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American Pharmacists Association Urges Members to Stop Providing Execution Drugs

Democracy Now - Mon 07 55 AM

A leading association for pharmacists in the United States has instructed its members to stop providing drugs for use in lethal injections, a change that could make carrying out executions even more difficult for death penalty states. Late last month, delegates of the American Pharmacists Association approved a declaration saying the organization "discourages pharmacist participation in executions on the basis that such activities are fundamentally contrary to the role of pharmacists as providers of health care." The association, which has more than 62,000 members, is responsible for determining pharmacists’ ethical standards, but cannot legally force its decisions. Pharmacists now join physicians and anesthesiologists in having national organizations with ethical codes that discourage their members from partaking in executions. We are joined by Dr. Leonard Edloe, a retired pharmacist who co-wrote the American Pharmacists Association’s new policy against supplying lethal injection drugs. Last year, he received a lifetime achievement award from the association. He now serves as a pastor in Virginia after owning and operating a community pharmacy for four decades.

Louisiana Denies Compensation to Dying Exonerated Death Row Prisoner as Former Prosecutor Apologizes

Democracy Now - Mon 07 40 AM

After three decades on death row in Louisiana, Glenn Ford was freed in March 2014 based on new evidence clearing him of the 1983 fatal shooting a jewelry store owner. Ford is African-American and was tried by an all-white jury. In 2000, the Louisiana Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing on Ford’s claim that the prosecution suppressed favorable evidence related to two brothers initially implicated in the crime. Then in 2013, an unidentified informant told prosecutors that one of the brothers had admitted to shooting and killing the jewelry store owner. Shortly after Ford’s release last year, he received a second death sentence: stage 3 lung cancer, which has now advanced to stage 4 and spread to his bones, lymph nodes and spine. His attorney says he has entered hospice care in New Orleans. Ford filed a federal lawsuit claiming prison officials and medical authorities knew he had cancer in 2011 but denied him treatment. Glenn Ford is one of the longest-serving death row prisoners ever to be exonerated. Under Louisiana law, he can ask for a maximum of $330,000 in compensation. But last week a judge denied his request, saying Ford was involved in two lesser crimes. We are joined by the lead prosecutor in Ford’s murder trial, Marty Stroud, who has come out in favor of his compensation. In a three-page letter to the Shreveport Times, Stroud said he no longer supports the death penalty, and apologized to Ford. "I apologize to Glenn Ford for all the misery I have caused him and his family," he wrote.

"They Couldn't Take My Soul": Anthony Ray Hinton on His Exoneration After 30 Years on Death Row

Democracy Now - Mon 07 11 AM

Days after being exonerated and freed from an Alabama prison, Anthony Ray Hinton recounts how he got through nearly 30 years on death row as an innocent man. Hinton was convicted of murdering two fast-food managers in separate robberies in 1985, based on scant evidence that later turned out to be false. Hinton is said to be among the longest-serving death row prisoners ever to be freed after presenting evidence of innocence. Hinton joins us along with his attorney, Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative, who says race, poverty, inadequate legal assistance, and prosecutorial indifference to innocence conspired to create a textbook example of injustice. "This is a very powerful demonstration of the critique of the American criminal justice system, which we contend treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent," Stevenson says.

147 Killed at Kenyan University, Deadliest Al-Shabab Attack Since Kenya's 2011 Invasion of Somalia

Democracy Now - Fri 07 52 AM

In Kenya, officials say at least 147 people, mostly students, were killed when al-Shabab militants stormed a university in Garissa, making it the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy. Al-Shabab militants reportedly went through the university dorms, separating Muslims from Christians and killing the Christians. The Kenyan government said at least 79 people were wounded in the assault. The siege lasted about 15 hours before security forces killed four militants. Al-Shabab has carried out a series of attacks inside Kenya following Kenya’s 2011 invasion of Somalia. We speak to Leslie Lefkow, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division.

Star Trek's George Takei on Leonard Nimoy: He Represented the Best of an Inclusive American Society

Democracy Now - Fri 07 48 AM

Leonard Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies, died in February at the age of 83. We speak to his Star Trek co-star, George Takei, who said, "Leonard played an alien, but he was the most human individual I ever met."

