Witch trials and some good news

Hat tip to Infidel753 for pointing to this news item on the BBC.

In Saudi Arabia , an illiterate woman was sentenced to death for witchcraft.

This story was credited to Human Rights Watch. It’s on their website.

The judges relied on Fawza Falih’s coerced confession and on the statements of witnesses who said she had “bewitched” them to convict her in April 2006. She retracted her confession in court, claiming it was extracted under duress, and that as an illiterate woman she did not understand the document she was forced to fingerprint. She also stated in her appeal that her interrogators beat her during her 35 days in detention at the hands of the religious police. At one point, she had to be hospitalized as a result of the beatings.
The judges never investigated whether her confession was voluntary or reliable or investigated her allegations of torture. They never even made an inquiry as to whether she could have been responsible for allegedly supernatural occurrences, such as the sudden impotence of a man she is said to have “bewitched.”…

Well, confessions extracted under torture seem to be internationally acceptable now, so don’t expect any complaints from the USA, Saudis…

The Human Rights Watch website is almost uniformly depressing reading. So I am going to mention the one item on that site that might make you pull back from going completely postal. (Please feel free to read the rest.)

California is about to repeal the law that allows the sentencing of children to life without parole. At the moment,

There are 227 inmates in California sentenced as juveniles to life in prison without parole. …. Forty-five percent of California youth sentenced to life without parole for involvement in a murder did not actually kill the victim. Many were convicted of felony murder, or for aiding and abetting the murder, because they acted as lookouts or were participating in another felony when the murder took place.

(Where there was an adult co-defendant, over half the children interviewed by Human Rights Watch got a more severe sentence than the adult.)

Other states are considering reforms or have efforts underway to eliminate the sentence, including Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and Washington.

Ok, this is one small step, etc, but at least it is in the direction of more humanity, when the general impetus of the world seems to be to get ever less and less humane. So, nice one California and any other states that follow this lead.