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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 71st prisoner this year

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Campaigners warn country kills people at a 'frightening' rate

SAUDI Arabia this morning executed its 71st criminal in 2016, as campaigners warned the country is killing people at a “frightening” rate.

Abdullah Rouwaili had been found guilty of trafficking amphetamines and was put to death in the northern Tabuk region, the interior ministry said.

Most people executed in Saudi Arabia are beheaded with a sword.

The 71 executions so far this year include 47 death sentences for “terrorism” carried out in a single day on January 2. 

In 2015, Saudi Arabia executed 153 people, most of them for drug trafficking or murder.

Rights group Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year was the highest for two decades.

However, the tally was far behind those of China and Iran.

The kingdom has 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, March 8, 2016

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