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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…

Iran billionaire Babak Zanjani sentenced to death for 'spreading corruption on Earth'

Babak Zanjani
Babak Zanjani
Iranian billionaire businessman Babak Zanjani has been sentenced to death for corruption, justice officials say.

He was arrested in December 2013 after accusations that he withheld billions in oil revenue channelled through his companies. He denies the allegations.

Zanjani was convicted of fraud and economic crimes, a judiciary spokesperson said at a press briefing.

Two others were also sentenced to death and all were ordered to repay embezzled funds.

The ruling can be appealed.

One of Iran's richest men, Zanjani had been blacklisted by the US and EU for helping Iran evade oil sanctions in place at the time.

He had acknowledged using a web of companies in the UAE, Turkey, and Malaysia to sell millions of barrels of Iranian oil on behalf of the government since 2010.

Before his arrest, Zanjani had claimed international sanctions were preventing him from handing over $1.2bn still owed to the government.

But at his recent trial, prosecutors claimed he still owed the government more than $2.7bn in oil revenue.

He was taken into custody a day after President Hassan Rouhani ordered his government to fight "financial corruption", particularly "privileged figures" who had "taken advantage of economic sanctions".

In a 2013 interview with the BBC, Zanjani played down his political connections in Iran, saying: "I don't do anything political, I just do business."

Zanjani has said he is worth about some $13.5bn
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International sanctions on Iran were lifted in January after a watchdog confirmed it had complied with a deal designed to prevent it developing nuclear weapons.

Source: BBC News, march 6, 2016


Iran: Babak Zanjani sentenced to death

Dubai - A court in Iran sentenced to death Iranian businessman Babak Zanjani and two accomplices for embezzlement, the judiciary said on Sunday, in a case widely watched due to Zanjani's prominent role in helping the government evade oil sanctions.

The Islamic court convicted the defendants of 'spreading corruption on Earth', a capital offence, and ordered them to repay funds embezzled from, among others, state-run National Iranian Oil Company, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said on live television.

The defendants can appeal against the ruling.

Source: Gulf News, March 6, 2016

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