Iran | Death Penalty According to Shariah Law

Chapter III of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran contains provisions related to the rights of the people.  In this Chapter, Article 22 states: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.” However, the number of crimes punishable by death in Iran is among the highest in the world. Charges such as “adultery, incest, rape, sodomy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and other great Prophets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, theft and alcohol consumption for the 4th time, premeditated murder, moharebeh (waging war against God), efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion), fraud and human trafficking” are capital offences.[1] Many of the charges punishable by death cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and do not meet the ICCPR standards.[2] Murder, drug possession and trafficking, rape/sexual assault, moharebeh and efsad-fil-arz and baghy are the most common charges resulting

USA | Fifth federal inmate executed this summer at Terre Haute penitentiary

Keith Dwayne Nelson was executed by lethal injection at 4:32 p.m. today at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute.

A Kansas girl's killer Friday became the fifth federal inmate put to death this year, an execution that went forward only after a higher court tossed a ruling that would have required the government to get a prescription for the drug used to kill him.

Questions about whether the drug pentobarbital causes pain prior to death had been a focus of appeals for Keith Nelson, 45, the second inmate executed this week in the Trump administration's resumption of federal executions this summer after a 17-year hiatus.

Nelson, who displayed no outward signs of pain or distress during the execution, was pronounced dead at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, at 4:32 p.m. EDT — about nine minutes after the execution began

Inside the execution room with Nelson, 45, were individuals identified as a U.S. Marshal, 2 Bureau of Prisons officials, and spiritual advisor Sister Barbara Battista of the Sisters of Providence at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Death chamber, USP Terre HauteThere was silence from Nelson when a prison official looming over him asked if he had any last words to witnesses behind the execution-chamber glass.  

Nelson didn't utter a word, grunt or shake his head no. After the official waited for about 15 seconds, his eyes fixed on Nelson waiting in vain for any sign of an answer, he turned away and began the execution procedure.

Nelson didn't appear to deliberately move a muscle or turn his head toward the family witness room, where Pamela's mom wore a T-shirt emblazoned with her daughter's picture. Angel wings jutted out from behind Pamela's image.

But earlier, before curtains opened enabling witnesses to see inside the chamber, Nelson's spiritual adviser, Sister Barbara Battista, was allowed to walk up and stand two feet from the gurney, lean in and hear his last words, she told The Associated Press later.

'He said he wanted me to tell his lawyers he didn't have to wear an adult diaper during the execution. He was glad about that,' she said. 'He'd also told me (days) earlier he didn't want to be forced to do that, that it was undignified.'

Battista, who stayed in the chamber as Nelson was put to death, standing farther away, said her interpretation of his silence during the public portion was that he was afraid if he said anything, he might then say something inappropriate.

Death house, USP Terre HauteBattista, a longtime anti-death penalty activist, said she made a point of addressing Nelson by his first name in his last minutes alive.

'He wanted someone there who would call him 'Keith' rather than 'Inmate Nelson,' she said.

After he was declared dead and curtains were again drawn across the windows, Battista was allowed to say a prayer over, touch and anoint Nelson's body, she said.

Nelson's attorneys, Dale Baich and Jen Moreno, said in a statement Friday that they had come to know him as someone other than a killer, that they 'saw his humanity, his compassion, and his sense of humor.'

'The execution of Keith Nelson did not make the world a safer place,' they said.

A flurry of filings by Nelson's legal team over several weeks zeroed in on pentobarbital, which depresses the central nervous system and, in high doses, eventually stops the heart.

In one filing in early August, Nelson's attorneys cited an unofficial autopsy on one inmate executed last month, William Purkey, saying it indicated evidence of pulmonary edema in which the lungs fill with fluid and causes a painful sensation akin to drowning.

The federal government has defended the use of pentobarbital, disputing that Purkey's autopsy proved he suffered. They have also cited Supreme Court ruling precedent that an execution method isn't necessarily cruel and unusual just because it causes some pain.

William Barr, Donald TrumpNelson became the 5th person executed by lethal injection this summer at the Terre Haute penitentiary.

With the execution Wednesday of Lezmond Mitchell — the only Native American on federal death row — the federal government under President Donald Trump registered more executions in 2020 than it had in the previous 56 years combined.

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The executions of Nelson and Mitchell were carried out the same week as the Republican National Convention, where many Trump supporters sought to portray him as a law-and-order candidate.

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Nelson was convicted in the October 1999 kidnapping and murder of a 10-year-old girl who was rollerblading in front of her home in Kansas City, Kansas.

In 2001, Nelson plead guilty in a Missouri federal court on a charge of kidnapping. He admitted to taking the girl to a forest behind a Missouri church where he raped and strangled her. He was sentenced to death in March 2002.

Opponents of capital punishment argue the Trump administration is rapidly executing federal death row inmates after the long hiatus in order to bolster President Trump’s re-election effort.

Keith Dwayne Nelson"It's clear that this rapid-fire execution schedule is all about Donald Trump setting up a debate point for when he is on the stage with Biden,” said Abraham Bonowitz, director of Death Penalty Action. “He is now the most-executing president since the 1950's. If nothing blocks the 2 executions set next month, he'll match Truman's 7. If he gets 2 more, he'll exceed Eisenhower's 8. Roosevelt had 17. I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to exceed that, because for Trump, it is always about being the most, the biggest, and the best. He really cares not a lick about the victims families or the government employees who are all forced to endure increased exposure during the pandemic, just for the sake of the presidents' re-election campaign."

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On Wednesday, 38-year-old Lezmond Mitchell became the 4th person executed in 2020. Mitchell, the only Native American on Death Row, was pronounced dead at 6:29 p.m.

In July, inmates Dustin Honken, Wesley Purkey and Daniel Lewis Lee were the first 3 federal inmates to be executed in 17 years. All were convicted of killing children.

The Department of Justice scheduled other 2 executions for September.

William Emmett LeCroy is to be executed Sept. 22, and Christopher Andre Vialva is to be executed Sept. 24.

LeCroy was convicted in the rape and murder of a 30-year-old nurse in 2001.

Vialva was convicted in the homicide of youth ministers Todd and Stacie Bagley in 1999. 

Nelson becomes the 5th condemned federal inmate to be put to death in this country since federal executions were resumed in 2001.  He also becomes the 12th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA, and the 1,524th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

Source: The Associated Press, Staff; Tribune-Star; Rick Halperin, August 28-29, 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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