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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…

Drug dealers sentenced to death in front of crowd in China

A video released by local media shows the two criminals being sentenced to death in China.
A Chinese court yesterday sentenced two drug dealers to death in front of hundreds of people.

The two criminals received the verdict on a sports ground in Haikou, southern China's Hainan Province, before being put to execution immediately, the Daily Mail reported.

Many of the spectators were young students who were organised to watch the public sentencing rally wearing school uniforms, according to a video released by local news outlet hinews.cn.

The public sentencing event was organised by the local Qiongshan Court and the Haikou Intermediate People's Court, and was watched by around 300 residents.

It was part of the government's campaign on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, which falls on June 26 every year.

The first criminal, 39-year-old Cai Liqun, was found guilty of selling methamphetamine and magu. 

The latter is a mixture of methamphetamine and caffeine, and is a relatively new type of drug in China.

Cai bought the drugs by post before selling them on multiple occasions between September and November in 2015, said the court.

The other criminal, 36-year-old Huang Zhengye, was found guilty of transporting and selling methamphetamine.

He was caught in possession of 4,749.8 grams (10.47 pounds) of methamphetamine and 71,100 yuan (£8,143) in relation to drug dealing in September 2015, according to the court.

The death sentences and the orders of the execution had been made by the Supreme People's Court, according to Haikou Intermediate People's Court.

'Now I announce, take Cai Liqun and Huang Zhenye to the execution ground and carry out the execution by shooting,' announced a female judge on the sports ground.

The two courts also gave first trials to 17 other drug dealers involving in eight different cases during the same event.

Among them, eight of them were given death sentences or death sentences with reprieve, according to chinacourt.org, citing China News.

It's not uncommon for a Chinese court to give death sentences to criminals in front of a large crowd - sometimes as many as thousands of people.

The authority aims to use the form to warn the public against committing crimes, especially drug trafficking.

Verdicts and sentences for the criminals are normally made beforehand, and the judge would simply announce them to the masses.

Spectators at yesterday's event appeared to support public death sentencing.

Pan Hui, a teacher from the local Yunlong Middle School, told China News that such events could help 'educate' and 'frighten' the students, and they could also make the students fearful of committing crimes.

'Our school has been carrying out anti-drug educational campaigns constantly to keep the students away from drugs,' said teacher Pan.

However, concerns have been expressed in the past towards China's public death sentencing.

Last December, the Chinese media called a similar rally in southern Chinese city Lufeng 'inhumane' and 'insulting'.

A columnist, named Shen Bin, called for an immediate end on such rallies.

Shen said though the local authority's purpose was to scare the local suspects and boost sense of social security, they shouldn't break humanity's bottom line which was protected by the law.

Shen argued that China's Public Security Bureau issued a regulation in 1988, which prohibited courts from publicly shaming criminals.

Commenting on a different rally in Shanwei city in last June, William Nee at the Amnesty International said the event was 'tragic' and 'barbaric'.

Source: nzherald.co.nz, June 28, 2018


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