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Showing posts from November, 2018

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Texas: Rodney Reed granted indefinite stay of execution

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Stay of execution came just hours after parole board unanimously recommended 120-day reprieve
The Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed was granted a stay of execution on Friday, 5 days before he was scheduled to be put to death for a murder he insists he did not commit.
The Texas court of criminal appeals blocked the execution indefinitely and sent the case back to the trial court in Bastrop county, where Reed was sentenced in 1998 for the murder of Stacey Stites two years earlier.
The court had previously rejected multiple appeals, but Reed’s lawyers argued that fresh evidence bolstered his claim of innocence. 
They said in a statement that they “are extremely relieved and thankful … this opportunity will allow for proper consideration of the powerful and mounting new evidence of Mr Reed’s innocence”.
Millions of people, including a clutch of celebrities, have rallied behind Reed’s cause, helping to generate momentum and public attention as the execution date of 20 November loomed an…

Iran: Public Execution of a Person with Mental Illness

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); November 30, 2018: A prisoner was hanged in public at Iranian city of Taft (Central Iran) on Thursday, November 29. 
The man was suffering from mental disability and had previously been hospitalized in a Psychiatric hospital, according to the Iranian media reports.
According to Iranian media, the man whose first name identified as Kamran, was suffering from mental disability and was hospitalized in a Psychiatric hospital before committing a murder. 
Kamran was 19 when he murdered a 36 old woman; and told the prosecutors that he loved the victim. “I expressed my love to her and she refused. I decided to take revenge,” the prisoner had said in his confessions.
According to the Yazd Province Judiciary Courthouse’s Public Relations department, Kamran was hanged in public in Taft city,  on the morning of Thursday, November 29.
UN human rights experts, including the former Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, had previously drawn particular …

Pakistani man handed death penalty for killing ‘sexually abusive’ Emirati boss

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A court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced a Pakistani man to death after he confessed to killing his Emirati boss who withheld his salary “in exchange for sex”.
The Abu Dhabi Criminal Court of First Instance handed the sentence to the man after he was found guilty of premeditated murder and theft, the Khaleej Times reported.
The worker and his employer are thought to have got into a dispute over wages and a delay in the payment of bonuses.
The Pakistan man, who has not been named yet, was said to have been earning roughly $272 despite being promised a monthly salary of $408.
After working for many months, the employer informed the defendant that his monthly salary had been increased by $136, bringing it in line with the amount that was initially promised.
After the employer refused to pay the additional amount, the man went to a shop with his friend and bought a meat cleaver, according to the Khaleej Times. He then called his boss for a meeting and told him that he wanted to …

Singapore should follow Malaysia in abolishing death penalty

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Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) is disappointed that Singapore, which is just one of four countries still conducting execution for drug offences in 2017, went ahead and hanged 31-year-old Malaysian Prabu Pathmanathan on 26 October 2018.
Prabu was sentenced to death for committing several acts preparatory to and for the purposes of trafficking 228g of diamorphine or heroin into the island state on 31 December 2014 (Malaysiakini, 26 October 2018).
According to a report in The Online Citizen, Prabu was just one of a possible four individuals who were executed that week. TOC reported: “Ali Bin Mohamad Bahashwan was executed alongside his co-accused Selamat Bin Paki on Wednesday afternoon (24 October 2018)… Irwan Ali, a Singaporean, is the other inmate who is set to be executed this Friday…” (TOC, 26 October 2018).
The Singapore Prison Service 2017 annual report showed eight people were executed in 2017, up from four in 2016. Actual statistics of executions carried o…

Pakistan urged to not target mentally ill people with death penalty

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Pakistan to remove people with mental disabilities from death row as it violates “country’s international legal obligations”.
In a statement released on Thursday, HRW said the United Nations Human Rights Committee and United Nations special experts have determined that the execution of a person with a psychosocial disability violates the right to be free from cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment.
The statement comes after a medical board submitted a report to the Lahore’s district and sessions court in the case hearing of Saleem Ahmad, who is suffering from chronic schizophrenia.
Ahmad, 50, had been scheduled to be executed in November 2017, but a court suspended his execution and ordered a medical board to assess his mental health. Ahmad – who was convicted of murder – has been in prison for more than 17 years.
The statement further said, “This is a scathing indictment of Pakistan’s criminal justice system and should be used as an opportunity fo…

