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Showing posts from August, 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.

USA | Former Pro-Death Penalty District Attorney Explains Why He Now Supports Abolition and Fears Political Promises to Expand Use of the Death Penalty

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Former Denver Chief Deputy District Attorney Craig Silverman recently wrote about why he changed his mind about supporting the death penalty and expressed new fears regarding its future use.  His op-ed was published on August 29, 2023 in the Colorado Sun.  Mr. Silverman writes that capital punishment was a prominent issue in his campaign for Denver District Attorney, and he himself prosecuted death penalty cases and publicly supported its use. But he writes that he now has “newfound support for abolishing capital punishment” for reasons he characterizes as “personal.”

Iran | Hangings in Hamedan, Saqquez, Aligudarz, Zarand

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); August 30, 2023: Hamed Sargazi and Esmail Hajizadeh, two men sentenced to death for drug-related charges, have been executed in Hamedan Central Prison. According to HRANA news agency, two men were executed in Hamedan Central Prison on 29 August. Their identities have been reported as Hamed Sargazi and Esmail Hajizadeh. They were arrested around three years ago and sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court. At the time of writing, neither of their executions has been reported by domestic media or officials in Iran.

Who Is Marcellus Williams: Man Facing Execution in Missouri Despite DNA Evidence Supporting Innocence

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DNA evidence not available at the time of Mr. Williams’ trial proves his innocence, but has not been considered in court. On June 29, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson lifted the stay of 53-year-old Marcellus Williams’ execution. Mr. Williams has spent 24 years of his life on death row for a murder DNA evidence proves someone else committed. Gov. Parson terminated a board consisting of five former judges appointed to examine the case of Mr. Williams, lifting the stay instituted by then Gov. Eric Greitens minutes before Mr. Williams’ scheduled execution in 2017.

South Korea | 25 years after last execution, Constitutional Court deliberates on capital punishment for 3rd time

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The New Year's Day edition of The Korea Herald in 1998 depicted the somber image of a nation grappling with a financial crisis, teetering on the edge of uncertainty and reliant on a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund. While delivering the dim outlook for the year ahead, the paper also published a 74-word article at the bottom of page 3 with the headline, “23 death-row inmates executed.” The story told of how, two days earlier on Dec. 30, 1997, the government had hanged the nearly two dozen death-row inmates in order to “show a resolute stand against crime." It was the first time they had executed anyone on death row since November 1995.

Alabama describes proposed nitrogen gas execution

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama’s proposed procedures to carry out executions with nitrogen gas include fitting a mask over the inmate’s face and replacing their breathing air with nitrogen until their heart stops. The state described the procedures for the proposed new execution method in a redacted court filing.  Alabama is seeking to become the first state to execute a prisoner using nitrogen. Nitrogen hypoxia has been authorized as an execution method in Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi, but no state has used the method to carry out a death sentence.

Nigeria | More than 100 people arrested for attending gay wedding; newly-weds face 10 years in jail

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More than 100 people were arrested for attending a gay wedding in Nigeria under the country’s draconian homosexuality laws. Police stormed a hotel in Ekpan town, Delta state, southern Nigeria, at around 2am on Monday and arrested more than 100 “gay suspects”. At least sixty-seven people have been detained. Two of those detained in the arrests, one of the country’s largest targeting homosexuality, got married at the event, Delta State Command spokesman Bright Edafe told a press conference.

German woman who belonged to IS jailed for allowing 5-year-old child slave to die of thirst in Iraq

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When leniency goes too far... BERLIN (AP) — A Munich court on Tuesday sentenced a German woman who was a member of the Islamic State group to 14 years in prison for allowing a 5-year-old Yazidi girl she and her husband kept as a slave in Iraq to die of thirst in the sun. [ Are we living on the same planet????? — DPN] The decision replaced an earlier prison sentence of 10 years.  A German appeals court had ordered a new sentencing hearing for the woman, who has been identified only as Jennifer W. in line with German privacy rules, after the country's Federal Court of Justice threw out an appeal by the defendant but partly approved an appeal by prosecutors. 

