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death penalty news----worldwide
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Rick Halperin
2017-08-13 18:55:01 UTC
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August 13




INDIA:

Supreme Court stays execution of man on death row



The Supreme Court has stayed the execution of a man sentenced to death in a
case related to election rivalry in which 6 persons were murdered after
panchayat polls in Uttar Pradesh in 2003.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar
admitted the appeal filed by convict Madan and called for the trial court's
records of the case lodged in Muzaffarnagar district.

"Leave granted. Let the lower court's records be called for. There shall be a
stay on the execution of the death sentence," it said.

Madan was awarded the capital punishment by the trial court in July 2015 and
the sentence was confirmed by the Allahabad High Court in February this year.

The high court, while confirming his death sentence, had observed that he was 1
of the main assailants in the crime in which 6 persons had died.

The high court had commuted to life term the death penalty awarded by the trial
court to another convict in the case.

According to the prosecution, Madan, along with his associates, had fired at
the family members and supporters of the successful candidates, who were
elected as members of a village panchayat.

It had alleged that Madan and others were supporting the other candidate, who
had lost the election, due to which he had a grudge against them.

The prosecution had said that on October 14, 2003, when the relatives and
supporters of the successful candidates were going to the house of deputy
pradhan of the village, Madan and his associates attacked them and in the
firing 6 people had died.

During the trial, Madan and others had denied the allegations levelled against
them and had claimed that they were falsely implicated in the case due to
election rivalry.

In its judgement, the high court had held that Madan and his associates had
indiscriminately fired upon the victims and considering the gravity of offence,
it was covered under the category of the rarest of rare cases warranting death
penalty.

(source: newindianexpress.com)








BANGLADESH:

HC defers N'ganj 7-murder verdict to Aug 22



The High Court has deferred its verdict on the Narayanganj 7-murder case until
Aug 22.

Though the decision was to be announced on Aug 13, the bench of Justices
Bhabani Prasad Singha and Mustafa Zaman Islam rescheduled it on Sunday.

"It has been delayed because the decision is not yet ready," said defence
counsel Mansurul Haq Chowdhury.

On Jul 26, the High Court bench set the Aug 1 date for the verdict after
hearing the death reference and appeals in the case. Death sentences issued by
trial courts are forwarded for approval to the High Court as 'death
references'.

7 murder case

The abduction and gruesome killing of seven people, including councillor Nazrul
Islam and senior lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarkar from Narayanganj 3 years ago
shocked the nation.

The news later made international headlines when it emerged that members of the
elite police unit the Rapid Action Battalion or RAB, were involved in the
killings.

Former Narayanganj City Corporation councillor Nur Hossain and 3 former senior
officers of the local RAB unit, including its then chief, former army
lieutenant colonel Tarek Sayeed Mohammad, are among the 26 people awarded the
death penalty for the 2014 sensational 7-murder.

Tarek is also a son-in-law of Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzal
Hossain Chowdhury Maya.

On Saturday, the families of the victims told bdnews24.com that exemplary
punishment should be confirmed for the convicts to stop such crimes happen
again.

Nazrul Islam's wife Selina Islam Beauty told bdnews24.com: "The entire world is
watching the verdict. We lost our loved ones. We want Nur Hossain, the 3 former
RAB officers and all other convicts to be hanged."

"RAB is our protector, but it acted as the predator. They abducted and killed 7
people, including my husband. It was not simply murder; 7 families are
destroyed," she added.

She hoped the High Court would uphold the death penalties and those would be
executed quickly.

16 of the death-row convicts were members of the elite force. 9 other RAB men
were given various previous terms in the trial court verdict issued on Jan 16
this year.

Nazrul's friend Moniruzzaman Swapan, driver Jahangir Alam, and lawyer Chandan's
driver 'Ibrahim' were also among the 7 victims.

Jahangir's wife Shamsunnahar Nupur said, "We are in misery after losing the
only bread earner of our family. My daughter has not seen her father. She only
cries holding his photo."

Swapan's brother 'Ripon' demanded to hang of the convicts.

Ibrahim's father Abdul Wahab Mia said, "My daughter-in-law and my grandchildren
are living a miserable life after the death of my son. We are poor people. We
want the execution of death sentences of the murderers, nothing else."

On the afternoon of Apr 27, 2014, City Councillor Nazrul and 5 of his
associates were abducted from their car on Dhaka-Narayanganj Link Road.

Around the same time and from the same location, senior lawyer Chandan and his
chauffeur, who were in another car, were kidnapped.

3 days later, their bloated bodies were found floating in the Shitalakkhya
River.

From the very beginning, the slain councillor's family claimed that Nur Hossain
had paid Tk 60 million to senior officers of the local RAB unit to carry out
the murder of his rival.

Both Nazrul and Nur Hossain belonged to the ruling Awami League.

(source: bdnews24.com)

*************************

War crimes: SC to hear Azhar, Qaiser's appeals on Oct 10----Convicted war
criminals ATM Azharul Islam and Syed Mohammad Qaiser will have their appeals
heard at the Supreme Court on Oct 10



The Supreme Court on Sunday set Oct 10 as the date to start its hearing on the
appeals filed by convicted war criminals, ATM Azharul Islam and Syed Mohammad
Qaiser, challenging their sentences handed down by the International Crimes
Tribunal (ICT).

A 3-member Appellate Division bench headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar
Sinha passed the order, asking the defence in both the cases to submit concise
statement of their appeals by Aug 24, reports BSS.

The now defunct International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) 2 on Dec 23, 2014 sentenced
former Jatiya Party state minister Qaiser to death as the 14 charges of crimes
against humanity out of a total of 16 charges against him were proven.

The tribunal handed down the death penalty on 7 charges, life imprisonment on
4, jail terms of 10, 7 and 5 years on 3 charges. Qaiser was acquitted of the
remaining 2 charges.

The tribunal in its observation also asked the state to initiate a compensation
scheme for the rape victims of 1971 and the war babies.

Qaiser filed appeal against his conviction on Jan 19, 2015.

Meanwhile, the ICT-1 on Dec 30, 2014, sentenced Jamaat-e-Islami Assistant
Secretary General ATM Azharul Islam to death for crimes against humanity
committed in Rangpur during the War of Liberation. It found him guilty on 5 of
a total of 6 charges.

He was sentenced to death by hanging for charges 2, 3 and 4.

In charge no 2, he was accused of gunning down 15 unarmed innocent civilians in
Dhappara area in Rangpur on April 16. In charge no 3, he was accused of
committing massacre at Jharuarbeel and killing of more than 1200 unarmed
civilians on April 17. And in charge no 3, he was accused of abduction and
murder of four teachers of Carmichael College and others on April 30.

He was also sentenced to a total of 30 years of imprisonment in the remaining
charge no 5 and 6 for the raping and confining women to Rangpur Town Hall
between Mar 25 and Dec 16, 1971, and the torturing of Shawkat Hossain and
Rafiqul Hasan between mid Nov and Dec 1.

Azhar filed appeal against his conviction on Jan 28, 2015.

(source: Dhaka Tribune)






,

IRAN:

Iran parliament softens drug death penalty laws



The amendment will apply retroactively, thus commuting the sentences for many
of the 5,300 inmates currently on death row for drug trafficking. Under the new
bill, the punishment for those already convicted and given the death penalty or
life in prison, other than those meeting the new execution requirements, will
be commuted to up to 30 years in jail and a cash fine.

Iran's parliament passed a long-awaited amendment to its drug trafficking laws
on Sunday, raising the thresholds that can trigger capital punishment and
potentially saving the lives of many on death row. The bill must still be
approved by the conservative-dominated Guardian Council but gained
parliamentary approval after months of debate, according to parliament???s
website and the ISNA news agency.

According to rights group Amnesty International, Iran was 1 of the top 5
executioners in the world in 2016, with most of its hangings related to illicit
drugs. The watchdog noted sharp drops in the number of executions in Iran -
down 42 % to at least 567 that year.

The new law raises the amounts that can trigger the death penalty from 30 grams
to two kilos for the production and distribution of chemical substances such as
heroin, cocaine and amphetamines. For natural substances such as opium and
marijuana, the levels have been raised from 5 to 50 kilos.

The amendment will apply retroactively, thus commuting the sentences for many
of the 5,300 inmates currently on death row for drug trafficking. It restricts
the death penalty to criminals who lead drug-trafficking gangs, exploit minors
below 18 years old in doing so, carry or draw firearms while committing
drug-related crimes, or have a related previous conviction of the death penalty
or a jail sentence of more than 15 years or life in prison. Under the new bill,
the punishment for those already convicted and given the death penalty or life
in prison, other than those meeting the new execution requirements, will be
commuted to up to 30 years in jail and a cash fine.

Defending the bill in a parliamentary debate last week, Hassan Norouzi, the
spokesman of parliament's judicial and legal committee, said the costs for
Iran's war on drugs have almost doubled since 2010. He said more than 6 million
people were involved in drugs in the country, 5.2 million of them addicts and
1.8 million users.

The amendment had faced opposition from police officials who believed that
reducing or removing the death penalty would embolden criminals. But many
judges had welcomed the softened law - and stayed execution sentences as they
awaited the results of the parliamentary debate, Norouzi said.

Iran's neighbour Afghanistan produces some 90 % of the world's opium, which is
extracted from poppy resin and refined to make heroin. The Islamic republic, a
major transit point for Afghan-produced opiates heading to Europe and beyond,
confiscates and destroys hundreds of tonnes of illicit narcotics every year.

(source: Indian Express)
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Rick Halperin
2017-08-14 14:58:45 UTC
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August 14



SAUDI ARABIA:

Death sentences of Shiites point to limits of Saudi reforms



Saudi Arabia's new crown prince hopes to transform the kingdom and modernize
society, but the planned execution of 14 Shiite protesters charged with
violence against security forces suggests the government's handling of
sectarian tensions and unrest remains unchanged.

The country's supreme court recently upheld the death penalty in the case,
raising concerns among rights activists that the group could be executed at any
moment.

Human rights groups allege the trial was unfair, saying the defendants'
confessions were extracted under duress and that some did not have lawyers
present in court. 3 of the defendants were 17 years old when the alleged crimes
were committed.

A defense lawyer contacted by The Associated Press declined to speak, saying he
is officially barred from talking about the case with the media.

The mother of one of the defendants said her son's lawyer was pressured to quit
his defense and so withdrew from the trial, leaving her son to represent
himself.

"He had to defend himself and answer his own questions in court," said Zahra
Abdullah, the mother of defendant Munir al-Adam. "I am demanding either a just
trial or their release," she added. "To issue the death penalty for protests
isn't right."

Also facing execution is Mujtaba al-Sweikat, a young Saudi man who had been
accepted to attend Western Michigan University before his arrest. The American
Federation of Teachers, which says it represents 1.6 million members
nationwide, is urging President Donald Trump to demand that Saudi Arabia halt
the executions.

In response to the outcry, the Saudi Justice Ministry issued a rare statement
defending its judicial process and the verdicts. It said the 14 were convicted
of "terrorist crimes" that included killing civilians and security officers.

The ministry said the group received a fair trial, and that three different
courts and a total of 13 judges examined the case. The ministry said severe
punishment is handed down only in cases where the most dangerous crimes are
committed. Iranian protesters hold portraits of Nimr al-Nimr at a demonstration
against his execution by Saudi authorities, outside the Saudi embassy in
Tehran.

Abdullah says her son took part in protests to demand equality and greater
rights. Among the charges he faced were throwing rocks at police and firing on
a police checkpoint. She says her son denies the charge of firing on police.

Scholars of Islamic law, or Shariah, hold vastly different views on the
application of the death penalty. Under the kingdom's interpretation of
Shariah, judges have wide discretion to rule and hand down death sentences for
lethal as well as non-lethal offenses.

The kingdom has one of the highest rates of execution in the world. Last year,
47 people were executed on one day, including a prominent Saudi Shiite cleric
convicted for his role in violent protests. The cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, denied
the charges of sedition. His supporters say he was punished for being an
outspoken government critic and a key leader of the Shiite protests in eastern
Saudi Arabia in 2011 and 2012.

The group of 14 were charged for their role in those same protests.

