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Showing posts from September, 2017

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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…

Indonesia: AGO Waits for Supreme Court Decision on Pardon for Death Penalty Execution

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The Indonesia Supreme Court (MA) has yet to issue a decision regarding the time limit for the submission of pardon for death row inmates convicted by the Attorney General Office (AGO) since August 2017.
"We are still waiting [for the Supreme Court decision], we must be careful on this, as this is a decision on life or death of a human being," said Attorney General HM Prasetyo in Jakarta, Friday (29/09/2017).
He asserted the death execution was related to the life of a person, and therefore the AGO needs to request for a decision from the Supreme Court , since the decision of the Constitutional Court about the pardon did not mention the time period for submission of pardon.
The Constitutional Court, through Decision No. 107/PUU-XIII/2015 abolished the enactment of Article 7 paragraph (2) of Law no. 5 of 2010 on Amendment to Law no. 22 of 2002 on Pardon related to the time limitation of submission of pardon to the president. That is, the Court "frees" the convicted …

Death penalty of 15 Indians commuted to life term by Emir of Kuwait

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Death sentences handed down to 15 Indians lodged in a Kuwaiti jail have been commuted to life imprisonment by the Emir of Kuwait, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday.
Swaraj said the Emir has also directed that the sentences of 119 Indian nationals be reduced.
"The Emir of Kuwait has been pleased to commute the sentence of 15 Indian nationals from death to life imprisonment," she tweeted.
Swaraj thanked the Emir of Kuwait for his "kind" gesture and said the Indian Embassy in that country will extend assistance to the Indian nationals who will be released from jails.
Source: english.manoramaonline.com, September 30, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the c…

74-year-old Iranian, who hosted 'half-naked parties', sentenced to death

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The chief prosecutor said the man led "a corruption gang" which held parties with drugs and alcohol, and where women were "sexually harassed".
Iran has sentenced a 74-year-old man to death for hosting "mixed and half-naked parties", the head of Tehran's judiciary said.
Chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said the man led "a corruption gang" which held parties with drugs and alcohol, and where women were "sexually harassed".
"The head of this corruption gang has been sentenced to execution and the case has been sent for appeal to the supreme court," he said, according to the judiciary-linked Mizan news agency.
Dolatabadi mentioned another case in which 6 people had been arrested for downloading "obscene" Hollywood films and dubbing them into Persian.
"The gang's website was the largest download centre for Hollywood films and series, and in the past 3 years they have published 18,000 dubbed films and…

Texas: Decades After Prison Escapes, Men Face Life in Solitary Confinement With No Way Out

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According to Dennis Hope, life in the Allan B. Polunsky Unit is like being in a “never-ending torture chamber,” where he must constantly fight to keep his sanity. He has seen others lose the battle — hanging themselves or slicing open their wrists and faces. Some in Polunsky have responded in even more extreme ways: In 2004, Andre Thomas, a man with paranoid schizophrenia, gouged out his eye and ate it.
The Polunsky Unit is a maximum security Texas prison that houses Texas’ Death Row, and is notorious for its restrictive conditions. The men held in its most secure sections are confined to small cells for at least 22 hours per day, and even the few hours they are allowed out are spent in isolation. Most remain there for years or decades.
There is a growing consensus, encompassing everyone from mental health experts to the United Nations, that forcing people to live in such circumstances amounts to torture. Solitary in Texas has faced particularly harsh condemnation. A report from the …

Indonesia: Military officer sentenced to 2.5 years in prison for blasphemy

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Claims he burned dozens of holy books accidentally

The jailing of former Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama earlier this year on blasphemy charges that many believe to have been heavily politicized has led to renewed criticism of the country’s harsh blasphemy laws.
A soldier in Jayapura, who yesterday was found guilty of defaming religion by burning holy books, is the latest blasphemer to be thrown into an Indonesian prison under questionable circumstances.
Yesterday, a panel of Judges of the 3rd Military Court of Jayapura sentenced Second Sergeant Bangun Ahmad to 2.5 years in prison and dismissed him from his military unit for having been “legally and convincingly proven to defame religion.”
Bangun Ahmad, who was a member of the border security task force, was accused of burning dozens of holy books on May 25 in a garbage bin located near his barracks.
The former soldier said in his defense statement that he had taken the initiative to clean the warehouse and while doing …

