Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

ROME — Pope Francis has declared the death penalty inadmissible in all cases because it is “an attack” on the “dignity of the person,” the Vatican announced on Thursday, in a definitive shift in Roman Catholic teaching that could put enormous pressure on lawmakers and politicians around the world.
Francis, who has spoken out against capital punishment before — including in 2015 in an address to Congress — added the change to the Catechism, the collection of beliefs for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
The revision says the church would work “with determination” for the abolition of capital punishment worldwide.
“I think this will be a big deal for the future of the death penalty in the world,” said John Thavis, a Vatican expert and author. “People who work with prisoners on death row will be thrilled, and I think this will become a banner social justice issue for the church,” he added.
Sergio D’Elia, the secretary of Hands Off Cain, an association that works to abolish capital puni…

Today's Birthday, January 12: Australian drug smuggler Andrew Chan (1984-2015)

Andrew Chan
Today's Birthday, January 12: Australian drug smuggler Andrew Chan (1984-2015).

The man known as the Bali Nine drug smuggling group's "godfather", Andrew Chan, wanted nothing more than to walk out of Kerobokan prison a free man, fellow convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby recently revealed.

Corby - who forged a close friendship with Chan during her nine years in jail - was released and returned to Australia in May 2017, more than two years after Chan and fellow Australian ringleader Myuran Sukumaran were executed by an Indonesian firing squad.

Their execution went ahead despite pleas for clemency and caused a political spat between the nations, with the Abbott government recalling its Indonesian ambassador.

Born the youngest child to Chinese migrants Ken and Helen Chan in Sydney in 1984, Chan grew up in the inner-western suburb of Enfield.

He attended Homebush Boys High School and gained a reputation as a class clown and bully.

After dropping out of school in Year 10, the teenager got a catering job but, lacking any discernible career ambition, started using drugs.

Despite going to the same high school, Chan only crossed paths with Sukumaran, three years his senior, at a mutual friend's house in 2002.

Indonesian prosecutors alleged that Chan successfully smuggled drugs into Australia in October 2004 by enlisting a number of teenagers, many participants of the Bali Nine drug ring.

After another operation was aborted in December, Chan returned to Bali with Sukumaran and seven others the following April to carry out a heroin trade.

But following a tip-off by Australian Federal Police, the group was arrested and charged with "conspiring to import more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali into Australia".

Chan maintained his innocence throughout the trial but he and Sukumaran were both found guilty and sentenced to death in 2006, while all other members escaped with lengthy prison sentences.

On the inside, the death-row inmates were both described as model prisoners with Chan converting to Christianity and running church services.

Between 2010 and 2015, Chan and Sukumaran had several appeals, judicial reviews and clemency pleas rejected.

Chan married his fiancee Feby Herewila two days before the Bali Nine ringleaders were executed, along with six other drug offenders, on April 29, 2015.

All refused to be blindfolded and sang hymns, including Amazing Grace, before being shot in a jungle clearing on the island of Nusakambangan.

Source: AAP (via Mail Online), January 12, 2018 (local time)

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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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