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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…

Chad raises legal marriage age to 18, abolishes death penalty, punishes homosexuality by a fine

The parliament of Chad has adopted a reform of its penal code which raises the legal marriage age from 16 to 18 and abrogates the death penalty.

111 MPs voted for the the new penal code while 1 MP voted against it and 4 abstained.

The new code that repeals the 1967 Code abrogates the death penalty except in cases of terrorism as the country faces attacks by Boko Haram around its borders.

"28 % of women between the ages of 15 and 49 were married before the age of 15, and 69 % of women between the ages of 20 and 49 were married before the age of 18," said the Chadian Minister of Women, Ngarmbatina Carmel Sou IV in August.

"This penal code is modern, it takes account of our customs and also our international commitments," Minister of Justice Hamid Dahalob said.

In 2015, Chadian President Idriss Deby promulgated a law that punishes any person party to the marriage of a minor by 5 to 10 years prison sentence and a fine of 500,000 to 5 million FCFA (750 to 7,500 euros). 

He pledged to ban the marriage of minors by 2020, with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

The new penal code, however, punishes homosexuality which is no longer considered a crime but punishable by a fine or suspended prison sentence.

Source: africanews.com, December 13, 2016

Chad joins list of now 77 countries with anti-LGBT laws


The parliament in the north-central African country of Chad has adopted a new penal code that makes homosexual activity a crime.

By this blog’s count, that action, assuming that it is not blocked by the country’s president, increases to 77 the number of countries with anti-homosexuality laws.

Alternatively, the total number of countries with anti-gay laws has reached 73, according to an updated version of the separate tally kept by ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Chad’s new law provides for violators to be fined and given a suspended prison sentence.

Hamid Mahamat Dahalob, Chad’s justice minister, described the new law as providing a lighter penalty for homosexuality, which apparently means that it is less repressive than the language of a previous, unapproved revision of the penal code in 2014 that called for prison sentences of 15 to 20 years for same-sex intimacy.

In 2014, Chad was added — by mistake — to the list of countries with anti-gay laws because that year’s proposed revision of the penal code would have provided for 15 to 20 years in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 500,000 CFA francs (US $86 to $860) “for anyone who has sex with persons of the same sex.” Chad was removed from the list after ILGA realized that the proposed change had been approved in 2014 by Chad’s cabinet, but not by the president.

The variance between this blog’s list and ILGA’s list is explained in the article “77 countries where homosexuality is illegal.”

The online news site TchadInfos.com reported that many members of parliament wanted to make homosexuality a felony, but in the end it was categorized as a misdemeanor. As a misdemeanor, it can be handled by a police court or at a correctional hearing, rather than a full trial.

Delwa Kassiré Coumakoye, a former prime minister of Chad and current member of parliament, described that aspect of Chad’s new penal code as a balancing act:

Homosexuality is condemned by all religions. We do not have to forgive something that God himself rejects, because Westerners have said this, that …
“I have the impression that, particularly in Chad, we live by the ideas of others. We do not have our own ideas! But for the government, the current provision of the Penal Code is a fair balance between conservative public opinion and an uncompromising international community on the protection of minorities.“

More than half of the Chad population is Muslim, approximately one-third is Christian, and the remainder practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs or no religion at all.

Source: 76 Crimes, Colin Stewart, December 14, 2016

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