Where The Most Death Penalties Are Carried Out

At least 883 people are known to have been put to death last year, according to Amnesty International’s annual review of the death penalty. However, as Statista’s Anna Fleck reports, the true number is likely far higher, as several countries do not publish accurate figures – including North Korea, Vietnam and Belarus.

In China, where numbers remain a state secret, thousands of people are believed to be executed and sentenced to death each year.

As Statista’s chart shows, Iran comes second only after China with at least 576 people known to have been executed in 2022, up 55 percent from the year.

The crimes behind these executions are mostly related to drugs and murder, while 18 were for moharebeh (enmity against God), which can be connected to the protests surrounding the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amnesty International notes that Saudi Arabia also saw a significant increase in death sentences since 2020, rising from 27 to a record high of 196 deaths, 83 of whom were executed for terrorism-related crimes. In total, 55 countries still have the death penalty, 20 of which recorded executions in 2022.

In the U.S., 18 executions were recorded in 2022 across six jurisdictions. These were Alabama (2), Arizona (3), Mississippi (1), Missouri (2), Oklahoma (5), and Texas (5). Meanwhile, there were 21 new death sentences recorded across 12 states. These included: Alabama (3), Arizona (1), California (2), Florida (5), Georgia (1), Louisiana (1), Mississippi (1), Missouri (1), North Carolina (2), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (1) and Texas (2).

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21 South Carolina GOP Lawmakers Propose Death Penalty for Women Who Have Abortions

MEMBERS OF THE South Carolina State House are considering a bill that would make a woman who has an abortion in the state eligible for the death penalty

The “South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023” would amend the state’s code of laws, redefining “person” to include a fertilized egg at the point of conception, affording that zygote “equal protection under the homicide laws of the state” — up to and including the ultimate punishment: death.  

The bill was authored by Rep. Rob Harris, a registered nurse and member of the Freedom Caucus; it has attracted 21 co-sponsors to date. (Two former co-sponsors — Rep. Matt Leber and Rep. Kathy Landing — asked to have their names removed as sponsors of the bill. Leber and Landing could not be reached for comment.)  

Rep. Nancy Mace, a Republican who represents South Carolina in the U.S. House, took to the floor on Friday to call attention to the bill, which she sees as part of a “deeply disturbing” trend. (Multiple Texas lawmakers have floated the idea of executing women who have abortions in the past. Those bills, proposed before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, failed.)

“To see this debate go to the dark places, the dark edges, where it has gone on both sides of the aisle, has been deeply disturbing to me as a woman, as a female legislator, as a mom, and as a victim of rape. I was raped as a teenager at the age of 16,” Mace said. “This debate ought to be a bipartisan debate where we balance the rights of women and we balance the right to life. But we aren’t having that conversation here in D.C. We aren’t having that conversation at home. We aren’t having that conversation with fellow state lawmakers.” 

Asked about exceptions for victims of rape, which Mace raised in her remarks on the floor, Harris told Rolling Stone, “There are other bills with exceptions, but will do little or nothing to save the lives of pre-born children.” He went on list exceptions the bill does contain, including: “a ‘duress’ defense for women who are pressured/threatened to have an abortion” and “medical care to save the mother’s life… The functional language in that scenario is whether the baby’s life is forfeited ‘unintentionally’ or ‘intentionally’.” (Asked if he saw any irony between being a member of the so-called “Freedom Caucus” while proposing such harsh restrictions on reproductive freedoms, Harris responded simply: “Murder of the pre-born is harsh.”)

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Trump Plans to Bring Back Firing Squads, Group Executions if He Retakes White House

“WHAT DO YOU think of firing squads?”

That’s the question Donald Trump repeatedly asked some close associates in the run-up to the 2024 presidential campaign, three people familiar with the situation tell Rolling Stone.

It’s not an idle inquiry: The former president, if re-elected, is still committed to expanding the use of the federal death penalty and bringing back banned methods of execution, the sources say. He has even, one of the sources recounts, mused about televising footage of executions, including showing condemned prisoners in the final moments of their lives.