The fastest death sentence: Saudi Arabia rules to kill al-Ghamdi over social media postings

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On July 10, 2023, the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh sentenced Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Ghamdi to death by Taazir, on charges related to his expression of opinion and his use of social media. The verdict against Al-Ghamdi (September 24, 1968) perpetuates the bloody vengeful trend of Saudi Arabia, as arbitrary sentences, including killing and imprisonment for decades, have intensified in recent years, against the exercising of legitimate rights or non-serious charges.  It also confirms the political use of the death penalty that has become apparent since the mass execution in January 2016 and the executions that followed.

Iraq hangs 3 for IS-claimed blast that killed hundreds

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AFP — Iraq has hanged three people convicted for a 2016 bombing that killed more than 320 people in a Baghdad shopping district and was claimed by the Islamic State group, the prime minister's office said on late Monday. The bombing was one of the world's deadliest after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. At least 323 people were killed in the car bombing that sparked raging fires in Baghdad's Karrada shopping area early on July 3, 2016 as it teemed with people ahead of the Eid al-Fitr festival ending the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Saudi critic sentenced to death for social media posts – sources

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There have been 94 executions so far this year. Saudi Arabia has sentenced to death a government critic who denounced alleged corruption and human rights abuses on social media, his brother and others familiar with the case told AFP on Monday. The judgment was handed down against Mohammed al-Ghamdi in July by the Specialised Criminal Court, which was established in 2008 to try terrorism cases. The charges include conspiracy against the Saudi leadership, undermining state institutions and supporting terrorist ideology, sources briefed on the details said.

USA | Pence wants to expedite federal death penalty for mass shootings

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Former Vice President Mike Pence wants to speed up federal executions for people convicted of carrying out mass shootings. Pence also wants other steps including providing law enforcement with “what they need” and more federal funding for school guards. “But at the end of the day, I also believe that justice delayed is justice denied. And I'm calling for an expedited federal death penalty for anyone engaged in a mass shooting like took place in Jacksonville,” Pence told CBS News’s Face The Nation on Sunday.

Uganda | Prosecutors charge man with "aggravated homosexuality", potentially a capital offence

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Ugandan prosecutors have charged a man with "aggravated homosexuality", potentially a capital offence under controversial anti-gay legislation introduced by the country this year, an official said Monday. The law -- considered one of the harshest of its kind in the world -- contains provisions that make "aggravated homosexuality" an offence punishable by death and includes penalties for consensual same-sex relations of up to life in prison. "The suspect was charged in Soroti (in eastern Uganda), and he is on remand in prison. He will be appearing in court for mention of the case," said Jacquelyn Okui, spokeswoman for Uganda's directorate of public prosecutions.

How blasphemy law in Pakistan is used to settle scores, grab land

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Amidst the debris of smashed pieces of furniture, a shattered TV and broken doors, lies a twisted, mangled child’s bicycle. The sight leaves Qasir Pervez Masih teary-eyed. “My nine-year-old son loved this bicycle. He cried so much when he saw the damage,” says Masih, a resident of Jaranwala’s Christian Colony, in east Pakistan’s Punjab province. On August 16, Masih’s colony and surrounding areas, including several churches and even a cemetery, were vandalised by a Muslim vigilante group on charges of blasphemy. A human rights report said that 10,000 people hid in the nearby sugarcane fields while the mob ransacked over 20 churches and 400 homes.

Former death row inmate in Mississippi to be resentenced to life with possibility of parole

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A former death row inmate in Mississippi will be resentenced again because of a determination that he has intellectual disabilities — and the new sentence will make him eligible for the possibility of parole. The state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday in the case of Howard M. Neal, 69, who sent a handwritten letter to justices in June to seek a change to his current sentence of life without parole. Neal wrote that he is in poor health. In a response Aug. 9, the state attorney general's office agreed that Neal “is entitled to be resentenced to life imprisonment" with the possibility of parole.

