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Showing posts from March, 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.

US could carry out its 1st military execution in over 60 years

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A former soldier on military death row for the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, could face execution after the nation’s top military court hears the case. Ex-Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, 52, is set for his case to stand before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces on Tuesday for what is largely considered the deadliest mass shooting ever on a United States military installation. On Nov. 5, 2009, Hasan entered a readiness processing center at the Texas post and opened fire, killing 13 — including a pregnant soldier — and wounding 32. Hasan admitted to the shootings at his court-martial in 2013 and was sentenced to death. If Hasan is put to death, it would be the 1st military execution since 1961, when ex-soldier John Bennett was hanged after being convicted for raping and attempting to kill a young girl.

Texas House delays final vote on barring the death penalty for mentally ill defendants

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The chamber has repeatedly passed legislation in recent sessions eliminating the death penalty in cases of severe mental illness, but hardline conservatives are now pushing back. A measure to bar the death penalty for defendants with severe mental illness hit an unexplained snag in the Texas House of Representatives Thursday, one day after the chamber had initially approved the bill. House Bill 727, by state Rep. Toni Rose, D-Dallas, tentatively passed Wednesday on a 84-61 vote. But a final vote scheduled for Thursday was postponed until next week without a given reason. Lawmakers will sometimes postpone votes on their bill if they do not expect it to pass. Rose passed similar measures out of the House in the last two legislative sessions, but is having more difficulty this year as hardline conservatives oppose the measure, arguing it will make it too hard to impose the death penalty, and that defendants could fake mental illness.

South Korean report highlights torture and deaths in North Korean detentions

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North Korea executes people for drugs, sharing South Korean media, and religious activities as it stifles its citizens' human rights and freedom, according to a report by South Korea. Key points: The 450-page report was based on more than 500 North Koreans who fled their homeland. The report states deaths and torture regularly occur in detention. South Korea's Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, based the 450-page report on testimony collected from 2017 to 2022 from more than 500 North Koreans who fled from their homeland. "North Korean citizens' right to life appears to be greatly threatened," the ministry said in the report.

Japan to Hold Retrial for Decades-Old Death Sentence

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Case Highlights Cruelty of ‘Hostage Justice System,’ Capital Punishment This month, public prosecutors in Japan said they would not appeal the Tokyo High Court’s decision to hold a retrial for Iwao Hakamada, an 87-year-old former professional boxer arrested in August 1966 and sentenced to death for the murder of a family of four. This is the 5th time a death penalty case will be retried in Japan. In earlier cases, the defendants were all acquitted. Hakamada’s case is just one of countless examples of Japan’s so-called “hostage justice system,” in which suspects are frequently detained prior to judgement for long and arbitrary periods – sometimes up to several months or years – to obtain their confessions. 

Sen. Rick Scott calls for ‘automatic death penalty’ for school shooters

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Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) called for an “automatic death penalty” for school shooters after a 28-year-old killed three children and three adults at a Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tenn.  “We need to consider an automatic death penalty for school shooters,” Scott posted to Twitter. “Life in prison is not enough for the deranged monsters who go into our schools to kill innocent kids & educators.” “Pray for all facing the unimaginable in Nashville. This is horrible & must stop,” he added. A shooter who police say surveilled The Covenant School and drew maps of the building in advance of the massacre blasted through the school’s locked glass doors on Monday, killing three nine-year-olds and three adults in their 60s. 

Prosecutors seeking death penalty in Memphis shootings

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Prosecutors said Monday that they will pursue the death penalty if a Tennessee man is convicted of first-degree murder in a daylong shooting rampage that paralyzed Memphis and left three people dead and three others wounded. The announcement by Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy came during a press conference in the case of Ezekiel Kelly, who has been charged in a series of shootings in September that led to a citywide shelter-in-place order and a frantic manhunt. Kelly, 20, was charged with murder in the deaths of Dewayne Tunstall, Richard Clark and Allison Parker. He has pleaded not guilty.

