رد شدن به محتوای اصلی



On the Occasion of October 10, the International Day against Death Penalty

Death penalty is premeditated murder by the state. Death penalty allows the killing

of citizens openly and legally by states. This crime committed by the government

depreciates human life and reduces the repellent nature of murder on the one hand,

and, on the other, reflects the dominance and supremacy of the ruling class and the

powerlessness of the citizens. In societies where the capital punishment prevails

infringement on the life and security of the people is easier and more common than

in other societies. Throughout human history dictators have always used capital

punishment as a means of suppression and social intimidation to maintain the

dominance of the ruling classes. From this perspective capital punishment, even

the execution of criminals, is a political crime.

The Islamic regime is among the governments that make ample use of capital

punishment. In addition to prison and torture and retribution and flogging and

assassination, it also makes use of this weapon extensively, verging on genocide, in

order to push back and suppress a rebellious society that detests it. If capital

punishment is a crime, then in Iran it is a hundred times more so because under the

sway of the Islamic Republic it is not only political opponents and people who

have not committed any crime whatsoever who are targeted, but even the execution

sentences for ordinary criminals are entirely unwarranted and murderous. Cases of

executions in Iran would be declared invalid and unjust according to the most basic

modern legal and juridical standards in any court of law.

The ways of executions in the Islamic Republic is also savage and murderous.

Public executions, including hanging from a crane, throwing the condemned down

from a height, as is used for homosexuals, execution by stoning that was stopped

due to widespread protests, and involving the family of the murder victim in

deciding the verdict and carrying out the execution, are all current methods of

executions and indications of the infinite savagery of the Islamic Republic.

It is therefore far from an exaggeration to say that nowhere in the world is the

savagery and cruelty of capital punishment more apparent than in the Islamic

Republic. Executions in Iran are the instrument of genocide, Ideological cleansing,

disposing of political opponents, imposition of religious laws and creating fear, and

casting the shadow of death over society as a whole in order to maintain a horrific

religious state.

In the summer of 1988 alone more than five thousand political prisoners, mostly

very young men and women of the opposition who were serving their sentence

periods, were secretly executed and buried in mass graves with no trace. These

executions took place by order of the highest authority in the country, Khomeini.

The “Death Committeeimplemented by him, of which Ebrahim Raiisi, (the

current president of Iran) was also a member, asked only one question from the

prisoner and then gave their sentence. Before this catastrophe, between the years

1981-84, they had engaged in the same genocide, albeit openly and on a larger

scale, through the savage attacks of gangs Hizbollah thugs . Thousands, mainly

very young, went through trials of “revolutionary courts” lasting no more than

several minutes, and were immediately executed, often for distributing leaflets or

writing a slogan on a wall. There were days following May 1981 when daily

newsp apers p ublished with long lists of the day’s executed youth, asking the

parents to come and take the bodies. The government even demanded the cost of

the bullets with which the young person was put to death before handing over the


The first action of the government was immediately after coming to power after

1979 revolution was summary executions-without trial, of the authorities of the

old regime. The new regime then used the terrifying instrument of death penalty

complemented with governmental killings and assassinations, targeting the people

who had made a revolution with the expectation of freedom, welfare, and control

of their own destiny. The field execution of Shir Mohammad Derakhshandeh

Toomaj, Abdulhakim Makhtoom, Tavagh Mohammad Vahedi and Hussein

Georjani, leaders of the councils of the people of Turkemansahra,in Februari 1980,

the street assassination of Jahangir Ghaleh Miyandoaab (one of the popular leaders

of the unemployed workers’ movement and shooting into their protest lines in

February 1981),the mass execution of at least 56 people in the cities of Sanandaj,

Saghez, Mariwan, Paweh, and Kermanshah through 1979, where people continued

the revolution through their elected councils, the attack on universities in the whole

country to p urge their opponents and communists in the name of “cultural

revolution” and the killing of tens of students by “Hizbullahi” thugs’ are all

manifestations of the efforts of the Islamic Republic to consolidate its rule through

execution, assassination and imprisonment during the first years of its reign. The

pictures published from only one of these crimes, i.e. the execution of a line of

militant youth in Sanandaj airport, including Naser Salimi and Ahsan Nahid, one

with a bandaged hand and the other lying on a stretcher in September 1979,

represent one of the most shocking crimes of contemporary history.

