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Showing posts from June, 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

Opinion: Mr. President, keep your promise on the death penalty

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President Biden’s Justice Department recently filed a brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who, along with his older brother, bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013. Many would argue this case is the exact reason we need the death penalty: to punish the worst of the worst crimes. While the acts committed by Tsarnaev were indeed horrific, we embrace the thinking espoused by then-candidate Joe Biden, who pledged to eliminate the death penalty — a process plagued by racial disparities and wrongful convictions of the innocent. As prosecution leaders, we believe our criminal legal system is fully capable of punishing tragic crimes harshly and protecting our communities without resorting to this broken part of our criminal justice system. Indeed, capital punishment says more about us as a nation that it does about those we punish. This week marks the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to reinstitute the death penalty after stopping

USA | Drug Manufacturer Says Nevada ‘Surreptitiously’ Obtained Drug for Execution in Violation of State and Federal Law

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For the 2nd time in 2 years, the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC) and the state of Nevada are facing legal action from a pharmaceutical manufacturer after obtaining drugs for an execution in violation of the drug manufacturer’s policies. Hikma Phamaceuticals, a maker of the anesthetic ketamine, sent a cease-and-desist letter to Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford on June 24, 2021, threatening to sue the state for illegally obtaining ketamine for the execution of Zane Floyd, unless it returns the drugs. Floyd is currently scheduled for execution during the week of July 26. “Hikma has taken proactive action to prevent the sale and distribution of its products to NDOC, and NDOC’s misuse of its products in the State of Nevada’s lethal injection protocol,” Hikma’s lawyer, Josh Reid, wrote in the letter. “Nonetheless, it appears that NDOC has ignored Hikma’s repeated demands and, in knowing violation of Hikma’s legal rights, express communications with NDOC and express policies and con

Indonesia | More Indonesians Oppose Death Penalty: Research

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Jakarta. While the majority of the Indonesian people are in favor of death penalty, their support for it declines as they learn more about the scope of judicial killing or are shown with specific circumstances such as unfair trials, according to a public opinion research by Oxford University whose results were released on Wednesday. There are currently more than 350 death row inmates in Indonesia, with convicted drug traffickers accounting for around 60 %. The research highlighted that the public lacked knowledge about the death penalty; only 2 percent considered themselves “very well informed”, and only 4 percent stated that they were “very concerned” about the issue. It found that of 1,515 respondents, 69 % initially favored retention of the death penalty -- although only 35 % felt ‘strongly’ in favor of retention. However, “when presented with realistic scenarios on the application of the death penalty, there was a dramatic decline in the public’s support for its retention,” accordi

Texas to Execute John Hummel, Former Marine with Service-Related Trauma Whose Trial Lawyer Now Works for Prosecutor Who is Trying to Execute Him

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Texas intends to execute John Hummel on June 30, 2021, an honorably discharged former Marine with service-related trauma whose trial lawyer now works for the prosecutor who is trying to execute him. Hummel came within two days of execution in March 2020, when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued a stay because of health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hummel’s current lawyer, Michael Mowla, has indicated that no appeals will be filed to try to halt the execution. Hummel would become only the second person put to death by any state in 2021 — both in Texas. Plans for his execution have sparked controversy because of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s failure to allow media witnesses at the May 19 execution of Quintin Jones and the department’s lack of transparency in addressing that failure. Hummel is a former Marine who experienced trauma as a result of his service. At the sentencing phase of his trial, a psychologist testified that Hummel likely had several p

Iran says executing child offenders not a rights violation

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Iran's use of the death penalty for crimes committed as minors does not mean it violates human rights, a senior Iranian official has insisted to AFP in response to UN criticism. The Islamic republic executes convicts for crimes they committed while under-age "3 to 4 times" a year, argued Majid Tafreshi of the state-run High Council for Human Rights. Such uses of capital punishment are "not a symbol of violations of human rights," he said in an interview with AFP, charging that criticism of the practice was "not fair". "When we are talking about under-18s, we are not talking about 6 or 5 years old. We are talking about mainly our 17 years old big boys (where) the court recognised their maturity." The United Nations and human rights groups frequently criticise Iran for executing child offenders, which violates the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that Tehran has ratified. UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet last week pointed to Iran's