Man executed in western Iran over murder charges

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Iran Human Rights (SEPT 26 2017): A prisoner was executed at Yasuj Central Prison on murder charges.
According to IRIB News Agency, on the morning of Tuesday September 26, the execution of a prisoner who was charged with murder was carried out at Yasuj Central Prison.
The prisoner was identified as M., 27 years old, who had run over a person with his car over a tribal dispute.
The chief of police of Choram County said, “After the execution was implemented by the judicial authorities of the province, some members of the murderer’s clan tried to cause chaos which was averted by the police and the security forces”.
Rahimi added, “Currently the tension in the city has calmed down and law enforcement forces are sent to the main areas of the city”.
According to the annual report on the death penalty report by Iran Human Rights, 142 of the 530 execution sentences in 2016 were implemented due to murder charges. 
There is a lack of a classification of murder by degree in Iran which results i…

Death Penalty Should Immediately Stop: 3 New Death Sentences Issued in Gaza

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On Tuesday, 26 September 2017, Deir al-Balah First Instance Court convened in Khan Younis issued 3 new death sentences in the Gaza Strip. 
The death sentences by hanging were issued against S. A. G. (54); Y. H. A. (64) and A. ‘A. B. (38), all of them from Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, after being convicted of corporate murder and burglary as they were accused of killing A. M. M. while robbing his house in Deir al-Balah.
PCHR is concerned over the excessive use of this penalty in the Gaza Strip in light of absent fair trial guarantees and lack of investigation potentials. 
PCHR also calls upon the judiciary in Gaza not to issue any death sentence in light of the divisions and its recursions, including absence of rule of law and possibilities for having a conviction based on certainty.
The number of death sentences issued since the beginning of 2017 has risen to 20 sentences, 18 of which were new sentences while the 12 others were to uphold previous sentences. Thus, the total…

Philippine Commission on Human Rights to get more than US$20 but Congress cut almost US$2 million from proposed budget

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Yesterday, the Philippine House of Representatives approved a budget of PHP508.5 million (approx US$10 million) for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) during the third and final reading of the country’s 2018 budget.
This comes two weeks after Congress approved a CHR budget worth $20. 
Many Filipinos, including CHR chief Chito Gascon, who called it a “whimsical and capricious display of vindictiveness.”
After meeting with Gascon and other Gascon and representatives of other agencies who initially received a similar budget cut, the congressional appropriations committee moved to restore CHR’s proposed budget to PHP678 million (US$13.3 million).
But based on yesterday’s vote, more than PHP100 million (approx. US$2 million) will be cut from the proposed budget.
Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman said today that the approved budget will not be enough for CHR to conduct all its responsibilities. “With its slashed budget, the CHR will be hampered in its human rights protection and promotion of …

Most FIlipinos doubt drug suspects killed in police ops ‘fought back’

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More than half of Filipinos doubt that most of those killed in anti-drug operations fought it out with cops, results of a Social Weather Survey (SWS) showed.
The survey results, released Wednesday, revealed that 54 percent of Filipinos agree with the test statement: “Many of those killed by the police in the anti-drug campaign did not really fight police.”
Of the 54 percent, 20 percent “strongly agree” with the statement; 25 percent were undecided while the remaining 20 percent disagreed.
Skepticism over the “nanlaban” (fight back) reason was highest in Metro Manila, where 63 percent of the population think that many of those killed did not really fight police. Results were slightly lower in the rest of Luzon at 56 percent, and in the Visayas and Mindanao, both at 49 percent.
The “very poor” are also more likely to doubt the “nanlaban” reason for killings linked to police.
Fifty-eight percent of those in class E meanwhile disagree with the “nanlaban” reason, while 54 percent of those …

Iran: Two executed for drug trafficking, murder

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Iran Human Rights (SEPT 25 2017): One prisoner was reportedly executed at Ardebil Central Prison (Northwestern Iran).
According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday September 20, a prisoner was executed at Ardebil Central Prison on drug related charges.
The prisoner was identified as Tofigh Yousefi. On the morning of Sunday September 17, Tofigh Yousefi and another prisoner, named Shahin Parsajou, were transferred to solitary confinement. 
Iran Human Rights (IHR) had reported the execution of Shahin Parsajou which was carried out on Monday September 18. However, Tofigh’s execution was delayed until Wednesday for unknown reasons.
The execution of Tofigh Yousefi and Shahin Parsajou has not been announced by the state-run media so far.
The execution of prisoners with drug related charges continues to be carried out in Iran despite the fact that the bill for the amendment to the drug law in Iran has been approved by Iranian Parliament. However, the Guardian Council must still ap…