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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…

Pakistan: Council of Islamic Ideology's opinion sought on petition against death by hanging

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A Peshawar High Court bench on Tuesday directed the Council of Islamic Ideology and attorney general for Pakistan to respond to a petition seeking its orders for the government to introduce a less painful mode of execution than hanging.

Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor extended a stay order against the execution of a death row prisoner, Jan Bahadur, until the disposal of his petition.

The bench asked the CII to explain its viewpoint on the petitioner's prayer in light of Islamic injunctions.

It also directed that the attorney general should explain the legal position on the points raised by the petitioner.

Kept at the Haripur Central Prison, the petitioner has requested the high court to declare death by hanging un-Islamic and unconstitutional saying it is painful and against human values.

He said Section 368 of the Code of Criminal Procedure stated, "When any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead."

The petitioner requested the court to order end to the execution of death row prisoners by hanging saying it is cruel, painful, un-Islamic and inhuman.

He added that the court should order the authorities to adopt the modes of execution, which were not painful. The respondents in the petition are the home secretary, superintendent of the Haripur Central Prison, law secretary, CII secretary and Mardan's district and sessions judge.

Additional advocate general Qaisar Ali Shah, who appeared for the provincial government, requested the court to give him some time for preparing the case.

Former deputy attorney general Mohammad Khursheed Khan, who appeared for the petitioner, said his client was arrested in connection with a murder case registered at the Takht Bhai police station in Mardan on Oct 22, 1993.

He added that the petitioner was sentenced to death by an additional district and sessions judge on Apr 7, 2000, in Takht Bhai and that the judgment was upheld first by the high court and then by the Supreme Court.

The lawyer said his client's review and clemency petitions were rejected and therefore, his black warrant could be issued any time by the trial court.

Khursheed Khan requested the court to extend a stay order earlier issued by it against the execution of the petitioner.

He said there were nine modes of death penalties, including through firing squad, gas chamber and electric chair, hanging, shooting in the head, lethal injection, beheading, stoning and pushing from unspecified height.

The lawyer said in the past, the mode of execution in all US states was hanging but the use of electric chair was devised as a less painful mode.

He added that in 1921, the State of Nevada introduced gas chamber for carrying out death penalty.

The lawyer said in more than 30 US states, the convicts were executed by lethal injection, which was considered more humane and less painful than other modes of execution.

"3 injections are administered to a death row prisoner. The 1st injection leaves a prisoner unconscious, the 2nd paralyses his body and the third stops his heart from functioning," he said.

The lawyer claimed that 28 countries executed prisoners through firing squad and 22 by shooting gunshots in head.

He said the colonial rulers had introduced death by hanging through the CrPC in 1898 and that the same mode was adopted after the creation of Pakistan.

Source: dawn.com, July 26, 2017

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