We should also mention the execution of 59 people in the city of Mahabad when

the age of the condemned was below 18. Many of the post revolution executions

were ordered by Khalkhali, according to Islamic Sharia law unceremoniously and

without trial. Khalkhali’s confessions reflect an aspect of the immensity of the

crimes of the Islamic Rep ublic: “I was the Sharia judge and executed over five

hundred of criminals and the agents of the Shah’s regime and hundreds of the

activists of the unrest in Kurdistan, Gonbad and Khoozestan, and also killed a

number of trouble makers and drug smugglers.”

But this scale of executions and state crimes were still not enough to save the

Islamic Republic. The Islamic regime engaged in full scale genocide, once to

conclusively defeat the 1979 revolution and establish itself as the dominant power,

and the second time to confront the possible consequences of the end of the war

with Iraqsomething it had boasted it would continue till victory. The executions

and p olitical killings of the 1980’s are the most obvious instances of crimes against

humanity in contemporary history.

Also after the war, the Islamic regime’s ap paratus of executions and assassination

of its opponents and the protesting people has incessantly been in operation until

now. “chain killings” during the p residency of Rafsanjani in 1998 when writers

and political activists such as Mohammad Jafar Pooyandeh, Mohammad Mokhtari,

Parviz Davani, Parvin Eskandari and Daryoush Forouhar were strangled or lynched

with knives by the agents of the Information Ministry, organized assassination and

shooting to death tens of opposition members abroad such as Shapoor Bakhtyar,

Gholam Keshavarz, Sedigh Kamangar, Fereydoon Farrokhzad, Abdurrahman

Ghasemlou, Kazem Rajavi, and Sadegh Sharafkandi, the killing of tens of people

in the 2009 protests both on the streets such as Neda Aghasultan, or under torture

in prisons such as Sattar Beheshti and Zahra Kazemi, or the shocking crimes

carried out in the Kahrizak prison after the 2009 uprising such as the killing of

Mohsen Rouhulamini, Mohammad Kamrani, and Amir Javadifar under torture, the

time by time execution of political prisoners such as Farzad Kamangar and his

comrades, Ramin Hosseinpanahi, Loghman and Zanyar Moradi and Roohullah

Zamand many others, and the “suicides” of condemned p olitical p risoners inside

the prison such as Kavous Seyyed Emami, Sina Ghanbari, and Zahra Bani

Ya’ghoub, the massacre of 1500 demonstrators in October 2019 and the execution

of those arrested in the protests of recent years such as the execution of Navid

Afkari’ are all further evidence of the fact that premeditated governmental murder

in Iran is the means of splashing blood on Iranian society for the sake of the

survival of the Islamic regime.

But these executions and murders that been carried out against the political

opposition and the protesting people still fail to reflect the depth of the Islamic

savagery and the inhuman dimensions of capital punishment in Iran. Many of the

victims of governmental killings have been atheists or followers of other religions

such as the Bahaiis, among them Mona Mahmoudnezhad who was hanged at the

age of 17 in Shiraz, and the Darwishes, among them Mohammad Salas who was

executed, or “insulters” of the p rophet. In certain cases cap ital p unishment has

been used for such “crimes” like drinking alcohol. Homosexuals have been

executed for their sexual orientation. There are countless cases of the execution of

children and minors. In many cases execution sentences have been carried out

against women such as Reyhaneh Jabbari who have defended themselves against

sexual molestation of men, in many cases government authorities. Also many

imprisoned girls have been raped before execution, to follow the Sharia order

against the execution of virgins.

