Pope Declares Death Penalty Inadmissible in All Cases

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 executes 13 convicted of ‘terror’ charges

Baghdad Central Prison, Iraq
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraq executed 13 people for "terrorist crimes" after legal proceedings, the justice ministry announced on Monday.

Eleven of the individuals were convicted of exploding car bombs, killing security personnel, or kidnappings.

The Ministry of Justice stated it renews its commitment to implement provisions of Iraqi law within its framework "without being affected by any side pressures."

Details about the individuals executed, the courts, their trials, a timeline for alleged crimes, prosecutors and defense teams were not released.

Iraq's justice system is complicated and not transparent, a Rudaw English investigative series of reports entitled 'Justice After ISIS' discovered in early 2017. 

Iraq executed 111 people in 2017, according to an Amnesty International report released in March.

In Nasiriya prison on December 15, 38 people were hanged after terrorism convictions.

More than 19,000 were arrested and charged with links to ISIS during the three-year conflict, according to an Associated Press report. More than 3,000 of them were sentenced to death.

"We are deeply alarmed by this report and the Iraqi authorities’ mass use of the death penalty and the courts’ reliance on torture-tainted 'confessions' to secure convictions," wrote Lynn Maalouf, the Middle East Research Director at Amnesty in a March 21 report.

According to AP, thousands more suspects are believed to be held by Iraqi Federal Police, military intelligence agencies, and Kurdish security forces.

The Kurdistan Region has capital punishment. More than 250 convicted felons are currently in Kurdish prisons. 

In the majority of cases, the death penalties have been suspended indefinitely with the violators serving life-sentences in prison instead. 

The suspension of the sentences is due to a de facto moratorium that Kurdish authorities have imposed on the death penalty since 2008, which essentially blocks its use except for terror-related charges or “exceptionally heinous crimes.” 

Kurdish law requires the president to sign the death sentences before they can be carried out. Since 2008, the death penalty has been carried out in four cases. Most recently, a Kurdish man and his two wives, convicted of abducting and murdering two schoolgirls, were hanged in November 2016.

Human rights groups have urged the Kurdistan Region to abolish the death penalty permanently and commute them to life in prison. Kurdish officials have denied that Peshmerga or security forces conducted extrajudicial executions during the ISIS conflict.

Source: rudaw.net, April 17, 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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