Showing posts from May, 2020


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…

Violent protests, fires, looting and anger erupt in Minneapolis after George Floyd's death; New video of the arrest released

MINNEAPOLIS – Grief and anger turned to violence Wednesday night as Minneapolis saw another day of protests following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who was pinned down by a white police officer who held his knee to Floyd's neck.
Demonstrators gathered earlier in the day near the local police precinct, and soon video on social media showed people smashing windows, looting a nearby Target and buildings on fire.
It was the second night of tense protests following Floyd's death. The city's mayor and Floyd's family have called for the arrests of the officers involved in his death, and the federal authorities promised Thursday a "robust criminal investigation." 
The four officers were fired shortly after video of the encounter spread on social media showing Floyd struggling and telling the officers he couldn't breathe.
Floyd's death has sparked a national outcry for justice and other cities saw protests Wednesday night.
Here's what…

“No puedo respirar”: un afroamericano muere bajo custodia policial en Minneapolis

Click here to Google translate the following story into your own language

La policía dice que George Floyd falleció debido a un “incidente médico”. Cuatro oficiales han sido apartados de su trabajo
“Ser negro en Estados Unidos no debería ser una sentencia de muerte”, dijo este martes el alcalde de Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, con relación al fallecimiento de un afroamericano de 47 años en custodia policial. 
Un vídeo compartido en las redes sociales muestra cómo un policía blanco, ante la indiferencia de su compañero, aprieta con su rodilla el cuello del detenido en plena calle durante aproximadamente siete minutos. 
George Floyd, esposado y desarmado, reclama varias veces que no puede respirar, hasta quedar inconsciente. El Departamento de Policía de Minneapolis informó de que el detenido murió este lunes debido a un “incidente médico” y que los oficiales llegaron al sitio por un aviso de fraude. 
Los cuatro agentes presentes durante el suceso fueron “apartados de su trabajo”. Por la noch…

Chechnya | Gay purge tyrant Ramzan Kadyrov – who said COVID-19 patients ‘should be executed’ – mounts pathetic defence after ‘hospitalisation’

Homophobic Chechen tyrant Ramzan Kadyrov made his first public appearance since rumours emerged that he had been hospitalised with coronavirus.
The autocratic leader, who orchestrated the region’s brutal ‘gay purge’, was reported to have earned the title of the first Russian official to fall seriously ill in the coronavirus pandemic.
According two Russian state news agencies, RIA Novosti and Tass, Kadyrov was flown to a clinic in Moscow as his condition rapidly deteriorated. The digital news outlet Baza reported there had been damage to his lungs.
Chechen officials refused to confirm the news or give any information as to his whereabouts, while the head of Chechnya’s state-run TV channel openly contested the reports of illness.

RELATED Chechnya leader responsible for “gay purge” rushed to Moscow hospital for coronavirus
After nearly a fortnight of rumours, Kadyrov finally reappeared in public on Tuesday. He was filmed at a government meeting in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital, with what …

Iran | Father beheads 14-year-old daughter in "honor killing"

The killing of an Iranian teen by her father after she eloped with an older man sparked outrage on Wednesday, with local media denouncing "institutionalised violence" in "patriarchal" Iran.
Iranian media covered the apparent "honour" crime extensively, with Ebtekar newspaper leading its front page with the headline "Unsafe father's house".
According to local media, Romina Ashrafi was killed in her sleep on May 21 by her father, who decapitated her in the family home in Talesh in northern Gilan province.
The reports said her father had refused her permission to marry a man fifteen years her senior, spurring her to run away, but she was returned home after her father reported her.
The legal marriage age in Iran is 13 for women.
Iranian media reported that after authorities detained the teenager, she told a judge she feared for her life if she was returned to home.
But what most outraged public opinion was the lenient punishment the father is …

New Mexico | Cowboys for Trump leader calls for Democratic leaders to be executed

