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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…

Iran under Hassan Rouhani is among world’s biggest prisons for news and information providers

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
NCRI - Iran under the rule of the clerical regime has been ranked #173 among 180 countries in the 2015 World Press Freedom Index and “Hassan Rouhani’s installation as president in June 2013 has not had a positive impact on freedom of information,” a report published on Friday by media rights group Reporters Without Borders said.

The authorities have closed newly-created news outlets and, with the active cooperation of a judicial system and the Revolutionary Guards have orchestrated “a wave of arrests resembling the one unleashed five years earlier” after 2009 protests in Iran, the report said.

“The Rouhani administration has played a role in the arrests as a silent accomplice. Iran continues to be one of the world’s five biggest prisons for news and information providers, with 50 journalists and netizens currently detained.”

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Situation of Human Rights in Iran also has expressed concern about the arbitrary and unlawful arrest and prosecution of journalists and activists in Iran has warned that their persecution weakens the protection of human rights of all in Iran.

The Committee to Protect Journalists routinely ranks Iran as one of the worst jailers of reporters in the world.

More than 50 are known to be in custody today, and these constitute only a fraction of the overall population of prisoners who have been targeted simply for their affiliations, their public activities, or their privately expressed political and religious views.

Source: NCRI, January 16, 2016

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