Arizona Supreme Court rejects request to postpone expiration of death warrant

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The Arizona Supreme Court has rejected a crime victim's request to postpone the expiration of a death warrant after the court ruled the governor was not compelled to carry out the execution of Aaron Gunches. Gunches was sentenced to death for the 2002 murder of Ted Price, a former longtime boyfriend of Gunches' girlfriend. Gunches kidnapped and shot Price multiple times in a desert area off the Beeline Highway. Gunches asked to be executed, with support from previous Attorney General Mark Brnovich. But after the Supreme Court granted the warrant in March, newly elected Gov. Katie Hobbs said she would not direct the Department of Corrections director to carry out the execution, pending a review of Arizona’s death penalty process.

Malaysia | Abolition of mandatory death penalty an important step, but not the last – Amnesty

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The removal of the mandatory death penalty is an important step, but it should not be the last. Malaysia can and must swiftly work towards ending this cruel, inhumane, and degrading punishment once and for all. Responding to the bills introduced in Parliament to abolish the mandatory death penalty, Amnesty International Malaysia executive director, Katrina Jorene Maliamauv said: We commend the government’s resolve to recommence reforms to abolish the mandatory death penalty and grant discretionary sentencing powers to the judiciary. We welcome that the two new bills go further than ever before and abolish the death penalty for some offences, remove life until natural death as an alternative, and grant the possibility to all those on death row to benefit from the reform.

Texas set to execute Ivan Cantu, 20 years he maintains innocence

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Texas death row inmate Ivan Cantu is scheduled for execution on April 26, 2023. Cantu was convicted in Collin County for killing his cousin James Mosqueda, and his cousin's fiance, Amy Kitchen, in 2000. Cantu has spent over 20 years on death row, and he has not wavered his story and maintains his innocence. Matt Duff, the host and private investigator on the podcast "Cousins by Blood" has spent years diving into the case and has compiled a strong argument that suggests Cantu could have been framed and has spent the past 20 years rotting in a prison cell at the Polunsky Unit in Texas for a crime he did not commit. Duff interviews the star testimony in Cantu's case that sent him to death row. Also, the podcast shares the early jail tapes to hear first-hand conversations with Cantu and his family during his initial arrest.

The dark side of Japan: Forced confessions, the death penalty and plans to indefinitely jail refugees

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The case of a boxer who has won a retrial after 53 years on death row highlights concerns over the country’s human rights record Just 1 day inside prison probably seems a long time for an innocent man. Imagine then what it feels to be on death row for 53 years for a crime you haven’t committed. Iwao Hakamada, a Japanese ex-boxer, might know. Earlier this month the high court in Tokyo ordered a retrial for the 87-year-old, who has languished behind bars for more than 5 decades after a conviction his lawyers say was based on a forced confession and fabricated evidence. The case has again shone a spotlight on a darker side of Japan. Scratch lightly at the veneer of exquisite aesthetics, etiquette, and sleek modernism and you become aware of something more sinister – hinted at by the excessive deference and rigid hierarchies. Nowhere is it more apparent than in the country’s criminal justice system.

India | 28 years after murder, Supreme Court orders release of death row convict after finding he was a child at the time of crime

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28 years after murder, Supreme Court orders release of death row convict after finding he was a child at the time of crime Chaudhary spent 28 years in prison, 25 of those as death row convict for 1994 Rathi family murders in Pune in which two children and a pregnant woman were murdered. The Supreme Court on Monday ordered immediate release of death row convict Narayan Chetanram Chaudhary after finding that he was only 12 years old at the time of commission of the offence. A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose, KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy on Monday ordered his release after concluding that his claim of juvenility was true.

UAE pardons Israeli citizen as 'gesture of goodwill'

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Israeli officials said Sunday the United Arab Emirates has pardoned an Israeli woman after initially sentencing her to death for drug possession, a case that tested the nascent ties between the two countries. Fida Kiwan was arrested in early 2021 with half a kilogram (over 1 pound) of cocaine that she claimed did not belong to her, Israeli media reported. The UAE, which has harsh drug laws, later commuted the death sentence to life in prison. Lior Haiat, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, said Kiwan had returned to Israel overnight Saturday after the pardon.

