June 9, 2011
[Tom Hopper, US News Contributor]
Spiegel Online International: With more than 3000 American death row inmates in the 34 US states that employ the death penalty not-so-eagerly awaiting their killing by lethal injection, America is running out of the lethal injection drugs to despatch the prisoners as US firms stop producing the deadly drug.
America’s desperate attempts to import the drugs though are not proving to be successful as country after country is refusing to supply the deadly drugs. The latest slap in the face for US executioners was from Germany which point-blank refused to supply the drug. Recently, India, UK and Denmark have done the same.
As a result, many executions have had to be delayed and the US is currently considering the employment of more primitive methods to cull its waiting list for executions.
Not a good time to be on death row in the USA it would seem. Perhaps the USA should be looking to get the lethal drugs from countries more amenable to killing their citizens which include Libya, China, Syria, Yemen, DRC as it is unlikely then that it would face any opposition for the importation of the necessary drugs.
In America, offences that carry the death penalty include:
- Use of weapon of mass destruction resulting in death
- Espionage, terrorism, certain violations of the Geneva Conventions that result in the death of one or more persons,
- Aggravated rape in Louisiana, Florida and Oklahoma;
- Extortionate kidnapping in Oklahoma;
- Aggravated kidnapping in Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and South Carolina;
- Robbery and and aircraft hijacking in Alabama;
- Drug trafficking resulting in a person’s death in Connecticut and Florida;
- Train wrecking which leads to a person’s death and perjury which leads to a person’s death in California.
In addition, under the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, execution can be ordered for many more offences including: desertion, mutiny, spying, and misbehaviour before the enemy.
Many of those executed in the USA have received posthumous pardons.
April 24, 2011
[Aziza Sourris, Middle East News Contributor]
The New York Times: It seems that peoples’ power in Yemen has achieved a final victory as it incumbent embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has announced that he will step down after 32 years of single leadership in exchange for being granted immunity from prosecution.
However political observers are trying to make out whether the decision was made under the pressure from the public or as a cunning move to lay the responsibility for the political turmoil ‘on the opposition’s shoulders’.
One of the conditions for stepping down requires the opposition party
to stop the street demonstrations and join the ruling party of the president so as to form a coalition government. However, the leader of the opposition, Yassin Saeed Noman, said that he could not ‘force protesters from the streets’
and has not agreed join ranks with the party of the president.
The government, in turn, rejected the opposition’s offer to allow Mr. Saleh’s party to rule for a while until he quits the post and then ‘join a power-sharing government’, saying that the US (who is particularly concerned about certain extra- violent Al-Quaeda branches known to be based in the country) and the EU, as well as the Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council were behind the offer.
April 3, 2011
[Ahmed Zola, Yemen Contributor]
BBC News: In the Yemeni city of Taiz, police fired on protesters killing one person and injuring more than 100. The protesters were asking for the resignation of the country’s president who has been in office for more than thirty years.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said that he is ready to discuss a peaceful transition of power, but judging from the oppressive actions of his security forces upon demonstrators, many as saying that this is a stall tactic and that he really wants to sit out the conflict.
Taiz has around 500,000 inhabitants and is 200 km south of Sanaa, the country’s capital. The demonstration last Friday was among many in recent times asking for the resignation of the president.
Yemen is a middle eastern country which was formed in 1990. It has a predominantly young population of around 23.4 million and had been occupied previously by the Turks and the British. Its capital is Sanaa and Ali Abdallah Salih is its current head of state. It borders Saudia Arabia and Oman.
Yemenis are mainly Arab, but there are African strains on its coast. Arabic is its official language, but English is understood in most of its cities. Muslims are in the majority comprising Sunnies and Shi’ites. Sunnies are found in the south and southeast of the country and Shi’ites are in the north and northwest. Shi’ites claim to be marginalised by the Sunnies and historically there is tension between the two groups.
Yemen is one of the poorest of the Arab countries with an average growth of 3-4% between 2000 and 2007. It has oil, but its resources are declining. It is currently attempting to diversify its economy and has been assisted by the World Bank which had, in 2006 raised $4.7 billion for its development fund for use between 2007 and 2010. It has also benefitted from Gulf Cooperation Council (‘GCC’) countries which has pledged $3.5 billion for development projects in 2007/10.
As in most Arab countries, corruption is a major problem for the country especially in government circles where sectarian interests are openly protected.
February 15, 2011
Middle East and Africa Contributor [primary news source: Washington Post]
Since the fall of Egypt‘s Mubarak after an unprecedented display of ‘people power’ in the region, simmerings of uprisings are erupting in to full-scale ‘people power’ protests in the middle east – Iran, Yemen and Bahrain are feeling the full force of demands for change from repressive regimes.
In the kingdom of Bahrain, even with a strong US Navy presence there, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Monday calling out for reforms. There were fights with police on duty who utilized tear gas and rubber bullets to keep the crowds under control.
In the meantime, in Yemen, a prominent ally of the US’s ‘war on terror’ in the region, protestors calling for the removal of the country’s dictatorial president, were attacked by knife and stick-wielding government supporters. Furthermore, in a hitherto unheard of event in the middle east, in Kuwait last week, thousands of Bangladeshi workers went to strike to protest about their bad living conditions in the country and serious abuse and human rights violations.
In Iran’s Tehran, thousands of protesters, despite assaults upon them with tear gas by the police, were on the streets on Monday chanting ‘Death to the dictator’. In Washington, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton praised the Iranian demonstrators, but was silent about the uprisings in Bahrain and Yemen.
Will this wave of protesting in the region persevere and catch on? These are worrying times for dictators in the region especially as the USA appears to be allowing ‘people power’ to prevail and continues to sit on its hands whilst the oppressive rulers start to worry about their futures.
- Protests heating up in Bahrain, Yemen & Iran (holykaw.alltop.com)
- Egypt-Inspired Protests Erupt in Bahrain, Iran, Yemen (businessweek.com)
- Iran, Bahrain and Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia (democracyforum.blogspot.com)
- “Iran, Bahrain Crack down on Protesters, as Rallies Held in Yemen” and related posts (juancole.com)
- Unrest in the Middle East – Tuesday 15 February (guardian.co.uk)
- Bahrain Protests Swell With Second Death as Yemen Riots Persist (businessweek.com)
- Egypt aftershocks rumble through Mideast (cbc.ca)
- On Mubarak’s fall and Iran (sfgate.com)