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Showing posts from January, 2023

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‘A Short Film About Killing’: The movie that brought an end to the Polish death penalty

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The most intellectually challenging film I have ever seen about capital punishment. Definitely a must-see. DPN review and YouTube trailer available in our 'Films & Documentaries' section — DPN editor As far as European cinema goes, there are few figures quite admired in critical circles as the inimitable Krzysztof Kieślowski. Known for his Dekalog series of 1989, as well as The Double Life of Veronique and the Three Colours trilogy, Kieślowski embodied everything so extraordinary about the power of European cinema and that of his native Poland in turn.

Saudi death penalty use has almost doubled under rule of Mohammed bin Salman: Report

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An average of 129 executions have been carried out annually since 2015. LONDON -- The use of the death penalty under the rule of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father, King Salman, has almost doubled annually since they rose to power, according to a new report seen by ABC News.

Joe Biden Could Be About To Break Key Election Promise

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President Joe Biden campaigned on a pledge to work toward abolishing the death penalty, but advocates say he is far from making good on that promise. While running for president, Biden's campaign website said he would "work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level, and incentivize states to follow the federal government's example." Those convicted of the most egregious crimes "should instead serve life sentences without probation or parole," it added.

India | In 2022, 165 death penalties handed out by trial courts, highest since 2000

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As on December 31, 2022 there were 539 prisoners on the death row, making it the highest-ever number since 2016 when only 400 prisoners were facing the death sentence In 2022, Sessions Courts in India imposed 165 death sentence penalties, which is the highest number in a single year in two decades, according to a report. However, this rise in figure can be attributed to the “extraordinary sentencing of 38 persons to death in Ahmedabad in a single bomb blast case, representing the largest number of persons sentenced to death in a single case since 2016,” the report said.

Niger’s leader announces plans to criminalise homosexuality

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Mohamed Bazoum, the President of Niger, has reportedly announced plans to make homosexuality illegal in the African nation. News website 76 Crimes , which tracks developments in countries where homosexuality in illegal, reported the President recently made the announcement during a radio interview. Currently homosexuality is not illegal in the country, but the nation is preparing to remove the colonial era French laws and bring in an entirely new penal code.

Texas Admits Execution Drug Is Expired, Doesn’t Really Care

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District Judge Catherine Mauzy tried to keep Texas from killing Robert Fratta. At a Jan. 10 hearing on the afternoon of Fratta's scheduled execution, Mauzy agreed with attorney Shawn Nolan that the pentobarbital used by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to execute death row inmates was likely expired, meaning that the state's mere possession of the drug, much less its use, is illegal.  She also ruled that TDCJ hadn't denied Nolan's contention that the drug could cause "torture, ill treatment, or unnecessary pain." The judge issued a temporary injunction forbidding officials from using their expired pentobarbital on any inmate.

Iraq sentences 14 to death over Camp Speicher massacre

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Iraq's judiciary has sentenced 14 people to death over the 2014 Camp Speicher massacre. Baghdad's Central Criminal Court issued the verdict on Thursday under Iraq's antiterrorism law. More than 1,700 unarmed air force recruits, mainly Shiite, were killed in the massacre as ISIS swept across Iraq. The killings were one of the worst attacks by the terrorist group and became a symbol of its brutality. Dozens have already been sentenced to death for taking part in the attack at the former US base, near the city of Tikrit.

Indonesia | Brazilian teenager arrested for bringing 3.6 kg cocaine into Bali

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A Brazilian teenager has been arrested in Bali for attempting to bring 3.6 kg of cocaine into the island. Manuela Vitoria De Araujo Farias, 19, could now face the death penalty. Farias was arrested upon her arrival at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport on Jan. 1 at around 3 a.m.

Iran | Four Men Including Brothers Executed for Drug Charges in Karaj

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 27, 2023: Four men including two brothers sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were executed in Karaj Penitentiary. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, four men were executed in Karaj Penitentiary on January 26.  Their identities have been established as Reza Shokri, Omid Shokri, Majid Shah Mohammadiand Borjali Karami.  They were all sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court. At the time of writing, none of their executions have been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

Iran | 3 Executed in Arak, Man hanged in Khalkhal, Execution in Qazvin

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 26, 2023: Three men sentenced to death for drug-related charges, were executed in Arak Central Prison. According to HRANA news agency, three men were executed in Arak Central Prison on January 24. Two of the men’s identities have been reported as Omid Azani and Behnam (surname unknown) who were sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court. The third man’s identity is unknown.

