The Constitution guarantees our right to a jury trial in “all criminal prosecutions.” Our commitment to this constitutional safeguard is tested when the government haughtily claims a trial isn’t necessary…
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Lee v. United States.
In 1982, Jae Lee came to the United States from South Korea as a child. Now 48 years old, Lee has lived in the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident for decades. In 2009, he pled guilty to a drug crime after his lawyer assured him that he could not be deported as a result.
As it turned out, Lee received bad legal advice. His conviction made Lee subject to mandatory removal, meaning that after serving several years in prison, he would eventually be deported to South Korea and essentially banished from the U.S.
When Lee learned of this mistake, he asked the court to vacate his plea, arguing that his counsel’s assistance was ineffective and he only pled guilty because of the recommendation from his lawyer.
He wants to take his case before a jury. The district court denied this motion because of the overwhelming evidence against Lee, ruling that his conviction at trial was so certain that his counsel’s bad advice didn’t actually harm him, particularly given the much longer prison sentence he would receive if convicted after trial.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed that a jury wasn’t needed to determine Lee’s guilt and that denying the “chance to throw a Hail Mary at trial is not prejudicial” and therefore doesn’t violate Lee’s Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial.
Federal prosecutors say there’s no need for a trial because the evidence against Lee is strong, but our constitutional right to trial by jury doesn’t depend on the government’s assessment of its own case.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reasoned that that the only chance Lee had was acquittal by “jury nullification,” which is the doctrine that says a jury can return a “not guilty” verdict even after it has concluded that the person on trial violated the law. Why order a new trial based upon an idea so irrational and antiquated, the Court reasoned.
Well, for one thing, there’s nothing wrong with jury nullification. The Framers of our Constitution believed that jury nullification was part and parcel of what a jury trial was all about.
The Supreme Court itself has noted that the jury is supposed to be the “conscience of the community” and should check the government when necessary to protect individuals from injustice or oppression. The jury cannot perform that function if it is told that it must always apply the law mechanically, without regard to justice.
Lee is now pressing the matter at the Supreme Court, which heard his argument earlier this week. Read the rest of this entry »
Roof faces murder charges in state court. That trial is scheduled to start July 11, 2016
A prosecutor in Charleston, South Carolina, will seek the death penalty against Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine people during a prayer meeting at a historic African-American church, according to court documents filed Thursday. Roof has been charged with nine counts of murder.
“I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul. You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people but God forgives you, and I forgive you.”
— Daughter of Ethel Lance
Roof, 21, is accused of shooting participants at a June 17 Bible study class at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston.
Nine people died, including the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who also was a state senator in South Carolina. Read the rest of this entry »
Prosecutors have said the jury was divided on the sentence, with 11 favoring death and one favoring life without parole. Under Colorado law, jurors must be unanimous to impose the death penalty, so Holmes automatically got a life sentence.
Sadie Gurman reports: James Holmes was an angry quitter who gave up on life and turned his hatred into murder and mayhem against innocent victims in a Colorado movie theater, the judge said Wednesday before formally sentencing him to life in prison.
“We know that is very, very hard for people to see. We cannot feel the depths of your pain. We can only listen to everything you have expressed, and we pray for you…We are very sorry this tragedy happened, and sorry everyone has suffered so much.”
— Arlene Holmes
Samour contrasted Holmes’ bloody assault with the compassion of a juror who voted for a life sentence instead of the death penalty. And he noted the trial was fair, even if some victims were disappointed that Holmes didn’t get the death penalty.
“It is almost impossible to comprehend how a human being is capable of such acts.”
— Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr.
Samour formally sentenced Holmes to life in prison without parole for the murders of 12 people. He also was sentencing Holmes to more than to 3,200 additional years for attempted murder and an explosives conviction.
The judge had no other sentencing option on the murder charges after a jury earlier this month did not unanimously agree that Holmes should get the death penalty. Samour issued his sentence after two days of testimony from survivors of the attack, including first responders.
