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In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

Pakistan: Council of Islamic Ideology's opinion sought on petition against death by hanging

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A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday directed the Council of Islamic Ideology and attorney general for Pakistan to respond to a petition seeking its orders for the government to introduce a less painful mode of execution than hanging.

Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor extended a stay order against the execution of a death row prisoner, Jan Bahadur, until the disposal of his petition.

The bench asked the CII to explain its viewpoint on the petitioner's prayer in light of Islamic injunctions.

It also directed that the attorney general should explain the legal position on the points raised by the petitioner.

Kept at the Haripur Central Prison, the petitioner has requested the high court to declare death by hanging un-Islamic and unconstitutional saying it is painful and against human values.

He said Section 368 of the Code of Criminal Procedure stated, "When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead."

The petitioner requested the court to order end to the execution of death row prisoners by hanging saying it is cruel, painful, un-Islamic and inhuman.

He added that the court should order the authorities to adopt the modes of execution, which were not painful. The respondents in the petition are the home secretary, superintendent of the Haripur Central Prison, law secretary, CII secretary and Mardan's district and sessions judge.

Additional advocate general Qaisar Ali Shah, who appeared for the provincial government, requested the court to give him some time for preparing the case.

Former deputy attorney general Mohammad Khursheed Khan, who appeared for the petitioner, said his client was arrested in connection with a murder case registered at the Takht Bhai police station in Mardan on Oct 22, 1993.

He added that the petitioner was sentenced to death by an additional district and sessions judge on Apr 7, 2000, in Takht Bhai and that the judgment was upheld first by the high court and then by the Supreme Court.

The lawyer said his client's review and clemency petitions were rejected and therefore, his black warrant could be issued any time by the trial court.

Khursheed Khan requested the court to extend a stay order earlier issued by it against the execution of the petitioner.

He said there were nine modes of death penalties, including through firing squad, gas chamber and electric chair, hanging, shooting in the head, lethal injection, beheading, stoning and pushing from unspecified height.

The lawyer said in the past, the mode of execution in all US states was hanging but the use of electric chair was devised as a less painful mode.

He added that in 1921, the State of Nevada introduced gas chamber for carrying out death penalty.

The lawyer said in more than 30 US states, the convicts were executed by lethal injection, which was considered more humane and less painful than other modes of execution.

"3 injections are administered to a death row prisoner. The 1st injection leaves a prisoner unconscious, the 2nd paralyses his body and the third stops his heart from functioning," he said.

The lawyer claimed that 28 countries executed prisoners through firing squad and 22 by shooting gunshots in head.

He said the colonial rulers had introduced death by hanging through the CrPC in 1898 and that the same mode was adopted after the creation of Pakistan.

Source: dawn.com, July 26, 2017

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