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Showing posts from December, 2012

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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…

Japan: Death row inmates want prior notice of execution, prefer lethal injection

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A survey conducted by Mizuho Fukushima, deputy chairwoman of the nonpartisan Parliamentary League for the Abolition of the Death Penalty of Japanese death row inmates show that more than 50% of respondents prefer to know ahead of time when their execution will be carried out. The majority also wants the government to review the current method of execution.
The survey covered 133 people on death row, with 78 replying to the questions. 51 said that they wanted advanced notice, to be able to prepare themselves mentally and some to get the chance to say goodbye to their loved ones. More than half also want a review of the current method of execution, which is hanging. 25 of the respondents said they prefer death by lethal injection.
Japan is one of two major industrialized economies (the other being the United States) that still carries out capital punishment. But Japan is unique in the fact that a death row inmate can languish for years in solitary confinement without knowing when the p…

No plans to execute Bali 9 pair in 2013

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The 2 Australians on death row in Indonesia appear to have received a 1-year reprieve from facing the firing squad, despite Indonesia planning to start executions again.
Of the hundreds of people on death row in Indonesia, 2 are members of the Australian drug trafficking group dubbed the Bali 9.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were both sentenced to death for their part in the failed operation and are now in Bali's infamous Kerobokan prison.
While 133 criminals have been sentenced to death in Indonesia this year alone, delays have meant none have been executed since 2008, when 3 of the Bali bombers faced the firing squad.
But the attorney-general's office has now announced plans to carry out the death sentence for eight convicted criminals next year.
The office has not said who those 8 people will be, other than they would be people who were sentenced in 2012.
That leaves Chan and Sukumaran off the list of executions for next year.
Both Chan and Sukumaran have lost all judic…

Four hanged in Iran; 11 put to death since Christmas Eve

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Iran Human Rights, December 29: Four prisoners were hanged in the prison of Yazd (Central Iran) early this morning Saturday December 29.
According to the state run Iranian news agency Fars, three prisoners identified as "A.B.", "R.D." and "N.B." were convicted of rape in two different cases. 
The fourth prisoner identified as "M. A. A." was convicted of possession and trafficking of 980 grams of heroin and 38750 grams of opium. The executions were carried out early this morning in the central prison of Yazd.
Since the Christmas Eve (5 days ago) 11 people have been executed in Iran.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 29, 2012

Afghan citizen executed in northern Iran

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Iran Human Rights, December 27: An Afghan citizen was hanged in Dameghan (northern Iran) early this morning reported the Iranian state media.
According to the state run Mehr news agency a prisoner identified as M.M. (27 years old) was hanged in Dameghan today.
The prisoner who was an Afghan citizen from Herat, was convicted of possession and trafficking of 1,970 grams of crack, said the report.
Five other prisoners were hanged publicly in southern Iran today.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 27, 2012

'Honour killings' bring dishonour to India

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The policeman jumped to his feet as the man walked into the station and placed the head of his sister, along with the butcher knife that decapitated her, on the table in front of him.
The incident in Kolkata on December 7 was another killing in the name of "honour" and there has been a surge in such attacks over the past several months.
Nilofar Bibi, 22, was only 14 years old when she left home in an arranged marriage. Alleging torture carried out by her in-laws, Bibi returned to her parents on November 28, but vanished days later.
Her brother, Mehtab Alam, 29, had discovered his sister was living with an old boyfriend, Firoz, an auto-rickshaw driver. Alam stormed into the home and dragged Bibi onto the street in broad daylight.
Passers-by looked on in horror as he cut off Bibi's head while saying "she had sinned and had to be punished".
Alam left his sister's body in a pool of blood on the road, and calmly walked to the police station, her head …

Iran: Five executed in public for rape

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Iran Human Rights, December 27: Five prisoners were hanged publicly in southern Iran today December 27.
According to the state run Iranian news agency Fars five men were hanged in "Mehrvarzi" parks of Yasouj city in front of thousands of people.

