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Showing posts from May, 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.

Alabama inmate set for execution asks to die by nitrogen, calls recent lethal injections ‘botched’

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Lawyers for an inmate who is soon set to die in Alabama are arguing he should be executed by the state’s newly approved, but not yet tested, method instead of lethal injection after one controversial execution and two failed execution attempts on other inmates last year. James Barber, 64, is currently on death row at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore. His execution day is approaching , but hasn’t been formally set to a single date [ The governor’s office set a time frame for the execution of James Barber that will begin at midnight on July 20 and expire at 6 a.m. on July 21 . — DPN, May 31, 2023] : A new Alabama Supreme Court rule allows for an execution warrant to be issued for a “time frame” rather than a single day, allowing the governor to choose the timing of an execution. It’s a shift from how the process formerly worked, when the high court set a 24-hour period for executions. If an execution didn’t happen by midnight on that specified date, the execution had to

Iran | Judiciary Chief Says Executions of Protesters Will Continue

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The head of Iran’s judiciary has said that convicts sentenced to death in connection with anti-government protests will have their sentences implemented “without any delay,” amid international outrage over a rise in the number of executions. In a speech in Tehran on May 30, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei also urged security and intelligence agencies to arrest women who are flouting mandatory hijab rules and to hand them over to the judicial authorities for “severe punishment.” Iranian authorities have cracked down hard on months of nationwide protests sparked by the September death of Mahsa Amini while in police custody. Amini had been arrested in Tehran for allegedly wearing a headscarf improperly.

“Moral injuries”: Solitary confinement intensifies problems for incarcerated people

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A woman with severe mental illness who cycles in and out of Delta County Jail is often placed in solitary confinement by mental health workers after she’s seen eating feces or attacking other people at the facility. But when she’s isolated, her mental health worsens and she usually begins to harm herself, said Joel Watts, a therapist at the jail who sometimes decides if people with mental illness should be placed in isolation, for how long and when they should be released. “We have limited resources. If we don’t put them in isolation, they become a danger to themselves, to others and to staff,” he said. “But it’s a Catch-22. In putting them in isolation, we know they’re going to get worse.” These are difficult decisions, Watts said, because “the way to protect them is the way that harms them the most.”

Alabama sets July execution date as state resumes lethal injections after a series of problems

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday set a July date for the state’s first attempt at a lethal injection following a series of troubled executions. The governor’s office set a time frame for the execution of James Barber that will begin at midnight on July 20 and expire at 6 a.m. on July 21. This (...) window is designed to give the state prison system more time after two most recent executions were called off because of trouble with intravenous lines. It is the first lethal injection scheduled in the state after Ivey paused executions last year to conduct an internal review. The review resulted in a change to do away with a midnight deadline to get the execution underway, giving the state more time to establish an intravenous line and battle last-minute legal appeals by the inmate.

Why did DeSantis terminate Florida killer Duane Owen's execution stay?

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The death row inmate is once again scheduled to die by lethal injection on June 15, making him the fourth person to be executed in Florida this year. WEST PALM BEACH — Duane Owen's, 62, temporary stay of execution has been "dissolved and terminated" by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The death row inmate is once again scheduled to die by lethal injection on June 15, making him the fourth person to be executed by the state. Nearly 40 years ago, Owen killed a 14-year-old Delray babysitter and a Boca Raton mom of two in separate attacks. Last week, DeSantis issued an executive order in response to a request made by Owen's attorneys for a psychological evaluation to determine if Owen's mental state could exempt him from lethal injection. The executive order came only one week after the governor signed off on Owen's execution, and stated that the governor claimed the allegations of Owen's mental health were not sufficient to claim insanity. But DeSantis green-lit th

The Death Penalty and Regret

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For decades, individuals involved in executions—from prison wardens, to guards, to governors—have expressed regret over their participation and described deep sorrow about their role in executing people. In 2018, six former governors—all of whom halted executions in their own states—called on then-California Gov. Jerry Brown to grant clemency to the 740 people incarcerated on California’s death row. “We were compelled to act because we have come to believe the death penalty is an expensive, error-prone and racist system,” they wrote . “[A]nd also because our morality and our sense of decency demanded it.” Don Siegelman and Robert Bentley, who served as Governor of Alabama from 1999 to 2003 and 2011 to 2017, respectively, are the latest public figures to express regret over their roles in capital punishment.

