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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Duterte claims Jokowi complained to him about US and EU interfering in national policy, including capital punishment

Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia employ very different political styles. While Duterte is known abroad for his brazenly outspoken, at times vulgar rhetoric, Jokowi is known for being soft-spoken and averse to controversial statements. But one of their similarities is that they have both expressed support for the use of the death penalty, particularly for drug dealers.

And, according to the popular-at-home, controversial-abroad president of the Philippines, both of them share complaints about western countries interfering with their domestic policy, particularly on the use of capital punishment.

“And for example, President Widodo, what is his main complaint when we talked to each other? It’s really America and… the rest of the EU,” Duterte said yesterday as quoted by The Philippine Star.

“They would call you from time to time and insist that we do away with the death penalty in the statutes,” he added.

Duterte did not mention when Jokowi supposedly made these comments to him, but they had a phone conversation in late June and also met when the Philippine leader visited Jakarta in April.

The context of Duterte’s claims about Jokowi were his own complaints about US State Department officials criticizing his regime’s violent war on drugs and his proposed reinstatement of the death penalty (capital punishment is not currently legal in the Philippines, though many critics have argued that the large number of deaths caused by the country’s drug war are tantamount to extra-judicial killings tacitly sanctioned by Duterte).

While President Joko Widodo staunchly defended Indonesia’s use of the death penalty to combat the country’s so-called “drug emergency” in the face of widespread international condemnation in the past, in recent months his stance seems to have softened as he has suggested he would be open to revising the policy and possibly reimplementing a moratorium on its use.

Source: Coconut Jakarta, July 13, 2017

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