In the Bible Belt, Christmas Isn’t Coming to Death Row

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…

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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