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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…

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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