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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…

Sweden grants citizenship to academic facing Iran death sentence

Ahmadreza Djalali
Imprisoned Iranian researcher Ahmadreza Djalali has been granted Swedish citizenship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Sveriges Radio on Saturday.

Djalali, a resident in Sweden, was arrested during a trip to Iran in April 2016. He was found guilty in October 2017 of passing information about Iranian nuclear scientists to Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. 

Prior to his arrest and detention, Djalali was a researcher at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute. 

His sentence was met with protests by both Sweden and the UN. An initial appeal was rejected in December, and his lawyer said earlier this month that a further request to have the sentence overturned has been denied.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry said it has been difficult to get information about the academic’s case. A ministry spokesman said the decision to grant him citizenship may result in Sweden gaining better access and stronger negotiating power with the Iranians. 

“We will continue to stay the course and our demands will not change. We demand that his death penalty not be enforced,” Patric Nilsson of the Foreign Ministry told Sveriges Radio.

Said Mahmoudi, a professor of international law at Stockholm University, said the move would give Sweden a better position to stand on in its talks with the Islamic republic.  

“There is no doubt that Sweden is now in a stronger position with our contacts in Iran because of this decision. We can now rightfully claim that he is a citizen and that according to the 1963 Convention on Consular Relations we are entitled to assist Djalali in all aspects,” Mahmoudi told Sveriges Radio. 

Mahmoudi cautioned however that Iran does not recognize dual citizenship. 

The Swedish branch of Amnesty International, which has been advocating Djalali’s case for months, applauded the citizenship decision and called on Swedish authorities to do all they can to help the academic. 

“Amnesty hopes and assumes that the Swedish government is now doing its utmost to get Djalali freed,” spokeswoman Ami Hedenborg told Sveriges Radio. 

Source: The Local, February 17, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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