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Posts tagged ‘Death Penalty’

Iran Expert Timmerman: State Dept. Befriends Radical Islamists.

The State Department’s decision to allow an anti-gay Muslim cleric into the United States is an alarming sign that the government is befriending radical Islamist groups, says Kenneth Timmerman, executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran.

“It has been the State Department’s policy under both Hillary Clinton and now John Kerry to support the Islamist groups in Syria,” Timmerman told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“The State Department policy has been systematically to aid and abet and sometimes to arm and equip these Islamist groups around the world, specifically in Libya and in Syria.”

It was Timmerman who first revealed that the State Department had issued Sheikh Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi a visa for a 17-city tour of U.S. mosques to raise money for the uprising in Syria.

In an interview three years ago, the cleric said, “Homosexuality involves a filthy place and does not generate offspring. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of the homosexual. That is why, brothers, homosexuality carries the death penalty.”

Timmerman said the U.S. embrace of radicals is dangerous.

“[The] mark on my forehead [is] because today is Ash Wednesday,” he said.

“If I were to appear in a Christian town in Syria today that had been taken over by these groups, the Islamist groups that Sheik al-Nabulsi is supporting, they would give me two choices . . . Get out of town really fast, convert, or die.”

See “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.


© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Dershowitz: Boston Bomber Will Become Martyr with Death Penalty.

Image: Dershowitz: Boston Bomber Will Become Martyr with Death Penalty

By Todd Beamon

The Justice Department is giving Dzhokhar Tsarnaev “what he wants” by seeking the death penalty for last year’s Boston Marathon bombings, Alan Dershowitz told Newsmax on Thursday.

“It will make him more famous,” the former Harvard law professor said in an exclusive interview. “It’ll attract more attention.

“It’ll give him an opportunity to make his jihad statements. It will focus a lot of attention on whether he lives or dies. This is going to give him what he wants.

“After all, why did he commit this crime?” Derschowitz asked. “He had nothing against the people he killed. What he wanted to do was make a statement — and now, he’s being given an opportunity to make that statement in an extreme context.”

The Justice Department said on Thursday that it would seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev who is accused of setting the bombs that killed three and injured more than 260 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. He is also charged with killing police officer Sean Collier.

Tsarnaev, 20, is charged with planting two pressure-cooker bombs at the site with his older brother, Tamerlan, who was later killed in a shootout with police. They are ethnic Chechens from Russia who had lived in the Boston area for about a decade.

Seventeen of 30 charges against Tsarnaev carry the possibility of the death penalty, including using a weapon of mass destruction to kill. He has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.

Attorney General Eric Holder made the final decision. The bombings were one of the most prominent terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11.

Dershowitz told Newsmax that he was not surprised at Justice’s decision.

“If there is ever a case, if there ever was a crime that calls for the death penalty, this is it: Premeditated. Massive numbers of intended victims. Three deaths — many, many injuries. No remorse. Open-and-shut factual case on the evidence.

“On the other hand,” Dershowitz reasoned, “he is young and may have been influenced by his brother — but those mitigating factors don’t even compare to the aggravating factors.

“I would still think the better course would’ve been to let him rot in jail and die 50 years from now an obscure prisoner rather give him the attention he’s going to get as somebody facing the death penalty,” he said.

Tsarnaev’s case now will attract the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union and organizations that oppose the death penalty, Dershowitz predicted.

“He’s going to be a martyr to some people who agree with him. I think we’re giving him what he wants here.

“I think he wants the death penalty,” he continued. “He was prepared to die in a shootout. He was prepared to probably die when he planted the bomb — and he’s probably willing to die now as a martyr.

“I don’t think we, as a society, gain much by putting him on trial for his life.”

But Dershowitz commended Justice for not rushing to judgment in its decision.

“I suspect that there was quite a bit of debate within the Justice Department. There are probably a lot of people in this Justice Department who don’t support the death penalty — and there are probably some who do.

“It’s a credit to the Justice Department that they gave it the kind of thoughtful consideration, even though I think they came to the wrong decision.”

There have only been three federal executions in the past 50 years. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and triple murderer Juan Raul Garza were put to death within eight days of each other in June 2001, while Louis Jones who raped and murdered a soldier was executed in March 2003.