Texas death row inmates sue over solitary confinement

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HOUSTON — A group of death row inmates filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against the Texas prison system over its policy of mandatory and indefinite solitary confinement for all prisoners who are awaiting execution, saying it causes severe physical and psychological harm. The suit alleges that the policy severely restricts their access to human interaction, medical care and legal representation as they are confined to their 8-by-12-foot (2.4-by-3.7-meter) cells for all but two hours a day. “The conditions on death row in Texas have been characterized as some of the most brutal death row conditions in the country. The plaintiffs in this case are seeking relief from conditions that have been described as torture,” said Pieter Van Tol, one of the attorneys for the inmates.

As Biden sends mixed signals on death penalty, Alfonso Rodriguez's fate unclear

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After a judge tossed the death sentence of Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., his lawyer asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to withdraw authorization for prosecutors to keep seeking the death penalty. FARGO — A lawyer for convicted killer Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., who was sentenced to death in 2007, has voiced optimism that U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland will nix the death penalty option in the case, given that Garland's done so in 21 out of 22 similar requests from defense attorneys.

Trump’s Killing Spree: The Inside Story of His Race to Execute Every Prisoner He Could

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Before 2020, there had been three federal executions in 60 years. Then Trump put 13 people to death in six months IN THE FINAL moments of Brandon Bernard’s life, before he was executed by lethal injection at a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Dec. 10, 2020, President Donald Trump picked up the phone to entertain a final plea for mercy on Bernard’s behalf. The call was not with Bernard’s family or his attorneys. Nor was it with representatives from the Justice Department’s Pardon Attorney office, who had recommended just days earlier that Trump spare Bernard’s life.

Iran | 2 Executions in Salman, 3 in Arak

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 22, 2023: Kamel Doudkanlu and Seyed Farhad Hosseini, sentenced to death for drug-related and murder charges, were executed in Salman Prison, West Azerbaijan province. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, two men were executed in Salman Prison on January 19. Their identities have been established as Kamel Doudkanlu and Seyed Farhad Hosseini.

Iran | Death Sentence Protest Turns Violent Outside Prison As Security Agents Disperse Crowd

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A gathering of the families of drug-related prisoners sentenced to death in Iran has turned violent as law enforcement and security officers tried to break up the demonstration in front of the Ghezel Hesar prison near the capital, Tehran. The U.S.-based activist group HRANA reported that the families, holding placards with the slogan "No To Execution," demanded a reduction in the punishment of those accused of drug crimes and a halt to the carrying out of their death sentences. 

Arizona Takes a Step Toward Abolishing the Death Penalty

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Sometimes progress in the fight to end the death penalty comes in bold gestures: a legislature passes an abolition bill , or a governor orders the dismantling of death row . Other times, even small steps can signal a real change in the situation of capital punishment in this country. On January 20, newly installed Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs took such a step when she issued an executive order directing an independent commissioner to review certain aspects of the death penalty process in her state. She joined the governors of Alabama , Ohio , and Tennessee , each of whom has ordered similar reviews in their states.

Oklahoma AG orders independent counsel to review Glossip death penalty case

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond says an independent counsel will perform a comprehensive review of Richard Glossip’s murder conviction and death sentence. Glossip has been on death-row for 25 years for the murder of Barry Van Treese.

New York City bike path killer convicted, could face the death penalty

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An Islamic extremist who killed eight people with a speeding truck in a 2017 rampage on a popular New York City bike path was convicted Thursday of federal crimes and could face the death penalty. NEW YORK (AP) — An Islamic extremist who killed eight people with a speeding truck in a 2017 rampage on a popular New York City bike path was convicted Thursday of federal crimes and could face the death penalty.

Iran | At the heart of Iran’s crackdown, a small group of judges sentences protesters to hang

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Iran’s government is doubling down on repression to stamp out the months-long uprising bent on its ouster. At the heart of these efforts: a small circle of judges connected to the country’s clerical leaders and security services, meting out long prison terms and death sentences to protest supporters.

South Korea | Life prisoner sentenced to death for beating inmate to death

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An appellate court sentenced a life prisoner to death on Thursday for beating and killing a prison inmate. The Daejeon High Court handed down the death penalty to the 28-year-old charged with strangling and kicking a 42-year-old inmate to death in a cell they shared at a prison in Gongju, 125 kilometers south of Seoul, in December of 2021.

Jury deliberations in NYC bike path killings hit early snag

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NEW YORK (AP) — Deliberations that began Wednesday in the trial of a man charged with killing eight people along a Manhattan bike path quickly hit a snag, as jurors sent the judge a note asking if he would face new criminal charges if they acquit him.

Tennessee says pair gave incorrect execution drug testimony

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Two of the people most responsible for overseeing Tennessee’s lethal injection drugs “incorrectly testified” under oath that they were testing the chemicals for bacterial contamination, the state attorney general’s office conceded in a court filing.