The prisoners who were not identified by name were convicted of rape.
So far according to official Iranian reports at least 23 people have been executed in December 2012 in Iran.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 27, 2012

Dakota Indians mark hangings of 1862 with trek on horseback

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(Reuters) - The day after Christmas will be somber for Dakota Indians marking what they consider a travesty of justice 150 years ago, when 38 of their ancestors were executed in the biggest mass hanging in U.S. history.
Overshadowed by the Civil War raging in the East, the hangings in Mankato, Minnesota, on December 26, 1862, followed the often overlooked six-week U.S.-Dakota war earlier that year -- a war that marked the start of three decades of fighting between Native Americans and the U.S. government across the Plains.
President Abraham Lincoln intervened in the case, demanding a review that reduced the number of death sentences. But he allowed 38 to be executed, including two men historians believe were hanged in error, even as he was preparing the Emancipation Proclamation to free black slaves in the South.
This month, in an annual event that started in 2005, some Dakota are making a 300-mile trek on horseback in frigid winter temperatures to revive the memory of this footnote …

Iran: Inmate executed on Christmas day

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Iran Human Rights, December 26: One prisoner was hanged in the prison of Sari (northern Iran) reported the state run Iranian news agency ISNA from Mazandaran Province.
According to the report the prisoner who was not identified by name, was convicted of selling and buying narcotic drugs. The hanging took place inside the prison of Sari on the Christmas day, December 25.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 26, 2012

France urges Taiwan to hold debate on death penalty

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Paris, Dec. 25 (CNA) France has condemned the execution of six death row inmates in Taiwan last week and urged Taiwan to open a national debate on the future of capital punishment.
Through a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the French government urged Taiwan to restore a moratorium on the death penalty.
"France, like its partners in the European Union, reaffirms its determined and consistent opposition to the death penalty, in all places and in all circumstances," the statement read.
On Dec. 21, Taiwan executed six death row inmates who were convicted of murdering eight people.
The executions were the first this year and brought to 15 the number of convicts put to death since April 2010, when Taiwan ended an informal 52-month moratorium on carrying out the death penalty.
The executions have drawn condemnation from the European Union and Amnesty International.
The government of Taiwan has explained that the executions were carried out in acco…

Indonesia Announces Plans for First Executions in 4 Years

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The Attorney General’s Office plans to execute 10 convicted felons in 2013 in Indonesia’s first wave of executions in four years.
Indonesian courts sentenced 113 people to death in 2012, but hasn’t carried out an execution since 2008. In recent years, the public, as well as prominent politicians like President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, have expressed an aversion to the death penalty.
But in this year alone, 60 murderers, 51 drug convicts and two convicted terrorists were sentenced to death.
The AGO planned to execute an inmate in 2012, but was hampered by delays, Deputy Attorney General for General Crimes Mahfud Mannan said at a press conference in Jakarta on Wednesday.
“I scheduled to execute a convict this year, but it has been delayed as we’re still coordinating with the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights about the place [for the execution],” Mahfud said. “We’re targeting to execute 10 people next year.”
The AGO declined to list the 10 convicts scheduled for execution next year,…

Florida: Seth Penalver acquitted of charges related to his 1999 death sentence

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Tampa, FL. (12-21-12)---A Broward County Jury has acquitted Seth Penalver of all charges related to his 1999 murder conviction and death sentence. In 2006, the Florida Supreme Court overturned Penalver’s conviction and ordered a new trial. The jury ended its 10th day of deliberations Friday by delivering the acquittals, capping a five-month trial and securing Penalver’s freedom after he spent almost half his life in custody. Penalver, who has been jailed since his arrest in the summer of 1994, is expected to be released tonight.
With this decision, Penalver becomes Florida’s 24th Exonerated Death Row Prisoner. Florida has far more exonerated Death Row inmates than any other state.
Since Florida resumed executions in the 1970’s, twenty-four wrongfully convicted Death Row prisoners have been exonerated while seventy-four prisoners have been executed. “That’s one exoneration for every three executions,” said Mark Elliott, Director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, ”Ho…

Taiwan: Another Six Executions

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The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) joins the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) in condemning the executions today of another six people in Taiwan.
Zeng Si-ru, Hung Ming-tsung, Huang Hsien –cheng, Chen Chin-huo, Kuang Te-chiang and Tai Te-ying were executed at different locations across Taiwan. Family members are not informed about executions in advance and find out only when they are invited to collect the body after the execution.
ADPAN regrets that since taking office in 2010, fifteen execution warrants have been signed by Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu. Four executions took place in 2010 and five last year.
The executions by shooting are the first in the country this year. 55 people are facing execution and have exhausted all appeals.
“The death penalty is the cheapest method but also the least effective in stopping crime, says Lin Hsinyi, Executive Director of the TAEDP. “If the government really wanted to put a stop to crime, it should not look to the …

Seven hanged in central Iran

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Iran Human Rights, December 20: Seven prisoners were hanged in the prison of Isfahan.
According to the state run Iranian daily newspaper Kayhan, seven prisones were hanged in the prison of Isfahan yesterday December 19.
According to the report, six of the prisoners were convicted of drug trafficking and one of them was convicted of rape.
The prisoners were between 25 and 45 years old, said the report.
None of the prisoners were identified by name.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 20, 2012

