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Showing posts from April, 2015

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No Second Chances: What to Do After a Botched Execution

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Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. The state shouldn't get a second chance.
The pathos and problems of America's death penalty were vividly on display yesterday when Ohio tried and failed to execute Alva Campbell. Immediately after its failure Gov. John Kasich set June 5, 2019, as a new execution date.
This plan for a second execution reveals a glaring inadequacy in the legal standards governing botched executions in the United States.
Campbell was tried and sentenced to die for murdering 18-year-old Charles Dials during a carjacking in 1997. After Campbell exhausted his legal appeals, he was denied clemency by the state parole board and the governor.
By the time the state got around to executing Campbell, he was far from the dangerous criminal of 20 years ago. As is the case with many of America's death-row inmates, the passage of time had inflicted its own punishments.
The inmate Ohio strapped onto the gurney was a 69-year-old man afflicted with serious ailm…

Executed away from home: Africans on drugs crimes find little mercy from Asia, its new trade partner

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Four African men were among 8 drug offenders executed by firing squad in Indonesia on Wednesday in a case that attracted huge international attention.
Nigerians Raheem Agbaje Salami (also known as Jamiu Owolabi Abashin), Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Martin Anderson and Okwuduli Oyatanze were killed at 12:30am, local time, on the Indonesian prison island of Nusa Kambangan. "The executions have been successfully implemented, perfectly," Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said of the controversial deaths. "All worked, no misses."
Nigeria only responded late Wednesday, expressing "deep disappointment" at the execution by firing squad of 4 of its citizens.
Abuja said President Goodluck Jonathan and Foreign Minister Aminu Wali had made "spirited appeals for clemency", most recently at an Asian-African summit in the Indonesian capital Jakarta last week.,
Brazil and Australia both recalled their ambassadors to Jakarta for "consultation" - diplo…

Saudi beheaded for killing father

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Interior Ministry says 70 executions carried out this year in the kingdom

Riyadh: A Saudi national convicted of murdering his father was beheaded on Thursday, bringing to 70 the number of executions carried out this year in the kingdom, the interior ministry said.
The number compares with 87 in the whole of 2014, according to an AFP tally.
Abdullah Al Balawi was convicted of stabbing his father to death, said a ministry statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency. 
He was executed in the northwestern city of Tabuk.
SPA said the son had planned the murder but it did not give his motives.
Amnesty International has criticised a "macabre spike" in the use of the death penalty this year in Saudi Arabia, which the London-based watchdog ranked among the top three executioners in the world in 2014.
Drug trafficking, rape, murder, apostasy, homosexuality and armed robbery are all punishable by death under the kingdom's strict version of Islamic sharia law.
Source: Agence…

Bali Nine clemency deal ignored

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The Indonesian President's chief political rival promised to publicly support Joko Widodo if he granted clemency to Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
The West Australian can reveal that military strongman Prabowo Subianto twice privately assured Mr Joko there would be no political consequences if Chan, Sukumaran and eight others on death row were reprieved.
Mr Prabowo's extraordinary behind-the-scenes intervention would have given the President face-saving political cover to spare the lives of Chan and Sukumaran.
It is understood that Mr Prabowo penned a letter to Mr Joko at the weekend in which he said that if the President were to "postpone the executions indefinitely", he would come out in support of the decision.
Mr Joko, under pressure from his political patron, former president Megawati Sukarnoputri, ignored the offer and the two Australians were killed by firing squad on Wednesday, along with four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian.

Obama Administration Steps Back From Effort to End Federal Death Penalty

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For a moment last year, it looked as if the Obama administration was moving toward a history-making end to the federal death penalty.
A botched execution in Oklahoma brought national attention to the issue, public opinion polls began to shift and President Obama, declaring that it was time to "ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions," directed Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to review capital punishment.
At the Justice Department, a proposal soon began to take shape among Mr. Holder and senior officials: The administration could declare a formal moratorium on the federal death penalty because medical experts could not guarantee that the lethal drugs used did not cause terrible suffering. Such a declaration would have pressured states to do the same, the officials reasoned, and would bolster the legal argument that the death penalty is unconstitutionally cruel punishment.
But the idea never gained traction, and Mr. Obama has seldom mentioned the death penalty…

Australian mum faces death penalty as Malaysia confirms drug bust

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An Australian woman faces a possible death sentence for drug trafficking in Malaysia after a prosecutor said Thursday a chemist's report confirmed the substance found in her bag was crystal methamphetamine.
Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, a 52-year-old mother of 4, was arrested on December 7 at Kuala Lumpur airport with 1.1 kilograms (2.4 pounds) of the drug, also known as ice, court documents showed.
Prosecutor Hasifulkhair Jamaluddin told the magistrate's court that Exposto had been trafficking methamphetamine based on the chemist's report.
Magistrate Noor Hafizah Salim then ordered the case to be transferred to the high court.
Malaysia has a mandatory death penalty by hanging for anyone found guilty of carrying more than 50 grams of a drug.
Authorities previously said Exposto was trafficking 1.5 kilograms of methamphetamine.
Exposta, who was wearing a white blouse and black pants, looked nervous when the amended charge was read to her.
The defence is yet to enter a plea un…

