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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…

Indonesian Worker Sentenced to Death in Malaysia for Drug Smuggling

Malaysian immigration officers find drugs hidden in a passenger's luggage.
Malaysian immigration officers find drugs hidden in a passenger's luggage.
Jakarta. 28-year-old Indonesian worker Rita Krisdianti was sentenced to death by a Malaysian court on Monday (30/05) for smuggling 4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

Rita, of Ponorogo in East Java, was charged with drug trafficking after immigration officers at Penang Airport apprehended her with the drugs on July 10, 2013, after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong.

The drugs were found in a package hidden in Rita's luggage by immigration officers. Rita at that time claimed she had intended to travel to Thailand by bus from Penang on a business trip for her small clothing company.

During her trials, Rita never admitted to the court that the drugs belonged to her.

The court failed to secure testimonies from two key witnesses, a Thai and an Indian national, before issuing the death penalty.

Nusron Wahid, chairman of the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers Office, or BNP2TKI, said the government will file an appeal to the Penang District Court, expecting that “at least there will be no death penalty for Rita.”

The Golkar Party politician is optimistic Malaysia will not execute an Indonesian citizen to maintain a good relationship with its giant neighbor.

Anis Hidayah, the executive director of advocacy group Migrant Care, said Rita was just another victim of drug syndicates which routinely exploit desperate migrant workers to be their drug mules.

According to Anis' account, Rita received the luggage from an Indian national in New Delhi who asked her to deliver it to another person in Thailand.

Before her arrest, Rita had already been returned by her boss to her agent after working for only three months.

“Migrant Care urges the government to investigate and fight drug syndicates who exploit migrant workers for drug-trafficking,” Anis said.

Source: Jakarta Globe, May 31, 2016

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