human rights

Human rights in America: claims and reality


29 JUNE 2015,

The concept of human rights means the ability of humans to exercise their subjective rights in the era of humanism and education, Milli.az reported. Main concept of human rights is that all human beings have equal rights and these rights apply to everyone without interpretation. Although it is supposed that human rights were first mentioned in Europe, exactly in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, passed in France in 1789, long before that the idea of human rights went through a remarkable development path, with human rights charters adopted in England and America. This is why the West, particularly the USA are considered “the cradle of democracy and human rights”, a role model for other countries. In some instances the West, especially the USA, abuse their position to exert pressure on other countries using “violation of democracy and human rights” as a pretext. But let`s look if the rights of people and citizens are perfectly protected in the West, including in America.

“Cradle” of democracy and human rights

One needs just to browse the Internet to see concrete evidence of the West`s poor human rights record. It is a fact that Europe is experiencing growing violation of rights of Muslims, with organizations engaged in anti-Islamic propaganda gathering pace. Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011, is the product of these terrorist organizations. It should be noted that on July 22 Breivik shot dead 69 participants of a summer camp on the island of Utoya, and then declared that Islam should be fought with terror. He also killed eight people by setting off a van bomb in Oslo. As a result of a 12 week-long trial, Breivik was declared insane and got off with minor punishment. Muslims in Germany, Denmark, Belgium and France face similar law violations on a daily basis. As regards the United States, the country joined only three of nine major international human rights conventions. Racial discrimination, xenophobia, prison overcrowding, execution of the mentally impaired is typical of the American public and political system. The Americans have not yet ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“Searching for the enemy within”

The election of black Barack Obama as president boosted the U.S. police`s “search for the enemy within” and increased racial prejudice. Hundreds of people, who joined Occupy Wall Street protest movement against social and economic inequality, were arrested in New York City in 2011. Journalists covering the protests in Los-Angeles, Washington, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle and other cities were also arrested, facing police brutality. Three UN reports underlined growing racial discrimination within law enforcement bodies in the U.S. The media are also frequently reporting of U.S. police violence against blacks and Latin Americans.

“I can`t breathe”

The aforementioned can be proved by an incident that happened on Staten Island, New York City, on July 17, 2014. According to The New York Times, on that day police officer Daniel Pantaleo approached Eric Garner, a 43 year old father of six, on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. After a confrontation the officer wrestled Garner, an African American, to the ground, putting him in a chockhold. Lying facedown on the sidewalk, Garner was saying “I can’t breathe” multiple times. But officer Pantaleo disregarded the plea of Garner, who had asthma. The man was later pronounced dead. But the officer was not indicted. The last words of Eric Garner became the rallying cry for protests in New York City, Washington and other cities. But there was not proper response from the authorities: the case was delayed on different pretexts, and the grand jury refused to indict the policeman who killed an African American citizen of the USA. One of the black American politicians politicized the issue, saying “it is impossible to breathe in this country where human rights are violated”.

American police: “I will kill you”

Another proof that violation of human rights has become a common occurrence in the USA is the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an 18 year old black man, by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri. It was established that in the course of the incident the officer threatened to kill Brown before shooting him. Brown`s mother said the officer fired seven times at her son. The incident sparked protests staged by Ferguson residents, mostly African Americans, demanding the arrest and criminal indictment of the police officer. However a grand jury decided not to indict officer Wilson, provoking weeks-long protests and nationwide unrest. Hundreds of people involved in the protests were detained and subjected to police brutality and torture.

Journalists who became “criminals”

It should be emphasized that journalists covering Ferguson unrest were also tortured by police. The Washington Post and The Huffington Post reporters were detained by police without any reason and taken to the Ferguson police station. An Al-Jazeera reporter saw tear gas in front of him thrown by police when he was trying to go live on air. The reporters, who were soon released, later said they were more afraid of aggressive conduct of police rather than the protesters. Wesley Lowery, a reporter for The Washington Post and Ryan Reilly, a journalist of the Huffington Post, said they were using a McDonald restaurant as a staging area near demonstrations when police came into the café. Officers asked the reporters to show their press passes. Lowery showed his press pass, while Reilly refused, saying police were acting illegally. Lowery and Reilly were then taken to the back of a police car, and their equipment was seized.

