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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…

America's Execution Belt

USA death penalty
The United States can't guarantee the condemned inmates it kills aren't innocent. Landmark court cases of the last decade have offered proof. Mistakes happen. Courts can err. Witnesses can lie. Representation can be flawed. But we still kill.

That lowers America into a frightful club of nations that continues to execute prisoners. Most of its members are among the globe's most repressive, dictatorial nations: North Korea, Libya, Somalia, Cuba, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. That is the company the United States keeps when it kills the condemned. The other 2/3 of the world - Britain, Germany, Canada, France, Scandinavia, Ireland, Spain, Italy, Australia, for instance - long ago stopped this form of state-sponsored killings.

19 American states have abolished the death penalty. They understand that executions do not deter murders, do not reverse the crimes and lessen the moral standing on which our society rests.

America's Execution Belt tends to follow the Bible Belt that dominates the South and Southwest. On Thursday, 3 of those states - Alabama, Texas and Florida - planned to kill condemned inmates. Only 1 did, Florida, which executed Eric Scott Branch for raping and killing a college student in 1993.

Alabama called off its execution of Doyle Lee Hamm, officials said, because they weren't able to complete it before the midnight deadline. Hamm, convicted of a 1987 murder, has cancer and his representatives say his veins aren't suitable for the IV required for a lethal injection.

Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott granted clemency to Thomas Whitaker, who played a role in the 2003 murders of his mother and brother. His father, who survived, had asked the governor to spare his son's life and sentence him to life in prison. Abbott, a Republican in America's most execution-friendly state, surprisingly agreed.

America's most reprehensible crimes deserve lifelong imprisonment and the public's trust in knowing the convicted will never again be free. But those few hours Thursday night opened a window into the flawed and complicated realities of America's execution system.

Source: The Anniston Star, Editorial board, February 23, 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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