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U.S. | Execution by nitrogen hypoxia doesn’t seem headed for widespread adoption as bills fall short and nitrogen producers object

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The day after Alabama carried out the first-known US execution using nitrogen gas, its attorney general sent a clear message to death penalty states that might want to follow suit: “Alabama has done it, and now so can you.” Indeed, in the weeks immediately following the January execution of Kenneth Smith, it appeared a handful of states were listening, introducing bills that would adopt the method known as nitrogen hypoxia or a similar one. Officials behind each framed the legislation as an alternative method that could help resume executions where they had long been stalled.

Pakistan | Four youths sentenced to death for allegedly posting "blasphemous" material on Facebook

Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, where anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures can face the death penalty.

A Pakistani court has handed down death sentences to four youths for committing blasphemy on social media, the country's top investigating agency said on Tuesday.

Additional District Sessions Judge (Rawalpindi) Ahsan Mahmood Malik sentenced the four to death on Monday for posting blasphemous material on Facebook. 

Each of them has also been handed a 28-year jail term for committing blasphemy against the Quran as well, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) said. 

However, a fifth suspect, Usman Liaqat, was handed seven years of imprisonment. 

"Muhammad Amin, Wazir Gul, Faizan Razaak, and Muhammad Rizwan, who are in their 20s, were handed death sentences by the Additional District Sessions Judge on Monday for posting blasphemous material against the Prophet on Facebook," the FIA said. 

"The convicts had shared objectionable comments about the Quran on social media," it added. 

The FIA said its anti-cybercrime wing had arrested the suspects last year after receiving a complaint against them from one Omar Nawaz, who alleged that they had shared blasphemous material about the Prophet and Quran on social media. 

The investigation agency said the judge convicted the accused after it presented forensic evidence of their social media accounts.

In his ruling, the judge observed that "blasphemy against the Prophet and Quran are unforgivable crimes. Therefore, the accused do not deserve any concession or leniency." 

Blasphemy is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, where anyone deemed to have insulted Islam or Islamic figures can face the death penalty. 

Often, an accusation can cause riots and incite mobs to violence, lynching and killings.

Source: deccanherald.com, PTI, September 5, 2023


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