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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 ranked 10th in use of death penalty, says Amnesty International

Malaysia was placed 10th among the world's top executioners after carrying out 9 death sentences last year, human rights watchdog Amnesty International Malaysia (AI-M) said in its report.

AI-M Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said the number of executions in Malaysia has also considerably increased from the previous years, according to the Death Sentences and Executions Report 2016 launched today.

"The Home Ministry in October last year had informed the Parliament that Malaysia had executed 6 people in 2014, 1 in 2015 and 9 last year.

"The disclosure was the 1st time executions have been disaggregated by year in recent memory and the revelation provided an insight into the magnitude and true extent of Malaysia's use of the death penalty," she told reporters here.

According to the report, 23 countries were known to have carried out executions. China lead the list of top executioners, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan.

However, she praised Malaysia for being "slightly more" transparent with death penalty data, after urging Putrajaya to do so over the years.

"The October announcement proved that Malaysia has been executing more than we were previously aware of. The government should continue to make public information on the death penalty while it is still in use," she said.

In the previous parliamentary session, minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said revealed that the government had agreed to review Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and allow courts to decide on the penalty for drug offences.

Currently, the law only provides for one sentence for those convicted of drug-related offences - death.

While the government has agreed to review drug laws in the country, it should also explore its options in entirely abolishing the death penalty, Shamini said.

"On March 15, the hurried double executions of brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai while clemency application was still pending is symbolic of the lack of transparency that surrounds executions in Malaysia.

"It is a perfect example of why the death penalty must be abolished in totality. The government must go further and immediately establish a moratorium on all executions as first steps towards full abolition of the death penalty."

Source: Yahoo News, April 11, 2017

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