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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…

Rights Group Says Belarus Executed Convicted Killer Last October

 Kiryl Kazachok
A Minsk-based human rights group says that more than 4 months ago Belarusian authorities executed a man who had been convicted of killing his own children.

The Vyasna (Spring) human rights center quoted the mother of the convicted man, Kiryl Kazachok, as saying that she was only informed in recent days that he was executed in October.

Amnesty International in January had mentioned Kazachok's case in a statement urging Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to abolish capital punishment.

Kazachok was sentenced to death in December 2016 after a court in the southeastern city of Homel found him guilty of killing his 17-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter in order to punish his wife for wanting a divorce.

The court found that Kazachok was drunk when he carried out the killings.

Kazachok refused to appeal the sentence.

Belarus is the only country in Europe that carries out the death penalty.

The European Union and rights groups have for years been urging Belarus to declare a moratorium on the death penalty.

Activists say there are currently 5 convicted murderers on death row in Belarus.

In January, 2 men who initially were handed life sentences on murder charges were sentenced to death after a retrial in Minsk.

The EU sharply criticized Belarus at the time and repeated its call for Lukashenka's government to the abolish the death penalty.

According to rights organizations, more than 400 people have been sentenced to death in Belarus since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Source:  Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, March 7, 2018


Belarus: rapporteurs strongly condemn the execution of Kiryl Kazachok in October 2017


Yves Cruchten (Luxembourg, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, and Andrea Rigoni (Italy, ALDE), former PACE rapporteur on the situation in Belarus, have strongly condemned the execution of Kiryl Kazachok, which allegedly took place in October 2017. 

Mr Kazachok was sentenced to death in December 2016 for killing his two children during a family dispute, whilst intoxicated.

“Once again we stand firm against any death sentence imposed by the Belarusian judiciary and any executions carried out in that country. The execution of Kiryl Kazachok is all the more shocking since it took place secretly in October 2017, while the relatives of the convicted were only informed recently,” said the rapporteurs.

“The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which is no longer acceptable in Europe. We reiterate our call to the Belarusian authorities to urgently put in place a moratorium on executions and to abolish the death penalty both de facto and de jure,” the rapporteurs concluded.

Source: Council of Europe, March 8, 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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