Abbott government removed death-penalty opposition from AFP's priorities

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Justice minister Michael Keenan omitted the line when he updated the ministerial direction to the Australian federal police in May 2014
The Abbott government faces questions over its decision to remove the principle of opposition to the death penalty from the high-level instructions that apply to the Australian federal police.
The justice minister, Michael Keenan, omitted the line when he updated the ministerial direction outlining the AFP's strategic priorities in May 2014.
The previous version of the document approved by Labor's Brendan O'Connor in 2010 said the AFP should "take account of the government's longstanding opposition to the application of the death penalty, in performing its international liaison functions".
Keenan accused the Labor party of "incredibly cheap and invalid" politicking by raising the issue shortly after the execution of 2 Australians in Indonesia.
Despite the amendment to the overarching ministerial instructions, the A…

EU Promises "Fight" If Hungary Brings Death Penalty Back

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European Union leaders are warning Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban that he is in for "a fight" if he considers restoring the death penalty, which is now banned throughout the 28-nation bloc.
EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Orban "should immediately make clear that this is not his intention. Would it be his intention, it would be a fight."
The head of the EU parliament echoed those comments, saying the legislature's civil liberties committee would be convened urgently and noting that the EU's charter of fundamental rights prohibits the death penalty.
The issue was raised by Orban after last week's murder of a 22-year-old tobacco shop attendant in a southern Hungarian city.
Source: Associated Press, April 29, 2015

DNP does not support 'death penalty'
In line with Christian principles, Hungary's Christian democrats KDNP, which is the coalition party of ruling Fidesz, rejected the idea of reintroducing death penalty in…

China: Sydney man Peter Gardner to face Guangzhou court over drug charges

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Hours before the Bali 9 duo were shot dead, another young Australian man came a step closer to facing execution overseas.
Sydney man Peter Gardner, 25, has had his death penalty case in a Chinese courtroom brought forward by almost 6 months and will go on trial in the southern metropolis of Guangzhou next Thursday, May 7, for allegedly attempting to export 30kg of methamphetamine, or ice.
Gardner's lawyer, New Zealand barrister Craig Tuck, said the reasons for the fast-tracked trial were unknown.
China executes thousands of people every year according to Amnesty International, and has killed at least a dozen foreign nationals in the past 15 years.
The opaque Chinese legal system operates on 3 levels: police, prosecutors and courts - all come under the control of the nation's ruling Communist Party. Once cases are passed to the courts, conviction rates are 99 % and Gardner's lawyers have previously said his fate all but certain.
Gardner is a dual New Zealand and Australian…

Filipina Convict's Death Already Written In Ink

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So certain were some Philippine newspapers that convicted drug smuggler Mary Jane Veloso would face the firing squad in Indonesia after midnight Tuesday that they had already declared her dead.
"Death came before dawn," read the headline of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country's largest paper. The Manila Bulletin stated, "No delay in execution," while Filipino-language tabloid Abante wrote "Farewell, Mary Jane" across a front page colored black in mourning.
As the nation woke, however, they discovered that the headlines were wrong and that an 11th hour reprieve had been granted to Ms. Veloso so she could stand witness in a human-trafficking trial. The 30-year-old mother of 2 was sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of heroin into Indonesia in her luggage in 2010.
Hours before her execution, the woman who allegedly recruited Ms. Veloso turned herself into Philippine authorities paving the way for a court case. Tony Spontana…

Pakistan: Murder convict hanged in Vehari

The convict Abdul Gaffur murdered an 8-year-old girl in 1991 after rape.
A death row convict was hanged in Vehari District jail today (Wednesday), Dunya News reported.
According to details, the convict Abdul Gaffur murdered an 8-year-old girl in 1991 after rape.
District and Session judge Lodhara ordered his death penalty and fine whereas the mercy plea was also rejected by the President on which black warrants were issued.
Source: Dunya News, April 29, 2015
Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com

Iran: 5 Prisoners Hanged in Kerman and Jiroft

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On Thursday morning, 23rd April, 5 prisoners who had been charged with drug related crimes, went to the gallows, in Kerman city and Jiroft city.
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency in Iran (HRANA), 3 of them were hanged in the prison of Kerman and the other 2 were executed in the prison of Jiroft.
There is no information about their identity, and official responsible bodies, same as many previous cases have not announced these executions.
According to different estimates, more than 70 % of executions in Iran are on charges of drug related crimes, a problem that has caused most of criticism from human rights activists and international organizations on Iranian government. 
It was previously agreed that in the current month, a proposal regarding abolition of the death penalty for drug charges would be raised in the public meeting of Iranian parliament.
Source: HRANA News Agency, April 29, 2015
Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com

USA: Execution drug stirs feisty debate among Supreme Court justices

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WASHINGTON — Supreme Court justices engaged in an impassioned debate Wednesday about capital punishment, trading unusually combative words in a case involving a drug used in several botched executions.
The justices are considering the plea of death row inmates in Oklahoma to outlaw the sedative midazolam. The inmates say it is ineffective in preventing searing pain from other drugs used in lethal injections.
But Wednesday’s session, lasting just over an hour, featured broader complaints from conservative justices that death penalty opponents are waging what Justice Samuel Alito called a “guerrilla war” against executions by working to limit the supply of more effective drugs.
On the other side, among the court’s liberals, Justice Elena Kagan contended that the way states carry out most executions amounts to having prisoners “burned alive from the inside.”
The debate came on the court’s last argument day until fall, and a year to the day after a problematic execution in Oklahoma gave …