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Showing posts from February, 2011

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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…

Germany reacts to criticism of Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's trip to Iran

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BERLIN, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has defended himself against criticism that he met with Iranian hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to free two German journalists.
"Whoever criticizes this trip should tell that to the two who are now back in Germany," he said.
Westerwelle Saturday flew to Iran to bring home two German journalists who had been sitting in an Iranian prison for several months. They were arrested last October while interviewing the son of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose death-by-stoning sentence for an adultery conviction drew international condemnation last summer.
The affair had further undermined Germany's relations with Iran, which is shunned by the West for its controversial nuclear program and its crackdown on the domestic opposition.
After months of negotiations, Tehran last week indicated that the pair, reporter Marcus Hellwig and photographer Jens Koch, might be released on the condition that Westerwelle meet wit…

Afghan Officials Say Jailed Convert Is Free

Under international pressure, government officials in Kabul, Afghanistan, say they have freed an Afghan man who had been jailed since May and faced the prospect of the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity.
The release of the man, Sayed Mussa, 46, follows months of quiet diplomacy between the Afghan government and United States Embassy officials in Kabul, who along with members of Congress and other foreign embassies had sought the former aid worker's release.
Mr. Mussa, a married father of six who worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross before his arrest, was released Monday from Kabul Detention Center after prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to go forward with the case, said Gen. Qayoum Khan, the detention center director. But there were conflicting accounts about the terms of his release. A senior prosecutor involved in the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was released only after agreeing to return to Islam.
It…

URGENT APPEAL for Aleh Gryshkautstou and Andrei Burdyka likely to be executed within the next few weeks in Belarus

The clemency applications of two men on death row in Belarus, Aleh Gryshkautstou and Andrei Burdyka have been turned down. They are likely to be executed within the next few weeks.
Aleh Gryshkautsou, aged 29, and Andrei Burdyka, aged 28, were sentenced to death by shooting on 14 May 2010 for crimes committed during an armed robbery on a flat in Grodno in October 2009. Both men were found guilty of premeditated murder, armed assault, arson, kidnapping of a minor, theft and robbery. On 17 September 2010, the Supreme Court in Minsk turned down their appeals.
The families of the two men only learnt that President Lukashenka had refused their requests for clemency after the news was broadcast on national television on 22 February. On 24 February, Andrei Burdyka’s mother received a letter from him in which he said that he would be seeing a priest on 23 February. This may indicate that his execution is very imminent.
Aleh Gryshkautstou and Andrei Burdyka have not denied the charges. However, …

Singapore defends death penalty in first rights report to UN

Singapore in its inaugural report to the United Nations on the status of human rights defended its tough stance on the death penalty as well as other issues like detention without trial that have repeatedly come under fire from human rights groups.
The city-state is set in May to undergo the first stage of a review under the UN's Human Rights Council as part of the UN's effort to review the human rights situation in all its 192 member states.
The report released late Friday said 'as a young city-state with a multiracial, multireligious and multilingual population, Singapore has no margin for error.'
The government said it respected the universality of human rights but maintained that 'the manner in which all rights are attained and implemented must take cognizance of specific national circumstances and aspirations.'
On the death penalty, which is mandatory for murder and some drug-related offences, the report said Singapore 'considers capital punishment as a cr…

China drops death penalty for 13 nonviolent crimes

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BEIJING (AP) — China dropped the death penalty Friday for more than a dozen nonviolent crimes and banned capital punishment for offenders over the age of 75 in a bid to rein in abuses in the justice system.
China executes more people every year than any other country and critics say too many crimes are punishable by death.
Thirteen economic, nonviolent offenses will be removed from the list of 68 crimes punishable by the death penalty, said Lang Sheng, who heads the legal committee of the Standing Committee to the National People's Congress, China's legislature. The 13 crimes include forging and selling invoices to avoid taxes and smuggling cultural relics and precious metals such as gold out of the country.
The move would not bring down the number of people executed because it targets crimes that have rarely, if ever, had capital punishment applied to them, said Joshua Rosenzweig, research manager for the U.S.-based human rights group Dui Hua Foundation.
Capital punishment can st…

Sri Lankans want the death penalty reinstated

Sri Lanka's state owned The Dinamina newspaper reported today that a recent survey pointed to the fact that 88% of the Sri Lankans want the death penalty enacted.
Sri Lankan courts deliver death sentences but the President as the head of the state traditionally does not consent to the implementation of the death sentence.
However, with the recent spate of violence, there is a public opinion that the death penalty must be enacted to arrest it.
The Ministry of Prisons and Rehabilitation conducted the survey among a sample of people selected from various social strata, the Ministry sources said.
The report of the survey has been handed over to the President who is the ultimate competent authority to implement the death penalty.
Source: Colombo Page, February 24, 2011 _________________________ Use the tags below or the search engine at the top of this page to find updates, older or related articles on this Website.

