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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

8 Hanged On Christmas Eve in Northern Iran; 26 Hanged between Dec. 22 and 24

Iran Human Rights, December 25, 2015: Two prisoners were hanged in the Ghezelhesar prison of Karaj (west of Tehran) on December 23, according to Iran Human Rights (IHR) sources in Iran.

The prisoners were identified as "Mehdi Khorram" and "Ebrahim Khorram" and were in their 30's. Both the prisoners were convicted of drug offences and were held in Unit 2 of Ghezelhesar prison.

IHR has received pictures of the prisoners. Iranian authorities have not announced the executions yet.

Several thousand prisoners sentenced to death for drug offences are held in the Ghezelhesar prison.

Iran Human Rights, December 25, 2015: Eight prisoners were hanged in the prison of Qazvin, northwest of Tehran, reported the official website of the Iranian Judiciary in Qazvin.

The prisoners were all convicted of drug offences and hanged on 24. December. Seven of the prisoners were identified as "Sajjad H.", "Ali B.", "Maher B.", "Habib M.", "Hossein A.", "Vahid A." and "Rahim K.M.".

Eight other prisoners were hanged in the same prison two days earlier on December 22. In 2015, several hudred prisoners have been executed in Iran for drug-related charges.

Despite this, the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) recently signed a new cooperation agreement on fighting the drug trafficking with Iran.

Iran Human Rights (DEC 24 2015): Eight men with alleged drug charges were reportedly hanged at Qazvin Central Prison on the morning of Tuesday December 23.

According to the press department of the Judiciary in the province of Qazvin, quoting the Public Prosecutor of Qazvin city, the prisoners are: M.Rahnama, 35 years old; M. Faryab, 38 years old; Haj Rafiee, 40 years old; A. Bagharzadeh, 33 years old; B. Chekanloo, 35 years old; S. Kalhor, 31 years old; A. Habibzadeh, 29 years old; and Gh. Moradi, 38 years old.

A day earlier at Qazvin Central Prison, Iranian authorities hanged "A. Fallah", a man accused of murder and sentenced to death.

Earlier in the month, 70 Iranian MPs presented a proposal to Parliament calling for an end to the death penalty for unarmed drug offenders.

Source: Iran Human Rights, December 24-25, 2015

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