How a Judge’s Ruling on Torture Imperils a Guantánamo Prosecution Strategy

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In dismissing a confession in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr. has shaken a foundation of U.S. government cases at the post-9/11 court. In late 2006, in an effort to turn the page on a legacy of state-sponsored torture, prosecutors for the George W. Bush administration began an experiment at Guantánamo Bay. They set up teams of law enforcement officers to try to obtain voluntary confessions from men who had spent years in brutal conditions in isolated C.I.A. prisons.

Singapore should have 'mercy' towards drug mules facing death penalty: Presidential candidate

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SINGAPORE: Presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian said "it is okay" to be merciful to drug mules facing the death penalty in Singapore, and that he does not believe granting clemency will lead to a flood of drug traffickers. He said the President has to take the Cabinet’s advice on such issues, but he would give them his “private advice”. The former NTUC Income chief executive was answering questions from members of the National University of Singapore Society at Kent Ridge Guild House on Saturday (Aug 26).

Texas | Huntsville prison forced to evacuate 650 inmates after huge fire

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Blaze began overnight and destroyed the roof of one wing A Texas prison with America's most active death row was forced to evacuate inmates because of an overnight fire. Huntsville Prison, which sits around 70 miles north of Houston, had to remove close to 700 inmates because of the blaze KHOU reporter Len Cannon said.  The inmates had initially been moved to other areas of the prison in Huntsville, but Amanda Hernandez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, later said about 400 of the displaced inmates will be moved to other facilities across the state.

Alabama hopes to be the first state to execute a prisoner by pure nitrogen

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Alabama is seeking to become the first state to execute a prisoner by making him breathe pure nitrogen. The Alabama Attorney-General’s office on Friday asked the state Supreme Court to set an execution date for death row inmate Kenneth Eugene Smith, 58. The court filing indicated Alabama plans to put him to death by nitrogen hypoxia, an execution method that is authorised in three states but has never been used.

Marcellus Williams, Facing Execution Despite DNA Evidence of His Innocence, Sues Missouri Governor and Attorney General for Dissolving Board of Inquiry Examining the Case and Moving to Set an Execution Date

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(August 24 – Jefferson City, MO) Marcellus Williams, who faces execution in Missouri despite DNA evidence proving his innocence, has filed a civil lawsuit against Gov. Mike Parson for dissolving the board of inquiry that had been investigating his innocence claim before it could produce a report and recommendation, and against Attorney General Andrew Bailey for moving to set an execution date after the governor had illegally dissolved the board. The suit, filed in Missouri’s 19th Circuit Court, asks the court to invalidate Gov. Parson’s June 30 executive order dissolving the board and lifting Mr. Williams’ stay of execution, arguing that the governor violated Mr. Williams’ rights and the law when he dissolved the board without a report and recommendation. 

“Nobody wants to believe their father is a monster.” Oklahoma death row inmate speaks from cell.

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MACALESTER, Okla. (KFOR) — Advocates of Oklahoma death row inmate Anthony Sanchez say his father was the real killer, but in an exclusive interview with News 4, Sanchez says he refuses to believe his dad was a murderer. “I love my dad, there’s no getting around that. I don’t think that he did it. I know I didn’t do it,” Anthony Sanchez told News 4 on a phone call. “Nobody wants to believe their father is a monster.”

Oklahoma | Guest: How do we reconcile the state knows Glossip did not kill Van Treese but wants him dead?

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The death chamber’s holding cell at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is six footsteps from the execution table the state has been trying to strap Richard Glossip to for 26 years. They failed again back in May of this year. He’s 9-0 against the state. Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to grant Glossip a new trial. The court’s decision is expected this October. State Reps. Kevin McDugle and Justin Humphrey support the death penalty. Both, along with 60 other legislators, made it clear none of them are OK with Glossip’s execution.

