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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…

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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