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Showing posts from January, 2021

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USA | Biden needs to act on growing anti-death penalty sentiments

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The flattening of public discourse — political, social, moral and ethical — into a simplistic left-right binary is a disturbing trend that too few of us push back against. People are encouraged to live in their echo chambers through news outlets tailored to confirm their worldviews and social media feeds custom-designed to reinforce their biases. This polarized discourse has created a false narrative around the death penalty that relies on simplistic and overgeneralized notions of our country’s partisan divide. It is a narrative that, while easy to communicate, ignores the diversity of voices expressing serious concerns about how the death penalty operates in America. For instance, the authors of this op-ed belie that simplicity. One of us is a former Democratic U.S. senator from Wisconsin, a state that has not had the death penalty since 1853, and who has worked tirelessly throughout his public life to end the death penalty. The other is the former Republican-appointed United States a

UN condemns Iran execution spree, worried about minorities

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The United Nations human rights office on Friday condemned an alleged spree of 28 executions in Iran, including several prisoners from minority groups, and called on Tehran to halt the hanging of an ethnic Baluchi man. Iran has often faced criticism from world bodies and Western human rights group for its rights record and high number of executions - the world's highest after China, according to Amnesty International.  Tehran has dismissed the criticism as baseless and due to a lack of understanding of its Islamic laws. "#Iran: We strongly condemn the series of executions – at least 28 – since mid-December, including of people from minority groups," the UN human rights office said on Twitter. "We urge the authorities to halt the imminent execution of Javid Dehghan, to review his and other death penalty cases in line with human rights law," it added. There was no immediate official Iranian reaction to the UN statement. Source:  Reuters, Staff, January 31, 2021

Iran | Baluch Political Prisoner Executed in Zahedan

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); January 30, 2021: Javid Dehghan-Khold, a Baluch prisoner sentenced to death on political and security charges, has been executed in Zahedan Central Prison. Iran Human Rights condemns Javid Dehghan-Khold’s execution in the strongest terms and calls upon the international community and Iranian civil society for a strong response to the continuing wave of Baluch executions. The execution was carried out despite calls by the UN Human Rights Office and rights groups. IHR Director, Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam said: “Javid Dehghan-Khold was sentenced to death by the Revolutionary Court without due process and based on confessions extracted under severe torture. His execution is a crime and Iran’s authorities including Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei and Head of the Judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi must be held accountable.” According to Iran Human Rights, 31 year-old Javid Dehghan-Khold’s death sentence was carried out in the early hour of this morning, Saturday, January 30, at Zahe

China executes Lai Xiaomin, former head of state-owned asset management company

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BEIJING -- The former head of a Chinese state-owned asset management company was executed Friday on charges of taking bribes in an unusually severe penalty for a recent corruption case. Lai Xiaomin of China Huarong Asset Management Co., was among thousands of officials snared in a long-running anti-graft campaign led by President Xi Jinping. Others including China's former insurance regulator have been sentenced to prison. RELATED |  Ex-chairman of China’s Huarong Asset Management sentenced to death Lai, 58, was put to death by a court in Tianjin, east of Beijing, the government announced. The Second Intermediate People's Court of Tianjin ruled in January that death was justified because Lai took "especially enormous" bribes to make investments, offer construction contracts, help with promotions and provide other favours. Lai asked for or collected 1.8 billion yuan ($260 million) over a decade, the court said. It said one bribe exceeded 600 million yuan ($93 million)

Iran | Prisoner Executed in Ahvaz While on Hunger Strike

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); January 28, 2021: Prisoner Ali Motayyeri, who according to Iranian media, was sentenced to death on charges of “premeditated murder with a religious motive,” has been executed in Sheiban Prison, Ahvaz. According to state-run Tasnim news agency, a prisoner named Ali Motayyeri was executed at Sheiban Prison this morning. He had been sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) and efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) for murder. In a statement on Ali Motayyeri’s execution, the Judiciary of Khuzestan Province wrote: “In a terrorist attack on 7 May 2018, Ali Motayyeri, a terrorist member of ISIS, attacked the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) base in Sheiban, Khuzestan province and as a result, martyred two active IRGC members on the base named Bashir Hamidi and Hassan Karoun-Bahmanshir.” Around nine months after his arrest, Branch One of the Ahvaz Criminal Court sentenced Ali to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for the murder of the IRGC members, Bashir Hamidi and Ha

