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Showing posts from May, 2018

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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…

U.S.: Young Preacher Argues Government Should Start Executing Gays

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Matt Powell, a young, Christian preacher, argues the government should obey the Bible and start executing gays.
Powell recently appeared on the Skylar Fiction Show to explain his conservative Christian views. Once the program begins Powell immediately suggests that gays should be executed by the government just as the Bible dictates, declaring:
… as far as homosexuality goes, you know, I believe the Bible puts the death penalty on it.
Powell added:
I believe it’s disgusting. And incidentally, every scientific test has come back and said that homosexuals are 50 more times likely to get AIDS… we got this AIDS thing spreading… it’s a fact that this is the case.
A skeptical Skylar Fiction first rejected Powell’s false claim concerning AIDS, and then asked if Powell was trolling him, noting that his views were so extreme they resembled “the Westboro Baptist Church.”
An incredulous Fiction asked:
You don’t believe that gay people should be stoned to death, do you?
The young preacher replie…

Iran: Woman Might Be Sentenced to Death Based on 'Qassameh'

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A woman who is suspected of murdering her husband might be sentenced to death based on Qassameh because there is no concrete evidence proving her guilt. 
Qassameh is one of the most vulnerable ways to prove a crime (murder or physical injuries) in the Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and criminal law.
According to the Iranian national broadcasting website Jamejamonline, a woman who was arrested on the charge of murdering her husband on March 22, 2015, might be sentenced to death based on Qassameh.
The defendant, identified as Tahereh, 34, stated, "When my husband and I got into a fight he stabbed himself in the chest and killed himself." However, the forensic report rejected the possibility of suicide and specified that the victim was stabbed to death by another person.
Tahereh was sentenced to Qisas (retaliation in kind) at the request of the victim's mother but the Supreme Court rejected the verdict. Consequently, the judges decided that Qassameh should be used in this cas…

Pakistani national on death row in Indonesia passes away

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Pakistani national on death row in Indonesia Zulfiqar Ali, who was said to have been 'wrongly convicted' in a drugs case, passed away on Thursday.
Earlier during the day, Ali was shifted to an Intensive Care Unit and requests were being made to shift him to Pakistan.
A Pakistani rights group, the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP) had appealed on Indonesia to free Zulfiqar Ali on humanitarian grounds.
The JPP, which opposes capital punishment, had earlier said in a statement today that 54-year-old Zulfiqar Ali could soon die after his health deteriorated while in a Jakarta prison hospital.
Sarah Belal, executive director at Justice Project Pakistan, said they cannot save Ali's life but are trying to help him "die a free man."
There was no immediate response from Indonesia.
Zulfiqar Ali was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer in December 2017 and had also been suffering from chronic liver cirrhosis and Diabetes Mellitus.
Ali was arrested in November 2004 and later co…

As Singapore clinging stubbornly onto old ways, Malaysia progresses with review of its draconian laws

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As Malaysia takes the progressive approach of reviewing the suitability of some of its laws, Singapore holds on tight to its old ways despite many voicing that these laws are too oppressive or redundant in the face of other existing legislation.
One of these laws facing the axe across the causeway is the draconian Sedition Act 1948. As you can see from the date of this Act, it is high time this piece of legislation is reviewed. We are now in 2018, a far cry from post war 1948. In large part, this act was devised to deal with the upsurge of communism. Now that communism is no longer a viable threat, it follows to say that the necessity of the act is similarly no longer viable.
From the Singaporean context, we too have this dreaded act – this act along with the infamous Internal Securities Act (ISA) – has been used to silence all matter of behaviour deemed undesirable by the powers be. Victims have included cartoonist, Leslie Chew and the many individuals who were arrested and detained…

India: President Kovind Rejects First Mercy Plea Placed Before Him

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President Ram Nath Kovind* rejected the first ever mercy plea placed before him from murder convict Jagat Rai, who along with two others, was convicted for the murder of a man, his wife, and their five minor children by burning them alive while they were sleeping in their house.
As is the norm for a mercy plea to the President, the case was placed before President Kovind after the Supreme Court rejected the convict's plea for mercy five years back.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the then Chief Justice of India HL Dattu, Justice Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhaya, and Justice M Y Eqbal, while sentencing Jagat Rai and one other accused, Deepak Rai, to death, observed:
"The crime, enormous in proportion having wiped off the whole family, is committed so brutally that it pricks and shocks not only the judicial conscience but even the collective conscience of the society. It demands just punishment from the Court and the Court is bound to respond within legal parame…