“They take our lives for granted”

On April 12, 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American, was arrested by the Baltimore police. Officers brutally beat the man to break his spinal cord. Gray was put in intensive care. He later died at the hospital. Gray`s death sparked mass protest rallies in Baltimore. Fearful of the growing unrest, the government imposed a curfew and deployed the Maryland National Guard to the city. A total of 210 people were detained, some 15 buildings were torched and 100 vehicles were destroyed during the Baltimore unrest. Charlie Walker, a black activist of the Baltimore protests, accused the U.S. law enforcement bodies of corruption, human rights violation and bribery. “Our struggle should not be throwing stones at police, robbing and setting a fire on shops, destroying cars. What we should do is to hit a blow to the power of dollar and stop paying money to corporations. This is the only thing they understand. Money is crucial for them. And they take our lives for granted. We were the slaves of these insects for 400 years. But they have not yet understood that we are not slaves any longer.”

Some 458 people murdered in a year

Apart from Brown and Gray, unarmed Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Akai Gurley and others were shot dead during encounters with police officers because of their being black. In general, the death of unarmed Michael Brown, who was shot dead in Ferguson, provoked a strong wave of civil unrest. Last year alone 458 people were shot dead by police in the United States, spurring nationwide protests and arrests. Police`s brutal treatment of blacks is contaminating the minds of white people in the USA, encouraging them to violence. On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof, a 21 year old white man, shoot dead nine people, including three men and six women, at a church in Charleston. All those killed were blacks. Roof was detained and charged with murder on racial grounds and terrorism.

Religious intolerance in the United States has also reached its peak, with anti-Islamic prejudice gathering pace. On February 10, 2015, Craig Stephen Hicks shot dead Deah Shaddy Barakat, a 23 year old student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19. All three students were Muslims and were murdered on religious grounds. The incident was followed by an arson attack on an Islamic center in Texas.Application of laws is more severe when it comes to blacks

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Dr. Christian Christensen, a professor at Stockholm University, said police violence, racial discrimination has become widespread in the USA. “This has continued for decades. What we saw in Ferguson and Baltimore and nationwide protests is not people`s response just to the murder of two black men, it is a response to police violence, torture, racial discrimination that has continue for decades. Courts contribute considerably to this because the black defendants whose victims were white are two time more likely to receive a death penalty than white defendants whose victims were black. This has been so for more than 15 years. Laws, prohibitions are applied in a more severe manner when it comes to African Americans,” he added.

Illegal control over social networks

Reports analyzing the USA`s human rights record are telling the whole truth about it. UN Human Rights Committee accused the United States of breaching several provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Headed by Nigel Rodley, a British professor, the committee accused Washington of implementing an illegal control over social networks, describing it as direct interference in people`s private lives. The UN committee`s report revealed that the USA is controlling people`s activity in social networks not only in its own area, but also in different regions of the world to instill their ideology on people, exert pressure on and encourage them to violation of law. This spoils and puts at risk private lives of thousands of people. Countries and societies suffer hardships as a result of color revolutions. All these events are resulting in mass death, with countries torn by internal clashes. Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Libya are best examples.

Prison abuse

In its 2013 report, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China provided concrete evidence of human rights violations in the USA. The council said the US carried out drone strikes in Pakistan, causing deaths of up to 926 civilians. Even Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused Washington of breaching international law. The Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation also accused the USA of violating human rights. The Foreign Ministry expressed its concern over violation of electoral rights, prison abuse, child abuse, trafficking in human beings, and other problems in the USA.

Helpless president
Although the U.S. is accusing other countries of violating democracy, human rights and freedom of speech, the country itself is experiencing widespread breach of universal values and norms. The USA is trampling on rights of migrants, religious minorities (especially Muslims). Racial discrimination is widespread in the country, accompanied by violence and death of a large number of people. Meanwhile, the USA`s first black president is watching helplessly what is happening in his country.

Texas prisons violate international human rights standards, report says


April 23, 2014

Summer in Texas prisons is so sweltering that the heat violates international human rights standards and has caused the deaths of at least 14 inmates since 2007, according to a new study.

The extreme temperatures in state-run facilities also breach the US constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments, said the report released on Tuesday by the Austin-based Human Rights Clinic of the University of Texas School of Law.

It cites a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) temperature log that showed a heat index of at least 65C (149F) at 10:30am at a unit in Dallas on 19 July 2011. Heat index is a way of measuring how hot it feels by combining temperature and humidity. The National Weather Service issues extreme heat alerts when the index is expected to exceed 105-110F for two consecutive days or more.

