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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…

Pakistan special court to resume trial in Musharraf’s treason case early next month

Former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf
Besides facing a high-profile treason case, Gen. Musharraf has been declared absconder due to his persistent failure to appear before the special trial court.

A three-judge special court formed by Pakistan’s Supreme Court for conducting high treason trial of former military ruler and dictator Pervez Musharraf is set to resume its hearing early next month, a media report said on Saturday.

Gen. Musharraf (74), who has been residing in Dubai since March 2016 after leaving the county on medical grounds, is facing the trail for subverting the Constitution on November 3, 2007.

Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Yawar Ali, who heads the special court, will stay in Islamabad/Rawalpindi from July 2 to 4 to hear the treason case, ‘The Express Tribune’ reported.

The high treason case was planned to be restarted earlier but one member of the special court was abroad, the report said, quoting sources.

The special court, formed in November 2013 by the Supreme Court on request of the former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, had to be reconstituted as its former head and Peshawar High Court (PHC) Chief Justice Yahya Afridi recused himself from hearing the case on March 29.

On April 7, Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar proposed a fresh composition of the three-judge special court, nominating Ali as its head. Ali is set to retire on October 22 this year.

The former PML-N led government, however, did not notify the new bench during its tenure and the caretaker government had to issue a notification after taking charge.

Recently, the Supreme Court had summoned Gen. Musharraf, who has been living in UAE for two years, regarding his disqualification, but he did not show up, prompting the apex court to bar him from contesting in the July 25 general elections.

Besides facing a high-profile treason case, Gen. Musharraf has been declared absconder due to his persistent failure to appear before the special trial court.

The former president was indicted in March 2014 on treason charges for imposing emergency in the country which led to the confinement of a number of superior court judges in their houses and sacking of over 100 judges.

A conviction for high-profile treason carries the death penalty or life imprisonment.

Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, has sought adequate security from the government for his return from the UAE to appear before the special court.

Source: PTI, June 30, 2018


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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