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Showing posts from July, 2020

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The Leader of Europe's 'Last Dictatorship' Is Facing an Unprecedented Challenge. Here's What It Could Mean for Belarus

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Europe’s longest serving leader Alexander Lukashenko has long worked hard to seem invincible. He has dominated past elections that the U.S. has deemed neither free nor fair and brokered no dissent and suppressed protests. Now, he is facing an unprecedented challenge as he runs for a sixth term as president of Belarus in elections on August 9. A former teacher and political novice, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, has emerged as his main rival, pledging to topple Lukashenko’s regime and restore democracy.
Tens of thousands have rallied across Belarus in some of the country’s biggest opposition protests in a decade, amid mounting frustration over the government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis, combined with grievances about the economy. Referring to Lukashenko, protestors chanted ‘stop the cockroach’ and held placards reading ‘change!’.
“For the first time in his 26-year rule, Lukashenko knows the majority don’t support him,” says Aleksandr Feduta, a former aide to the incumbent, who was i…

USA | Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Death Sentence Overturned By Federal Appeals Court

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) — A federal appeals court on Friday tossed the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
A three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a new penalty-phase trial, finding that the judge who oversaw the case didn’t sufficiently vet jurors for biases.
“But make no mistake: Dzhokhar will spend his remaining days locked up in prison, with the only matter remaining being whether he will die by execution,” the judges said.
The April 15, 2013, attack killed three people and injured more than 260 others.
➤ Read The Ruling
Tsarnaev’s lawyers acknowledged at the beginning of his trial that he and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, set off the two bombs at the marathon finish line. But they argued that Dzhokar Tsarnaev is less culpable than his brother, who they said was the mastermind behind the attack.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a gunbattle with police a few days after the bombing. 
Dzhokar Tsarnaev is n…

Pakistan’s Bloodthirsty Blasphemy Law Needs to Be Repealed

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On Wednesday, Tahir Ahmad Naseem became the latest to be extrajudicially killed for blasphemy in Pakistan. The victim, who had formerly been an Ahmadi before leaving the community, had been under arrest inside Peshawar Central Jail since 2018 for claiming to be a prophet. He was facing trial for blasphemy, and was shot dead in the courtroom inside the Peshawar Judicial Complex.
There is gory symbolism in Pakistan’s latest blasphemy killing being committed inside a courtroom. It explains why, unlike Saudi Arabia or Iran – also among the 13 states that establish death as the penalty for sacrilege against Islam – vigilante justice is the norm in Pakistan. The country’s encouragement of mob violence is rooted in its paradoxical aspiration to be both a democratic republic and an Islamic state.
Where Saudi Arabia and Iran and continue to top the charts for executions, many of which are for “crimes against Islam,” the total number of judicial killings in Pakistan is zero. In fact, for seven…

Death penalty for drug smuggling in China

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An Australian national, Karm Gilespie, was sentenced to death by a Chinese court in June of this year, after being found guilty of drug trafficking according to the court website.
Gillespie was initially arrested at the Guangzhou airport in 2013, carrying over 7.5kg of methamphetamine in his checked luggage. Similarly, in 2019, Canadian citizen Robert Schellenberg was sentenced to death by a Chinese court in January 2019 for attempting to smuggle nearly 500lb (227kg) of methamphetamine from Dalian, a city in northern China, to Australia, using plastic pellets hidden in rubber tires.
China does not disclose the number of people who undergo capital punishment each year. However, according to estimates by Amnesty International, at least a dozen foreign nationals have been executed for drug-related offences, and many more are currently on death row in China. 
According to the human rights group, China enacts the highest number of death sentences of any country, with thousands thought to …

Iran | Inmate Executed at Sanandaj Prison

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A prisoner on death row for qisas (retribution in-kind) on charges of "premeditated murder" was executed in Sanandaj Central Prison.
According to Iran Human Rights (IHR), the identity of the prisoner executed this morning has been established as Morteza Pirkhezri, 42. 
He had been sentenced to retribution in-kind for “premeditated murder”.
An informed source told IHR: "Morteza killed his friend over “honour” issues 5 years ago while he was using drugs. He fled to Iraqi Kurdistan after the incident and was a fugitive for 3 years. He later returned to Iran and surrendered himself to police at the request of his family."
At the time of publication, the execution of this prisoner has not been announced by local media or officials.
According to Iran Human Rights Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran, at least 225 of the 280 of those executed in 2019 were charged with "premeditated murder."
As there are no legal distinctions made between murder and mansla…