Army Seeking Death Penalty in Massacre of 16 Afghans

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SEATTLE — The United States Army will seek the death penalty against Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of killing 16 civilians in Afghanistan, officials said on Wednesday.
Sergeant Bales’s court-martial will consider 16 counts of premeditated murder, six counts of attempted murder and seven counts of assault, among other charges, but no trial date was set.
The Army has charged that Sergeant Bales, 39, who was serving his fourth combat tour, walked away from a remote outpost in southern Afghanistan and shot and stabbed members of several families in an ambush in two villages in the early morning hours of March 11. At least nine of the people he is accused of killing were children.
Prosecutors at a week of pretrial hearings in early November at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, where Sergeant Bales was stationed, suggested that he had acted in deliberate fury, perhaps in revenge for a bomb attack that had caused a fellow soldier to lose a leg. Defense lawyers said evidence presented in t…

Saudi Arabia: Sudanese man beheaded for murder

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December 19, 2012: A Sudanese man convicted of murder was beheaded by the sword in the western city of Mecca, the Saudi interior ministry said.
Othman Mohammed was found guilty of killing another Sudanese man, Salah Ahmed, by repeatedly beating him on his head following a dispute between the two, the ministry said in a statement published by state news agency SPA.
Mohammed's beheading raises to 76 the number of people executed so far this year in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom, where 79 were put to death in 2011, according to Amnesty International.
Source: AAP, December 19, 2012

Saudi Arabia: 1,000 tribesmen seek pardon for killer

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Nearly 1,000 tribesmen in Saudi Arabia packed a farm to ask the father of a murdered boy to pardon the killer before he is beheaded in the Gulf Kingdom shortly. But the father rejected the plea and insisted on the execution of the killer.
The clan chiefs and other dignitaries from Qahtan tribes in the southern province of Asir marched towards the farm of the man whose son was killed nearly two years ago by Mohammed Al Qahtani from Qahtan tribe. After hesitation, he agreed to talk to them.
“After a meeting of more than two hours, the victim’s father rejected their pleas and insisted on the execution of the killer,” Sharq newspaper said.
Qahtani was sentenced to death two years ago and could be beheaded shortly after the victim’s father rebuffed all previous mediation efforts to pardon him in return for diya (blood money).
Source: Emirates247, December 17, 2012

Man to be executed for killing prostitute in Dubai

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Appeals Court rejects murderer’s appeal, confirms capital punishment against Pakistani
Dubai: A man, who slit a prostitute’s neck and stole her following a row over money, will face a firing squad after his appeal to have his sentence commuted was rejected on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old Pakistani murderer, A.K., was convicted of premeditatedly slitting the Uzbek prostitute’s neck thrice and stealing her Dh200 and two mobiles.
Despite having pleaded not guilty and contending that he didn’t intend to kill her, the Dubai Appeal Court on Wednesday rejected A.K.’s appeal and confirmed his death sentence.
“The court has dismissed the appeal of the defendant, who will be executed, after the judges unanimously agreed to that,” said presiding judge Mustafa Al Shennawi.
Senior Chief Prosecutor Yousuf Foulaz, Head of Deira Prosecution, sought the death penalty against A.K.
Records said the accused commit the crime in cold blood and he immediately went to a mosque for prayer after the murder.
The …

U.S.: Executions, death sentences remain steady over past year

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Washington (CNN) -- Executions and death sentences remained steady over the past year, but the number of states carrying out capital punishment continues to drop, according to a study released Tuesday.
Forty-three men were put to death in 2012, matching 2011's total, reported the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). Eighty people were sentenced to death, the second lowest total since executions resumed in 1976.
And only nine of the 50 states carried out lethal injections of convicted capital murderers, led by Texas with 15 executions, more than a third of the nationwide total this year.
Southern states that traditionally have been active in capital punishment reported no such procedures in 2012, with that list including North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Missouri and Virginia.
"Capital punishment is becoming marginalized and meaningless in most of the country," said Richard Dieter, DPIC executive director and author of the report.
Click here…

Iran: Man hanged in Kashan over drug charges

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Iran Human Rights, December 17: One prisoner was hanged in Kashan (central Iran) today, reported the Iranian state media.
The Iranian state broadcasting reported a prisoner convicted of smuggling and trafficking narcotics was hanged in Kashan prison early this morning. 
Quoting the deputy commander of the Isfahan security forces "Karmi", the report said: "The prisoner was arrested in 2009 and charged with possessing and selling 681 grams of crack".
The prisoner was not identified by name in the report.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 18, 2012