USA | Biden's Justice Dept. keeps hard line in death row cases

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Rejon Taylor hoped the election of Joe Biden, the first U.S. president to campaign on a pledge to end the death penalty, would mean a more sympathetic look at his claims that racial bias and other trial errors landed him on federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana. But two years on, Justice Department attorneys under Biden are fighting the Black man's efforts to reverse his 2008 death sentence for killing a white restaurateur as hard as they did under Donald Trump, who oversaw 13 executions in his presidency's final months. "Every legal means they have available they're using to fight us," said the 38-year-old's lawyer, Kelley Henry. "It's business as usual." Death penalty opponents expected Biden to act within weeks of taking office to fulfill his 2020 campaign promise to end capital punishment on the federal level and to work at ending it in states that still carry out executions. Instead, Biden has taken no steps toward fulfil

Arizona | Daughter of 2002 murder victim on Hobbs halting executions: It’s ‘traumatizing to my family’

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The daughter of 2002 murder victim Ted Price said Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ decision to halt prisoner execution is traumatizing her family as they expected Price’s killer to be executed next month. “What she’s doing is extremely, emotionally traumatizing to my family,” Brittney Price told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show on Thursday. “We’ve waited this long, we’ve been this patient … we didn’t want to go down without a fight because we shouldn’t have to be fighting for something that he (Aaron Gunches) was sentenced to twice and he wants it. He requested it.” A warrant for the execution of Gunches was issued by the Arizona Supreme Court on March 2, but Hobbs vowed to not carry out the execution pending a review of the death penalty process, which she ordered on Jan. 20 because of the state’s history of executions that were allegedly mishandled.

Why executions by firing squad may be coming back in the US

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The image of gunmen in a row firing in unison at a condemned prisoner may conjure up a bygone, less enlightened era. But the idea of using firing squads is making a comeback. Idaho lawmakers passed a bill this week seeking to add the state to the list of those authorizing firing squads, which currently includes Mississippi, Utah, Oklahoma and South Carolina. Fresh interest comes as states scramble for alternatives to lethal injections after pharmaceutical companies barred the use of their drugs. Some, including a few Supreme Court justices, view firing squads as less cruel than lethal injections, despite the violence involved in riddling bodies with bullets. Others say it’s not so cut-and-dry, or that there are other factors to consider.

Idaho governor signs bill to let state execute inmates by firing squad

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Idaho is now the 5th state to reinstate executions by firing squad when lethal injection is unavailable. Idaho has just become the 5th state to add execution by firing squad as an option for the death penalty. Idaho Governor Brad Little signed HB 186 -- which would authorize an execution by firing squad when lethal injection is unavailable -- into law just before 3 p.m. Friday, according to his website. Idaho now joins Utah, South Carolina, Mississippi and Oklahoma that allow firing squads for death row inmates. Idaho has never executed a death row inmate by firing squad, and the method was later abolished in 2009.

Pakistan | Man gets death sentence for blasphemy in Peshawar

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An anti-terrorism court here on Friday convicted a man on the charges of committing blasphemy and other religion-related offences on social media and sentenced him to death and imprisonment on multiple counts. A total Rs1.2 million fine was also imposed on the convict. The judge declared in the verdict that the prosecution had “fully” proved its case against the accused, a resident of Mardan, and that the evidence available on record connected him with the commission of the offences. As the matter was sensitive, the accused was tried inside the Peshawar Central Prison, where he had been kept since his arrest in the year 2021.

Death row minister sues Oklahoma Corrections agency for $10M

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A death row minister who was inside the execution chamber during Oklahoma’s last lethal injection sued the Department of Corrections for $10 million on Friday, alleging the agency and its spokesman defamed him in a statement to the media. The Rev. Jeff Hood of Arkansas alleges in the federal lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City that the Jan. 9 statement attributed to Department of Corrections spokesman Josh Ward was false and defamatory. “The words that Defendant Ward of the ODOC released worldwide have injured Plaintiff Hood’s reputation and caused obvious emotional distress,” the lawsuit states.

Why Poor People in Texas End Up on Death Row and Face Execution

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An in-depth piece in the Huffington Post examines Harris County’s (Texas) system for providing representation to those facing the death penalty who cannot afford their own attorney. The process is explored through the story of Obel Cruz-Garcia, a prisoner on Texas’ death row. The author described his case: “Like most people who end up on death row, Cruz-Garcia could not afford to hire a lawyer for the resource-intensive process of a capital trial, and Harris County, Texas, doesn’t offer public defenders in death penalty cases. Instead, he was appointed a private defense lawyer named R.P. ‘Skip’ Cornelius, who made a living billing the county to represent more than 100 indigent clients a year. Cornelius was paid a flat fee to represent Cruz-Garcia, regardless of how much time he spent working on the case.”

