FEATURED POST

America Is Stuck With the Death Penalty for (At Least) a Generation

Image
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…

Africa: Numbers of Africans Sentenced to Die Soars

More than 1 000 Nigerians languish on death row.

Governments in sub-Saharan Africa sentenced at least 1 083 people to death in 2016 - more than double the 443 people condemned to die in 2015, according to a recent report by international human rights organisation Amnesty International.

The research shows that rising numbers of people sentenced to die in the region are largely driven by an upswing of such judgments in Nigeria, which handed down death sentences to almost 500 people in 2016.

Although the number of death sentences more than doubled, the region saw fewer actual executions - 22 people. The executions took place in five countries, the bulk of which were in Somalia. The other countries included Sudan and Botswana.

"Countries in sub-Saharan Africa that continue to hold on to the death penalty are showing utter disregard to the right to life of people and are on the wrong side of history as the world is moving away from the punishment," says Amnesty International's death penalty adviser Oluwatosin Popoola.

Amnesty's latest global survey on the use of the death penalty was released in April and shows that, globally, fewer countries are prescribing death sentences. It also argues that fewer people were executed in 2016 than in the previous year but cautions that reported rates of death sentences and executions are likely to be under-reported because many governments do not publish statistics on their use of the death penalty.

In Southern Africa, Botswana was the only country to execute anyone in 2016. It was that country's first state-mandated killing since 2013.

"Botswana's step backwards must not be replicated elsewhere in the region," Amnesty International's Southern Africa director Deprose Muchena warns in the report.

About 300 people across the Southern African region were sentenced to death by the end of 2016, the overwhelming majority of whom were in Zambia - 157 - followed by Zimbabwe - 97.

"African countries that still retain the death penalty can reduce this by abolishing mandatory death sentences, reducing the number of offences that provide for the death penalty and restricting the imposition of death sentences to the 'most serious crimes' as provided for by international human rights law," Popoola explains.

The report does not investigate the effects of capital punishment on the families of death-row prisoners, but says it can prolong the suffering of the victims' families and those condemned to die, says Popoola.

He says countries should ideally restrict the use of the death penalty with the aim of abolishing it in the future.

Popoola argues: "The death penalty diverts resources and energy that could be better used to work against violent crime and assist those affected by it.

"It is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it."

Source: allafrica.com, May 11, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Texas: With a man's execution days away, his victims react with fury or forgiveness

Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles rejects clemency for Chris Young

Ohio executes Robert Van Hook

Texas executes Christopher Young

The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

Indonesia: Gay couple publicly whipped after vigilante mob drags them out of beauty salon

Saudi Arabia executes seven people in one day

Execution date pushed back for Texas 7 escapee after paperwork error on death warrant

Fentanyl And The Death Penalty

20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France