Obama opposes release of torture photos

first_img Reporters Without Borders expressed disappointment today that President Barack Obama intends to try to block the court-ordered release of photos depicting the abuse of prisoners by US military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.“Given the administration’s pledge last month not to fight the court ruling, as well as President Obama’s emphasis on promoting transparency and open government when he took office, the decision is very disappointing” stated the international press freedom organization.In a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a federal appeal court panel concluded that it was insufficient to claim the documents would endanger US troops and coalition forces, and ordered the Defense Department to release the photographs by May 28th 2009.In April, the Obama administration told a judge it would not oppose an order to release the photos in response to the ACLU’s lawsuit. However, President Obama took back his promise on Wednesday and claimed that publication of these photos would not add any additional benefit to the public’s understanding of the story.“This is a complete contradiction of the President Obama’s January 21st memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act, in which he stated that ‘speculative‘ or ‘abstract fears‘ were not sufficient reasons to justify excessive confidentiality and classification,” added the international press freedom organization. “ The government cannot dictate to the public what is news-worthy and what is not. This is a blow to press freedom and to democracy’s system of checks and balance. We urge the President to respect the court’s decision and stand by his earlier commitment to transparency and accountability.” May 19, 2009 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Obama opposes release of torture photos United StatesAmericas Organisation RSF_en NSO Group hasn’t kept its promises on human rights, RSF and other NGOs say Facebook’s Oversight Board is just a stopgap, regulation urgently needed, RSF says to go further News June 3, 2021 Find out more Newscenter_img Help by sharing this information News June 7, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts United StatesAmericas Follow the news on United States April 28, 2021 Find out more News WhatsApp blocks accounts of at least seven Gaza Strip journalistslast_img read more

There have been 3 federal executions in modern US, but that number is set to multiply

first_imgtxking/iStock(WASHINGTON) — The first spate of federal executions announced by the attorney general would quickly more than double the number of such executions in modern U.S. history.There had only ever been three federal executions since the death penalty was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, with the most infamous among them that of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.On Thursday, the Department of Justice announced it will restart executions in federal cases, and it listed the first five executions that will be performed in December 2019 and January 2020.The Department of Justice statement concludes by noting that “additional executions will be scheduled at a later date.”Aside from those five, there are 57 people remaining on federal death row, according to data collected by the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center.That number accounts for people who were sentenced to death in federal cases as opposed to in state courts cases. It is a fraction of the total death row cases on the state level, as the Death Penalty Information Center reports that as of April 1, there were 2,673 death row prisoners in state facilities nationally.That discrepancy suggests the decision to restart federal executions is a political one, according to Evan Mandery, a professor at the John Jay College for Criminal Justice.“What would be the public policy benefits by seeking the executions of five people? What’s the deterrence of that?” Mandery, who is an expert on the death penalty, told ABC News.“There’s no public policy justification for it whatsoever and it’s almost certainly going to amount to a symbolic act,” he said. As a result, Mandery views the change to be “a characteristic pandering to the most conservative base.”By contrast, Attorney General Bill Barr framed the move as a matter of upholding existing law.“Congress has expressly authorized the death penalty through legislation adopted by the people’s representatives in both houses of Congress and signed by the President,” Barr said in the statement.“The Justice Department upholds the rule of law — and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system,” he said.The past casesThe highest-profile federal execution to date is undoubtedly that of McVeigh, who was convicted on 11 counts of a federal indictment connected to the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, which killed 168 people. McVeigh was sentenced to death and was executed on June 11, 2001.Eight days after McVeigh was executed at the penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, that is home to federal death row, Juan Garza, who was convicted for the killings of three men, was executed on June 19, 2001.The third and last person to be federally executed was Louis Jones in 2003, after being convicted of raping and killing a female soldier. The victim, Tracie McBride, was kidnapped on a Texas Army base.The announced first string of casesThe five cases selected by the Department of Justice to be the first to resume federal executions vary both in terms of the cases themselves and the dates and locations of the respective crimes.They include a member of a white supremacist group who murdered a family of three in Arkansas and was sentenced in 1999, a man who murdered a woman and her granddaughter in Arizona and was sentenced in 2003, a man who raped and murdered a teen in Missouri and was sentenced in 2003, a man who tortured and murdered his toddler daughter in Texas and was sentenced in 2004, and a man who shot and killed five in Iowa and was sentenced in 2004.The announcement does seem to suggest a common determining theme, noting that they are inmates “convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society — children and the elderly.” That said, it doesn’t make any suggestions that subsequent cases will follow the same theme.One other important consistency that exists between the five cases comes at the end of the statement: “Each of these inmates has exhausted their appellate and post-conviction remedies, and currently no legal impediments prevent their executions.”Possible future casesThe two most infamous criminals listed on federal death row are the Charleston church shooter and Boston Marathon bomber.Dylann Roof, who killed nine black churchgoers during a Bible study in Charleston on June 17, 2015, was sentenced to death in 2017.Roof’s sentencing was the first time a death penalty verdict was rendered in a federal hate crimes case.Before the killings, Roof’s racist hatred built up for years, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Richardson told the federal jury, according to ABC Charleston affiliate WCIV. Roof scouted the Emanuel AME Church months before, Richardson said. After buying the murder weapon with his birthday money, Roof bought enough magazines to have 88 rounds, which had racist symbolism, Richardson said, linked to Hitler.Another infamous criminal convicted in federal court was Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death in 2015.On April 15, 2013, three people were killed, including an 8-year-old boy, and another 260 were injured when Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, detonated explosives near the marathon’s finish line. Three days later, during a city-wide search, the brothers murdered MIT police officer Sean Collier. Tamerlan Tsarnaev was later killed in a shootout with police.Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in 2015: “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev coldly and callously perpetrated a terrorist attack… the ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime.”As of yet, however, the attorney general has not indicated who would be given future federal executions.Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Ocean City Powderpuff Football Shares Joy