Taiwan | High court upholds death penalty for Malaysian student's killer

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Kaohsiung, March 23 (CNA) The Taiwan High Court Kaohsiung Branch Court has upheld the death sentence of a man who raped and murdered a Malaysian student of Chang Jung Christian University in Tainan in October 2020. Speaking with reporters after the court issued its ruling Thursday, Chiu Ming-hung (邱明弘), chief judge of the hearing, said that the court had upheld Liang Yu-chih's (梁育誌) sentence due to his lack of remorse or empathy for his 24-year-old victim, surnamed Chung (鍾), as well as his high risk of recidivism. The ruling can be appealed. On Oct. 28, 2020, Liang abducted Chung while she was walking by herself along a railway overpass near her school around 8 p.m., according to prosecutors.

Court: Arizona governor not required to carry out execution

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that state law doesn’t require Gov. Katie Hobbs to carry out the April 6 execution of a prisoner who was convicted of murder. The decision marks a legal victory for the newly elected Democratic governor whose office said the state isn’t currently prepared to carry out the death penalty. The high court had set the April execution date for Aaron Gunches, who fatally shot Ted Price near Mesa, Arizona, in 2002. The order came after Hobbs said executions will not be carried out until Arizonans can be confident that the state isn’t violating constitutional rights when it enforces the death penalty. The governor vowed two weeks ago that she wouldn’t carry out the court’s order while the state reviews death penalty protocols that she ordered because of Arizona’s history of mismanaging executions.

Malaysia plans to end life sentencing and axe mandatory death penalty in slew of prison reforms

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Malaysia plans to do away with life imprisonment and drop capital punishment for six offences, as the new government seeks to reform the Southeast Asian nation’s criminal justice system. The move expands on the country’s earlier plan to end the mandatory death penalty, allowing judges the discretion to mete out alternative punishment. A bill on the proposed changes will be tabled in Parliament on March 27, Law Minister Azalina Othman Said told the Senate in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. Thirty-four offences, including murder, drug trafficking and terrorism, are currently punishable by death in the Southeast Asian nation.  Eleven of them carry a mandatory death sentence. If lawmakers approve the proposed legislation, the death penalty may only be an option in offences related to causing death, harming the royal rulers, and drug trafficking. And with life sentencing off the table, Malaysia is proposing imprisonment of between 30 to 40 years and whipping as an alternative to hanging in those

No regrets, says Singapore rights lawyer M Ravi after 5-year suspension

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M Ravi says he chose to dedicate his legal career to the cause of human rights and access to justice in Singapore. Prominent human rights lawyer M Ravi was today suspended for five years after a court in Singapore said he had made "grave and baseless accusations of improper conduct" against the republic's attorney-general as well as officers from the AG's Chambers and the Singapore Law Society. Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon delivered the decision, the maximum sanction possible for misconduct on the part of lawyers, Channel NewsAsia reported. Ravi, who had made a name for himself representing prisoners on death row, including Malaysian inmates in Singapore, was suspended over remarks he gave in an interview on the case of a drug runner named Gobi Avedian.

Iran | Possible crimes against humanity, absence of accountability - UN Special Rapporteur

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“The most serious human rights violations in the Islamic Republic of Iran over the past four decades” have been committed since the death in police custody of Jina Mahsa Amini on 16 September 2022, Javaid Rehman, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran said on Monday. Presenting his report to the Human Rights Council, Mr. Rehman said that the “scale and gravity” of violations committed by Iranian authorities pointed to “the possible commission of international crimes, notably the crimes against humanity of murder, imprisonment, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and sexual violence, and persecution”. The expert slammed “so-called” investigations of Ms. Amini’s death that were “neither credible nor transparent”, underscoring that the perpetrators were not held accountable.

