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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…

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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