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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…

UN: Maldives should stick to death penalty moratorium

Hussein Humam Ahmed, 22, convicted of killing MP Dr Afrasheem Ali in 2012
Hussein Humam Ahmed, 22, convicted of killing MP Dr Afrasheem Ali in 2012
UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein says the country's movement toward resuming executions is "deeply regrettable."

The United Nations' human rights chief is urging the Maldives to stick to a decades-long moratorium on imposing the death penalty, citing fears that three men are at "imminent risk" of execution.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said in a statement issued in Geneva on Tuesday that the Maldives long provided "important leadership" in efforts to end the use of the death penalty and it is "deeply regrettable that a series of steps have been taken to resume executions in the country."

In June, the Supreme Court confirmed the death penalty for a 22-year-old man convicted of killing a politician in 2012.

Shortly before that, the government had amended rules to allow execution by lethal injection or hanging, indicating that the country's unofficial six-decade moratorium on executions would soon end.

Amnesty International said it is concerned about the country's "judicial overreach" and its effect on human rights issues as well as its intention to execute those on death row.

In a 2015 fact-finding mission to the Indian Ocean island, the UK-based rights group found political tension in the country had been exacerbated by what it called harassment, detention and the imprisonment of government opponents.

"Safeguards against human rights violations are progressively eroding and the government is failing in its duty to stop this," the group said at the time.

Source: Aljazeera, Agencies, August 9, 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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