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Showing posts from December, 2021

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Clinton Young Free Pending Retrial After 20 Years on Texas Death Row

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Former Texas death-row prisoner Clinton Young has been released from custody nearly twenty years after being sentenced to death for a double murder he has consistently said he did not commit. Young walked out of the Midland County Detention Center January 21, 2022, after the foundation posted bond to secure his freedom while prosecutors from neighboring Dawson County decide whether to retry Young on the charges.  The foundation crowdfunded contributions to cover 15% of the $150,000 cash bail to gain Young’s release. RELATED |  Texas | Former death row inmate Clinton Young released on bond The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) granted Young a new trial in September 2021 following revelations that his prosecutor from the Midland County District Attorney’s office had also secretly served as a paid clerk to county judges who presided over Young’s trial and post-conviction appeals. In a video posted on the foundation’s Facebook page, Young removed his left sneaker and sock and stepped

Iran’s Dismal Human Rights In 2021 – OpEd

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Human rights and human dignity are God-given non-negotiable rights for all human beings. In fact, human rights, in its many forms and shapes are the metrics that a country’s judicial system and its other branches of government could be gauged and judged. Iran’s report card on human rights has gained another failing mark in 2021.  The Iranian regime’s dire human rights record has only worsened in 2021, with growing numbers of violations, particularly in the months since Ebrahim Raisi, or the “Butcher of Tehran,” was installed as the newest president of the country. Ebrahim Raisi, one of the key violators of human rights in Iran Raisi is known for his role in the massacre of more than 30,000 political prisoners in Iran in the summer of 1988. At the time, Raisi was Tehran’s deputy prosecutor when Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini tasked him with serving on a Death Commission that sent prisoners to the gallows after mock trials that lasted just minutes.  Before becoming president, Raisi wa

China | Chinese couple sentenced to death for killing the man’s 2 young children so they could start a new family

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‘When the kids are gone, I will marry you… Why don’t you kill both since you will be killing anyway?’ A Chinese couple have been sentenced to death for conspiring to kill the man’s 2 children from his previous marriage — just so they could start a new family. The man and woman “violated both the law and moral limits” for the act that caused “a terrible social influence,” a Chinese court said while delivering the conviction on Tuesday. Zhang Bo had began an extra-marital affair with Ye Chengchen from China’s Chongqing municipality and soon after Zhang divorced his then-wife Chen Meilin in February last year, the 2 decided to kill the children. The father threw his 1-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter out of the 14th-floor window of his high-rise building in November last year after calling both of them to his apartment. Local media reported that Ye was also convicted of murder and sentenced to death because she forced Zhang to kill the children, the Chongqing No 5 Intermediate People’

Russia | Chair Of Russian Constitutional Court Discusses Return Of Death Penalty

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Capital punishment has not been applied by Moscow since 1996 The moratorium on capital punishment imposed in Russia in 1997 after the country joined the Council of Europe could be lifted in the future, the chairman of the country’s Constitutional Court said on Tuesday. In a book published on the website of the court, Valery Zorkin suggested that the country return to the doctrine of national identity and that constitutional control means Moscow should make its own laws, rather than take influence from other countries in Europe.  In Zorkin’s view, the introduction of a moratorium on capital punishment was a concession to values which are not inherent in Russia. “The fact that the Constitutional Court has made a decision making it impossible to use the death penalty in Russia at this historical stage of its development does not rule out the possibility of a return to this form of punishment in the future,” Zorkin said. Russia has an indefinite moratorium on the application of capital pun

Florida | Judge Postpones Penalty Trial for Parkland Shooter Nikolas Cruz

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The trial has been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic and arguments over what evidence and testimony will be permitted. A judge on Wednesday postponed the penalty trial for the Parkland school shooter until February. Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer stated in a court order that both parties requested more time to prepare experts for trial, saying they would not be ready to start on the scheduled date, Jan. 4.  Scherer postponed the trial to Feb. 21. Nikolas Cruz pleaded guilty in October to 17 counts of murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the February 2018 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.  Once jurors are selected, they will decide whether he is sentenced to death or to life without parole. For Cruz to be sentenced to death, the 12-member jury must agree unanimously.  Scherer decided earlier this month to allow the victims’ families to testify, rejecting an attempt by Cruz's attorneys to bar parents and others to speak directly to the jury.  The at

Kazakhstan’s president signs law abolishing death penalty

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Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev today (29 December) signed the Law 'On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the Abolition of the Death Penalty'. Last year, in line with Kazakhstan’s principles and the direction of its political development, the country took the decision to join the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – an international protocol on the abolition of the death penalty.  This was announced in President Tokayev’s statement at the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly in September 2020, during which he emphasized the nation’s commitment to enforcing the fundamental right to life and human dignity.  Kazakhstan’s Parliament ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on December 23 at a plenary session of the Senate. During deliberations on this subject earlier this year at the National Council of Public Tr

