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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…

Iraqi court sentences Frenchwoman to life for IS links

Mélina Boughedir in court with her daughter
Frenchwoman Mélina Boughedir has been sentenced to life in prison by a Baghdad court for membership of the Islamic State (IS) armed group. 

Her lawyers have accused a French minister of interfering in her trial.

"I am innocent," The 27-year-old mother of four told the judge in French.

"My husband duped me and then threatened to leave with the children" unless she followed him to Iraq, where he planned on joining IS, she said.

Three of her children have been sent back to France.

Boughedir was captured in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the capital of IS's self-declared "caliphate", when it fell to government forces in 2017.

She was sentenced last February to seven months in prison for illegal entry into the country and was set to be deported back to France, but another court ordered her retrial under Iraq's anti-terrorist law on charges that could have meant a death sentence.

Minister accused


On Saturday her French lawyers, who travelled to Baghdad for the trial, accused French Interior Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian of "unacceptable interference" in her case after he told the LCI TV station that she was a "terrorist".

"When you got to Mosul in 2016 it's to fight and she is being judged at the scene of these crimes," he said. "That's normal logic."

But he confirmed France's opposition to the death penalty.

"Nobody can doubt that in these circumstances if a stiff sentence is passed tomorrow it would be immediately related to the unacceptable interference that you have been responsible for," William Bourdon, Martin Pradel and Vincent Brengarth said in a letter.

Boughedir's Iraqi lawyer had not been able to consult the documentation on her case or visit her in prison, they said.

They accused Le Drian of wanting to prevent her being sent back to France, despite the fact that she is wanted for alleged terrorist plotting here.

Fast-track trials


Faced with dozens of foreign women who went to IS-held territory, the Baghdad court has sentenced many of them after hearings that have been as short as 10 minutes.

Another Frenchwoman, 29-year-old Djamila Boutoutaou, was also given a life sentence in April, despite her claim that she had been tricked by her husband.



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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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