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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…

Saudi court sentences two to death for killing army colonel

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Dubai: A Saudi court sentenced two men it said were Al Qaida followers to death on charges of decapitating a Saudi intelligence service colonel in 2007, local media reported on Tuesday.

The men attacked Colonel Nasser Al Othman at his farm near the city of Buraidah in northern Saudi Arabia, tied him up and severed his head because they viewed him as an apostate, online news website sabq.org said, citing the court ruling.

Between 2003 and 2006, Al Qaida carried out a campaign of attacks in the kingdom against Western and Saudi targets that killed hundreds of people.

Since stamping out the insurgency, Saudi Arabia has convicted and sentenced hundreds of people to prison or death for militancy. It executed dozens on January 2.

In Tuesday’s verdict, a third man was sentenced to 30 years in jail for attempting to kill the commander of emergency forces in Saudi Arabia’s northern Qassim region, Dubai-based Al Arabiya television channel said.

The court ruling, published by Al Arabiya on its website, did not identify the three convicted men.

A Justice Ministry spokesman confirmed the court verdict was an initial ruling which was subject to levels of appeal before it can be implemented.

Death sentences must be signed by the king before they are carried out.

Saudi Arabia says its justice system is fair and independent.

Since 2014 Daesh, like Al Qaida, has carried out attacks in the kingdom that have killed dozens and led to hundreds of arrests.

Source: Reuters, July 26, 2016

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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

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