Witness to an execution

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When the State of Arizona carried out the grisly business of executing Richard Stokley last week, it did so in a transparent manner. Of the 34 executions the state has conducted since 1992, this was the third time that witnesses were able to observe most of the execution process.
Why is this important? Transparency is vital to an informed citizenry. So it is crucial that witnesses can now observe, by way of a closed-circuit video monitor, the prisoner from the point after he is strapped to the table until he is pronounced dead. Witnesses hear what occurs in the execution chamber via an audio feed, and the media are provided an opportunity to record what they see and hear.
Notwithstanding this transparency, reports of Mr. Stokley’s execution described only a small part of the process. Media accounts noted the execution team “had difficulty finding a second injection point.” Mr. Stokley was described as “calm, talkative and nice” and “bantered at times with the execution team.” He was …

Ohio Gov. John Kasich spares convicted killer Ronald Ray Post

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Post, who shot Elyria motel clerk Helen Vantz twice in the head during a robbery 29 years ago, had been scheduled to be executed on Jan. 16. He will now serve life in prison without possibility of parole.
“Regardless of the heinous nature of their crime, a criminal defendant is entitled to an effective defense, especially in a death penalty case,” Kasich said in a statement. “The Parole Board’s conclusion is that Ronald Post did not come close to receiving such a defense. After my own careful review I agree.”
In a split vote, the Ohio Parole Board recommended last week that Kasich spare Post’s life because of problems with his legal representation over the years, including the controversial decision by his trial lawyers to have Post plead no contest to aggravated murder and aggravated robbery charges.
Post was sentenced to death by a three-judge panel following his plea.
In recent months, his lawyers have argued that the state could not guarantee Post a quick and painless death under…

Terrorism: "We Opted for Death Penalty Due to Nigeria's Peculiarity"

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The Senate on Friday said it adopted the death penalty as punishment for acts of terrorism due to Nigeria's peculiar circumstances.

The National Assembly at its sitting on Thursday approved the death penalty for acts of terrorism in Nigeria following the recommendations contained in a conference committee report of both houses.

The report was on a harmonised version of a Bill for an Act to amend the Terrorism (Prevention) Act, 2011 and for Other Related Matters.

The spokesman of the Senate, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a telephone interview, that the choice of the death penalty was informed by the existing situation in the country.

"This is Nigeria and we are going to do laws based on extant things happening in our country. We cannot afford to use what is done in other countries to resolve our peculiarities.

"So we are adopting this amendment to address the problem that is peculiar to Nigeria," Abaribe said.

Sen. Victor Lar (PDP-…

Ohio to execute 12 over 2 years

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Ohio dropped behind other states in the number of executions this year, but the pace is expected to quicken, with 12 lethal injections scheduled in the next two years.
In addition, four new death sentences were handed down in Ohio this year, including the first one in Franklin County since 2003, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office.
Ohio carried out three of the nation’s 43 executions this year, the same number nationally as in 2011, according to figures compiled by the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonpartisan organization in Washington, D.C., that is a clearinghouse for capital-punishment information.
Ohio had other executions scheduled this year, but they were canceled because of a court fight over lethal-injection procedures and clemency commutations granted by Gov. John Kasich.
Click here to read the full article
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, December 20, 2012

Yemen executes 2nd child this year

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Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child Wednesday expressed 'deep dismay' concerning the execution of another child in Yemen.
"According to the information we have received, Hind Al-Barti was around 15 years old at the time of the offense," the Chairperson Jean Zermatten said.
2 children under 18 years of age were executed in 2012, and 14 juveniles had been executed between 2006 and 2010.
21 more children have been convicted and sentenced to death, 1 of which is 13 years old, according to the UN committee press release.
"According to the information transmitted to us, Waleed Hussein Haikal and Mohammad Abduh Qasim al-Taweel (both aged 15 at the time of the commission of the offense) and Mohammad Taher Samoum in Ibb (aged 13) have had their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court," the chairperson said.
"We urgently appeal to the Government of Yemen to immediately stop the executions of juvenile offenders and to take effective…

Kuwait introduces death penalty for ‘cursing God and prophets’

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Kuwaiti MPs this week approved a law with a death penalty for Muslims who curse God, the Koran, all prophets and the wives of Islam's Prophet Mohammed. Non-Muslims who commit the same offence face a jail term of not less than 10 years, according to the bill.
Defendants who repent in court will be spared capital punishment but will get a jail sentence for five years and a fine of $36,000 or one of them, while repentance by those who repeat the crime is not acceptable, the bill says.
"We do not want to execute people with opinions or thought because Islam respects these people... But we need this legislation because incidents of cursing God have increased. We need to deter them," opposition MP Ali al-Deqbasi said during the debate.
Shiite MPs also demanded that the bill impose the death penalty on anyone who curses their sect's 12 revered Imams, but the Sunni-dominated parliament rejected their request.
The bill becomes effective after the government accepts it, the e…

