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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Saudi Arabia executes 5 Yemenis, displays bodies

Saudi Arabia executes 5 Yemenis, displays bodies
Darkness at noon...
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed five Yemenis and displayed their bodies in public for killing a national and forming a gang that committed robberies across several towns in the kingdom, the interior ministry said.

The five were executed in the southwestern town of Jizan, bringing the number of people executed in the kingdom this year to 46, according to an AFP tally.

A witness in Jizan told AFP that the five men were displayed in public near a university.

In a picture posted on Twitter (left), five men are seen hanging from a rope tied to their waists on a horizontal bar between two cranes. It was unclear if they were beheaded or shot.

The ministry said that Khaled, Adel and Qasim Saraa as well as Saif Ali Al Sahari and Khaled Showie Al Sahari had formed a gang which committed “several crimes in various regions in the kingdom and robbed stores.”

The five had killed Ahmad Haroubi, a Saudi, by beating him up and strangling him, it said.

In March, a Saudi firing squad executed seven men convicted of armed robbery in public despite last-minute appeals by rights groups that their lives be spared.

In 2012, the kingdom executed 76 people, according to an AFP tally based on official figures. The US-based Human Rights Watch put the number at 69.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict version of sharia.

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 21, 2013

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