South Carolina | Senators advance bill to resume executions by ‘shielding’ drug suppliers

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Legislation that would enable executions to resume by lethal injection is advancing in the S.C. Senate as lawmakers await a ruling on whether death by firing squad or electrocution is constitutional. The so-called “shield law” sent Jan. 19 to the full Senate Corrections Committee would keep secret how the state prison agency secures the drugs needed to execute death row inmates by injection.

Iran | Executions in Karaj, Salmas

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Sabina Esmailzadeh Executed for Murder in Karaj Sabina Esmailzadeh, a man sentenced to death for drug-related charges, was executed in Karaj Penitentiary. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, a man was executed in Karaj Penitentiary on January 22. His identity has been established as 30-year-old Sabinia Esmailzadeh, an Architecture student from Mahabad.

Iran | 6 Inmates Executed in Karaj and Hamedan

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Monday, January 23, 4 inmates convicted of drug-related crimes were executed in the Central Prison of Karaj. Moreover, last Tuesday, January 19, Hamedan Prison officials executed 2 inmates convicted of drug offences. According to HRANA, the news agency of Human Rights Activists, on January 23, 2023, 4 inmates were executed in the Central Prison of Karaj. 

AP Interview | Pope Francis: Homosexuality not a crime

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBT people into the church. “Being homosexual isn’t a crime,” Francis said during an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press.

India | Man gets death penalty for raping, murdering 7-yr-old girl

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PTI — A court in Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday awarded death sentence to a man for raping and killing his relative, a seven-year-old girl in July 2021.

Activist Kirsten Han on the Fight to Abolish the Death Penalty in Singapore

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“The more I learn about the death penalty… the more I am convinced that it’s a brutal injustice that has no place in any society.” Last year, after a two-year COVID-19 hiatus, Singapore’s authorities quietly restarted the execution of prisoners on death row. The prompted renewed scrutiny of the city-state’s mandatory use of the death penalty, even in relatively minor drug cases, with the United Nations expressing its concern over a pending “surge in execution notices.” The resumption of executions was also stridently opposed by a network of activists inside Singapore, who have been working for years for the abolition of the death penalty.

Florida execution set for man convicted of escaping custody, killing woman in 1990

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TALLAHASSEE — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant Monday for a man who was convicted of fatally stabbing a woman after escaping from custody while serving a life sentence for killing a deputy.

Pakistan further tightens blasphemy laws that already spell death penalty for insulting prophet

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Pakistan has further tightened its strict blasphemy laws by extending the punishment to those who are convicted for insulting religious figures connected to prophet Muhammad. The Pakistan National Assembly unanimously passed the Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill which will not only widen the ambit of the law, but increase punishment and fines for those convicted under it.

Ohio death row inmate resentenced, could get parole

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An Ohio prison inmate who has spent nearly four decades on death row in the murder of a convenience store clerk has been resentenced to a term that could allow his release on parole. TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio prison inmate who has spent nearly four decades on death row in the murder of a convenience store clerk has been resentenced to a term that could allow his release on parole.

USA | Nearly 300 organizations send letter to Biden to end death penalty

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On the 2-year anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration hundreds of organizations representing millions of Americans sent an updated organizational letter to President Biden and the Attorney General, calling on him to follow through on his campaign promises to work to end the federal and military death penalty in the United States.

Gov. Hobbs, Attorney General Mayes pause death penalty in Arizona pending review process

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Gov. Katie Hobbs announced the appointment of a Death Penalty Independent Review Commissioner on Friday, and Attorney General Kris Mayes filed to withdraw a motion for the only pending death warrant, effectively pausing executions in Arizona. In a statement, Hobbs said the commissioner would be tasked with "reviewing and providing transparency into the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation, & Reentry (ADCRR) lethal injection drug and gas chamber chemical procurement process, execution protocols, and staffing considerations including training and experience."

Could This Case Help Upend The Death Penalty In Oklahoma?

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Oklahoma state Rep. Kevin W. McDugle used to be an unequivocal proponent of the death penalty. "Three years ago, I honestly did not think it was even possible to have somebody innocent on death row," McDugle, a Republican, told Law360. Then he looked into the case of Richard Glossip. Glossip is currently scheduled to be executed on Feb. 16, even as attorneys and supporters call attention to a lack of physical evidence tying him to the murder he was convicted of, the constantly shifting testimony of the actual killer, and accusations of prosecutorial misconduct, among other concerns.

Iran | Executions in Ilam, Zahedan, Isfahan, Roudan

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 18, 2023: Ghodrat Zeibrom who was sentenced to qisas(retribution-in-kind) for murder, has been executed in Ilam Central Prison.Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); January 18, 2023: Ghodrat Zeibrom who was sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder, has been executed in Ilam Central Prison.