The execution of children in the Islamic Republic such as Atefeh Rajabiis a

blatant example of the savagery of this government. The Islamic regime has rightly

been called the executioner of children. This regime has executed many minors

who at the time of their arrest and issuing of the execution verdict were under 18

years of age. To avoid international pressure, the Islamic Republic issues the

execution sentnece but executes them after they have reached 18, or, as in the case

of Mehdi Sohrabifar, Amin Sedaghat, and Mahboubeh Mofidi (nicknamed the 17

year old bride) executes them in secret.

But the highest number of executions in Iran is related to cases that according to

some people may be legally justified. The execution of murderers, rapists, the

smugglers and sellers of narcotics, or hoarders has put the Islamic Republic at the

top of the list of countries that practice capital punishment. However, even such

executions have been carried out in the most unfair conditions contrary to the

civilized and modern judiciary standards. Moreover, the government has openly

used these executions as a means to show its power and an iron fist to society as a

whole. The regime has a number of prison inmates at its disposal, who are

condemned to death(usually from the most deprived and defenseless sectors of

society such as Afghani refugees and asylum seekers), and uses them to create

intimidation campaigns by setting up gallows when sees necessary. The Islamic

Republic is in reality what it is called namely “the regime of the one hundred

thousand executions”.

A terrifying aspect of capital punishment in Iran is its being linked to Sharia law

such as the principle of retribution. In cases of murder, the Islamic Republic tries

to include the killed p erson’s family as “owners of the b lood” in the p rocess of

punishment, turning them into accomplices in premeditated state murder.

Iran however, is not only the country of a regime with one hundred thousand

executions.”. It is also the country of the everyday fight against capital punishment.

In Iran there is a broad mass movement against capital punishment, which, in

recent, thanks to the efforts of the International Committee against execution

reached its zenith. It has now become one of the strongest mass movements in the

country. Within the campaigns of this movement unknown people who were

waiting to be executed such as Nazenin Fathi, Kobra Rahmanpour, Afsaneh

Nowroozi, Shahla Jahed, Delara Darabi, Sina Dehghan, and tens others became

internationally known and some of them were saved from execution. Thus a

strong, political, and humane movement with tens of well-known features was

born. This movement comes to the fore on various occasions. Its latest

manifestation was the online march against capital punishment in the world in June

2020, when an 11.000000 strong twitter storm in opposition to the execution

verdict for three of those arrested in October 2020 forced the regime into retreat.

There is also a widespread movement seeking justice against all the regime’s

crimes, in particular the executions of the 1980s , demanding the trial of the heads

of the regime. This movement is quite influential and increasingly gathers

momentum, becoming more widespread with the arrival of mothers who seek

justice. One example is constant presence of Khavaran Mothers who keep the

memory of their lost loved ones, alive. (Khavaran is the name of a remote

cemetery in Tehran, which has become very famous in Iran for burying the bodies

of thousands of political prisoners and has become a gathering place for justiceseeking

people).The Iran Tribunal , putting Hamid Noori on trial in Sweden which

was made possible thanks to the work of political activists and the families, are

other examples of the work of the movement against Islamic regime and capital

punishment. The criminal move of the Islamic regime to involve the families of the

murder victims to engage in execution of their beloved killers, has been faced with

the “forgiveness movement” by the dead p erson’s relatives and exp erienced a clear


Here we should also point to the international worldwide movement against

stoning, the most savage form of execution by the regime, aiming to intimidate

women and force them into submission. The campaign to save Sakine Mohammadi

Ashtyani a woman who was convicted to death by stoning, disgraced the Islamic

Republic in the eyes of the world, and forced it to stop the practice of this heinous


The International Committee against execution asks for the immediate and

unconditional annulment of all execution sentences in Iran. In our view death

penalty is not acceptable under any circumstances. The execution of political and

ideological opponents, execution based on sexual orientation, and the execution of

children should not only be totally stopped, but each such case must be condemned

globally as a crime by the Islamic Republic against humanity. We demand the

formation of fact finding committees in relation to all the executions carried out by

the Islamic Republic. We ask for an immediate end to executions in public, and its

condemnation internationally. The medieval and inhuman law of retribution and

involvement of “the owners of the blood” in deciding the performance of execution

verdicts should be stopped. We are part of the indictment movement in Iran and we

strive for the fulfillment of all its demands, including the trial of the heads of the

Islamic regime of Iran for committing numerous crimes against humanity.

