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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…

Pakistan executes 4 militants convicted by military courts

Police officers, Pakistan
ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan on Wednesday hanged four more Taliban terrorists convicted of "heinous" terrorism-related offences by controversial military courts, taking the number to over 160 since the Peshawar terror attack in 2014.

The terrorists, who were involved in the killing of innocent civilians and attacking armed forces, were executed early today, the army said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Today another 4 hardcore terrorists, who were tried by Military Courts have been executed," the statement said.

"These terrorists were involved in committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including killing of innocent civilians, attacking a mosque, destruction of communication infrastructure, attacking Law Enforcement Agencies and Armed Forces."

Those executed were identified as Qaiser Khan, Muhammad Umar, Qari Zubair Muhammad and Aziz Khan.

Army said that all of them were active members of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan.

The jail where they were hanged was not identified.

It was not stated where the trial was held and when they were awarded death sentence, because military courts operate in secrecy due to fear of attacks by militants.

Military courts were restored in March for another two years after their initial two-year term expired in January.

The courts were set up after a constitutional amendment following a terror attack on an Army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 which killed more than 150 people, most of them students.

Human rights group Justice Project Pakistan says 441 people have been executed since the Peshawar attack.

Pakistan has been fighting various extremist groups for over a decade.

Militant attacks have killed tens of thousands of people.

The military courts have handed down the death penalty to more than 160 militants.

Source: Times of Oman, May 10, 2017

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