USA | Montana woman jailed for life for torturing and killing 12-year-old grandson

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A Montana woman who pleaded guilty to torturing and killing her 12-year-old grandson more than three years ago has been sentenced to spend the rest of her life in prison. Patricia Batts, 51, pleaded guilty in May to deliberate homicide in the death of James “Alex” Hurley on February 3, 2020, in West Yellowstone in an agreement reached after prosecutors dropped efforts to seek the death penalty. She was sentenced in District Court in Bozeman. “This is a horrific case of child abuse. It was totally unnecessary, and it was done with malevolence,” District Judge John C. Brown said, according to NBC-Montana. RELATED | Death penalty sought for grandmother of boy, 12, beaten and left to die on living room floor

Texas | Court rejects appeal for Dallas man facing death penalty for double murder

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The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has rejected an appeal for a Dallas man who faces execution for a 2001 double murder. Ivan Cantu was pulled off death row earlier this year but will now go back on the execution schedule.  Cantu failed to convince the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to grant him a new hearing. One week before his scheduled execution in April, a judge blocked the execution after Cantu's lawyers argued some of the key witnesses had lied. But the Court of Criminal Appeals today said there was no merit to the argument.

Plea negotiations could mean no 9/11 defendants face the death penalty, the US tells families

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Plea agreements under consideration may mean that the suspected architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and his fellow defendants never face the death penalty WASHINGTON (AP) — The suspected architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and his fellow defendants may never face the death penalty under plea agreements now under consideration to bring an end to their more than decadelong prosecution, the Pentagon has advised families of some of the thousands killed.  The notice, made in a letter that was sent to several of the families and obtained by The Associated Press, comes 1 1/2 years after military prosecutors and defense lawyers began exploring a negotiated resolution to the case. 

Iran | Executions in Mahvelat, Ahvaz, Karaj; Man whipped 80 times for “alcohol consumption”

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); August 24, 2023: State media have reported the execution of an unnamed man for murder in Mahvelat county prison. According to ILNA, a man was executed in Mahvelat county prison in Khorasan Razavi province on 23 August. The unnamed 29-year-old man was sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder. He had reportedly committed the alleged murder in February/March 2020 and sentenced to qisas by the Khorasan Razavi criminal court in less than three months. 

Florida | Life, not death, in 'buried alive' case

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A jury voted 10-2 in favor of a life sentence for Tiffany Cole, sparing her the ultimate punishment for the kidnapping and murder of a Jacksonville couple. JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A 12-member jury voted 10-2 to spare the life of a woman convicted in Jacksonville’s notorious “buried alive” case.  The jury found Tiffany Cole did not deserve the ultimate punishment for her role in the crime.  Tiffany Cole, 41, was previously convicted of murdering Reggie and Carol Sumner in July 2005. The 61-year-olds were kidnapped from their Jacksonville home, bound in duct tape, and driven to a remote wood in South Georgia, where they were buried alive.

Courts grapple with Florida death penalty changes

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TALLAHASSEE — A new state law lowering the number of jurors required to recommend death sentences has spurred a rash of litigation, triggered conflicting judicial rulings and infused an additional level of uncertainty in capital cases. The changes have caused what numerous attorneys called “chaos” in the death-penalty system. The law allows death sentences to be imposed based on the recommendations of eight of 12 jurors, an easier threshold than a previous requirement of unanimous jury recommendations. The change — prompted by Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz receiving a life sentence after a jury did not unanimously recommend death — gave Florida the lowest death-penalty jury standard in the nation.

Singapore | Indian-origin man accused of killing two

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Indian-origin man Aswen Pachan Pillai Sukumaran is accused of killing Mohd Israt Mohd Ismail at the Concorde Hotel and Shopping Mall on Sunday.  The report states that Asven Pachan Pillai Sukumaran will be given the death penalty if found guilty of murder.  A conviction for rioting with a deadly weapon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. A 29-year-old Indian-origin man in Singapore has been charged with murder on Tuesday. 