International Committee Against Execution (ICAE)


3rd October, 2021

No to Death Penalty in Iran and the World

October 10 is International ‘Day Against the Death Penalty’. Amnesty International and The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty declared on the October 10, 2002, that this day would from then on be the official ‘World Day Against the Death Penalty’. The purpose of declaring a day as the day against the death penalty is to show the will and determination to abolish the death penalty in all countries of the world by holding various activities. The Islamic Republic of Iran has the highest number of executions in the world after China. Therefore, we believe that the fight against the Islamic Republic and the cessation of executions in Iran is an important and efficient in the global fight to abolish this inhuman punishment.

Capital punishment is the state's terminology for murder. Individuals murder each other, but states sentence individuals to 'capital punishment to death. The demand to end capital punishment and prohibit murder stems from opposition to intentional, deliberate and planned murder of one by the other. That a state or ruling political force is responsible does not make the slightest difference to the fact that we are dealing with intentional murder. Capital punishment is the most deplorable and appalling form of intentional murder since a political authority, publicly, with prior notice, on behalf of society, with the utmost legitimacy and ruthlessness, decides to murder someone, and announces the date and time of the event.

The Islamic Republic in Iran has repeatedly proven that it will not respect human rights through dialogue. Therefore, we emphasize that the global pressure on the Islamic Republic needs to increase and the international community must protest more strongly against the executions in Iran. The Islamic Republic must abolish or virtually end the death penalty in Iran. A regime that cannot respect this demand must be politically boycotted.

We have always called for the political-diplomatic isolation and boycott of the Islamic Republic on a global scale. Today, the time has come for this to happen. We call on all governments, and all political, sports and artistic institutions that claim to defend human rights, to sever their ties with the Islamic Republic, and to call for the prosecution of the heads and officials of the Islamic Republic for crimes against humanity. Just as the racial Apartheid regime in South Africa was boycotted by governments and international institutions, the gender Apartheid regime in Iran can and must face international sanctions.

International Committee against Execution (ICAE)

 October 2020

Join call to Ban Islamic Republic of Iran from International Arena and Sports for Navid

Navid Afkari, a young Iranian wrestler was executed by the Islamic regime in Iran on 12 September 2020 despite widespread local and international pressure. He was executed on trumped up murder charges because of his involvement in anti-government protests in 2018. Many other young people have been given long-term prison sentences or are on death row for participating in the protests.

In a taped message before his execution, Afkari said he had been tortured and that There is not one shred of evidence in this damned case that shows I’m guilty. But they don’t want to listen to us. I realised they are looking for a neck for their rope.

We are outraged at his execution and call on the international community to:

*Unequivocally condemn the execution of Navid Afkari

*Politically boycott the Iranian regime and ban the regime's officials from international arena and travel

*Ban the Islamic Republic of Iran from international sports

*Demand an end to executions and the release of all political prisoner

International Committee Against Execution


Skype: ICAE Iran

Website: ICAE-iran.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/ICAEiran

Tel: 0046703171102

Tel: 0046737896505

International Committee Against Executions (ICAE)


The Iranian people need your support to stop the execution

There is a popular and mass movement going on in Iran against the capital punishment and it has had certain successes. But it needs the international support to be able to stop the ruling execution machine completely.

 Following the announcement of the death sentences for three of the protesters, large sections of the population mobilized    through social media to oppose the sentence. The “crime” of these three young people namely Saeed Tamjidi, Amir Hossein Moradi and Mohammad Rajabi is that they took part in the popular protests last year against very sharp rise in petrol prices, and against poverty and lack of freedom in society.

 The unprecedented drive saw the "#Don't execute them" hashtag become a Twitter trend and topped the list for more than 24 hours.Following this massive social media movement that “#Dont’t execute them” hashtag was tweeted 11 million times, and petitions that were signed by 250,000 people, and the widespread and international reflection of these protests and the reaction of some Western states and the actions that took place in different countries; the judiciary of the Islamic Republic allowed the lawyers of these three young people to access their cases. That is after the trial and their conviction‍! The lawyers then announced that the sentences had been stopped for the time being and that their case would be re-examined.