Somali court sentences three al-Shabab militants to death over attacks

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Somali military court on Wednesday sentenced three al-Shabab militants to death after they were found guilty of being behind the hotel bombing in October last year, officials said.
Chairperson of the Military Court, Hassan Ali Nur Shute, said the militants admitted to charges of carrying out attack on Nasa-hablod II Hotel in which more than 30 people were killed and several others injured.
“The Court heard the cases of three terrorist militants in several sessions and found them guilty of carrying out attack on Hotel Nasa-hablod II attack on October 28, 2017, therefore the court sentenced Farhan Samatar, Abdinasir Hassan and Abshir  Haji to death,” Shute said.
Somali government’s military court often gives death penalties against al-Shabab militants and some soldiers.
But human rights groups including the UN and the EU have condemned these executions.
The EU says it considers the death penalty to be a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to provide deterrence to criminal behavio…

EU, Council Of Europe Condemn New Executions In Belarus, Call For Moratorium

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The European Union and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) has strongly condemned the reported secret executions of two Belarusians whose appeals had been rejected by the country's Supreme Court.
"Two new executions in Belarus, of Viktar Liotau and Alyaksey Mikhalenia, have reportedly taken place in secret in mid-May 2018," the EU foreign-policy chief's spokeswoman, Maja Kocijancic, said in a statement.
In January, the Minsk-based Vyasna (Spring) human rights center said Liotau was sentenced to death in September 2017 for murdering his cellmate in a penal colony in Hlybokaye, some 160 kilometers north of Minsk.
Mikhalenia was sentenced to death in 2016 for murdering his neighbors, Vyasna said, adding that his appeal to the Supreme Court had been rejected.
"The continued application of the death penalty runs counter to [Belarus's] stated willingness to engage with the international community, including the European Union, on the matter…

India: Victim impact statements can achieve what death penalty can’t

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India’s criminal justice system needs to look at victim impact statements in the US to help victims achieve closure.
Perhaps you have figured out by now that little girls don’t stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world,” said a woman to celebrity gymnastics coach Larry Nassar in the US earlier this year.
Nassar had already been convicted of sexually assaulting girls he was training. But before the court could decide how many years he would spend in jail, it gave his 156 victims a chance to address him in court.
One victim said about the experience, “I got up there and I looked him in the eye, I just knew that I had a lot to say and that whatever happened, I was going to make him look at me and make him listen. It felt like I was back in control… He did look at me. In fact, he cried during my statement.”
‘Victim impact statements’ are a part of the criminal justice system in the US. A victim can send it in writing or read it out in court. There…

Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz filmed himself revealing plans for massacre

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A disturbing video showing Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz revealing his plans for the mass murder has been released by prosecutors. 
The teenage gunman filmed himself on his mobile phone smiling as he spoke about plans for a massacre, including making gun noises and saying: ‘You’re all going to die.’
He went on to kill 17 students and injure 17 more in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on February 14. 
In the footage, Cruz looks into the camera and says: ‘When you see me on the news you’ll know who I am. You’re all going to die. Pew pew pew. I can’t wait.’ In another video he says: ‘Today is the day. The day that it all begins. The day of my massacre shall begin. ‘All the kids in school will run in fear and hide. From the wrath of my power they will know who I am.’
He adds: ‘I’ve had enough being told what to do and when to do. Telling me I’m an idiot and a dumbass.’ In a third video, the 19-year-old says: ‘Hello. My name is Nik and I’m g…

State secret: Indiana DOC presses lethal injection confidentiality

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A law slipped into the 2017 budget bill during the General Assembly's final hours declared that information about drugs that the state would use to execute someone was confidential. The last-minute law was written into the bill even though a judge had ruled months earlier that the very same information was a matter of public record and had ordered the Department of Correction to provide it.
"It's the damnedest thing," Indianapolis attorney Peter Racher said of what he calls the secrecy statute inserted into must-pass legislation at the eleventh hour. "There was no substantive debate," he said, describing the law's insertion into the budget bill as "anti-democratic. ... But that is the process the General Assembly followed in enacting this new statute."
Racher, of Plews Shadley Racher & Braun P.C., represents A. Katherine Toomey, an attorney with the law firm of Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss PLLC in Washington, D.C. Beginning 4 years ago…