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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…

Egypt sentences 28 to death for prosecutor’s slaying

Egyptian prison
Hesham Barakat was assassinated in a Cairo car bombing in June 2015

Cairo: An Egyptian court Saturday sentenced 28 people to death by hanging after convicting them of involvement in the murder of the country’s chief prosecutor Hesham Barakat in a bombing more than two years ago.

Fifteen co- defendants were given life sentences and eight others jail terms for 15 years each. The Cairo Criminal Court, which heard the case, also handed 15 other accused 10 years in prison each.

The court dropped the charges against one accused who had died in jail during the trial that started in June last year.

All verdicts can be appealed.

Last month, the court recommended death sentences for 30 defendants in the case. 

The verdicts were later referred to the grand mufti, Egypt’s top religious authority, to approve or reject-- a routine procedure in the mostly Muslim country for death sentences.

Barakat was assassinated on June 29, 2015 when a car bomb went off near his convoy in the Cairo quarter of Heliopolis. He was 64.

He was the highest Egyptian official to be killed in a wave of militant violence that has hit Egypt since the 2013 army’s toppling of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi following massive street protests against his rule.

Egypt blamed Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinian Hamas group of standing behind Barakat’s killing, charges both movements have denied.

Over the past four years, hundreds of the now-outlawed Brotherhood have been detained and jailed in different cases on charges of inciting or involvement in violence in Egypt.

Source: Gulf News, July 22, 2017

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