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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…

Iran defends its capital punishment in Europe

Public hanging in Iran, a medieval and barbaric punishment
Iran, faith-based medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, his country's Iran's capital punishment law at the European parliament on Tuesday, saying Iran mostly executes drug smugglers.

The remarks came in Brussels when lawmakers criticized the increasing number of death sentences in Iran.

Zarif also blamed Europe for their "lack of support" to help Iran control the flow of drugs to European countries.

"The European Union has accused Iran of human rights violations and banned the export of technical tools that would be used to combat the drug trade," Zarif told European lawmakers, according to BBC Persian.

The number of executions in Iran has sharply increased in recent years. At least 687 people were put to death in 2013, compared to 99 people in 2004.

Human rights activists worry that the nuclear deal with Iran and the country's increasing economic and trade relations with Europe may take the spotlight off its human rights record.

In a report in late 2015 the UN General Assembly condemned the human rights situation in Iran.

The report indicated that execution rates in Iran have rapidly increased and that 694 people were executed in Iran in 2015.

This is the highest number of executions in the country since the Iran-Iraq War, Ahmed Shaheed, the special UN rapporteur for human rights in Iran, told Rudaw at that time.

Source: rudaw.net, Feb. 18, 2016

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