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Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

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"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

Goodbye Indonesia, I will miss you

Andrew Chan, left, Myuran Sukumaran in Bali's Kerobokan prison
Within days of my arrival, Indonesia's president, Joko Widodo, rejected the clemency pleas of Bali Nine heroin smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, despite their remarkable rehabilitation.

From this moment their death by firing squad seemed inevitable.

Reporting on the lead-up to the executions was like watching a film, heart in mouth, that you already know ends tragically. I barely slept for weeks.

Relations between the two countries soured, exacerbated by Tony's Abbott's disastrous reminder of the billion dollars in aid Australia had donated after the 2004 tsunami.

"Australia and Indonesia are like divorced parents who have to stay together for the sake of the children," one Indonesian official told me.

The anger some Australians felt towards Indonesia at the time was visceral. I deplore the death penalty – now more than ever – but felt a responsibility not to fan the flames of hate.

Many Indonesians see drug smuggling through a different prism to Australians; a crime akin to cold-blooded murder or terrorism because it can lead to the deaths of addicts.

And there were also Indonesians who were deeply affected; among them the guards and fellow prisoners who became close to Chan and Sukumaran and their indefatigable lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, who has been fighting to end the death penalty in Indonesia since 1979.

Mulya would later describe the night the Australians were shot as the darkest moment of his life. "I failed. I lost," he tweeted, heartbroken, at 4am.

For a long time I didn't let myself acknowledge the executions had affected me. It seemed nothing in the face of the grief faced by Chan and Sukumaran's loved ones.

But I was haunted by photos of them as children, Sukumaran with a broad toothy grin and Chan an impish smirk.

For weeks afterwards I dreamed my son, 18 months old at the time, fell into a swimming pool. I would dive in and try to rescue him but each time his slippery, muscular body would squirm out of my hands until I realised I was powerless to save him. I would wake soaked in sweat, again and again.

I remember reading former Melbourne radio journalist Brian Morley's account of witnessing the hanging of Ronald Ryan in Melbourne and how it changed him. I marvelled he was still alive to tell the story. The last execution carried out in Australia seemed so long ago although it was only 1967.

Jokowi last year suggested Indonesians would eventually change their minds on execution laws, as citizens of other countries have done in the past.

I hope one day to write a retrospective piece when the death penalty seems as remote and archaic in Indonesia as it does in Australia.

➤ Click here to read the full article

Source: Brisbane Times, Jewel Topsfield, January 13, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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