TIME North Korea

North Korea Reportedly Executes Its Defense Minister for Dozing Off at a Military Event

Senior North Korean military officer Hyon Yong Chol delivers a speech during the 4th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in Moscow April 16, 2015.
Sergei Karpukhin—Reuters Senior North Korean military officer Hyon Yong Chol delivers a speech during the 4th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in Moscow April 16, 2015.

The execution is the latest in a series of purges against senior North Korean officials

North Korea has reportedly executed its Defense Minister for falling asleep at a military event that was attended by the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, Seoul’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers in Seoul.

According to South Korean media on Wednesday, Hyon Yong Chol was charged with treason and executed on April 30 in front of a crowd of hundreds of North Korean officials, reports Reuters.

Hyon, who was chief of the country’s People’s Armed Forces, is also said to have talked back to the North Korean dictator several times.

The South Korean intelligence agency briefed a parliamentary committee about the execution on Wednesday.

Hyon’s execution is the latest in a series of purges against senior officials in the isolated country. Last month, the NIS said Pyongyang had ordered the execution of 15 high-ranking officials for undermining Kim’s leadership.

[Reuters]

TIME indonesia

How Indonesia’s Migrant Workers Helped Save the Life of Mary Jane Veloso

Indonesia Executions
Tatan Syuflana—AP Marites Veloso, front center, sister of Filipina migrant worker on death row for drug offenses Mary Jane Veloso, is surrounded by media at Wijayapura port in Cilacap, Indonesia, after visiting her sister on April 29, 2015

The Filipina maid was walking toward the execution ground when she was told she was granted a temporary reprieve

Some minutes after the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, eight men walked to the execution ground on the Indonesian island of Nusakambangan. The prisoners, who belonged to different faiths, all chose not to be blindfolded and reportedly sang the Christian hymn “Amazing Grace” until the executioners’ bullets were fired, killing them.

Pastor Karina de Vega, who was with the condemned drug convicts until the last moment, told the Sydney Morning Herald, “They bonded together. Brotherhood.”

The world had joined together in pleading to Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who vows not to grant clemency to drug convicts on death row, to spare the prisoners’ lives. Their pleas fell onto deaf ears: the Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the Bali Nine pair who had outwardly repented during the decade they spent at a Bali prison; the four Nigerians who included the so-called Death-Row Gospel Singer; one poor Indonesian laborer; and one mentally ill Brazilian died at around 12:25 a.m. local time on Wednesday. Some of them still had ongoing legal appeals.

Jokowi decided to spare the life of the ninth drug convict, however. At literally the last minute, as Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina migrant worker, was walking out from her cell to the execution ground, she was told she was granted a temporary reprieve.

The delay came after a woman who allegedly recruited Veloso surrendered to the Philippine authorities on Tuesday afternoon. (Veloso maintains she was a victim of human trafficking and duped into carrying 2.6 kg of heroin into Indonesia.) Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, who had met Jokowi on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, made another appeal to his Indonesian counterpart to spare the 30-year-old Filipina the next day, saying she could be a key witness in prosecuting drug syndicates.

“The execution of Mary Jane has been postponed because there was a request from the Philippine President related to a perpetrator who surrendered herself in the Philippines,” Tony Spontana, spokesman for the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office, told reporters on Wednesday morning. “Mary Jane has been asked to testify.”

Manila’s diplomatic pressures aside, Indonesian migrant activists and women’s-rights activists also played a big role in actively lobbying on behalf of Veloso and helped spark a social-media campaign in Indonesia. The National Commission on Violence Against Women says Veloso was a victim of domestic abuse who, driven by poverty, went to work as a helper in Dubai to support her two sons, but returned home after she was nearly raped by her employer. Driven by desperation, she accepted a job offer in Kuala Lumpur, which led to her arrest in Yogyakarta in 2010. It’s a story that resonates in Indonesia, where millions of women seek work abroad as domestic helpers to support their families, frequently falling victim to ill treatment, exploitation and abuse.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a former Indonesian helper whose severe abuse in the hands of her Hong Kong employer made international headlines, called Veloso a “friend” and, just hours before the scheduled execution, joined other Indonesian citizens in pleading to Jokowi to save Veloso’s life. Sringatin, a migrant worker and activist in Hong Kong, took part in rallies in Jakarta; her fellow worker-activist Eni Lestari led protests in front of the Indonesian consulate general in Hong Kong. Two female legislators from Jokowi’s party, Eva Sundari and Rieke Diah Pitaloka, also voiced their support to the Filipina prisoner.