Otero County Commissioner Couy Griffin has again stirred an outcry over his fiery political rhetoric — this time for saying certain Democratic governors should be executed for treason.
Griffin, who founded the group Cowboys for Trump, also told the Daily Beast on Tuesday that anti-lockdown protesters might be justified in using violence.
During the interview, published Wednesday, Griffin said top Democrats, such as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, are traitors who deserve the death penalty. Both governors have imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“You get to pick your poison: You either go before a firing squad, or you get the end of the rope,” Griffin told the Daily Beast.
He was asked if people protesting pandemic-related shutdowns are increasingly considering violence.
“I’ll tell you what, partner, as far as I’m concerned, there’s not an option that’s not on the table,” Griffin replied.
Griffin again insisted he was speak…

St. Augustine bishop calls for end to Florida death penalty

Denver Newsroom, May 28, 2020 / 03:00 am MT (CNA).- All of Florida’s death row inmates live in the Diocese of St. Augustine. Many are Catholic. At least twice a year St. Augustine’s Bishop Felipe Estevez goes to visit death row inmates himself.
So when Estevez issued a pastoral letter this week chronicling the efforts of Catholics in Florida to end the death penalty, and laying out the Catholic case for its abolition, the issue was personal.
"Justice needs to be restorative, not out of vengeance," Estevez told CNA May 27.
"We don't want anyone in society to be in danger because of these criminals, but we don't think that death is the answer. Killing them because they have killed would perpetuate the cycle of violence."
Jesus, on the cross, stopped a cycle of violence, Estevez said, by forgiving his killers.
"We need to put a stop to the death penalty because, as John Paul II said, it is not necessary. We can put all our energy into having the best pri…

Ohio | Death Penalty Sought For Man Accused Of Killing Springdale Officer

The Hamilton County prosecutor's office will seek the death penalty in the case against the man accused of striking and killing Springdale Police Officer Kaia Grant.
Prosecutor Joe Deters Wednesday released a 10-count indictment against Terry Blankenship for the events of March 21, which resulted in Grant's death. 
Police say Blankenship, who was wanted for an attack several days earlier in the home of his estranged wife, fled when identified by Elmwood Place officers. A chase ensued on northbound I-75.
Grant and another officer were preparing to deploy stop sticks when Blankenship's vehicle approached and, according to authorities, swerved toward the officers, striking them and their vehicles. 
Grant was flown to UC Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.
Blankenship is charged with aggravated burglary and felonious assault for the March 19 incident. He is also charged with eight other counts related to the death of Officer Grant, including aggravated murder, murde…

The Florida Supreme Court’s U-turn on the death penalty | Editorial

The court is now an outlier in reversing established law and the nation’s social norms
What’s the obsession at the Florida Supreme Court with becoming an outlier on the death penalty, with reversing established law and shaking public confidence in the state’s judicial system? A recent decision by the court, which overturned protections for death row inmates with intellectual disabilities, is only the latest sign of judicial activism out of control, out of sync with the times and out of keeping with the tradition of restraint and following court precedent.
In a case this month, the court ruled 4-1 against Harry Franklin Phillips, who for years has sought to set aside his death sentence for the murder of Bjorn Thomas Svenson, a parole supervisor, in Miami in August 1982. Phillips has argued he cannot be executed because he is intellectually disabled, which the U.S. Supreme Court, in 2002, outlawed as “cruel and unusual punishment.” Phillips wanted his claim reconsidered in light of a U.…

Texas | Poll Finds Record-Low Support for Death Penalty Among Houstonians

Just 20% of Houstonians — a record low — now support the death penalty over life-sentencing alternatives, a new Rice University survey has found. 
The 2020 Houston Area Survey by the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, released on May 4, 2020, found that death-penalty support has declined by more than 1/2 since the turn of the 21st century in the city of 2.3 million residents.
The survey results are noteworthy because Houston comprises 50% of the population Harris County, Texas, a county that has accounted for more than twice as many executions in the past half century as any other county in the United States.
The 2020 survey was conducted during February and early March of 2020, “before there were clear signs of an impending [coronavirus] crisis,” the Institute said. 
The researchers asked Houston residents to choose which among three sentencing alternatives they believed was most appropriate for persons convicted of 1st-degree murder: ”the death penalty, life imprisonment with no …