George Takei: LGBT Protections Still Needed Despite Amended Indiana, Arkansas Religious Freedom Laws

Democracy Now - Fri 07 37 AM

After a national outcry, both Indiana and Arkansas have passed fixes to their so-called religious freedom laws that threatened to sanction anti-LGBT discrimination. Both measures were signed into law Thursday by the states’ governors. The revisions to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act provide new protections to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, tenants and customers, lawmakers. The fixes do not apply to churches or schools. The new Arkansas bill is crafted to make the state’s religious freedom law more closely mirror a federal law that had been signed by former President Bill Clinton. Critics note the fixes to the anti-LGBT laws will not expand LGBT rights. We speak to George Takei, legendary actor and gay rights activist. Last week, he called for a boycott of Indiana to condemn its anti-LGBT law, saying he wanted to "not only send a clear message to Indiana, but also to help stop the further erosion of our core civil values in other parts of this country."

Former Iranian Ambassador: Historic Nuclear Deal Has Prevented a New War in the Middle East

Democracy Now - Fri 07 11 AM

After eight days of talks in Switzerland, Iran and world powers have reached a framework agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program for at least a decade. In return, the United States and Europe plan to lift economic sanctions on Iran. As part of the deal, Iran must reduce the number of its centrifuges that can be used to enrich uranium into a bomb by more than two-thirds. Iran also has to redesign a power plant so it cannot produce weapons-grade plutonium, eliminate much of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium and be subject to regular international nuclear inspections. While U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the deal would contribute to peace and stability in the region, praise for the deal was not universal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the agreement as a "threat to Israel’s existence." We speak to Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator for Iran. He served as Iran’s ambassador to Germany from 1990 to 1997. He joins us from Princeton, New Jersey, where he is an associate research scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Last year, he published the book, "Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace."

As NYU Expands Into Abu Dhabi, UAE Bars Professor Researching Migrant Worker Abuse

Democracy Now - Thu 07 47 AM

The United Arab Emirates has barred New York University professor Andrew Ross from entering the country after he published research about migrant workers and labor abuse in the Gulf State. Ross learned of the ban after arriving at the airport in New York, where he was set to board a flight to continue his research in the UAE, a close U.S. ally. Now it has emerged that a private investigator was also hired to target him and a New York Times reporter who wrote the expose on workers at NYU’s Abu Dhabi campus facing harsh conditions. Ross, who serves as president of NYU’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, joins us to discuss the case.

20 Years in Prison for Miscarrying? The Case of Purvi Patel & the Criminalization of Pregnancy

Democracy Now - Thu 07 34 AM

While Indiana has been in the spotlight over its new anti-LGBT "religious freedom" law, another state controversy is brewing. On Monday, Purvi Patel became the first person in U.S. history sentenced to prison for feticide for what the state said was an attempt to end her own pregnancy. While Patel says she had a miscarriage, delivering a stillborn fetus, prosecutors accused her of taking drugs to induce an abortion, even though no drugs were found in her system. They also used a discredited test to claim the fetus was born alive. Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison. We look at her case amidst the rising tide of anti-choice laws and the criminalization of pregnancy with Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

After Warmest Winter, Drought-Stricken California Limits Water But Exempts Thirstiest Big Growers

Democracy Now - Thu 07 16 AM

As California’s record drought continues, Gov. Jerry Brown has ordered residents and non-agricultural businesses to cut water use by 25 percent in the first mandatory statewide reduction in the state’s history. One group not facing restrictions under the new rules is big agriculture, which uses about 80 percent of California’s water. The group Food & Water Watch California has criticized Brown for not capping water usage by oil extraction industries and corporate farms, which grow water-intensive crops such as almonds and pistachios, most of which are exported out of state and overseas. Studies show the current drought, which has intensified over the past four years, is the worst California has seen in at least 120 years. Some suggest it is the region’s worst drought in more than a thousand years. This comes after California witnessed the warmest winter on record. We speak with environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard, author of the book, "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth."

