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…

Iran: Execution of at Least Two Prisoners Including an Afghan Citizen

Iran execution
Iran Human Rights (Aug 8, 2018): At least two prisoners were executed at Rajai Shahr Prison on murder charges.

According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday, August 8, at least two prisoners were executed at Rajai Shahr Prison. 

The prisoners, sentenced to death on murder charges, were transferred to the solitary confinement in a group of six on Sunday, August 5. 

The other four prisoners returned to their cells by either winning the consent of the plaintiffs or asking for time.

One of the prisoners who was executed was identified as Mohammad Abdi from ward 10. He was arrested on the charge of murder 12 years ago.

A close source told IHR, “The plaintiffs didn’t want to be present at the time of the execution, only their lawyer was there.”

The other prisoner who was executed was an Afghan citizen who was sentenced to death on murder charges. He has not been identified so far.

The execution of these prisoners has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

According to confirmed reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR), at least 36 people were executed in different Iranian cities in the month of July, 24 of whom were sentenced to death on murder charges.

Source: Iran Human Rights, August 10, 2018

4 Afghan Citizens Scheduled to Be Executed

4 Afghan citizens who were sentenced to death on the charge of "armed drug trafficking and the murder of a police officer" are scheduled to be executed at Birjand Central Prison in the next few days.

According to a close source, 4 Afghan citizens are going to be executed at Birjand Central Prison in the next few days. The prisoners are named Shah Mohammad Miran Zehi, Eid Mohammad Miran Zehi, Mohammad Miran Zehi, and Ahmad Shah Saghzehi. The prisoners were sentenced to death on the charge of "armed drug trafficking and the murder of a police officer".

A co-defendant of the prisoners named Seraj Gavkhor, has been sentenced to 25 years and 1 day. All 5 prisoners are currently held at ward 105 of Birjand Central Prison. Their verdict was delivered to them on Saturday, August 4, and they were told that their sentence would be implemented before August 15.

Mohammad Miran Zehi told IHR, "They tortured and forced a confession out of us. They didn't find any weapons or drugs on us. We were unaware of the incident. We were tortured and made to accept the accusations. We denied the murder charge in the court but the judge didn't care. We didn't kill the guard. We were accused of killing him after we trespassed the border."

He continued, "They told us to admit to murdering a border guard in an assault, which we didn't. Then they told us that if we admitted to trafficking drugs from Afghanistan, they would save us from execution, but we didn't accept it. We only accepted the charges under torture but, in the court, we said that we were unaware of what happened and we were not involved in the murder at all."

The prisoners were sentenced to death on the charge of "armed drug trafficking" at branch 2 of the Revolutionary Court of Birjand.

A close source told IHR, "The defendants were in a village named Bandan when the border guards attacked them while they possessed no drugs or weapons. But they were charged with armed possession of 142 kilograms of opium and 2 Kalashnikov rifles." He added, "6 years ago, they were trying to cross the Iranian-Afghan border illegally when they were attacked by some border guards. A few days before that, a guard was murdered in an assault, that is why they tortured and made the defendants confess to murdering the guard."

It's worth mentioning that Birjand Central Prison is located in Birjand, South Khorasan province.

Iran Human Rights expresses its concern about the lack of a fair trial for these Afghan citizens and demands that Iranian judicial authorities should stop the execution of these prisoners immediately and hold a fair trial.

Source: Iran Human Rights, August 10, 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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