“Jurors rejected Holmes’ insanity plea, convicting him of murdering 12 people and trying to kill 70 others when he opened fire on a packed theater in suburban Denver on July 20, 2012.”
But he first spent more than half an hour defending the integrity of the justice system and disputing complaints that the trial was a waste of time. He noted the proceedings gave family members an opportunity to tell the world about their slain loved ones and provided survivors the chance to talk about their ordeal.
“I believe in the system. I said that before, and I’ll say it again. I believe in the system.”
— Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr.
Samour disputed some victims’ suggestion that Holmes would have an easy life behind bars, noting prison is harsh and restrictive.
More than 100 victims and survivors testified this week about the searing physical and emotional scars the 2012 shooting has left. Read the rest of this entry »
Christopher Monfort Sentenced to Life in Prison for Halloween 2009 Murder of Seattle Police Officer Timothy BrentonPosted: July 23, 2015
It took a King County jury about one hour to decide that Christopher Monfort should spend the rest of his life in prison for killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton on Halloween night 2009.
Sara Jean Green reports: A King County jury has spared the life of Christopher Monfort for killing Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton on Halloween night 2009.
After deliberating for only about one hour, the jurors sentenced Monfort to life in prison without parole Thursday afternoon in a crowded Seattle courtroom. Members of Brenton’s family and Monfort’s mother were seated in the courtroom when the verdict was read.
“This jury worked exceptionally hard for a very long time and were asked to answer a profound moral question. The facts of this case called out for the jury to consider the full range of punishment options under state law. Our entire community should be grateful to these citizens for their service.”
— King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg
Many had speculated the quick verdict signaled jurors had voted for death, the only other possible sentence for aggravated murder.
After the verdict was announced, Monfort said “I’m happy about that.”
One male juror, who declined to give his name, said, “Now that the trial is over, I don’t think there’s really anything to say, other than it really was a horrible incident filled with sadness, regrettable in every way. I’m very glad the jury was unanimous in all the verdicts that we gave.”
Matt Brenton, Timothy Brenton’s brother, said his family had no expectations before the jury’s verdict was announced.
“Now that the trial is over, I don’t think there’s really anything to say, other than it really was a horrible incident filled with sadness, regrettable in every way. I’m very glad the jury was unanimous in all the verdicts that we gave.”
— Unidentified male juror
“More than anything, no matter what decision they came to, it was the right one for them and we respect it and thank them for their sacrifice,” he said.
Monfort’s mother, Suzan Monfort, said she was flabbergasted by the verdict.
“I’m very relieved and I don’t believe in the death penalty for anyone, or for my son” she said.
The verdict marks the second time in the past two months that King County prosecutors have failed to convince a jury to sentence a high-profile killer to death. In May, a split jury spared the life of Joseph McEnroe, who killed six members of his ex-girlfriend’s family on Christmas Eve 2007. That jury deliberated for 3 ½ days.
King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg issued the following statement Thursday afternoon: “This jury worked exceptionally hard for a very long time and were asked to answer a profound moral question. The facts of this case called out for the jury to consider the full range of punishment options under state law. Our entire community should be grateful to these citizens for their service.”
The jury of six men and six women convicted Monfort on June 5 of aggravated first-degree murder and three other felonies, rejecting his insanity defense, after hearing nearly four months of testimony in the trial that began in late January. Read the rest of this entry »
The jurors who convicted Holmes took more time than expected to decide whether prosecutors passed the first legal test for a death sentence.
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Jury in the James Holmes Colorado theater shooting trial reached a verdict in the first phase of sentencing on Thursday. Jurors unanimously decided the death penalty can be considered for Holmes and will move on to the next phase of sentencing.
“Prosecutors said they proved several of the required “aggravating factors” in these murders beyond a reasonable doubt: That Holmes harmed an outsized number of victims when he opened fire at the midnight Batman movie premiere; that he killed a child, and that the attack was particularly heinous.”