Reprieve, an advocacy group that opposes the death penalty, said it has
established that at least one of the defendants was never permitted to see a
lawyer. In al-Adam's case, no evidence against him was presented at trial, said
Reprieve.

Activists say there is growing cause for concern after the kingdom executed
four Shiites in July convicted on charges of terrorism for their role in the
same protests and violence with security forces.

On Friday, 10 Nobel Peace Prize winners appealed to King Salman and his son,
the crown prince, to halt the executions.

Human Rights Watch says that if Saudi Arabia's new leadership is serious about
reform, "they should immediately step in to stop these executions." In a joint
statement, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said the rise in death
sentences against Shiites in Saudi Arabia "is alarming and suggests that the
authorities are using the death penalty to settle scores and crush dissent
under the guise of combating 'terrorism.'"

Underpinning much of these tensions is a region-wide rivalry between Sunni-led
Saudi Arabia and Shiite-led Iran. Al-Nimr's execution led to a severing of
ties.

In sermons and on Twitter, Saudi Arabia's ultraconservative clerics refer to
Shiites as "rafida," an Arabic slur for "rejectionists." They condemn Shiite
rituals, like praying at the tombs of revered figures, as an aberration of
Islam and accuse Shiites of being faithful to hard-line clerics in theocratic
Iran.

Saudi Shiites, who are a minority in the kingdom but make up the bulk of the
population in the kingdom's eastern region, have been targeted by extremists in
recent years. A number of bombings have struck Shiites mosques in the east.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was elevated as heir to the throne
in late June, has fashioned himself as a modernizer. He's set out lofty goals
for the kingdom to achieve by 2030, promising a dramatic shake-up, but has
given no indication he is willing to address Shiite grievances.

Prince Mohammed raised eyebrows during an interview in May when he framed his
country's rivalry with Iran in sectarian terms, saying there could be no
dialogue with Iran because it is trying to spread a messianic Shiite doctrine.

Nowhere are sectarian tensions in Saudi Arabia more visible than in the eastern
town of al-Awamiya, the hometown of al-Nimr, the executed cleric.

Around 2 dozen people, including security forces and local militants, have been
killed there this year there. Violence spiked in May after the government began
demolishing the city's historic center, including hundreds of homes. The
government says the area was being used to provide cover for wanted criminals.
Among those killed in the unrest is a three year-old boy who died last week.
Residents in al-Awamiya say he was shot by Saudi security forces while in the
backseat of a car.

Abdullah says her son was 18 years old at the time of his arrest. He'd found
work at a factory outside al-Awamiya and had dropped out of school because the
family was struggling financially. He complained there were no jobs, even for
college graduates.

"As Shiites we have been targeted for a long time. There is no equality. All
the government posts and influential positions are not for us," she said.

(source: cnbc.com)








PAKISTAN:

Mercy petition



Sir, last week the Presidency of Pakistan has accepted the 2nd mercy petition
of death row convict Muhammad Iqbal who was a juvenile at the commission of an
offence. For the time being his execution has been stayed until the final
disposal of the mercy petition. His trial was concluded in 1999 and his appeal
to Lahore High Court was dismissed in 2002. He has been languishing in jail for
18 years. The President of Pakistan has sent his 2nd mercy petition to the
Ministry of Interior for further action. It is not out of place to mention that
his 1st mercy petition was dismissed by the President some months. This is the
1st that the President of Pakistan has accepted the 2nd mercy petition sent by
a 3rd party who was neither his counsel nor his relative. His 2nd mercy
petition was sent by a citizen of Pakistan by virtue of Article 45 of the
Constitution of Pakistan, 1973. Article 45 of the Constitution doesn't debar
filing of a 2nd mercy petition. The President of Pakistan has accepted the
mercy petition on humanitarian grounds however; the 1st mercy petition was
dismissed on merits by the office of President. His death warrants were issued
this year 30th June and Iqbal was set to send to gallows.

When Iqbal stood trial in 1999 his age was less than 18 years and this fact was
determined through ossification test but then there was no legislation in
Pakistan that debarred awarding of death sentence. However Pakistan was a party
to UN Convention on Child Rights that directed its signatory countries not to
award death sentence to juveniles. Juvenile Justice System 2000 was promulgated
after the conclusion of Iqbal's trial that prohibited awarding of death
sentence to juveniles. In 2001 the then President of Pakistan issued a
notification directing to the courts of Pakistan not to award death sentence to
juveniles subject to determination of their age.

The accepted of Iqbal's 2nd mercy petition has enhanced the image of Pakistan
around the world in a positive manner. Pakistan had already executed 2
juveniles in 2014 and 2015 because of Pakistan had to save immense level of
criticism. As we know that the death penalty is medieval times punishment that
has no space in modern era because it undermines human dignity. This punishment
must be abolished for all sorts of offences. Pakistan cannot afford to have
this punishment in her criminal justice system.

SARMAD ALI

Lahore

(source: Letter to the Editor, Daily Times)








CHINA:

Chinese police act against illicit meat trade



A suspected illegal meat distribution in the northern suburban Changping
District of Beijing was raided by the police over the weekend. A total of 34
dogs of various breeds were confiscated, including 1 with an identification
chip.

Yangfang Township police worked with local animal welfare groups to rescue
animals and took them to a municipal shelter.

According to surveys and media reports over the past two years, the dog and cat
meat trade has developed into a well-segmented industry that consists of
stealing, collecting, shipping, slaughtering and selling of the final products
such as meat and fur.

As public concerns grew over the whereabouts of the unquarantined animal
products and its potential threat to food safety, China's law enforcement has
been battling against the illicit dog and cat meat trade nationwide.

NATIONWIDE EFFORT TO END ILLEGAL TRADE CHAIN

Earlier this month, the police closed down a holding site for stolen pet dogs
in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China. More than 30
dogs were handed over to Qiming Animal Protection Center - a local charity -
where they were reunited with their owners or adopted.

The charity's executives told Xinhua that the site was well-known as a
depository for stolen pets before killing the animals and selling the meat.

In July, a truckload of 200 cats and more than 100 dogs was intercepted by the
police in Zhuzhou, in the central province of Hunan. The driver was fined 2,000
yuan (300 dollars).

On August 7, a group of 24 suspected dog thieves were prosecuted in Anhui
Province, eastern China for producing and selling toxic or hazardous food,
theft and hiding or concealing the proceeds, said the prosecutor's statement.

According to Chinese law, those producing and selling toxic or hazardous food
can face the death penalty. Stealing pets and working animals, as well as
unlicensed keeping of dogs of unknown origins are felonies.

Unlawful practices involved in the meat trade such as trading, transporting,
butchering unquarantined animals and processing and commercializing of the
meat, are being tackled by various law enforcement departments including
husbandry quarantine, food safety supervision and market regulators.

STRENGTHENING LAWS AND REGULATIONS

From food safety to social stability, every link in the illegal meat trade
chain breaks the law, said An Xiang, co-founder of Beijing Dexiang Law Firm.

In 2015, a new Food Safety Law came into force, establishing higher standards
for ensuring public health and safety.

Consuming illegal dog and cat meat could bring severe health risks, said Dr.
Liu Lang, of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Veterinarians
of China.

In June, the Ministry of Agriculture decided to improve quarantine provisions
regarding dogs and cats and tighten certification to combat the undocumented
transport of unquarantined animals.

The Ministry said it will improve quarantine in response to a national
legislator's suggestion on ending this kind of meat trade.

(source: xinhuanet.com)








THAILAND:

Capital punishment not an effective deterrent, say experts



WITH increasing public concern regarding repeat criminal offenders, critics and
experts have been divided as to what approach would deter former convicts from
committing crimes again after being released from jail.

Many public members - often angry with perpetrators of high-profile crimes
including rape-murder or mass killing - have called for execution of convicted
offenders, instead of life imprisonment or lengthy jail sentences.

However, there is a consensus among experts in criminology and the justice
system that harsh penalties like life imprisonment and capital punishment have
been proven ineffective at deterring repeat crimes, a recent seminar heard.

The seminar, entitled "The role of probation in tackling the problem of repeat
criminal offences", was organised by the Department of Probation earlier this
month.

Law professor Prathan Watanavanich, an expert in criminology and justice
procedures, citing findings of a research study, said that imprisonment was not
an effective deterrent to prevent crimes.

Severe penalties had "only a little deterring effect" on criminals, Prathan
noted.

"Also, there has been no proof that capital punishment can deter prospective
perpetrators of murders," Prathan said, citing statistics collected over the
past 5 decades.

He said the study found that the certainty of getting arrested was "very
effective" in deterring people from committing crimes.

"The certainty of getting arrested is a deterrent that is even more powerful
than getting punished," the law professor concluded.

Prathan said this finding could be applied to a current problem: Many convicts
on probation or parole have not been punished for breaking the conditions of
their early release. The problem, he said, is parole officers have no power to
arrest people for breaking parole conditions.

The expert suggested that parole officers should be empowered to make arrests
in such cases.

"Importantly, we need to make people know that they will get arrested for
committing offences, and they will be rearrested for breaking the conditions
for their early release," Prathan said.

"If that can be put into practice, we will see a decline in repeat crime
offenders."

Public Prosecutor Uthai Athivej said the idea of getting rid of repeat crime
offenders from society was "too harsh", and that in practice capital punishment
had been unable to deter repeat offences.

Judge Supakit Yaempracha suggested that criminal offenders should be properly
classified and dealt with, both while they served their time in jail and after
their release. This approach should help prevent repeat crimes, he said.

Central Investigation Bureau commander Pol Lt-General Thitiraj Nongharnpitak
said Thailand has no effective measures to prevent former convicts from
committing crimes again.

"Over the past 3 years, about 300,000 inmates have been released - some 7,000
of them sex-related offenders. Thai society still has no effective measures to
monitor this group of people," he said.

The police officer suggested a system to screen convicts before their release
so that authorities could determine who should be monitored for possible repeat
offences.

(source: nationmultimedia.com)

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Rick Halperin
2017-08-15 12:47:57 UTC
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August 15




BELARUS:

Urgent Action



BELARUS SENTENCES 2 MEN TO DEATH

Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy were convicted and sentenced to death by
the Mahiliou Regional Court, in eastern Belarus, on 21 July 2017. Theirs are
the 2nd and 3rd death sentences imposed in Belarus in 2017.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

* Urging the Prosecutor General to withdraw the death penalty as a sentencing
option for Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnoy, and all others on death row;

* Stress that whilst we are not seeking to downplay the seriousness of the
crime, research shows that the death penalty does not have a unique deterrent
effect and is the ultimate denial of human rights;

* Calling on the President to introduce an immediate moratorium on executions
with a view to abolishing the death penalty

Friendly reminder: If you send an email, please create your own instead of
forwarding this one!

Contact these 2 officials by 25 September, 2017:

President

Alyaksandr Lukashenka

Vul. Karla Marksa 38

220016 Minsk, Belarus

Fax: +375 17 226 06 10

+375 17 222 38 72

Email: ***@president.gov.by

Salutation: Dear President

Charge d'Affaires Mr. Pavel Shidlovsky



Embassy of Belarus

1619 New Hampshire Ave NW

Washington DC 20009

Phone: 202 986 9420 OR 1 202 986 1606

Fax: 202 986 1805 OR 1 202 986 1805

Email: ***@mfa.gov.by

Salutation: Dear Ambassador

(source: Amnesty International)








PAKISTAN:

Pakistan to nominate ad-hoc judge for ICJ hearing in Kulbhushan Jadhav
case----The ICJ had on May 18 restrained Pakistan from executing the death
sentence on Jadhav



The Pakistan government has begun consultations over the nomination of an
ad-hoc judge for the Kulbhushan Jadhav case being heard at the International
Court of Justice (ICJ) with an ex-attorney general and a former Jordanian
premier emerging as the top contenders, a media report said on Tuesday.

India had moved the Hague-based ICJ against Jadhav's death penalty handed down
by a Pakistani military court. The ICJ had on May 18 restrained Pakistan from
executing the death sentence.

Pakistan government's functionaries have started consultations for the
nomination of an ad-hoc judge, Express Tribune reported, citing sources.

During the tenure of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, former Supreme Court
judge Khalilur Rehman Ramday was approached, but he declined the nomination,
the report said.

