“River of Fire”: In New Memoir, Sister Helen Prejean Reflects on Decades of Fighting Executions

The Trump administration is moving ahead with plans to resume the death penalty after a more than 15-year moratorium. This week Attorney General William Barr proposed fast-tracking executions in mass murder cases, and last month ordered the execution of five death row prisoners beginning in December. The federal government has executed just three people since 1963 — the last being in 2003. The death penalty is widely condemned by national governments, international bodies and human rights groups across the world. Experts say capital punishment does not help deter homicides and that errors and racism in the criminal justice system extend to those sentenced to death. We speak with Sister Helen Prejean, a well-known anti-death-penalty activist who began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book “Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty,” which was turned into an Academy Award-winning film starring Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn. …

Belarusian Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence In Double-Murder Case

Alyaksandr Asipovich
The Belarusian Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence for a man convicted of murdering 2 women, despite calls from the European Union for Minsk bring an end to capital punishment.

The court pronounced its decision in the case against Alyaksandr Asipovich on May 14.

Human rights activist Andrey Paluda, who coordinates the Rights Defenders against Capital Punishment campaign, told RFE/RL that Asipovich had a right to appeal the court's decision at the United Nations' Human Rights Committee.

Paluda maintains that Asipovich's right to a fair trial was violated.

Under Belarusian law, Asipovich has 10 days to file a request for clemency from President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Asipovich's mother told RFE/RL that her son planned to request clemency.

The 36-year-old Asipovich has previous convictions for theft, robbery, hooliganism, and inflicting bodily harm.

He was convicted and sentenced to death on January 9 for the murders in 2018 of 2 women in the eastern city of Babruysk.

Belarus has drawn criticism from rights activists and EU states as the only European country that carries out the death penalty.

For years, the EU has urged Belarus to join other countries in declaring a moratorium on capital punishment.

According to rights organizations, more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in Belarus since it gained independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Human rights groups say Belarus carried out 1 execution in January, 1 in November, and 2 executions in May 2018.

Source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, Staff, May 15, 2019

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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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