“Over the years, TDCJ facilities seem to have seen little improvement, completely disregarding the rights and dignity of its inmates. Since 2007, at least fourteen inmates have died from extreme heat in nine different TDCJ prisons,” the report states.

There are about 150,000 people incarcerated in TDCJ prisons. Most facilities do not have air conditioning other than in medical, psychiatric and geriatric buildings. The study calls for TDCJ to install air conditioning to keep temperatures in housing areas below 85F *(29,4C). Until that is achieved it suggests officials should screen and monitor susceptible prisoners and provide easy access to cool liquids and ice. It also recommends that the TDCJ set a temperature limit for prisoners’ cells, as is the case in county jails and in other states.

“There is no standard of how hot a person could get. That shows that Texas is behind many other southern states – Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, all of them have different standards. Some of them establish 85F as the maximum temperature in a prison,” the clinic’s director, Ariel Dulitzky, told the Guardian.

“We are convinced that Texas is breaking international human rights laws and US constitutional law,” he said. “We believe it’s a lack of political will from the authorities at the TDCJ, they refuse to acknowledge there’s a problem … There’s a belief that everybody suffers extreme heat in Texas and that is true. The difference is that I can be in my office and have air conditioning.”

The report said that 92 correctional officers suffered heat-related injuries or illnesses in 2012. “We’re placing these employees at great risk by working in these type of conditions without any climate control,” said Lance Lowry, a correctional officer and president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union branch in Huntsville, where Texas’s state prison system has its headquarters.

Lowry said that some officers have passed out or vomited. “We’ve had numerous members report getting extremely ill at work from extreme heat. A lot of these officers are in prisons wearing stab-resistant vests which hold a lot of heat,” he told the Guardian, adding that the conditions harmed productivity and safety.

“There’s definitely a problem among inmates who are on psychiatric medications. A lot of those medications are heat-reactive, and what we’ve seen is inmates during hot times will stop taking these medications that normally keep them calm. Once they stop taking these medications they become more aggressive towards staff,” he said.

Lowry thinks that in the long run it would be cheaper to install air conditioning than to keep paying for medical treatment made necessary by the heat.

“The wellbeing of staff and offenders is a top priority for the agency and we remain committed to making sure that both are safe during the extreme heat,” Jason Clark, a TDCJ spokesman, said in a statement.

“TDCJ takes precautions to help reduce heat-related illnesses such as providing water and ice to staff and offenders in work and housing areas, restricting offender activity during the hottest parts of the day, and training staff to identify those with heat related illnesses and refer them to medical staff for treatment. Although a detailed cost analysis has not been done, retrofitting facilities with air conditioning would be extremely expensive.

“Dulitzky plans to submit the report’s findings to the relevant United Nations bodies and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, while the Texas Civil Rights Project has filed lawsuits against TDCJ on behalf of some inmates and their families.

Texas prison officials do appear willing to spend generously on cooling equipment in certain circumstances. It was reported last year that TDCJ signed a $750,000 deal to buy climate-controlled housing for its pig-breeding programme.

“We need to have a grown-up discussion of what’s practical and reasonable and what’s politically acceptable,” Texas senate Criminal Justice committee chairman John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, told the Houston Chronicle. “But I can tell you, the people of Texas don’t want air-conditioned prisons, and there’s a lot of other things on my list above the heat. It’s hot in Texas, and a lot of Texans who are not in prison don’t have air conditioning.”

theguardian.com)

Death Row exoneree Randy Steidl
 to speak Nov. 27 at NKU


November 13, 2012 http://www.lanereport.com

 

As part of the Journey of Hope Tour sponsored by the Northern Kentucky University Chase American Constitution Society, the ACLU of Kentucky and the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, NKU will host a free public lecture by death row exoneree Randy Steidl on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at noon in room 302 of the James C. and Rachel M. Votruba Student Union.

Steidl and a co-defendant were convicted for the 1986 murder of newlywed couple Dyke and Karen Rhoads in the small town of Paris, Ill. The two maintained their innocence but it was not until Northwestern University journalism students got involved that Steidl’s case received a proper review.

The entire case against Steidl was based on unreliable eye-witness testimony. Even though their stories conflicted with one another, both witnesses claimed to be present on the night of the attack and both described a gruesome scene. Yet, in spite of the violent stabbing that occurred, there was no physical evidence tying Steidl to the crime.

