In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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When it comes to the death penalty, guilt or innocence shouldn’t really matter to Christians.  

NASHVILLE — Until August, Tennessee had not put a prisoner to death in nearly a decade. Last Thursday, it performed its third execution in four months.
This was not a surprising turn of events. In each case, recourse to the courts had been exhausted. In each case Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, declined to intervene, though there were many r…

Iraq gives death sentence to Islamic State 'judge'

Iraqi Federal Police officers
An Iraqi court has given the death penalty to a man who acted as a legislative judge in Mosul for the Islamic State (IS) when the group was in control of the city, said a judicial spokesman on Thursday.

The defendant, whose name was not specified, was reported to have been in charge of marriage contracts in Mosul and surrounding areas.

"The Nineveh Criminal Court sentenced an Islamic State militant to death," said Abdul Sattar al-Birqdar, spokesperson for Iraq's Higher Judicial Council, in a statement. "The convict used to work as a judge in the marriage contracts court, within the so-called legislative courts of Islamic State in Mosul."

1 day before, al-Birqdar and another judicial official announced that, since the beginning of the year, over 300 suspects have been handed death sentences for crimes related to IS membership.

The cases, being heard in federal courts in Baghdad and Nineveh provinces, also resulted in several hundred lesser sentences, including life imprisonment.

The rise of executions in the country has led the UN mission in Iraq, the EU, and international human rights groups to criticize Iraq for a lack of transparency in its courts.

"These executions follow rushed trials of ISIS suspects which are riddled with due process violations, including convictions based solely on confessions which are sometimes extracted by torture," said HRW senior Iraq researcher Belkis Wille in a press release on Tuesday.

The death penalty in Iraq was suspended on June 10, 2003, but was reinstated the following year. Critics say that the country's flawed and confession-based criminal justice system in which torture is routinely used to extract confessions is incompatible with so final a sentence as capital punishment.

Iraq's Justice Ministry announced on Monday that it had executed 13 convicted prisoners, 11 of them over charges of terrorism.

Last year, Iraqi forces arrested tens of thousands of those accused of being Islamic State (IS) members and affiliates, most of whom await sentencing.

Source: kurdistan24.net, April 21, 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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