USA | Confessions of Guantanamo Detainee in Death Penalty Case Excluded as Product of Torture

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On August 18, 2023, a military judge in Guantanamo Bay overseeing the pretrial capital prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Saudi national accused of organizing the October 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, excluded Mr. al-Nishiri’s confessions as the product of torture. “Exclusion of such evidence is not without societal costs,” said the judge, Col. Lanny J. Acosta Jr., in a 50-page decision. “However, permitting the admission of evidence obtained by or derived from torture by the same government that seeks to prosecute and execute the accused may have even greater societal costs.” This decision raises serious questions about the admissibility of confessions made under similar circumstances by the five detainees accused of the 9/11 terror attacks and may affect the plea negotiations currently underway for these men.

Iran | Executions in Zahedan, Sari, Sanandaj, Kerman, Kahnuj

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Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); August 22, 2023: A Baluch man only identified as Mr Mir was executed for drug-related charges in Zahedan Central Prison. Four other Baluch men were executed at the prison that day and he is the seventh reported Baluch execution in Iran that day. According to Hal Vash, a Baluch man was executed in Zahedan Central Prison on 21 August. He has only been identified as Mr Mir who was sentenced to death for drug-related charges by the Revolutionary Court.

Taliban carried out hundreds of extrajudicial killings after seizing power, UN says

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CNN — Taliban fighters have committed hundreds of extrajudicial killings since taking power in Afghanistan in 2021, despite a “general amnesty” meant to protect the previous government, according to the United Nations. In a reported released Tuesday, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) counted at least 218 extrajudicial killings among more than 800 alleged offenses, including arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and ill-treatment and enforced disappearances. Former members of the Afghan National Army and police and National Directorate of Security officials were among those most targeted, and the majority of violations took place in the immediate months following the terror group’s takeover on August 15, 2021, the UNAMA said.

"My Life Will End": LGBT Iraqis face new threat as lawmakers mull death penalty

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A law amendment in Iraq proposes capital punishment for homosexual relations, in what campaigners call a “dangerous” escalation in the country where LGBT people already face frequent attacks and discrimination. The amendment to a 1988 anti-prostitution law, which passed a first reading in parliament last week, would enable courts to issue “the death penalty or life imprisonment” sentences for “homosexual relations”, according to a document seen by AFP. Homosexuality, much like other gender issues, remains taboo in Iraq’s conservative society, though no existing laws explicitly punish homosexual relations.

Taiwan | Years after Taipei subway stabbing spree, mental health awareness still lacking

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TAIPEI – Kneeling in front of a scrum of reporters, an anguished couple asked for their son to be put to death as soon as possible. “Only by doing so may the pains inflicted on the victims and the wounded and their families be slightly eased,” the sobbing father said outside a Taipei metro station. “Although he is our child, the crime he committed is unforgivable.”  The mother bowed repeatedly, her head hitting the ground each time. The scene dates back to May 2014, days after their then 21-year-old son Cheng Chieh went on a stabbing spree on the Taipei subway, killing four people and injuring 24 others.

North Carolina | I’ve seen the horror of executions; Gov. Cooper must act to prevent them from happening again

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This month marks the seventeenth anniversary of North Carolina’s last execution. Between 1984 and 2006, North Carolina executed 43 people. For some, it might feel like executions are ancient history in our state. However, the enormous pain they caused is still very much with us. I know because, in 2005, I stood by helplessly as the state of North Carolina killed a man and devastated a family that I cared about deeply. Elias Syriani was a beautiful soul who did a horrendous thing when he murdered his wife, depriving his four young children of their mother. It’s hard to understand how both those things can be true. But after visiting Elias monthly for five years, I am certain it is so.

It would be ‘pro-life’ to commute Louisiana’s 56 Death Row sentences to life without parole, advocates urge

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Granting clemency to Death Row inmates would show the nation Louisiana is the staunchly pro-life state many claim it to be, death penalty abolitionists said during an Aug. 15 news conference. The group of faith leaders, activists and relatives of murder victims and inmates gathered on the steps of the state Capitol Aug. 15 to urge the Louisiana Board of Pardons to reconsider its rejection of the 56 clemency petitions forwarded to it by Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards last month. “We urge the board to grant mercy over vengeance, and for the governor to continue to use his authority to grant clemency,” said Samantha Kennedy, executive director of the New Orleans-based Promise of Justice Initiative, which organized the event.

