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…

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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