India | Death penalty of killer of 4 commuted to life imprisonment

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Dhamodaran slit the throats of his victims one after the other before trying to commit suicide. The Madras High Court on Monday commuted to life imprisonment, the death sentence awarded to M Dhamodaran, who, when he was 37, murdered his mother, wife and 2 minor children in 2017 over debts.  The incident happened near Pammal. The Bench was passing orders on a revision petition from the prosecution seeking to confirm the death sentence and another from the accused, Dhamodharan alias Prakash, challenging the punishment. Dhamodaran slit the throats of his victims one after the other before trying to commit suicide.  It is alleged that Dhamodaran had borrowed several lakhs of rupees from his brother-in-law while running a textile unit.  Unable to repay the amount, he murdered his family before consuming poison, said State public prosecutor Hasan Mohamed Jinnah. “If he is permitted to live, the thoughts of his fiendish act of liquidating his mother, wife, and 2 minor children will haunt him

Japan's top court upholds death penalty for 'black widow' serial killer

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Japan's top court upholds death penalty for 'black widow' serial killer The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence given to a 74-year-old woman dubbed the “black widow” for murdering her husband and two common-law partners with poison in western Japan between 2012 and 2013 to inherit money and escape debt. The top court rejected an appeal by Chisako Kakehi in line with prosecutors’ demands, clearing the way for her death sentence to be finalized soon. RELATED |  Japan: 'Black Widow' sentenced to death for several murders Kakehi’s lawyers had earlier this month demanded another psychiatric evaluation for her, claiming her dementia has gotten progressively worse and she does not understand that she has been taking part in a criminal trial. According to lower court rulings, Kakehi murdered her 75-year-old husband, Isao Kakehi, and common-law partners Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, as well as trying to kill her acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, b

Singapore | Teenage girl's death in Clementi flat: Brother, 2 others face death penalty after charges amended to murder

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Court documents showed that the alleged attack happened around 11pm on May 4, 2021 at Block 602 Clementi West Street 1. 2 men and a woman previously accused of grievously hurting a 19-year-old girl who died last month are now accused of murder. Huang Bocan, a 29-year-old Singaporean, was on Tuesday (June 29) charged with common intention of committing murder by causing bodily injury to his younger sister Huang Baoying, based on charge sheets. Chee Mei Wan, a 41-year-old female Singapore permanent resident, and Lim Peng Tiong, a 62-year-old Singaporean man, face the same charge. The new charges fall under Section 302 of the Penal Code. If convicted, they face the death penalty or life in jail with caning. Court documents did not state how Chee and Lim were related to Huang Baoying. The trio were earlier charged with forming a common intention to voluntarily cause grievous hurt to the teenager with a wooden pole. Huang Bocan was first charged over his sister’s death on May 6, a day after

Sri Lanka | Authorities to take strict decisions on prisoners joining strikes

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Authorities to take strict decisions on prisoners joining strikes The Department of Prisons has decided not to consider any prisoner who joins strikes standing on the roofs of prisons and causing damage to property, for any pardon granted by the government. Prison media spokesman Chandana Ekanayake stated that no prisoner who threatens the security of prisons will be given the opportunity to be granted a pardon or relax the sentence. RELATED |  Death row inmates in Sri Lanka protest ex-lawmaker's pardon Inmates at Welikada and Mahara prisons are on a hunger strike demanding that the death penalty be commuted to life imprisonment. The Department of Prisons said about 25 inmates are currently on the roof of the Welikada Prison. RELATED |  Sri Lanka | Authorities send list of 260 death row inmates to president for commuting their sentences Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to pardon former Member of Parliament Duminda Silva, who was sentenced to death in 2016 for the

Iran | Juvenile Offender Ali Arjangi Escapes Gallows

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Iran Human Rights (IHR); June 30 2021: Death row juvenile offender Ali Arjangi has escaped the death penalty after paying diya (blood money) to the victim’s family today.  Charitable institutions and individuals helped raise the set diya amount. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, juvenile offender Ali Arjangi who was due to be executed in July, has managed to pay the diya amount set by the victim’s family today. Ali Arjangi who was sentenced to death for a murder he is accused of committing at 17, had been given until May 21 to come up with the diya amount set by the victim’s family.  The deadline was extended to the end of July after his family failed to raise the set amount. He was hospitalised after attempting to commit suicide on June 12, but was transferred to solitary confinement just two days later. In January, Ali had told IHR that he was unable to afford the diya as his mother who is a single mother and disabled, had sold their worldly possessions and only