Death penalty for child rapists bill gets bipartisan support in Florida Legislature

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The legislation would challenge existing U.S. Supreme Court precedent. A bill that would challenge existing Supreme Court precedent by allowing the death penalty for people who sexually batter young children moved through its first committee in the Florida Senate with a unanimous vote Monday. The bill challenges a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Kennedy v. Louisiana , that determined the death penalty could not be applied for the rape of a child, saying it was a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Currently, the application of the death penalty for any case other than murder is unconstitutional. But the Florida bill, SB 1342, says that the 2008 case and a 1981 Florida Supreme Court case were “wrongly decided and an egregious infringement of the states’ power to punish the most heinous of crimes.”

Louisiana spent $7.7 million on death penalty defense. It hasn’t executed anyone in 13 years. Public defenders say money could be better spent on other needs.

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Louisiana spent $7.7 million providing legal defense to people facing the death penalty in 2022, according to the Louisiana Public Defender’s Office, even though the state hasn’t executed anyone in 13 years.  The most recently Louisiana has put someone to death was Gerald Bordelon in January 2010, after he waived his right to legal appeals and fast-tracked his own killing. Prior to his death, Louisiana hadn’t executed anyone since 2002.  State officials told a federal judge last spring they haven’t been able to obtain the drugs needed to carry out a lethal injection in years and stopped scheduling executions as a result. Gov. John Bel Edwards also doesn’t appear to be enthusiastic about capital punishment. He has refused to share his personal views on the death penalty.

Uganda parliament passes bill criminalizing identifying as LGBT, imposes death penalty for some offenses

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Ugandan lawmakers on Tuesday approved some of the world’s harshest anti-gay laws, making some crimes punishable by death and imposing up to 20 years in prison for people identifying as LGBT. The new legislation constitutes a further crackdown on LGBT people in a country where same-sex relations were already illegal – punishable by life imprisonment. It targets an array of activities, and includes a ban on promoting and abetting homosexuality as well as conspiracy to engage in homosexuality, Reuters reported. According to the bill, the death penalty can be invoked for cases involving “aggravated homosexuality” – a broad term used in the legislation to describe sex acts committed without consent or under duress, against children, people with mental or physical disabilities, by a “serial offender,” or involving incest.

India | Supreme Court reopens debate over right to dignified execution

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A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud has reopened a decades-old debate over whether there can be a more humane and dignified way of executing the death penalty. The Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 21) asked the Centre to defend the law that allows hanging by the neck as a mode of execution.  Attorney General for India (AG) A R Venkataramani agreed to seek instructions from the government before the court sets up a committee to examine the issue. A bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud is essentially reopening a decades-old debate over whether there can be a more humane and dignified way of executing the death penalty.

China | Man who killed wife executed in Hangzhou

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Xu Guoli, who killed his wife in 2020, was executed on Tuesday in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, after the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court approved his death sentence, which was handed down in July 2021. The court turned down Xu's appeal.  He had confessed in court that he killed his sleeping wife on July 5, 2020, because of "family conflicts". The death penalty verdict was submitted to the Supreme People's Court for re-examination and approval. The verdict said that Xu was "extremely vicious and ruthless" in the premeditated homicide and had fabricated false information to cover up his crime, which was extremely harmful to society.

German Baptist Church wants death penalty for gay people

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The German Baptist Church in Pforzheim has been the centre of controversy since it was discovered that they believe that gay people deserve the death penalty. Other churches distance themselves from the statements and call for criminal charges. “We believe that homosexuality is a sin and a shame that God punishes with the death penalty”, the website of the Baptists in Pforzheim reads. The believers base this view on several Bible texts, such as Leviticus 20,13, Romans 1,31, 2 Peter 2,6, and Jude 7. In a letter to Pforzheimer Zeitung, pastor Anselm Urban explains that Leviticus clearly says that men who lie together should be put to death. He points out that the illness of AIDS proves that God condemns gay people, as it is “almost exclusively transmitted by sodomites.” 

India | Death sentence to be imposed only if no possibility of reform in convict: Supreme Court

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Meeting the standard of ‘rarest of rare’ for the award of the death penalty requires courts to conclude that the convict is not fit for any kind of reformatory and rehabilitation scheme, and does not have to do only with the grave nature of the offence, held a three-judge bench of the court led by the Chief Justice of India. IN a significant order, the Supreme Court has held that a death sentence cannot be imposed upon a convict merely on account of the grave nature of the crime, but only if there is no possibility of reformation in a criminal.  It said multiple previous judgments by it have highlighted that it is the duty of the court to enquire into mitigating circumstances as well as to foreclose the possibility of reformation and rehabilitation before imposing the death penalty. “Despite this, in the present case, no such enquiry was conducted and the grievous nature of the crime was the only factor that was considered while awarding the death penalty,” the court said.