And getting a jury to sentence Tsarnaev to death is not assured — particularly in Massachusetts, which abolished the death penalty in 1984. The sentence can still be applied in federal cases tried in the state.

A Boston Globe survey found last year that 57 percent of the city’s residents favored life in prison for Tsarnaev, if he is convicted, with 33 percent supporting execution.

“We don’t know what the public really wants,” Dershowitz told Newsmax. “We know the public, generally in Massachusetts, is against the death penalty — but many of the people who are against the death penalty would probably favor it in this case. Once they hear all the evidence, they may favor it.

“But remember,” the law professor cautioned, “all you need is one juror saying ‘no’ and holding out — you can’t impose the death penalty unless there’s unanimity. It’s certainly possible that they won’t get the death penalty.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Death Penalty Decision Imminent in Boston Bombing.

As attorney general, Eric Holder has approved pursuing the death penalty in at least 34 criminal cases, upholding a long-ago pledge to Congress that he would vigorously enforce federal law even though he’s not a proponent of capital punishment.


In the next day or two, Holder will make the most high-profile death penalty decision of his career in law enforcement: whether to seek capital punishment in the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the defendant in the Boston Marathon bombings last April that killed three people and injured 260.

As the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. in 1993, Holder recommended to Attorney General Janet Reno that she not seek the death penalty in the case of a slain police officer because of legal obstacles that made conviction unlikely. Reno overruled him but in the end, the government cut a deal that put the killer away for life imprisonment, a frequent outcome in capital punishment prosecutions.

“The case had problems … and when we had the ability to get a plea from the defendant that put him in jail without any chance of parole for the rest of his life, we decided to accept the plea,” Holder explained later to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

At the same hearing, Holder assured the Senate panel that “I will enforce the law that has been passed, and any statute that contains a death penalty provision will be looked at as any other statute. I will enforce the law as this Congress gives it to us.”

In recent death penalty cases brought by Holder’s Justice Department, one defendant was sentenced to death and six received life sentences, either through a plea or a trial.

Even when there’s a conviction, the odds against death sentences being imposed are such that “from the Justice Department’s point of view the question about the death penalty often comes down to ‘If we seek it, how likely are we to get it?'” said David Schertler, who was chief of the homicide section when Holder ran the U.S. Attorney’s office in Washington, D.C.

Holder has had “a lot of experience with the death penalty and he has always been extremely thoughtful, deliberate and concerned about being consistent on the subject,” Schertler said.

As recently as last week, Holder emphasized that his opposition to the death penalty is due in part to practical concerns — what he sees as failures in the legal system.

“The problem is that in too many places, lawyers who are defending poor people don’t have adequate resources to do a good job,” Holder said in an appearance at the University of Virginia last Thursday. “You end up with these miscarriages of justice.”

“It’s really one of the reasons why I am personally opposed to the death penalty,” Holder added. “As good as our system is, it’s ultimately a system that is filled with men and women who are well intentioned but who make mistakes. And as horrible as it is for somebody to be put in jail for crimes that they did not commit, it is obviously not as bad as a situation where somebody is executed for a crime that he or she did not commit.”

But Holder’s description of a flawed legal system with inadequate resources doesn’t apply to the Boston case.

One of the finest death penalty attorneys in the country, Judy Clarke, is leading the legal team defending Tsarnaev. That legal team may be able to mount a strong defense by arguing that the defendant, just 19 at the time of the bombings, was under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with police four days after the blasts.

Another factor could complicate the government’s case if it seeks the death penalty. Massachusetts hasn’t had a state death penalty law since 1984. History suggests that it can be extremely difficult for federal prosecutors to win capital punishment cases in states that don’t have a capital punishment law of their own.

On the other hand, a jury of Massachusetts residents handed up a death sentence in the only federal capital case now pending in the state. A judge tossed out the jury’s death sentence against Gary Lee Sampson, a drifter who pleaded guilty in the July 2001 slayings of two men who had picked Sampson up hitchhiking. The U.S. Attorney in Boston, Carmen Ortiz, says prosecutors will again seek the death penalty instead of allowing Sampson to serve a life sentence.

The numbers seem to suggest an uphill battle for a death penalty prosecution.