Anis Hidayah, executive director of Jakarta-based Migrant Care, is among workers’-rights activists who have been campaigning for Veloso. When she attended Jokowi’s emergency meeting to discuss Veloso’s case on Tuesday afternoon, she tells TIME, “I told the President that [Indonesian] migrant workers on death row overseas are in the same position like Mary Jane, they are all victims. As I spoke, I couldn’t help crying.”

Six million Indonesian migrant workers remitted $8.55 billion to their families last year — a record high — according to the World Bank (in contrast, the Philippines’ 12 million workers remitted $28.4 billion back home last year, the biggest in Southeast Asia). But there’s a grim fact: there are hundreds of Indonesians currently on death row overseas (the Indonesian government says there are 229, but Migrant Care puts the number at 290). Jokowi has vowed to fight for their lives, despite his hard-line approach to drug convicts on death row back home.

The latest executions “will have a big impact,” says Anis, whose organization opposes the death penalty. “It will create an obstacle and narrow down the Indonesian government’s room for diplomacy to free migrant workers from death row overseas.”

It isn’t clear yet what will happen to Veloso: if her alleged recruiter is found guilty, whether she would have a new trial. On Wednesday, Jokowi said Veloso’s execution “is only delayed, not canceled.” But Anis vows that migrant-workers’-rights groups from Indonesia and the Philippines will keep on fighting for Veloso.

And, after all the controversy surrounding the latest round of executions, the activist says, “I hope it can be a valuable lesson for the law enforcement that death-penalty decisions should not be made carelessly.”

TIME indonesia

Indonesia’s Reprieve of Mary Jane Veloso Prompts Widespread Relief

Activists clench their fists as they react after it was announced that the execution was delayed for death row prisoner Mary Jane Veloso, during a vigil outside Indonesian embassy in Makati
Ezra Acayan—Reuters Activists clench their fists as they react after it was announced that the execution was delayed for death row prisoner Mary Jane Veloso, during a vigil outside Indonesian embassy in Makati, Philippines April 29, 2015.

Well-wishers take to Twitter to express gratitude

To the delight of her family and supporters, Mary Jane Veloso, a 30-year-old Filipina who was due to be executed by firing squad in Indonesia for allegedly smuggling 2.6 kg of heroin into the country, was granted a reprieve at the 11th hour on Wednesday.

The President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, had made a last-minute request for her life to be spared. The execution was eventually called off after a woman Veloso had accused of planting the drugs on her in 2010, Maria Cristina Sergio, 47, surrendered to police in the Philippines on Tuesday, reports the Strait Times.

Indonesia brushed aside appeals from eight other foreign prisoners convicted of drug smuggling. The eight, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myran Sukumaran and Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, were executed shortly after midnight.

As news of Veloso’s temporary reprieve was announced, a group of supporters holding a vigil outside the Indonesian embassy in Manila began cheering and waving flags.

#savemaryjaneveloso People celebrate outside the Indonesian embassy after hearing the news

A video posted by Frank Schuengel (@amadeusphotography) on

“Miracles do come true,” her mother Celia Veloso told Philippine radio station DZMM. “We are so happy, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe my child will live.”

On Wednesday, President Aquino thanked the Indonesian government for granting the stay.

“We would like to acknowledge their sense of fairness in assessing new information we provided and their understanding that Mary Jane Veloso is a person who went to their country in search of a better life, better opportunity, but was taken advantaged of by criminal syndicates,” Aquino’s spokesperson Herminio Coloma told the Straits Times.

Using the hashtag #MaryJaneLives, friends, celebrities and well-wishers took to Twitter to give thanks that Veloso had been spared.

Filipina TV host and model Bianca Gonzales tweeted that the death penalty “is never the answer.”

Actress Angel Locsin reminded those that while Veloso lived, eight others had died.

Filipino boxer and legislator Manny Pacquiao, who is currently in Las Vegas preparing for the much touted fight against Floyd Mayweather, had also called on Indonesian President Joko Widodo Monday to spare Veloso’s life. He tweeted a religious verse that appeared to relate to Veloso.

And as the hashtag started trending, other supporters expressed their relief.

