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America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

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With Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the national fight to abolish capital punishment will have to go local.
When the Supreme Court revived capital punishment in 1976, just four years after de facto abolishing it, the justices effectively took ownership of the American death penalty and all its outcomes. They have spent the decades since then setting its legal and constitutional parameters, supervising its general implementation, sanctioning its use in specific cases, and brushing aside concerns about its many flaws.
That unusual role in the American legal system is about to change. With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement from the court this summer, the Supreme Court will lose a heterodox jurist whose willingness to cross ideological divides made him the deciding factor in many legal battles. In cases involving the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, his judgment often meant the difference between life and death for hundreds of death-row pr…

Malawi warned over ‘gays should be killed’ comments

Following comments from a political party spokesperson that gay people are “worse than dogs” and should be killed, the UN has warned that Malawi needs to protect LGBT people.

A spokesman for the People’s Party, one of the main politicial parties in Malawi, made the comments on social media, and then later in a number of interviews.

Kenneth Msonda, wrote that gay people are “worse than dogs”, and suggested that they should be killed.

The UN human rights office has now issued a warning that Malawi should protect its LGBT citizens.

It said that the country has a duty to protect its citizens from hatred and threats of violence brought on following comments like these.

“We are concerned that the failure to prosecute this case sends a dangerous message that inciting others to kill gay people is legitimate and will be tolerated by the authorities – in effect encouraging violent threats and attacks on the gay and lesbian community in Malawi,” the office said in a statement.

Following the comments, Msonda was charged with inciting others to break the law. This was after two civil rights organisations pressed charges against him over the remarks.

However, despite Msonda being due in court on Friday, the Director of Public Prosecutions instructed the Chief Magistrate’s Court to discontinue the case on Thursday.

“It’s pretty alarming because essentially people will see that you can incite people to kill someone simply because they belong to a particular group,” the UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“It’s broader really than simply awful discrimination and incitement to hatred of gay and lesbians, it undermines the role of law in general,” he said.

Gay sex is illegal in Malawi and is punishable with up to 14 years in prison, however, the country’s government has suspended the law.

A review is still yet to take place on whether or not homosexuality should be decriminalised.

Last May, the country accepted a recommendation from the UN that it “take effective measures” to protect LGBT people.

Earlier this month gay man took a huge risk by publicly coming out in Malawi, saying the Government needs to take a stance either way on homosexuality.

Source: Pink News, Joseph Patrick McCormick, January 26, 2016

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