China | Death penalty upheld for man who killed mother

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The death penalty for Wu Xieyu was upheld by the Fujian Province High People's Court on Tuesday. The death penalty for Wu Xieyu, an academically outstanding Peking University student who brutally killed his mother, was upheld by the High People's Court of Fujian Province on Tuesday. Wu, 28, was sentenced to death by the Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court for murder, fraud and buying others' ID cards in August 2021. Wu developed the evil intention of killing his mother out of his misperception. He meticulously planned the murder, committed the murder extremely cruelly, scammed money from relatives and friends and squandered it all during his run, showing no signs of confession or remorse, the high court said.

Iran | Four Executions in Gorgan, Jiroft; Woman Hanged in Mashhad

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 26, 2023: Shaban Yousefi and an unidentified man were executed for murder charges in Gorgan Central Prison. According to HRANA news agency, two men were executed in Gorgan Central Prison on 16 May. Their identities have been reported as Shaban Yousefi and a man only identified as Bezi (surname unknown), who were sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder. An informed source said: “Bezi had committed the murder during a fight over inheritance and sentenced to death.” At the time of writing, their executions have not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

Libyan court sentences 23 suspected Islamic State militants to death

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CAIRO (AP) — A Libyan court Monday sentenced 23 suspected Islamic State group militants to death for launching deadly attacks that killed dozens of people, including Egyptian Coptic Christians. The appeals court in the western city of Misrata also sentenced 14 other militants to life in prison who were convicted on the same charges, which include destruction of police facilities and public property. The court sentenced nine defendants to between three and 12 years in prison. It acquitted five suspects. The court did not elaborate further details. The Islamic State and other extremist groups exploited the chaos that engulfed Libya after the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.  They seized the coastal city of Sirte, Gadhafi's birthplace, and other cities including Derna in eastern Libya.

Families Of Executed Iranian Protesters Say The Government Continues To Pressure Them

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The family of executed protester Majid Kazemi says Iranian authorities have launched a campaign against it, suspending Kazemi's father's retirement benefits and firing his sister from her job just 10 days after his death sentence was carried out. Mohammad Hashemi, Kazemi's cousin, also revealed on Twitter on May 29 that Kazemi's brothers, Mehdi and Hossein, remain in the custody of the Islamic republic's security institutions after speaking out and pleading for a stay of the death penalty prior to his May 19 execution. According to a correspondent for RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, Amir Kazemi, another cousin of Majid, confirmed that the family remains in the dark about the whereabouts and condition of Majid's brothers. Amir Kazemi suggested that the arrest of these family members -- his sister was also detained but later released -- was an attempt to prevent a memorial service for Majid Kazemi.

Iran | Trial begins for Iranian journalist arrested for reporting on Mahsa Amini's death

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Iran on Monday held the first trial session for one of the two detained female journalists who reported on Mahsa Amini's death in custody last year, her lawyer said.  Months of nationwide protests erupted after Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died on September 16 following her arrest for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code for women. The journalists, Niloufar Hamedi, 30, and Elaheh Mohammadi, 36, could face the death penalty after they were detained for covering Amini's death and its aftermath. The pair are being tried separately by the revolutionary courts behind closed doors in Tehran. Mohammadi's trial began on Monday and Hamedi's is scheduled to start the following day, according to judiciary spokesman Massoud Setayeshi.

