Archive for April, 2017


Five reasons to end the death penalty

We are attaching the recent post issued by RightsInfo which gives 5 reasons to end the death penalty.  There is a rising tide of executions around the world as the recent Amnesty report makes clear with China the country which leads the world (if ‘lead’ be the appropriate word) in executing the greatest number which it keeps a secret.  Saudi Arabia and Iran are also major executioners often in barbaric circumstances.

Our local group produces a monthly report and these can be found on this site.

Briefly, the Rights Info report, entitled: 5 Reasons the UK is Trying to Stamp Out the Death Penalty Worldwide, says that the death penalty:

  1. will often execute the innocent.  We have documented many instances on this site where for various reasons, the wrong person has been executed.  Once done, it cannot be undone
  2. is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and often involves people incarcerated for decades under threat of execution
  3. it has no effect on crime rates, indeed there are more murders in those states in the United States where capital punishment is used
  4. it damages international crime fighting because we cannot extradite individualswhere there is the risk of someone being executed

[we were unable to find a fifth in the report]

5 Reasons the UK is Trying to Stamp Out the Death Penalty Worldwide – RightsInfo copy (pdf)


Juvenile due to be executed in Iran

Iranian Mullahs

This is an urgent action for someone who was accused and tried as a juvenile (aged 15 at the time of the alleged murder) and who is now due to be executed on 10 May.  He was held in solitary confinement during his confinement and says he was beaten during his time in prison.

If you can find time to write or email that would be appreciated.

Urgent action: Iran



Petition to the Governor Asa Hutchinson to stop the execution due this week

The rush to carry out executions in Arkansas, USA, continues apace with another one due tomorrow (Thursday 27th).  This is a petition (see below) to send to the Governor asking him to stop.  The panic to get the executions done is because the drugs being used are due to expire.  Adds a new meaning to ‘sell by date’ we see on our foodstuffs.

The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, as it violates the right to life. It is also a cruel and inhumane punishment that may constitute torture.

Amnesty always oppose the death penalty in every case because it violates rights. The idea of lethal injection as a ‘humane’ form of execution is simply a myth. There have been numerous cases of ‘botched’ executions by lethal injection in the US in recent years, with prisoners failing to die quickly or ‘quietly’.  See our post on the process to be followed in California.

If you get time to send an urgent email that would be appreciated.

 

Petition to Arkansas

Slavery

Posted: April 25, 2017 in slavery
Tags: , , ,

Talk by Robert Key on Slavery

Robert Key. Picture: Cathedral School

Voyages to Hell: Pirates and Slaves is the title of an illustrated history the former MP for Salisbury Robert Key,  is giving on Friday 12 May.  Many people think that slavery was abolished in the nineteenth century with the end of the trade in slaves across the Atlantic.  It is however alive and well and is taking many different forms in the modern world.

The talk will take place in Stevenson Hall, Leaden Hall Campus, Salisbury Cathedral School, starting at 7:30 with a bar from 7:00.  Tickets are £10 each at the door, or to be sure of a seat, through Peter Lane 01264 771701 or phlane@btinternet.com.  Money raised will go to the Cathedral Choir Foundation.

Robert Key is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries


Anti Slavery International

 

 


UPDATE: two executed today (25 April)

‘Execution by assembly line’

The death penalty saga in Arkansas continues with a blizzard of legal writs and appeals to the Supreme Court.  The heart of the matter was the desire of the Governor, Asa Hutchinson, to execute eight inmates before the drugs run out.  Ledell Lee was executed last Thursday.  States with the death penalty are finding it harder to obtain the medication to carry out the executions.  This is partly due to the activities of anti-death penalty groups, waning support for the penalty with 49% of Americans in favour, and the refusal by drug companies to supply them.  The EU has banned European firms from exporting them.  Indeed, two firms who have supplied drugs – in particular Midazolam – have filed claims against its use on the basis that they were not supplied for that purpose.  These claims have been rejected.

A recent appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected 5 – 4 and key was the vote by the newly appointed Justice Gorsuch.  He was one of President Trump’s appointments.

One of the appeals was to re-examine crime scene materials using modern DNA techniques.  These should prove conclusively either way whether the defendants were guilty or otherwise.  These claims were denied which seems bizarre in the extreme when someone’s life is at stake.  Ledell Lee has now been executed so it is too late for him.  The inadequate nature of trials which lead to the use of the death penalty is describe in Clive Stafford Smith’s book Injustice.   The gruesome process of the death penalty is laid bare in the State of California’s procedure and protocol summarised here.

Arkansa now wants to execute two on the same day which is the first time that will have happened since 1970 in Texas.

This is a fast moving story and no doubt this item will be updated soon.

Sources:

Reuters; BBC; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; Time; Arkansas Times; Death Penalty Information Center


 

 

 


Follow the links to Twitter and Facebook on the left.

If you live in the Salisbury (UK) area and are interested in Human rights we would be delighted to see you.  The best way is to keep an eye on events and come along and make yourself known.  See also the Joining tab at the top of the page.


UPDATE 23 April:

Over 50 stopped to sign and we are grateful to those who did.  If you have come to this site having read the leaflet we gave out – welcome.  We hope you mark it as a favourite site and visit us from time to time.  Details of other events can be found here.

On Saturday 22 April, we asked people to sign a petition concerning the atrocious conditions and executions in Saydnaya Prison in Syria.  We were in the Library passage for an hour.

factsheet (pdf)


Minutes of the monthly meeting are available thanks to group member Lesley for compiling them.  A full meeting with a death penalty report, a report on the meeting with the North Korean escapee, social media statistics with a record number of hits, and more.

April minutes

 

North Korean speaker in Salisbury.  Picture: Salisbury Amnesty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We welcome support from people in Salisbury and surrounding area.  If you are interested in human rights and would like to become involved then come along to the Library passage this Saturday between 9 and noon and make yourself known.

Follow us on twitter and Facebook

 


Death penalty report for March – April 2017

This is the death penalty update report for mid March to mid April thanks to group member Lesley for compiling it.  Some good news – even in China – where the statistics on the use of the penalty are a state secret, tempered by heavy use in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Iran.

Report (Word)



Execution spree in Arkansas, USA

 This urgent action is for Ledell Lee who is one of a number facing imminent execution in Arkansas.  There is a spate of these planned executions in that state due to the imminent expiry of the chemicals used for the execution.  It gives a new meaning to ‘sell by date’.  If you want to read the gruesome details of execution by lethal injection, read an extract from the details sent to us by the state of California.

This case – concerning Ledell Lee – is worth reading even if you do not have the time to write which we hope you will.  It gives a bizarre insight into the legal process and the low standard of defence someone can expect in some states of the Union.  It is just another example described by Clive Stafford Smith in his book on the subject.

The USA is the only state in the Americas which still has the death penalty.

China executes more of its citizens than any other country but the statistics are a state secret.

Urgent Action: Arkansas (pdf)

 


Picture: salon.com

This is an urgent action for Chechnya in the Russian Republic and concerns a concerted attack on gay people.  The treatment of gay people in Russia is shocking and the police do little or nothing to prevent violence against them.

If you can find time to write that would be appreciated.

Urgent action (pdf)