Quinn says Bishop Tutu, 'Dead Man Walking' nun lobbying him to sign death penalty ban

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Gov. Pat Quinn said Thursday that South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu was among scores of people to weigh in with him as he considers what to do about a bill that would ban capital punishment in Illinois.
The governor faces a deadline of March 18 to act on the death penalty ban, which was passed by the legislature last month. He could do nothing and allow it to become law. He could veto the measure outright. And he could use his amendatory veto power to rewrite the legislation, which would effectively kill it since the bill was passed by the previous General Assembly.
“I’m looking at all aspects of that issue,” said Quinn, who has supported the death penalty but who has maintained a moratorium on state executions that was put in place by then-Gov. George Ryan in 2000 after a number of wrongly convicted people were sentenced to death. “I think it’s important for the governor to visit and listen to a variety of different groups and individuals on this very important issue."
Quinn sa…

British drugs linked with third botched execution

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Jeffrey Landrigan is revealed to have died in agony in Arizona
A third American prisoner has suffered an excruciating death after an anaesthetic supplied by British drug company Dream Pharma apparently failed during the lethal injection procedure in Arizona.
In a sworn statement for Reprieve’s pending High Court action, lawyer and eyewitness Dale Baich states that Jeffrey Landrigan’s eyes remained open during the lethal injection process. This is a rare phenomenon and a key indicator that the anaesthetic, sodium thiopental, has failed.
Reprieve has now established that all three prisoners executed using Dream Pharma sodium thiopental have kept their eyes open. Emmanuel Hammond and Brandon Rhode in Georgia both appeared awake when they should have been unconscious, while Hammond repeatedly grimaced in pain.
There are increasingly urgent concerns over the efficacy of British sodium thiopental, supplied by a one-man wholesaler operating out of the back of an Acton driving academy. Following …

Arizona justice: Shawna Forde death sentence a rebuke to border vigilantes

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An Arizona jury on Tuesday handed down a death sentence for Shawna Forde, leader of Minutemen American Defense. She was convicted in the killings of 2 border residents in 2009 – a case Latinos say should have prompted greater outcry from political leaders.
Arizona is known for its tough stance against illegal immigrants, but this week a jury here sent a strong message of rebuke to anti-immigrant vigilante groups as well, sentencing the leader of a border watch group to death for her role in the 2009 home-invasion murders of a 9-year-old Hispanic-American girl and her father.
Latinos in Arizona had decried politicians' lack of attention to the brutal slayings, contrasting it with the more intense reaction to the murder of a white rancher in Cochise County last March, allegedly at the hands of an illegal border-crosser.
The death sentence handed down Tuesday in Tucson is against Shawna Forde, a resident of Washington State who headed the Minutemen American Defense group. She was convic…

URGENT APPEAL for Johnnie Baston due to be executed in Ohio on 10 March 2011

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Johnnie Baston, a 36-year-old African American man, is scheduled to be executed in Ohio on 10 March. He was sentenced to death in 1995 for a murder committed during a robbery in 1994.
Chong Hoon Mah, a South Korean immigrant to the USA, was shot and killed on 21 March 1994 during a robbery of one of the retail shops that he owned in Toledo, Ohio. Johnnie Baston was arrested after police received information that he was involved in the crime. He told police that he had participated in the robbery with an accomplice named “Ray”, a high-ranking gang member, who was the gunman. However, police were never able to identify or locate this person, and came to believe that Johnnie Baston acted alone. He was charged, pleaded not guilty, and chose to be tried before a three-judge panel rather than a jury. The judges sentenced him to death on 27 February 1995, finding only one mitigating factor – his young age – and ruling that this was outweighed by the nature of the crime.
Johnnie Baston has bee…

Three hanged in public in northwestern Iran

Iran Human Rights, Fabruary 20: According to reports from Iran, three men were hanged in public in the town of Salmas, northwest of Iran.
According to these reports the public hangings took place Sunday morning February 20th.
The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reported that two of the men identified as "Moslem Isapour" and "Ardalan Hatemi" both of Kurdish origin and convicted of drug trafficking, and one man identified as "Peyman Ghane", from the Iranian Azarbaijan, was convicted of kidnapping.
The news hasn’t been reported by major Iranian news agencies.
According to the annual report of "Iran Human Rights" at least 546 people were executed in 2010 in Iran.
Source: Iran Human Rights, February 23, 2011 - [فارسى] _________________________ Use the tags below or the search engine at the top of this page to find updates, older or related articles on this Website.