Ugandan president signs anti-LGBT law with death penalty

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Global outcry over Museveni’s assent to draconian new anti-gay law, condemned as a ‘permission slip for hate and dehumanisation’ Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has signed into law the world’s harshest anti-LGBT bill, which allows the death penalty for homosexual acts. The move immediately drew widespread international outrage as well as condemnation from many Ugandans. Early on Monday, the speaker of the Ugandan parliament, Anita Among, released a statement on social media confirming Museveni had assented to the law first passed by MPs in March. It imposes the death penalty or life imprisonment for certain same-sex acts, up to 20 years in prison for “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex “activities”, and anyone convicted of “attempted aggravated homosexuality” faces a 14-year sentence.

Saudi Arabia executes 2 Bahraini men over militant activities; Amnesty called trial 'grossly unfair'

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia said it executed two Bahraini men on Monday after being convicted of belonging to a militant group wanting to destabilize the two Mideast kingdoms. Amnesty International had criticized their trial as being “grossly unfair.” The Saudi Interior Ministry's announcement, carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, identified the men as Jaafar Sultan and Sadeq Thamer. Last year, Amnesty said the men were detained in May 2015 and held incommunicado for three-and-a-half months. The Saudi statement said that the Specialized Criminal Court convicted the two men of belonging to a militant group — headed by a man wanted by the Bahrani authorities — spreading chaos and smuggling explosives to be used inside Saudi Arabia. The statement did not identify the group or their leader.

Indonesia | Major update for teen facing possible death penalty in Bali

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There has been a major update in the case of a 19-year-old woman facing possible execution by firing squad after she was arrested at Bali Airport. A 19-year-old woman who was arrested for allegedly smuggling drugs into Bali has likely escaped death by firing squad. Brazilian teen Manuela Vitoria de Araujo Farias was charged with international drug trafficking after she was allegedly caught with 3kg of cocaine in her luggage in January. Her case made headlines across the world last month when global press agency Newsflash reported prosecutors had demanded the maximum penalty.

America's lethal injection shame: Inside the black market that's propping up death row

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Labs avoid producing the drugs, leading officials to turn to 'seedy individuals'  In 2018, the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections admitted defeat - he couldn't find any lethal injection drugs.  It had been three years since the last execution in the state, and Joe Allbaugh conceded in a press conference he had been calling 'seedy individuals' from 'all around the world - right down to the backstreets of the Indian subcontinent' - to find the necessary lethal cocktail.  But in detailing his 'mad hunt' to find the drugs, the former FEMA director inadvertently revealed a crisis that had been plaguing America's death row for years.  From basement pharmacies to expired execution drugs and agonizing deaths, an underground system is quietly propping up death rows across the nation. 

Japan’s “Hostage Justice” System

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Denial of Bail, Coerced Confessions, and Lack of Access to Lawyers You are basically held hostage until you give the prosecutors what they want. This is not how a criminal justice system should work in a healthy society. —Nobuo Gohara, former prosecutor, quoted in the Japan Times, January 5, 2019 The Nakamura family has lost faith in the Japanese legal system. Nakamura, a senior tax accountant, had pancreatic cancer when the police arrested him in October 2016 for fraud. His lawyer made multiple requests for bail to obtain adequate medical treatment, submitting medical evidence that the cancer had spread to Nakamura’s lungs, he had low blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and that his brain was not properly functioning.

Victims’ Families Call For Global Action To End Executions In Iran

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Over 80 families of those killed by the Iranian regime called for immediate global action to stop the recent execution spree in Iran. In a statement on Saturday, the petitioning families called the recent wave of executions in Iran a revenge by the Islamic Republic on the people for anti-regime protests. They also called on all activists and organizations defending human rights in the world to do their best to end the death penalty in Iran and save the lives of prisoners at risk. “Suffering from the deep wounds of losing our loved ones, whether on the street or at the gallows, we cry out to stop the executions and killings of people. End all death sentences immediately. Executions for any reason and for any crime must be stopped. We don't let you kill our loved ones anymore,” read the statement.