Sources were quoted by the daily as saying that the Attorney General for
Pakistan's (AGP) office has recommended the names of senior lawyer Makhdoom Ali
Khan and former Jordanian prime minister Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh to the Prime
Minister's Office for the nomination of one name as an ad-hoc judge.

Khasawneh served as an ICJ judge for over a decade, while Khan, a former
Attorney General who is seen as the favourite for the job, also has experience
in international arbitration cases, having represented eight different
countries in international courts.

The nomination of the ad-hoc judge will be finalised after getting inputs from
the Foreign Office and the military establishment, the sources said, adding
that earlier, government functionaries had also considered the name of former
chief justice of Pakistan Tassaduq Hussain Jillani.

An official was quoted as saying that the name of the ad- hoc judge will be
finalised next month, soon after the Indian side files its documents.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) representative Raheel Kamran Sheikh has
called upon the government to seek Parliament's approval on the appointment of
the ad-hoc judge.

Only 1 person has previously been appointed as ICJ judge in Pakistan's history
- former foreign minister Zafarullah Khan, who was appointed in 1954 and later
became the president of the court.

Yaqub Ali Khan and Sharifuddin Pirzada both served as ad-hoc judges, as did
Zafarullah.

(source: business-standard.com)








INDIA:

Yavatmal court awards death penalty to 7 in human sacrifice case



Additional District and Sessions Judge A S Waghmare on Monday awarded capital
punishment to Manoj Atram, Devidas Atram, Yadhavrao Tekam, Punaji Atram,
Ramchandra Atram, Motiram Atram and Yashodabai Meshram in the sensational Sapna
Palaskar human sacrifice case. The convicts are the residents of Choramba
village in Ghatanji tehsil and were arrested for 'sacrificing' 7-year-old Sapna
Palaskar on October 23, 2012.

All of them were convicted under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code,
apart from other offences. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 each on
them. Durga Shirbhate, another accused, was sentenced to 5 years' rigorous
imprisonment for being part of the conspiracy.

According to prosecution, Shirbhate, claiming to be possessed by a goddess,
said that 'human blood' was needed to appease the deity and save the clan as
well as the village from its wrath.

The accused, a few of them related to Shirbhate, decided to 'sacrifice' Sapna
Palaskar (7), a girl living in the same village. Sapna was persuaded to go to
the house of Yashodabai Meshram where Ramchandra chopped off her head after a
ritual. The head and the body were buried with pooja material outside the
house. 1 1/2 months later the girl's remains were exhumed and reburied in
another person's field. Later, the bones and skull were exhumed again, and
thrown into bushes.

In the meantime, the police had registered a missing person complaint regarding
the girl. During the trial, 13 witnesses were examined. The girl's parents --
Sharda and Gopal-- who were also prosecution witnesses, turned hostile.

However, the court relied on DNA test reports which confirmed that the remains
recovered by the police were of Sapna, and the statements of other prosecution
witnesses.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Adv Shubhangi Darne represented the State.

(source: The Hitavada)








PHILIPPINES:

Anti-death penalty photographer exhibits images of juvenile death row inmates



When Japanese photographer Toshi Kazama found out that he was going to take
pictures of a 16-year-old killer on death row in the United States, he expected
to find a monster.

But when he finally met the teenager, what he found was an intellectually
disabled boy who could easily have been sitting in his son???s classroom.

Charged with 2 counts of murder, the boy had confided in Kazama that he was
afraid to shower because the adult inmates would rape him in the bathroom.

"I started to think, what if I was born the same? I want to treat him as I
would want to be treated. So I started to treat others the way I wanted myself
to be treated. That really changed my whole life for me," Kazama said, speaking
on Monday at the Commission on Human Rights in a forum against the death
penalty.

"People think, 'as long as I'm fine, I don't care about others.' But meeting
him just changed my whole experience."

Thankfully, the 16-year-old was spared the death penalty when the U.S. Supreme
Court abolished capital punishment for juvenile offenders in 2005.

Since 1996, Kazama has been visiting prisons in the U.S. and other countries,
photographing juvenile death row inmates, meeting families, victims, victims'
families, and executioners.

He was in the Philippines to present an exhibit of his photos at the Senate's
public hall, and to advocate against the death penalty.

He recalled visiting an execution chamber in Taiwan, where the floor was filled
with black sand. The inmate would have his last meal in front of an image of
Buddha, then he would lie down on a sheet. The executioner would then shoot him
until he died. The black sand would absorb the bullet's impact, and the blood.

"To me, death penalty is reality. It's not just an idea ... As I see the
execution chambers, and there are many executioners, I see how the human life
is being snuffed," the photographer said. "And many of the executioners are
normal prison guards. They all say they don't want to kill any more human
beings. While society pushes to reinstate the death penalty, someone has to
kill a human being. And yes, you don't want to kill somebody with your own
hand. But you ask somebody [else] to do it. When death penalty is reinstated in
this country, and when execution resumes, somebody has to kill for you."

He hoped to have the chance to meet the Filipino senators one by one to talk to
them about the realities of death penalty.

"We have to stop. Please keep this country away from death penalty," Kazama
said.

He remembered an execution where, five minutes before it was to be carried out,
the phone rang. The guards cheered, expecting it to be the governor calling to
halt the proceedings.

Indeed it was the governor, but, sounding drunk, he was just calling to say
they should push through with the execution.

"To him, execution is just a piece of paper in front of him. Just to sign a
paper, it's only a matter of paper to him. He never comes here to witness or
administer any execution. It's almost like us ... Execution is the farthest
event from our daily lives ... We are trying to distance [ourselves]. I was one
of them too," Kazama said.

He urged Filipinos to stop the reimposition of the death penalty, which
President Rodrigo Duterte had asked Congress to do in his last State of the
Nation Address. The House of Representatives approved the measure to reinstate
the death penalty, for drug-related offenses, in March.

The Philippines had done "an amazing job" abolishing the death penalty during
the time of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, making the nation a "jewel
in Asia," Kazama said.

Reinstating the death penalty would just legalize extrajudicial killings, he
added.

With Kazama, representatives from CHR, from the Coalition for the Abolition of
Death Penalty in ASEAN, ASEAN Youth Forum, iDefend, and Participatory Education
on Rights Awareness and Social Action called on the Philippine government to
"End Crime, Not Life".

CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said they would continue to work against
the reimposition of the death penalty, and propagate the studies proving that
the death penalty did not deter crime. The CHR also planned to conduct a
nationwide survey to see how Filipinos really felt about the death penalty.

Dumpit said that she was one in the quest for justice, which was the motivation
for many people who were for the death penalty.

She stressed that the CHR did not want any crime to go unpunished; this was not
how human rights worked. Rather, what the CHR was for was due process. The rule
of law must be followed, and there must be humane treatment for those who had
committed crimes.

Death was an inhuman verdict, and was tantamount to punishing people for the
failure of the justice system. The taking of life was permanent, she added.
Mistakes could not be rectified.

For her part, iDefend's Nilda Sevilla estimated that about 8 to 10 senators
were against the death penalty, and she hoped they would be firm in their
stance.

(source: interaksyon.com)








NIGERIA:

Katsina stipulates death penalty for rape



Katsina State Government has stipulated death as penalty for any one found
guilty of rape in the state.

The technical committee working on the domestication of 'Child Rights Act' made
this resolution on Monday.

The Secretary of the committee, Hajiya Fatima Jibo, made the disclosure while
presenting the final draft of the bill known as 'Katsina State Child Protection
Bill' to the Commissioner of Women Affairs, Dr. Badiyya Mashi, for onward
delivery to Governor Bello Masari.

Hajiya Jibo explained that the death sentence is applicable where the sexually
abused child is under the age of 9.

Quoting from the draft, she said, "whoever sexually abuses a child commits an
offence and shall be liable on conviction to be sentenced to death."

(source: dailypost.ng)








ZIMBABWE:

Mugabe, Mnangagwa clash over death penalty



President Robert Mugabe yesterday disclosed that he had on several occasions
clashed with a section of Cabinet ministers led by Vice-President Emmerson
Mnangagwa over how to deal with capital punishment, which he said should be
retained on the statutes to allow for the hanging of some convicted murderers.

In a speech to mark Heroes Day commemorations at the National Heroes Acre,
Mugabe also appealed to the public to take up the hangman's post, which has
remained vacant for over two decades. "We are still debating whether to remove
capital punishment. My Cabinet is divided about that and Mnangagwa wants it to
be removed, but we are still considering. We now have many people on the death
row," Mugabe said.

Mnangagwa, who doubles as Justice minister, is on record describing capital
punishment as inhuman and wants it abolished.

"We are failing to get a hangman. If there is anyone brave, they should apply
and we will appoint," Mugabe said yesterday.

The death penalty has remained a controversial issue in Zimbabwe and the new
Constitution exempts women murderers from execution while only allowing for
certain male criminals to be hanged.

(source: newsday.co.zw)








IRAN:

Call to Save 7 Prisoners on the Verge of Execution



7 prisoners sentenced to death in Gohar Dasht (Rajaieh Shahr) Prison in Karaj,
have been transferred to solitary confinement. These victims are faced with an
imminent death threat. Mehdi Bohlouli, who is now on the verge of execution
after serving 15 years of imprisonment, was only 17 when arrested and this is
the 4th time he has been transferred to solitary confinement for implementation
of the death sentence.

Taking prisoners to the gallows to witness the shocking scene of the execution
of other prisoners is a common practice of torture in the prisons of Iranian
regime.

Transferring the young prisoner, Mehdi Bohlouli for execution is taking place
while the execution of Alireza Tajiki, a young prisoner who was 15 years old at
the time of his arrest, sparked a wave of hatred inside and outside of Iran,
and international human rights organizations called it shameful and shocking.
Alireza Tajiki was hanged on August 10 after serving 6 years in prison under
torture for compulsory confessions, and while his family's repeated requests
for a retrial was ignored.

The execution and torture machine of the regime, which is a world record
holder, on the number of executions per capita and one of the few juvenile
executioners, has accelerated after the sham presidential election. Only in
July 2017 there has been a rare record of 101 recorded hangings. The actual
number of executions is likely to be higher, since it does not include the
number of secret executions.

The Iranian resistance calls for urgent intervention and action of the
international bodies and human rights organizations to stop the death sentences
of these 7 victims and the abolition of their death sentences, as well as the
protest and condemnation of governments to the new wave of executions in Iran.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)

***************************

Scheduled execution of man arrested as teenager is an all-out assault on
children's rights



The planned execution on Wednesday morning of Mehdi Bohlouli, who was only a
child at the time of the crime, just days after the hanging of another man
arrested as a child, is a sickening act of cruelty that must be stopped
immediately, said Amnesty International today.

Mehdi Bohlouli was transferred to solitary confinement in Raja'i Shahr Prison
in Karaj, near Tehran, on Monday morning. His family have been told to go to
the prison for their final visit today. He has spent more than 15 years on
death row. It follows the execution last Thursday (10 August) of Alireza
Tajiki, who was just 15 at the time of his arrest.

"By scheduling this unlawful execution when the world is still expressing
outrage about Alireza Tajiki, the Iranian authorities are effectively declaring
to the international community that they have no shame in remaining the world's
top executioner of those who were children at the time of the crime. The head
of Iran's judiciary must immediately intervene and stop this execution from
taking place before Iran's cruel justice system takes yet another life," said
Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at
Amnesty International.

"The latest round of executions of individuals for crimes committed while under
18 shows that the sickening enthusiasm of Iran's justice system for the death
penalty knows no bound. This is nothing short of an all-out assault on the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child."

Mehdi Bohlouli was sentenced to death by a criminal court in Tehran in November
2001 after he was convicted of murder for fatally stabbing a man during a
fight. He was 17 when the crime took place and has spent his entire young adult
life on death row. This is the 4th time that he has been scheduled for
execution and transferred to solitary confinement. The last time was in April
2017, when a postponement was announced the day before the scheduled execution
date. In January 2017, his request for a retrial was denied.

Iran is one of the last countries in the world that still uses the death
penalty against juvenile offenders. In January 2016, Amnesty International
published a report which found that despite piecemeal reforms introduced by the
Iranian authorities in 2013 to deflect criticism of their appalling record on
executions of juvenile offenders, they have continued to condemn dozens of
young people to death for crimes committed when they were below 18 years of
age.

