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 georgia

Execution of Georgia Woman Postponed Over Problems With Drug

Death row inmate Kelly Renee Gissendaner is seen in an undated picture from the Georgia Department of Corrections
Reuters Death-row inmate Kelly Renee Gissendaner is seen in an undated picture from the Georgia Department of Corrections

Georgia only uses pentobarbital for lethal injections, but there are some problems

(JACKSON, Ga.) — Georgia postponed its first execution of a woman in 70 years late Monday because of concerns about the drug to be used in the lethal injection.

The pentobarbital was sent to an independent lab to check its potency and the test came back at an acceptable level, but during subsequent checks it appeared cloudy, Georgia Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gwendolyn Hogan said. Corrections officials called the pharmacist and decided to postpone the execution “out of an abundance of caution,” she said. No new date was given.

Pentobarbital is the only drug used in Georgia executions. For other recent executions, the state has gotten the drug from a compounding pharmacy, but officials did not immediately respond late Monday when asked if that was the source in this case. Georgia law prohibits the release of any identifying information about the source of execution drugs or any entity involved in an execution.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner was scheduled to be executed at 7 p.m. at the prison in Jackson for the February 1997 slaying of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner. The execution was put on hold while officials waited for the U.S. Supreme Court to either grant or deny a stay requested by her lawyers. The court had still not ruled more than five hours later.

Her lawyers were seeking a delay pending a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in another case out of Oklahoma, and an appellate court had rejected that request. Late Monday, the lawyers added additional arguments for the high court: that it should consider a stay because Gissendaner didn’t kill her husband, Douglas Gissendaner, herself in February 1997. They also argued that she had been thoroughly rehabilitated.

Previously, courts had found Gissendaner had plotted the stabbing death of her husband by her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, who will be up for parole in eight years after accepting a life sentence and testifying against her.

Gissendaner would have been only the 16th woman put to death nationwide since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. About 1,400 men have been executed since then, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, the only entity authorized to commute a death sentence, denied clemency last week and upheld that decision late Monday. Gissendaner’s lawyers had urged the board to reconsider and “bestow mercy” by commuting her sentence to life without parole. The board said it voted to abide by its earlier decision after “careful consideration” of the request.

Kelly and Douglas Gissendaner had a troubled relationship, repeatedly splitting up and getting back together, divorcing and remarrying. At the time of her husband’s death, Gissendaner was a 28-year-old mother of three children, 12, 7 and 5 years old. And she had an on-again, off-again lover in Owen.

Rather than divorcing her husband again, Gissendaner repeatedly pushed Owen to kill him, prosecutors said. Acting on her instructions, Owen ambushed her husband while she went out with friends, and forced him to drive to a remote area. Then he marched him into the woods and stabbed him multiple times, prosecutors said.

Owen and Gissendaner then met up and set fire to the dead man’s car in an attempted cover-up. Both initially denied involvement, but Owen eventually confessed and testified against his former girlfriend.

Her lawyers challenged the constitutionality of her sentence as disproportionate, given that she wasn’t there when Owen killed her husband, and yet Owen will eventually be eligible for parole. But Georgia’s Supreme Court voted 5-2 Monday to deny her motion, citing Owen’s testimony that she pushed for murder rather than divorce so that she could get her husband’s insurance money.

In their request Monday for reconsideration, Gissendaner’s lawyers said the parole board did not have a chance to hear the overwhelmingly positive testimony of many corrections employees who declined to speak up for fear of retaliation.

Her clemency petition already included testimonials from dozens of spiritual advisers, inmates and prison staff who described a seriously damaged woman transformed through faith behind bars. She has shown remorse and provided hope to struggling inmates while helping guards maintain control, they said.

“The spiritual transformation and depth of faith that Ms. Gissendaner demonstrates and practices is a deep and sincere expression of a personal relationship with God,” Prison chaplain Susan Bishop wrote. “It is not a superficial religious experience.”

Two of Gissendaner’s three children also asked the board to spare their mother’s life, describing their own emotional journey from anger and bitterness to forgiveness.