Iran | Rights Group Demands Strong Response to Public Execution in Maragheh

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 25, 2023: A man sentenced to death for charges of efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) was publicly hanged in Maragheh today.  State media published graphic videos of the public hanging that shows children in the audience. Warning of the resumption of public executions, Iran Human Rights demands a serious response from the international community to stop these state crimes. Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “Today’s public execution and its publication by state media shows the true horrifying face of a government that’s trying to prolong its reign with cruelty, humiliation and intimidation of society.” “The international community cannot tolerate such medieval practices in 2023. Electing the representative of such a government as Chair of the UN Human Rights Council’s Social Forum has severely undermined the Council’s credibility,” he added.

Iran | Four Hanged in Kerman, Man Executed in Urmia

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 26, 2023: Four men have been executed for drug-related charges in Kerman Central Prison. According to Hal Vash, four men were executed in Kerman Central Prison on 25 May. Their identities have been reported as Baluch minorities Ali Shahriari, 40 and Ghaderbakhsh Dehani, 39, and Abdolrasould Jamishidi, 55 and Ali Salari. They were all sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court. Ghaderbakhsh Dehani was on death row for around five years and Abdolrasoul Jamishidi was arrested around three years ago. At the time of writing, their executions have not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

Death penalty, despite high cost and few executions, stays put in Louisiana

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Lawmakers reject bill that would have eliminated capital punishment A legislative effort to eliminate the death penalty as a form of criminal punishment in Louisiana failed Wednesday, despite the state not having executed anyone involuntarily in over 20 years. Advocates for ending capital punishment stressed that 11 death row inmates have been exonerated or had their convictions reversed, compared with 28 executed, since Louisiana reinstated the death penalty in 1976. The probability of an error-prone prosecution provides ample reason to end the death penalty, they argued. Proponents of ending executions also made religious appeals to the conservative-dominated House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice, noting supporting the death penalty doesn’t sync with “pro-life” Christian values.

Jury recommends death penalty for Florida man who killed girl and her babysitter in 1990

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Jurors in southwest Florida have recommended the death penalty for a man convicted of killing an 11-year-old girl and her babysitter more than 30 years ago. The recommendation came following a trial in which Joseph Zieler yelled at the jury and made vulgar gestures while he was on the witness stand. The Lee County jury voted 10-2 in favor of death for Zieler on Wednesday night after about five hours of deliberations, according to court records. The same panel found Zieler, 60, guilty last week of two counts of first-degree murder. A judge will make the final decision in whether Zieler will be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison following a June 26 hearing.  Florida law had previously required a unanimous jury recommendation for a convicted murderer to face the death penalty, but a new law signed last month by Gov. Ron DeSantis requires only an 8-4 vote in favor of execution.

Texas | El Paso District Attorney decides to pursue the death penalty in state’s case against Walmart shooter

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EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) — El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks on Thursday shared details about the timeline to get the El Paso Walmart shooter state trial started after the federal case ends. Hicks explained what needs to happen once Patrick Crusius receives his sentence in federal court. "After that sentencing [in federal court] there is a paperwork process. Once that paperwork process is complete the shooter [Crusius] will come into state custody and we will proceed with our case in state custody,” said Hicks. After Crusius is sentenced, it could take anywhere from two to four weeks for him to transition into state custody, Hicks explained. "The number one priority of my office has been to put the Walmart case back on track and I’m very confident that we have done that, that we are prepared to proceed with prosecution on the case and that once he is back in our custody, looks like it will be sometime late June maybe early August, will be ready to proceed with the pros

Iran | Controversial “Chastity and Hijab" Bill Presented to Parliament

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The Iranian news website Entekhab published the complete text of the "Chastity and Hijab" bill, sparking heated debate among the public about personal liberties, women's rights and the extent of government control. The bill, which was presented to parliament on May 24 by the government of Ebrahim Raisi, outlines severe penalties for women who violate mandatory headscarf rules. Non-compliance with the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code is deemed as "nudity."  Offenders could face fines of up to 8 million tomans ($150), with the fines being doubled if not paid within a month, lose their jobs and be banned from social media activities for up to one year.  And repeat offenders would face imprisonment from six months to three years. The "Chastity and Hijab" bill has gained support from some officials of the Islamic Republic who consider the hijab a "red line."  Detractors argue that the proposed law focuses on punitive measures, restricts person

