Archive for the ‘Death penalty’ Category


Two people at risk of execution

Belarus is the last European nation to maintain the death penalty and this urgent action is asking you to take part in the campaign please.  In addition to the penalty itself, the execution is carried out in secrecy with neither the family or their legal representatives told when it will be nor where where they are buried afterwards.

Urgent Action

Belarus Embassy, London. Pic: Salisbury Amnesty

 


The US rushed to execute 13 before Jo Biden became president

Shock was widely expressed following the execution of 13 people in the final days of the Trump presidency and just days before president elect Jo Biden takes office on 20th.  President Trump has been the most prolific executioner in more than a century.  There has been a gradual drift away from this use of the penalty in the USA – the only American nation still to have the penalty – and the executions are out of step with trends and attitudes among the US public.  These executions took place in federal prisons. It has been criticised as vindictive.

The Attorney General, William Barr said:

[…] We owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.  US Department of Justice statement when federal executions were resumed after two decades.  July 2019 [accessed 16 January 2021]

 

 


The death penalty report for December to January is now available thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling it.

Report- Word

Lisa Montgomery executed on Wednesday 13th


Lisa Montgomery was executed in the Federal prison of Terre Haute, Indiana today (Wednesday, 13 January 2021) after a long legal struggle to save her from this punishment. The case has caused a major debate in the US partly because Lisa was the first woman to be executed in nearly seven decades. She was executed in a federal prison, not a state one.

There is no doubt that her crime was horrific. But there seems little doubt also that her upbringing, which included being gang raped more than once, contributed to her lack of mental wellbeing and borderline personality disorder. It is unlikely she was aware of what was happening to her. She was the 11th person to be executed at Terre Haute since President Trump resumed federal executions.

The US is the only country in the Americas to retain the death penalty and not all states in the union practise it.

There is no evidence to support the maintenance of this penalty. It does not deter and it brutalises those involved in it. It can make securing convictions harder if juries are unwilling to agree a guilty verdict if there is a risk of execution. It is extremely expensive as we noted in a previous post and it has cost California for example, around $12bn to administer since 1978.  For poor people, unable to employ expensive lawyers, the system is stacked against them.  Mistakes – and there are many – cannot afterwards be rectified.  


This is an interview on CNN of Helen Prejean who is an active campaigner against the death penalty in the USA.  Helen is a Roman Catholic, born in Baton Rouge Louisiana, and was chair of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty up to 1995.  She is the author of a book, Dead Man Walking.

The interview was made because of President Trump’s programme of carrying out a string of Federal executions in the lame duck period before President elect Joe Biden takes over in January.  The number of these is unprecedented.

CNN interview


This months Death Penalty report is now available thanks to group member Lesley for putting it together.  Two cases in particular are noted and links to those can be found below.  Note that China executes more of its citizens than the rest of the world put together but details are a state secret.

Report: Nov – Dec (Word)

Ali al Nimr

Kris Maharaj

Tree featuring Human Rights Defenders


Iranian-Swedish academic at risk of imminent execution for the crime of ‘corruption on earth’

We have received the urgent action concerning Ahmadreza Djalili who is at risk of execution in Tehran.  He suffered a grossly unfair trial based on confessions obtained using torture and other ill-treatment.  If you have time, please write – the details can be found on the attached link. Thank you.

Urgent action details


Lisa Montgomery execution to go ahead in the dying days of the Trump presidency

The execution by lethal injection of Lisa Montgomery is now scheduled to take place at Terre Haute Federal prison Indiana on January 12 just days before president-elect Joe Biden takes office.  She is the first woman to be executed in almost six decades.

Lisa’s crime was truly awful and involved murder of a woman and the removal of her unborn baby.  The argument has been about her mental state and her background.  She was the victim of gang rape, incest and sex trafficking.  Her defence (defense) has argued that the balance of her mind was disturbed at the time of the murder.

It is some kind of fitting end to the President’s term of office to rush through a number of Federal executions including this one.  No other lame duck president has carried out more than one execution since Grover Cleveland’s first presidency in 1888 – 89.

This has been an administration that’s been historically out of step. Not just out of step with the views of America in 2020, but out of step with federal practices by administrations, Democratic or Republican, for the course of [a] century, Death Penalty Information Center Executive Director Robert Dunham told The Washington Post.

The USA is the only country in the Americas to retain the death penalty.

China executes more of its citizens than the rest of the world combined but details are a state secret.

See our latest monthly death penalty report.

Further details of other executions being rushed through on the Death Penalty Information Center

Sources: USA Today; Fort Worth Star-Telegram; Washington Post; Guardian; US Dept. of Justice


Kris Maharaj remain in prison in Florida despite being found innocent

Today is Marita Maharaj’s birthday.

She is 81 years old – she’s now had 34 birthdays without her beloved husband Kris by her side.

It’s been a difficult year for the elderly couple. A judge found that Kris was innocent by “clear and convincing evidence” but still refused to order his release.

Marita worries about Kris, this year more than ever before – he’s 81 years old, in poor health and at risk of the worst effects of coronavirus in a crowded Florida prison.  And because of the pandemic, instead of a visit each week, she has not been able to see him since March.

Further details can be found on this link about this shocking case and miscarriage of justice in America.

Message from Reprieve


We attach this months DP report thanks to group member Lesley for compiling it.  It is full report this month with a wide range of countries to report on.

Report (Word)