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US Army issues new death penalty regulations

[JURIST] The US Army [official website] has issued new regulations governing the military death penalty [DPIC backgrounder]. What the Army is calling a "major revision", however, raises questions whether the military is considering its first execution since 1961, when Army Pvt. John Bennett was put to death after being convicted of rape and attempted murder. Currently, there are six men on military death row in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas [official website] with one man believed to be the next in line for execution. Army Pvt. Dwight Loving was convicted of the murders of two taxicab drivers in 1988. His conviction was upheld [opinion] by the US Supreme Court and the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Services rejected [opinion] his appeal last month. If his execution were to proceed, President Bush would have to give his approval. The new regulations clarify the role of various officers in the execution procedure as well as allow executions to take place at other sites besides Fort Leavenworth. Anti-death penalty advocates fear that these regulations may also be used to execute foreign terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], non-capital trials for some of whom are currently proceeding. Reuters has more.

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