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Anti-death penalty activists and media outside the federal courthouse in Boston, 15 May 2015. Reuters/Brian Snyder
USA: BOSTON MARATHON BOMBER SENTENCED TO DEATH, A PURELY SYMBOLIC JUDGEMENT IN A DE FACTO MORATORIUM REGIME

May 15, 2015: Dzhohkar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death by a federal jury for helping carry out the 2013 attack that killed three people and wounded 264 others in the crowds at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. But his execution may not happen for decades – if ever.
A lengthy appellate process, an effective moratorium on federal executions and declining support among Americans for capital punishment all suggest that Tsarnaev’s death by lethal injection is far from a sure thing, according to death penalty experts. Instead, it may end as a purely symbolic judgement.
"With every passing year, the likelihood of execution will diminish," said Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University who has studied capital punishment.
While Massachusetts has banned the death penalty, Tsarnaev was convicted of federal crimes, which can carry a death sentence under U.S. law.
However, President Barack Obama has ordered a review of the government’s use of lethal injection, effectively implementing a moratorium on federal executions, while saying there are "significant questions" about whether capital punishment is applied fairly.
Some experts said the Obama administration’s two-pronged approach – pursuing a death sentence even as it reviews the use of capital punishment – shows it was more interested in securing the "symbolic" victory of a death sentence than in carrying it out.
At the federal level, only three defendants out of the 74 sentenced to death since 1988 have been executed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The first was the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people in a truck bombing in 1995 and was executed in 2001 after dropping his appeal.
Frank Zimring, a law professor at the University of California in Berkeley, said the low number reflects not only a complicated and long appellate process but a growing distaste for carrying out death sentences. "Nobody’s anxious to have federal executions," he said, noting that the last occurred in 2003. "We’re in a period of national reconsideration of capital punishment," said Austin Sarat, a political science professor at Amherst College and the author of Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty. "There’s a lot of evidence that what Americans want are death sentences, not executions," Sarat said. (Sources: Joseph Ax/Reuters, 15/05/2015)

VIETNAM: MANY LAWMAKERS BACK ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY FOR 7 CRIMES
NEBRASKA (USA): LEGISLATURE PASSED BILL TO REPEAL DEATH PENALTY
PAKISTAN: TWO MORE DEATH ROW CONVICTS HANGED
IRAN: AT LEAST FIVE PEOPLE EXECUTED
IRAN: FIVE PRISONERS HANGED IN SHIRAZ
EGYPT: HANDS OFF CAIN, DEATH SENTENCE OF MORSI POLITICALLY MOTIVATED AND FURTHER PROOF OF A WORRYING INVOLUTION OF EGYPTIAN MILITARY REGIME
CALIFORNIA (USA): A VICTIM’S SON CHANGES HIS MIND ABOUT DEATH PENALTY
SAUDI ARABIA: GOVERNMENT HAS ADVERTISED FOR EIGHT NEW EXECUTIONERS
EGYPT: BROTHERHOOD MEMBER SENTENCED TO DEATH, TWO OTHER DEATH SENTENCES REFERRED TO GRAND MUFTI
NORTH KOREA: ANOTHER PURGE OF HIGH-RANKING OFFICIALS
SAUDI ARABIA: PAKISTANI BEHEADED, 84 EXECUTIONS IN 2015
EGYPT: SIX ALLEGED TERRORISTS HANGED IN CAIRO
EGYPT: FORMER LEADER MORSY GIVEN DEATH SENTENCE IN JAILBREAK CASE
PAKISTAN: ONE DEATH ROW CONVICT HANGED IN LAHORE
HANDS OFF CAIN: DEATH SENTENCE OF BOSTON BOMBER IS SYMBOLIC BECAUSE A DE FACTO MORATORIUM IS IN FORCE
CHINA: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER AFTER 17 YEARS
MALAYSIA: NIGERIAN FEMALE STUDENT SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
SRI LANKA: FOUR SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER
SAUDI ARABIA: THREE YEMENIS BEHEADED, 83 EXECUTIONS IN 2015
NORTH KOREA: DEFENSE MINISTER HYON YONG CHOL EXECUTED – S. KOREAN INTELLIGENCE
SOMALIA: MURDERERS OF MPS EXECUTED IN MOGADISHU
TEXAS (USA): DERRICK DEWAYNE CHARLES EXECUTED
IRAN: SEVEN PRISONERS SECRETLY HANGED IN SHIRAZ
SAUDI ARABIA: 80TH PERSON BEHEADED THIS YEAR
PAKISTAN: SAULAT MIRZA HANGED IN MACHH JAIL
RUSSIA: STATE DUMA REFUSES TO INSTITUTE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR TERRORISM
BANGLADESH: 2 TO WALK GALLOWS FOR DOUBLE-MURDER
MALDIVES: TWO 16-YEAR-OLD MURDER CONVICTS SENTENCED TO DEATH
MALAYSIA: TWO INDONESIANS SPARED FROM DEATH PENALTY
IRAN: FIVE PRISONERS HANGED FOR MURDER

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