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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…

Malaysia: Death row inmate spared the noose thanks to royal pardon

Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah
Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (center)
A man who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in 2009 has received a 2nd chance at life after Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah granted him a pardon.

Shahrul Izani Suparman, 33, and his family were told of the news a week ago at the Sungai Buloh prison.

His mother, Sapenah Nawawi, 59, who had been working together with Amnesty International Malaysia to save his life, said she was very happy that her son got a second chance.

"I am very grateful to God. I would like to thank His Royal Highness for granting him a pardon and thank you to everyone who has been fighting to save his life," she told a press conference on Monday.

In September 2003, Shahrul Izani, then 19, was arrested during a routine roadblock after being found in possession of 622gm of cannabis.

In December 2009, he was convicted by the Shah Alam High Court for drug trafficking, an offence that carries the mandatory death penalty.

Amnesty International Malaysia took up Shahrul's case, making calls to the Selangor Pardons Board to commute the death sentence.

More than 10,000 signatures from all over the world were collected in an appeals campaign that began in 2015.

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said that while this battle was won as a life had been saved, the use of the death penalty continues.

"The secrecy surrounding executions in Malaysia (further) tarnishes our eroding human rights record at the global level.

"Now that the Sultan of Selangor has granted Shahrul's clemency application, we hope that the Federal Government will exercise its political will and abolish the mandatory death penalty as a 1st step towards total abolition," she said.

Source: thestar.com.my, February 27, 2017

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