Started by Abolitionists in 1865, The Nation Magazine Marks 150 Years of Publishing Rebel Voices

Democracy Now - Wed 07 29 AM

The Nation magazine, the oldest news magazine in the United States, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. The first issue was published on July 6, 1865 — just weeks after the end of the Civil War and three months after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Over the years, The Nation has published many of the nation’s leading dissidents, academics and activists. We broadcast an excerpt from the new documentary, "Hot Type: 150 Years of The Nation," and speak with the magazine’s editor and publisher, Katrina vanden Heuvel. The Nation is celebrating its anniversary with a quintuple-length, blockbuster edition.

Indiana Scrambles to Contain Growing Corporate, Public Outcry over Anti-LGBT "Religious Freedom" Law

Democracy Now - Wed 07 13 AM

As the state of Indiana faces increasing pressure to repeal a new religious freedom law, Arkansas lawmakers have passed a similar bill that critics say could allow business owners to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender customers in the name of religious freedom. Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he plans to sign the bill into law. On Tuesday, the CEO of Wal-Mart, Arkansas’s largest corporation, called for Hutchinson to veto the bill. Wal-Mart joins a growing number of corporations opposing the religious freedom bills. Nine chief executive officers, including the heads of Apple, Angie’s List and Eli Lilly, have spoken out in protest. A number of states and cities have also taken action, banning officials from traveling to Indiana. On Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said he stood by the law but urged lawmakers to work on reforming its language. We go to Indianapolis to speak with Indiana State Senate Democratic leader Tim Lanane, who led his party’s opposition to the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act" before its passage.

Mumia Abu-Jamal Moved from Prison to Intensive Care, Supporters Seek Access and Answers

Democracy Now - Tue 07 55 AM

Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has been taken to the Intensive Care Unit of Schuylkill Medical Center in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, after he was removed from prison for a medical emergency without any notification to his family, friends or lawyers. Prison officials told his supporters he is in diabetic shock. We get an update from Abu-Jamal’s longtime friend, Johanna Fernández who first discovered he was in the hospital Monday morning when she went to visit him in prison and was told he had been taken to the intensive care unit. Fernández is a history professor at Baruch College-CUNY, and one of the coordinators of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home.

"Straights Only"? Indiana Faces Boycotts, Protests over Anti-LGBT "Religious Freedom" Law

Democracy Now - Tue 07 46 AM

Indiana is facing boycotts and fierce criticism following Gov. Mike Pence’s new measure that could sanction discrimination by allowing business owners to refuse service to LGBT customers in the name of "religious freedom." Connecticut is the first state to officially boycott Indiana over the move, now San Francisco and Seattle have also imposed bans on city-funded travel to the state. Nine chief executive officers, including the heads of Angie’s List and Eli Lilly, wrote letters asking Indiana state officials to "take immediate action" to ensure the act will not sanction or encourage discrimination. On Saturday, thousands of people marched in Indianapolis calling for Pence’s resignation. Critics have called for a boycott, and some, including former NBA star Charles Barkley, are calling for the upcoming Final Four college basketball championship, to be moved out of state. Supporters of the legislation have said 19 other states have similar laws and that Indiana is attracting undue criticism. Pence has said he will seek a new measure to "clarify the intent" of his new law, though he added that LGBT protections are "not on my agenda." We are joined by Eunice Rho, advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ex-Sen. George Mitchell: Freed Whistleblower on Azerbaijan Corruption Should Never Have Been Jailed

Democracy Now - Tue 07 43 AM

We look at the case of Frederic "Rick" Bourke, who is considered a whistleblower after he was imprisoned for exposing corruption and bribery in the oil-rich region of the Caspian Sea. Bourke is known for founding the luxury handbag company Dooney & Bourke and is a philanthropist who has invested his wealth into ventures seeking novel cures for cancer. In the mid-1990s, he met a Czech national named Viktor Kozeny who recruited investors for the takeover of SOCAR, the state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan. Serious investors vetted the opportunity and sank huge sums into the enterprise, including our guest, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, as well as Columbia University’s investment fund, the insurance giant AIG, and legendary hedge-fund manager Lee Cooperman, a longtime executive at Goldman Sachs. But the investment failed, and Kozeny absconded with the remaining funds. Bourke was recently released from prison, while Kozeny was never punished. When asked if Bourke should be exonerated, Mitchell responds, "I do not believe he should have been convicted in the first place."