Pakistan: House divided over enforcing capital punishment

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Parliamentary secretary calls for putting matter of abolishing capital punishment to a debate in the house.
When confronted with the fact that 65 convicts were waiting for their execution on death row in Pakistan, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Tahira Aurangzeb bluntly asked to have capital punishment abolished in the land.
"I am against death penalty. Find some alternative punishment," said Aurangzeb on Monday during question hour in the house.
But in a surprise move, Pakistan Peoples Party's (PPP) Aijaz Virk said he, as an individual would oppose any attempt made at abolishing capital punishment. This is in contradiction of his party's unspoken resolve to put executions in abeyance. Though 1 man was recently executed.
Virk referred to the law existing in Saudi Arabia and quoted from Islamic history to support his argument. "Pakistan's name itself suggests it was formed on Islamic principles. How can we make legislation contrary to Islamic laws,&q…

Taiwan: Execution to go ahead despite foreign scholars' concern

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The government will carry out executions in accordance with related laws, as most Taiwanese still support capital punishment despite recent concerns expressed by foreign scholars, the nation's justice minister said yesterday.
"Scholars have the right to express their personal views, but it is Taiwan's current law to have capital punishment," Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu said yesterday in the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) will not suspend its policy of capital punishment, even though there is currently no timetable for the executions of those on death row, he added.
Citing surveys that show most Taiwanese people support the death sentence, Tseng said the MOJ will not be influenced by foreign countries in legal matters concerning capital punishment.
Tseng made the remarks yesterday when asked to comment on local media reports that two renowned scholars had asked Taiwan to halt the execution of death-row inmates.
The scholars, Manfred Nowa…

Florida executes Manuel Pardo

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A former police officer who murdered 9 people during a 1986 crime spree was executed Tuesday after his attorneys' last-minute appeals were rejected.
Manuel Pardo, 56, was pronounced dead at Florida State Prison at 7:47 p.m., about 16 minutes after the lethal injection process began. His attorneys had tried to block the execution by arguing that he was mentally ill, but federal courts declined to intercede.
Reporters could not hear his final statement because of an apparent malfunction in the death chamber's sound system. A white sheet had been pulled up to his chin and IV lines ran into his left arm. He blinked several times, his eyes moved back and forth and he took several deep breaths. Over the next several minutes the color drained from his face before he was pronounced dead.
Prison officials said his final words were, "Airborne forever. I love you, Michi baby," referring to his daughter.
Pardo also wrote a final statement that was distributed to the media, in w…

3 get death penalty, 1 life in prison in China hijack case

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BEIJING: China sentenced three men to death and another to life in prison on Tuesday over an alleged hijacking attempt in June by members of the minority Uighur ethnic group in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Charges against the men included organising, leading, and taking part in a terrorist organisation, and using explosives, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the Intermediate People's Court in the city of Hotan where the incident occurred. It said the four confessed and did not contest the charges.
In total, six men from the Muslim Uighur ethnic group were arrested for the alleged attempt on June 29, two of whom later died from injuries sustained while fighting the crew and passengers. An overseas rights group says the incident was a brawl over a seat dispute a relatively common occurrence in China not a hijacking attempt.
A court official directed questions to the Xinjiang government, where a man who answered the phone and identified himself by his surn…

Man executed in northern Iran over drug charges

Iran Human Rights, December 10: One prisoner was hanged in the prison of Semnan (northern Iran) early this morning.
According to the state run Mehr news agency, the prisoner identified as "M. H.", was convicted of [trafficking] 3470 grams of crack.
The charges have not been [confirmed] by independent sources.
Source: Iran Human Rights, December 10, 2012

Iran executes its citizens at a faster rate

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Human rights organizations are outraged by ever-increasing executions of dissidents, bloggers and activists in Iran. In the world's most execution-prone country, even misdemeanors draw the death penalty.
The human rights situation in Iran has deteriorated over the last few months, according to a UN report. Indeed, news about the hanging of ten individuals at the end of October in a Teheran prison due to charges of drug trafficking drew criticism from around the world. The hangings were in violation of international law, which dictates that the death penalty be limited to only the "most serious felonies." That was clearly not the case in Teheran. There are also serious doubts regarding the fairness of the trial against the accused, says the report by the UN Commission on Human Right (UNCHR).
London-based human rights organization Amnesty International called the executions a "state killing-spree," noting that 344 people have been executed in Iran since March.
U…