It was only after the in-depth investigative journalism conducted by Northwestern students that new information was uncovered and old evidence invalidated. With the aid of a local police officer, students were able to present enough evidence of Steidl’s innocence to call for a new trial. Eventually, all charges were dropped and Steidl became the 18th person to be released from the Illinois death row because of a wrongful conviction.

Steidl described his ordeal in a CNN interview. “Torture,” he said. “Actually being innocent and knowing that the state of Illinois wants to kill me for something I did not do.”

His NKU visit comes just weeks after the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights called on state lawmakers to abolish the death penalty and less than one year after a team of Kentucky legal experts published a 400-page report alleging serious flaws within the state’s death penalty system.

Claim your Innocence 71’500 views, 570 posts


I want to say THANK YOU, for all my followers around the world. for all readers, 

thank you, people who follow too, “Claim your Innocence world”

I am very proud of this blog, and I hope that people can become aware of the death penalty, as we continue to execute in the world innocent people, that human rights are not respected,

I have not forgotten the victim’s family, but take another life you will does the person you have lost? and if the person is not the one who has killed, can you live with the death of another innocent person ? I can understand the pain of losing a loved one. But I think a life sentence is harsher than the death penalty because the guilty will not die and never in the same conditions as the victim.

Justice is not infallible, because justice is made ​​by human laws are made by humans and error is human

Anabel

BOOKS part3: news books 2012 Death row’s testimony – death penalty


A new book by Professor Robert Bohm of the University of Central Florida looks at death-penalty decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court prior to the modern era of capital punishment that began in 1968. In The Past As Prologue, Bohm examines 39 Court decisions, covering issues such as clemency, jury selection, coerced confessions, and effective representation. These early decisions have shaped modern rulings on capital punishment, and the book provides an analysis of these effects. In addition, the cases provide an historical perspective on prior death penalty practices. Bohm is a Professor of Criminal Justice and has published widely in this field and on capital punishment.

Survivor on Death Row, a new e-book co-authored by death row inmate Romell Broom and Clare Nonhebel, tells the story of Ohio‘s botched attempt to execute Broom by lethal injection in 2009. In September of that year, Broom was readied for execution and placed on the gurney, but the procedure was terminated after corrections officials spent over two hours attempting to find a suitable vein for the lethal injection. Broom was removed from the death chamber and has remained on death row ever since.  In the book, Broom discusses his troubled childhood and his life of over 25 years on death row, including his repeated requests for new DNA testing and a new legal team. Broom has always maintained his innocence.  Jon Snow, a reporter for Channel 4 News in England, called the book “A horrifying story embracing all the evils of the death penalty. Bad forensics, dodgy DNA, awful lawyers, render this a must-read.”

A new book by Larry Koch, Colin Wark and John Galliher discusses the status of the death penalty in the U.S. in light of recent legislative activity and court decisions. In The Death of the American Death Penalty, the authors examine the impact of factors such as economic conditions, public sentiment, the role of elites, the media, and population diversity on the death penalty debate. The book highlights the recent abolition decisions in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Illinois, and the surprising decline of the death penalty even in the deep South. James R. Acker, Distinguished Teaching Professor in Criminal Justice at the University at Albany, said, “Support for capital punishment in this country, as measured by the laws authorizing it, prosecutors’ enthusiasm for seeking it, jury verdicts that dispatch it, and executioners’ final deliverance, has eroded rapidly in recent years. A decade after the publication of its predecessor and carrying on in that volume’s fine tradition, The Death of the American Death Penalty provides detailed explanations—the where, how, and why—of these dramatic developments in death penalty laws and practices.”

A new book by Professor Harry M. Ward of the University of Richmond examines the death penalty in Virginia at a time when executions were carried out for all to see. In Public Executions in Richmond, Virginia: A History, 1782-1907, Ward provides a history of the hangings and, during the Civil War, firing-squad executions in Virginia’s capital city. Thousands of witnesses attended the executions, which were seen as a form of entertainment. Public executions ended with the introduction of the electric chair in 1908. In 1995, Virginia adopted lethal injection as its primary form of execution.