Iranians say NO to executions

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While many are dying from COVID-19, the Iranian regime is still trying to execute those arrested in the November protests. But people are speaking up.
3 young men arrested during the November 2019 protests were to be executed in Iran. However, millions of Iranians took an issue with this on social networks, declaring their rejection of the execution.
They are, Amirhossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi. The "No to execution" campaign quickly went viral on Iranian and Farsi-language social networks. For more than three days, Iranians on social media, responded to the news that the judiciary has confirmed the death penalty for these young men.
The campaign had an impact and the execution of the 3 men was temporarily suspended. This is significant because execution and state murder are amongst the most important strategies of the Iranian state to maintain the system.
In Iran, any person and group that questions the state and its order socially, religiously, ethnicall…

Egyptian court refers “Beheira Bride” murder case to Grand Mufti to consider death sentence

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Damanhur Criminal Court in Egypt on Wednesday referred the case of 20-year-old bride Amira to the Grand Mufti of Egypt so he can issue a religious opinion on the death sentence resulting from charges that she killed her husband, al-Shahat, 28, 5 days after their wedding ceremony.
The court set September 30 a date to issue the final judgment.
Former Chief of the Beheira Security Directorate Alaa al-Din Abdel Fattah received notification from the Central Delengat Hospital that Shahat died due to rat poison slipped in his juice.
Shahat’s father said that Amira refused to marry his son because she was in a relationship with someone else.
Police arrested Amira and 2 other people, who denied being involved in the killing.
Source: egyptindependent.com, Staff, July 31, 2020


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Opposed to Capit…

Thus human courts acquit the strong, And doom the weak, as therefore wrong.

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Food for thought...

The Animals Sick of the Plague The sorest ill that Heaven hath
Sent on this lower world in wrath,--
The plague (to call it by its name,)
One single day of which
Would Pluto's ferryman enrich,--
Waged war on beasts, both wild and tame.
They died not all, but all were sick:
No hunting now, by force or trick,
To save what might so soon expire.
No food excited their desire;
Nor wolf nor fox now watch'd to slay
The innocent and tender prey.
The turtles fled;
So love and therefore joy were dead.
The lion council held, and said:
'My friends, I do believe
This awful scourge, for which we grieve,
Is for our sins a punishment
Most righteously by Heaven sent.
Let us our guiltiest beast resign,
A sacrifice to wrath divine.
Perhaps this offering, truly small,
May gain the life and health of all.
By history we find it noted
That lives have been just so devoted.
Then let us all turn eyes within,
And ferret out the hidden sin.
Himself let no one spare nor flatter,
But…

USA | Accused killers of 3-year-old Alabama girl face death penalty in 2 different courts

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A couple who kidnapped and murdered a little girl in Alabama last year have been indicted on federal kidnapping charges.
As a consequence, Patrick Stallworth and Derick Irisha Brown are facing the death penalty in 2 different courts.
Both have already been charged in state court with capital murder of a child, after the death of Kamille "Cupcake" McKinney, a 3-year-old snatched from a birthday party.
Her body was found in a dumpster outside Birmingham 10 days later.
"This crime is every parent's worst nightmare and my heart goes out to her family," said US Attorney Prim Escalona, the top Justice Department prosecutor in northern Alabama.
"Today brings us one step closer to seeing that justice is served for this family and for our community."
Kamille vanished while playing outside the Tom Brown Village Housing Community on October 12 last year.
Stallworth and Brown have both blamed each other for the little girl's death.
Patrick Devone Stallworth …

USA | Health of US Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg fuels anxiety, preparations

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Washington (AFP) -- Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a darling of the US left and an increasingly frail octogenarian, is taking center stage ahead of this year's presidential election, with the Supreme Court's balance hanging on her seemingly faltering health.
Ginsburg's liver cancer -- and recent repeat trips to the hospital due to bile duct infection -- has Washington's political class on tenterhooks, with her every medical procedure causing major hand-wringing, not to mention a variety of contingency plans.
Ginsburg was hospitalized yet again on Wednesday to "revise a bile duct stent," as her doctors assured the public that such things were "common occurrences."
Should the 87-year-old, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy, leave the bench, President Donald Trump would move quickly to name a successor, with the Republican-led Senate likely to confirm the nomination in equally record speed as the November 3 election draws near.
This would cement a…

‘Dead Man Walking’ nun deplores resumption of US federal executions

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Federal executions resume in the US as the Covid-19 pandemic lays bare serious structural inequalities of the American judicial system. Anti-death penalty activist, Sr Helen Prejean, reiterates it is time to end the suffering.
The U.S. Justice Department has set 26 August as the execution date for Lezmond Mitchell, who is scheduled to be put to death in the same week as Keith Dwayne Nelson.
Three other people have been executed over the course of four days in July after the US Supreme Court cleared the way for federal executions after a 17-year moratorium.
This is more than the United States has put to death in half a century. Analysts point out that the controversial decision represents an intrusion by the federal government into matters the states and cities normally handle. They say it is a decision taken despite a series of legal concerns including reservations regarding medical precautions and the opposition of family members of the executed prisoners’ victims.
Sr Helen Prejean C…