Iran | Man Executed In Public For Spreading "Corruption and Prostitution”

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An Iranian prosecutor has announced the public execution of a man convicted of spreading "corruption and prostitution,” according to local media. Mahmoud Nemati, the public and revolutionary prosecutor of the north-western city of Maragheh, said on May 25 that the man engaged in "illicit relationships with women and girls, documenting their activities through filmed material," Fars news agency reported. The man, identified as Amir Mahdi, was apprehended in 2016, the prosecutor said, and the Maragheh Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death on charges of "corruption on Earth," a sentence that was later upheld by the Supreme Court. Human rights activists said at least seven people were executed across the country on May 25 on drug and murder-related charges. 

Iran | Executions in Bandarabbas, Kermanshah

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 23, 2023: State media have reported the execution of an unnamed man for efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) charges for drug offences in Bandarabbas Central Prison. According to the Judiciary’s Mizan news agency, a man was executed in Bandarabbas Central Prison on 23 May. The unnamed man was sentenced to death for efsad-fil-arz charges as well as qisas (retribution-in-kind) for the murder of a policeman. The report does not specify which sentence was carried out. Mojtaba Ghahremani, the Hormozgan Prosecutor is quoted as saying: “According to the sentence, the convict was sentenced to death for charges of efsad-fil-arz through armed smuggling of narcotics and sentenced to qisas for the murder of Rahim Ghassemi Shiri…” In the past few days, three other men were executed for efsad-fil-arz charges for drug-related offences. Shahab Mansour Nasab, Samad Geravand and Saeed Geravand were executed in Qezel Hesar Prison on 20 May.

Iran | At Least Seven More Protesters At Grave Risk Of Execution

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At least seven more Iranians have been given the death sentence in connection with nationwide protests, according to rights group Amnesty International, with dozens more at risk. At least 259 Iranians have been executed since January alone, according to the United Nations. Amnesty claims Ebrahim Narouie, Kambiz Kharout, Manouchehr Mehman Navaz, Mansour Dahmardeh, Mohammad Ghobadlou, Mojahed (Abbas) Kourkour and Shoeib Mir Baluchzehi Rigi are at grave risk of imminent execution with four others facing retrials on capital charges. Amnesty said it is aware of at least three others who have undergone trial on charges that carry the death penalty.

Two ex-Alabama governors say they regret missed chance to confront death penalty

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Don Siegelman and Robert Bentley co-write opinion piece calling state’s death penalty laws ‘legally and morally troubling’ Two former Alabama governors from opposite sides of the aisle said they are now troubled by the state’s death penalty system and would commute the sentences of inmates sentenced by judicial override or divided juries. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, and Robert Bentley, a Republican, co-wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post. They said they had come “to see the flaws in our nation’s justice system and to view the state’s death penalty laws in particular as legally and morally troubling. “We missed our chance to confront the death penalty and have lived to regret it, but it is not too late for today’s elected officials to do the morally right thing.”

Saudi Arabia Executes Man Over Weapons Training Abroad

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Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed a man convicted of receiving weapons training in an unidentified "enemy country", state media reported, the latest in a spate of death penalty cases involving terrorism. Since May 2, the Gulf kingdom has executed seven terrorism convicts, all but one in the eastern region where the Shiite minority is concentrated. There have been 36 executions so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on state media reports. In 2022, Saudi Arabia executed 147 people in total -- more than double the 2021 figure of 69, the AFP tally showed. The figure for 2022 included 81 people executed on a single day in March of that year for terrorism-related offences, an event that sparked an international outcry.