From 1993 to 2012, the Justice Department brought 88 capital punishment cases in states that didn’t have a death penalty. Just seven of the defendants wound up on death row, according to data compiled by the Federal Death Penalty Resource Counsel Project.

Larry Mackey, a former Justice Department prosecutor, said that if Tsarnaev goes to trial, jury selection will delve into whether the jurors really hold the same view as Massachusetts law. In the end, he said, any risk that the prosecution can seat 12 jurors prepared to vote for death — even in Massachusetts — will propel negotiations for a guilty plea with life imprisonment. In this case, both parties have a reason to be at the negotiating table, he said.

There have been just three federal executions since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976, and Mackey prosecuted one of them — Timothy McVeigh, in the Oklahoma City bombing case. The other defendant in the Oklahoma City bombing case, Terry Nichols, is serving a term of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The State, The AK47 Economy and Death Sentence By Agba Jalingo.

By Agba Jalingo

It is instinctive to fear death. It is inherent for life to strive to be; to strive to continue. The persistence with which life opposes its extinction is one of its inherent mysteries. To even the most primitive minds, the qualities of life caused it to seem to have supernatural or divine origin.

As a result, the phenomenon of life throughout the centuries has been sanctified as the greatest gift of the gods.

Death is the violent rupture of life and all those values that men have come to attribute to it.

The fear of death is what gives rise to what philosophers called the first right of nature – the right to self preservation.

But when this right is abruptly abridged either by heinous cruelty or by the judgment of a competent court of jurisdiction, it raises profound questions about the culpability of the state in the gruesome murder of victims of capital punishment.

As at the last count, about seven states have successfully passed laws that ensure that kidnapping and acts of terrorism are now punishable by death while the debate continues in other states to do same.

This action has elicited pertinent questions not only about the justification of the continued stay of capital punishment in our statute books but also about the fidelity of the executioner  which is the STATE to her own obligations and if a failure in those obligations is itself not criminal.

It has been argued that those who kill by the sword must die by the sword; that the irreparable consequences of the atrocious acts of daredevil criminals can only be repudiated by their execution.

Whether this will alleviate the pains inflicted on their victims has not been proven.

But those who hold this position maintain that such lopsided remedy is the panacea to the prevalent societal ills like kidnapping and terrorism in Nigeria, which are essentially tied to economic failure like Bill Clinton, the former American President rightly identified in his last visit to the country.

Historically, every people have had taboos against taking human life under certain conditions, insisting that the guilty one should be punished in accordance with prevalent social and religious customs.

The principal exceptions are self-defense, including war and the religious practice of immolation to the gods.

Indiscriminate taking of life, or murder, was considered a moral violation as well as a crime against society.

The codes of modern civilization likewise condemn, as a heinous crime, an individual taking another human being’s life, the premise being that life is the most precious gift man can possess.

Man is however in advanced society, permitted to sacrifice his life for certain political ideals as in the service of his country or to take another’s life to save his own. Killing in self-defense is thus acting in accordance with the basic instinct of life itself; that is self-preservation.

If war can at all be justified, then in war, men sacrifice and take life to preserve those things they have come to associate with the meaning of life.

But is the taking of life as a retaliation, retribution or punishment justified on the part of the modern STATE that prohibits the individual from doing so for similar reasons?

All advanced states inveigh against taking human life in passion, war excluded. When, however, the STATE takes the life of an individual as punishment for a crime, is that not passion also?

If life is sacred and only to be sacrificed to save its kind; which principle most legal systems concede, then it is too sacred for capital punishment also. At least the state is not consistent in taking life as a punishment for taking life.

With the Greeks who first expounded the idea, the STATE was conceived both as an ethereal entity and a legal structure recognized by Law as an individual called the state.

The state itself pants frantically to preserve her own existence anytime it is threatened, either by external aggression or by military brutes.

When anyone breaks one of her laws, the STATE charges that individual to Court; as in the case of – “Mr. X Vs. the STATE”.

When a STATE that dreads losing her own life turns around to take another individual’s life for whatever reason, the state becomes guilty of the same offence.

The murderer must be restrained. He must be punished as an example. But for the STATE to commit the same act in the form of punishment is not representative of an enlightened age or people.

No one including the STATE has been given the power to take life. It is the prerogative of the Cosmic.

