Oklahoma | I went inside death row, what I saw made me sick - Henry McLeish

The evolution of civilised behaviour, indicating a retreat from barbarism, has become a distinctive feature of most modern western democracies, but America often disappoints, retaining practices that shock, sadden, and in my case, nearly made me physically sick.
My visit to death row at McAlester State Penitentiary, Oklahoma, brought home to me, how the final setting for government sponsored killings, combined with execution by lethal injection, brought a brutal end to lives. And made a mockery of the idea of justice, offering instead a violent, humiliating, and inhuman act of revenge, with no serious pretence that any of these end of life dramas, provide any deterrence in criminal justice terms. Formerly known as “Indian Territory”, and home of the Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma, with a population of over 4 million, became a state in 1907. Located in America’s “Bible” belt, where there is a strong fundamentalist Christian tradition and powerful Republican politics, Oklahoma remains a pro…

Saudi Arabia | Abolition of death sentence against Egypt man accused of drug trafficking

The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Wednesday evening the continuation of its follow-up of the case of an Egyptian citizen accused of smuggling narcotic drugs into Saudi Arabia. 

While the case sparked controversy on social media websites, the death sentence against the Egyptian citizen was abolished, and he will face a retrial before another court.

The ministry indicated in a statement it published on its official Facebook page, that it was following up the case of the an. This came after the Supreme Court verdict in Riyadh ruled to appeal against the death penalty verdict issued against him from the appeal court, and his retrial before another court, with the 1st session scheduled for 16 February.

This appeal comes after successive campaigns on social media that interacted with video clips that Abul-Qasim leaked from his prison cell, listing facts with evidence of his innocence, and others recorded by his wife calling on the Egyptian authorities to intervene to save her husband from being “unjustly executed”.

A week ago, the Egyptian Public Prosecution issued a statement, stating: “The Supreme Court of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today approved the request of the Saudi Public Prosecution to resubmit the file of the case in which the Egyptian citizen, Ali Abul-Qasim, is sentenced to death to the District Court.”

The case of Abul-Qasim received vast media attention, which significantly increased with the circulation of news confirming the death sentence by the Saudi Supreme Court and its close execution. 

The solidarity circles on social media websites expanded to the extent that hashtags calling for help for the defendant became the most widely trending hashtags on Twitter in Egypt.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced in a statement that as part of its follow-up of the case, it will continue: “Its efforts during the next phase of the case, in coordination and cooperation with the concerned Saudi authorities.”

The ministry also pointed out that this comes: “Within the framework of its commitment to protecting and maintaining the interests of Egyptian citizens abroad.”

Activists argue that the wide interaction on social media websites has played a role in the latest developments of the case.

The case started in 2017, when Abul-Qasim was sentenced to death for having been convicted of smuggling a drug shipment from Egypt to the Saudi Arabia, with the verdict being confirmed in mid-2018.

Source: Middle East Monitor, Staff, January 24, 2020

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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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