Introducing New Legislation That Will Help Murder Victims’ Families

Maryland has become a model for directing the cost savings from repeal to taking care of murder victims’ family members (Photo Credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images).

Maryland has become a model for directing the cost savings from repeal to taking care of murder victims’ family members (Photo Credit: Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post via Getty Images).

By Andrea Hall, Mid Atlantic Regional Death Penalty Abolition Coordinator

Our victory is now complete. When Maryland’s death penalty was abolished last year, we knew that our work wasn’t finished, because homicide victims matter. With legislation passed last weekend, the state became a model for directing the cost savings from repeal to taking care of murder victims’ family members.

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Join Susan Sarandon: End the Death Penalty in New Hampshire

(Photo Credit: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

(Photo Credit: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)

By Susan Sarandon, Actress and Humanitarian

Playing Sister Helen Prejean in the film “Dead Man Walking” was my awakening to the deep injustice of the death penalty.

The more I learned about the death penalty, the more I knew I had to raise my voice against it.

Just a couple weeks ago, Glenn Ford, an African American man convicted by an all-white jury, was released from a Louisiana prison after serving 30 years on death row for a murder he did not commit.

The state stole 30 years from Glenn’s life and almost killed him because of its mistake.

18 states have abolished this barbaric practice, and Amnesty International’s State Death Penalty Abolition Coordinators are working with the movement in their respective states to put an end to the death penalty across the country. New Hampshire may be next. Please join me now to help make that happen.

Sign Amnesty’s petition calling for an end to the death penalty in New Hampshire.

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The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Amnesty’s Death Penalty Report

Today, Amnesty International released its annual report on the use of the death penalty worldwide. Although 2013 saw more executions than in previous years and several countries resuming executions, there was also progress towards abolition in all regions of the world. Below, see the top 10 things you need to know from our newest report:

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5 Death Penalty Myths Debunked

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In advance of the release of our 2014 Global Death Penalty Report tomorrow, here are 5 of the most common misconceptions about the death penalty.

MYTH #1
The death penalty deters violent crime and makes society safer.

FACT
There is no convincing evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect.

More than three decades after abolishing the death penalty, Canada’s murder rate remains over one third lower than it was in 1976.

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Changing Hearts and Minds in India

Amnesty staff in India speak to Gnanapragasam, one of the four men sentenced to death in 2002 in south India. All four had their sentences commuted to life on January 21, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

Amnesty staff in India speak to Gnanapragasam, one of the four men sentenced to death in 2002 in south India. All four had their sentences commuted to life on January 21, 2014 (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Wednesday, Amnesty International will release its 2014 global Death Penalty report. Some believe that using the death penalty is fine as long as the public supports it. But history is littered with human rights violations that were supported by the majority, but were subsequently looked upon with horror, such as slavery, racial segregation and lynching. Here, independent filmmaker and Amnesty India Campaigner Kadambari Gladding, discusses turning the tide of public option in India, where public option increasingly favors the death penalty. 

“A murder for murder cannot be justice,” Mani told me as we walked down the corridor of the school he went to with his friend Simon some four decades ago. Mani still lives in the same village, while Simon has been on death row for nearly 10 years. Mani is a quiet person, but some things – like the death penalty – move him to rare, long conversations.

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Crimea: A Culture of Fear, Made in Russia

People wave Russian and Soviet flags as they look at fireworks in the center of the Crimean city of Sevastopol celebrating the annexation of the peninsula by Russia (Photo Credit: Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images).

People wave Russian and Soviet flags as they look at fireworks in the center of the Crimean city of Sevastopol celebrating the annexation of the peninsula by Russia (Photo Credit: Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images).

This post originally appeared in Foreign Policy under the title “A Culture of Fear, Made in Russia.”

By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International Secretary General

Two decades of stuttering human rights reform in Ukraine was almost scuppered overnight when, on January 16 this year, the Parliament in Kiev railroaded through a raft of new legislation to restrict the freedoms of expression, association and assembly.

A virtual carbon-copy of laws adopted in neighboring Russia in recent years, they were tailor-made to give the Ukrainian authorities increased powers to prosecute those involved in the anti-government protests in Kiev’s central Maydan Square, as well as silence dissent more widely.

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