Life preceded the STATE. It existed before the STATE was conceived. The sanctity of life is beyond the bounds of criminal law and jurisprudence.

The state has got every right and obligation to question and deal with every act that threatens the peaceful co-existence of the citizenry and deal appropriately too with the perpetrators. That is why the idea of incarceration was conceived.

From the days of primitive man to the year when the prison system was validated by a United Nations convention, the underlying motive has always been that of denying the criminal the divine privilege of associating with fellow humans.

Truly, it is folly to think that there is a lesson to be learnt from a firing squad or from the hang man’s gallows. At best it tells us that there is no big deal carrying the guns and hanging anyone.

Death will come, when it will come, so said Shakespeare. To think that what is a necessarily end for all men can actually restrain others from the perpetration of atrocities is to assume that the execution of criminals over the years has improved our world in terms of morality.

Of what benefit is a death sentence slammed on a suicide bomber?

The humanities are agreed on the fact that apart from life, the greatest possession of man is the privilege he has to associate with fellow human beings.

When a man is considered to have contravened the accepted norms of a society, he is taken away into solitary confinement, separated from other humans and thereby denied the privilege of associating with them.

This denial is in the real sense, more painful than the denial of life in this existence. The dead person has no opportunity of learning from his error. And there are no proofs that others have been learning from the enforcement of capital punishment.

Those who know this have been calling for life imprisonment as the ultimate punishment any man can get from the STATE.

The torture of being denied of what is second only to the gift of life which is the privilege of relating with other humans freely for a life time is a more traumatizing experience than death which is the path of everyone whether he be a criminal or a righteous man.

If the most pertinent reason given for the continued justification of capital punishment is the intent to correct and rid the society of miscreants and their activities, then the STATE must be told that, the end can no longer justify the means.

The use of an obsolete tool like capital punishment to attain a reconciliated society defies a basic law of nature.

The means to a particular end must correlate with the end. The means must be the end in the making. Where this does not apply, it is an inequality that must be upturned.

Come to think of it, if the death sentence has been abolished in European countries and some American States where the STATES have reasonably lived up to the social contract by guaranteeing the basic needs of livelihood for the citizenry, how can a fraudulent STATE like Nigeria that has robbed Nigerians of their rights of citizenship, a STATE only reminiscent of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, find a moral nexus to execute a criminal who is the product of the actions and inactions of the operators of the machinery of state?

In a country where the citizens are their own government; providing everything for themselves without the input of government that the Constitution says shall guarantee their welfare and security, what moral stand does that STATE have to execute a kidnapper or terrorist who was armed by the desperate politicians?

The Nigerian STATE, is glossing over the fundamental challenge that gave rise to kidnapping and terrorism in Nigeria and are employing panic solutions to an entrenched problem created by a criminal and renteer political class.

Unconscionable looting, primitive acquisition of public wealth and the abysmal incompetence of our leadership have obviously denied Nigerians of the benevolence of our munificent endowment.

And the result is this jungle society where everyone has been left to chart a course for his life without the involvement of government that has completely abdicated its constitutional responsibility to market forces.

The ‘AK47 Economy’ is just an off shoot of our politics and economic failures. The way to resolve it is not by deluding ourselves with death sentence legislations by those who are not worthy to cast the first stone.

Like Clinton said, until our oil wealth trickles down to the least of us in this country, the death sentence legislations will only serve as “ojuju calabar” for infants. Sooner or later, the child will discover that the ‘Ojuju’ is just one of the uncles or aunties and then the business will go on.

Like several other topical issues out there in public space, we may argue pro and con for the viability of the capital punishment and may never be able to find a common ground.

But ultimately, it lies with the conscience of every man to search his heart and see if every of his actions are made public, whether they will earn us accolades or put us on the path of the kidnappers and the terrorist. That is what will test our convinctions. A murderer today could become a savior tomorrow. And the only place designated for such anticipatory metamorphosis is the prisons.

Paul the Apostle may not have had the opportunity of doing the volumes he did if there was capital punishment to pay him for his initial deeds.

Methinks that if indeed he that kills with the sword must die by the sword, then it lies with He who has the power to kill both the body and soul to pay the killer, which HE will certainly do either here or in the hereafter.

Agba Jalingo is a writer, Author, Journalist and Activist and Publisher of He writes from Lagos.


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