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Anthony Ray Hinton Spent Almost 30 Years on Death Row. Now He Has a Message for White America.

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Anthony Ray Hinton was mowing the lawn at his mother's house in 1985 when Alabama police came to arrest him for 2 murders he did not commit. One took place when he was working the night shift at a Birmingham warehouse. Yet the state won a death sentence, based on 2 bullets it falsely claimed matched a gun found at his mother's home. In his powerful new memoir, "The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row," Hinton describes how racism and a system stacked against the poor were the driving forces behind his conviction. He also writes about the unique and unexpected bonds that can form on death row, and in particular about his relationship with Henry Hays, a former Klansman sentenced to death for a notorious lynching in 1981. Hays died in the electric chair in 1997 - 1 of 54 people executed in Alabama while Hinton was on death row.
After almost 30 years, Hinton was finally exonerated in 2015, thanks to the Equal Justice Initiative, or EJI. On April 27…

Fourteen men at imminent risk of beheading as Saudi Arabia continues bloody execution spree

Medieval punishments: Public execution in Saudi Arabia
Medieval punishments: Public execution in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the death sentences of 14 men after a grossly unfair mass trial is a worrying reminder of the country’s lethal crackdown on dissent, said Amnesty International today. The men who were found guilty of protest-related crimes now face imminent execution.

“By confirming these sentences Saudi Arabia’s authorities have displayed their ruthless commitment to the use of the death penalty as a weapon to crush dissent and neutralize political opponents,” said Samah Hadid, Director of campaigns for the Middle-East at Amnesty international.

“King Salman’s signature is now all that stands between them and their execution. He must immediately quash these death sentences which are a result of sham court proceedings that brazenly flout international fair trial standards,"

At least 66 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the start of 2017, including 26 in the past three weeks alone - more than one execution per day.

Hussein al-Rabi’, Abdullah al-Tureif, Hussein al-Mosallem, Mohamed al-Naser, Mustafa al-Darwish, Fadel Labbad, Sa’id al-Sakafi, Salman al-Qureish, Mujtaba al-Suweyket, Munir al-Adam, Abdullah al-Asreeh, Ahmad al-Darwish, Abdulaziz al-Sahwi, Ahmad al-Rab’i were transferred from Dammam in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province to the capital, Riyadh on 15 July 2017 without prior notice.

Now that their sentences have been upheld by the Supreme Court the 14 men are at risk of execution as soon as the King ratifies their sentences. Due to the secrecy surrounding the Saudi Arabia judicial process, the families are given very little information, if any, about the current state of the case and usually not told about the scheduled execution of their relatives.

Yesterday, families of the 14 men learned that the death sentences were upheld after contacting the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) and they fear that the executions will take place imminently. The 14 men were initially sentenced to death on 1 June 2016 by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh, following a grosslyunfair mass trial. They were convicted of a range of charges that included “armed rebellion against the ruler” by, among other things “participating in shooting at security personnel, security vehicles”, “preparing and using Molotov Cocktail bombs”, “theft and armed robbery” and “inciting chaos, organizing and participating in riots”.

Court documents show that the 14 men told the court they were subjected to prolonged pre-trial detention and had been tortured and otherwise ill-treated during their interrogation to extract their “confessions”, however the judge failed to order investigations into their allegations. The SCC appears to have largely based its decision on these forced “confessions”.

Background:


Amnesty International has recorded a worrying increase in death sentences against political dissidents in Saudi Arabia since 2013, including the Shia Muslim minority.

Amnesty International also learned on 23 July 2017 that the SCC court of appeal has upheld the death sentences of 15 men accused of spying for Iran and the case was transferred to the Supreme Court on 20 July 2017. The men were initially sentenced to death on 6 December 2016.

Amnesty International has documented the cases of at least 34 members of Saudi Arabia’s Shia community – making up 10 to 15 percent of the population – who are currently facing the death penalty. All were accused of activities deemed a risk to national security.

Source: Amnesty International, July 24, 2017

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