A protester holds a sign up during an anti-death penalty protest on June 18,2001 in Santa Ana, CA. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
As the death penalty declines across the US, a small number of states are taking drastic measures to keep their death chambers active.
In light of last year’s three gruesomely botched executions, Ohio and Oklahoma (responsible for two of them) are taking the precaution of putting executions on hold. But that’s a little too cautious for Utah and Virginia, two states that appear willing to do just about anything to continue executions.
Moses Akatugba was 16 years old when he was arrested by the Nigerian police in 2005.
In the years that followed, he was beaten by the police, shot in the hand, and hung for hours at the police station. After 8 years of torture and ill treatment that led to a coerced confession of his involvement in a robbery, he was sentenced to death November 2013.
Somewhere in Egypt, Hosni Mubarak must be smiling, knowing that three years after his downfall, he has won after all.
After three decades of muzzling civil society, of harassing, detaining and torturing political activists, scholars, journalists, lawyers, doctors and regular citizens of all stripes, Mubarak never was able to accomplish what the new regime has achieved in a matter of months.
On Saturday, an Egyptian court will formally rule on the initial 683 death sentences handed out in April in a case involving the death of a police officer in the August 2013 protests that followed the removal of President Muhamad Morsi. The sentence followed only by a matter of days a second, similar case in which 528 Egyptians were given the death penalty.
The state of Oklahoma attempted a “double execution” with a new “drug cocktail.” The procedure went horribly wrong and Clayton Lockett ultimately died of a massive heart attack (Photo Credit: Mike Simons/Getty Images).
By Robert Nave, State/Regional Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator
From time to time, we are reminded about the horror that the United States continues to endorse with the archaic practice of the death penalty.
It’s been one month since the judge sentenced 528 people – alleged supporters of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi – to death. On Monday, the judge returned to the case, confirmed 37 death sentences and gave the remaining 491 people life in prison.
At the same time, he sentenced 683 more people to death in a trial that news reports stated lasted just minutes. Both cases have to do with deaths of Egyptian policemen during violence that arose in August 2013 following Morsi’s removal from office.
The two cases stand as a mockery of justice, death sentences issued on an industrial scale. The size of the injustice is raising outrage around the world, but beneath the headlines, there are important human rights messages to be learned.