Lawmakers try again to bar hypnosis-induced evidence from Texas criminal trials

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Despite its tendency to distort memories, hypnosis has been used on witnesses in numerous investigations, including death penalty cases. Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed a similar bill in 2021. For the second session in a row, the Texas Legislature has passed a bill that would ban hypnosis-induced statements from being introduced as evidence in criminal trials. Lawmakers are hopeful the governor won’t veto it again this year. Despite scientific evidence that hypnosis can distort memories, Texas police and prosecutors have routinely relied on witnesses who identify suspects after being hypnotized by a police officer. The controversial policing practice was used close to 1,800 times in Texas over the course of 40 years, according to a 2020 Dallas Morning News investigation , and played a role in sending numerous people to death row, including a man who was executed last year.

Arizona | "I Watched My Brother’s Lethal Injection"

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No one understands what this is like. This is a part of Disorder in the Court , a weeklong series on the legal press and the most explosive Supreme Court in generations: how we cover it, how we’ve failed, and how we can do better. In these installments, we’re looking specifically at those who have suffered at the hands of SCOTUS decisions, as their stories are too frequently overlooked. When the federal death penalty was formally reinstated in 1988, the country didn’t rush to use it. In 2001 the U.S. executed Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, and followed that up with two more executions later that year and in 2003. The federal government did not execute anyone else until 2020, when, under the Trump administration, 13 prisoners were killed in just six months. This spree would not have been possible without Barr v. Lee, a 2020 Supreme Court ruling that swatted away a lower court’s concerns that lethal injection’s potential for respiratory distress could count as “cruel and unus

New Report Finds More Than 122,000 People In Solitary Confinement In The United States

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Figures Exceed Previous Counts Because They Include All People in Solitary in Prisons and Jails for 22 or More Hours a Day, and Are Based on the Most Reliable Available Sources Washington, DC — The watchdog group Solitary Watch and the advocacy coalition Unlock the Box today released a groundbreaking joint report showing that at least 122,840 people are locked daily in solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and jails for 22 or more hours a day. Calculating Torture ( LINK ) is the first report to combine the use of solitary in local and federal jails in addition to state and federal prisons. It is based on analysis of data recently released by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) as well as by state prison systems that did not report to BJS, and data from a survey of local jails conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice.

Florida | DeSantis delays execution of Palm Beach County killer Duane Owen

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Pending results from a full psychological evaluation, Palm Beach County murdered Duane Owen might avoid his death penalty. The convicted murderer has tried to appeal before, but has not succeeded. WEST PALM BEACH — Duane Owen, 62, fatally stabbed a Delray Beach babysitter and battered a single Boca Raton mom to death nearly 40 years ago. As of yesterday, Owen may no longer face a death sentence, pending psychiatric evaluation. Governor Ron DeSantis signed Owen's death warrant on May 16. He would have been the fourth person to receive the death penalty in Florida this year.

Dissident Ghadyani Says Iran May Be Ripe For Revolution Amid Executions

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Abolfazl Ghadyani, a prominent Islamic revolutionary-turned-dissident, says that Iran may be ripe for a revolution to overthrow the Islamic leadership as anger turns to rage over the execution of protesters, oppressive policies, and poor living standards. The 78-year-old Ghadyani, a senior member of the reformist party the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution of Iran Organization, said in a published statement on May 22 that the most peaceful path for political change in Iran would require Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to "willingly resign, ask for national forgiveness, and make way for a democratic system of governance."

Iran | Man Executed After Interpol Extradition From Malaysia

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 20, 2023: State media have reported the execution of Shahrooz Sokhanvari who authorities claimed was arrested by Interpol in Malaysia and extradited to Iran in 2020. Condemning the executions, Iran Human Rights demands Interpol be held accountable for handing Shahrooz Sokhanvari to Iran authorities. Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “If, as Islamic Republic authorities claim, Interpol was involved in handing over Shahrooz Sokhanvari to Iran, they are complicit in his execution and must be held accountable.” In a statement published in August 2022, Iran Human Rights questioned Interpol about its involvement in Sokhanvari’s extradition to Iran which was never answered.

How Likely Is the Return of the Death Penalty in Israel?

