The Anonymous Widower

Should The UK Reinstate The Death Penalty?

Today in Manchester, two young female police officers, were shot dead by a man wanted for murder.

It is the worst murder of members of the police since 1966. At that time, when Harry Roberts and two others, shot dead three policemen, I was serving in a pub in North London.

The mood in the pub that evening was sombre and one of horror. Few suggested that the recent abolishment of capital punishment the year before was to blame.  Although a couple did get shouted down, for proposing thoughts about dead policemen.

Remember too, that it was soon after the Hanratty case, which did a lot to discredit the death penalty in the UK, as many believed Hanratty to be innocent.

I suspect that like in 1966, there will be a lot of discussion tonight and generally despite the sex and age of the victims, I suspect there will not be a large groundswell of support for the return of the death penalty.

There does appear to be one big difference between the murders today and that of those in 1966. Harry Roberts went and hid from the police, whereas Dale Cregan today, just walked into a police station and gave himself up. Perhaps he understood the horror, of what he had done, whereas Roberts didn’t! If Cregan did, we’ve moved on in the forty plus years.

September 18, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | 7 Comments

A Death Sentence for Dancing

This video is on the BBC’s web site. It tells the story of four women and two men, who may have been sentenced to death at a wedding for dancing.  The Pakistan Supreme Court is investigating.

June 6, 2012 Posted by | News, World | , , | Leave a comment

The United States Censors The Thick of It.

According to this report, the American version of The Thick of It has been censored for bad language.

What does it say for a country, where you can’t say “Fuck” on television, but you keep the death penalty?

May 3, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

The EU’s Effect On Executions in the United States

This is a piece I found on the Internet.  It shows how the EU’s stand against the death penalty and their reluctance to sell needed drugs to states like Oklahoma and California is stopping executions.

Oklahoma, which executes more prisoners per capita than any other state, said on Wednesday it has only 1 remaining dose of pentobarbital, a key drug used to kill condemned prisoners. 

One reason the state is running out is because of a ban on the sale of drugs for such purposes by the European Union, which opposes the death penalty.

Oklahoma has a single vial of pentobarbital left after the execution on Tuesday night of 57-year-old Michael B. Selsor, prison spokesman Jerry Massie said. 

Oklahoma is the 1st state to publicly admit it has nearly exhausted supplies of the drug but other states may follow because of the EU clamp down, said Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center in Washington, D.C. 

Pentobarbital is a sedative that is the first of a 3-drug cocktail administered by Oklahoma. It is followed by vecuronium bromide, which stops breathing, and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. 

Oklahoma was the 1st state in the country to use pentobarbital in 2010 after a shortage of another anesthetic, sodium thiopental, caused penal officials in death penalty states to look for an alternative. 

11 other states also use it. Arizona and Ohio use a single injection of pentobarbital for executions while nine states use the multi-drug protocol, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. 

Lundbeck Inc, the only manufacturer of pentobarbital, is located in Denmark and forbids its U.S.-based wholesalers from selling the drug for lethal injections, while the European Union forbids its member countries from exporting drugs for executions. 

Oklahoma could resort to another anesthetic never used before in executions, Massie said, or it could try to tap existing supplies of pentobarbital. 

A 3rd option, he said, would entail going back to sodium thiopental. “It’s available but you run into the same kind of problem. Companies don’t want to use it for executions,” Massie said. 

The only manufacturer of sodium thiopental in the United States, Hospira Inc, halted production last year. 

Dieter said even if states have stockpiled a large supply of pentobarbital, expiration dates eventually will require new orders, he said. 

Any change in death penalty procedures typically are met with legal challenges and sometimes lengthy administrative reviews, Dieter added, noting that California has not had an execution since 2006 because of exhaustive review procedures. A measure has qualified for the ballot in November in California calling for repeal of the death penalty. 

Oklahoma has executed 3 men so far this year but has no more executions scheduled. There are 60 people on death row in the state, Massie said. 

The state has the highest number of executions per capita since the death penalty was restored in the United States in 1976. Texas has executed more people but has a far larger population.

If the Americans are serious about executing people, they could surely manufacture the drugs they need themselves. Of course they should always use the Iranian method and hang people in public from a crane. I’m certain that the American public would like that.  It might even be good for the tourist trade!

May 3, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Iranian Faces Death Penalty For Watching Satellite TV

This may seem rather extreme, but it’s true.

An Iranian political prisoner, following 2 years of detention in various solitary prisons, has received a death sentence from a criminal court in Tehran for having watched and contacted an Iranian dissident television program, Simay-e Azadi, says which is a Persian language website with a focus on human rights situation in Iran.

Simay-e Azadi is a program in Farsi language that is broadcast from abroad presenting the views of the Iranian opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq or MEK.

Mullahs consider the MEK to be their arch foe enemy.

Gholamreza Khosravi, 47, is said to support the MEK. He was previously jailed for his political activities during the 80s. 

He had earlier received a much lighter sentence in his hometown but when his case was transferred to a court in Tehran, he received the death sentence. A review court later turned down the sentence but another court immediately reinstated it. 

Khosravi told reporters that he will not ask for a pardon and that his death sentence is illegal and he did not commit any crime to deserve such punishment. 

