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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…

Singapore: Lawyer, activists slam pre-execution photoshoot

Prabagaran Srivijayan
Repulsive: S Prabagaran pre-execution photo
They say the practice is inhumane and morbid, while being insensitive to the grief and anguish one has to endure when on death row.

PETALING JAYA: N Surendran has slammed the practice in Singapore which has death-row inmates take part in a photoshoot “a day or two” before they are sent to the gallows, labelling it “inhumane”.

The lawyer who represented the family of S Prabagaran, the Malaysian who was hanged in Singapore for drug trafficking, also said the act was morbid.

“It shows the harshness of Singaporean authorities to treat a person like that. They (death-row inmates) are not dolls,” he told FMT.

He was asked to comment on a tweet by We Believe in Second Chances co-founder Kirsten Han who uploaded a picture of a smiling Prabagaran.

“This was taken of Prabagaran this week as part of the pre-execution prison photoshoot. Photos are then given to the family,” she wrote.

In a subsequent tweet, Han said that while the practice seemed morbid, she had heard that some relatives find it comforting to have photos of loved ones “out of prison garb”.

Human rights activist Michelle Yesudas said although a smiling photo might be some comfort to a grieving family, staging a pre-execution photoshoot is insensitive to the grief and anguish one has to endure when on death row.

“The death penalty and a pre-execution photo shoot are archaic, morbid and inhumane practices that have no place in the modern world,” she said.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen said it is unusual and “weird” for a country to have such a practice.

“It’s a bit unusual for me, but every country has its own jurisdiction,” said Paulsen.

Channel NewsAsia reported that Prabagaran was executed at Changi Prison on Friday morning after he was convicted in 2012 for being in possession of 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin.

Authorities discovered the drug in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint as he tried to enter the country.

Prabagaran said he was innocent, claiming that he did not own the car and was not aware of the drugs being in it.

Earlier this year, he turned to the Malaysian courts to compel the government to start legal proceedings against Singapore before an international tribunal for denying him a fair trial.

On March 24, Prabagaran failed to obtain leave at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to compel the Malaysian government to start proceedings against Singapore.

Earlier, Surendran said Singapore’s Court of Appeal had dismissed Prabagaran’s application to stay his execution pending his case in the Malaysian courts.

He told FMT the appeals court had ruled that Singapore is a sovereign nation and that it would not wait for the outcome of proceedings in Malaysia.

Source: Free Malaysia Today, July 15, 2017


Singapore’s Bizarre Pre-Execution Photoshoot


The unusual practice in Singapore of death-row inmates having their photos taken before they are sent to the gallows – some say it’s inhumane and morbid, some say it’s comforting to the family.

S Prabagaran, the Malaysian convicted of drug trafficking, was executed yesterday morning at Changi prison. The lawyer representing his family has called Singapore’s practice of having death-row inmates take part in a photoshoot “a day or two” before their execution “inhumane”.

He was commenting on a tweet by Singaporean journalist Kirsten Han who uploaded a picture of a smiling Prabagaran.

In a later tweet, she said that while the practice seemed morbid, she had heard that some relatives find it comforting to have photos of executed loved ones “out of prison garb”.

Human rights activist Michelle Yesudas said although a smiling photo might be some comfort to a grieving family, staging a pre-execution photoshoot is insensitive to the grief and anguish the inmate one has to endure when on death row.

The bizarre photoshoot practice has the death-row inmate posing in regular clothes and the photos will be given to the family as mementoes.

Source: The True Net, Aura Lee, July 15, 2017

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