Specifically, Trump has talked about bringing back death by firing squad, by hanging, and, according to two of the sources, possibly even by guillotine. He has also, sources say, discussed group executions. Trump has floated these ideas while discussing planned campaign rhetoric and policy desires, as well as his disdain for President Biden’s approach to crime.

In at least one instance late last year, according to the third source, who has direct knowledge of the matter, Trump privately mused about the possibility of creating a flashy, government-backed video-ad campaign that would accompany a federal revival of these execution methods. In Trump’s vision, these videos would include footage from these new executions, if not from the exact moments of death. “The [former] president believes this would help put the fear of God into violent criminals,” this source says. “He wanted to do some of these [things] when he was in office, but for whatever reasons didn’t have the chance.”

A Trump spokesman denies Trump had mused about a video-ad campaign. “More ridiculous and fake news from idiots who have no idea what they’re talking about,” the spokesman writes in an email. “Either these people are fabricating lies out of thin air, or Rolling Stone is allowing themselves to be duped by these morons.”

Trump’s enthusiasm for grisly video campaigns has been documented before, including in an anecdote from a former aide that had the then-president demanding footage of “people dying in a ditch” and “bodies stacked on top of bodies” so that his administration could “scare kids so much that they will never touch a single drug in their entire life.”

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Roaming Charges: Killing in the Name Of…

In this country the inability to say yes to life is part of our dilemma, which could become a tragic one. It is part of the dilemma of being what is known as an American.

– James Baldwin, “The White Problem”

Shortly after 6 PM on the evening of February 7, Leonard “Raheem” Taylor was executed by the state of Missouri for a crime he almost certainly didn’t commit: the 2004 murder of Angela Rowe and her three children in suburban St. Louis. Rowe had been Taylor’s girlfriend. She and her children shot and killed in the house she shared with Taylor. In the 19 years since the murders, Taylor never wavered in asserting his innocence and much of the evidence in the case backed him up and always has.

When the bodies were discovered on December 3, 2004, Taylor was 2,000 miles away in Oakland, visiting his daughter Deja. He’d been in California for more than a week and there was plenty of evidence to prove it, starting with security footage at the St. Louis airport showing Taylor on his way to catch his November 26th flight to Ontario, California on Southwest Airlines. Taylor’s daughter and her mother, Mia Perry, both said that Taylor called Angela Rowe from Oakland and put Deja on the phone to talk with Rowe’s children.

But none of this mattered to the cops, who had settled on Taylor as their only suspect. To the police, Taylor’s alibi was manufactured. They viewed it as evidence of his guilt, not innocence. A legal Catch-22: if he were really innocent, why would he need an alibi? The problem for the cops was they had no gun, no evidence and no motive. That’s when they went to work on Taylor’s brother, Perry.

Perry Taylor was a truck driver, who used Rowe and Taylor’s house as a kind of staging area for his life on the road. He stored his things there and sometimes slept in his truck in the driveway. He was in Atlanta when the bodies were discovered. Over the next couple of weeks, Perry was followed, harassed, threatened, and arrested by the Missouri cops. He was interrogated for five hours, during which Perry later said he was coerced into giving a statement implicating his brother, a statement he fully recanted before the trial.

According to Perry, “Some detective right off the bat told me, ‘OK, before we get to the station, here’s what you’re going to say.” As part of the coercion, Perry claimed the cops made threats against his disabled mother and ransacked her apartment. “That’s the kind of shit that makes you hate law enforcement,” Perry later said in a deposition.

The other key witness for the state was Philip Burch, the medical examiner. In his initial report and pre-trail deposition, Burch concluded that the murders took place no more than a week before the bodies were found. This assessment was fatal to the state’s case, because Taylor could prove he was in California during that entire week. Then at trial, Burch suddenly changed his theory to fit the state’s case, testifying that because the air conditioner was left on Rowe and her children could have been killed three weeks before the bodies were discovered.

Still the case strained credulity. For this theory to hold, the prosecutors had to argue that Taylor was so depraved that he stayed in the house with the bodies of his murdered girlfriend and three kids for several days. But that’s exactly what they argued and Taylor’s legal team, ambushed by the dramatically changed testimony of the medical examiner, put up a weak defense. Taylor was found guilty and sentenced to death. (For an in-depth account of this disturbing case see the reporting of Liliana Segura and Jordan Smith for The Intercept.)