Missouri | Prosecutor will seek death penalty against accused North Kansas City cop killer

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LIBERTY, Mo. — The Clay County Prosecutor plans to seek the death penalty for the man charged with killing North Kansas City police officer Officer Daniel Vasquez. Joshua T. Rocha is charged in Clay County with first-degree murder and armed criminal action in the death of 32-year-old Officer Daniel Vasquez. Prosecutors said officer Vasquez died in August after Rocha shot him during a traffic stop.  Investigators said Vasquez stopped Rocha’s car because of an expired temporary tag. According to a probable cause statement, video from Vasquez’s dash camera showed Rocha opening the door of his car and immediately shooting at Vasquez.  Rocha then got out of the car and shot Vasquez two more times after the officer fell to the street.

Idaho bill to execute inmates by firing squad clears Legislature, heads to governor

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Idaho is poised to become the fifth U.S. state to approve prisoner executions by firing squad after the proposed law cleared the Legislature on Monday on its way to the governor’s desk.  House Bill 186, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, and Sen. Doug Ricks, R-Rexburg, passed the Senate by a 24-11 vote. The bill would establish a firing squad as the state’s backup method of execution to lethal injection. Backers argued that death sentences are effectively unenforceable in Idaho at the moment because prison officials have been unable to secure the drugs needed to carry out the state’s only current execution method.  A lethal injection execution scheduled for December had to be postponed after the state could not obtain the drugs — with officials again acknowledging earlier this month that they have still to find them.

Why It May Be a Bad Idea for Nebraska Abolitionists to Again Put the Death Penalty on the Ballot

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A coalition of death penalty opponents in Nebraska wants to ask voters in their state to end capital punishment in a 2024 referendum. This is at best a risky strategy. A look at history helps us understand why. But before turning to that history let’s first examine what the Nebraska abolitionists are saying about their plan. On March 16, representatives of Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the ACLU of Nebraska, the Nebraska Catholic Conference, and Amnesty International joined Democratic State Senator Terrell McKinney in calling for a referendum to consider an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting capital punishment.

Japan | Tokyo prosecutors decide not to appeal Iwao Hakamata retrial decision

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A 1966 murder case, over which former pro-boxer Iwao Hakamata was sentenced to death, will be reopened after Tokyo prosecutors on Monday decided against appealing last week’s Tokyo High Court decision to order a retrial. The case will now be sent to the Shizuoka District Court, with a high possibility that Hakamata will be exonerated. The news triggered a wave of joy among his supporters, defense team and, most of all, his elder sister, who has been by Hakamata’s side since he was first arrested soon after the incident. “I’m relieved,” said Hideko Hakamata, 90, in a news conference held by the defense team that she attended online. She said she told Iwao, 87, that he could have peace of mind since there will be a retrial.

International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin over war crimes

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The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin for war crimes because of his alleged involvement in the abduction of children from Ukraine. Putin “is allegedly responsible for the war crime of unlawful deportation of population (children) and that of unlawful transfer of population (children) from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation,” the court said in a statement. It also issued a warrant Friday for the arrest of Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights in the Office of the President of the Russian Federation on similar allegations. Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations that its forces have committed atrocities during its one-year invasion of its neighbour and the Kremlin branded the court decision as "null and void" with respect to Russia. The International Criminal Court in the Hague has just issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. While it is unlikely that Putin will end up in court an

Decency Comes Full Circle: The Constitutional Demand to End Permanent Solitary Confinement on Death Row

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A 2022 article in the Columbia Journal of Law & Social Problems presents both a historical overview of the practice of death-row confinement in the U.S. and the findings of a survey of the conditions on death rows in every jurisdiction with capital punishment in America.  Regarding the use of highly restrictive confinement, the author states that “the system of permanent solitary confinement on death row has neither the weight of history nor the support of the majority in either contemporary practice or social values.”