“The impact of losing my mother would be devastating. I can’t fathom losing another parent,” wrote her daughter, Kayla Gissendaner. “My mom has touched so many lives. Executing her doesn’t bring justice or peace to me or to anyone.”

But it also has been “a long, hard, heartbreaking road” for Douglas Gissendaner’s parents and sister, according to a statement from them issued through the Gwinnett County district attorney’s office. The family made it clear they wanted the execution to go forward.

Several dozen people gathered outside the prison in support of Gissendaner, including some women who served time with her.

Kara Tragesser recalled Gissendaner telling her “You can do better!” when she was put on lockdown while serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery.

“We’re here because Kelly’s made a difference in our lives,” Tragesser said.

Michelle Collins, who did time for forgery, remembered Gissendaner persuading her to stop misbehaving and start caring about her future.

“She looked around at us and said, ‘At least y’all are going to get out of here again. Who are you to throw your lives away when I’m never going to get out of here?'” said Collins.

“She gave me the will to do something good when I got out,” said Collins, adding that she now makes good money working for a Fortune 500 company. “She told me to make sure I never came back and I never have.”

A loud cheer came up from the crowd gathered outside the prison when they heard the execution had been postponed.

TIME Crime

Execution of Georgia Woman on Hold Pending Supreme Court Ruling

Death row inmate Kelly Renee Gissendaner is seen in an undated picture from the Georgia Department of Corrections
Georgia Department of Corrections/Reuters Death row inmate Kelly Renee Gissendaner is seen in an undated picture from the Georgia Department of Corrections.

The execution is on hold

(JACKSON, Ga.) — The execution of the first female in Georgia in 70 years was on hold Monday as the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed last-minute arguments by her lawyers that they hoped would persuade the nation’s top justices to grant a stay.

Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 46, was scheduled to die by injection of pentobarbital at 7 p.m. in the state prison for the February 1997 murder of her husband, Douglas Gissendaner.

Still pending was a response from the high court after an appellate court rejected her lawyers’ request for a delay on the grounds that Georgia’s lethal-injection procedures aren’t transparent enough to be challenged in court. Late Monday, her lawyers also added that the court should take into account the fact that she didn’t kill her husband herself, and that she had been thoroughly rehabilitated.

Previously, courts had found Gissendaner had plotted the stabbing death of her husband by her boyfriend, Gregory Owen, who will be up for parole in eight years after accepting a life sentence and testifying against her.

Gissendaner would be only the 16th woman put to death nationwide since the Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. About 1,400 men have been executed since then, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, the only entity authorized to commute a death sentence, denied clemency last week and upheld that decision late Monday. The woman’s lawyers had urged the board to reconsider and “bestow mercy” by commuting her sentence to life without parole. The board said it voted to abide by its earlier decision after “careful consideration” of the request.

Kelly and Douglas Gissendaner had a troubled relationship, repeatedly splitting up and getting back together, divorcing and remarrying. She was a 28-year-old mother of three children, 12, 7 and 5 years old. And she had an on-again, off-again lover in Owen.

In prison, Gissendaner eventually took responsibility: Rather than divorcing her husband again, she pushed Owen to kill him. Acting on her instructions, Owen ambushed her husband while she went out dancing with friends, and forced him to drive to a remote area. Then he marched him into the woods and stabbed him multiple times, prosecutors said.

Owen and Gissendaner then met up and set fire to the dead man’s car in an attempted cover-up, and both initially denied involvement, but Owen eventually confessed and testified against his former girlfriend.

Her lawyers challenged the constitutionality of her sentence as disproportionate, given that she wasn’t there when Owen killed her husband, and yet Owen will eventually be eligible for parole. But Georgia’s Supreme Court voted 5-2 Monday to deny her motion, citing Owen’s testimony that she pushed for murder rather than divorce so that she could get her husband’s insurance money.

In their request Monday for reconsideration, Gissendaner’s lawyers said the parole board did not have a chance to hear the overwhelmingly positive testimony of many corrections employees who declined to speak up for fear of retaliation.