They said capital punishment is justified because Holmes murdered a large number of victims; caused a grave risk of death to others; committed murder in a heinous, cruel or depraved manner; and laid in wait or ambush.
One factor jurors said prosecutors did not prove was that Holmes intentionally killed a child, but the other “aggravating factors” ensure that jurors will continue to consider whether he should die for his crimes.
The jury only had to find one of those aggravating factors valid in order to make Holmes eligible for the death penalty.
Prosecutors still must clear two more hurdles before Holmes can be sentenced to die.
Jurors began weighing on Wednesday whether Colorado theater shooter James Holmes, who killed 12 people and injured 70 others in a movie theater three years ago, deserved to die.
The jury rejected his claim that he was legally insane when committed the crime, but also had to consider the extent of his mental illness against the enduring pain and heartache that he caused.
The jurors who convicted Holmes took more time than expected to decide whether prosecutors passed the first legal test for a death sentence. Read the rest of this entry »
CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Jurors convicted Colorado theater shooter James Holmes on Thursday in the chilling 2012 attack on defenseless moviegoers at a midnight Batman premiere, rejecting defense arguments that the former graduate student was insane and driven to murder by delusions.
The 27-year-old Holmes, who had been working toward his Ph.D. in neuroscience, could get the death penalty for the massacre that left 12 people dead and dozens of others wounded.
Jurors took about 13 hours over a day and a half to review all 165 charges. The same panel must now decide whether Holmes should pay with his life.
The verdict came almost three years after Holmes, dressed head-to-toe in body armor, slipped through the emergency exit of the darkened theater in suburban Denver and replaced the Hollywood violence of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” with real human carnage.
His victims included two active-duty servicemen, a single mom, a man celebrating his 27th birthday and an aspiring broadcaster who had survived a mall shooting in Toronto. Several died shielding friends or loved ones. Read the rest of this entry »
Mary Chastain reports: An explosion has killed Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat and injured at least seven more people on Monday morning in Cairo.
Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, a spokesman for the health ministry, said Barakat passed away after surgeries. Ghaffar had previously stated he did not believe the prosecutor had suffered life-threatening injuries.
A witness spoke to Daily News Egypt:
A Heliopolis resident told Daily News Egypt they heard the explosion early Monday, and stepped onto their balcony to see a damaged motorcycle.
The witness also said there was an exploded vehicle, which according to the testimony, was Barakat’s security vehicle. The witness added that surrounding vehicles were in flames.
The damages on the attack scene included seven other injuries from Barakat’s staff and passengers, in addition to damages to 35 cars and nine houses in the area of the explosion.
No group has yet to take responsibility for the attack. A group called Giza Popular Resistance claimed it first, but someone removed it from their Facebook page and the Twitter account denounced the post. Read the rest of this entry »
The Supreme Court is scheduled to issue decisions Thursday, with six major cases remaining on the docket, and is expected to release opinions again on Friday and perhaps next week. Still to be decided are the health-law subsidies and gay-marriage cases, along with closely watched rulings involving congressional redistricting and power plant emissions. Here’s a list of the remaining cases….(read more)
(AP) — A white former North Charleston police officer was indicted on a murder charge Monday in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man who was running away from the officer after a traffic stop.
The shooting April 4 was captured on video by a bystander and showed officer Michael Slager firing eight times as 50-year-old Walter Scott ran away. The shooting rekindled an ongoing national…(read more)
Al Jazeera reports: Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s former deputy prime minister and foreign minister, has died in prison aged 79 years old.
Iraqi officials said Aziz, who was one of the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s top deputies, died on Friday afternoon after suffering a heart attack on Thursday.
Al Jazeera has learnt that Aziz’s son, Ziad, expressed outrage that Iraqi officials had not informed him of his father’s death, and he had instead found out through local media reports.
Aziz was Iraq’s foreign minister between 1983 and 1991 and deputy prime minister between 1979 and 2003.