In the ensuing years, more evidence supporting Taylor’s alibi and discrediting the police investigation has emerged. But none of his claims of innocence have ever been put to a legal test. Taylor’s supporters had pinned their hopes on the reform-minded Prosecuting Attorney for St. Louis County Wesley Bell, But Bell declined to invoke a Missouri law permitting prosecutors to reopen possible wrongful convictions, perhaps because of the brutality of the murders and Taylor’s criminal record. But should that really matter?

As Taylor’s execution date neared, Missouri’s Governor Mike Pearson, who has campaigned on accelerating the pace of executions in the state, turned down a request from Taylor’s lawyers for a Board of Inquiry investigation of the evidence of Taylor’s innocence. Pearson curtly dismissed the plea as “self-serving.” After the governor also denied Taylor’s clemency request, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected last appeal and the US Supreme Court refused to issue a stay of execution. In a final indignity, Missouri’s new Attorney General, Andrew Bailey, spurned Taylor’s entreaty to have his spiritual advisor present during the execution.

What is the rush to execute? Where’s the risk in hearing every bit of exculpatory evidence? What are we killing in the name of? Why must the cruelty be torqued up to the very last breath?

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Ukrainian secret police shot the man who ‘saved’ Kiev – Zelensky aide

The extrajudicial execution of Denis Kireev in March 2022 was due to a lack of coordination between security services, a top aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said on Thursday. Mikhail Podoliak was responding to a Wall Street Journal feature describing the 45-year-old banker as an asset of Ukrainian military intelligence, who supposedly helped save Kiev from Russian attack.

Kireev was killed on March 2 last year. His body was dumped on a Kiev sidewalk “with a bullet hole in the back of the skull,” according to the WSJ. Ukrainian media reported at the time that the country’s security service, the SBU, had “clear” evidence Kireev had committed high treason. The military intelligence, however, said he “died protecting Ukraine.” 

The 45-year-old banker’s violent end was brought into the spotlight again by the WSJ, which interviewed Kireev’s relatives and associates, as well as the man he died working for – General Kirill Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence (GUR).

The banker was loyal to Kiev, raising funds for Ukrainian “volunteer brigades” fighting in Donbass after 2014, and “enjoyed playing the 007 role,” according to his friends and associates. Budanov said he had recruited Kireev in 2021 because of his business contacts with Russia, and received useful information from him for months before the conflict escalated. 

“If it were not for Mr. Kireev, most likely Kiev would have been taken,” Budanov told the WSJ.

Kireev came to Budanov on February 23 and said Russia would “invade” the following day, with the primary objective to seize the Antonov Airport in Gostomel, near Kiev. The tip “gave Ukraine a precious few hours to shift troops to counter the Russian assault” and ultimately disabled the airport, saving the capital, according to the general. 

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2022 Was a Year of Bad, Botched Death Row Executions

The good news for opponents of the death penalty is that its use in the United States continued to decline in 2022. The bad news is that many of the executions that did take place appear to have been botched by officials who subjected prisoners to cruel torment.

Those are the main takeaways from the Death Penalty Information Center’s (DPIC) annual year-end report. It shows that American states are increasingly turning away from executions, but that in those states where capital punishment still happens, there’s been a turn toward cruelty and secrecy in the relevant government agencies.

Six states—Oklahoma, Alabama, Texas, Missouri, Arizona, and Mississippi—executed 18 people in 2022. That’s an increase over the 11 people executed in 2021, but both numbers are low relative to the last decade. For eight consecutive years, states have performed fewer than 30 executions annually and issued fewer than 50 new death penalty sentences annually. Federal executions were halted entirely when President Joe Biden took office.

The downturn may not be permanent. Oklahoma halted executions in 2015 temporarily after a series of problems with the drugs that led to one man groaning and struggling as the drugs took hold in 2014 and a case in 2015 where they received the wrong drug entirely. In 2020, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Oklahoma would restart executions using those very same drugs. In 2021, Oklahoma executed its first two inmates in years. During the first of those executions, John Marion Grant reportedly convulsed and vomited before he died. In 2022, Oklahoma executed five inmates, making the state responsible for nearly a third of all executions.

