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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…

Alabama executes Walter Moody

Walter Moody
Walter Leroy Moody, 83, has been executed for the 1989 murder of a federal judge, the office of Gov. Kay Ivey confirms.

Moody was executed by lethal injection at Holman Correctional Facility. The execution was slated to happen nearly 30 years after Moody killed Robert S. Vance, a federal judge, with a bomb mailed to his home.

Earlier Thursday evening the U.S. Supreme Court lifted a stay of execution that temporarily halted Alabama's execution of Walter Leroy Moody, Jr. The order cleared the way for the execution to proceed.

The Supreme Court gave no explanation in its orders for the delay or why it later lifted the stay.

The execution began at 8:16 p.m. and according to prison officials his time of death was 8:42 p.m.

Moody kept his eyes closed and head still throughout the lethal injection execution and did not respond when asked by the warden whether he wanted to make a last statement.

Other than his chest moving during the early part of the execution and his jaw dropping slightly, only once during the event did he move when a few of his left fingers fluttered.

That happened soon after he didn't respond to a consciousness test. The test involves a corrections officer calling out the inmate's name, brushing his left eye brow, and pinching the left arm. It is administered to make sure the inmate is sedated enough to administer the two drugs used to halt breathing and the heart.

One of Moody's attorneys with the federal public defender's office in Montgomery took issue with the execution even though Moody moved less on the gurney than some previous inmates. 

"I have attended two executions. In both, my client moved after the consciousness check. Ron Smith's was more horrific, but both were disturbing, and raise grave concerns about the DOC's (Department of Corrections) process," said attorney Spencer Hahn.

"Further, I'd like to know what they gave him before to knock him out and prevent him from getting to give his last words. There was no dignity in that room. This dishonored the memory of Judge Vance and Mr. Robinson," Hahn said.

Alabama Corrections Commissioner Jeff Dunn said Moody was not given any sedatives prior to the execution.

The execution was carried out with more security than usual because of the high profile nature of Moody's crimes. There were 10 investigators and intelligence agents at the prison, instead of the usual two to four, as the hour of Moody's death neared.

Dunn said there was no problem in finding a vein for the lethal injection drugs.

Before the execution Moody did not accept his breakfast meal and did not request nor eat a final meal Thursday, said public information specialist for the Alabama Department of Corrections Samantha Banks. 

She said Moody did eat two philly cheesesteak sandwiches, one bag of chips, two Dr. Pepper sodas, and one bag of M&M candies with two attorneys and three friends in the death row visitation yard. One of Moody's attorneys said he actually ate the M&Ms, and Moody had a Hershey bar with almonds.

He also made one call to an attorney.

Moody had no special requests and asked that four attorneys view the execution, Banks said. Two attorneys and a paralegal attended.

No one from Judge Vance's family witnessed the execution.

After the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals denied their appeals, Moody and his attorneys filed requests to the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday night - and again Thursday morning - to stay the execution and to review the arguments in Moody's case.

Among Moody's arguments are that the federal government which convicted him first on non-death penalty charges should have him in custody instead of the state.

Justice Department attorneys and the Alabama Attorney General's at that hearing and in written briefs have said that they have had an agreement since the 1990s to allow Moody to serve his sentence in Alabama. Then on Monday the Justice Department filed another brief on behalf of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at the time of Moody's conviction and death sentence in Alabama was the state's attorney general.

In the DOJ brief it states that Sessions has agreed to waive the federal government's right to exclusive custody of Moody "and consents to his custody in Alabama for purposes of carrying out the capital sentence imposed on Moody in Alabama."

Moody's lawyers In today's request to the U.S. Supreme Court argued Sessions cannot do that. "The Attorney General of the United States does not have the authority to interrupt a federal sentence which has commenced and, under Bond, Chadha, and Marbury (a previous case), Mr. Moody may seek to invalidate the attempt," according to Thursday's filing by Moody's attorneys.

Moody also asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday night for another appeals court - other than the 11th Circuit -hear his case, to be assigned to hear his case. He cited jurisdictional issues with several judges' recusal in 2014.

Alabama's death chamberHe argued that a three-member panel of the 11th Circuit, which didn't have to recuse, had decided his appeals. But he couldn't get a hearing before the full 11th Circuit because the other judges had recused.

Governor Ivey released the following statement after the sentence was carried out:

"I approach every execution by giving the condemned, and the issues raised by the underlying case, the careful consideration both deserve. My ultimate desire is to see justice rightly administered.

“Mr. Moody was convicted of killing Federal Judge Robert Vance and severely injuring Judge Vance’s wife with a bomb purposefully created to kill and maim. The crimes committed by Mr. Moody were intentional, well-planned and aimed at inflicting the most possible harm. A jury found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and his conviction has been upheld at every level of the judicial system.

“For our system of government to work properly, the judiciary must be able to operate without undue outside influence. By targeting and murdering a respected jurist, Mr. Moody not only committed capital murder, he also sought to interrupt the flow of justice. After considering the facts of his horrendous and intentional crime, I have allowed Mr. Moody’s sentence to be carried out in accordance with the laws of this state and in the interest of ensuring justice for the victim and his family.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall also released a statement after the execution:

Nearly 30 years ago, 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Vance was brutally slain when a pipe bomb sent to his Birmingham home exploded. Walter Leroy Moody was convicted of Judge Vance’s murder in both federal and state courts. Even though he was also convicted of a similar pipe bomb death of a Georgia attorney, Moody has spent the better part of three decades trying to avoid justice. Tonight, Mr. Moody’s appeals finally came to a rightful end. Justice has been served.

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Moody was the oldest inmate put to death in the United States in modern times.

Moody was also convicted in federal court of killing a black civil rights attorney from Savannah, Georgia, and mailing a bomb to a civil rights organization.

Moody becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in Alabama and the 63rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 1983.

Moody becomes the 8th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1473rd overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

Sources: AL.com, Associated Press & Rick Halperin, April 19, 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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