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Showing posts from July, 2016

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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Jokowi urged to publicly announce clemency decisions

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A justice reform watchdog has urged the government to publicly reveal information about stays of execution for death row convicts.
The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) regretted the government's decision to execute four drug convicts on Nusakambangan prison island in the early hours of Friday. A firing squad killed Indonesian Freddy Budiman, Seck Osmane from Senegal and Nigerians Michael Titus and Humphrey Ejike, despite international and local pleas to halt the executions.
3 of the convicts - Freddy, Ejike and Osmane - had requested pardons from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, ICJR executive director Supriyadi W. Eddyono said on Friday, lambasting the executions. The 2010 Clemency Law stipulates that the death penalty cannot be carried out before a convict receives a presidential decree declining clemency.
The government used reasons of confidentiality to protect information on whether the President granted or declined the convicts' requests.
"We a…

South Sudan: 2 soldiers executed in Wau

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South Sudan army's (SPLA) 5th division in Western Bahr el Ghazal state on Friday executed 2 soldiers charged with murder and various crimes.
The duo were arrested on 17 July and kept at Wau central prison after for allegedly murdering a couple at a residential area situated within Wau town.
They faced firing squad in front of a military parade at the army division headquarters. Hundreds of Wau residents also witnessed it.
Wau town mayor, Akol Akol Ajith, said the 2 soldiers were sentenced to death after the military high court found them guilty.
"The order to execute these soldiers comes from above and this is what will warn the soldiers from involving in such crimes," said Akol.
No one, according to the town mayor, is above the stipulated laws.
A military judge cautioned soldiers against violating army regulations.
"This is a warning to those soldiers who used to violate the military regulation, it is also what tell the people of South Sudan that any soldier found…

Flawed justice in Indonesia

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Yet again on Friday morning, Indonesia showed its most brutal and ugly face to the world. Despite worldwide protests and serious questions concerning their guilt, and allegations of torture, rape and coerced confessions, Indonesia moved to execute 14 people convicted of drug-related crimes in President Widodo's so-called "war on drugs".
Only four were executed; however, the 180 riflemen assigned to carry out the executions are still on the island, and reporters have been told that the others will face an execution squad "later".
This is the third round of executions since Joko Widodo came to power in 2014. Six people were executed in the first round, but a second round in April 2015, which included Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, caused international tumult, and resulted in the recall of the Australia, and Brazilian ambassadors.
Much of the controversy in the second round focused on the case of Rodrigo Gularte, a Brazilian captured at Jakarta Ai…

Indonesia executions: Prisoners can take up to 15 minutes to die, priest says

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A Catholic priest who was present at Nusakambangan prison in Indonesia during this week's executions has said in the past it has taken up to 15 minutes for prisoners to die.
Father Charles Burrows, who is based in Cilacap near the prison, was called there to speak with two of the 14 people originally scheduled for execution, but who were later spared.
Deputy Attorney-General for General Crimes Noor Rachmad confirmed one local and three Nigerian drug convicts were executed by firing squad.
Father Burrows said he had not "got word" as to whether the executed prisoners suffered.
He said he had been present in the past when it has taken several minutes for prisoners to die.
"The first time, it was seven to eight minutes, and then there were some of the other times it was 15 minutes and they still weren't, hadn't expired," he said.
"And the captain has to wait with a pistol and shoot into the brain."
Father Burrows said he went with the other mini…

Gurdip Singh's Wife Appeals For His Safe Return From Indonesia

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48-year-old Singh was among 10 convicts who were to be executed but were not put to death.
JALANDHAR -- The wife of Indian national Gurdip Singh, who was to be executed over drug charges last night in Indonesia today said that she spoke to him twice this morning and he has been sent back to jail.
Appealing the Indonesian government for mercy to Singh, his wife Kulwinder Kaur said he has spent 14 years in jail which was enough penance for his crime if he was guilty and he should be sent back to his country.
"I spoke to him twice this morning and he said he is fine. His execution was dropped at the last minute after four others were put to death by the firing squad," Kaur said.
External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj said this morning that 48-year-old Singh had not been executed. However, it was not clear under what circumstance the Indian who was to be executed along with 14 other convicts was spared.
Four of them were put to death by the firing squad last night.
48-year-old S…

Two executed in Iran over drug charges

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Iran Human Rights (JULY 29 2016): Two prisoners were reportedly executed this week, one in central Iran and the other in the northeastern region of the country.
According to a report by unofficial source HRANA, on the morning of Wednesday July 27, a prisoner was hanged at Mashhad Central Prison (northeastern Iran) on unknown charges. 
The report identifies the prisoner as Reza Sabzevari, 32 years old, former police officer who worked in the department to fight against drugs.
Unofficial source Human Rights and Democracy Activists in Iran reports on another execution on Wednesday July 27: a prisoner was hanged at Yazd Central Prison (central Iran) on drug related charges. 
The report identifies the prisoner as Nasrollah Reigi, imprisoned for five years before he was executed.
Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state run media, have been silent about these two executions.
Iranian authorities have reportedly executed at least eight prisoners on Wednesday July 27th. On…

