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2018 Death Penalty report: Saudi Arabia’s False Promise

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With crown prince Mohammed bin Salman at the helm, 2018 was a deeply violent and barbaric year for Saudi Arabia, under his de facto leadership.
PhotoDeera Square is a public space located in front of the Religious Police building in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in which public executions (usually by beheading) take place. It is sometimes known as Justice Square and colloquially called Chop Chop Square. After Friday prayers, police and other officials clear the area to make way for the execution to take place. After the beheading of the condemned, the head is stitched to the body which is wrapped up and taken away for the final rites.
This year execution rates of 149 executions, shows an increase from the previous year of three executions, indicating that death penalty trends are soaring and there is no reversal of this trend in sight.
The execution rates between 2015-2018 are amongst the highest recorded in the Kingdom since the 1990s and coincide with the ascension of king Salman to the t…

State appeals court affirms jailing of Mennonite who won’t testify in death penalty case

Greta Lindecrantz
The Colorado Court of Appeals on Friday affirmed a contempt of court ruling, thereby keeping a Mennonite investigator, who is refusing to testify in a death penalty case, in jail.

The judges listened to arguments for about an hour from attorneys representing Greta Lindecrantz, the 67-year-old who has been in jail since Monday for contempt of court, and Arapahoe County District Judge Michelle Amico, who sent her there.

The three-judge panel did not make an immediate decision, although Presiding Judge Jerry Jones said they would consider the case carefully and quickly.  He opened the hearing by saying, “We are acutely aware this is a very serious matter.”

Later in the day,  the panel affirmed the ruling.

“Ms. Lindecrantz is in a tough spot — caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. We take no pleasure in declining to extricate her. But the state of the law being what it is, decline we must,” Judge Jones said in the ruling. Judges Robert D. Hawthorne and Diana Terry concurred.

“I am obviously disappointed,” said Mari Newman, Lindecrantz’s attorney. “The court had no interest in finding a way for her to testify without abandoning her religious beliefs.”

Lindecrantz was called to testify by the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office in an appeals hearing being held for Robert Ray, a man sentenced to death in 2009 for a murder-for-hire plot to kill two witnesses in another murder case. The appeals hearing, which is mandatory, is challenging the work done by his original defense team, and Lindecrantz served as an investigator on that team.

She has said that testifying on behalf of the prosecution would put her at odds with her Mennonite faith, which is opposed to the death penalty.

A lawyer representing Amico told the appeals court that allowing someone to refuse to participate in a criminal proceeding because of religious beliefs would cause disarray in the courts.

“Ms. Lindecrantz’s position has opened a Pandora’s Box,” said Matthew Grove, assistant solicitor general.

Newman had asked the court if her client could take the stand as a court-sponsored witness, rather than one for the prosecution.

Source: The Denver Post, N. Phillips, K. Nicholson, March 2, 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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