Nebraska | Death penalty opponents say it’s time for another statewide vote on the issue

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LINCOLN — Opponents of the death penalty argued Thursday that it’s time to give Nebraskans another opportunity to repeal a punishment they called “cruel and inhumane.”  “We say we care about lives and values, but we still support this horrible piece of policy,” said State Sen. Terrell McKinney of Omaha. At a press conference, McKinney was joined by representatives of Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, ACLU of Nebraska, the Nebraska Catholic Conference and Amnesty International in calling for passage of a proposed constitutional amendment to prohibit capital punishment.

California will remake San Quentin prison, emphasizing rehab

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The infamous state prison on San Francisco Bay that has been home to the largest death row population in the United States will be transformed into a lockup where less-dangerous prisoners will receive education, training and rehabilitation under a new plan from California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor will discuss his proposed transformation of San Quentin State Prison during a visit on Friday. The facility will be renamed the San Quentin Rehabilitation Center and the inmates serving prison sentences there will be moved elsewhere in the California penitentiary system. The state has 668 prisoners facing death sentences, almost all of them male, and about 100 have already been moved, state prison officials said.

Iran | Six People Reportedly Executed In Urmia

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Authorities in Iran’s West Azerbaijan province have executed five people who had been sentenced to death on drug-related charges and one political prisoner, human rights groups say, amid a sharp rise in the number of executions in the country. The Islamic Republic uses death penalty widely, including as a tool of repression against dissent and ethnic minorities.  Executions are often carried out after unfair trials. The Harana human rights website says Ashi Abbasnejad, Mohammad Ayoubian, Yasin Rashidi, Jahanbakhsh Radlouyi and a woman identified only as Nasreen were executed in Urmia Central Prison at dawn on March 16. They had been sentenced to capital punishment on drug-related charges.

'Right to an attorney' only goes so far. Our war on crime leaves injustice in its wake.

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Americans' right to legal counsel protects all of us against the government's power to lock us away, confiscate our possessions and deny us the ability to earn a living. Sixty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court's Gideon v. Wainwright decision established one of the most vital components of our justice system by recognizing that people accused of a crime have a Sixth Amendment right to effective legal counsel. That right protects all of us against the government's power to lock us away, confiscate our possessions and deny us the ability to earn a living. But six decades after the Gideon decision was handed down, the promise of that ruling – America's promise – remains unfulfilled.

The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2022

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Harm Reduction International has monitored the use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide since our first ground-breaking publication on this issue in 2007. This report, our twelfth on the subject, continues our work of providing regular updates on legislative, policy and practical developments related to the use of capital punishment for drug offences, a practice which is a clear violation of international standards. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Global Overview 2021 revealed that 2021 had ended as a year of mixed progress. On one side, the number of countries executing people for drug crimes had reached a decade-low, owing mostly to a halt in drug-related executions in Saudi Arabia and, to some extent, the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other side, a significant increase in confirmed executions had been recorded, largely attributable to a surge in Iran.  In the course of 2022, the situation sharply deteriorated.

Iran executes one person every 14 hours: Report

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The number of people executed by the Iranian state in Iran and Rojhilat (East Kurdistan) has increased by 24 percent since the beginning of this winter, as a report stated that the Iranian state carries out a death sentence against one person every 14 hours. In its new report, the Statistical Center of Iran revealed that the number of people executed in Iran and Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan) has increased by 24 percent since the beginning of winter this year, compared to the past fifteen years, according to Roj news agency. According to the report, between 2008 and 2022, a person was executed every 17 hours, but since the beginning of 2023, the statistic has risen to reach one execution every 14 hours.

Tunisia | Court hands death sentence to two over 2020 terror attack

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A court in Tunisia in charge of terrorism cases handed Tuesday death penalty to two people indicted for participation in a terror attack that occurred in 2020 near the US embassy in capital Tunis. On March 6, 2020, two subsides blew themselves up near the US mission in the Tunisian capital.  Authorities believed the attackers targeted a security patrol. Five security forces and one civilian were wounded in the attack.  One security personnel however later died of his injured.  The court charged the defendants with “complicity in murder, injury, damage to public and private property, possession of an explosive device and voluntary membership in a terrorist organization on Tunisian soil,” reports say.