Since the beginning of this year, Iran has executed at least 4 individuals who
were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime. As of August 2017, Amnesty
International had identified the names of at least 89 individuals on death row
who were under the age of 18 when the crime was committed.

(source: Amnesty International)

******************

Raising the Death Penalty Bar----Parliament Amends Drug Law



The Iranian parliament on August 13, 2017 approved a long-awaited amendment to
the country's drug law that significantly raises the bar for a mandatory death
sentence, Human Rights Watch said today. The amendment, which the parliamentary
judiciary commission revised four times, is a step in the right direction
despite being more limited than a December 2016 draft amendment that sought to
outlaw the death penalty for most non-violent drug related offenses.

Iran has one of the highest rates of documented executions in the world.
According to Amnesty International, in 2016 alone, Iran executed at least 567
individuals, including at least 2 who were children when they allegedly
committed their crimes. When submitting the new draft law to the parliament,
Hassan Noroozi, the spokesperson for the parliamentary judicial committee,
stated that 5,000 people are currently on death row for drug offenses in Iran,
the majority between the ages of 20 and 30.

"If the amendment becomes law, it could save hundreds of people from execution
who never should have been on death row in the first place," said Sarah Leah
Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Even Iranian officials
admit the ineffectiveness of capital punishment for combating drugs, and the
parliament should next outlaw capital punishment for all drug offenders, and
then end all executions."

For the bill to become law, the Guardian Council, a body of 12 Islamic jurists,
must approve it, agreeing that the bill is in accordance with Iran's
constitution and their interpretation of sharia law.

Under Iran's current drug law, nonviolent offenses, including possession of as
little as 30 grams of synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines, as well as
trafficking, possession, or trade of more than 5 kilograms of opium or 30 grams
of heroin carries a mandatory death sentence.

The approved amendment changes the punishment for drug offenses that previously
carried the death penalty or life in prison to a prison term of up to 30 years.
However, it still mandates the death penalty if the accused or one of the
participants in the crime used or carried weapons and intended to use them
against law enforcement agencies. The death penalty would still apply to a
leader of a drug trafficking cartel, anyone who used a child in some way to
traffic drugs, or anyone facing new drug-related charges who had previously
been sentenced to execution or 15 years to life for drug-related offenses.

After facing pushback from Iran's judiciary and the Interior Ministry's drug
control headquarters, parliament altered the amendment to maintain the death
penalty for nonviolent charges of "production, distribution, trafficking, and
selling" drugs. However, the amendment raises the amounts of drugs involved to
more than 50 kilograms of "traditional" drugs such as opium or 2 kilograms of
synthetic drugs such as methamphetamines. It also restores the death penalty
for possession, purchase, or concealing more than three kilograms of "synthetic
drugs."

Despite the prospect of reform, the authorities have continued executing people
on drug-related offenses. On July 20, Human Rights Watch called on Iranian
authorities to immediately halt these executions while the amendments await
final approval.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly documented serious violations of due process,
torture, and other violations of the rights of people accused of drug offenses,
including in Ghezel Hesar prison in Karaj. Prisoners have told Human Rights
Watch that authorities routinely blindfold and beat detainees and force them to
sign confessions. Prisoners also said that court-appointed lawyers are not
allowed to be present during interrogations or to meet privately with their
clients, and that they are allowed only to submit written statements in their
clients' defense.

Under article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,
which Iran has ratified, in countries that still retain capital punishment, the
death penalty may be applied only for the "most serious crimes." The UN Human
Rights Committee, which interprets the covenant, has said that drug offenses
are not among the "most serious crimes," and that the use of the death penalty
for such crimes violates international law. Human Rights Watch opposes capital
punishment in all circumstances because it is inherently irreversible and
inhumane.

"The Guardian Council shouldn't wait a moment longer to approve reforms and
take a 1st step to curbing Iran's execution epidemic," Whitson said.

(source: Human Rights Watch)

*********************

Daughter Of Iran's 'Hanging Judge' Breaks Silence About Her Notorious Father



Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali is notorious as Iran's "hanging judge," having
ruthlessly ordered hundreds of summary executions after trials that sometimes
lasted just minutes in the months following Iran's 1979 revolution.

His daughter, however, remembers him differently.

"My father's outside image is very violent," Fatemeh Sadeghi says in an
interview published this month in the Iranian magazine Andisheye Pouya. "But
that's not the image of him that I had at home. He was very strict at home, but
he would never beat me."

Sadeghi said her father never discussed his dark past with her.

"He didn't want to talk about it," she said. "It was clear that he had [some
issues], but he wasn't remorseful."

Revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini selected Khalkhali to head the
newly created Revolutionary Courts shortly after taking power. Before Khalkhali
was forced to step down and sidelined in December 1980, he sent hundreds of
people to their deaths, including many affiliated with the regime of Mohammad
Reza Shah Pahlavi.

In his 2000 autobiography, Khalkhali wrote that he indeed felt no remorse.

"I killed over 500 criminals close to the royal family, hundreds of rebels in
the Kurdistan, Gonabad, and Khuzestan regions, and many drug smugglers,''
Khalkhali wrote, according to a translation by The New York Times.

''I feel no regret or guilt over the executions. Yet I think I killed little.
There were many more who deserved to be killed, but I could not get my hands on
them," he added.

Khalkhali died in 2003 at the age of 77.

The Andisheye Pouya interview this month marks the 1st time that Sadeghi, a
respected women's rights activist who has criticized the compulsory hijab in
the past, has spoken publicly about her father.

While she says she doesn't intend to justify her father or defend his actions,
she asserts that, at that moment in her country's history, those in charge had
to demonstrate "revolutionary decisiveness."

"The atmosphere then was very ideological," Sadeghi said. "I don't want to say
that my father was kind -- not at all. But that ideological atmosphere required
revolutionary decisiveness."

"At that time, they all wanted to present themselves as revolutionaries to
scare the enemy. This is how I see things," she added.

She says she never felt she had to defend Khalkhali, who is believed to have
acted with Khomeini's blessing, because "my father always insisted that his
political face -- good or bad -- was his business."

"He presented himself as a revolutionary and believed that he had to accept
some bad notoriety for the revolution," she said. "[My father] would always
say: 'We made the revolution and we have to stand by it.' I can still hear
him."

People often criticize her father, but Sadeghi says she doesn't react. She
merely takes note so she can later tell relatives what she heard.

"People have the right to make judgments about political figures, so whatever I
hear is not strange to me," she says.

Sadeghi then recounts a particular episode that has stuck in her mind.

She was riding in a long-distance taxi from Tehran to Karaj, about 30
kilometers west of the Iranian capital, when she heard one of the passengers
attacking her father.

"[That person] started saying very bad insults about my father," she recalled.
"He said that [my father] was once detained in France with two sacks of gold,
adding that his wife was also with him.

"Those moments were hard on me. But I wanted to laugh at the image of my mother
carrying a sack of gold," Sadeghi said. "[My father] wasn't a thief. He
didn???t have any hidden wealth.

"My father ordered the [execution] of [former Prime Minister Amir Abbas]
Hoveyda. He went to Kurdistan (where Khalkhali ordered the execution of many
Kurds)," Sadehi said. "All of this happened, but he didn't steal."

Khalkhali presided over the brief trial of Hoveyda, who served as prime
minister under the shah for more than a decade. Moments after being sentenced
to death, Hoveyda was taken outside and shot in the back of the head. Khalkhali
then returned to the courtroom and announced that the sentence had been carried
out.

The New Haven-based Iran Human Rights Documents Center reports that Khalkhali
was proud to have been present at Hoveyda's execution and had kept the pistol
as a memento.

She said that Khalkhali, who had become a supporter of the reformist movement,
convinced her in 1997 to vote for reformist presidential candidate Mohammad
Khatami, who won the election and served as Iran's 5th president from 1997
until 2005.

The interviewer, who says she is a friend of Sadeghi, rarely challenges her. At
one point, she asks Sadeghi if she misses her father.

"It's a tough question. Is there anyone who doesn't love his or her parents?"
Sadeghi asks.

Sadeghi's interview has been criticized by some as a dubious effort to humanize
a monster.

"I wish Fatemeh Sadeghi had continued her silence regarding her father," wrote
exiled Iranian journalist Arash Bahmani on Twitter.

The Iranian blogger who goes by the name Zeitoun commented on Facebook: "Why
didn't Fatemeh Sadeghi say: 'Although Khalkhali was my father and I love him,
he did bad things to people -- many bad things.' Why didn't she say that?"

(source: Golnaz Esfandiari is a senior correspondent with Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty)
_______________________________________________
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Aug. 16




JAMAICA:

Reactivate death penalty



THE EDITOR, Sir:

In light of the string of shootings and wanton murders across Jamaica, I again
appeal to the better senses of our legislators. The death penalty is vital to
the survival of law if we must survive and have law and order prevail.

Let's cut the rope on hanging since it is so troublesome. How about lethal
injection or the electric chair? Neither would be difficult to come by because
the United States has them in abundance, or we can design our own models. We
have competent electrical and chemical engineers.

Criminals and criminality must be put in check. It should not be that each
week, a different community is under the gun. Boys in garrisons have
high-powered weapons that cost more than the houses in which they live. How
come? Someone with the means must be supplying them with the guns. Find the
source.

I call on the prime minister and his Cabinet to seriously contemplate the use
of the death penalty. The reality is that Rockfort, Arnett Gardens, SW St
Andrew, Olympic Gardens, Spanish Town, Jacques Road, Denham Town, and central
Kingston, just to name a few, are out of control.

Are we going to act like sitting ducks or lambs to the slaughter while hoodlums
degrade our country, our way of life, and our independence? We must act now.
It's already late in the day.

Joseph Edwards

(source: Letter to the Editor, Jamaica Gleaner)








BANGLADESH:

SC to hear war criminal Subhan's appeal Oct 16



The Supreme Court today fixed October 16 for hearing the appeal filed by
convicted war criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Abdus Subhan challenging the
death penalty awarded to him by International Crimes Tribunal (ICT).

The court asked the defence and state counsels to submit their concise
statements on the appeal before the apex court in 2 and 3 weeks respectively.

A concise statement contains the points on which the counsels will place
arguments on an appeal before the SC.

The 3-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra
Kumar Sinha passed the order as the appeal came up before the court for an
order today.

The tribunal on February 18 sentenced the Jamaat leader to death for committing
crimes against humanity, including mass killing, murder, and confinement and
torture of pro-liberation people during the 1971 Liberation War.

On March 18 of the same year, Subhan filed the appeal with the SC challenging
his death penalty given for committing war crimes in 1971.

(source: The Daily Star)








PAKISTAN:

SHC overturns death sentence of Faisal Mota, orders retrial in Wali Khan Babar
murder case



Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday overturned the death sentence of Faisal
Mehmood, alias Mota - the primary accused in the Wali Khan Babar case - and
ordered a retrial by the lower courts.

The SHC was hearing an appeal filed by Faisal Mota, who was awarded a death
sentence in absentia, by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in Kandhkot in March
2014 for masterminding the 2011 murder of television journalist Wali Babar in
Karachi.

Mota, said to be a worker of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), was later
arrested and detained in March 2015 in Karachi after Rangers conducted a raid
at the MQM headquarters.

Mota's counsel Advocate Aamir Masoob Qureshi in April 2015 had submitted in SHC
that Mota's death sentence should be declared illegal since it was awarded in
absentia. According to Articles 21-L and 31-A of the Anti Terrorism Act 1997, a
death sentence cannot be awarded in absentia, Qureshi had argued.

The advocate had also said that when a punishment is awarded in absentia, the
convict must refer to the trial court according to Article 19(12). However, his
client was unable to refer to the ATC in Kandhkot because the records of the
case were at the SHC.

He had, therefore, requested the court to dismiss Mota's death penalty and send
the case for a retrial.

The ATC in Kandhkot will now hear the case from scratch again.

On January 13, 2011, GeoNews journalist Wali Khan Babar was going home from his
office when he was shot dead in Liaquatabad, Karachi. Shocked by the murder,
journalists across the country had protested and mourned his death, demanding
the arrest and trial of the culprits.