Her clemency petition already included testimonials from dozens of spiritual advisers, inmates and prison staff who described a seriously damaged woman transformed through faith behind bars. She has shown remorse and provided hope to struggling inmates while helping guards maintain control, they said.

“The spiritual transformation and depth of faith that Ms. Gissendaner demonstrates and practices is a deep and sincere expression of a personal relationship with God,” Prison chaplain Susan Bishop wrote. “It is not a superficial religious experience.”

Two of Gissendaner’s three children also asked the board to spare their mother’s life, describing their own emotional journey from anger and bitterness to forgiveness.

“The impact of losing my mother would be devastating. I can’t fathom losing another parent,” wrote her daughter, Kayla Gissendaner. “My mom has touched so many lives. Executing her doesn’t bring justice or peace to me or to anyone.”

But it also has been “a long, hard, heartbreaking road” for Douglas Gissendaner’s parents and sister, and they made it clear they want the execution to go forward, the Gwinnett County district attorney’s office said.

More than a dozen women who served time with Gissendaner gathered outside the prison to support her Monday afternoon.

Kara Tragesser recalled Gissendaner telling her “you can do better!” when she was put on lockdown while serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery.

“We’re here because Kelly’s made a difference in our lives,” Tragesser said.

Michelle Collins, who did time for forgery, remembered Gissendaner persuading her to stop misbehaving and start caring about her future.

“She looked around at us and said, ‘At least y’all are going to get out of here again. Who are you to throw your lives away when I’m never going to get out of here?'” said Collins.

“She gave me the will to do something good when I got out,” said Collins, adding that she now makes good money working for a Fortune 500 company. “She told me to make sure I never came back and I never have.”

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.

TIME Japan

Mother of Japanese Journalist Held Captive by ISIS Pleads for His Release

Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist being held captive by Islamic State militants speaks during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo
Toru Hanai—Reuters Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist being held captive by Islamic State militants along with another Japanese citizen, speaks during a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on Jan. 23, 2015

The ransom deadline approaches

The mother a Japanese journalist held captive by Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) appealed for his release on Friday.

The Islamic militants are threatening to kill Kenji Koto and another Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa if Tokyo does not pay a ransom of $200 million, Reuters reports.

The Japanese government believes the deadline to be 12:50 a.m. E.T. on Friday.

“My son Kenji is not an enemy of the people of the Islamic faith. I can only pray as a mother for his release,” Junko Ishido told a news conference. “If I could offer my life I would plead that my son be released, it would be a small sacrifice on my part.”

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to do all he can to secure their safe release, saying that “we are negotiating through all available channels.”

The sum of the ransom is equal to the $200 million Abe has pledged to aid those fighting ISIS.

[Reuters]

TIME Photojournalism Links

Photojournalism Daily: Dec. 5, 2014

Today’s daily Photojournalism Links collection highlights Andrew Quilty‘s work on Pakistani refugees in Afghanistan. Some 100,000 civilians fled the Pakistani military’s offensive against insurgents in North Waziristan this past summer by seeking shelter across the border in Afghanistan. More than 3,000 families ended up at the Gulan Refugee Camp in Gurbuz District in Khost, only to find out another danger was lurking underneath their feet. It turned out the camp is located above a decades old minefield from the time muhajideen were fighting the Russians. Quilty’s compelling photographs capture these unfortunate refugees haunted by weapons of an old war.


Andrew Quilty: Finding Refuge on a Mine Field (Foreign Policy)

William Daniels: Fighting Over the Spoils of War in Central African Republic (Al Jazeera America) These photographs show how natural riches play a part in the conflict often seen purely in ethnic terms | Part of a series of posts on Central African Republic.

Best Photos of the Year 2014 (Reuters)

War’s effect on peace is examined in new Tate show (Phaidon) Tate Modern curator Shoair Mavlian talks about the new exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography.