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Early 2023, the newly elected government of Israel announced an ensemble of judicial reforms; including a new bill that would introduce the death penalty for acts of terrorism. As of May 2023, the judicial reforms have been put on hold by the PM Netanyahu. This article takes a historical perspective to recontextualize the issue of the death penalty in Israel, as well as the views of civil society organizations on the subject. In January, the newly elected government of Israel announced an ensemble of judicial reforms which would modify the entire Israeli judiciary system. As part of this reform package is a law trying to instate mandatory death penalty for those deemed “terrorists” by the State. Specifically, the law targets anyone who “intentionally or out of indifference causes the death of an Israeli citizen when the act is carried out from a racist motive or hate to a certain public… and with the purpose of harming the State of Israel and the rebirth of the Jewish people in its hom

Iran | International Community Must Enforce Consequences for Execution of 3 Isfahan Protesters

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Unless the Iranian authorities are met with serious consequences by the international community, hundreds of protester lives will be taken by their killing machine. Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 19, 2023: Protesters Saleh Mirhashemi, Majid Kazemi and Saeed Yaghoubi were executed this morning , according to the Judiciary’s Mizan news agency. Iran Human Rights previously warned of their imminent executions and urged the international community to do all in its power to save them.  Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: “The execution of the three protesters are extrajudicial killings that Iranian authorities, particularly Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, must be held accountable for. Unless the Iranian authorities are met with serious consequences by the international community, hundreds of protester lives will be taken by their killing machine.” “These executions are meant to prolong the Islamic Republic's rule and only a high political cost can stop more protester executions,” he ad

Iran | Two Cousins Executed in Rasht, Four Executed in Kerman, Man Executed in Jiroft

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); May 18, 2023: Cousins Mostafa and Farhad Vafayi who were on death row for the same murder case, have been executed in Rasht Central Prison. According to information obtained by Iran Human Rights, two men were executed in Rasht Central Prison on 18 May. Their identities have been established as 23-year-old Mostafa Vafayi and 54-year-old Farhad Vafayi. They were sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder in the same case. An informed source told Iran Human Rights: “Mostafa and Farhad Vafayi were paternal cousins and had been arrested for a murder committed in a group fight and sentenced to death.” Iran Human Rights previously reported their transfer for execution. At the time of writing, their executions have not been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

The Death Penalty: A Breach of Human Rights and Ethics of Care

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The death penalty is inhumane and violates the fundamental right to life. Physician involvement enables this continuing abuse of human rights and undermines the four pillars of medical ethics—beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice. “The death penalty is, in our common experience, an atavistic relic from the past that should be shed in the 21st century”, said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk in April, 2023, during the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council. The death penalty has existed since the Code of Hammurabi, with its history seeped in politics and discrimination. Physicians have been involved throughout this history. In the eyes of the public, the medicalisation and very involvement of physicians renders execution palatable, eroding any natural sense of abhorrence. Yet capital punishment is ineffective as a deterrent and morally wrong. At its core, execution is a barbaric practice that goes against the ethical foundation of the physician's rol

Texas Prisoner Seeks Supreme Court Review of Conviction Based on Debunked Scientific Evidence

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On May 11, attorneys for Robert Roberson, a death-sentenced prisoner in Texas, filed a petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court asking it to reverse the decision of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA).  Mr. Roberson’s conviction for the murder of his daughter Nikki was based on the so-called “Shaken Baby Syndrome” which has now been debunked by new scientific and medical evidence.  The TCCA disregarded this and other evidence that showed his daughter’s death was attributable to natural and accidental causes.  In the petition, Mr. Robertson asserts that: (1) the State relied on an uncontested SBS causation theory to obtain his conviction; (2) each of the SBS premises considered medical orthodoxy in 2003 have since been undermined by evidence-based science; (3) the jury heard misleading, highly prejudicial testimony from one nurse suggesting that Nikki was sexually abused, when no one else saw any signs of such abuse; and

