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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…

2 Baluchi Juvenile Offenders Executed in Iran

Watching a public execution in Iran (file photo)
Watching a public execution in Iran (file photo)
According to close sources, 2 Baluchi prisoners were hanged to death at Yazd Central Prison on drug related charges.

The executions were reportedly carried out on Monday February 1. 

According to the Baloch Activists Campaign, the names of the prisoners are Khaled Kordi and Moslem Abarian. 

A relative of Khaled Kordi confirms to Iran Human Rights that both prisoners were under the age of 18 at the time of their arrests. 

Iranian authorities carried out the executions without informing the family members of the prisoners.

The 2 prisoners were reportedly riding a bus to work when they were arrested by Iranian authorities for drug offenses. 

The relative tells IHR that he believes Khaled and Moslem were innocent and the drugs were planted on them by someone else on the bus.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran is a signatory of, bans death sentences for offenses committed under the age of 18.

Source: Iran Human Rights, February 4, 2016


U.N. panel rebukes Iran for allowing sex, execution at 9 years old

Iran must reform its laws that allows girls as young as nine to be executed for crimes or forced into sexual relations with older husbands, a United Nations watchdog said on Thursday.

Iran continues to execute children and youth who committed a crime while under 18 years of age, in violation of international standards, the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child said, after its 18 independent experts reviewed Iran and 13 other countries.

"The age of criminal responsibility in Iran is discriminatory, it is lower and lower for girls, that is to say 9 lunar years while for boys it is 15. At 9 a girl can marry, even if the law sets the age at 13," said Hynd Ayoubi Idrissi, a panel member.

9 lunar years in the Iranian calendar is equivalent to 8 years and 9 months, a U.N. spokeswoman said.

The age for boys having criminal responsibility is 15, but the age for girls at 9 is "extremely low", Idrissi said.

The experts deplored that Iran "allows sexual intercourse with girls as young as 9 lunar years and that other forms of sexual abuse of even young children is not criminalised". They called for the age of sexual consent to be raised to 16.

Shaqayeq, 15, has been in prison for almost a year on the charge of armed
robbery from a Tehran chain store. Her death sentence has been issued and
she must reach 18 so the verdict can be carried out. Read more...
"The Committee is seriously concerned about the reports of increasing numbers of girls at the age of 10 years or younger who are subjected to child and forced marriages to much older men."

Girls suffered discrimination in the family, in the criminal justice system, in property rights, and elsewhere, while a legal obligation for girls to be subject to male guardianship is "incompatible" Tehran's treaty obligations, the panel said.

Iran made "positive progress" last year with a new Criminal Procedure Code that introduced juvenile courts, but nevertheless there were very serious concerns, the panel's chairman Benyam Mezmur told a news briefing.

"The age of criminal responsibility is very low and there are instances where the death penalty can apply for persons below the age of 18 or for offences they committed while below the age of 18," Mezmur said.

There were no figures for the number of executions of children or juvenile offenders, nor those imprisoned, due to secrecy surrounding the cases, he added.

Source: Reuters, February 4, 2016

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