Syed Mohammad Ali Rizvi, Shahrukh alias Mani, Naveed alias Polka and Shakil
alias Malik had also been indicted for the murder.

Murders linked to Wali Babar case

2 policemen, a police officer's brother and an informer linked to the
investigation into Babar's murder had been methodically targeted after
investigation in the case began.

Rajab Ali Bengali, a police informer, is stated to be the 1st victim, whose
body was found in a sack on Jan 29, 2011, in Gulshan-i-Iqbal.

The 2nd victim was Constable Asif Rafiq who was killed in a drive-by shooting
by 2 men on a motorcycle on Jan 31, 2011. He had identified the vehicle the
attackers had used. He was at the spot at the time of the murder and had noted
down its registration number.

Head Constable Arshad Kundi is believed to be the 3rd victim linked to the
investigation. He was killed in a drive-by-shooting on March 19, 2011, in
Sohrab Goth.

On April 7, 2011, a brother of the SHO of Super Market police station, Shafiq
Tanoli, was shot dead. Tanoli told reporters that his brother, Naveed Khan, had
been killed to pressurise him.

(source: dawn.com)








VIETNAM:

4 Vietnamese drug traffickers get death, life sentences



A Vietnamese court handed down a death sentence on a 34-year-old leader of a
trans-provincial drug trafficking ring and life imprisonment on 3 of his
underlings, local media reported Wednesday.

The court in southern Binh Duong province on Tuesday passed the death penalty
on Do Xuan Loi from central Thua Thien Hue province, and the 3 life sentences
on 3 other men from central Binh Thuan province, southern An Giang province,
and Ho Chi Minh City, including an elder brother of Loi's wife, daily newspaper
Tuoi Tre (Youth) reported.

Till their arrest in 2015, Loi and his accomplices had traded and transported 7
kg of drugs from northern Hai Phong city to Vietnam's southern region for
retail sales, and illegally possessed 3 guns.

According to Vietnamese law, those convicted of smuggling over 600 grams of
heroin or more than 2.5 kg of methamphetamine are punishable by death. Making
or trading 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal drugs also faces
death penalty.

(source: xinhua.com)



INDONESIA:

Indonesia Increases Its Own War on Drugs



Indonesia's President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is again urging an increase in
efforts to fight illegal drugs in the country.

Jokowi said police should shoot foreign drug dealers who "resist arrest." He
added that the country is in a "narcotics emergency position."

Jokowi made his comments at a political event in late July. Days before the
speech, police shot and killed a Taiwanese man for resisting arrest. Police say
he and several others were trying to smuggle 1,000 kilograms of crystal
methamphetamine into Indonesia.

Recently, Jakarta Police Chief General Adham Azis said he would "not think
twice" about dismissing police officers who were not fighting drug trafficking
enough.

In addition, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights recently announced a plan to
place all people currently jailed for drug offenses into 4 prisons. The prisons
in West Java, North Sumatra, Central Java and Central Kalimantan would get
increased security, news reports say.

Human rights groups raise concerns

The New York-based rights group Human Rights Watch has criticized Indonesia's
campaign against drug trafficking.

In a statement, the group said, "President Joko Widodo should send a clear and
public message to the police that efforts to address the complex problems of
drugs and criminality require the security forces to respect everyone's basic
rights, not demolish them."

The aim of Indonesia's campaign is to stop the flow of the low-cost drug
crystal methamphetamine. It is similar to the effort of President Rodrigo
Duterte of the Philippines. He has been criticized for his violent campaign
against drug crimes. Thousands of drug dealers and users have been killed.

Last month, Indonesian officials seized the largest amount of crystal
methamphetamine in the history of the country.

The head of Indonesia's narcotics agency, General Budi Waseso, called for a war
on drugs -- similar to the one in the Philippines -- last September.

He told Australia's ABC news agency, "The market that existed in the
Philippines is moving to Indonesia, the impact of President Duterte's actions
is an exodus to Indonesia."

Severe punishments for drug crimes

Drug trafficking can carry a death sentence in Indonesia which considers the
offense as serious as murder or terrorism.

People found guilty of low-level drug crimes are estimated to make up 70 % of
Indonesia's prison population.

Erasmus Napitupulu is with the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform in
Jakarta. He said there are many question about President Jokowi's drug policy.
He criticized the death sentence as putting a big burden on Indonesia's justice
system.

"The death penalty targets small drug couriers, which in many cases leads to
unfair trials. Indonesian law has not been able to bear the burden of fair
trial(s)," he said.

Southeast Asian countries have resisted lightening punishments for drug users
or traffickers. Besides Indonesia and the Philippines, other countries in the
area, including Singapore, want to continue with harsh punishments for drug
crimes.

Last year, however, Thailand considered changing the criminalization of
methamphetamine because prisons were becoming overcrowded.

But there are no similar signs in Indonesia.

In 2015, Jokowi led an anti-drug campaign that resulted in the execution of 14
people for drug offenses.

But, critics say that the severe punishments have not reduced the number of
crimes. Claudia Stoicescu is a researcher at the University of Oxford.

She wrote, "Far from having a deterrent effect, the number of drug-related
crimes in Indonesia increased in the months after the executions were carried
out in January and April 2015."

Other critics say increased resources used for drug-related arrests have taken
money away from rehabilitation efforts. Some say those resources could be
better used to help an estimated 1 million Indonesians addicted to
methamphetamines.

Erasmus says Indonesia should learn from the experience of the United States.

The U.S. has reduced the number of arrests over small drug crimes and moved to
legalize small amounts of the drug marijuana.

"If Indonesia retains capital punishment as the main solution for drug issues,
then I believe it is a political decision to preserve (politicians') image(s),
not to protect actual narcotics victims," he said.

(source: Krithika Varagur reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter
adapted it for VOA Learning English----learningenglish.voanews.com)

***************

Foreign drug trafficking duo nabbed, face potential death penalty



2 foreign nationals are being investigated for drug trafficking after they were
arrested with over 50 grammes of Syabu on Monday afternoon.

District police chief Supt Zailanni Amit said the Indonesian nationals, aged 21
and 23, were caught at a business outlet in Jalan Abang Galau here around 3pm.

"During an inspection, they were found in possession of approximately 53
grammes of crystalline substance, believed to be Syabu.

"We are investigating the case under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act
1952, which carries the mandatory death sentence if convicted," he said when
contacted yesterday.

Zailanni added the 2 suspects were found to have been staying here for about
year.

"Both of them confessed of their involvement in distributing Syabu around the
old Bintulu town.

According to him, the drugs are delivered here by bus and left at a
pre-arranged area for the suspects to collect.

"They employ the same tactic for their buyers. After receiving payment, they
will drop off the drugs at an agreed location for their buyers to collect," he
added.

Police personnel speak to the 5 rescued Indonesian women following the
operation.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, 5 Indonesian women were rescued by police
while a fellow countrywoman was arrested for human trafficking offences on
Monday.

Acting on a tip-off, police raided a premises at Jalan Tanjung Kidurong around
11pm and rescued the 5, aged between 21 and 30.

The enforcement team also arrested a 29-year-old Indonesian woman under Section
12 of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act 2007.

During the operation, codenamed Ops Pintas, police also seized 4 condoms,
stimulant pills and various employee records.

Investigation is ongoing.

(source: Borneo Post)








IRAN----executions

3 Prisoners Hanged, Authorities Silent



A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Shirvan Prison on murder charges. 2
prisoners were reportedly hanged at Zanjan Central Prison on drug related
charges.

According to close sources, the executions in Zanjan were carried out on the
morning of Tuesday August 8, and the prisoners have been identified as: Hamza
Rahimpour and Abbas Sooghi.

"Hamza Rahimpour was arrested and sentenced to death in 2014 on the charge of
producing and selling 6 kilograms of crystal meth. Abbas Sooghi was arrested
and sentenced to death in 2015 on the charge of four kilograms of opium and
heroin," an informed source tells Iran Human Rights.

Iran Human Rights had reported on the imminent execution of these prisoners and
urged the international community to take action.

An official Iranian source announced on Monday August 7 the execution of a
prisoner at Zanjan Central Prison on murder charges. This brings the total
number of prisoners who were reported as executed in Zanjan Prison last week to
three.

There are reports of a prisoner who was executed at Shirvan Prison (South
Khorasan province) on murder charges. According to close sources, the
prisoner's name is Tohid Haghmoradi, 38, imprisoned for 5 years before he was
executed.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced the 2 executions at Zanjan Prison and execution at Shirvan
Prison.

******************

Man Executed on Murder Charges



On the morning of Tuesday August 15, a prisoner was reportedly hanged at
Urmia's central prison on murder charges. According to close sources, the
prisoner's name is Khaled Amini and he was imprisoned for 5 years before his
execution. Khaled and his brother Fattah Amini were arrested together 5 years
ago on murder charges. Fattah was reportedly executed at Mahabad Prison on
Tuesday July 25.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced these 2 executions.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)








SAUDI ARABIA:

Trump silent on imminent Saudi executions based on problematic
confessions----Rights groups urge Trump to intervene on cases they say hinge on
coerced confessions and flawed trials



With the fate of 14 men facing execution in Saudi Arabia hanging in the
balance, rights groups and anti-death penalty activists are pushing President
Donald Trump to speak up.

All 14 defendants are Shia Muslims, an oppressed minority in Saudi Arabia, and
were sentenced with the death penalty after being accused of terror-related
activities that threaten national security, including killing of security
forces and civilians during anti-government protests. But rights groups, such
as Human Rights Watch, point out that most of the convictions were based on
problematic confessions that the defendants, most of whom are in their 20s,
later rejected in court.

But despite pressure from activists, the Trump administration as so far
remained silent on their plight.

Maya Foa, the director or UK-based rights group Reprieve, had harsh words for
the president, telling ThinkProgress that Trump's silence on the pending
executions is "appalling," and noted that one of the convicted, Mujtaba
al-Sweikat, was a teenager at the time of his arrest. Al-Sweikat was bound for
the United States where he hoped to study, but was arrested and sentence to
execution by beheading for allegedly attending a protest.

Foa also noted that, "Treasury Secretary Wilbur Ross doled out praise to the
Kingdom for keeping protesters off the streets during the President's visit,"
referencing Trump's visit to Riyadh in May. Foa said that Ross and the Trump
administration in general are "either oblivious or willfully ignorant of the
plight of the young students who had been rounded up at pro-democracy protests,
brutally beaten, and sentenced to beheading."

Zeke Johnson, senior director of programs at Amnesty International USA told
ThinkProgress that, "The failure to denounce this mass execution is yet another
example of the Trump administration turning turned a blind eye to the appalling
human rights record of the Saudi government."

The Gulf Arab kingdom continues be among the top executioners in the world. It
executed over 150 people in 2016, and has already executed 66 so far this year,
according to Amnesty International.

A group of 10 Nobel Peace Prize laureates issued a joint statement urging Saudi
to stay the executions. And the American Federation of Teachers has also issued
pleas for mercy - to the Saudi ambassador and Trump alike. "We implore
President Trump, as the standard-bearer for our great nation, to do everything
in his power to stop the atrocities that may otherwise take place in Saudi
Arabia," AFT President Randi Weingarten said in a statement last month.

How much sway the president could have over Saudi is unknown, although the
United States now has an increasingly close relationship with Saudi Arabia.

In response to a ThinkProgress query, the State Department sent an emailed
response, saying that it is "aware of the cases" in question and that it
regularly raised human rights concerns with Saudi Arabia. On the 14 executions,
the State Department spokesperson wrote:

We understand that al-Sweikat has been charged for crimes of violent protest he
allegedly committed as a minor. We call on Saudi Arabia to adhere to the
judicial guarantees to which it has obligated itself under international law,
including to ensure that no death penalty is imposed in any case involving a
defendant who was a minor at the time of the arrest or alleged crime. We urge
the government of Saudi Arabia to respect and protect human rights and
fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression and peaceful
assembly.

But Trump has yet to make a comment on the impending executions, a
disappointment for those hoping his visit to Riyadh would yield more than
another weapons deal and a Toby Keith concert.

"Trump has a responsibility to stand up against such abuses," said Foa. "He
should immediately intervene by calling on Riyadh to commute these death
sentences before they are implemented. If he doesn't, the President risks
emboldening Riyadh to carry out yet another round of protest-related
executions."

