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

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…

Implementation of the New Anti-Narcotics Law in Iran: 1700 Death Row Cases Reviewed

Hangings, Iran
Iran Human Rights (Jul 5, 2018): According to the Iranian state media, Tehran Prosecutor General Abbas Jafari-Dolatabadi, announced that cases of 1700 of the prisoners sentenced to death or life imprisonment for drug-related crimes in Tehran have been reviewed, while there are 1300 more requests which remain to be reviewed in the future. 

According to ILNA, Jafari-Dolatabadi mentioned the impact of the new drug law on the aforementioned statistics and pointed out, “We received 3000 requests from death-row prisoners and those sentenced to life imprisonment. 1700 requests have been reviewed in courts based on the new drug law so far and most sentences have been reduced to imprisonment. There are still 1300 more requests that will hopefully be reviewed in courts as soon as possible.

However, Tehran Prosecutor didn’t reveal to the press the precise number of the defendants whose death sentences have been reapproved. On the other hand, it is not clear how many of those 1700 prisoners were sentenced to death and how many were sentenced to life imprisonment. 

So far, there have been no official statistics on the process of reviewing the cases according to the new amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Law in other cities.

Iran Human Rights had previously mentioned the use of bribery and arbitrary prioritization in different cities in an earlier report addressing the situation six months after the implementation of the new anti-Narcotics Law.

Of note, the new amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Law doesn't address the issue of unfair trials and inaccessibility of many defendants to the lawyers during the investigation phase. 

This phenomenon may lead to the reapproval of some of the death sentences which were issued based on forced confessions.

Commenting the new report, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR, had said, “We demand more clarity in the review process of the death row drug offenders' cases. At the present moment, the judges who have issued the death sentence are also responsible for reviewing the cases. We call for an independent committee to monitor this process.” He continued, “We also demand that the process of the trials be reviewed and for those defendants who did not have a lawyer or were forced to make a confession a retrial should be held.”

Source: Iran Human Rights, July 6, 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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