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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…

Maldivian and international human rights groups urge Maldives President to halt execution plans

Maldives
Leading Maldivian and international human rights organizations are calling on the President of the Maldives to halt plans to break a 60 year moratorium on executions.

A group of organizations – Reprieve, Amnesty International, the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, FORUM-ASIA, Maldivian Democracy Network, Transparency Maldives and Uthema – have sent a joint letter to the President of the Maldives, Abdulla Yameen, asking him to “change course and halt these planned executions.”

President Yameen has repeatedly spoken of his desire to carry out executions, despite the country’s Parliament having rejected a proposal to reinstate the death penalty in 2013. This week, the President suggested that executions would begin in September. There are concerns for three men who have had their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court.

In their letter to the President, the group of organizations said: “There is mounting evidence that those in line for execution – Hussein Humaam Ahmed, Ahmed Murrath and Mohammed Nabeel – have not received fair trials.”

The letter adds: “You have claimed that the introduction of executions after 60 years is necessary to end violent crime. But all the evidence shows that that the death penalty does not have a unique deterrent effect.[...] The death penalty will do nothing to make the Maldives safer.”

The intervention follows the recent raising of similar concerns by experts, including Professor Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University; and investors in the Maldives, such as Sir Richard Branson.

Commenting, Deputy Director of Reprieve Harriet McCulloch said: “President Yameen’s executions plan will do nothing to make the Maldives safer. With reports of forced ‘confessions’ and concerns about unfair trials, it’s clear there could be a grave miscarriage of justice if executions go ahead. Breaking a moratorium that has held for half a century will deal a terrible blow to the rule of law in the country. President Yameen must urgently listen to the growing calls from inside and outside the Maldives, and drop these ill-advised proposals.”

Source: Reprieve, August 10, 2017

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