The Iranian people are, more than ever, using externally produced satellite television programs as their main source of information, news and entertainment. But the mullahs’ regime, on the other hand, considers the free flow of information to be a growing threat to its authoritarian rule. Along with internet and the new mobile phone technology, satellite TV leaves no room for control of information and censorship the way a dictatorial regime prefers to have. 

Iranian police attacks houses and neighborhoods at nights, collecting satellite dishes from atop buildings and apartments. Those arrested receive harsh punishments. But this may be the first instance of a death sentence being handed down for charges related to satellite TV.

Has there ever been a regime as cruel and bonkers as Iran.

May 2, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Jimmy Carter on the Death Penalty

This article appeared in the Macon Telegraph.

For many reasons, it is time for Georgia and other states to abolish the death penalty. A recent poll showed 61 % of Americans would choose a punishment other than the death penalty for murder.

Also, just 1 % of police chiefs think that expanding the death penalty would reduce violent crime. This change in public opinion is steadily restricting capital punishment, both in state legislatures and in the federal courts.

As Georgia’s chief executive, I competed with other governors to reduce our prison populations. We classified all new inmates to prepare them for a productive time in prison, followed by carefully monitored early-release and work-release programs. We recruited volunteers from service clubs who acted as probation officers and “adopted” one prospective parolee for whom they found a job when parole was granted. At that time, in the 1970s, only 1 in 1,000 Americans was in prison.

Our nation’s focus is now on punishment, not rehabilitation. Although violent crimes have not increased, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with more than 7.43 per 1,000 adults imprisoned at the end of 2010. Our country is almost alone in our fascination with the death penalty. 90 % of all executions are carried out in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

One argument for the death penalty is that it is a strong deterrent to murder and other violent crimes. In fact, evidence shows just the opposite. The homicide rate is at least 5 times greater in the United States than in any Western European country, all without the death penalty.

Southern states carry out more than 80 % of the executions but have a higher murder rate than any other region. Texas has by far the most executions, but its homicide rate is twice that of Wisconsin, the first state to abolish the death penalty. Look at similar adjacent states: There are more capital crimes in South Dakota, Connecticut and Virginia (with death sentences) than neighboring North Dakota, Massachusetts and West Virginia (without death penalties). Furthermore, there has never been any evidence that the death penalty reduces capital crimes or that crimes increased when executions stopped. Tragic mistakes are prevalent. DNA testing and other factors have caused 138 death sentences to be reversed since I left the governor’s office.

The cost for prosecuting executed criminals is astronomical. Since 1973, California has spent about $4 billion in capital cases leading to only 13 executions, amounting to about $307 million each.

Some devout Christians are among the most fervent advocates of the death penalty, contradicting Jesus Christ and misinterpreting holy scriptures and numerous examples of mercy. We remember God’s forgiveness of Cain, who killed Abel, and the adulterer King David, who had Bathsheba’s husband killed. Jesus forgave an adulterous woman sentenced to be stoned to death and explained away the “eye for an eye” scripture.

There is a stark difference between Protestant and Catholic believers. Many Protestant leaders are in the forefront of demanding ultimate punishment.

Official Catholic policy condemns the death penalty. Perhaps the strongest argument against the death penalty is extreme bias against the poor, minorities or those with diminished mental capacity. Although homicide victims are 6 times more likely to be black rather than white, 77 % of death penalty cases involve white victims.

Also, it is hard to imagine a rich white person going to the death chamber after being defended by expensive lawyers. This demonstrates a higher value placed on the lives of white Americans.

It is clear that there are overwhelming ethical, financial and religious reasons to abolish the death penalty.

Jimmy makes some interesting points and I think he’s right.

One thing I find interesting is that Protestants are more in favour of the death penalty than Catholics. I doubt many European Protestant are in favour, so why the difference?

April 29, 2012 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Connecticut Abolishes the Death Penalty

About time too, but it’s here on the BBC

April 25, 2012 Posted by | News, World | , , , | Leave a comment

Santorum Gives Up

I think this is good for the world, as he would have made one of the worst US Presidents ever.

With all the religiously-driven troubles around the world, the one thing we don’t need is an extreme right-wing Catholic, totally out of kilter on womens’ issues and humanity in the White House.

He should crawl back with the dinosaurs and reeducate himself about the real world, where contraception and abortion are commonplace and legal, women work and guns and the death penalty are something you read about in history books.

April 11, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , | 2 Comments

Abu Hamza Can Be Extradited

I’m not going to comment on the legal reasons, as it does seem to me, that the verdict of the European Court to allow the extradition of Abu Hamza  may create more problems than it solves.

After all, it’s unlikely he’ll get a slap on the wrists in a United States court, so what will be the reaction of his apologists here in the UK, when they realise he’s not going to come back? I think it might be better for everyone here if he was kept in a nice warm cell and released when his time is up.

But then I don’t have to get elected in a few years time.

The EU could put a whole cap on it, by passing a law that says that no-one could be extradited to a country with the death penalty on the statute book.

April 10, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Japan Joins the Evil Empire

Yesterday, Japan hanged three men.

The death penalty is barbaric, but in Japan, they just take you in the morning and hang you, after you might have been in jail for twenty or thirty years.  Your relatives aren’ even told.

That though is truly barbaric.  Even when we had the death penalty, it was carried out as humanely as possible, according to the standards of the time.

So Japan now joins the Evil Empire of Iran, China and the United States.

March 30, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment