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

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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…

Who Gets Flogged In Iran?

Medieval: Public flogging in Iran
Flogging has been a long-standing practice in Iran.

Iran practices flogging and other internationally banned corporal punishments including amputation, stoning, and blinding.

Under Iran's criminal laws, more than 100 offenses are punishable by flogging. They include theft, fraud, and drinking or selling alcohol, as well as moral crimes such as kissing in public, homosexual acts, and sexual relationships between unmarried men and women.

Flogging sentences for adultery and blasphemy are seen as lenient.

During the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, it is not uncommon for Iranians to be sentenced to lashing for eating in public during fasting hours.

Iranian courts have also sentenced some journalists to be flogged over their work.

Children are exempt from flogging, but women are not.

Iranian human rights activist estimate that Iranian courts issue hundreds of flogging sentences each year, and several dozen are carried out.

The popular Facebook page My Stealthy Freedom has posted what it describes as accounts and photos of several Iranian women sentenced to lashing.

According to one post, a 28-year-old woman from the city of Mashhad was flogged 80 times in 2016 for attending a birthday party and drinking alcohol with men. The woman described it as a horrific experience and the worst day of her life: "I was lashed while my feet were chained, and my hands were shackled."

Flogging, judicial blinding, amputation are punishments meted out under Sharia Law.
In another 2016 post, the Facebook page published an account by a woman identified only by her first name, Reyhaneh, who claims she was flogged 140 times for having a boyfriend. The punishment left Reyhaneh unable to sit properly at work the next day. "My back was completely littered with dark blue-colored patches due to lashings," she wrote.

The woman says that lashing has left her and her family -- she is now married to the boyfriend she was punished for having -- deeply traumatized. "While I was being lashed, my only brother who is 10 years older than me and who was known to have heart problems, was next door. Out of helplessness, he consistently knocked on the door of the room where I was being lashed and cried uncontrollably," Reyhaneh wrote.

Each of the women's posts are accompanied with photos of bare backs wounded and bruised after apparent floggings. RFE/RL could not independently verify the authenticity of the photos.

Right activists say many people require hospital treatment after floggings, and that some cases end in death.

International organizations have repeatedly called on Iran to forbid the practice, but the country has so far ignored the condemnations.

Source: Radio Free Europe, Farangis Najibullah, July 12, 2018. Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who focuses on Central Asia.


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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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