Jokowi and the Death Penalty: Weighing the Costs and Benefits

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Indonesia’s president continues to execute drug offenders, despite international pressure.
The third wave of executions announced by the Indonesian attorney general’s office has created an uproar and made headlines all around the world. Out of 14 slated to be executed, four — one Indonesian citizen and three Nigerians — were shot dead by a firing squad on early Friday.
Jakarta’s tough stance on the death penalty during the administration of President Joko Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, has exposed Indonesia to a wave condemnation. However, despite heavy criticism from the international community, including human rights advocates and foreign governments, Jokowi is determined to continue the executions, based on the argument that Indonesia has an alarming level of drug crime that particularly affects young people. Under this narrative, drug-related crimes are portrayed as the main threat to national security, more serious than terrorism and corruption.
Thus far, Jokowi has not compro…

Singapore: Man posts photos of burning Singapore flag on Instagram

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An Instagram user has sparked fury online by claiming to have burned a Singapore flag and challenging authorities to give him the death penalty.
2 photos uploaded by the user show part of a Singapore flag in flames. "They have to throw the death penalty on me if I keep doing this right?" he wrote on one post.
In another post, he wrote: "I don't enjoy patriotism/this is an act of treason/will something happen yet?"
The user, whose profile page is public, was lambasted for treating the national emblem with disrespect.
Some netizens questioned the motive behind his actions while others advised him to remove the photo to avoid getting in trouble with the law.
In one of his replies, he tells a netizen to "go back doing your slave s***". He also tells him to "eat s*** and die".
Despite this show of defiance, the user subsequently removed the post, puzzling netizens even further.
Many have continued to leave comments on his other Instagram posts.U…

As Indonesia conducts more executions, Australia's anti-death-penalty advocacy is still lacking

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Indonesia has carried out a 3rd round of executions under President Joko Widodo. Attorney-General H. Muhammad Prasetyo had announced that 14 people would face the firing squad, but only 4 were killed on Thursday night - 3 Nigerians and an Indonesian national.
All those executed under Widodo have been convicted of drug offences. Deputy Attorney-General Noor Rachmad said the most recent executions were: ... done not in order to take lives but to stop evil intentions, and the evil act of drug trafficking.
The remaining 10 executions were delayed. The attorney-general's office has not justified this delay. The 10 remaining prisoners include Indonesians and Nigerian, Indian, South African and Zimbabwean nationals. Those prisoners face another agonising and indefinite wait for their execution.
Indonesia faces renewed international criticism
Human rights organisations have renewed criticism of Indonesia's practice of capital punishment for drug offences.
Amnesty International has hig…

After executions, Indonesia says it will review death penalty

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The government's statement comes just hours after it executed 4 drug convicts including 3 foreigners
It looks as if international and local pressure on the Indonesian government to abolish the death penalty is making some progress.
On Friday, July 29, the same day Indonesia executed 4 drug convicts 45 minutes after midnight, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Agung said the government would rethink its stance.
"The government is taking everything into consideration, because this is not an enjoyable thing to do," he said, echoing the words of Deputy Attorney General Noor Rachmad, who during his 2am announcement that 4 had been executed, said the job was not enjoyable but something they must do.
Agung did defend the capital punishment however, saying "drugs can damage the nation's next generation."
"Executing drug convicts is for the protection of the Indonesian nation from the dangers of drugs," he said.
He also said that those who have already been convict…

Indonesia death row 10: Last-minute reprieve, but for how long?

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Cilacap: The fate of 10 death row prisoners who were saved from the firing squad in Indonesia just minutes before the executions took place remains unclear, with the country's attorney-general refusing to confirm if they have won a permanent reprieve.
Just four of the planned 14 executions proceeded on the Central Javan island of Nusakambangan – known as Indonesia's Alcatraz – in the early hours of Friday morning, despite all 14 prisoners being notified on Tuesday that they had just 72 hours to live.
Three Nigerians and one Indonesian were killed at 12.45am on July 29, despite human rights groups and lawyers claiming that at least one – Nigerian Humphrey Jefferson Ejike Eleweke – may have been innocent.
But the remaining 10 were never taken from their isolation cells.
Harrowing stories have emerged of their families – who were waiting in a tent on the island to identify the bodies post-execution – seeing early reports on television that all 14 had been killed.
The TV stations…