U.S. | Execution by nitrogen hypoxia doesn’t seem headed for widespread adoption as bills fall short and nitrogen producers object

The day after Alabama carried out the first-known US execution using nitrogen gas, its attorney general sent a clear message to death penalty states that might want to follow suit: “Alabama has done it, and now so can you.” Indeed, in the weeks immediately following the January execution of Kenneth Smith, it appeared a handful of states were listening, introducing bills that would adopt the method known as nitrogen hypoxia or a similar one. Officials behind each framed the legislation as an alternative method that could help resume executions where they had long been stalled.

Saudi law lenient on students accused of abusing drugs

With an increase in drug-related cases in the Kingdom, the anti-narcotics directorate has announced harsher penalties for drug smugglers, peddlers and abusers in its effort to curb the spread of the phenomenon.

However, male and female students with drug habits will be exempted from the harsh punishments, including the death penalty, if they meet certain conditions.

The regulation for combating drug abuse in Saudi Arabia, which is in line with a royal decree issued in March 1987, clearly differentiates between the drug smuggler, dealer and abuser.

The regulation stipulates the severest punishment, the death penalty, for drug smuggling due to the extent of harm caused by the evil act. The same penalty applies to both the individual who smuggles in the drugs and the one who receives and distributes them to dealers.

The law differentiates between a person who deals in drugs for the 1st time and one who returns to the crime after he was convicted of the same charge earlier. In the 1st instance, the penalty is imprisonment, whipping, or a fine or all these penalties combined, as the judge sees fit.

If the convicted person returns to the crime, then the penalty becomes sterner and can even be the death sentence to save society from the persistent evildoer.

A drug abuser is imprisoned for 2 years and the judge can add a discretionary penalty. After serving his term the person is deported from the country if he is an expatriate. Whoever turns in voluntarily to get treatment is not prosecuted but will be sent to de-addiction clinics and rehabilitation centers.

The Saudi regulations take into consideration the UN recommendations in this regard like other countries of the world.

The regulation exempts students from severe penalties stipulated in the law. They will be subjected to suitable corrective steps and will be monitored to ensure that they return to civilized behavior and become good citizens. Also, their guardians will be made to sign an undertaking that they will raise them properly.

To benefit from the exemption, one should be less than 20 years of age and should be a fulltime student. He should not be involved in smuggling and pushing drugs and his crime should be limited to substance abuse. Also, the beneficiary should not have a previous conviction.

A student will not be eligible for the exemption if the drug charge against him is linked to any immoral act or a traffic accident that resulted in death or injury requiring settlement of private and public rights. Finally, he should not have resisted arrest.

If all these conditions are met, the detention period for a student arrested for drug abuse will not exceed three months and his punishment will not be more than 50 lashes.

Source: Saudi Gazette, November 2, 2012

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