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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…

British jihadists facing death by hanging in Iraq as PM orders rapid executions

Jihadists
British prisoners who travelled to fight for Isis are among those facing the death penalty in Iraq, a judge has said. His comments come after Iraq hanged 13 prisoners convicted on terror charges following a recommendation by the prime minister to speed up executions

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said those convicted of terror offences should be killed in retaliation after the bodies of eight policemen and members of a pro-government Shiite militia were found on the side of a road north of Baghdad this week. They were believed to have been abducted by Islamic State (IS) militants earlier this month. 

The 13 prisoners were executed late on Thursday, hours after Mr al-Abadi recommended to President Fuad Masum that he sign execution orders for all terror suspects awaiting capital punishment. 

Abdul Sattar Beraqdar, spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council, told the Daily Mail that some Isis fighters with British passports had been sentenced. It was ‘possible’ they had been given the death penalty, he said, adding more cases are awaiting trial.

He defended the death penalty, saying: ‘I am sure there are hundreds of people in Britain at this moment thinking of committing similar crimes. That’s why we, as Iraqis, if we are tough in sentencing these people, they will think thoroughly before taking any action.’ 

A representative of Iraq’s highest Shiite authority accused politicians of ignoring the lingering threat posed by IS despite the fact that the authorities declared victory over the militants last year. 

IS has been defeated in all major urban centres it held at the height of its power in 2014 in Syria and Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. ‘Its so-called ‘state’ is shattered, but still there are cells that appear and disappear from time to time in the various areas to terrorise citizens,’ said Sheikh Abdelmahdi al-Karbala’i, a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in a Friday sermon broadcast on state TV. He accused the Iraqi government of losing sight of the threat still posed by IS as politicians focus on forming coalitions after national elections were held in May. The vote was the first held since the IS defeat.

Concerns remain over the lingering threat still posed by IS remnants operating out of desert territory in northern Iraq. Analysts and foreign diplomats have warned that the militant group will continue to find support among Iraq’s marginalised Sunni population, so long as reconstruction efforts lag and displaced Sunnis languish in camps in the countryside. 

A hostage video released by the militant group earlier this month showed six of the eight men who were later found killed north of Baghdad. It sparked an outcry over gaps in security. Wathiq al-Hashimi, an analyst at the Iraqi Group for Strategic Studies, said the latest executions appear to be retribution for the IS abductions. ‘There’s public pressure on the government and pressure to apply the death sentence in response to the crime committed by the Islamic State group,’ he said.

Source: Metro, Jen Mills, July 2, 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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