FEATURED POST

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…

USCIRF: Pakistan & Iran have the worst blasphemy laws in the world

Blasphemy laws in the world
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released a ground-breaking report that takes a look at blasphemy laws around the world and compares them to international human rights standards.

The report covers instances of the blasphemy laws in 71 countries which include countries like Pakistan and Indonesia, known for harsh punishments like the death penalty to countries like Canada and Switzerland which have minor penalties like fines. 

Among the six countries which were ranked the worst in terms of blasphemy laws, Iran topped the list while Pakistan ranked second, followed by Yemen, Qatar, Somalia, and Egypt.

USCIRF scored the countries based on Severity of the Penalty, Freedom of Religion, whether the State protected or preferred certain Religion Protections, Freedom of Expression and Discrimination Against Groups.

Of the 71 states studied, 59 or 83 percent sanction blasphemy with imprisonment. Iran and Pakistan, the two countries with the highest-scoring laws for Severity of the Penalty, include the death penalty as punishment for “insulting the Prophet.”.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF uses international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and Congressional leaders of both political parties. Their work is supported by a professional, nonpartisan staff. USCIRF is separate from the State Department, although the Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom is a non-voting ex officio Commissioner.

➢ The full report can be found here.

Source: Rabwah Times, August 10, 2017

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