He was sentenced to death by the Iraqi High Tribunal in 2010 for his role in human-rights abuses committed under the former government, which was overthrown in 2003 when Iraq was invaded by a US-led alliance.
Iraq’s public face
Aziz surrendered to US forces shortly after the invasion and had been a prisoner since.
“There will be no eulogies for him, no day of mourning for him. He was hated as a member of the former regime,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »
Saturday’s decision is latest in a series of mass trials that have led to death penalty verdicts against the leadership and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood
The court’s preliminary verdict Saturday is subject to review by the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest religious authority, whose opinion isn’t legally binding but is traditionally adopted by the court.
“The death penalty has become the favorite tool for the Egyptian authorities to purge the political opposition.”
— Amnesty International
A final verdict based his opinion will be delivered June 2 but will be open to appeals, which can take years in Egypt’s clogged judicial system.
Mr. Morsi has already been sentenced to 20 years in prison last month in a separate case in which he was found guilty of fomenting violence during a series of protests in 2012 that dogged his year in office.
The former Egyptian president was among 106 members and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood sentenced to death on Saturday, including the group’s spiritual guide Mohammed Badie and prominent Islamic scholar, Youssef al-Qaradawi, who is based in Qatar.
The decision—broadcast on state television as Mr. Morsi and some of co-defendants smiled defiantly from inside the caged dock used to hold the accused—was received quietly in Egypt. However, authorities said it may have inspired a violent response in the restive Sinai Peninsula where security forces have struggled to contain a low-level Islamist insurgency.
Hours after the verdict was delivered, unknown gunmen attacked a vehicle carrying several judges and aides in the northern Sinai town of al-Arish, killing three judges, a driver, and wounding three others, according to Egypt’s state news agency.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the state news agency quotes unnamed security officials saying the attack may have been retaliation for the verdict against Mr. Morsi. Read the rest of this entry »
Richard Johnson is a field artist, visual journalist and senior graphics editor at The Washington Post. Read more about his very unique perspective as a courtroom artist in the Bostom Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev death penalty debate here.
Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death today by a jury in a Boston federal courthouse.
Tsarnaev was convicted by the same jury of seven women and five men last month of all 30 counts related to the deadly April 15, 2013 bombing. Three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and another 260 were injured when Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan, detonated twin explosive devices near the finish line of the marathon. Three days later, the brothers murdered MIT police officer Sean Collier.
The jury today found death the penalty was “appropriate” for six of the 17 death penalty eligible counts against Dzhkohar Tsarnaev. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police four days after the explosions….(read more)
South Korean intelligence reports executions of a number of high North Korean officials by supreme leader Kim Jong Un, using methods including antiaircraft fire. The WSJ’s Deborah Kan talks about what the recent purge could mean for the Hermit Kingdom.
[VIDEO] North Korea: Satellite Imagery Captures What Analysts Say is Public Execution 북한 공개처형 장면 위성사진에 포착Posted: May 13, 2015
A U.S. civic group has released satellite images of North Korea that appear to show a public execution
Radio Free Asia reported Thursday that the Washington-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea made public its analysis report on the photos that were taken last October from above a military training area located near Pyongyang.
Analysts indentified six anti-aircraft machine guns lined up across from some blurry objects with distinct shadows that appear to be people also lined up side-by-side on a firing range.
Whatever… or whoever… was in the images was no longer there in another picture taken nine days later.
The committee says the most plausible explanation is that a public execution had taken place there.
North Korea’s Defense Minister Hyon Yong-chol executed for showing disloyalty to leader Kim Jong-un
MPs were told Mr Hyon was killed on 30 April by anti-aircraft fire in front of an audience of hundreds, the Yonhap news agency reports.
“It said the ‘most plausible explanation’ for the image was a ‘gruesome public execution’ by anti-aircraft fire.”
It said Mr Hyon had fallen asleep during an event attended by Kim Jong-un and had not carried out instructions.
