To mark 1 June – International Children’s Day – Raha Bahreini from our Iran team describes how Amnesty has managed to raise awareness about the death penalty and save juvenile offenders from the gallows in Iran.
It starts with a panicked phone call.
Our contact tells us that a juvenile offender (a person aged below 18 at the time of their crime) has just been transferred to solitary confinement – the final step before execution.
This is often our first glimpse of this young person and the desperate situation they are in. Why? Because the families of those on death row often fear reprisals if they publicize the plight of their loved ones. They sometimes believe that international lobbying and public campaigning will only complicate the situation and hasten the execution. At times, the authorities themselves give families false assurances, claiming that if the family does not publicize the case, their loved ones might be spared. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
In a significant ruling from the Supreme Court yesterday, the Court reversed the conviction and death sentence of a Georgia man on the basis that prosecutors intentionally discriminated by excluding blacks from the jury. Timothy Foster, an 18-year old black man, was convicted by an all-white jury in 1987 of murdering an elderly white woman. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Officials at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) are doing everything they can to jumpstart executions after over a decade without them—and with the largest death row in the country, they could fast track dozens of cases for execution.
That’s dozens of humans killed at the hands of the state. We can help stop them since the CDCR is required by law to listen to us!
Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. 2015 was a year of extremes – the number of executions worldwide skyrocketed, but here in the United States executions dropped to their lowest in decades. Here are 10 reasons why it’s time to abolish the death penalty now:
1. There was more than a 50% increase in 2015 executions from 2014. Amnesty confirmed 1,634 executions in 2015, 573 more than the previous year and the highest Amnesty has recorded in 25 years. That figure excludes executions in China, which likely executes more than the rest of the world combined but considers the data to be a state secret.
2. The death penalty in the United States continues to decline. 2015 saw the fewest executions in the U.S. in 24 years and the fewest death sentences in 25 years. All 28 executions in 2015 were isolated to just six states, and only three states – Texas, Missouri, and Georgia – were responsible for 85%. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Rachel Livingston, Field Organizer at The Delaware Repeal Project
There is a growing call from the Black community throughout the nation for reform of the criminal justice system. We hear the bellowing of the now-famous phrase “Black Lives Matter” because Black and Brown citizens of the world are demanding that they have value and that the world should be outraged by their deaths just as much as the world is outraged at the death of most human beings.
Repeal of the death penalty is another piece of this movement that cannot be divorced from this struggle for Black Lives.SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Ali al-Nimr was just 17 when he was arrested on 14 February 2012 a few months after taking part in anti-government rallies. He was sentenced to death, despite being a minor when he was arrested and following a deeply unfair trial based on “confessions” he says were obtained through torture. He now awaits his execution. His mother, Nassra al-Ahmed, tells their story:
When I first heard the verdict to execute my little boy, I felt as if a thunderbolt was hitting my head. It rendered me bereaved and rid of the most cherished and beautiful things I have.
His absence has exhausted my heart. My eyes shed tears automatically, yearning for him. I am overtaken by missing his angelic features. His smile never leaves my mind and memories prompt me to weep each time I see one of his pictures. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
In 2015, millions of Amnesty supporters like you pushed decision-makers to make change happen worldwide.
You helped to release journalists and activists. Change discriminatory laws. Compensate victims of corporate crime. Pardon survivors of torture. And so much more. As governments continued to crack down on dissent and free speech, your pressure was critical to protect people’s human rights.
The list below is just a snapshot of some of the many success stories and bits of good news that you made happen in 2015. Thank you for all your support – together, we are standing up for people risking everything to speak out. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Iran is one of the very few countries in the world that continues to execute juveniles. At least four juvenile offenders — including one female — have been executed already in Iran in 2015. This is a blatant violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has ratified; Article 37 of the Convention states: “Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without the possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age.”SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
One-tenth of those who currently on death row in the United States are military veterans, including some with post-traumatic stress disorder that was not factored into their sentences, according to a new report released on the eve of Veterans Day.
While it is not known exactly how many veterans have been sentenced to death, the report released Tuesday by the Death Penalty Information Center says that about 300 of the country’s more than 3,000 death-row inmates have served in the military. Read more