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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…

Saudi execution rate doubles under MBS, says rights group

Mohammed bin Salman
Saudi Arabia's execution rate has doubled since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed crown prince in 2017, according to the anti-death penalty rights group Reprieve.

The group said 133 executions have taken place in the 8 months since his appointment last June, compared with 67 in the 8 months before.

There have been 33 executions so far this year, roughly split between people convicted for murder and drug dealing.

Reprieve said Saudi Arabia was on track for a record 200 executions in 2018 if that accelerated rate continues. It said several of those on death row in Saudi Arabia were convicted of crimes while still children.

Maya Foa, the group's director, said: "The doubling of executions under the new crown prince reveals that, beneath his glossy public image, Mohammed bin Salman is one of the most brutal leaders in the kingdom's recent history.

"Protesters, including some who were children at the time, have had the death penalty confirmed despite allegations of torture and forced confessions.

"When she meets the crown prince, Theresa May should urge him to commute the sentences of all child protesters facing execution."

The prime minister was on Wednesday forced during questions in parliament to defend Britain's relationship with Saudi Arabia. Jeremy Corbyn, the opposition leader, asked May: "As she makes her arms sales pitch, will she also call on the crown prince to halt the shocking abuse of human rights in Saudi Arabia?"

May responded: "The link we have with Saudi Arabia is historic, it is an important one, and it has saved the lives of potentially hundreds of people in this country. I will be raising concerns about human rights when I meet him."

Reprieve said 18 young men are currently facing imminent execution for protest-related offences under Saudi Arabia's wide-ranging "anti-terrorism" laws. 8 of those were children at the time of their alleged offences.

It pointed to assurances by the former British prime minister, David Cameron, that the issue of child prisoners on death row would be addressed.

"In October 2015, Cameron pledged, in an interview with Channel 4 News, that he would intervene in the case of 3 Saudi protesters, Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, Ali al-Nimr and Dawood al-Marhoon, who were facing beheading despite being children at the time of arrest," the group said.

"The then foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, later told the House of Commons he had received assurances Ali and others would not be executed. Despite this, the 3 still have not had their death sentences commuted and face imminent execution. Reprieve is aware of 5 other juveniles in the same position."

Source: Middle East Eye, 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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