Ohio | Prosecutors want to resume executions using nitrogen hypoxia

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — It's been five years since Ohio has executed its death penalty. Gov. Mike DeWine delayed executions due to limited access of the drug used for the lethal injection. But Ohio prosecutors are looking to resume executions through alternative methods.  "We just want to find a pathway forward for the victims of these crimes," said Louis Tobin, the executive director of Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association.   Tobin said Ohio needs to continue its using the death penalty to provide proper justice. He said if there is a shortage of the drug needed for the lethal injection, Ohio can use nitrogen hypoxia.

Iran’s Latest Executions Bring 2023 Total to 474

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Iran's judiciary has executed eight people over the past three days, according to human rights groups. The latest executions took place on Monday morning at Zahedan prison – where four prisoners were put to death for drug-related charges – the Haalvsh human rights website said.  The four individuals were identified as 29-year-old Abdul Samad Khadem, Aqoob Ejbari, a father of eight, Mohammad Anwar Barahui, and a fourth individual with the surname Qanbarzadrug ohi. 

UK | British nurse to spend rest of her life in prison for murdering seven babies

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A British nurse was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday for the murders of seven babies and the attempted murders of six others at the UK hospital where she worked. Lucy Letby, 33, was handed a whole life order by Manchester Crown Court in northern England, meaning she will never be released. Letby refused to appear in the dock, prompting calls for laws to be changed so that defendants must attend their sentencing hearings. She was found guilty on Friday by a jury, in a case that horrified the country and made her Britain’s most prolific child serial killer of recent times.

Iran arrests activists ahead of 1 year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death

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Iranian authorities arrested at least a dozen activists on Saturday ahead of the anniversary of nationwide protests that erupted in September 2022, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW).  Last year, protests broke out across the region in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after Iranian morality police arrested her for “improper” hijab. As a result of the protests and surrounding fallout, hundreds of protesters died, thousands were arrested and some even faced hanging as punishment for their involvement.

Trinidad & Tobago | Four convicted killers removed from death row

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FOUR convicted killers housed in the condemned section of the Port of Spain prison at Frederick Street for decades have had their death sentences vacated. In declaring that any attempt to carry out the death sentence on the four would be in contravention of their constitutional rights, Justice Margaret Mohammed ordered that they be immediately removed from death row. She also ordered that the four be resentenced by a judge in the Criminal Assizes.

Vatican | If synod really wants to listen, try the topic of blasphemy laws

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ROME – In just a little over a month, the curtain will rise on a keenly anticipated Synod of Bishops on Synodality in Rome. Though notoriously difficult to define, “synodality” generally refers to the idea of the whole Church journeying together, with members listening to one another in establishing priorities and policies. To date, much of the commentary about the looming synod has focused on what “listening” might imply vis-à-vis the standard canon of contested issues in Western Catholic debate – blessing same-sex unions and the ordination of women as deacons for the left, for example, or the traditional Latin Mass and the struggle against abortion on the right.

México | El programa de Asistencia Jurídica logró evitar 126 penas de muerte en contra de mexicanos en Estados Unidos

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El programa de Asistencia Jurídica resultó producente para los connacionales en el país vecino A través de un comunicado, la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE) dio a conocer que, gracias al programa de “Asistencia Jurídica en Casos de Pena Capital en Estados Unidos”, se logró evitar o revertir la pena de muerte en 126 casos dentro del país vecino en lo que va del presente sexenio, destacando una de las mayores cifras desde su implementación.

