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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…

David Cameron under pressure to discuss human rights during the Indonesian president's visit

David Cameron and Joko Widodo
David Cameron and Joko Widodo
British business received a near £1 billion boost on the first day of a visit by Indonesia’s president, as Prime Minister David Cameron came under pressure to raise the country’s human rights record.

President Joko Widodo held talks with the Prime Minister in Downing Street as a deal was signed with Rolls-Royce and Airbus to upgrade passenger planes for Indonesia’s national carrier.

The agreement will help secure jobs at Airbus facilities in Filton, near Bristol, and Broughton, North Wales, Downing Street said.

The deal came as Amnesty International urged the Prime Minister to press President Widodo regarding recent executions in the country.

The pressure group also asked Cameron to raise the case of British woman Lindsay Sandiford who is on death row in Indonesia. The 59-year-old former legal secretary from Cheltenham was convicted of drug smuggling offences and sentenced to death in 2013.

Neither leader took questions as they posed for photographs in Downing Street, but Cameron praised Indonesia for fighting extremism while standing up for Islam.

“We have already discussed the vital question of how we fight extremism and terrorism across the globe, and here, I think, Indonesia has an absolutely key role to play.

“I have been so impressed by what I’ve seen of Indonesia’s approach to fighting terrorism, fighting extremism, but also standing up for Islam,” Cameron said.

President Widodo said Britain is his country’s partner in Europe, and the PM stressed that he wanted to conclude an economic partnership agreement between Brussels and Indonesia.

The Indonesian leader, who has been given the honour of addressing members of both Houses of Parliament, insisted his country was keen to ensure democracy, tolerance and Islam could all exist together.

Papang Hidayat, Indonesia researcher at Amnesty International, criticised President Widodo’s record.

“Trade deals must not be made by the UK Government at the expense of condemning the deeply troubling human rights abuses which have taken place under President Widodo’s leadership,” he said.

Source: BT, April 19, 2016

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