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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…

March For Our Lives: Huge gun-control rallies sweep US

Survivors of the high-school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets across the US to call for tighter gun control.

The March For Our Lives movement was formed after a high-school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month.

Student leader and Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez gave a powerful speech at the main Washington DC event.

She listed the names of the 17 victims - and then stayed silent on stage for six minutes, 20 seconds - the time it took for them to be shot and killed.

More than 800 sister protests were planned nationwide and abroad, with solidarity events taking place in Edinburgh, London, Geneva, Sydney and Tokyo.

Participants want to seize on public outrage in the wake of the 14 February massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland to convince US politicians to finally take decisive action, including by banning the sale of assault weapons.

However, the issue divides Americans. The right to bear arms is protected under the 2nd amendment of the US constitution and the National Rifle Association (NRA) gun lobby remains highly influential.

President Donald Trump is at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for the weekend.

On Saturday afternoon, the White House released a statement praising the "many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today".

It also cited steps it is taking to tackle gun violence, including banning bump stocks, plus enacting the STOP School Violence Act, which seeks to improve school security and increase training for students, staff and local law enforcement.

There are also plans to improve criminal background records so gun buyers are properly vetted before making a purchase.

Organisers predicted participation from up to half a million people in Washington DC, which would make it the largest protest since last year's women's march.

Singers Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man behind hit musical Hamilton, have performed on a stage erected in front of the US Capitol building.

The music has been interspersed with impassioned youth leaders calling for change, including 17-year-old Edna Chavez, whose brother was shot and killed in a south Los Angeles neighbourhood where, she said, it was normal to see flowers and tributes on the streets.

"We will continue to fight for our dead friends," said speaker Delaney Tarr, a Parkland student.

Some speeches came from children who are just 11 years old, including Naomi Wadler, from Virginia, who spoke "to represent African-American girls whose stories don't make the front page of every national newspaper".

The BBC's Jon Sopel in Washington says the protesters there have strung out lines of photographs of students and teachers killed in school shootings.

A demonstration has also been held in Parkland, with relatives of the victims speaking to crowds.

'My lost soulmate'


By Marianna Brady, BBC News, Washington

The crowds started to gather in the early hours of the morning outside the US Capitol. Chants for "no more NRA" and "no more guns" erupt every few minutes at random.

"He was my soulmate," said Victoria Gonzalez, looking down at a sign of her boyfriend Joaquin Oliver.






Valentine's Day - 14 February - started off as a great day for Victoria. "Joaquin and I exchanged gifts in the morning and he walked me to class. I was so happy."

Later that day, she would learn that Joaquin was one of 17 people shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas school.

"It wasn't real. It's taken a while for it to sink in. I'm here today so no-one ever has to face this again," she said, standing in a crowd of several thousand ahead of the march.

"It gives me a lot of hope seeing how many people are out here supporting us. It feels like the whole entire world is on our side," Victoria said.

What do young conservatives think?


Families of the victims of the 1996 school shooting in Dunblane, Scotland, also joined a solidarity demonstration outside the US consulate in Edinburgh.

In London, several hundred people gathered outside the new US embassy in Vauxhall, carrying placards addressed to US politicians and the NRA, saying "protect kids not guns" and "books not bullets". The crowd was a mix of US immigrants and allies.

Some 69% of Americans think gun laws should be tightened, according to a new poll by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, up from 61% in October 2016.

What's happened since Parkland?


After pressure from students, Florida passed a gun control law that raises the legal age for buying rifles in the state but also allows the arming of school staff. The NRA sued the state, saying the law was unconstitutional

In February, President Trump urged lawmakers to work on bipartisan legislation, accusing them of being "petrified" of the NRA.

He supported raising the minimum age for gun purchases but later appeared to back away from that proposal.

The White House says he wants to focus on measures that can get through Congress, like improved background checks. He has also backed arming some teachers

Several major companies cut ties with the NRA amid a #BoycottNRA campaign, while chains like Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods announced new restrictions on gun sales

Earlier this month, students and school staff commemorated the Florida school shooting with a mass walkout.

Source: BBC News, March 24, 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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