Elena Chernyshova (Verve Photo) The World Press Photo award-winning Russian photographer writes about one of her photographs from Norilsk.


Photojournalism Links is a compilation of the most interesting photojournalism found on the web, curated by Mikko Takkunen, Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

TIME

Morning Must Reads: December 3

Capitol
Mark Wilson—Getty Images The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

Woman Sues Bill Cosby Alleging Child Sexual Abuse

A southern California woman sued Bill Cosby on Tuesday, becoming the latest of more than a dozen women to allege sexual assault, claiming the comedian molested her around 1974 when she was 15 in a bedroom at the Playboy Mansion

Who Should Be Person of the Year?

Cast your vote for the person you think most influenced the news this year — for better or worse. Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. E.T. on Dec. 6

Israeli Leader Looks to Reboot

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s move to sack two ministers and call for elections cemented his interest in establishing a right-wing government

Transgender Teen Awarded $75,000

A court in Maine awarded the family of a transgender teenager $75,000 in a lawsuit against a school district that forced the student to use a staff restroom rather than one for pupils. The district was told to let students use restrooms “consistent with their gender identity”

National Guard Pulls Back From Ferguson

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a National Guard drawdown in Ferguson as protests continue to subside in the St. Louis suburb, roughly a week after boosting security following the announcement that a grand jury would not indict police officer Darren Wilson

China Tumbles in Annual Corruption Index

China fell 20 spots in this year’s corruption rankings, despite President Xi Jinping’s massive campaign to weed out graft that has disciplined more than 60,000 government officials. Denmark held onto first place as the country seen as least corrupt

Walking Dead Spinoff Casts First 2 Actors

The Walking Dead companion series has cast its first two victims, er, actors: British actor Frank Dillane and Alycia Debnam Care. The young actors will play the kids of one of the show’s main characters, a female guidance counselor who is not yet cast

Obama Renews Calls for $6 Billion Ebola Fund

U.S. President Barack Obama renewed his call for Congress to approve more than $6 billion in funding to help tackle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. “If we want other countries to keep stepping up, we will have to continue to lead the way,” said Obama

Decision in Chokehold Case Imminent

A decision is expected soon on whether or not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo over the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner. Garner died in July after being put into what appeared to be a banned chokehold by Pantaleo

Rolling Stones Sax Player Bobby Keys Dies at 70

Bobby Keys, the saxophone player who performed with the Rolling Stones on many of their biggest hits, along with other acts like The Who, Lynyrd Skynyrd and John Lennon, died on Dec. 2 at his home in Franklin, Tenn.

Texas to Kill Schizophrenic Man

Scott Panetti, who is scheduled to die on Wednesday, becoming the state’s 11th execution this year, has a long history of severe mental illness. In 1992, Panetti shaved his head, dressed himself in camo and fatally shot his in-laws in front of his wife and daughter

Bipartisan Push to Improve Military’s Handling of Sex Assault

The former chief prosecutor of the Air Force has thrown his weight behind Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s second push to change how the military handles sexual-assault allegations. The bill needed only five more votes last time

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TIME execution

Utah Wants to Bring Back Execution by Firing Squad

Rep. Paul Ray, of Clearfield, Utah, addresses a committee hearing, Nov. 19, 2014, at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City.
Rick Bowmer—AP Rep. Paul Ray, of Clearfield, Utah, addresses a committee hearing, Nov. 19, 2014, at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City.

The last time Utah carried out an execution by firing squad was in 2010

Lawmakers in Utah have endorsed a proposal that would bring back execution by firing squad in the wake of a series of botched executions by lethal injection.

“If we go hanging, if we go to the guillotine, or we go to the firing squad, electric chair, you’re still going to have the same circus atmosphere behind it. So is it really going to matter?” said Republican Rep. Paul Ray, who is backing the proposal, according to Yahoo News.

Ray’s proposal would allow the state to use a firing squad if it cannot obtain the lethal injection drugs 30 days before the scheduled execution. Under current law in Utah, death by firing squad is only used for inmates sentenced to death before 2004.

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