And if the state gets its way, there will be many more to come in 2023. In June, Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor started planning 25 executions over the next few years. According to DPIC, the state has 11 planned for next year and 10 in 2024.

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Saudi Arabia Executes 15 People in 12 Days For Non-Violent Drug Offences

Saudi Arabia has executed 15 people for non-violent drug offences – some thought to be beheaded by sword – in the last 12 days, despite promising to end them. 

In January 2021 the country announced a moratorium on drug-related executions. It came in the wake of the gruesome murder and dismembering of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey in 2018 by a Saudi death squad, a hit the CIA said was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  

But legal NGO Reprieve said that in the last fortnight the regime had quietly resumed secret executions for drug offences. Ten of those executed are foreign nationals, from Pakistan, Syria and Jordan. Five of them – including a man executed on Monday morning – are Saudi nationals. Because executions are carried out behind closed doors and bodies are not returned to families, methods of execution cannot be confirmed. However experts believe people are killed by a mixture of beheading by sword and by shooting.  

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Trump Calls for Death Penalty for Drug Dealers in 2024 Announcement

While announcing his presidential bid in 2024, former President, Donald J. Trump called for death sentences for drug dealers. Drug overdoses have skyrocketed and accelerated over the past decade. A record-high 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2021, with fentanyl overdoses accounting for a large percentage of those deaths.

Trump spoke in a subdued, professional tone and largely focused on policy. A number of conservative pundits have commented that Tuesday’s speech was Trump’s ‘most presidential sounding speech,’ which happen to be his formal announcement of his 2024 Presidential campaign.

Trump hit in many important issues during Tuesday’s presidential announcement, though he placed significant emphasis on drug overdoses and the border crisis which has only exasperated the flow of deadly drugs into the United States.

The president argued that drug dealers who sell hard drugs like fentanyl will be responsible for dozens, potentially hundreds of deaths. Thus, the punishment for being caught dealing such drugs should carry the same penalty as a first-degree homicide charge.

“We are going to be asking that everyone who sells drugs/who gets caught selling drugs to receive the death penalty for their heinous acts,” announced former President Trump. “I don’t like to say it, and I’m not sure if the American public is ready for it.”

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College students turn more liberal, OK speech death penalty

Calls for diversity on campuses and in Main Street businesses and banning hate speech, even that protected by the First Amendment , are no longer issues to fight over for college students.

Now, it’s a reason for the electric chair .

In a remarkable shift showing how students, many lining up for President Joe Biden’s loan forgiveness plan, have turned left since the 2020 election, a new Yale survey suggests that America’s best and brightest are giving up on key constitutional freedoms and even embracing socialism.

In the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale University national student survey, conducted by McLaughlin & Associates and provided to Secrets, big majorities want companies to require employees to declare support for workplace diversity just to get a job.

And when it comes to speech, nearly half believe the death penalty is OK to shoot down hate speech.

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President Trump Calls for Death Penalty for Drug Dealers and Human Traffickers During Ohio Rally

On Saturday night, President Trump gave a speech at a Save America rally held in Youngstown, Ohio. He was there to campaign for U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance. Additional speakers include Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Bill Johnson (R-OH) and congressional candidates Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, J.R. Majewski and Max Miller.

Trump’s Save America Super PAC said in a statement that the rally continues an “unprecedented effort to advance the MAGA agenda by energizing voters and highlighting America First candidates and causes.”

At the rally, President Trump advocated for the death sentence for drug dealers and human traffickers, which will reduce drug distribution and crime in our country.

“Congratulations Democrats! What a rotten job you’re doing! You’re destroying our country,” said Trump.

According to President Trump, “carjackings in the city are up 57%. Much of the crime wave is caused by drug dealers who, during the course of their lives, will kill an average of 500 American citizens.”

“It’s an invasion of crime. And remember, much of the crime that we talk about is caused by drugs,” he added.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), trafficking of illegal drugs and human trafficking often happen together.

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