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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…

First ever death penalty for blasphemy on social media in Pakistan

BAHWALPUR – An Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Saturday sentenced a man to death for sharing offensive content about Islam on social media, in a first ever penalty over online blasphemy.

Bahawalpur’s ATC Judge Shabir Ahmed announced the sentence for the 30-year-old accused, who belongs to the Shia community, the Dawn reported.

The accused, who hails from Lahore, had allegedly posted derogatory content about prominent Sunni religious figures and wives of the Holy Prophet Muhammad on Facebook.

He was arrested last year from Bahawalpur by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD).

Pakistan is cracking down against blasphemy related crimes on social media with the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar threatening to block all social media websites with ‘blasphemous content’ earlier this year.

This is the harshest sentences among other cyber-crime related punishments handed down so far in the country.

Blasphemy has been a contentious issue in the country where people have been murdered over allegations of blasphemy. 

Earlier this year, a mob in Abdul Wali Khan University Mardan beat up a student, Mashal Khan, to death after accusing him of blasphemy over social media.

Under Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws, anyone accused of insulting God, Islam or other religious personalities can be sentenced to death.

Source: Daily Pakistan, Dawood Rehman, June 10, 2017

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