“Mr. Hyon had fallen asleep during an event attended by Kim Jong-un and had ‘not carried out instructions’.”
South Korea said a senior military officer was also killed. The news comes weeks after the reported execution of 15 senior officials.
Among them were two vice-ministers who had challenged Mr Kim over his policies and members of an orchestra, the South’s National Intelligence Agency (NIS) said at the time.
Analysts told the BBC that while reshuffles of officials were commonplace in North Korea, the execution of a figure as close to Mr Kim as Mr Hyon was surprising and could give cause for concern about the country’s stability.
Hyon Yong-chol, as defence minister, was as close to Kim Jong-un as it is possible to get.
“Such a public and brutal method of execution as obliteration by anti-aircraft gun would emphasize the cost of disloyalty.”
Intelligence reports always have to be treated with skepticism but, in this case, the claims of the South Korean spy agency will be easy to verify. If they are not true, the defense minister would appear again in public.
Earlier, the South Korean agency said that senior officials were being executed at the rate of one a week. It all adds up to a picture of a leader in Pyongyang who feels very insecure and who is dangerous in his insecurity.
“‘This is indicative of Kim Jong-un’s impulsive decision-making’ and a sign of a leader who is ‘not feeling secure’…’entirely a demonstration of power and authority.'”
— Mike Madden of North Korea Leadership Watch
Mr Hyon is believed to have been a general since 2010, though little is known about him. He served on the committee for late leader Kim Jong-il’s funeral in December 2011, an indication of his growing influence.
‘After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?’Posted: February 4, 2015
Vindicating Chris Kyle
Islamic State proves Kyle was right about the ‘savage’ enemy
“Savage, despicable evil. That’s what we were fighting in Iraq.” Those were among the words the late Chris Kyle, of “American Sniper” fame, used to describe the enemy he and fellow veterans of the Iraq war faced. After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?
“The kidnappers then tied the Egyptian’s hands behind his back and asked him to state his name. . . . After complying, he was about to apologize for his acts, but a man gave a sign to the ‘executioner’ standing behind the hostage, who grabbed the man’s tongue and cut it off, stating that the time for excuses was past.”
We say this as a corner of liberal America has fallen over itself denouncing Clint Eastwood ’s blockbuster biopic of Kyle, who was killed in 2013 by a deranged Marine veteran. HBO’s Bill Maher called him a “psychopath patriot,” and other Hollywood action heroes like Michael Moore have weighed in similarly. Their view is that Kyle must have been inhumane since he killed scores of enemy fighters without being burdened by a guilty conscience.
“After seeing images this week of Islamic State jihadists murdering a caged Jordanian pilot by burning him alive, can there be any real doubt that Kyle was right?”
Yet the kind of butchery that Islamic State likes to advertise via YouTube was the reality Iraqis routinely faced when the Islamic State’s forbear, al Qaeda in Iraq, terrorized entire cities and towns during the height of the Iraq war. Read the rest of this entry »
Omar bin Yahya bin Ibrahim al-Barkati was tried and convicted of incest, the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
“He was executed as punishment for his crime and as a lesson to others,” the ministry said, adding that authorities carried out the sentence in southwestern Asir region.
In a separate case, Yassir bin Hussein al-Hamza was executed in northwestern Jawf region after his trial and confession for smuggling amphetamine pills, the ministry said.
A third convict, Latif Khan Nurzada, a Pakistani, was executed for trafficking heroin into the kingdom. He was executed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, the ministry said in another statement. Read the rest of this entry »
Sarah Rumpf reports: Democrat Wendy Davis, who made national news for running one of the year’s most aggressively catastrophic campaigns, clawed her way back into the headlines this week with her comment that the “one thing” she would do differently in her race against Republican Greg Abbott is to abandon her support for the open carry of firearms.
