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Showing posts from February, 2022

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USA | Parkland Case Challenges Us All to Figure Out What a Mass Murderer Deserves

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The ongoing sentencing trial of Nikolas Cruz, the 23-year-old Florida man who in 2018 murdered fourteen students and three staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, will test whether the seven men and five women on the jury hearing his case can hate the sin but muster the courage to spare the life of the sinner. That is exactly what his defense team is asking them to do as they sit in judgment of the person who perpetrated one of this country’s most brutal mass murders. Like many death penalty defense lawyers before them, Cruz’s lawyers, to their credit, have not downplayed the gravity of the horrors their client inflicted in Parkland, Florida. Instead, during the sentencing trial, or what the journalist Dahlia Lithwick once called a “trial of the heart,” they have focused their attention on who Cruz is and the factors that shaped his life. As the Supreme Court said more than fifty years ago, in capital cases those who impose the sentence must consider “

USA | Two Death-Row Prisoners with Innocence Claims Die on Death Row, Two Days Apart.

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Two death-row prisoners who have long asserted their innocence, one in North Carolina and the other in Alabama, have died of cancer on their state’s death rows. Carl Moseley, who was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer in June 2021, died on February 17, 2022, after spending 30 years on death row in North Carolina for the murders of two women last seen at a Forsythe County dance club and bar. He was 56 years old.  Earlier in the day, his lawyer, Christine Mumma of the North Carolina Center on Actual Innocence, the state attorney general’s office, and local prosecutors had filed a consent order for DNA testing in his case.  Mumma said she would press for posthumous testimony to fulfill Moseley’s wish to clear his name. On February 19, 2022, William Kuenzel died on Alabama’s death row after what his legal team described as “a long battle with cancer.” He was 60 years old.  Kuenzel spent 34 years on death row after being sentenced to death in 1988 for the murder of a store clerk in a tri

Maldives | Bangladeshi national sentenced to death by Sharia court for murdering Maldivian businessman

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Criminal Court orders the death sentence on Shah Alom Mia (Salim) over the death of Mahmood Abubakuru, a businessman from Dhangethi of Alif Dhaal atoll on Sunday. This is the first time a death sentence has been issued on a foreign national in Maldives. Salim had previously confessed to the crime of murdering Mahmood over refusing to give money to Salim when he demanded it, and hiding his body in the well of an abandoned house in Dhangethi. He had said he had acted because "the devil had overcome him" and had asked for forgiveness. However Criminal Court had previously decided that the murder had been proven in the eye of the law. The murder that happened in October 13 of 2021 left the whole island community in shock, as Mahmood was well loved by all. Speaking at the hearing held yesterday to sentence Salim, Chief Judge on the case Ahmed Shakeel said since Salim had confessed to the murder of Mahmood, he was found guilty based on the confession as that is considered to be the

Does Oklahoma's lethal injection protocol lead to cruel and unusual punishment? A federal trial seeks to find that out

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Oklahoma's secrecy laws allow the state to obscure where it gets lethal injection drugs. Given the state's track record, the critics say, that shouldn't be the case. Several investigations looked into Oklahoma’s two botched executions in 2014 and 2015, and with their findings, they offered advice on preventing the same problems in the future. Nearly none of the recommendations targeted the state’s secrecy laws, which allow officials to hide where they get the lethal injection drugs. But critics — including global health scholars, death penalty policy experts and defense attorneys — have been raising concerns about those secrecy laws for years. In October, Oklahoma resumed its lethal injection practice, and state law continued to hide how and where officials bought the drugs. The lack of transparency means little accountability when it comes to drug quality and safety. Those critics say this is especially troublesome for a state like ours, which has a decades-long history of

Drug lords’ Singapore links resurface as executions threaten to gain pace at Changi Prison

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International criticism continues over the sentencing of 'small-time' drug mules while the drug kingpins who employ them go unpunished. A well-documented nexus involving some of the biggest drug lords in the region doing business in Singapore has resurfaced on the back of the city-state’s continued defiance of international criticism over a series of scheduled executions of “small-time” mules convicted over the past decade. In 2005, opposition politician Chee Soon Juan accused the Singapore leadership of hypocrisy in defending its death penalty for drug trafficking, citing its huge investments in Myanmar despite multiple indictments of drug lords with links to the military junta there. “This government keeps going on about having to take a tough stance on drugs and what a scourge illicit drugs are in our society. Fine, but go and get it at its source,” Chee, a former political prisoner who had been sued by the late Lee Kuan Yew and his son, the current prime minister Lee Hsien

Russia | Dmitry Medvedev calls on Russia to reintroduce death penalty

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After the Council of Europe on Friday suspended Russia’s rights of representation, the country’s deputy chairman of the Security Council says this is a good opportunity to restore the death penalty for the most severe crimes. Capital punishment has not been allowed in Russia since then-President Boris Yeltsin in 1996 established a moratorium on the law, a ruling later confirmed by the country’s Constitutional Court in 1999. No member country of the Council of Europe can have the death penalty. On February 25, a day after Putin launched war on Ukraine, the Committee of Ministers in the Council of Europe decided to suspend Russia from its rights of representation, both in the Committee and in the Parliamentary Assembly. The decision has immediate effect and is made as a direct result of Russia’s armed attack on Ukraine. However, Russia is still a member of the Council of Europe and party to the relevant conventions, including the European Convention on Human Rights. For the former Prime