Long-time death penalty scholar Hugo Adam Bedau died on August 13, 2012 . Dr. Bedau had been the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University, and is best known for his work on capital punishment. Dr. Bedau frequently testified about the death penalty before the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures. He authored several books about the death penalty, including The Death Penalty in America (1964; 4th edition, 1997), The Courts, the Constitution, and Capital Punishment (1977), Death is Different (1987), and Killing as Punishment (2004), and co-authored In Spite of Innocence (1992).  This last book, written with Prof. Michael Radelet of the University of Colorado and Constance Putnam (Dr. Bedau’s wife), contained one of the best early collections of people who had been wrongly convicted in death penalty cases. In 1997, Bedau received the August Vollmer Award of the American Society of Criminology, and in 2003 he received the Roger Baldwin Award from the ACLU of Massachusetts.  Dr. Bedau was a founding member of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

A new book by Professors Saundra Westervelt and Kimberly Cook looks at the lives of eighteen people who had been wrongfully sentenced to death and who were later freed from death row. In Life After Death Row: Exonerees’ Search for Community and Identity, the authors focus on three central areas affecting those who had to begin a new life after leaving years of severe confinement: the seeming invisibility of these individuals after their release; the complicity of the justice system in allowing that invisibility; and the need for each of them to confront their personal trauma. C. Ronald Huff, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, noted, “The authors skillfully conduct a journey inside the minds of exonerees, allowing readers to see the world from their unique perspectives.”

A new electronic book by former journalist Peter Rooney offers an in-depth look at the case of Joseph Burrowswho was exonerated fromIllinois’s death row in 1996. In Die Free: A True Story of Murder, Betrayal and Miscarried Justice, Rooney explains how Burrows was sentenced to death for the murder of William Dulin based on snitch testimony.  He was convicted primarily on the word of Gayle Potter, who recanted her testimony eight years later and admitted to committing the crime herself. According to one review, “Rooney makes it clear his book Die Free isn’t an argument against the death penalty, but simply another example of why such an extreme punishment should be re-evaluated. His points are made clearly and with merit as he details obvious evidence withholding by an over-aggressive district attorney, threats and intimidation of a borderline mentally challenged man, and the old school thoughts of little women versus big, burly men.”   Rooney is a former staff writer for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and is currently the director of public affairs at Amherst College.  Joe Burrows died at age 56 in 2009.  This case, and similar exonerations, led to the abolition of the death penalty in Illinois in 2011. The book is available for electronic download on Amazon.com.

A new book by Clive Stafford Smith, a British lawyer who has defended death row inmates in the U.S., offers an in-depth view of capital punishment in America. In Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America, Stafford Smith examines the case of Kris Maharaj, a British citizen who was sentenced to death in Florida for a double murder, to expose problems in the justice system. The book reveals disturbing details of Maharaj’s case, including anomalies in the prosecution files–witnesses with exculpatory testimony who were never called, falsified and suppressed evidence, and reports that a witness to the shootings failed a lie detector test. Maharaj’s death sentence was later commuted to life without parole. Stafford Smith is the Legal Director of Reprieve, which provides legal assistance in death penalty cases. In 2005 he received the Gandhi International Peace Award.  He was a founder of the Louisiana Crisis Assistance Center, defending death row inmates in that state.

 American Bar Association recently published The State of Criminal Justice 2012, an annual report that examines major issues, trends and significant changes in America’s criminal justice system. This publication serves as a valuable resource for academics, students, and policy-makers in the area of criminal justice, and contains 24 chapters focusing on specific areas of the criminal justice field. The chapter devoted to capital punishment was written by Ronald Tabak, special counsel and pro bono coordinator at Skadden Arps. Tabak addresses the decline in the use of the death penalty, the geographic, racial and economic disparities in implementing capital punishment, important Supreme Court decisions, and other issues such as the continuing risk of wrongful executions. In concluding, he writes, “Ultimately, our society must decide whether to continue with a system that has been found in study after study, and has been recognized by a growing number of leading judges, to be far more expensive than the actual alternative – in which life without parole is the most serious punishment. In view of the lack of persuasive evidence of societal benefits from capital punishment, this is one ineffectual, wasteful government program whose elimination deserves serious consideration.”

Human Rights Commission passes resolution to abolish death penalty in Kentucky


October 19, 2012 http://www.courier-journal.com

Arguing that capital punishment is often applied unfairly against minorities and the poor, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights board has passed a resolution opposing the death penalty in Kentucky.

The commissioners at a meeting in Lexington Wednesday urged the Kentucky General Assembly to repeal the law that allows the use of the death penalty in murder convictions. The commission also urged Gov. Steven Beshear to sign any such law brought before him.

The resolution unanimously passed by the commissioners will be submitted to Beshear and to each state legislator.