“There is one thing that I would do differently in that campaign, and it relates to the position that I took on open carry. I made a quick decision on that with a very short conversation with my team and it wasn’t really in keeping with what I think is the correct position on that issue…
“Though I certainly support people’s right to own and to bear arms in appropriate situations, I fear with open carry, having watched that issue unfold during the campaign, that it will be used to intimidate and cause fear.”
As a refresher for Davis, who apparently suffers from the same constitutional illiteracy as her fellow Harvard law graduate, President Obama, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” period. Not “in appropriate situations.”
Davis also claimed that “as an elected public servant, I’ve always been true to my core beliefs. Always. And I’m so proud of that.” However, she then described her campaign position on open carry as”the only time I felt like I’d strayed a bit from that.” In other words, she “only supported open-carry to get elected,” as Ashe Schow wrote for the Washington Examiner.
Davis’ admittedly facetious attempt to win votes from gun rights supporters fell flat. Despite her comments that she felt she had been “pretty strong in supporting the expansion of the rights of gun ownership,” the National Rifle Association (NRA) gave her an “F” rating, and her liberal supporters were left confused and outraged. A campaign stunt where she was photographed awkwardly holding a shotgun owned by previous Texas Governor Ann Richards led to instant mockery. PJ Media’s Bryan Preston compared Davis to previous Democrat candidates with embarrassingly bad photo ops like Michael Dukakis and John Kerry, and, perhaps most damning of all, to Richards herself holding that same shotgun. “Holding a firearm and looking good isn’t generally a difficult thing to do,” writes Preston. “Say what [you] want about Ann Richards, and I was certainly no fan, but at least she knew how to hold a shotgun without looking silly.”
Davis ended up getting annihilated on Election Day, losing to Abbott by double digits in a loss that was not only viewed as backsliding for Texas Democrats, but also resulted in the efforts of the out-of-state Obama organizers behind Battleground Texas being largely viewed as a failure. Read the rest of this entry »
New-Zealand English teacher-turned-terrorist Mark Taylor, who shot into the public eye last year after publicly burning his Kiwi passport and then asking for a new one has blundered again by apparently forgetting to turn off geo-location services on his smartphone while tweeting from Islamic State safe houses in Syria.
“Taylor’s numerous failures demonstrate the opportunities that can be gained through monitoring and tracking extremists via social media and telecommunications. Given his need for attention I’m sure this will not be the last we hear from Kiwi Jihadi. With luck he will fail to read the manual on his next shiny new phone”.
The terrorist, who changed his name to the more appropriate-sounding ‘Abu Abdul-Rahman’ uploaded a series of tweets during his travels across the Islamic State, updating his twitter following on his progress with ISIS. The Daily Mail reports a Canadian jihad-monitoring group recorded 45 of these tweets containing geo-location data and passed the information on to intelligence agencies.
Describing the blunder, Canadian monitoring group IBRABO said: “It’s a rookie social media mistake and one that intelligence and law enforcement agencies pray for when tracking criminals. This week one of New Zealand’s well known jihadists, Mark Taylor removed 45 tweets after he discovered that he was broadcasting his twitter location to every intelligence agency… Unfortunately for him we captured all of them prior to him removing the tweets”. Read the rest of this entry »
Dzhokhar appeared in court under heavy security Thursday ahead of his trial next month for the bombing of the Boston Marathon, telling the judge he was satisfied with his lawyers.
Tsarnaev, wearing gray pants, a black sweater-vest and a tie, was led in handcuffs into a federal courthouse in Boston for a pretrial hearing. It was his first appearance since July 2013.
Asked by the judge whether he had been kept up to speed on the court proceedings, Tsarnaev answered: “Yes, Your Honor.” Asked whether his lawyers were representing him adequately, he said, “They are.” Read the rest of this entry »
Government continues crackdown over violent incidents blamed on Uighur separatists from Xinjiang region
BEIJING—Chinese state media said on Saturday that eight convicted terrorists were executed in the far western region of Xinjiang, where ethnic conflicts have left dozens of people dead this year.
