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Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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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…

Iraq: 19 Russian women handed life sentences for joining ISIS

Iraqi authorities have arrested more than 560 women identified as IS militants.
Women are among 560 arrested for 'joining and supporting' the armed group that was defeated last December.

A court in Baghdad sentenced 19 Russian women to life in prison for joining Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters in the country.

A Central Criminal Court ruling determined on Sunday the Russian women were guilty of "joining and supporting" ISIL, AFP news agency reported.

The women, many accompanied by their children, addressed the court through a translator - a Russian -language professor at Baghdad University hired by the Russian embassy.

A Russian diplomat at the hearing said the families of the women will be contacted and "informed of the verdict".

Another six women from Azerbaijan and four from Tajikistan were also given life sentences.

Most of the women on trial claimed to have been misled into making the trip to Iraq.

"I did not know we were in Iraq … I went with my husband and my children to Turkey to live there and then I suddenly discovered I was actually in Iraq," one of the accused said on Sunday.

Mass arrests


ISIL fighters surprised Iraqi forces with a lightning-quick offensive in 2014 and captured about one-third of the country, including the second-largest city Mosul, among others.

Since declaring victory over ISIL in late 2017, Iraqi authorities have arrested more than 560 women and 600 children identified as either as members of the group or relatives of fighters.

Earlier this month, an Iraqi court sentenced French national Djamila Boutoutaou to life imprisonment for joining the armed group.


Boutoutaou told authorities at the time she travelled with her husband thinking they would go on a holiday, but soon realised once in Turkey that her "husband was a jihadist".

Her husband was later killed in a military operation near Mosul along with their son. Boutoutaou subsequently surrendered to Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq.

Experts estimate Iraq has detained more than 20,000 people over suspected ties to the group and has sentenced more than 300 people to death so far. Twelve ISIL widows were given the death penalty in February. 

Iraq's anti-terrorism laws empower courts to convict people who are believed to have helped ISIL, even if they were not directly involved in fighting.

Source: aljazeera.com, April 29, 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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