White Supremacist Executed
Joseph Paul Franklin, noted white supremacist and murderer, was executed by the state of Missouri at the state prison in Bonne Terre today, despite last-minute legal wrangling that at one point granted Franklin a stay of execution.
Yesterday, U.S. District Court Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled that a lawsuit filed by Franklin and 20 other death row inmates challenging Missouri’s use of pentobarbital for lethal injections must be resolved before he is put to death, saying the Missouri Department of Corrections “has not provided any information about the certification, inspection history, infraction history or other aspects of the compounding pharmacy or of the person compounding the drug.” State attorneys immediately sent the case to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. This stay was quickly overturned by the 8th Circuit and shortly thereafter the U.S. Supreme Court.
Franklin was administered five grams of pentobarbital shortly before 6:17 a.m. and ceased breathing shortly thereafter.
Maduro Given Decree Powers
Venezuela’s legislature narrowly passed a bill which grants President Nicolás Maduro the right to govern by decree for the next 12 months. Maduro and his supporters, Chavistas, say the measure is necessary for an “economic offensive” against spiraling inflation, which reached 54 percent this year, and food and goods shortages which have begun to ravage the nation’s economy.
Chavista legislators secured just enough votes for the measure to pass, and only after an opposition lawmaker was recently stripped of her seat for legal issues. Still, National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello, a Maduro loyalist, described yesterday’s vote as a popular “tribute” to late President Hugo Chávez and his Bolivarian legacy. “What’s at stake here are two models,” Cabello announced, “The model of hate, which is capitalism, and the model of love, which is socialism; the model of Chávez and the people, which is socialism, and the model of bourgeoisie traitors, which is capitalism.”
EU Courts Ukrainian Favor
In what some are describing as a last-ditch effort to persuade the Ukraine into throwing in with the European Union rather than Russia’s Customs Union, regulators in Brussels have revived a long-dormant natural gas deal to help Kiev cut its dependences on Muscovite energy. The gas deal, which EU officials hope will persuade Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich to finalize the release of jailed former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, comes before next week’s summit in Lithuania, wherein EU officials hope to sign an agreement with the Ukraine cementing the so-called Eastern Partnership. While falling short of giving Ukraine EU member status, the partnership provides for free trade with Europe and is seen as a political move westward.
Kuwaiti Given Five Years for Tweet
Human Rights Watch condemned the Kuwaiti Court of First Instance’s sentencing of Musab Shamsah to five years in prison for a tweet regarding the nature of Sunni-Shia theology. Shamsah’s lawyer, Khalil Ghulam, said Shamsah pleaded not guilty to all the charges, contending that prosecutors had misinterpreted his tweet, which made a reference to the Prophet’s grandsons. He said he had deleted it 10 minutes after publishing it, and clarified what he had meant in two subsequent tweets.
While Kuwait is a party to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights which should protect free speech, Shamsah is the second Kuwaiti to be found guilty of insulting the Prophet Mohammed in the last three weeks. “It’s an insult to all Kuwaitis for the government to give itself the authority to decide what’s insulting to religion, and to jail Kuwaitis for it,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Let each Kuwaiti decide what he or she finds insulting, and as simple as clicking ‘unfollow,’ decide whether they want to see or hear a message.”