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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

UN: Halt execution of Malaysian national S Prabagaran in Singapore

S Prabagaran
S Prabagaran
The UN Human Rights Office for South East Asia calls on Singapore to halt the scheduled execution of Malaysian national S Prabagaran, and urges the government to immediately reinstate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Prabagaran was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint.

Under international law, the death penalty may only be used for "the most serious crimes", which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. 

Drug-related offences do not fall under the threshold of "most serious crimes". Furthermore, under domestic law, the death penalty is not mandatory for drug-related offences.

"The death penalty is not an effective deterrent relative to other forms of punishment nor does it protect people from drug abuse. The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has stated.

Several states called on Singapore to abolish the death penalty during its human rights review in Geneva in January 2016.

Prabagaran has maintained his innocence, saying that he didn't own the car he drove, and wasn't aware of the drugs being in it.

His lawyer N Surendran said Prabagaran faces execution within a few weeks.

Source: aliran.com, February 24, 2017

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