Veloso has now been transferred from the island of Nusakambangan back to her former prison in Yogyakarta and is due to meet with her family and lawyers later on Wednesday.

TIME Crime

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Probably Won’t End Up in Massachusetts

A life sentence would likely take him to Colorado while death row would be in Indiana

The federal jury that found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all 30 counts in the Boston Marathon bombing Wednesday is now set to decide whether he should get the death penalty — but he’s unlikely to end up in the state of Massachusetts.

A death sentence would see Tsarnaev sent to the Midwest, while a sentence of life imprisonment would most likely send him to a supermax prison in Colorado.

If Tsarnaev is sentenced to death, he’ll sit on death row in Indiana. The federal government has executed only three inmates in the last 50 years: Timothy McVeigh, who was convicted in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing; Juan Raul Garza, a reputed drug trafficker convicted of killing three people; and Louis Jones, a Gulf War veteran who kidnapped, raped and murdered a woman on a military base. All of them were executed in the last 15 years, and each execution took place at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Ind., the only location where the federal government carries out capital punishment in the U.S.

If Tsarnaev is given a life sentence, however, he could end up at one of a number of supermax facilities around the U.S., says Harvard University law professor Carol Steiker. The most likely is ADX Florence in Colorado, the federal government’s only supermax facility, nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”

The Colorado prison was designed to hold inmates like Terry Nichols, a co-conspirator in the Oklahoma City bombing, Unabomber Ted Kaczynski and domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph—all individuals the government feared could pose a potential threat while in custody.

Steiker says it will be up to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to choose where to hold Tsarnaev if he’s given life. North Carolina’s Butner Federal Correctional Institution, which holds Omar Abdel-Rahman—convicted on charges of conspiracy stemming from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York—is also a possibility. The federal jail in Massachusetts where he is currently being held, FMC Devens, is designed mainly for male inmates requiring mental or medical care.

It’s far from clear whether a jury made up of residents of Massachusetts, which abolished the death penalty in 1984, will decide on a death sentence for Tsarnaev. Although jurors were chosen on their willingness to vote for the death penalty, most polls show Massachusetts residents to be majority anti-capital punishment.

While a Boston Globe poll in July found that 62% of respondents supported the federal government in seeking the death penalty for Tsarnaev, another poll by the newspaper in September found that 57% of respondents actually supported a life sentence for Tsarnaev. Only a third at the time said they favored the death penalty.

MORE: Boston Bombing Survivor: Either Sentence is Too Good for Tsarnaev

Massachusetts is also considered the most Catholic state in the country, with almost one in two residents identifying with the faith. The Catholic Church opposes the death penalty, and in the last few days, Catholic leaders around the state have publicly favored a life sentence. At least one Boston Marathon bombing victim has come out in favor of sparing Tsarnaev the death penalty, according to The New York Times.

TIME Crime

Texas to Execute Inmate as Lethal Injection Drug Supply Dwindles

Kent Sprouse, 42, is scheduled for lethal injection on April 9, 2015, for killing a police officer and another man outside a gas station convenience store about 20 miles south of Dallas.
AP Kent Sprouse, 42, is scheduled for lethal injection on April 9, 2015, for killing a police officer and another man outside a gas station convenience store about 20 miles south of Dallas.

The state has enough pentobarbital for four more executions

Texas plans to carry out its first execution Thursday since obtaining a new batch of lethal injection drugs in March.

Kent Sprouse, who killed a police officer and another man in 2002 outside a convenience store near Dallas, is scheduled to be put to death at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Last month, Texas announced it had enough lethal injection drugs to carry out Sprouse’s execution but would need an additional supply to carry out three more executions scheduled in April. But within weeks, the state said it had obtained another batch of the drug, pentobarbital. At the time, The Guardian reported that Texas purchased the batch “from a licensed pharmacy that has the ability to compound.”

In the last few years, states with the death penalty have been forced to turn to compounding pharmacies, which are unregulated by the federal government, to obtain lethal injection drugs, as a number of pharmaceutical companies have elected not to sell drugs for lethal injections. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice keeps the identity of its drug suppliers secret over fears that public pressure on participating pharmacies would limit the state’s ability to carry out executions.

MORE: Lethal Injection Execution Halted in Texas

In March, both the American Pharmacists Association and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists urged their members not to sell drugs for use in capital punishment. But that decision isn’t binding, and it’s unclear how effective it will be on member pharmacies.