No death penalty for a Utah mom accused of killing her husband, then writing a kid book about death

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Prosecutors will not seek the death penalty against a Utah mother who wrote a children’s book about coping with grief after her husband’s death and is now accused of fatally poisoning him. Prosecutors say Kouri Richins, 33, poisoned Eric Richins, 39, by slipping 5 times the lethal dose of fentanyl into a Moscow mule cocktail she made for him last year. After her husband’s death, the mother of three self-published a children’s book titled “Are You with Me?” about a deceased father wearing angel wings who watched over his sons. She promoted the book on television and radio, describing the book as a way to help children grieve the loss of a loved one.

USA | Judge Throws Out Confession of Bombing Suspect as Derived From Torture

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The Saudi defendant, accused of orchestrating the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, was waterboarded and subjected to other forms of torture by the C.I.A. in 2002 in a secret prison network. The military judge in the U.S.S. Cole bombing case on Friday threw out confessions the Saudi defendant had made to federal agents at Guantánamo Bay after years of secret imprisonment by the C.I.A., declaring the statements the product of torture. The decision deprives prosecutors of a key piece of evidence against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 58, in the longest-running death-penalty case at Guantánamo Bay.

Arkansas mom could face death penalty after chilling revelation about the way her 14-year-old daughter died

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The mother a 14-year-old girl in Arkansas faces a capital murder case after state investigators found the teen was the victim of a homicide by compressional asphyxiation. Shelette Strong is accused of inflicting homicidal violence against daughter Ciana Roberts in a Tucker residence on Feb. 27, leading to the girl’s death 4 days later. “Deputies were dispatched to the 200 block of Beale Street in Tucker, Arkansas in regards to an unresponsive 14-year-old female. The child was identified as Ciana Roberts. Roberts was transported to Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) by Emergency Ambulance Services Inc. (EASI),” the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office said. “Roberts was later airlifted by helicopter to the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.”

Ohio death row inmates spend 21 years waiting for execution date

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Ohio’s next execution of a death row inmate was originally on the calendar for exactly 3 months from now on November 16. But that date, like so many others, was recently pushed back. It’s been 5 years since the state’s last execution. We found state officials are calling the system “broken” as Ohio’s unofficial death penalty moratorium continues. The governor keeps pushing back execution dates for death row inmates as the struggle to find the drugs needed for lethal injection stretches on.

Pakistan | More than 100 arrested after churches burned

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More than 100 people have been arrested in a city in east Pakistan after thousands of Muslims burned churches and vandalised homes. Violence in Jaranwala was sparked by claims that two Christian men had torn pages from the Quran. The historic Salvation Army Church was still smouldering on Thursday, one day after the riot. Ruins have been surrounded with barbed wire as the situation remains tense in the city. Public gatherings have also been restricted for 7 days in Faisalabad district, which includes Jaranwala.

Norwegian mass killer Breivik sues the state for "extreme" isolation - lawyer

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OSLO, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik is suing the state for allegedly violating his human rights due to his being held in "extreme" isolation, and has filed another application for parole, his lawyer said on Friday. The right-wing militant killed 77 people, most of them teenagers, in shootings and a bombing in Norway's worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011 . Breivik, now 44, is serving Norway's longest sentence, 21 years, which can be extended if he is still considered a threat.

Man accused of murdering pregnant niece challenges Florida’s death penalty law

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Johnathan Quiles is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly raping and killing his 16-year-old niece. JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A man accused of raping and murdering his teenage niece believes Florida’s new death penalty law should not apply to him. Johnathan Quiles, 33, is charged with first-degree murder and sexual battery for allegedly killing 16-year-old Iyana Sawyer.  The girl was last seen leaving Jacksonville’s Terry Parker High School in December 2018. She was pregnant at the time, with what police believe was Quiles’ child. Her body was never found.

North Carolina death penalty foes demand commutations

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Capital punishment opponents want Gov. Roy Cooper to commute the sentences of everyone on North Carolina’s death row before he leaves office next year. Activists will gather Aug. 19 in Raleigh to commemorate the anniversary of the state’s last execution and demand Cooper commute all incarcerated people sentenced to death before the end of his term in 2024.