 Despite this successful campaign, the three young men are still at serious risk of being executed. Since the 1979 revolution in Iran, the Islamic Republic has used executions and assassinations and terror as a tool to silence its opponents and suppress the people's protests and intimidate society.

 The right to protest is the most basic and undeniable international human right but the regime's response to the protesters has always been repression, arrests and even execution, because this is the only way they know for survival. We believe capital punishment is absolutely inhuman and should not be used anywhere in the human world anytime.

 We call on you, the people of the world, to join the Iranian people In this historical struggle against barbaric acts of a barbaric regime against people. Our goal is to gain international support and exert pressure on the Islamic Republic to stop the death sentences. Our most urgent aim is to stop the death sentences for these three young men: Amir Hossein Moradi, Saeed Tamjidi and Mohammad Rajabi who are on the verge of execution.

We call on all trade unions and human rights organizations in the world to send a letter of protest to the leaders of the Islamic Republic and call on them to end all executions in Iran.

 We also call on those European countries’ states, where executions are abolished, to protest explicitly against executions in Iran. Ambassadors of the Islamic Republic must be held to account in the international forums against executions in Iran. The Islamic Republic can and should be forced to abandon this absolutely barbarian tool against people.

Kind regards

International Committee against Execution (ICAE)

Campaign to Free Political Prisoners in Iran (CFPPI)

Campaign to Free Jailed Workers (Free Them Now)

July 26, 2020



§ November 12th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

A clear double-Plexiglass window separates us, with little holes at mouth level to speak through. This is the first time we’ve met, though we’ve been corresponding for more than a year. As she brushes a strand of her long sandy-brown hair from her eyes, I notice that her arms are horribly scarred, and some of her fingers are missing.

“The fire happened when I was five years old,” she explains. “The house burnt to the ground. My mother and I were the only two they couldn’t get to. I tried to beat the fire off of her, and ended up with burns on my face, arms, hands, back, buttocks, and thighs. She died of smoke inhalation and severe burns. She was twenty-four.”

Speaking about her mother’s death recalls the grief Kelley feels about her own children. At the time of her incarceration, they were nine, seven, five, three, and eight months. Three now live with relatives, one with a friend, and the youngest was put up for adoption. “I’ve made some bad choices in my life. I’ll admit that. But I was a good mother. I always watched after my kids and provided for them.”

Kelley’s children still visit occasionally, but she believes they are “pulling away.” She tells me 


§ November 9th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § 1 Comment

I know that a lot of us have snoring issues, and for some it is more extreme than others. This article speaks to the latter group of people – where there may be a danger to overall health.

Snoring mouthpieces can be effective for snoring. But these can only be truly effective for mild to moderate situations. If the snoring is severe and frequent, the doctor may suggest a surgical procedure that should eliminate snoring. Most surgical procedures for snoring can be relatively invasive so the patient may have to take off some time from work or school. This is to give time for recovery.

After the surgery, the doctor will give instructions that the patient should follow carefully. It is important for the patient to adhere with the doctor´s orders to avoid complications. The patient has to lessen his or her physical activities after the surgery. He or she can only increase his or her activities after obtaining permission from the doctor.

The patient should also ask the permission of the doctor before taking any type of medication or trying any kind of natural remedy, such as an anti snoring mouthpiece (some mouthpiece reviews are located here). The patient should also follow the diet regimen recommended by the doctor. He or she must call the doctor if there is bleeding or fever. The results of surgery for snoring are usually satisfying. But the patient must follow the doctor´s instructions to avoid complications

§ September 16th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

A community’s sense of justice is such an odd thing. In the Philippines there is currently a debate raging over capital punishment. The death penalty was reinstated approximately two years ago and since that time hundreds of people have been put on death row. The first prisoner to be executed in over a decade was scheduled to die at the beginning of January.

