentence in presence of the accused.

Following the bomb blast, police filed a case with Tejgaon Police Station accusing unknown persons.

Police then arrested -- Shakil, Iqbal and Reza -- in different places for their involvement in the incident. Of them, Shakil and Reza gave confessional statements before magistrates on different dates.

After an investigation, police pressed charges against the three on October 23 of 2007 while the court framed charges against them on December 27 the same year.

Meantime, Reza was given 10 years' imprisonment on October 14, 2014 in a case filed over the bomb blast in front of the then Hotel Sheraton on August 17 of 2005.

Source: The Daily Star, July 25, 2017

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