Oklahoma case shows cruelty of letting the condemned choose their method of execution

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Oklahoma death row inmate James Coddington would rather die by the firing squad than by lethal injection. Given the dismal record of lethal injection in that state and across the nation, who can blame him? But no one should underestimate the Kafkaesque cruelty and horror of such a choice. The day before Christmas Eve, U.S. District Judge Stephen Friot ordered a temporary halt to Coddington’s execution, otherwise scheduled for March. The judge’s decision also allowed Coddington to join a pending federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol which includes the controversial drug midazolam. Midazolam has been used in many botched lethal injections, most recently Oklahoma’s November execution of John Marion Grant. Witnesses reported that as soon as the flow of midazolam started, Grant’s “entire body convulsed, shaking and jerking.” The Washington Post quoted Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy who observed Grant “convulsing about 2 dozen times.

Nigeria | 4 gang members sentenced to death by hanging for armed robbery

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An Abeokuta High Court on Friday sentenced 4 gang members to death by hanging for armed robbery. Wasiu Akanbi, Olaleye Matthew, Adebayo Adetura, and Michael Adesanya had pleaded not guilty to the 3 counts of conspiracy, armed robbery and unlawful possession of firearms. Delivering judgment, Justice Patricia Oduniyi, held that the evidence tendered by the Prosecution has convinced the court beyond reasonable doubt that the defendants were guilty of the offence. She therefore sentenced them to death by hanging. The Prosecution Counsel, Mr T. O Adeyemi, senior state counsel, told the court that the convicts committed the offence on Dec. 5, 2015 at about 2:30am at the Catholic street Ibafo area of Ogun. He said that the four men, armed with guns and dangerous weapons broke into the houses of Idris Muritala, Adepoju Tomilola, Sunday Olowomakin and kayode Opeyemi and robbed them of their valuables. He said the convicts stole 10 cell phones, 2 laptops and money. Adeyemi, said that the offence

Alabama | Matthew Reeves Given Execution Date of January 27, 2022

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Matthew Reeves is scheduled to be executed on Thursday, January 27, 2022, at the Holeman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. 44-year-old Mathew is convicted of murdering 38-year-old Willie Johnson on November 27, 1996, in Selma, Alabama. Matthew has spent the last 23 years on Alabama’s death row. Matthew did not have a stable childhood. He had little structure in the home and little supervision. Before his arrest, Matthew worked in construction. Matthew Reeves and his younger brother Julius visited Brenda Suttles at her house in Selma on November 27, 1996. Brenda’s 15-year-old cousin, Emanuel was also there. Shortly after noon, all 4 agreed to go out looking for some people to rob. While out, they saw Jason Powell driving his car and convinced Jason to give them a ride to the neighboring town of White Hall. The group planned to rob a drug dealer. Before leaving Selma, Julius retrieved a shotgun and gave it to Matthew. Between Selma and White Hall, Jason’s car broke down. Eventual

Malaysia | Government to decide on abolishing death penalty before end 2022

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The study will also assess if rehabilitation of convicts would be the better option. A special committee in Malaysia looking into the proposal to abolish the death penalty will submit its findings to the country's Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law), Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, according to a press statement on Dec. 29. The statement added that once submitted, Wan Junaidi will then present the committee's findings to Malaysia's Cabinet. The Bill to amend laws on the death penalty, and other relevant laws, is expected to be tabled in Malaysia's parliament by the third quarter of 2022. Death penalty would be abolished for 32 offences in 2018 In 2018, the Malaysian Cabinet decided that the death penalty will be abolished for 32 offences under eight acts of law. Some of the offences include those under the Firearms Act 1960, Kidnapping Act 1961 and Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. Malay Mail reported that in August 2019, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) gov

Iran | Four Executed in Sabzevar, Gohardasht, Ardabil, and Kermanshah

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On Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, December 26, 27, and 28, 2021, the regime executed four prisoners in different parts of the country.  Ahmad Nahtani, Ali Imani Alireza Moradi, 28, and another prisoner were hanged in Sabzevar, Ardabil, Diezelabad (Kermanshah), and Gohardasht prisons, respectively. The number of executions registered between November 22 and December 21, 2021, reached at least 44.  Seven were women, and three were under the age of 18 at the time of their arrest. The Iranian Resistance once again calls on the United Nations, the European Union, and its member states to take effective and practical measures to save the lives of death row prisoners.  Any dealings with Iran’s religious fascism that rules only by executions and torture seriously violates the principles of the United Nations and the European Union and will only embolden this regime to continue and intensify its crimes.  The leaders of this regime have been directly and continuously involved in genocide and crim