Texas | Gunman accused in El Paso Walmart shooting to plead guilty

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The man accused of murdering 23 people at an El Paso Walmart in 2019 will plead guilty to federal hate crimes charges, his attorneys said in a court filing on Saturday. The announcement comes four days after the Justice Department announced that it would not seek the death penalty in federal charges against Patrick Crusius. The Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting was the deadliest attack targeting Hispanic people in the nation’s history.

Tennessee fires officials after damning death penalty report

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Tennessee has fired two top officials after a report revealed numerous errors in the state's lethal injection system. The Department of Corrections has fired head lawyer, Debra Inglis, and Inspector General Kelly Young. The independent report found drugs used in Tennessee's lethal injections were not properly tested for contaminants.

Missouri | Christopher Dunn proved his innocence. Missouri law demands he die in prison

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Christopher Dunn has spent more than 30 years in prison for a 1990 murder in St. Louis. The evidence of his guilt was built on the testimony of 2 adolescent boys, ages 12 and 14. Decades later, both witnesses recanted their testimony, setting the stage for a dramatic court hearing that would prove Dunn’s innocence.

Florida | Abogado de Pablo Ibar: “Fueron violados los derechos constitucionales de mi defendido en el último juicio”

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📢 Click here to Google translate this article into your own language La vista de la cuarta apelación, puerta para un nuevo juicio, será telemática y  se celebrara el próximo 28 de febrero Pablo Ibar ya tiene fecha y hora para su vista de apelación. Será el próximo 28 de febrero a las 14.00 horas (hora local de Florida).

Morocco | King Mohammed VI Grants Pardon to 991 Convicts for Independence Manifesto Day

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The pardon saw 687 convicts enjoy reduced sentences. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has granted a royal pardon to 991 convicts on the occasion of the country’s Independence Manifesto Day, the Justice Ministry announced.

Oklahoma AG: Monthly executions weigh too heavily on guards

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A proposal by Oklahoma’s new attorney general to push back scheduled execution dates for death-row inmates may spark new debate over stresses faced by those charged with carrying out lethal injections. Oklahoma’s current schedule of executing a death-row inmate roughly every 30 days is placing too much of a burden on prison staffers, Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond wrote in a motion filed Wednesday with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. The AG proposed a new schedule that would set executions at least 60 days apart. “One aspect that has become clear over time is that the current pace of executions is unsustainable in the long run, as it is unduly burdening the (Department of Corrections) and its personnel,” Drummond wrote. “This is especially true given the extensive and intensive nature of the training DOC personnel undergo to prepare for each execution.” A study published in 2015 by the National Institute of Corrections concluded that executions inflict emotional and

Iran hands death sentence to mentally ill man over alleged Quran burning during protest

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Javad Rouhi, 35, severely tortured in custody and faced unfair trial LONDON: Iran has sentenced a mentally ill man to death on blasphemy charges for allegedly burning a Qur’an during an anti-regime protest, with rights groups warning that the 35-year-old was severely tortured in custody and faced an unfair trial, The Guardian reported on Thursday.

Kenneth Smith Describes Alabama’s Failed Attempt to Execute Him

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Alabama death-row prisoner Kenneth Smith spent four hours on November 17, 2022 strapped to an execution gurney while state prosecutors attempted to lift a stay of execution issued by a federal appeals court and his execution team repeatedly failed in attempts to set the intravenous execution line intended to kill him. He was left strapped to the gurney after prison officials called off the botched execution, unaware that he was not to be put to death that night.

Alabama extends time for executions, ends automatic review

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has changed death penalty procedures to give the prison system more time to carry out executions — a move that comes after a string of troubled lethal injections in the state — and also eliminated an automatic review for trial errors in death penalty cases. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s office called the time window change a “win for justice” and supporters said the appeal change would ease the burden on the court system. But a noted death penalty lawyer said the changes end a crucial avenue of review and increase the likelihood of “more cruelty and potential torture.”

Alabama Supreme Court Eliminates Critical Safeguard Against Wrongful Convictions in Death Penalty Cases

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When appellate lawyers read the transcript of Samuel Ivery’s capital murder trial in Mobile, Alabama, they were stunned to read that the prosecutor, in his closing argument, rebutted evidence that Mr. Ivery, who is Black, suffered from mental illness by telling jurors “this is not another case of niggeritous.” They were even more stunned that Mr. Ivery’s lawyer did not object.

Tennessee Gov. Says No Death Warrants Until Execution Protocol Problems Fixed

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Tennessee will not resume executions until it fixes systematic problems with the administration of its execution protocol, Governor Bill Lee has announced. “It’s a very important issue that has to be done correctly,” Lee told reporters on January 5, 2023. “And we will take the time to fix the protocol and to make certain that we don’t move forward until everything’s in place.”