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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: Three executed for drug trafficking

Public beheading in KSA (file photo)
Public beheading in KSA (file photo)
February 17, 2016: Saudi Arabia beheaded one of its citizens and two Yemeni nationals on charges of drug trafficking, bringing to 63 the number of decapitations in the kingdom since the start of year.

Saudi national, Daifallah al-Omrani, was executed in the northern region of Tabuk after his conviction for smuggling amphetamines, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Yemeni nationals Ahmed Mubarak and Abdul Salam al-Jamali were beheaded in the southwestern city of Jizan, on charges of attempting to smuggle hashish into the kingdom.

According to an AFP count, Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions, including 71 foreign nationals, in 2015. 

This number of executions in terms of annual basis in Saudi Arabia has been unseen since 1995.

The kingdom practises 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, Feb. 17, 2016

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