Sprouse’s execution will be the 11th in the U.S. this year and the fifth in Texas, which has executed more inmates—522—than any other state since 1976. The state has another three executions scheduled for May and June but has yet to obtain enough drugs to carry them out, according to Jason Clark, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesperson.

TIME Crime

America’s Largest Death Row Has Run Out of Room

San Quentin Prison shown on July 10, 2013, in Larkspur, Califo.
George Rose—Getty Images San Quentin Prison shown on July 10, 2013, in Larkspur, Califo.

708 out of 715 death row cells at San Quentin are occupied

California has not seen an execution for nearly a decade and, with an anticipated 20 new arrivals per year, the largest execution system in the U.S. has run out of room.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Governor Jerry Brown has requested $3.2 million in special funding to expand death row at San Quentin State Prison by 97 cells — utilizing facilities that have become free thanks to an overall drop in the state’s inmates following voter approval last fall of Proposition 47 (which reclassified most nonviolent drug crimes as misdemeanors).

Official documents obtained by the Times say “it is not feasible to delay the approval and implementation of this proposal.”

But because California’s death row has been embroiled in litigation for years, the expansion plans for San Quentin could be a stopgap solution at best.

On July 16, 2014, Orange County federal Judge Cormac J. Carney deemed the state’s death penalty to be unconstitutional. The last California inmate to be executed was Clarence Ray Allen in 2006 and since then 49 inmates have died from other causes.

“Until the litigation is resolved, this cost-effective proposal allows [the state corrections department] to safely house condemned inmates going forward,” corrections-department spokeswoman Terry Thornton told the Times.

San Quentin, just north of San Francisco, can house 715 condemned inmates and currently 708 prisoners reside in the cells. Twenty women are housed in the Central California Women’s Facility (near Chowchilla, Calif.) and another 23 prisoners are held at locations throughout the state due to various extenuating circumstances.

Governor Brown’s proposal is scheduled for a hearing in late April.

TIME Pakistan

Pakistan Hangs 12 Men in Largest Single-Day Execution in Nearly a Decade

PAKISTAN-CRIME-EXECUTION-PROTEST
AAMIR QURESHI—AFP/Getty Images Pakistani NGO activists carry placards during a demonstration to mark the International Day Against the Death Penalty in Islamabad on October 10, 2014.

The country's death penalty was reinstated in December and broadened to non-terrorism crimes a week ago

Pakistan hanged 12 men on Tuesday, the largest number of people put to death on the same day since a moratorium on executions was lifted in December, according to an Interior Ministry spokesman.

“They were not only terrorists, they included the other crimes,” the spokesman said, according to Reuters. “Some of them were murderers and some did other heinous crimes.”

The informal suspension of capital punishment, enacted when the current democratic government took over from military rule in 2008, was removed on Dec. 17 following a Taliban attack on a school that killed over 140 people, mostly children.

Although Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted the moratorium under pressure to expedite justice for terrorists and militants, the death penalty for non-terrorism crimes was also reinstated last week.

A total of 27 Pakistanis have been executed since the ban was lifted, and more than 8,000 remain on death row in what human-rights groups say is a severely deficient criminal-justice system.

Read next: Pakistan Court Sanctions Release of Alleged Mumbai Attacks Mastermind

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Crime

The Strange Story of the Man Who Chose Execution By Firing Squad

Gilmore
Keystone / Getty Images Gary Gilmore pictured in January of 1977

How Gary Gilmore's 1977 execution came to pass

Firing squads have returned to the headlines this week, as Utah took steps toward allowing that method of execution if other options become unavailable. Even though some experts say firing squads are an effective method of carrying out capital sentences, the majority of Americans are put off by the idea.

But when Utah executed a Death Row inmate by firing squad four decades ago, citizens felt very differently about it. In 1976, when Gary Mark Gilmore was sentenced to death by firing squad, TIME reported that dozens of men were calling the Utah state prison warden asking to be one of the shooters. Gilmore, then 35, was a long-time resident of criminal-justice institutions, starting with a reformatory at age 14; in 1975, he killed a gas-station attendant and a motel clerk, apparently without motive. And, when his lawyers appealed, he tried to force them not to. His execution was to be the nation’s first after the Supreme Court lifted a decade-long moratorium on the death penalty.