As of April 1, Kentucky had 35 inmates on Death Row at the Kentucky State Penetentiary in Eddyville, according to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Marco Allen Chapman was the last Kentucky inmates executed, by lethal injection in 2008.

State Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, said the state legislature has considered abolishing the death penalty several times without passing a measure. He said he expects that a bill proposing the end of capital punishment will be introduced again and that he wouldn’t be surprised if the measure might have a chance to be enacted. “In my view, it could happen, because it’s so long overdue,” Neal said.

The commission resolution read:

“Since 1976, when Kentucky reinstated the death penalty, 50 of the 78 people sentenced to death have had their death sentence or conviction overturned, due to misconduct or serious errors that occurred during their trial. This represents an unacceptable error rate of more than 60 percent.”

The resolution said that “statistics confirm that the imposition of the death penalty is disproportionately imposed on minorities and the poor. African Americans constitute 12 percent of the U.S. population, but represent 42 percent of prisoners on death row.”

It cited figures from Amnesty International that more than 20 percent of black defendants executed since 1976 were convicted by all-white juries.

Additionally, it said, states are more likely to seek the death penalty when the offender is black and the victim is white, and that a death sentence is more likely to be imposed on black offenders convicted of killing a white victim.

The resolution also noted that more than 90 percent of defendants in capital cases are indigent and cannot afford an experienced criminal defense attorney.

According to Amnesty International, more than two-thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is the state authority that enforces the Kentucky and United States Civil Rights acts, which make discrimination illegal.

Death penalty for children’ too much for Arkansas Republicans


OCTOBER 9, 2012 http://www.theweek.co.uk/

THE REPUBLICAN Party in Arkansas has withdrawn its financial support from three state legislature candidates who have variously advocated the death penalty for children and called for the deportation of all Muslims from America, described slavery as a “blessing in disguise” for Africans and labeled Abraham Lincoln a “war criminal”.

Candidate Charlie Fuqua and two sitting representatives, Jon Hubbard and Loy Mauch, have been cut off because of their radical beliefs, many of which have been branded as offensive by their own party.

In a book, God’s Law: The Only Political Solution, Fuqua claims there was “no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States”.

And, as the Arkansas Times reports, that is not the only eye-catching policy in God’s Law. He also advocates execution for children, arguing: “A child who disrespects his parents must be permanently removed from society.” However, he is aware of the severity of the punishment and stresses: “The death penalty for rebellious children is not something to be taken lightly.”

Fuqua also suggests setting the minimum wage at zero and argues that people should only serve two years in prison. If they are not rehabilitated within that time, they should be executed, he says

Fuqua has lost his funding, but Arkansas Times blogger Max Bentley notes: “No party official has demanded money back or urged Fuqua to withdraw from the race. Majority control of the legislature is far too important for Republicans to abandon a candidate, no matter how extreme. Which tells you a little something about Republican majority governance.”

The Guardian’s George Monbiot is just one of those who has expressed shock at Fuqua’s remarks on Twitter, writing: “Ye gods! Republican candidate calls for death penalty for children who disrespect their parents.”

But Fuqua’s views are not the only ones drawing ire. Jon Hubbard, who has been a member of the Arkansas House of Representatives since 2010, has also caused outrage. In 2009 he self-published a book, Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative, which argued that slavery was a “blessing in disguise”. “Would an existence spent in slavery have been any crueler than a life spent in sub-Saharan Africa?” he pondered.

He also noted that despite the deaths of millions during centuries of slavery, there was a silver lining. “The blacks who could endure those conditions and circumstances would someday be rewarded with citizenship in the greatest nation ever established upon the face of the Earth”.

The third candidate to cause upset is Loy Mauch, who has also held his seat since 2010. Local radio station Kait8 reported: “Mauch called Abraham Lincoln a war criminal and defended slavery in dozens of letters to a Little Rock newspaper.” In 2007 he described Lincoln as a “neurotic Northern war criminal” in a letter to the Little Rock Democrat-Gazette and in 2009 asked: “If slavery were so God-awful, why didn’t Jesus or Paul condemn it”? · 

 

Commemorate World Day Against the Death Penalty October 10


World Day on October 10 marks the date when activists around the world rally to oppose the death penalty and commemorate the day with educational events, demonstrations, and other initiatives to voice their opposition to this human rights violation.

We were creating this poster at the request of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (www.worldcoalition.org), an international coalition that opposes the death penalty. The World Coalition spearheads World Day, along with many other campaigns, in its efforts to end the death penalty around the world. This October 10, 2012 is particularly special, because it marks the tenth anniversary of the creation of the World Coalition.