Texas executes Timothy Wayne Adams

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas — Texas has executed a 42-year-old Houston man for the fatal 2002 shooting of his 19-month old son after an hours-long standoff with police.
Timothy Wayne Adams received a lethal injection Tuesday evening for the death of son Timothy Jr. He shot the child shot twice at close range after the standoff with a police tactical squad at his family's apartment.
Adams' execution took place moments after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a final appeal from his attorneys.
Prosecutors said the slaying was intended as retaliation against his wife for leaving him. Defense attorneys argued the killing was an aberration in an otherwise law-abiding life.
Timothy Wayne Adams killed his 19-month-old son, Timothy Jr., in a custody dispute with his estranged wife. Adams shot the toddler twice in the chest. At his trial, prosecutors called him a man who snapped because he was afraid of losing the child and killed his son because he wanted to punish his wife. 

That woman, Emma Adams, …

Panelists speak against death penalty

If Shujaa Graham had known how spending 3 years on death row for a murder he did not commit would affect his life forever, he would have made the police kill him rather than surrender to their arrest, he said in a Monday panel at Yale Law School.
Graham, New Haven defense attorney Peter Tsimbidaros and Connecticut State Representative Roland Lemar spoke about the fight against the death penalty to about 60 students at the Law School Monday night. Slifka Center Rabbi James Ponet ’68 moderated the event, which illustrated the dangers of allowing the death penalty from legal, political and personal perspectives.
Lemar referenced the recent trial of Steven Hayes, who murdered a woman and her 2 daughters in their home in 2007 and may become the second person to be executed in Connecticut in the last 50 years, as an example of how emotional an issue capital cases can become.
“[The Hayes case] took center stage and inflamed the passions of everyone involved,” he said, nonetheless insisting that…

Company urged Florida not to use its drug in execution 'cocktail'

For years, Illinois-based Hospira Inc. worried about its drugs being used across the country for lethal injections. So, a company spokesman says, Hospira sent letters to all the states annually — including Florida — stating its opposition to the drugs' use to carry out death sentences.
But the states, including Florida, continued using at least one Hospira product in the three-drug "cocktail" approved for executions.
There was nothing illegal about that, but their continued use of Hospira products to execute inmates ultimately compelled the company last month to announce its decision to stop all production of its trademarked anesthetic, Pentothal. The supplies that states already have on hand are set to expire this year.
"Hospira provides these products because they improve or save lives and markets them solely for use as indicated on the product labeling," wrote Kees Gioenhout, Hospira's vice president of Clinical Research and Development, in a letter sent to…

Visit to Brussels by Patches Rhode, mother of executed US prisoner

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Last week the EU institutions office in Brussels hosted Patches Rhode and Joshua Ladner, the mother and brother of Brandon Rhode, who was executed by lethal injection in the US state of Georgia last September. Six days before his execution Brandon had almost died after slashing his arms and neck with a razor. The hospital revived him, stitched him up, and he was brought back to prison. There he was held in a restraint chair, in which he was reported to be “in severe pain and discomfort”.
Patches and Joshua had come over from the United States of America to London as guests of the NGO Reprieve, where they had met British officials and addressed a Parliamentary hearing. Their main objective in Brussels was to see if they could secure EU-wide controls on the export of the anaesthetic sodium thiopental, the first of three drugs which are used in most executions by lethal injection in the USA. The sodium thiopental used in the execution of Brandon Rhode had been purchased from a British com…

Found guilty in 1979 slaying, Larry Ruffin exonerated by DNA after his death

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The late Larry Ruffin has become the second person in the U.S. to be formally exonerated posthumously, thanks to DNA testing.
"It's wonderful," said Ruffin's daughter, Nikki Ruffin Smith, who was less than a year old when her father was arrested in the case. "It can't bring him back, but justice is served. So is the truth."
On Friday, Circuit Judge Robert Helfrich filed an order throwing out Ruffin's capital murder conviction for the 1979 the rape and murder of Eva Gail Patterson of Eatonville.
"Larry Ruffin is officially exonerated and declared innocent of the crime of capital murder for which he was convicted in 1980 in Forrest County," Helfrich wrote. "That conviction is null and void."
In 2002, Ruffin, while serving a life sentence, was accidentally electrocuted and died of a heart attack in prison. The Innocence Project in New Orleans had pushed for the DNA tests and the exonerations of Ruffin and others.
In September, Helfrich e…