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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 executes 2 murder convicts, raises number of death sentences to 107

Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Public execution in Saudi Arabia (file photo)
Saudi Arabia on Monday executed 2 convicted murderers, the interior ministry said, raising to 107 the number of death sentences carried out in the kingdom this year.

Fahd al-Ishan was convicted of stabbing to death another Saudi citizen, the ministry said in a statement on the official SPA news agency. He was executed in the northern Jawf region.

Authorities executed another Saudi citizen, Mohammed al-Shahrani, in the southwestern region of Assir after he was convicted of shooting dead another Saudi national, the ministry said in another statement.

The kingdom on Sunday carried out the death penalty against 4 citizens convicted of murder. Most people executed are beheaded with a sword.

Saudi Arabia's growing use of the death penalty has prompted Amnesty International to call for an "immediate" moratorium on the practice.

The kingdom imposes the death penalty for offences including murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape, homosexuality and apostasy.

The London-based watchdog's Middle East and North Africa head Philip Luther has warned that "at this rate, the Kingdom's executioners will soon match or exceed the number of people they put to death last year."

Amnesty says the kingdom carried out at least 158 death sentences in 2015, making it the third most prolific executioner after Iran and Pakistan. Amnesty's figures do not include secretive China.

Murder and drug trafficking cases account for the majority of Saudi executions, although 47 people were put to death for "terrorism" offences on a single day in January.

Source: The Express Tribune, July 25, 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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