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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…

ISIS executes 5 media activists in Syria

ISIS members (file photo)
ISIS members (file photo)
The Islamic State murdered 5 Syrian media activists as it continues its assault on the press, maintaining tight control of the message that comes out of regions under the terrorist group's control.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has viewed a video released by ISIS in Deir Ezzor, in eastern Syria. The video shows the execution of five media activists via 5 different, sadistic methods.

The militants also issued a warning that any journalists or media activists opposed to the group and working to reveal their crimes are not safe, even outside of Syria. They cite the killing of Mohammed Zaher al-Shirqat.

Shirqat worked for Halab Today TV, an independent satellite channel from Aleppo. He was shot in the neck at close range on the street in the Turkish city of Gaziantep in early April. He had previously received death threats from ISIS, who claimed responsibility for his murder.

The United States condemned the killing. "Freedom of the press, including ensuring that journalists can safely report on the crisis in Syria, remains critical as reporters keep working to expose the truth about this brutal conflict and Daesh's atrocities," reads a statement issued by John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson for the US state department. "[W]e stand ready to support Turkey as it works to bring to justice those responsible for attacks on the media."

The 5 media activists killed in Deir Ezzor were executed on charges of "acting against the Islamic State, communicating with outside parties and receiving funds, and other charges," reported the Observatory on Sunday.

The Islamic State has murdered at least 3 other journalists in Turkey. The media advocacy group Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) has urged Turkey to "take whatever measures are necessary to guarantee the security of Syrian exile journalists."

Source: rudaw.net, June 26, 2016

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