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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…

Should Indonesia Abolish the Death Penalty Law for Drug Criminals?

Meth bust by Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency (BNN)
Meth bust by Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency (BNN)
Indonesia, following President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's anti-drug campaign, executed a total of 14 drug dealers in January and April of last year.

The rise in the number of drug users in Indonesia had led civil society organizations to urge the government to abolish death penalty against drug dealers.

Their suggestions were based on the data provided by the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), which showed that there is an increasing number of drug users in Indonesia, from 4.2 million people in June 2015 to 5.9 million people in November 2015.

The fact could suggest that the death penalty law for drug-related crime is not quite effective to curb drug use and drug smugglings in Indonesia. This is according to leaders of civil society organizations who attended a discussion forum about drug trafficking issues at the office of Komnas HAM in Jakarta as reported by Kompas.com.

Besides Komnas HAM executives, also attending the meeting were representatives of other civil society organizations like Universitas Indonesia's Indonesian Judicial Watch Society (MAPPI) and the Setara Institute. Among the attendants were senior officials of BNN, the National Police (Polri) and the Army Strategic Command (Kostrad).

Indonesia, following President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's anti-drug campaign, executed a total of 14 drug dealers in January and April of last year. They included 2 Indonesian nationals. The President repetitively said he would not show mercy for drug smugglers.

The executions took place despite mounting pressures from within Indonesia and various parties in the international community that President Jokowi give clemency to drug convicts in death row.

In last Friday's discussion forum, Nur Kholis, an executive of the National Commission of Human Rights (Komnas HAM), said, "Punishment (against drug dealers) could take the form of life sentence or others."

Meanwhile, Setara Institute chairman Hendrardi said on a separate occasion that it was so ridiculous to see the government's failure to rid prisons and detention centers of drug trafficking practices.

In the meeting at Komnas HAM, BNN head Comr. Gen. Budi Waseso admitted the illegal widespread use of narcotics in Indonesia. Even government workers and law enforcement personnel had been implicated in drug use and trafficking. The 2-star police general suggested that the punishment meted out to these people should be harsher than those given to others.

The discussion at Komnas HAM followed early last week's arrest of a House member, 19 personnel of the Army Strategic Command (Kostrad), 5 police officers and 8 civilians. All these people had been suspected of using drug and their names were found on a list of alleged drug buyers at the Kostrad command in Tanah Kusir, The Jakarta Post reported.

In response to the arrest, Kostrad Headquarters in Central Jakarta last Friday conducted urine tests for its personnel.

Source: globalindonesianvoices.com, Feb. 27, 2016

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