His argument? To be executed would be to “die with dignity,” he said. And he took advantage of Utah’s law allowing a prisoner to choose his method of execution from either hanging or firing squad to elect for the latter. In its Nov. 22 1976 issue, TIME described how it would go ahead:

If Gilmore is shot, five volunteer marksmen will do the job. They will probably be law-enforcement officials, though none will be from the staff of the prison 20 miles from Salt Lake City where the death sentence will be carried out. Gilmore, hooded and strapped by the neck, arms and legs to a wooden chair, will have a circular piece of black cloth pinned over his heart. Resting high-powered .30-cal. Winchester hunting rifles on a two-by-four railing, the squad will simultaneously fire one round from 20 ft. away. There is no provision for a second volley or a coup de grace, and one rifle will be loaded with a blank so that no one will know for sure that he was responsible for the condemned man’s death.

On the other hand, according to the new lawyer he chose, Gilmore believed that life in prison was cruel and unusual. So much so, that when his execution was stayed, his girlfriend smuggled Seconal sleeping pills to him during a visit, and they both took overdoses. He was rushed to a hospital and ended up back in prison, and progress on his case was delayed while he recovered. She fell into a coma.

In December, following a hunger strike by Gilmore, a hearing board decided that his wish to die by firing squad could move forward. Asked by a judge whether he had anything to say, his only request was not to be hooded during the execution.

Still, even though the date was set, the execution did not happen as planned, as TIME reported on Dec. 13 the same year:

Though Gilmore has persistently disavowed all lawyers who tried to win him a reprieve, the decisive intervention came when Stanford Law Professor Anthony G. Amsterdam moved in the following day, on behalf of Gilmore’s mother. Amsterdam, a leader in the fight against capital punishment for a decade, filed a petition with Supreme Court Justice Byron White, who is responsible for emergency appeals in the Utah area. “The need for a stay of execution is obvious,” said Amsterdam. “Such stays are commonly granted in death cases. Indeed, the only factor that makes this application unusual is [Gilmore’s] assertion that he wished to be executed.”

Among Amsterdam’s reasons for appealing: that there may have been judicial errors in the original trial, that Gilmore may have waived his constitutional rights without fully understanding them, that his defense lawyers were inadequate, and that Utah’s capital punishment law may be unconstitutional. Justice White duly turned the petition over to the full court. The next day the court voted 6 to 3 to stay the execution for one day so that Utah state authorities can provide more information. That demand is very likely to require several further delays.

Meanwhile, Gilmore and his family again got rid of his lawyer, and sold the rights to his story in a deal that resulted in a 1982 movie, The Executioner’s Song, in which Tommy Lee Jones played Gilmore. The entrepreneur who bought the rights was invited to witness Gilmore’s execution.

That event finally took place in January of 1977. “It was an old mahogany office chair with a black vinyl seat and back,” TIME reported on Jan. 31. “There, in an old tannery known as the Slaughterhouse in the southwest corner of the Utah State Prison, sat Gary Mark Gilmore, 36, freshly shaven and wearing a black T shirt, crumpled white trousers and red, white and blue sneakers. His neck, waist, wrists and feet were loosely bound to the chair. Twenty-six feet away hung a sailcloth partition with five slits. Hidden behind the curtain stood five riflemen armed with .30-.30 deer rifles, four loaded with steel-jacketed shells, the fifth with a blank.”

Gilmore was administered his last rites. A target was pinned over his heart; he was hooded, despite his earlier request. All four of the loaded bullets hit their target. Gary Gilmore became the first prisoner to be executed in the U.S. in a decade.

Gilmore’s desire to die, as well as the timing of his execution, made his story irresistible to many Americans, especially at a time where public approval of capital punishment ran high. But those factors that made his case intriguing were the same ones that still limit what can be learned from his case. After all, a precedent that relies on an inmate who advocated for his own execution is one with few applications. “Gilmore would not allow the legal points to be made,” law professor Charles L. Black Jr. explained at the time. “Gilmore cannot give away other people’s rights.”

Read more about Gary Gilmore, here in the TIME Vault: After Gilmore, Who’s Next to Die?

TIME China

5 Things to Know About China’s Execution of Business Tycoon Liu Han

CHINA-AUSTRALIA-CORRUPTION-POLITICS-HANLONG
AFP—AFP/Getty Images Citizens watch as police stand guard outside the Xianning Intermediate People's Court where Chinese mining tycoon Liu Han stands trial in Xianning, central China's Hubei province on March 31, 2014.

