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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

On death row, a whisper saved his life. He still does not know why

Death-row cells on Nusakambangan penal island
Death-row cells on Nusakambangan penal island, where Indonesia
carries out executions by firing squad. 
Jakarta: Minutes before Indian truck driver Gurdip Singh was due to be killed by a firing squad the power went out in his cell on Indonesia's penal island Nusakambangan.

Four men had already been taken out to the killing field. Singh, who was sentenced to death for carrying 300 grams of heroin when arrested at the airport, was number five.

"They came, I said 'let me take a shower first'," Singh told Fairfax Media from Pasir Putih prison on Nusakambangan.

"After I was ready, they prayed for me, the officer placed the handcuffs on one of my hands when suddenly the power went out."

It was pitch black, outside the rain was torrential. When the power came back on Singh saw the prison governor walk towards them. "The prison governor said it to my ear: 'Singh, it is cancelled'."

Singh was among 14 convicted drug felons who were due to be shot dead on July 29 last year. Ten of them received a dramatic last minute reprieve for reasons never properly explained.

"It is still not clear until now why," Singh says. "No one told me why."

A year later there are still no answers. No official stay of execution has been granted.

"This situation has affected mental and physical health conditions of those who were spared," says a joint statement by human rights groups submitted to the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review of Indonesia earlier this year.

Fairfax Media asked the Indonesian Attorney-General's office if there are any plans for executions this year.

"The Attorney-General has repeatedly said that we are still studying the cases thoroughly," spokesman Muhammad Rum replied.

Click here to read the full article

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, Jewel Topsfield, Amilia Rosa, August 14, 2017

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