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USA - Bill Pelke
USA - Bill Pelke
USA - Bill Pelke, a pioneer of US abolitionism, and a friend of Hands Off Cain, died.

November 12, 2020:

Journey of Hope Founder Bill Pelke Dies.

Bill Pelke, death penalty abolitionist and founder of the Journey of Hope, died suddenly of a massive heart attack at his home in Anchorage, Alaska on Thursday, November 12. He was 73.

Pelke began his work to end the death penalty after his grandmother, Ruth Pelke,76, was murdered in Indiana by four teenage girls. One of the perpetrators, 15-year-old Paula Cooper, became the youngest person ever sentenced to death in Indiana.

Moved by his Christian faith, Bill Pelke worked extensively to reverse Cooper’s death sentence, starting an international solidarity campaign in which the Italian Radical Party and Hands Off Cain participated with a massive collection of signatures, signatures then delivered in 1988 by Maurizio Barbera, at the time director of the Rebibbia Female prison in Rome, to the Secretary of the United Nations in New York. Even the European Parliament with a resolution with Emma Bonino first signatory participated in the campaign, and Pope John Paul II joined the international mobilization. In 1988 the Supreme Court of the United States declared it unconstitutional to execute anyone under the age of 16 at the time of the crime (only in 2005 the limit was raised to 18) and the following year the Supreme Court of Indiana commuted the death sentence of Cooper in a 60-year sentence.

Pelke had a correspondence with Cooper, and in 1996 began meeting her in prison. Cooper was granted parole in 2013, at the age of 43, and committed suicide 2 years later (see NtC 05/26/2015).

“She was not able to forgive herself,” Pelke said.

Pelke, a Vietnam veteran who held a Purple Heart, created “The Journey to Hope… from Violence to Healing”, an organization led by murder victims’ family members that conducts speaking tours on alternatives to the death penalty, with an emphasis on compassion and forgiveness. Through the Journey of Hope, Pelke shared his story in over 40 states and 15 countries. He also served on the board of numerous anti-death penalty groups, including Death Penalty Action, the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, and Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights.

“Revenge is never the answer,” he said of capital punishment. “As long as human beings decide who can live and die, we’re going to make mistakes.”

Pelke’s friends said he planned to be at a federal prison in Terre Haute Thursday to protest the execution of Orlando Hall.

Despite concerns from family and friends about travel during the coronavirus pandemic, Pelke, who became a great-grandfather last year, was present at 6 of 7 executions in Terre Haute since July.

https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/stories/news-brief-journey-of-hope-founder-bill-pelke-dies

https://www.facebook.com/JourneyOfHope/posts/10157723512858354

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/bill-pelke-anti-death-penalty-activist-with-passion-forged-in-grief-dies-at-73/2020/11/17/7ad67f26-280d-11eb-9b14-ad872157ebc9_story.html

https://www.newsbreak.com/indiana/gary/news/2103899138707/grandson-of-paula-cooper-murder-victim-and-anti-death-penalty-advocate-dies

https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/ct-ptb-gary-pelke-death-penalty-st-0402-story.html

(Sources: DPIC, Post-Tribune)

IRAN - Ghassem Gh. Executed in Mashhad Prison on November 18.
DEATH PENALTY: MAJORITY OF STATES CONTINUE TO SUPPORT UN CALL FOR MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS AT COMMITTEE VOTE
ROGER HOOD PASSED AWAY. HE DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO THE FIGHT AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY
IRAQ EXECUTES 21 CONVICTED OF ‘TERRORISM’ AT NOTORIOUS NASIRIYAH PRISON
UK - Professor Roger Hood, one of the founders of the international movement for the abolition of the death penalty, passed away.
IRAN: PRISONER EXECUTED AT TAYBAD PRISON FOR DRUG CHARGES
BANGLADESH: DEATH PENALTY OF THREE UPHELD FOR MURDERING PREGNANT WOMAN
IRAN: 400 YEARS IMPRISONMENT AND 787 LASHES FOR 53 RIGHTS DEFENDERS
PAKISTAN: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING WARDEN
YEMEN: REBEL-RUN COURT SENTENCES 21 TO DEATH FOR SPYING FOR SAUDI-LED COALITION
MALI: JIHADIST CHIEF, 14 OTHERS, SENTENCED TO DEATH
BANGLADESH: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING STUDENT IN KHULNA
IRAN - Zaman Fadaii was lashed 80 times for drinking communion wine
SINGAPORE: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR KILLING PREGNANT WIFE, DAUGHTER
IRAN - ABAN, International People’s Tribunal Established to Investigate Iran Atrocities.
USA - Federal. Lawyers for Lisa Montgomery Contract COVID-19 During Prison Visits, Seek Stay of Execution.
COVID EMERGENCY: RITA BERNARDINI IS ON HUNGER STRIKE FOR AMNESTY, INDULT, SPECIAL EARLY RELEASE
EGYPT: TEN EXECUTIONS CARRIED OUT IN MINYA
NIGERIA: TWO SENTENCED TO DEATH BY HANGING FOR ROBBERY IN EKITI
IRAN - Kurdish Political Prisoner Zeinab Jalalian Transferred to Jail Far Away From Family
BANGLADESH: BILL SEEKING DEATH SENTENCE FOR RAPE LANDS IN PARLIAMENT
GAZA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH BY DEIR AL-BALAH COURT FOR MURDER
IRAN - Nasrin Sotoudeh has tested positive for the coronavirus
IRAN: TWO YOUNG MEN FLOGGED IN PUBLIC FOR THEFT
UAE: DEATH PENALTY FOR FORCED SEX WITH A MINOR, 'HONOR CRIMES'
USA: WHAT BIDEN’S WIN MEANS FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND THE DEATH PENALTY
INDIA: COURT SENTENCES MAN TO DEATH FOR MURDERS
USA - What Biden’s Win Means for Criminal Justice and the Death Penalty
USA - United Nations. U.S. Death Penalty Criticized by U.N. Human Rights Council.
IRAN: PRISONER EXECUTED IN RASHT CENTRAL PRISON FOR MURDER

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IRAN - Wife of Djalali pleads for EU action
  IRAN - Hands off Cain Year End Report: At least 284 executions in 2020  
  IRAN: HANDS OFF CAIN, THE HANGING OF THE PROTESTER MOSTAFA SALEHI IS A SHAME FOR THE SO-CALLED DEMOCRATIC WORLD   
  USA: ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’, BUT IS IT ONLY RACISM?  
  IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME  
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
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