Iran executes 3 men over violence during last year's anti-government protests

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran on Friday executed three men accused of deadly violence during last year's anti-government protests despite objections from human rights groups. Mizan, the judiciary's website, announced the executions of Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi and Saeed Yaghoubi, without saying how they were carried out. Authorities say they killed a police officer and two members of the paramilitary Basij group in Isfahan in November during nationwide protests. Rights groups say the three were subjected to torture, forced into televised confessions and denied due process. The protests erupted last September after the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country's morality police for allegedly violating its strict Islamic dress code. The demonstrations rapidly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the theocracy that has ruled Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

USA | 'Eliminate solitary confinement in prisons, jails': Opinion

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Prisoners held in solitary confinement are more likely to end up back in prison and die prematurely, and the cost of solitary confinement is three times higher than that of the general prison population, a PBS study found.  In 2020, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer raised concern about the overuse of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, noting that his predecessor, Juan Mendez, had compellingly shown the extent to which such practices amounted to torture. Melzer said that “the severe and often irreparable psychological and physical consequences of solitary confinement and social exclusion are well documented and can range from progressively severe forms of anxiety, stress, and depression to cognitive impairment and suicidal tendencies.” This practice of isolation affects those who are not convicted but held in local jails awaiting trial, including at the Tulsa County jail. The U.S. justice system presumes people to be innocent until proven guilty, so jails shou

Most African countries moving towards abolishing death penalty, except Kenya and Nigeria

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Sub-Saharan African countries have seen a 67% fall in capital punishment, from 33 in 2021 to just 11 last year, and a 20% drop in death penalty sentences, from 373 to 298 over the same period, Amnesty International (AI) said in its latest report. South Sudan executed five people - down from nine in 2021 - and Somalia, which in 2021 carried out 21 executions, only had six last year. Botswana which had executed one person in 2021, didn't conduct any last year. In the whole African continent, recorded death sentences decreased by 20%, from 373 in 2021 to 298 in 2022.  Death sentences recorded in 16 countries last year, down three from 2021.  According to the report, the 20% drop in recorded death sentences was due to notable reductions in the following countries in 2022 compared to 2021:  Botswana (6 to 1); Cameroon (4 to 0); Democratic Republic of the Congo (81 to 76); Malawi (11 to 0); Mali (48 to 8); Somalia (27 to 10); Sierra Leone (23 to 0); South Sudan (10 to 4); Sudan (7 to 1)

Singapore | Maid found guilty of murdering employer's 70-year-old mother-in-law

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A High Court judge found that Zin Mar Nwe had failed to establish the defence of diminished responsibility. SINGAPORE: A domestic helper from Myanmar who stabbed her employer's elderly mother-in-law to death in 2018 was found guilty of murder on Thursday (May 18). Delivering the verdict, Justice Andre Maniam said that Zin Mar Nwe, then 17, had stabbed the 70-year-old victim, after the elderly woman had threatened to send her back to her agent.  He rejected the defence's arguments that Zin Mar Nwe, now around 22, had not been conscious of the stabbing, that she was in a dissociative state of mind, or that she was suffering from an abnormality of mind.  "The accused's decision to stab the deceased was an emotional, irrational one. But that, per se, does not mean that the accused was suffering from an abnormality of mind caused by mental illness," said Justice Maniam.  The court previously heard that Zin Mar Nwe arrived in Singapore on Jan 5, 2018. While her passport

Saudi authorities arrest 11 in possession of 55 kilos of cocaine in latest drug bust

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Saudi authorities have arrested 11 people who were in possession of a total of 55.2 kilograms of cocaine, in the latest massive drug bust as the Kingdom continues to crack down on the smuggling, promotion and use of narcotics, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday. The group had tried to hide the cocaine in several residences in Jeddah to avoid police attention, but security surveillance uncovered their crime, Major Marwan al-Hazmi, the Official Spokesperson of the General Directorate of Narcotics Control (GDNC), said. Those arrested include two individuals who violated the border security system, four residents, and five Nigerian expatriates who had visitor visas, according to SPA.