The poster would be a pivotal piece in the World Day campaign as the rallying symbol for hundreds of death penalty activists around the world. Our main challenge was that the World Coalition’s Steering Committee specifically requested a positivemessage in the poster. But how to convey a positive image about the execution of people and the end of human life? There’s nothing innately positive about the death penalty– images typically used to portray capital punishment are morbid: nooses, syringes, knives, stones, and execution chambers. Not exactly the ingredients for positive messaging.

Fortunately, the World Coalition suggested we focus on progress made over the past ten years—and there’s much to celebrate in this regard. The World Coalition has grown from a fledgling initiative to an independent organization composed of almost 140 members from around the world. Member organizations hail from numerous countries, such as Morocco, France, Iran, Lebanon, Taiwan, Japan, Puerto Rico, India, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, UK, Nigeria, and of course, the United States. As The Advocates’ representative on the World Coalition’s Steering Committee I have been privileged to meet and work with an inspiring group of individuals from all over the world.

The work of the World Coalition and other abolitionists has had a big impact. Today, 141 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice (97 countries have passed laws that have eliminate the death penalty, and 36 countries have not legally abolished the death penalty but have not used it in years). A glance at some of the countries that have abolished the death penalty in the past ten years shows the trend is global and reaches all corners of the world: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan, Burundi, Cook Islands, Gabon, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Togo, Turkey, and Uzbekistan. Some countries that have not abolished the Death Penalty have signified their strong disinterest in continuing the practice: Sierra Leone and Nigeria have declared a moratorium on executions and Tajikistan has had a moratorium on both death sentences and executions since 2004. Finally, eight countries have restricted the scope of their death penalty and abolished its use for ordinary crimes.

Even in the United States, where the use of the death penalty is one of the gravest human rights violations, we’ve seen a demonstrable shift by states toward rejection of the death penalty. In April 2012, Connecticut became the 17th State to abolish the death penalty, closely following Illinois in 2011, New Mexico in 2009, and New Jersey in 2007. California will be putting the vote to the people when the death penalty is up for referendum this November—a recognition that public support is waning.

Indeed, looking at these facts and figures, the progress is astonishing. It is clear: the global trend is countries moving away from using the death penalty.

Thinking about the death penalty in light of these developments was inspiring for Cuong and me as we sought to portray this message. W hile we still face dire problems with capital punishment here in the United States and elsewhere, the world overall is shifting toward abolition. It’s a positive sign and one that we can truly celebrate.

Given this insight, we decided on the simple image of the world atop a broken noose. We finished it with an inspiring message to capture our past progress and the brighter future we all face:  Abolish the death penalty. It’s a better world without it.

The worldwide trend towards abolition: progress of the past 10 years 
The last decade has seen a large increase in the number of countries that have officially abolished the death penalty or eliminated the use of the death penalty in practice:
•    141 countries are abolitionist in law or in practice;
•    97 countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes;
•    36 countries have abolished the death penalty in practice;
•    8 countries have abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

According to Amnesty International, 21 countries recorded executions in 2011, compared to 31 countries 10 years ago. Even the USA, one of the worst offenders in the use of the death penalty, has shown progress as individual states have abolished or limited the death penalty.
Many other countries have also abolished the death penalty in the past decade, including: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Bhutan, Burundi, Cook Islands, Gabon, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mexico, the Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Togo, Turkey and Uzbekistan.

Several countries that have not legally abolished the death penalty have at least ended it in practice, either by declaring an official moratorium or by not carrying out executions. For example, Sierra Leone and Nigeria have declared a moratorium on executions, and Tajikistan has had a moratorium on both death sentences and executions since 2004.

Many countries that have not yet abolished or imposed a moratorium have taken steps to narrow the scope of the death penalty. Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes. China recently eliminated the death penalty for certain economic crimes, and it has reintroduced mandatory review of all death penalty cases by the Supreme People’s Court.

Over the last decade, several retentionist countries have implemented many of the universal international safeguards on their application of the death penalty and have eliminated that punishment for certain categories of persons. For example:
•    Persons suffering from intellectual disabilities: in 2003, the US Supreme Court prohibited the execution of people with intellectual disabilities.
•    Persons suffering from mental illness: Thailand has ceased using the death penalty against persons suffering from mental disorders.
•    Juveniles: while a few countries, including Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, have sentenced juvenile offenders to death, Iran was the only country in 2010 and 2011 to still execute those under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed. In a promising move, in May 2011, Sudan accepted the UN Human Rights Council recommendations that it would not apply the death penalty against juvenile offenders.
•    Pregnant women: In 2003, Uganda stated a death sentence cannot be imposed on a pregnant woman, and she will receive a sentence of life imprisonment instead.

