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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 sentenced 212 to death in Mosul since area retaken by Iraqi forces

Iraqi soldiers in Mosul in August 2017
Human rights groups have accused Iraqi forces of flawed trials leading to unfair convictions

Baghdad: Iraqi courts have sentenced 212 people to death in Mosul and surrounding areas, most of them for complicity with Islamic State, since the area was retaken by Iraqi forces in July and August 2017, a judiciary spokesman said on Wednesday.

Mosul was home to two million people before being overrun in 2014 by Daesh which proclaimed a so-called “caliphate” stretching into neighbouring Syria.

Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi declared full victory over the group last December after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country.

Since then, Human rights groups have accused Iraqi and other regional forces of inconsistencies in the judicial process and flawed trials leading to unfair convictions.

Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said on Wednesday that criminal courts falling under the Nineveh Federal Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Mosul, had so far ruled on a total of 815 cases since the area was recaptured from Daesh.

“The statistics coming from the criminal courts show that 815 people have gone on trial and that 212 were sentenced to death. A further 150 were sentenced to life in prison,” said judiciary spokesman Judge Abdul Sattar Al Birqdar.

It was not immediately clear how many, if any, of the death sentences had been already carried out.

“The vast majority of these rulings were against elements of Daesh who were proven to have committed crimes, and came after public trials conducted in accordance with the law. Defendants were afforded their rights,” Al Birqdar said.

Another 341 people were jailed for various terms and 112 were acquitted, he said.

New York-based Human Rights Watch released an 80-page report in December accusing Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional judiciaries of violating the rights of Daesh suspects with flawed trials, arbitrary detentions under harsh conditions and broad prosecutions.

Source: Gulf News, April 18, 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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