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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…

Indonesia Drug Czar Warns Methamphetamine Seizures Tip of Iceberg

BNN Indonesia
Jakarta. Indonesia is probably only stopping a fraction of what could be hundreds of tons of methamphetamine flooding in from countries such as China, even after a record seizure this month, its anti-narcotics czar said.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo last week told law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers if they resist arrest to deal with a narcotics emergency facing the archipelago of over 17,000 islands.

"We have became a good spot for drug dealers, because it's easy to infiltrate by the sea. There are so many unofficial landing points and small ports, also many islands," National Narcotics Agency (BNN) chief Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso said in an interview.

Budi said he believed that 72 international drug syndicates were operating in Indonesia.

The drugs chief said Indonesia would not replicate the bloody war on drugs in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, in which hundreds have been killed, though he praised its aims.

"I never say that we have to follow the Philippines. We have our own laws," said Budi. "I have to say, though, that Duterte's policy shows he is taking care of his citizens."

Budi said there was evidence of syndicates re-directing shipments of methamphetamine, known as "shabu" in Southeast Asia, towards Indonesia because of the crackdown in the Philippines.

Kill Drug Dealers


The drugs chief denied there had been any pressure from above to go outside the law to kill drug dealers, and said a recent series of shootings by police of dealers during arrests was due to greater resistance and better armed traffickers.

President Jokowi's comments on shooting dealers came a week after police shot dead a Taiwanese man in a town near the capital Jakarta. Police said the man was part of a group trying to smuggle a record one ton of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia and was killed for resisting arrest.

Budi said China was by far the biggest supplier of methamphetamine to Indonesia. Citing official data from China's National Narcotics Control Commission, he said 250 tons of the drug were estimated to have been directed to Indonesia in 2016, while his agency only seized only 3.4 tons.

"Whereas shabu is exported not only from China, but from India, Pakistan, Africa, European countries etc. So it must be even more than 250 tons," Budi said.

He said while data in Indonesia was never fully accurate, the number of drug abusers in the country could be 6.4 million, based on a 2016 University of Indonesia survey.

"If one person consumes around one gram per week, it means they need 300 tons per year of shabu," he said.

To meet the threat, Budi said he was trying to obtain better weapons for officers. He said the drug syndicates, in addition to having better arms, also had anti-wiretapping devices.

Known at times for his offbeat ideas, Budi repeated a suggestion that drug traffickers could be locked up on a prison island guarded by crocodiles to prevent dealers bribing the guards.

"You think crocodiles can be bribed? Of course not," he said, adding that piranhas could be an alternative.

Budi also said it might better to put drug addicts on remote islands where they could live off the land and the sea would be the barrier to escape.

"Only in this situation, I think they'll forget about narcotics, because in their mind they will only think about how to get food," he said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, Reuters, July 28, 2017

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