The newspapers are constantly quoting numbers of people who support the death penalty. Almost every Filipino I speak to is for it. The president is adamant about the need for this kind of “justice.” The lone group that seems to speak out against it is the Catholic Church.

For those who don’t know, the Philippines is an extremely catholic country. My co-workers – the ones who support capital punishment – always attend mass on Sundays and high holidays, and often on Wednesdays to boot! In the shopping mall at 6:00 PM everything stops for the evening prayer which is piped in over the intercom. Every person, all transactions. Catholic morality is evident in many of the county’s laws – no divorce or abortion for example. And yet people are marching in the street demanding blood. Even though the Philippines will use lethal injection, the streets are filled …


§ September 12th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

For the most part, executions these days pass with scarcely a murmur. By last week, 612 people had been put to death in the United States since capital punishment was brought back 24 years ago — 206 of them in Texas alone. Aside from Goss and Beets, three other inmates are set to die this week, one in Ohio and two in Florida (where Bush’s kid brother, Jeb, another unblinking advocate of the ultimate punishment, is governor).

Now, for the first time in a generation, there are signs of a shift in the public mood. The biggest came on Jan. 31, when the governor of Illinois, an old-guard Republican named George Ryan, halted all executions in his state. Illinois, he admitted, has a “shameful record of convicting innocent people and putting them on death row.” Since 1976, the state has executed 12 men. Over the same period, 13 condemned men were exonerated. Three were freed after journalism students dug up evidence that someone else had committed the crime. In other cases, the Chicago Tribune documented gross legal lapses. “I cannot support a system,” Ryan concluded, “which has proven so fraught with error.”

Other signs of change: 12 of the 38 states with capital punishment have bills pending to stop executions


§ September 8th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § 3 Comments

As a younger man, I went to Atlanta, Georgia, and worked with the Southern Prisoners’ Defense Committee, a group that represented death row prisoners.

I was very affected by my experiences and felt a calling to return to that office when I graduated. So after graduating in 1985, I went down and soon began handling a lot of cases out of Alabama, where there is no public defender system, no real public-interest litigation in the criminal-justice area. There were so many unmet needs. In 1989, we decided it made sense to start a project in that state.

When you speak to a general audience about capital punishment. I’ve noticed that you often focus less on the absolute question of the morality of the death penalty than on the abuses and problems in its application. Why?

Our society is so polarized on issues like the death penalty. I don’t think we can just stand up and say: “This is the right position. All of you folks way over there need to come over here on our side.” As a Christian with an evangelical heritage, I think you have to go and get people, meet them where they are.

In the United States, what has been most effective, at least in …


§ September 4th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

Not too long ago, as the Earth turns, they still held public hangings in England — for such minor offences as pickpocketing. As the slavering crowds gathered round the gallows, hooting in glee, pickpockets worked the crowd, as was their profession. As the last two men ever executed by state murder in Canada hanged back-to-back in the Don Jail in Toronto, John Diefenbaker said quietly that there never again will be capital punishment in Canada. As any civilized person knows.

And the death of Stockwell Day as a prime ministerial candidate — a glib, attractive man who did not have the resolve to finish either the university or the Bible college he dabbled at — came when he actually included in his Alliance platform a national referendum on capital punishment. The new President of the United States, the richest nation in history, the only superpower left in the universe, is promoting “compassionate conservatism.” The greatest oxymoron since “military intelligence,” “giant shrimp,” “airplane meals” and “journalistic ethics.”

The new president of the greatest empire since Rome has been elected — leaving aside the pregnant chads — on a platform that included the death penalty. In his six years as governor, Texas not only led the nation but, considering its population, …


§ August 31st, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

In February, representatives of the EU presidency presented a demarche to US Undersecretary of State for Human Rights Frank Loy, outlining special concerns regarding certain executions carried out in the United States. These include cases involving individuals who were younger than eighteen years old when they committed their crimes, those who suffer from mental illness, and those who were unable to prove their innocence due to the lack of adequate legal assistance. As of last month, EU representatives had appealed for the commutation of eleven such death sentences, eight in Texas, two in Virginia, and one in Georgia.