Focus forward: challenges ahead in the next 10 years

Some countries have expanded, or attempted to expand, the scope of the death penalty over the last decade to include:
•    Drugs: 32 countries or territories still have laws imposing the death penalty for drug offences. Drug offenders make up the majority of those condemned to die in many retentionist countries.
•    Homosexuality: some countries, including Liberia and Uganda, have launched efforts to impose the death penalty for acts of homosexuality.
•    Terrorism: some countries are adopting or amending laws for terrorist crimes or against those supporting terrorist acts – not necessarily lethal ones. Syria imposed the death penalty for those arming terrorists in December 2011. Bangladesh, India and Nigeria have also adopted laws expanding the scope of the death penalty by including terrorist acts among the offenses punishable by death.

Certain countries have resumed their use of the death penalty. Afghanistan, Taiwan, Equatorial Guinea, the United Arab Emirates and Japan have resumed executions after a hiatus, in stark contrast with the global trend of abolition.

Finally, countries such as China and Iran continue to carry out their executions in secrecy, contrary to fundamental notions that such information should be made available to the public. Moreover, transparency is critical to prevent errors or abuses and safeguard fairness.

Further work to eradicate the death penalty

On a global scale, further work needs to be done to build on the foundation of abolition thus far by focusing on the following goals:

•    Promote national legislation abolishing the death penalty.
•    Increase ratifications of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
•    Support international standards calling for the abolition or restricted use of the death penalty.
•    Support adoption of the 2012 UN General Assembly Resolution on a moratorium: in December 2012, the UN General Assembly will vote on a fourth resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Swiss Government Wants To End Death Penalty Everywhere


July 19 2012 AP- huffington Post

GENEVA — The Swiss government has reaffirmed its commitment toward seeking the abolition of the death penalty “throughout the world.”

A Foreign Ministry statement Thursday says Switzerland firmly opposes the death penalty “in any and all circumstances” anywhere on the planet.

The statement came in response to Hamas authorities hanging three Palestinians on Tuesday who were convicted of murder in different cases, the sixth such executions in the Gaza Strip this year.

Switzerland called for a moratorium on capital punishment in the Gaza Strip, calling the death penalty “a violation of the most fundamental of human rights.”

Switzerland outlawed capital punishment for civilians in 1942 and for the Swiss military in 1992. The country also belongs to the Council of Europe, which opposes the death penalty.

 

Is The Death Penalty Moral ?


Sentencing reforms need to be set in place preventing ‘permanent’ punishments. Sentencing needs to be derived from a ‘protect us from the bad elements’ point of view and not from a ‘pay them back for their nefarious deeds’ point of view.

When a law is created from a retribution or payback perspective, it violates the spirit of law and order, particularly, when a sentence option is death, having the wrong person or an aggressive prosecution and then doing something as ‘unacceptable’ as they did sounds like childish retribution and just doesn’t weigh in as making sense.

If you have the wrong person and you kill them, then heaven save us all. It could be you, me, any family member, friend or a complete stranger; it doesn’t matter because they are dead. This is dangerous to us all and why are we paying taxes to have a law like this if there is a potential that we can be easily killed by accidentor wrongly but legally. It doesn’t matter how rarely it might happen, death just doesn’t sound smart to me.

Again, if the prosecution believes that the person is guilty, their expert experience with the judicial system give them an advantage as well as increase the likelihood that an innocent person gets the death penalty.  I am not insinuating that prosecutors are evil, maybe, maybe not; the point is when the sentencing is so permanent it leaves NO room for mistakes. In this era of human rights I find it difficult that the most valuable right we have, the right to life, is not protected.

How can we punish someone for something we say is wrong and are abhorred by and then go and do the exact same thing to them ourselves, collectively, and feel justified in our actions.  We ignore the reality of it all by saying we are more humane and we would not be doing it if they did not make the choices they have chosen.  Then we sit down, contemplate, debate, and plan laws, voting on them and finally making a decision in the first degree of culpability to impose a death penalty.

If you say killing is wrong, then it’s wrong. Period.

Source : http://socyberty.com