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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 reasons to justify intervening. Billy Ray Irick suffered from psychotic breaks that raised profound doubts about his ability to distinguish right from wrong. Edmund Zagorksi’s behavior in prison was so exemplary that even the warden pleaded for his life. David Earl Miller also suffered from mental illness and was a survivor of child abuse so horrific that he tried to kill himself when he was 6 years old.
Questions about the humanity of Tennessee’s lethal-injection protocol were so pervasive following the execution of Mr. Irick that both Mr. Zagorski and M…

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

Qassameh
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 case.

As a result, the next of kin is required to bring 50 of her male relatives to the court to swear an oath that the defendant is guilty, otherwise, the defendant should swear an oath and plead not guilty 50 times in order for her charges to be dropped. 

Of note, none of the 50 people are direct witnesses of the crime.

It should be noted that a prisoner named Mojtaba Ghiasvand was executed at Rajai Shahr Prison based on Qassameh on October 30, 2017.

Qassameh is one of the weakest ways to prove a crime (murder or physical injuries) in the Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) and criminal law. 

It is performed when the judge decides that there is not enough evidence of guilt to prove the crime but the judge still thinks that the defender is most probably guilty and it is based on swearing an oath by 50 people in murder and 25 people in unintended manslaughter. 

It must be noted that the people who swear in Qassameh are not usually direct witnesses to the crime.

Source: Iran Human Rights, May 31, 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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