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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…

Iran: Two hanged in Qazvin prison

Iran's fundamentalist regime has hanged a man and a woman in a prison in Qazvin, north-west of Tehran.

The woman was not named, but the office of the regime's prosecutor-general in Qazvin Province said that she had been imprisoned since 2014.

The regime's local deputy prosecutor was present to oversee the execution, the state-run Borna news agency reported on Thursday.

The man was identified only as Amir Q., the official state broadcaster IRIB said in its website for Qazvin Province. He was arrested on May 30, 2011.

The latest hangings bring to at least 120 the number of people executed in Iran since April 10. Three of those executed were women and 2 are believed to have been juvenile offenders.

Ms. Farideh Karimi, a member of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and a human rights activist, last month called for an urgent response by the United Nations and foreign governments to the recent spate of executions and the appalling state of human rights in Iran.

Iran's fundamentalist regime last month amputated the fingers of a man in his 30s in Mashhad, the latest in a line of draconian punishments handed down and carried out in recent weeks.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a statement on April 13 that the increasing trend of executions "aimed at intensifying the climate of terror to rein in expanding protests by various strata of the society, especially at a time of visits by high-ranking European officials, demonstrates that the claim of moderation is nothing but an illusion for this medieval regime."

Amnesty International in its April 6 annual Death Penalty report covering the 2015 period wrote: "Iran put at least 977 people to death in 2015, compared to at least 743 the year before."

"Iran alone accounted for 82% of all executions recorded" in the Middle East and North Africa, the human rights group said.

There have been more than 2,400 executions during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as President. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran in March announced that the number of executions in Iran in 2015 was greater than any year in the last 25 years. Rouhani has explicitly endorsed the executions as examples of "God's commandments" and "laws of the parliament that belong to the people.

Source: NCR-Iran, June 3, 2016

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