Liu Han was accused of leading a ring of "local thugs and vagrants" in Sichuan province

China executed prominent business tycoon Liu Han on Monday, for leading a “mafia-style” gang of loan sharks, gun runners and contract killers, according to detailed coverage by state-owned media.

The news “sent tremors through Sichuan’s political and business circles,” Xinhua news agency reported, not least because Liu seemed to be included in those circles. That raises a few questions about this mercurial establishment figure, such as:

Was he really an establishment figure?

Measured in wealth, certainly. As chairman of the Hanlong Group, a conglomerate of real estate, mining and energy businesses headquartered in Sichuan province, Liu, 49, had amassed assets totaling $6.4 billion at the time of his arrest, according to Xinhua news agency.

Forbes ranked him the 148th richest business person in China in 2012, and his dealings stretched from Sichuan province in western China to far-flung mining ventures in the U.S. and Australia.

Neither was he shy about flaunting his wealth. In one of the few interviews he granted to the press, Liu emerged from behind the wheel of a Ferrari (one of hundreds of luxury cars he had collected over the years) with a mink coat hanging from his shoulders, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What about political connections?

His influence was largely confined to advisory committees on the margins of the Communist Party, which he allegedly reinforced with bribery payments to local officials, according to testimony provided by his ex-wife, Liu Wei.

In the grand scheme of China’s crackdown on official corruption, however, his stature paled in comparison to ministers recently ousted from national offices, such as Bo Xilai, former Minister of Commerce, or Jiang Jiemin, who oversaw China’s vast network of state-owned enterprises.

If anything it was the nature of the charges brought against Liu that vaulted his case into the public eye.

What crimes did he allegedly commit?

Prosecutors accused Liu of running a crime syndicate of “local thugs and vagrants” in Guanghan, which had been involved in a campaign of intimidation, blackmail and at least nine lethal shootings since the early 1990s.

Investigators also accused Liu and 36 other defendants of running a network of gambling houses and an illicit arms trade, which reportedly resulted in the confiscation of 20 guns, 2,163 shotgun cartridges, and more than 100 knives.

Was he publicly known as a “kingpin?”

On the contrary, Liu’s public reputation prior to the trial was shaped by his philanthropic work, including a donation to the construction of a local elementary school in Sichuan province. He bore the Olympic torch during the 2008 relay in Beijing and served as deputy chairman of the Sichuan Chamber of Commerce.

But privately, local experts said he had a reputation for violent outbursts. “He is the sort of person who would throw a wine bottle at a celebrity’s head at public occasions if he was not happy,” Guo Yukuan, a corruption expert, told TIME.

Does the case end with Liu Han?

Investigators have linked Liu to the son of a much more powerful establishment figure: Zhou Yongkang, China’s former security chief. That’s fueling rumors that Zhou may become the highest-profile target yet in China’s widening investigations of corrupt party officials.

China’s President Xi Jinping famously vowed to take down both “tigers” and “flies” at the launch of a nationwide anti-graft campaign. Liu’s highly sensationalized downfall may only be the prelude to a much bigger trial to come.

Read More: China’s Biggest Graft Case In Decades Could be Coming Up

TIME Jordan

ISIS Video Appears to Show Jordanian Pilot Being Burned Alive

JORDAN-SYRIA-JAPAN-CONFLICT-HOSTAGES-JIHADISTS
Khalil Mazraawi—AFP/Getty Images Safi al-Kasasbeh, right, the father of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh (portrait), who was captured by ISIS militants on December 24, protests outside the Royal court in Amman on Jan. 28, 2015.

News of the images, while not yet verified, has reached the pilot's family

Wails reportedly broke out at the home of the Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria(ISIS), as relatives passed the news that images posted to an ISIS website purported to show the captive pilot being burned alive in a cage.

The wrenching images first surfaced on ISIS’ official al Furqan website on Tuesday, CNN reports, though it has not yet been independently verified.

Lt Moaz al-Kasasbeh was captured by ISIS after his plane crashed outside of the militant group’s stronghold in Raqqa, Syria. ISIS began threatening to execute Kasasbeh in early January, unless the Jordanian government agreed to free a woman who was convicted of involvement in a string of suicide bomb attacks across the Jordanian capital in 2005.

A local reporter at the scene of the pilot’s household described a scene of grief, as news of the video appeared to reach the family.

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