The EU presidency followed the demarche with an appeal to state governors, asking them to emulate the example of Illinois Governor George Ryan, who imposed a moratorium on the use of capital punishment after questions arose over the guilt of some Illinois death row inmates. In its letter, the EU pointed out that “while more than 600 people have been executed [in the US] since the reinstatement of the penalty in 1976, as many as eighty-one people in twenty-one states have been found innocent and removed from death row.” Such instances, they emphasized, reflect the inherent risk attached to carrying out a punishment that cannot be reversed.

In July, Ambassador Francois Bujon …


§ August 27th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

In 1893 John Peter Altgeld, the reform Democratic Governor of Illinois, made a decision that ended his career: to pardon three anarchosyndicalists convicted on spurious grounds in the famous Haymarket bombing of 1886. Four of their comrades had already been hanged. “Much of the evidence given at the trial was a pure fabrication,” Altgeld found. “No greater damage could possibly threaten our institutions than to have the courts of justice run wild or give way to popular clamor.”Today, “pure fabrication” and “courts run wild” are routine descriptions of Illinois murder trials. That is the conclusion reached by Altgeld’s current successor, Governor George Ryan. Ryan does not exactly have Altgeld’s probity profile: He is mired in a spectacular bribery scandal involving the state’s issuing of driver’s licenses and his campaign fund. But in the Altgeld tradition, Ryan refuses to avert his eyes from what he calls “a shameful record of convicting innocent people and putting them on death row,” and on February 1 he imposed a moratorium on his state’s executions, the first like it in the nation’s history. “I cannot support a system, which, in its administration, has proven so fraught with error and has come so close to the ultimate nightmare, the state’s taking of innocent life,” he …

§ August 21st, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § 3 Comments

Nearly always it is a Supreme Court decision that sparks debate and political action which define us as a free people and a democratic nation. The Court’s recent denial of two petitions to review death- sentence cases has put international focus on a truly contentious issue: the often decades-long delay between conviction and execution in the United States. Normally, petitions for certiorari are denied in one sentence (for example, “The petition for writ of certiorari is denied”). But in Knight v. Florida and Moore v. Nebraska, two Supreme Court justices heatedly clashed over whether the death-sentence cases should even be reviewed.

The two petitions (consolidated by the Court) requested that the Supreme Court consider whether the Eighth Amendment prohibits as “cruel and unusual punishment” the execution of prisoners who have spent nearly 20 years or more on death row. The quick reaction to this question, by some, is that a prisoner should not be allowed to take advantage of the “full and generous avenue of appeals” (which often take years, even decades, to exhaust) and then turn around and complain that the delay in execution violates his fundamental rights. Indeed, both Knight and Moore took full advantage of every appellate right they had. Nearly half their time on death …


§ August 18th, 2015 § Filed under Uncategorized § No Comments

The reforms that death-penalty opponents cheer might actually strengthen Americans’ faith in the practice they so despise.

It wouldn’t be the first time. In the early ’80s, when states began abandoning the electric chair for the more humane method of lethal injection, some anti-death-penalty activists cheered. But, by sanitizing capital punishment, states robbed the abolitionists of one of their strongest arguments: the practice’s barbarity. Henry Schwarzchild, the late dean of the American anti-death-penalty movement and a fervent opponent of lethal injection, used to quote the critic Alexander Woollcott: “The worst sin of all is to do well that which shouldn’t be done at all.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the first state to use lethal injection–Texas–now accounts for more than one-third of all the executions in America.

Something similar happened during the previous decade as well, when opponents of the death penalty, by challenging its constitutional basis, achieved a nationwide moratorium on capital punishment, beginning in 1967. In 1972, with its ruling in Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court lent its imprimatur to the halt in executions, declaring that the arbitrary and discriminatory implementation of the death penalty constituted “cruel and unusual punishment.” University of Pennsylvania Law School Professor Anthony Amsterdam, a leading death- penalty abolitionist who argued the case before the …