Among those executed were three men convicted of plotting a deadly assault in the heart of Beijing last year in which the attacker—with his mother and wife as passengers—drove a sport-utility vehicle through crowds, killing themselves and three bystanders, the government-run Tianshan Net news portal said.
The incident was a sign that the ethnic violence was spilling out of the ethnic region of Xinjiang.
The others who were executed were convicted of offenses including police attacks, bomb making, murder and arson, the news portal said.
The report didn’t say when the executions took place.
Xinjiang is home to the Muslim, Turkic minority of Uighurs. Beijing has blamed the ethnic violence on terrorism with overseas ties, but human rights groups say the Uighurs are suffering from repressive policies and practices. Read the rest of this entry »
All they wanted was to escape tyranny and slavery and give their children and themselves a chance to live in freedom. For Cuba’s Castro dictatorship, however, such yearning for liberty is a sin against the revolution. In fact, it is a sin so grave and so heinous that it is punishable by death….(read more)
Sudanese authorities are to free a woman who was sentenced to death for having abandoned the Islamic faith, a foreign ministry official says.
Meriam Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in custody, will be freed in a few days, the official told the BBC. Abdullahi Alzareg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, said Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting the woman. Khartoum has been facing international condemnation over the death sentence.
In an interview with The Times newspaper, British Prime Minister David Cameron described the ruling as “barbaric” and out of step with today’s world. The UK Foreign Office this week said that it would push for Ms Ibrahim to be released on humanitarian grounds.
Ms Ibrahim, 27, was brought up as an Orthodox Christian, but a Sudanese judge ruled earlier this month that she should be regarded as Muslim because that had been her father’s faith. Read the rest of this entry »
Arrest of Sawan Masih after drunken row last year prompted Muslim mob to burn hundreds of homes in eastern city of Lahore
The Telegraph‘s, Rob Crilly reports: A Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan, according to his lawyer, following an incident last year that prompted a Muslim mob to torch hundreds of homes.
It is the latest in a string of convictions prompting calls from religious minorities for the law to be reformed.
“The blasphemy laws in Pakistan are used to settle personal vendettas.”
— Xavier William, president of the Christian pressure group Life for All Pakistan
Naeem Shakir said his client, Sawan Masih, was convicted during a hearing held in jail for fear of violent protests.
Masih, a cleaner, was accused of insulting the Prophet Mohammed during a conversation with a Muslim friend in the eastern city of Lahore. Within hours, about 3000 protesters had set light to Christian homes and churches in an area known as Joseph Colony.
Over 1,000 people were arrested in connection with the bust of four Internet-based baby trafficking rings
Chinese authorities announced Friday the rescue over 300 babies in a sting that thwarted four Internet-based baby trafficking rings.
The fake adoption websites were selling babies in a country where a one-child rule has made baby trafficking a thriving enterprise, according to the Public Security Ministry. Read the rest of this entry »
Adam Kredo writes: Iran has gone on an execution binge in the past two weeks, hanging some 40 people, including 19 in one day, according to international human rights groups inside and outside of Iran.
Iran hanged a total of 19 prisoners on Tuesday, including one who was executed publicly, according to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), which tracks the Islamic Republic’s flawed judicial system.
Forty executions have taken place since the beginning of January, including 33 in just the past week, according to human rights group Amnesty International.
Iran, which human rights activists say is one of the world’s leaders in the abuse of prisoners, hit an all time execution peak in 2013 when it killed some 529 citizens.
‘But it was a really good parking place!” Chinese man sentenced to death for killing toddler after argument over parking spacePosted: September 25, 2013
BEIJING — A Beijing court on Wednesday convicted a man of murder and sentenced him to death for hurling a toddler to the ground in a case that horrified the Chinese public.
The 2-year-old girl was severely injured and died in a hospital days after the incident. Her attacker, Han Lei, fled the scene, but police caught him the following day. In court, he said he thought he had been throwing a shopping cart to the ground. Read the rest of this entry »