(source: thinkprogress.org)








LIBYA:

Videos Capture Summary Executions----International Criminal Court Issues
Warrant for LNA Commander



Forces loyal to the Libyan National Army (LNA) in eastern Libya appear to have
executed captured fighters in Benghazi and desecrated corpses, Human Rights
Watch said today. Video recordings posted online since January 2017 seem to
show LNA fighters carrying out 7 distinct unlawful executions of "extremists."

The most recent video, which appeared on social media on July 24, 2017, shows
the apparent summary execution on July 17 of 20 blindfolded men with their
hands tied behind their backs in orange jumpsuits, whom the commander in charge
accuses of "terrorism." The executioners appear to be members of a special
forces unit headed by Mahmoud al-Werfalli. The Army Special Forces in Benghazi,
under the command of Wanis Bukhamada, are linked to the LNA, which is commanded
by Gen. Khalifa Hiftar. The LNA is allied with the Interim Government, one of
the three governments vying for legitimacy, international recognition, and
control of territory in Libya.

The above image is a screenshot from a video posted on July 24, 2017 showing
the apparent summary execution by LNA fighters of 20 prisoners, whom the
commander, believed to be ICC suspect Mahmoud Al-Werfalli (wearing cap),
accuses of "terrorism."

On August 15, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant
for al-Werfalli for the war crime of murder. He is wanted by the court for his
alleged role in the killing of 33 people in 7 incidents that took place in and
around Benghazi between June 2016 and July 2017. The Interim Government should
take immediate steps to facilitate the surrender of al-Werfalli to the ICC,
Human Rights Watch said.

"The posted videos suggest that LNA-linked forces committed a series of grave
war crimes over many months," said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North
Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The ICC warrant for al-Werfalli is a
wake-up call to other abusive commanders in Libya that one day their serious
crimes could land them in a prison cell in The Hague."

Human Rights Watch reviewed 7 videos and several still images that appear to
show distinct incidents of LNA-affiliated soldiers executing prisoners in their
custody. Some of these videos and images show fighters desecrating the bodies
of supposed fighters who opposed the LNA, including the burning and kicking of
a corpse and posing for photographs with another corpse that had a leash tied
around its neck.

In the video that was posted on social media on July 24, al-Werfalli and LNA
soldiers are seen wearing the insignia of the Army Special Forces. Al-Werfalli
reads out the execution judgment, identifies the unit, the date of July 17, and
the capital offenses attributed to those in custody. He is the main executioner
or supervisor of executions in 6 more video recordings of apparent summary
executions of people accused of "terrorism" and committing crimes against the
LNA.

The summary execution of fighters who have been captured or who have
surrendered is a war crime.

Despite a commitment to investigate alleged crimes by its forces, the LNA has
yet to announce the findings of any investigations or sanctions it has imposed
on any of its members found to have committed violations. In a July 20
statement, the LNA rejected allegations made by the United Nations on July 18
that soldiers under al-Werfalli's command were responsible for summary
executions and that captured fighters in Benghazi were at "imminent risk of
torture and even summary execution."

The LNA said in its response that there was no evidence to substantiate the
accusations of torture and executions and that any conclusions of the LNA's
investigative commission to uncover abuses in "unverified videos" would be made
public.

Human Rights Watch was not able to verify the date when the videos and photos
were taken, or the location where they were recorded. However, an analysis of
the imagery revealed no indications that they had been doctored or were
otherwise inauthentic. Human Rights Watch sought comment from the LNA spokesman
but was unable to reach him. On August 8, Human Rights Watch emailed the LNA
for comment on the videos and photographs that appear to show al-Werfalli
presiding over or carrying out the execution of prisoners. Human Rights Watch
did not receive a response.

3 of the 7 videos appear to show al-Werfalli himself executing captured and
unarmed men, individually or in groups. In 3 other videos, he appears to give
orders to men in military uniform to execute unarmed detainees. In the 7th and
most recent video to surface, a commander, who appears to be al-Werfalli, both
gives orders and participates in the execution of the 20 unarmed, blindfolded
prisoners in orange jumpsuits with their hands tied behind their backs.

The video starts by showing several incidents of crimes the captured men
allegedly committed. The commander, who is dressed in fatigues, a black
t-shirt, and black cap, then reads out the judgment of execution by firing
squad against 18 of the men kneeling in 4 rows. The commander refers to the men
as "terrorists" and says that a "field court" has found them guilty of
"kidnapping, torturing, killing, bombing, slaying, and torturing the sons of
the military establishment in particular and the Libyan people in general."

The commander does not name any of the captured men or cite their affiliations.
He says the date is July 17. Once the reading of the judgment is over, he
orders armed men in military uniforms to execute the captured detainees row by
row. The recording shows them doing so. 2 more individuals are executed in the
same way at the end of the video.

In another video recording posted on social media in June, a man who appears to
be al-Werfalli is seen reciting religious texts and then ordering four men in
fatigues, black t-shirts, and face-masks to shoot in the head four men kneeling
in an open field. The captives are hooded and appear to have their hands bound
behind their backs. Al-Werfalli does not name the victims but accuses them of
crimes, including assassinations, and calls them Kharijites - a term for
Muslims who rebelled against the Caliphate in the early ages of Islam.
Al-Werfalli says that it is the month of Ramadan, which would mean June 2017.

Another undated video appears to show al-Werfalli reciting religious verses in
a room while a man kneels on the floor with his arms behind his head. Other
soldiers can be seen and heard in the background. Al-Werfalli accuses the man
of being a member of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), and then pulls out
a handgun and shoots him in the back of the head, apparently killing him.
Another undated video shows the apparent interrogation of this same man, who
says he is Algerian.

On May 22, an undated video appeared online showing the apparent execution of 2
men: Emad Eddin al-Jazawi, a fighter with the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura
Council, a coalition of fighters including extremists who oppose the LNA, and
the son of a minister of the National Salvation Government, another of the
rival governments. The video begins with al-Jazawi being interrogated and later
shows him in a cage with another man, Haitham Jomaa al-Kafrawi, identified in
the video as an Egyptian member of Al-Qaeda, who is also being interrogated.
The recording ends with al-Jazawi and al-Kafrawi kneeling on the ground, backs
to the camera, as al-Werfalli gives 2 soldiers an order to execute them. A
photo bubble appears above the heads of the victims, showing photos of both
men.

On May 15, al-Werfalli announced his resignation from the special forces, after
he and his forces were accused of abuses, including looting and burning homes,
as well as attacking a rescue division linked with the Interior Ministry in
Benghazi that resulted in the killing of an officer. Al-Werfalli denied
responsibility for those acts. However, the next day, the commander of the
Special Forces, Wanis Bukhamada, rejected al-Werfalli's resignation due to the
"many sacrifices al-Werfalli" had made, and kept him in his position.

Armed conflict, insecurity, and political divisions have plagued Libya since
May 2014, when General Hiftar announced a war to root out "terrorism" in
Benghazi. As a result of armed conflicts in both the east and west, central
authority collapsed and the 3 competing governments emerged, including the
Interim Government, which the House of Representatives supports. Key
institutions, most notably law enforcement and the judiciary, are dysfunctional
in most parts of the country. On July 5, General Hiftar announced the complete
"liberation" of Benghazi from armed groups opposing the LNA, including
extremists, but pockets of resistance remain.

The ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, has a mandate to investigate crimes against
humanity, war crimes, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011.
Human Rights Watch's research in Libya since 2011 has found rampant violations
of international human rights and humanitarian law, including mass long-term
arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, forced displacement, and
unlawful killings. In the face of mounting atrocities, Human Rights Watch has
called on the ICC prosecutor to urgently pursue an investigation into ongoing
grave crimes by all sides, including possible crimes against humanity.

In May, Bensouda said her office was committed to making the Libya situation a
priority in 2017. Given the serious crimes committed in Libya and the
challenges facing the authorities, the ICC's mandate remains crucial to ending
impunity in Libya, Human Rights Watch said.

(source: Human Rights Watch)

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Aug. 17



MALAYSIA:

An end to mandatory death penalty?



Under Malaysian law, capital punishment (the death penalty) is mandatory for
the crime of murder, drug trafficking, kidnapping and several other offences.
Since 1992, at least 651 convicted persons (Malaysians) have been given the
death penalty, most of them for drug trafficking.

According to the Prisons Department, some 800 people are now on death row after
being convicted of drug trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs
Act 1952. A minister in the Prime Minister's Department said recently that the
act will be amended to "give back" the discretionary power to the trial judge
at the end of a drug trafficking case.

Welcoming this new move by the government, an executive director of Amnesty
International Malaysia was quoted as saying that whilst the proposed amendment
is only in respect of drug trafficking, she hopes it will become "a 1st step
towards total abolition". Bar Council Human Rights Committee co-chairman Andrew
Khoo called upon the government "to repeal all mandatory death sentences",
adding that the sentence "robs judges of the opportunity to exercise their
discretion" to hand down a punishment that fits the circumstances and gravity
of each particular case.

Not everyone shares the view that the mandatory death penalty for drug
trafficking should be scrapped. A former Federal Court judge was quoted as
saying that the status quo should remain because abolishing it might see an
increase of such crimes in the future.

"Although the death penalty has not reduced such cases in the past, removing it
will only cause the number of cases to spike drastically," he had said.

The former judge (who was once a prosecutor in the Attorney-General's Chambers)
strongly believes that the mandatory death sentence is a deterrent, and
scrapping it "will only embolden" more criminals.

If the mandatory death sentence is to be replaced with a mandatory life
sentence, the Malaysian government will have to bear the financial burden of
looking after the welfare of these convicts in prison for the rest of their
lives. Should our taxpayers be burdened by this? Furthermore, as said by
Amnesty International, there is no evidence in the world to show that the death
penalty can be a deterrent.

Also, if the 1952 act is amended, and convicted drug traffickers no longer face
the mandatory death penalty, a trial judge may (after considering the
circumstances of the case and the gravity of the offence) still apply his
judicial discretion in imposing the death penalty on him.

The amendment therefore, repeals the "mandatory nature" of the punishment, but
it does not deprive the trial judge of his judicial power to impose such a
capital punishment on the convicted person. In short, the proposed amendment is
still a far cry from the total abolition of the death penalty for all crimes.

Under Malaysian law, the death penalty can still be handed down by a trial
judge upon conviction of an accused charged with any of the following offences:

WAGING or attempting to wage war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, a ruler or
Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Section 121 of the Penal Code);

OFFENCES against the person of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Ruler or Yang
di-Pertua Negeri (mandatory, Section 121A of the Penal Code);

COMMITTING terrorist acts resulting in death (mandatory, Section 130C of the
Penal Code);

MURDER (mandatory, Section 302 of the Penal Code);

KIDNAPPING or abducting in order to murder (Section 364 of the Penal Code);

HOSTAGE-TAKING resulting in death (mandatory, Section 374A of the Penal Code);

RAPE resulting in death (Section 376(4) of the Penal Code);

GANG-ROBBERY with murder (Section 396 of the Penal Code);

DRUG trafficking (mandatory, Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952);

DISCHARGING a firearm in the commission of an offence (mandatory, Section 3 of
the Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971); and,

ABDUCTION, wrongful restraint or wrongful confinement for ransom (Section 3(1)
of the Kidnapping Act 1961).

Official statistics (released by the police Narcotics Division) revealed that
despite the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers, the number of drug
trafficking cases in the country continued to increase. From 1990 to 2011, the
number of persons arrested for drug trafficking increased from 744 to 3,845.
The escalating figures showed clearly that the mandatory death penalty law has
not achieved the aim of eradicating the drug menace. In March 2012, then home
minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told Parliament that the mandatory
death penalty has failed to stem the drug trade in Malaysia.

Under the original provisions of Section 39B, conviction for drug trafficking
does not entail a mandatory death penalty. At the end of the trial and upon
conviction of the accused, the trial judge has the discretion to impose
whatever penalty he deems fit in accordance with the circumstances of the case
and the gravity of the crime. He can hand down a prison term (say 5 to 10
years), a life sentence or the death penalty.

After the law was amended in 1983, this judicial discretion was removed and the
trial judge must, after convicting the accused under Section 39B(1), give him
the death penalty under Section 39B(2).

