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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…

Bangladesh seizes S$8.7 million of cocaine at airport, arrests Spaniard for alleged smuggling

Dhaka airport
Dhaka airport
Bangladesh anti-drugs officers seized US$6.2 million (S$8.72 million) of cocaine at Dhaka airport and arrested a Spanish national on suspicion of smuggling, officials said on Wednesday (Dec 9), the country's second-biggest haul of the substance.

P.J. Julian, 47, was arrested at the Bangladeshi capital's airport on Tuesday evening with 3kg of cocaine hidden inside the lid of his suitcase, the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) said.

Cocaine is not a popular drug in Bangladesh, but international cartels use it as a "safe route" for smuggling it into Europe and South-east Asia, seeing the country as less likely to come under suspicion.

Julian had travelled to Dhaka from Brazil's Sao Paulo via Dubai, before being arrested by officials acting on a tip-off from the United States about a suspected trafficker.

"The drugs in the suitcase could not be traced in the scanner, but we knew the tag of the suspected luggage," DNC director Towfique Uddin told AFP.

Julian is expected to appear in court later and could face the death penalty if found guilty of drug smuggling.

"If his involvement is proved with the drug trafficking, he may get a death sentence irrespective of his nationality," Mr Nadim Miah, public prosecutor for a special drug crimes court in Dhaka, told AFP.

The prosecutor said it was the 2nd-biggest cocaine haul in the Muslim-majority nation after US$14 million of liquid cocaine was found mixed in barrels containing sunflower oil in the port city of Chittagong in June.

Source: Agence France-Presse, December 9, 2015


Supreme Court commutes 'top terrorist' Joseph's death penalty to life in jail

The Supreme Court has reduced the death sentence of Tofayel Ahmed Joseph, a 'top-listed terrorist' of the 1990s, to life imprisonment.

The Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha on Wednesday gave its judgment in the case over the 1996 murder of Freedom Party leader Mustafizur Rahman of Dhaka's Mohammadpur.

It acquitted another accused in the case, 'Kabil', on hearing his appeal.

Joseph had moved the top appeals court after the 2007 verdict by the High Court.

After Wednesday's verdict, his lawyer AM Amin Uddin told bdnews24.com the verdict only commuted his death sentence to life in jail.

Source: bdnews24.com, December 9, 2015

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