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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…

UK Royals must raise torture and death penalty on Bahrain trip

Charles and Camilla to Make Official Trip to Middle East
Charles and Camilla to Make Official Trip to Bahrain
The Government must ensure that the UK Royal Family raise the issue of torture and the death penalty when they visit Bahrain in the coming week, human rights organization Reprieve has said.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall are due to visit Bahrain this coming week (7-11th). The Government has said the trip will “strengthen the UK’s warm bilateral relations” with the country, among others in the region. 

The visit comes amid growing concerns for an innocent man who faces execution in Bahrain, after he was tortured into a forced ‘confession.’ Mohammed Ramadan, a policeman and a father of three, was arrested in 2014 after he attended a protest. He was forced to give statements that he later recanted. 

His 'confession' was subsequently used as the basis for his conviction and death sentence. 

The UK Government provides an estimated £2.1m in ‘reform’ assistance to Bahrain’s security sector, including for policing and prisons. 

Reprieve has asked the Government to press the Bahraini authorities to release Mr Ramadan, and to ensure that his case is on the agenda for the Royal trip. 

Torture is illegal under Bahraini and international law. 

Commenting, Maya Foa, a director at Reprieve, said:

“The Royal Family are visiting Bahrain as the life of an innocent man, Mohammed Ramadan, hangs in the balance. This is a crucial opportunity for Britain to push for his release – and to bring an end to the appalling use of torture in Bahrain. If the UK wants its ‘reform’ spending in Bahrain to be worth it, then it must use all the levers it can – including the royal visit – to help Mohammed and others like him.” 

More information on Mohammed Ramadan's is available at Reprieve's website, here.

Source: Reprieve, November 5, 2016

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