first_imgBy LESLEY GRAHAMWednesday night at Ocean City’s turf stadium, the usual sights and sounds of a Friday night football game were taking place.Coaches debating calls, primetime plays, the joys of victory and the agony of defeat. But this wasn’t any ordinary high school football game. Instead, the third annual Ocean City High School Powderpuff football game pitted high school juniors versus seniors in an all-girl showing for who would be crowned queen of the turf.The Key Club, a service-oriented club at the high school that provides opportunities for students to get involved in the community while volunteering their time, hosted the game.Red Team (Seniors) “Gym Class Heroes.”Five teams participated, while current OCHS football players served as student coaches, helping guide their teams to wins, and the occasional loss. It was a round robin style tournament with each team meeting once and then the top two seeded teams playing for the 2020 title.Meeting in the championship game was the senior team “Hot Shots” and the juniors “Nothing but Defense.”  In a hotly contested championship, “Nothing but Defense” lived up to its name, creating turnovers and taking the glittering football trophy and bragging rights for the year.Junior quarterback Olivia Vanesko was thrilled playing in and winning the championship.“It felt awesome playing in the championship. We came up with some strategies and used our strengths to beat a very athletic senior team and take the title,” Vanesko said.Blue Team (Seniors) “Puff and Stuff.”Ashley Schmid, advisor to the Key Club, was grateful so many members of the school community came together to make the event possible.Schmid also took a moment to thank the Key Club executive board for its tireless effort.“I’m extremely proud of my president senior Vanessa Karayiannis and vice president Grace Gleason for organizing the event. They will be missed next year,” Schmid said.Pink Team (Seniors) “Hot Shots.”With a limited number of school functions taking place this year due to the pandemic, Schmid wanted to make sure there was a safe and fun opportunity for the kids to feel a sense of normalcy.Senior Chelsea Stack was grateful for the chance to play, despite not winning.“It was great to have an event back from last year to make life seem normal again. Even though we didn’t win, I know we were all just grateful to be able to play,” Stack said.Black Team (Juniors) “Nothing but Defense,” the Powderpuff champions.Athletic Director Geoff Haines and Assistant Principal Jerry Brown served as referees for the games, John Bruno did a fantastic job announcing with additional play-by-play color commentary, and a number of high school teachers, administrators and staff helped pull the event together.“I love this event because of how many people it involves: the players, the assistant coaches (football players), the coaches (teachers), Key Club volunteers, administration, and the fans,” Schmid said. “The girls look forward to this event every year, and it’s great to see how happy it makes them. It also feels good knowing we are helping out local families by donating the proceeds to Waves of Caring.”The event raised over $250 for the local organization Waves of Caring as well as Key Club senior scholarships.Purple Team (Juniors). From left, presenting the fundraising check for Waves of Caring are Advisor Ashley Schmid, Assistant Principal/Referee Jerry Brown, Key Club President Vanessa Karayiannis, Vice President Grace Gleason and Athletic Director/Referee Geoff Haines.last_img read more