Malaysian Death Row Inmate In Singapore Pens A Song To Give Hope To Other Inmates

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His song ‘Di Sebalik Pintu Besi’ is still in need of a sponsor. Malaysian death row inmate Pannir Selvam Pranthaman may have penned his last song from Singapore’s Changi prison. Pannir turned a lyricist behind bars when he was convicted for drug trafficking in May 2017. His 1st song titled ‘Arah Tuju’ was brought to life by Malaysian artist Santesh Kumar and produced by NGO Sebaran Kasih. It was released in April 2021. His 2nd and current song titled ‘Di Sebalik Pintu Besi’ aims to give hope to other death row inmates. The song provides these inmates hope that there was light at the end of the dark, painful and lonely tunnel of solitary confinement. Pannir’s sister Angelia Pranthaman, 27, has not seen him in 2 years due to travel restrictions in the past years. She’s currently handling the song’s release on his behalf and is still looking for sponsors for the production of ‘Di Sebalik Pintu Besi.’ Despite not having sponsors yet, they have set the song to hit Malaysian airwaves at the

Iran | 5 Prisoners Hanged en Masse in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, 8 in the Past Week

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The clerical regime hanged en masse at least 5 of the 12 death row prisoners transferred to solitary confinement in Gohardasht Prison in Karaj on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. At the same time, a 30-year-old Kurdish prisoner named Farshad Farzi, a resident of Malekshahi, Ilam, was hanged in Ilam Central Prison after 8 years in prison.  On February 21, 1 prisoner in Mashhad and another prisoner in Kashan, and on February 16 and 19, 2 prisoners were executed in the central prisons of Isfahan and Zahedan, respectively.  Meanwhile, on Thursday, February 24, Ali Rezaei, 18, sentenced to death, committed suicide in Lakan Prison in Rasht. The continuation of arbitrary executions on the eve of the UN Human Rights Council upcoming session affirms that the clerical regime will not last a day without repression, execution, and torture.  The Iranian Resistance again urges the United Nations and all relevant agencies as well as the European Union and its member states to take urgent action to save th

Death penalty: Franklin-based company terminates contract with Alabama after public outcry

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A Franklin-based company has terminated a controversial contract with the state of Alabama after public outcry. FDR Safety , a safety consulting firm, was tasked with devising safety methods for correctional facility employees involved in administering the death penalty in Alabama detention facilities. The state has proposed a new protocol to execute prisoners on death row via nitrogen hypoxia, a method that would asphyxiate the condemned through a gas chamber or gas mask. The company terminated its contract after community members, including Kevin Riggs, the pastor at Franklin Community Church, protested at the company's headquarters on Feb. 14. Riggs and 17 other church and community leaders presented FDR Safety CEO Fred Rine a letter urging him to terminate the contract "for the sake of humanity." "You may think this contract is just business, but we ask you to consider what you stand for and want your legacy to be," the letter read. "If FDR Safety conti

Pakistan | Zahir Jaffer given death sentence for raping and killing diplomat's daughter

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An American national born to one of the richest families in Pakistan has been awarded a death sentence on Thursday, February 24, after he tortured and murdered a diplomat's daughter at his home in Islamabad on July 20, 2021.  Zahir Jaffer reportedly carried out the crime against Noor Muqaddam after she rejected his marriage proposal.  The 30-year-old felon has also been given 25 years of jail time for kidnapping and rape. As per a Daily Mail report, security cameras installed at Jaffer’s home have shown the 27-year-old’s attempts to escape her kidnapper. But she was blocked by Zahir's two staff members – Mohammad Iftikhar and Mohammad Jan – who have also been punished.  Both the men have been given ten years behind bars. However, the killer’s parents – Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee – were not sentenced as they were not convicted of trying to cover up their son’s deeds. The camera footage showed one of the men dragging Noor by her arm through a door before taking her back into

Federal judge to hear arguments Monday on constitutional challenge to Oklahoma death penalty

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Nearly eight years after a group of Oklahoma death row inmates challenged the state’s execution protocols, a federal judge on Monday will begin hearing arguments over their constitutionality. On trial are the state’s long-beleaguered execution protocols, and in particular, one of the key drugs that the state relies on to put inmates to death — midazolam. In all, 28 death row inmates and their attorneys are attempting to prove that the execution protocol and the use of midazolam — the first drug administered as part of Oklahoma’s three-drug lethal injection cocktail — create a risk of serious pain and suffering and that there are alternatives that could curtail those risks. The inmates argue the state’s protocols violate their Eighth Amendment guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment. Relying on the testimony of several doctors, the inmates’ attorneys plan to argue that firing squads, an alternative lethal injection protocol using a barbiturate plus opioid, or a pr