Indonesia | 2 Gay Men Caned 77 Times For Having Sex In Aceh Province

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The men, aged 27 and 29, were whipped by five enforcers wearing hoods as onlookers filmed on their phones Two men have been caned in Indonesia's Aceh region after neighbours reported them for having gay sex. The punishment took place today [Thursday 28 January 2021] in Tamansari city park in the city of Banda Aceh with dozens of people watching and filming on their mobile devices (see video below). Homosexuality is illegal in the semi-autonomous province under Shariah law, and caning of up to 100 lashes has been used as punishment since 2015. The men, aged 27 and 29, were whipped by five enforcers wearing robes and hoods, reports ABC News.  According to the outlet, Heru Triwijanarko, Aceh's acting Sharia police chief said the men were arrested in November after neighbours became suspicious and broke into their room while they were having sex. "Islamic sharia enforcement is final" Speaking to AFP, Triwijanarko said: "Islamic Sharia enforcement is final, no matter

Pakistan court frees Islamist convicted of beheading U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl

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KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered the release of an Islamist convicted of beheading U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl, a decision that has left his family in "complete shock", lawyers said. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was the main suspect in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl, was acquitted by a panel of three judges. "By a majority of two to one, they have acquitted all the accused persons and ordered their release," a provincial advocate general, Salman Talibuddin, told Reuters. Pearl, 38, was investigating Islamist militants in Karachi after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States when he was kidnapped. His case grabbed headlines globally after a video of his beheading emerged weeks after he was abducted. Sheikh and his co-accused are to be released immediately if they aren't required in any other case, the head of the court panel, Justice Mushir Alam, said in a short court or

California | Death Row Inmate Louis Peoples Dies at San Quentin

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A 58-year-old man on death row at San Quentin State Prison for killing four people in the Stockton area in 1997 died Sunday after being found unresponsive in his cell, state correctional officials announced Wednesday. Louis Peoples was pronounced dead at about 4:15 a.m. Sunday.  The Marin County coroner's office will determine his cause of death, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Peoples, a former tow truck driver, killed his victims with a gun stolen from the van of an off-duty Alameda County sheriff's deputy who was watching his son play baseball at a park in Stockton. The victims, killed in three separate shootings in the Stockton area in October and November 1997, were James Loper, a driver at the tow truck company that suspended Peoples from working there, liquor store employee Stephen Chacko, and grocery store workers Besun Yu and Jun Gao. Pretrial publicity about the case prompted its move from San Joaquin County to Alameda County,

Zambia leader removes 246 inmates from death row

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LUSAKA, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- Zambian President Edgar Lungu has removed 246 inmates who were on death row and commuted their sentences to life sentences, a government official said on Wednesday. Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo said among the inmates includes 225 males and 21 females. He announced the commuting of the sentences during an event held at Mukobeko Maximum Prison in central Zambia's Kabwe town which was streamed live on Facebook. He said this brings the clemency of death to life sentences to over 500 after 332 inmates had their sentences commuted in 2015. He said the commutation of sentences of inmates will help to decongest the section of condemned inmates at the prison which was meant for 50 people but now has over 400 inmates. The move, he said, was also meant to protect inmates from contracting COVID-19. Despite the death penalty being on the country's statutes, Zambia has not carried any execution since 1997.  Source: Xinhua, Staff, January 27, 2021

Australia won’t extradite Singapore-born murder suspect if death penalty awaits him

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Tham Kwok Wah, 77 is a suspect in the murder of a man believed to have been thrown from a hotel balcony in Singapore in 1984 Singapore—A man born in Singapore wanted in relation to a murder case nearly four decades ago is in jail in Australia, but the country’s Attorney-General’s Department has said he cannot be extradited if he faces the death penalty. Seventy-seven-year-old Tham Kwok Wah is a suspect in the murder of a man believed to have been thrown from a hotel balcony in Singapore way back in 1984. At present, Tham is in jail in Australia due to filing A$104,000 in bogus pension benefits. Under that country’s law, he cannot be extradited if possible capital punishment awaits him. The straitstimes.com quotes the Australian Attorney-General’s Department as saying “extradition is not allowed where the offence is subject to the death penalty, unless an undertaking is provided that the death penalty will not be imposed or, if imposed, not carried out”. Tham, who has lived in Australia

Pakistan | Man awarded death penalty for raping daughter’s friend

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A district and sessions court on Wednesday sentenced a man to death after finding him guilty of raping a friend of his daughter at his house three years ago. According to the prosecution, the victim was 12 years old then and had gone to her friend’s house for studying. Pronouncing the verdict, the West additional district and sessions judge, Gada Hussain, observed that the crime committed by the convict, Wali, was despicable and it caused terror and insecurity in society. Besides the capital punishment, the judge also ordered him to pay a compensation of Rs500,000 to the victim or else undergo additional imprisonment. The father of the victim, who was the complainant in the case, was present in the courtroom when the verdict was announced. Expressing his satisfaction over the conviction, he said his daughter was still going through trauma and got frightened even when he went near her. The incident had occurred within the jurisdiction of the Manghopir police station in 2018. Harassment