The Death Penalty Information Centre website stated that 104 countries have
abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Malaysia is one of 57 countries,
where the death penalty is retained for ordinary crimes. In the Asean region,
only 2 countries have abolished the death penalty - Cambodia (1989) and the
Philippines (2006).

Even though the mandatory aspect of the death penalty for drug trafficking may
soon be scrapped, we are still a long way from abolishing capital punishment in
this country.

(source: Salleh Buang formerly served the Attorney-General's Chambers before he
left for practice, the corporate sector and, then, the academia----New Straits
Times)








PHILIPPINES:

Arroyo gets 12 House committee memberships after death penalty stance



Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may no longer be a Deputy Speaker
after she voted against the bill reimposing the death penalty, but she's busier
than ever as she is now a member of 12 House committees.

Arroyo was elected today to be a member of the Committees on Local Government,
Veterans Affairs and Welfare, and Ways and Means.

That's in addition to her current memberships in the committees of Economic
Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Government Enterprises and Privatization, Housing and
Urban Development, Justice, Labor and Employment, National Defense and
Security, Population and Family Relations, and Revision of Laws which she
gained last May 16.

This makes Arroyo a member of 12 of the 58 standing committees of the House.

Congressmen in leadership positions, like Arroyo when she was deputy speaker,
are ex-officio members of all committees of the House. They also enjoy the rank
and privilege of committee chairmen.

Arroyo is also one of the most prolific members of the House in the 17th
Congress, authoring at least 164 House measures.

Other new committee assignments announced today are: Rep. Jesulito Manalo as
chairperson of the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, and Rep. Raymond
Democrito Mendoza as chairperson of the Committee on Poverty Alleviation,
making the Chairmanship of the Special Committee on Globalization and WTO
vacant.

Manalo replaces Buhay Party-list Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde, while Mendoza
replaces Gabriela Party-list Rep. Emmi de Jesus as chairpersons of the
Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs and Committee on Poverty Alleviation,
respectively, after they, like Arroyo, voted against the death penalty bill
which is a priority bill of the administration.

New House member, Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay,
was designated as a member of the Committees on Cooperatives Development,
Population and Family Relations, Social Services, and Veterans Affairs and
Welfare, Women.

(source: abs-cbn.com)








IRAN----executions

8 Prisoners Hanged in One Day in Iran's Rajai Shahr Prison



On Wednesday August 16, 8 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Karaj's Rajai
Shahr Prison on murder charges. Another prisoner was reportedly transferred to
solitary confinement in preparation for his execution.

According to close sources, the names of 5 of the 8 prisoners executed are:
Mostafa Bashkouh, Rasoul Gol Mohammadi, Shahram Abadeh, Seyed Mohammad Seyed
Abdollah, and Moharram Abdi. These prisoners were transferred to solitary
confinement on Monday in preparation for their executions. A juvenile offender
by the name of Mehdi Bahlouli was also transferred to solitary confinement, but
he was reportedly returned to his cell after the complainant on his case file
postponed his execution. Another prisoner by the name of Majid Rahimi was also
transferred to solitary confinement, but he received a 3-month postponement on
his execution from the complainant on his case file.

On Tuesday August 15, at least 1 prisoner in Rajai Shahr Prison was transferred
to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution. According to close
sources, the prisoner's name is Sadegh Gholami and he is sentenced to death on
the charge of possession of approximately one kilogram of crack.

"Sadegh Gholami was scheduled to be executed last year on drug related charges,
but in order to delay his execution, he murdered one of his cellmates. The
status of the new case file opened for him for the murder crime is uncertain
right now. Sadegh is attempting to receive forgiveness from the complainant on
his new case file in order to be spared from execution," an informed source
tells Iran Human Rights.

Some prisoners on death row in Iran have been known to murder a cellmate or
inflict self-injury in order to postpone their execution sentences.

Official Iranian sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced these 8 executions.

(source: Iran Human Rights)

*******************

Execution of 3 Prisoners After 21 Years of Imprisonment



On Monday morning August 14 The Iran regime hanged 3 inmates in a central
prison in Qom.

The 3 detainees were transferred to the quarantine facility of Qom Prison
yesterday to execute the death sentence.

21 years ago 2 of these prisoners were sentenced to 3 years in prison and
flogged, and then released, but they were again arrested when the case was
opened, and they were held in Qom prison until their death sentence was
executed.

The names of these prisoners were "Mahmoud Arab Khorasani, Mehdi Kasseb and
Mohammad Taqi Dehparvar???, who were from Qom and resident of this city.

The families of these prisoners were summoned to prison on Sunday for their
last visit.

Last week, the 18 year old son of Mahmoud Arab Khorasani committed suicide when
he heard that his father had been sent for execution, but he was saved by his
family attempts.

(source: NCR-Iran)








NIGERIA:

Ondo Court Sentences 2 Policemen, 1 Other To Death Over Armed Robbery.



The Ondo State High Court sitting in Akure , has sentenced to death by hanging
2 policemen, Henry Ubogu and Emmanuel Moses attached to the State Police
Command for conspiracy and armed robbery.

Aside Ugbogu and Moses who had earlier been dismissed before their arraignment,
a civilian conspirator, Ige Onukun would also face the hangman noose for the
same offence.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the 2 former policemen were specialized in robbing
unsuspecting motorists of their cars while operating illegal checkpoints on the
highways.

It was also learnt that the third accused person, Ige Onukun who bagged the
same penalty, was specialized in helping them driving away the snatched cars.

According to the prosecution, the convicts conspired and robbed one Pastor
Ayodele Joseph of his Toyota Camry with Registration number LA 46 AAA at
Olopejojo junction Ijoka road, Akure, around 8p.m on 7th April 2010.

The court however dismissed that particular charge, saying the prosecution
failed to establish the link between the Pastor's car, despite the fact that
they had confessed to snatching of car at that area around the time.

The court presided over by Justice David Kolawole held that proof in criminal
trial is that of proof beyond reasonable doubt and that car may be that of
another person.

Justice Kolawole held that, there is no room for guessing or doubt in criminal
trial as all doubt must be resolved in favour of an accused person .

However, the convicts were unlucky in the other charge relating to the
snatching of Toyota Camry of Mr. Victor Ojo, a lawyer and politician, whose car
was snatched on 26th April 2010 , at Ijapo Akure, while the convicts were
pretending to be on stop and search duty.

According to the prosecution, the reckless manner they were driving after the
robbery led to their arrest by the Patrol team who gave them a hot pursuit.

In his ruling, Justice David Kolawole subsequently convicted and sentenced them
to death by hanging for conspiracy and robbery.

(source: leadership.ng)

*************************

Court Martial Sentences Airman To Death For Killing Girlfriend



The General Court Martial of the Nigerian Air Force has sentenced Air Craftsman
Kalu Bernard of the Nigerian Air Force Ammamem unit, to death by hanging for
killing his girlfriend and colleague, Miss Oladipupo Sholape on March 12, 2017.

The President of the General Court Martial, Group Captain Elisha Bindul handed
him the death penalty after the defense failed to prove his innocence in the
March 12 tragedy when Air Craftsman Kalu Benard who was charged with murder,
attempted murder, house break-in, losing service property and failure to
perform his official duties, killed Air Craftswoman Sholape for allegedly
cheating on him.

"On the 1st charge of murder, contrary to section106 sub-section A of the Armed
Forces Act Cap A20, Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the convict is
sentenced to death by hanging".

"On the 2nd charge of house break-in, contrary to section 110 sub-section B of
the Armed Forces Act Cap A20, Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the
convict is sentenced to 5 years imprisonment".

"To the 4th charge of attempt to commit an offence, contrary to section 95 of
the Armed Forces Act, Cap A20 of the Law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the
convict is sentenced to life imprisonment".

Meanwhile, counsel to Air Craftsman Kalu Benard, Mr. A. M Ewuga, is heading on
appeal, noting that his court is innocent of the 5 count charge preferred
against him and accused the general court martial of not evaluating the
evidence before it.

He said, "The court has not evaluated the evidence before her properly".

"The case of the defense is not considered by the court and in our own very
candid opinion, the decision of this honourable court need to be tested and
surely we are going to move to the court of appeal to consider this decision of
the court today".

(source: channelstv.com)








INDIA:

Supreme Court stays Death Penalty of husband-wife duo convicted for human
sacrifice



The Supreme Court is seized of yet another death penalty matter, this time from
Chhattisgarh.

A 3-judge Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Amitava Roy and AM Khanwilkar today
stayed the death penalty awarded to a husband-wife duo and granted leave in a
case of alleged human sacrifice.

Senior Advocate Rebecca John along with advocates Liz Mathew, Ninni Susan
Thomas, Philip Mathew, Nicey Paulson, Waheb Hussain, Kabir Dixit and Yash S
Vijay appeared for the petitioners.

The factual matrix of the case involves some distressing allegations against
the convicts. It is alleged that the 2 main accused, Ishwari Lal Yadav and her
wife Kiran Bai used to indulge in Tantirism. The wife had asked the husband and
other co-accused to get a small child for sacrifice. Chirag Rajput, the 2 year
old child of the immediate neighbours was kidnapped and was allegedly killed in
a gruesome manner.

The Sessions Court had sentenced the husband-wife duo and five others to death
for the crime. The Chhattisgarh High Court had confirmed the death penalty of
the husband and the wife but reduced the sentence of the co-accused.

The husband and wife have challenged the decision of the High Court in Supreme
Court.

The Court today issued notice in the matter and stayed the execution of the
appellants. The Court also directed that the matter be listed before
appropriate Bench on November 28.

(source: barandbranch.com)

***************************

Bengali film has provoked fresh debate on death penalty----Dhananjoy shows how
the police, the judiciary and the State can err in sending a poor security
guard to the gallows.

The debate on death penalty continues to rage. And why not? For more than 60 %
of the global population lives in countries like India, China, Indonesia and
the US where executions take place. And although the United Nations has time
and again passed resolutions - albeit non-binding - urging the abolition of
capital punishment, 56 nations still send people to the gallows. Yes, 103 have
done away with this barbaric practice, and 30 are abolitionist in practice. It
is in this context that Arindam Sil's heart-wrenching film, Dhananjoy, is of
immense sociological consequence.

The Bengali film - which hit the screens on August 11 - could not have come at
a more appropriate time, a time when the nation is witnessing a social turmoil
and one political crisis after another, when life-and-death issues such as
death sentence tend to be relegated to the back-burner. Sil's film opened on
the eve of the 13th anniversary of Dhananjoy Chatterjee's hanging in Kolkata on
August 14, 2004. The young man had aged parents, a brother and a wife, and in
what seemed like a heartless action, the noose was placed around his neck on
his birthday. He was 39.

Sil's movie is bound to get the burning subject back into drawing-room
conversations, and draw the attention of the people in the top echelons of
political and judicial power. Sil's work, Dhananjoy, will keep alive an issue
as pertinent as capital punishment.

It is pertinent, and highly so, because as Sil shows in his fictionalised
account how the police, the judiciary and the State could have erred in sending
the poor security guard, Dhananjoy, to the gallows. Throughout his
14-year-incarceration (which by itself could have been a full sentence), he had
said a million times that he was innocent of the crime he had been convicted
of: the rape and murder of 18-year-old school-going Hetal Parekh, who lived
with her parents and brother in one of south Kolkata's high-rise residential
complexes.

There is another sentence that Dhananjoy kept uttering during his days in the
prison. He was being punished for being poor, and he seemed to have used the
same, famous words of an American Supreme Court judge, William Douglas, who
quipped that "capital punishment was for those without capital". And Dhananjoy
had no money, and his lawyer in the face of a dwindling flow of fees lost
interest in the case. Which is precisely what Sil says in his film, while
throwing up a theory.

The movie narrates a fictionalised reopening of the case by 2 lawyers, who
argue out in court that Dhananjoy might not have committed the heinous crime he
had been executed for. It could have been Hetal's mother, who in a fit of anger
after seeing blood stains on the girl's undergarment and presuming that she
would have had sex, killed her. And the family went to elaborate lengths to
cover up the murder, and Dhananjoy, who was a guard in the building, became the
scapegoat.

Throughout Adoor Gopalakrishnan's Nizhalkkuthu, the hangman keeps uttering that
he might have executed the wrong person, an innocent man.

