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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Arkansas suspends search for execution drug

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KARK reports that the state Correction Department has temporarily stopped searching for midazolam, 1 of the drugs used in executions. 
That likely means no further executions until the law can be changed in 2019 to provide more secrecy in the drug acquisition process.
The legislature meets in 2019.
ADC Director Wendy Kelly said Tuesday the decision was made after Arkansas' highest court ruled earlier this year that the department would have to reveal who the drug's manufacturer is.
ADC Spokesperson Solomon Graves said Tuesday the department is in discussion with the governor and attorney general's offices on changing the wording of the Arkansas Method of Execution Act, which would protect the identity of the drug's manufacturer.
Once it's approved by the Governor, Graves says ADC will begin Legislative outreach.
Graves says if the wording is changed to protect the identity of the manufacturer, ADC would resume its search for the drug.
Midazolam is a sedative and i…

India: Bill on death penalty for child rape to be tabled

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The Bill to award the death penalty for those convicted of raping girls below the age of 12 will be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament, the Cabinet decided on Wednesday.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2018, once approved by Parliament, will replace the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance promulgated on April 21 following an outcry over the rape and murder of a minor girl at Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir and the rape of a woman at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.
The Cabinet gave its approval to the draft Bill prepared by the Home Ministry, Mr. Prasad said.
The Bill stipulates stringent punishment for perpetrators of rape, particularly of girls below 12.
A provision for the death penalty has been provided for rapists of girls aged under 12, an official said.
Longer term
The minimum punishment in the case of rape of women has been increased from rigorous imprisonment…

International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute Condemns Iran's Jailing of Defense Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh

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Iranian defense attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has been detained in Evin Prison under national security charges since June 13, 2018.
Iran received yet another international rebuke for its persecution of lawyers trying to defend citizens' rights and the rule of law in Iran with the open letter by the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) to Iran's supreme leader calling for the immediate release of the prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh.
Sotoudeh, 55, has been detained in Tehran's Evin Prison since June 13, 2018, and is facing national security charges for representing women in Iran who have removed their headscarves in public in protest against the compulsory hijab law.
The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) strongly supports IBAHRI's call and urges the international community, from rights organizations to foreign state officials to demand Sotoudeh's immediate release.
"The IBAHRI calls on Your Excellency to ensure the im…

Who Buys a Guillotine? Someone Who Wants an 'Amusing Acquisition'

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Christophe Fevrier, a businessman and father of 4 from the small town of Chateau-Gontier in northwest France, decided in 2014 that there was something he must have: a guillotine.
He had seen one offered at auction in Paris. It was 10 feet tall, with an oak frame and a few dents in the blade, and had the French words for "Armies of the Republic" etched into its metal plates. It had not actually been used to execute people during the French Revolution, but it had historical value: It was made in the mid-19th century, around the time France's monarchy was abolished for a 2nd time.
Lady Gaga tried to buy the guillotine in 2011, said Mr. Fevrier, 48, in an email. But she lost out to a Russian collector, who paid 223,000 euros, or about $260,000 at current exchange rates.
The Russian faced a problem, however: France does not allow the export, or import for that matter, of instruments of torture. So the guillotine stayed in its long-term home, a Paris jazz club called Le Cavea…

Vietnam president orders review of farmer's death sentence

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Public anger over harsh sentences in land dispute case persuades state to reconsider evidence
Activists have welcomed the Vietnamese president's order to review the case of farmers given severe sentences including the death penalty for murder over a land dispute.
The President's Office announced on July 17 that President Tran Dai Quang had asked the Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuracy and the Ministry of Public Security to "review processes of investigations, prosecution and trial of the murder case and report to the president," Vietnam News Agency reported.
On July 12, the High-level People's Court in Ho Chi Minh City upheld the death penalty given to Dang Van Hien, a farmer found guilty of murder amid a land row between farmers and a private company.
Hien was convicted of shooting to death 3 men and injuring 13 others from the Long Son Trade and Investment Company.
The court had earlier reduced the sentences of farmers Ninh Viet Binh and …

Ex-Aum member Yoshihiro Inoue’s last words: ‘I didn’t expect things to turn out this way’

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A former senior member of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult that perpetrated the deadly Tokyo subway sarin attack in 1995 said just moments before his execution last week that he did not foresee such an ending, but remained calm and thanked his parents, an informed source said Friday.
“I didn’t expect things to turn out this way,” Yoshihiro Inoue was quoted as saying shortly before being executed on July 6 along with cult founder Shoko Asahara and five other senior members.
Inoue, 48, was one of Asahara’s closest aides and acted as a general coordinator of the group, which used the nerve agent to attack the subway system in March 1995, killing 13 people and injuring over 6,000. He was sentenced to death in 2004 by the Tokyo High Court and filed an appear for a retrial in March.
Asked by an Osaka detention center officer if he had any messages for his parents, Inoue said, “Thank you, dad and mom. Please don’t worry,” according to the source.
His very last words can be roughly translated…

Japan: Death penalty sought for man over 2014 deaths of 2 people who were buried alive in Saga

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Prosecutors on Tuesday demanded the death penalty for a man who allegedly murdered a man and a woman by burying them alive in the city of Saga in 2014 in an attempt to avoid paying back a debt.
Teruyoshi Oho, 69, is alleged to have suffocated Ra Si Chan, a 76-year-old South Korean national, and his associate Chie Matsushiro, 48, by burying them in their car in a hole 5 meters deep, according to the indictment. Oho's defense team reiterated that he is innocent of the charges.
Oho, a former president of a soil treatment company, had been urged by Chan to pay back some Y40 million ($356,000) he had borrowed from him, the prosecutors said in their closing argument at the Saga District Court.
"It was a well-planned crime based on a strong intention to kill him," the prosecutors said, pointing to the fact that Oho had asked his employees to dig the hole before the alleged murders in August 2014. There is no special circumstance that should allow him to avoid capital punishmen…

India: HC upholds death sentence to Rohtak girl who killed 7 of her family

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On the night of September 14, 2009, Sonam mixed some sedative in the dinner ('rotis') and milk of her family members and strangled them with rope with the help of Navin after they fell unconscious.
Terming them "monsters", a Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence of a teenage girl and her boyfriend, who killed 7 members of her family at Kabpulpur village in Rohtak in September 2009.
The convicts are Sonam Dagar, now 27, and Navin Dagar, 28, both hailing from the same village.
Sonam and Navin who belonged to the same clan were having an affair. They were studying at Rohtak town and started liking each other. When Sonam's parents got to know of their affair, they asked her to discontinue studies and restricted her to home.
Apprehending that her family will not accept their relationship, the duo eliminated Sonam's parents (Surender, 45, and Promila, 40), brother Arvind, 15, grandmother Bhuro Devi, 70, and 3 cousins Vishal, 10, Sonika…