Free after five decades on death row, a Japanese man may be forced to return

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Every day, in any weather, 82-year-old Iwao Hakamada walks around the small Japanese city of Hamamatsu for up to six hours. A volunteer follows a few steps behind to be sure he doesn’t get hurt and can find his way home.
Hakamada suffers from a mental condition diagnosed as “prison psychosis,” the result of spending nearly five decades on death row — thought to be the world record — for a quadruple murder that evidence suggests he did not commit.
In 1966, he was a 30-year-old former professional boxer working at a miso factory, when the manager, along with his wife and two children, were found stabbed to death in their home, which was then set on fire. Hakamada lived on-site and was the only suspect. No one could corroborate his alibi that he’d been in his dorm room and rushed to the fire to help put it out.
Police detained him for about three weeks and according to records from the detention center, interrogated him for up to 14 hours a day. He alleged they beat him with nightsticks,…

India: A Resounding Dissent Against the Death Penalty

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Justice Kurian Joseph speaks with angst on what Parliament and the judiciary should have done long ago.
It has been unequivocally exposed by two Supreme Court rulings, that the death penalty in India has the rationality of the roulette table—it is a lethal lottery, and the only principle underpinning its continuation is bloodlust, which does not have any validity in law. Time and again, courts, even the Supreme Court has justified the imposition of the death penalty to snuff out the lives of criminals who are a menace to the society, and these now sound as clichés repeated ad nauseam. Only last week, a trial court in Delhi handed death penalty to a man convicted of participating in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, and this decision was celebrated in many political circles.
In such a scenario, it takes exemplary courage for a Supreme Court judge to hold that: “[T]he constitutional regulation of capital punishment attempted in Bachan Singh has failed to prevent death sentences from being “arbi…

Inmates Said The Drug Burned As They Died. This Is How Texas Gets Its Execution Drugs.

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Greenpark Compounding Pharmacy gave kids the wrong medicine. It forged documents. Its employees didn’t wash their hands adequately. So why did the state with the most executions hire it to make lethal injection drugs?
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which has carried out more executions than any other state, has for the last three and a half years bought drugs for lethal injections from a pharmacy that regulators have repeatedly cited for dangerous practices.
The source of the state’s execution drugs has until now been a closely guarded secret. Texas, like other death penalty states, has a law that prevents the disclosure of that information, making it impossible for the public to learn about the manufacturer’s safety record. But documents obtained by BuzzFeed News indicate that one source is Greenpark Compounding Pharmacy in Houston, which has been cited for scores of safety violations in recent years. Its license has been on probation since November 2016, when the Texas St…

Philippines drug war: Police guilty of murdering Kian Delos Santos

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Three Philippine police officers have been found guilty of the high-profile murder of a teenager, the first such convictions since President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs" began.
A court sentenced them to up to 40 years in prison each for the killing of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos in 2017.
President Duterte launched the anti-narcotics campaign in 2016, to deal with a rampant drug problem.
Since then 5,000 dealers or users have been killed, according to police.
President Duterte has been criticised by human rights groups for what is seen as sanctioning the extrajudicial killings and promising to pardon police officers convicted for "drug war" killings.
"A shoot first, think later attitude can never be countenanced in a civilised society," said Thursday's ruling by Judge Roldolfo Azucena.
"Never has homicide or murder been a function of law enforcement. The public peace is never predicated on the cost of human life," he added. Philippi…

Tennessee: Death row inmate, 61, becomes second prisoner to choose to die in electric chair

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A death row inmate who is scheduled to executed next week in Tennessee has requested the electric chair and not the state's preferred method of a lethal injection.
Lawyers for David Earl Miller have argued that Tennessee's midazolam-based, three-drug injection method causes excruciating pain.
In a court filing Monday, attorneys for the state said Miller had picked the electric chair, though Miller's attorneys had requested an extension of a deadline for him to make a choice.
Miller became the second death row inmate in Tennessee to request electrocution since Edmund Zagorski, who was put to death in the state's electric chair on November 1.
Miller, 61, is scheduled to die on December 6 for the 1981 slaying of 23-year-old Lee Standifer in Knoxville.
David Earl Miller was convicted of killing Lee Standifer, a young woman with a mental disability. 
Her naked body was found on May 21, 1981, in the backyard of the Knoxville home where Miller had been staying, according to T…

President Lungu has commuted more death penalties to life imprisonment than any Zambian President

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President Edgar Lungu has commuted more death penalties to life imprisonment than any other serving Zambian President.
Justice Minister Given Lubinda said this decision not to sign death penalties has earned Zambia's reputation internationally as an abolitionist country with regards to implementing the death penalty.
Mr. Lubinda was speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia yesterday when he transited to Rome to attend a conference on the 10th Anniversary of the campaign against the death penalty by an organisation called St. Egidio.
He said Zambia had gone further to vote in the affirmative at the United Nations - UN- on maintenance of a moratorium of the death penalty.
Mr. Lubinda said President Lungu made the bold decision in 2016 to allow the Embassy of the Republic of the Republic of Zambia in New York to start voting in the affirmative after having abstained from voting on the moratorium for years.
He said despite the death Penalty still being upheld in the constitution, no Presiden…