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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Iran: Inmate executed after suffering heart attack

Public hanging in Iran
Public hanging in Iran
In a heinous crime on April 5, 2017, a seriously ill prisoner was hanged in Esfahan prison. 

Houshang Servati was executed while 2 days earlier, after his transfer to solitary confinement, he had suffered a heart attack. He had 5 children.

The regime's henchmen keep persecuting and torturing prisoners to the last moments and their transfer to solitary confinement for the implementation of death sentence is accompanied by beating and insults.

On April 4, another ill prisoner was executed after 4 years detention in Tabriz prison. 

Before his arrest, he was exempt from military service because of mental illness.

In another development, on the morning of April 6, Gohardasht prison guards raided halls 30 and 35 of Ward 10 of the prison, insulted and humiliated prisoners and destructed their belongings, and took away their medications.


Inmate Hanged on Rape Charges


A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Kerman Central Prison onrape charges. 

A report by the press department of the Judiciary in the province of Kerman has identified the prisoner as "V.F.", 32 years of age. 

The date of the execution was not mentioned in the report.

Sources: NCRI, iranhr.net, April 11, 2017


Iran responsible for 2/3 of Middle East's executions in 2016: Amnesty International


Amnesty International today said that Iran was the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region's leading executioner in 2016, putting at least 567 people to death. 

That number included at least 2 and as many as 7 children.

Iran was followed in the rankings by Saudi Arabia - which executed at least 154 people - and Iraq, where at least 88 were executed.

Worldwide, the organization said that China executed more people than all the other countries in the world put together, with "thousands" of death sentences handed out each year.

China lists only 85 executions carried out between 2014 and 2016 in its state database, but Amnesty International found news reports of 931 individuals executed in that time. The organization said that figure still represents but a fraction of the total put to death.

Excluding China, however, countries from MENA carry out 83% of global executions.

"4 out of the world's top 6 executioners - Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq and Egypt - are from the MENA region and execution rates in these countries remain appallingly high." said James Lynch, Head of the Death Penalty team at Amnesty International.

While the number of executions in the region was down 28% from 2015, the organization said that year had seen an unusually high number of executions.

The number of people executed in Egypt doubled in 2016, from 22 to 44. The country is now ranked 6th worldwide for executions.

"Many MENA states justify their use of the death penalty by claiming that they are acting to counter grave security threats, despite there being no evidence that the death penalty deters violent crime," Lynch added.

The organization also said that death sentences in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iran were often imposed after "grossly unfair" trials, many of which relied on "confessions" obtained through torture.

Source: albawaba.com, April 11, 2017

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