Execution by hanging in Singapore

Singapore still uses hanging as its method of execution. On April 27th a 34-year-old Malaysian man who was convicted of drug trafficking was executed after a decade on death row, despite claims that he suffered from an intellectual disability.

The latest figures from Amnesty International reveal that 55 countries still retain and use the death penalty. The most common methods of putting people to death are hanging and killing by firing squad, although the predominant method in Saudi Arabia is beheading. The US mainly uses lethal injection.

Whatever crime has been committed, the cold-blooded murder of individuals, some of whom have been on death row for an interminable time, is not a hallmark of civilisation and can only brutalise all those involved in carrying it out.

Brazil and New Zealand ban live animal exports

At the end of last month a ban in New Zealand on the shipment of live animals by sea for breeding, fattening and slaughter came into effect on the grounds of their welfare. This means “saving hundreds of thousands of animals from unimaginable suffering,” said @SAFEnewzealand. In Brazil a similar ban on the export of live cattle has been declared, although the ruling may be appealed. Federal judge Djalma Gomes stated: “Animals are not things. They are sentient living beings, individuals who feel hunger, thirst, pain, cold, anguish, fear.”

Navalny could face 30 more years in jail or a life sentence

Alexei Navalny, opposition leader and critic of Vladimir Putin, is already serving more than 11 years in prison on various charges, including fraud and contempt of court. He has spent months in a tiny one-person “punishment cell” because of “disciplinary violations”. These alleged violations include failing to satisfactorily button up his prison robe, to introduce himself to a guard and to wash his face at a specified time.

He now faces extremism charges which could see him imprisoned for 30 years and he has been told he also faces being tried by a military court on terrorism charges. This could mean life imprisonment.

The world’s indifference to suffering as more refugees drown in the Mediterranean

The central Mediterranean Sea has been called “the world’s deadliest migratory sea crossing”. 441 people drowned in the first part of 2023. The right-wing government in Italy, led by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, has introduced measures to fine charities which rescue asylum seekers and to impound their ships.

At the end of last month two boats sank off the coast of Libya, and at least 57 bodies were washed ashore. A child was among them.

In 2015 images of a Syrian father, Abdullah Kurdi, holding the lifeless body of his little son, Aylan, on a Turkish beach shocked people all over the world. “Let him be the last,” begged Abdullah. At the time those who feel compassion for refugees, comprehend what they have been through and stand up for their rights hoped that this tragedy would change Europe’s attitudes to refugees and that action would be taken to prevent more terrifying lonely deaths of desperate people.

It is unforgivable that attitudes in many parts of the world have hardened and numerous parts of Europe remain hostile to refugees, caring little for the ordeal and trauma they have suffered and indifferent to the risks they take.

Denied specialist medical treatment, Khader Adnan dies: 4,900 Palestinians held in Israeli jails

Those who challenge Israel’s apartheid and ‘justice’ system run a terrible risk. Khader Adnan died alone in his cell earlier this week after 87 days on hunger strike. He was protesting at the cruel and vindictive treatment of Palestinians unjustly arrested by the Israelis. He was denied the medical treatment he needed which might have saved his life.

There are about 4,900 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Palestinians consider them all to be political prisoners, and 1,016 are in “administrative detention” which means prisoners are held indefinitely without charge or trial for six-month periods which can be renewed. Palestinians are deported from the occupied West Bank to prisons. This is illegal under international law and makes it extremely difficult for their families to visit them.

Emma Dent Coad leaves the Labour Party

Emma Dent Coad is a popular local councillor in Kensington and Chelsea. She is direct and approachable and was very supportive of the local community after the Grenfell fire. She achieved an astonishing victory in 2017 when she was elected MP for Kensington in a constituency which, although mixed and subject to boundary changes, was widely regarded as a very safe Conservative seat. Dent Coad has stated thoughts of leaving have been “brewing for some time”. She considered the Labour Party “a scary place”. However, recent information about Starmer decided her: “What tipped me this week was that, with the six-year Grenfell anniversary coming up, we found out the Labour leader had accepted hospitality from a contractor. It was involved in mass Grenfell-style refurbishment of buildings in Portsmouth. The contractor broke every rule and breached every contract and was forced to pay out £10.8 million. Starmer accepted £1,000 of hospitality for football tickets. I was really shocked.” Starmer should hang his head in shame. So many good people have left or have been driven out of the Labour Party thanks to him and his cronies.

Public Order Act 2023: Just Stop Oil and Palestine Action Arrests

New legislation came into force as part of the Public Order Act 2023 on May 3rd. Police forces were not slow to take action.

A Just Stop Oil (JSO) press release commented on events in London on May 3rd: “Today was a dark and disturbing moment in UK history.” Protestors marched from near Number 10 to Parliament Square, where 23 supporters were arrested and detained. This is now possible under the police force’s new powers. These powers criminalise effective protest. JSO continued: “If they can get away with this, the UK Government will get away with murder – the murder of millions who face fatal conditions should our politicians succeed in their push for new oil and gas. We have to stand up and stop them”.

On the same day 33 protesters were arrested by Leicestershire police at the Elbit Systems’ drone factory. Palestine Action has commented that the police “took disproportionate measures using unjustifiable force”. In this case too, peaceful protestors were targeted unnecessarily. However, support from the neighbouring community was forthcoming, as local people arrived to replace some of the items seized by the police – blankets, sleeping bags, food and other necessities.

Looking back in time – 44 years ago: May 1979 Margaret Thatcher elected

The May 1979 election was a bleak day for the country. Before his death, columnist Hugo Young wrote, “Thatcher left a dark legacy”. I remember her as callous, harsh, materialistic and ruthless. She did not care that several million people lost their jobs and communities were destroyed. Mining communities never recovered. Thatcher called them “the enemy within” and left them shattered. She entrenched neoliberalism and inequality spread. She believed in privatisation, deregulation, the free market. The capitalist system which she reinforced has never left us. In fact Tony Blair, allegedly a Labour prime minister, simply followed in her footsteps. She dragged the UK into the Falklands War in 1982, causing the needless loss of life of 255 British personnel and about 650 Argentinians. Riots broke out when she was prime minister. Thatcherism failed the country. We should all firmly reject her legacy and the faulty unprincipled ideology which drove her and build a society with very different values, a fair and just society which benefits all its members.

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