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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…

Saudi Arabia executes own citizen for murder; 56th beheading this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi authorities executed a Saudi national on Monday for the murder of a compatriot, bringing the number of executions by capital punishment to 56 in the kingdom this year.

Ahmed al-Harbi was found guilty of stabbing and shooting Fahed al-Balawi during a quarrel, according to a statement by the interior ministry published by state news agency SPA.

Harbi was executed in the northern city of Tabuk. 

Most executions in Saudi Arabia are beheadings carried out by sword.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia ordered the execution of 153 people, the majority of which were death penalty sentences given for drug trafficking or murder, according to an AFP tally.

On a single day last month it put 47 people to death for "terrorism", including influential Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Amnesty International reports that the total number of executions in the kingdom in 2015 was the highest for 2 decades.

Saudia Arabia enforces a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Source: Agence France-Presse, February 1, 2016

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