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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

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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