Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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…

8 Iraqis from same family risk death penalty over IS killings

Khasfah sinkhole
BAGHDAD : Eight Iraqis from the same family risk being sentenced to death after admitting to involvement in killing 370 people while members of the Islamic State group, the judiciary said Wednesday.

The men face charges under Iraq's anti-terror legislation over the killings at Khasfah, a sinkhole in northern Iraq just eight kilometres from Mosul, the former capital of IS's self-declared "caliphate".

"The eight terrorists arrested have admitted to participating in the Khasfah massacre," said Supreme Judicial Council spokesman Abdel Sattar Bayraqdar. "They participated in the execution of 370 civilians and members of security forces and the arrest of 400 people in Mosul," who were then held in IS jails, he added in a statement.

After IS overran Mosul in 2014, Khasfah became one of Iraq's largest mass graves as jihadists carried out a series of executions at the site.

Witnesses said the victims were blindfolded and had their hands tied behind their backs, before being forced to kneel. They were then shot and pushed into the crater.

More than 300 people, including around 100 foreigners, have been sentenced to death or life in prison by Iraqi courts over their membership of IS, according to judicial sources.

Iraq declared victory in December over the jihadist group, which at its peak controlled nearly a third of the country as well as large swathes of neighbouring Syria.

Source: Agence France-Presse, August 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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