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Will the Supreme Court Kill The Death Penalty This Term?

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Will the U.S. Supreme Court add the fate of the death penalty to a term already fraught with hot-button issues like partisan gerrymandering, warrantless surveillance, and a host of contentious First Amendment disputes?
That’s the hope of an ambitious Supreme Court petition seeking to abolish the ultimate punishment. But it runs headlong into the fact that only two justices have squarely called for a reexamination of the death penalty’s constitutionality.
Abel Hidalgo challenges Arizona’s capital punishment system—which sweeps too broadly, he says, because the state’s “aggravating factors” make 99 percent of first-degree murderers death-eligible—as well as the death penalty itself, arguing it’s cruel and unusual punishment.
He’s represented by former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal—among the most successful Supreme Court practitioners last term. Hidalgo also has the support of several outside groups who filed amicus briefs on his behalf, notably one from a group including Ari…

Iran: 4 Prisoners Hanged on Drug Charges

Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran: Medieval and barbaric punishments
On the mornings of Monday January 23 and Wednesday January 25, 4 prisoners were hanged in 2 different prisons on drug related charges.

According to close sources, at least 2 prisoners were hanged at Karaj's Ghezel Hesar Prison on January 25 on drug related charges. 

The prisoners have been identified as Majid Askari and Rahman Nourian. They were reportedly transferred from their prison cells to solitary confinement two days before their execution.

"Majid was arrested 6 years ago for one kilogram and 100 grams of crystal meth, and he was sentenced to death by the revolutionary court," a source close to Mr. Askari tells Iran Human Rights.

Iran Human Rights had warned about the imminent executions of Mr. Askari and Mr. Nourian.

Close sources also report on 2 executions which were carried out at Maragheh Prison on January 23 on drug related charges. The prisoners have been identified as Iraj Ghafouri and Hossein Fatemi.

"Iraj Ghafouri was arrested approximately 4 years and 7 months ago for 800 grams of crystal meth and some opium. Hossein Fatemi was also arrested in 2012, he was sentenced to death for the charge of trafficking 500 grams of crystal meth and 700 grams of crack," a close source tells Iran Human Rights.

Executions for drug related charges are increasing in Iran while the Iranian Parliament has proposed a law to limit the use of the death penalty for drug charges. The law must first be approved by Iran's Guardian Council, and it is not clear whether it would actually lead to a reduction in the number of drug related executions. Additionally, members of parliament recently wrote a letter to the head of the Judiciary calling for a halt to the execution sentences of about 5,000 prisoners who are on death row for allegedly committing drug related offenses.

Source: Iran Human Rights, January 26, 2017

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