The film also follows a book, Adalat-Media-Samaj Ebong Dhananjoyer Fansi
(Judiciary-Media-Society and Dhananjoy's Hanging), published in September 2016
that avers that the guard may have been wrong implicated in the rape and
murder. The real villain may have escaped! It may have been Hetal's mother.

Sil's movie sticks to this line as well. Slickly mounted and neatly edited,
Dhananjoy is paced like a thriller from a director who is known to have made
some films in this genre.

Whatever be the merits or demerits of Sil's work, the fact is that Dhananjoy is
a movie that needs to be watched, discussed and analysed. The man is dead and
gone, but the family has been leading an impoverished existence in rural
Bengal, ridden with guilt and accused by society of having spawned a man who
raped and killed a young girl.

Sil's Dhananjoy assumes still greater significance in the lights of surveys
conducted the world over.

A 1988 survey conducted for the United Nations concluded that there was
absolutely no basis to show that death sentence had a greater deterrence than
life imprisonment. Statistics from the countries which have abolished this
penalty have since supported the finding.

Worse, as long as capital punishment exists, the risk of putting a noose around
an innocent can never be eliminated. After all, no human system is infallible.
In India, where no research has progressed in this aspect, such miscarriage of
justice is quite likely, given the state of the judiciary and the complexities
of the society. The legal system is not only bogged down by archaic laws, but
also a terrible shortage of personnel.

And in a country ridden with caste, communal and religious disparities, and a
far-from-perfect method of policing, the chances of wrongful (maybe even
wilful) conviction may not be exactly rare. In the US, the death penalty has
been often termed "racist". India - where large sections of the 1 billion-plus
population live in extreme poverty with absolutely no means of hiring talented
lawyers to argue their cases - is probably a good example of what Douglas once
said.

The celebrated auteur, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, shows this, all too clearly,
through the guilt of a hangman in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore in
his Nizhalkkuthu (Shadow Kill). Throughout the film, the hangman keeps uttering
that he might have executed the wrong person, an innocent man.

Sil's Dhananjoy provokes us into thinking exactly this. Was the 39-year-old
security guard not guilty? Was he framed? Maybe, the case can be reopened.
Maybe, the debate on the death sentence can get a fresh dose of oxygen, and
Sil's work has the potential to reawaken a society to the ills of having such a
barbaric law on its statue.

(source: dailyo.in)
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Rick Halperin
2017-08-18 11:28:39 UTC
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August 18



INDIA:

Andhra serial killer who hammered four to death in Nellore last year to be
hanged----Venkatesh had been nabbed by the Nellore district police in July last
year.



A notorious serial killer in Andhra Pradesh was sentenced to death by a Nellore
court on Thursday, after he was found guilty of murdering 4 people with a
hammer, before robbing them.

28-year-old Kukkapalli Venkateswarlu alias Venkatesh had been nabbed by the
Nellore district police in July last year.

A native of Yerrabotlapalle in Kondapuram mandal, Venkatesh was a Class 9
dropout, who ran a fast food stall, and committed the murders and robberies
when he fell short of cash, the police said.

The police also added that he was an alcoholic, with many vices.

According to the police, Venkatesh used to plan his robberies by identifying
houses in which only women or children were present, and observe the movement
of people in the area.

He would then hatch a plan, and target the house when it was easy for him to
commit the murder, rob the victims, and flee.

Venkatesh's 1st murder involved one Shimuni Kavita, who he hammered to death,
before making away with her gold ornaments.

Following this, Venkatesh had killed a temple priest and his wife on April 1,
2016.

Another murder of a teacher in the Children's Park area of Nellore in July that
same year, led to his arrest, as the victim's husband walked into the house,
and shouted for help.

With the help of neighbours and locals, Venkatesh was caught and handed over to
the Balajinagar police.

According to reports, the court, while hearing the case on Thursday, said
crimes committed by Venkateswarlu fell in the category of 'rarest of rare
cases' and awarded him death penalty.

(source: thenewsminute.com)

******************

HC to hear plea of death row convict in techie murder case



The Bombay High Court is expected to begin the final hearing into an appeal
filed by the convict in the Esther Anuhya rape and murder case.

Chandrabhan Sanap, who was convicted for raping and murdering the 23-year-old
techie, had challenged the death penalty awarded to him by a special court on
October 30, 2015.

A Division Bench headed by Justice N.H, Patil has posted the appeal for hearing
on August 28. The court will start hearing the matter on a daily basis.

The trial court had observed that the case fell under the 'rarest of rare'
category. The State government has also filed a petition seeking confirmation
of the death sentence. The petition will be heard along with Sanap's appeal.

According to the prosecution, Anuhya, who hailed from Andhra Pradesh, had
returned to the city on January 5, 2014, after visiting her family in
Machilipatnam. After arriving at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus in Kurla she met Sanap
who offered to drop her at her hostel in Andheri for Rs. 300.

Sanap then raped and murdered her. He tried to get rid of the body by hiding it
in the bushes along the Eastern Express Highway in Bhandup.

After a search, Anuhya's family found her body on January 16, 2014. Sanap was
arrested in March that year and charged with murder, rape, kidnapping and other
charges.

(source: Press Trust of India)

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2017-08-19 13:00:01 UTC
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August 19



MALAYSIA:

Malaysia postpones execution of Filipino on death row



The scheduled execution of a Filipino convicted of murder in Malaysia was
postponed after the governor of Sabah heeded appeals from the Philippine
government, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Saturday.

Ejah Bin Jaafar was supposed to be hanged on Friday.

"We would like to thank the governor of Sabah for responding to the repeated
appeals of the Philippine government on behalf of the family of Mr. Jaafar,"
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said in the statement.

"The execution of Ejah Bin Jaafar was ordered postponed by Sabah Governor Tun
Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Juhar Haji Mahiruddin following a last-minute appeal
from the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur," the DFA said in a statement.

Jaafar's punishment may be reduced to life imprisonment instead of the death
penalty, depending on the outcome of a case review.

"The Sabah Pardons Board will meet in December to review his case... The
decision of the board will be final and executory without any further
possibility of appeal," the DFA said.

The Sandakan High Court sentenced Jaafar with capital punishment in 2009 after
it found the Filipino guilty of murder in September 2006.

The DFA has yet to give details on Jaafar's case including who he killed and
why he committed the crime.

Foreign affairs spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar told Agence France-Presse that
Jaafar and his family have lived in Sabah "for a long time," but gave no other
details.

Officials from the Philippine Embassy in Malaysia have been "making appeals
since 2015 for Malaysian authorities to spare the life of Mr. Jaafar and
commute his sentence," the DFA said.

The Philippines has also appealed to Malaysia to commute the death sentences of
nine of its nationals who were convicted of taking part in a 2013 attack on the
Sabah district of Lahad Datu, which left scores of people dead.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos live in the Malaysian state of Sabah on
Borneo island, many having been displaced by war and violence in the nearby
southern Philippine region of Mindanao -- home to long-running Muslim
rebellions.

(source: ABS-CBN News)








INDONESIA:

New fears for death row gran Lindsay Sandiford as drug smugglers executed in
Indonesia----She was sentenced to death after being caught in Bali Airport with
4.8kg of cocaine



Death row gran Lindsay Sandiford is still awaiting her fate on in Indonesia.

Fresh calls to change the execution system have been made, 4 1/2 years after
she was found trying to smuggle 1.6m pounds worth of cocaine.

She was sentenced to death after being caught in Bali Airport with 4.8kg of
cocaine, and has since desperately tried to appeal the execution.

Ms Sandiford, now 61, from Cheltenham, maintains she was carrying the drugs to
protect her son, who was being threatened.

No date has been set for her execution but it is believed that the Indonesian
authorities are preparing for more executions as president, Joko "Jokowi"
Widodo, steps up the country's war on drugs.

This is despite an official watchdog finding this week that Indonesia executed
a Nigerian man last year while his case was unresolved.

Humphrey Jefferson was executed by firing squad along with 3 other, despite
there still being a chance of pardon in his case, leading to renewed calls to
halt executions in the Asian country.

Charity Human Rights Watch said in a statement: "Indonesia should restore the
unofficial moratorium on the death penalty and ensure the rights of criminal
suspects, including those implicated in drug crimes, are respected rather than
steamrolled."

Sandiford recently celebrated her 61st birthday behind bars at Kerobakan Prison
with a special cake, according to Gazette Live .

In a message posted on the Justice and Fairness for Lindsay Sandiford Facebook
page, the grandmother thanked her supporters.

The message reads: "Dear Friends and supporters.

"Thank you to everyone for your kind wishes for my 61st birthday last weekend.
I had a thoroughly enjoyable day with visits from some dear friends, a
delicious cake, and messages from my family and supporters from around the
world.

"I was immensely touched by all your warm thoughts, and I would like to add a
heartfelt thank-you to the wonderful governor at the women's prison here, for
making the small celebration possible.

"I would like you all to know that I am keeping well and continuing to work and
teach other women on various handicrafts.

"In the meantime, keep me in your thoughts and thank you all again for your
friendship and support.

"Warm regards, Lindsay."

(source: gloucesterlive.co.uk)






'

PAKISTAN:

Botched-up investigation: 2 death row convicts set free after 12 years



The Supreme Court on Friday acquitted 2 death row convicts languishing in
prison for around 12 years for murdering a man in the name of honour, ARY News
reported.

Aijaz Ahmed and Shahid Iqbal were condemned to death by a trial court for
killing a man for honour in Hafizabad city of Punjab in 2005.

Subsequently, the convicts challenged the guilty verdict in high court which
converted their capital punishment into life imprisonment.

The convicts, afterwards, appealed the high court's verdict in the top court,
seeking their acquittal in the murder case.

After hearing arguments from defense and prosecution sides, a Supreme Court
bench announced the verdict acquitting both the convicts for want of evidence.

Justice Asif Saeed Khosa observed that the fault is that police collude with
suspects which leads to their acquittal. Police botched up the case after
receiving kickbacks, observed another member of the bench and added that the
prosecution???s conduct was also inappropriate whereas police was not ready to
do anything.

(source: arynews.tv)








IRAN:

Call for an international commission of inquiry to investigate 1988 massacre of
30,000 political prisoners in Iran



Human rights defenders, dignitaries, European politicians and the Iranian
Resistance called for the formation of an international commission of inquiry
into the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in the summer of 1988 and
bringing those responsible for this genocide and crime against humanity to
justice.

They stressed that the issue of human rights should be at the core of the
West's policy on Iran. They urged the UN, EU and the US to put the issue of
flagrant and systematic violation of human rights in Iran on top of their
agenda.

The call was made during an exhibition on the 1988 massacre that took place
upon the initiative of Mr. Jean-Francois Legaret, the Mayor of Paris
municipality District 1 at this municipality on Thursday, August 17, 2017.

In addition to Mr. Legaret, several French mayors including Armand Jacquemin,
mayor of Moussy Le Vieux, Jean-Claude Jegoudez, mayor of Grisy-Sur-Seine, and
Jacky Duminy, mayor of Ors took part and spoke at the exhibition.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the Iranian Resistance, in a message
to the exhibition said 30,000 political prisoners were hanged in Iran in days
such as these in the summer of 1988, without any reaction by Western
governments.

Those who remained silent over this tragedy betrayed humanity because the
mullahs found out that their crimes had no consequences. So, they continued by
exporting their terrorism and fundamentalism abroad and drenching the Middle
East in blood.

If in those days, the massacre had not been met with silence, today, the
mullahs could not sink Syria in a whirlpool of blood.

The people of Iran want to end the impunity of those in charge of the massacre
and hold them accountable. This has turned into the Iranian people's most
important political demand from the clerical regime. We urge the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights to set up an independent commission of inquiry to
investigate the 1988 massacre. The UN Security Council must set up a special
tribunal or refer the issue to the International Criminal Court to arrange for
the prosecution of the leaders of the Iranian regime.

Mrs. Rajavi once again urged all governments to make their relations and trade
with the religious fascism ruling Iran contingent on an end to executions and
torture.

Governor Yves Bonnet, the former head of France's domestic anti-terrorism
organization; Struan Stevenson, a Scottish politician, President of "European
Iraqi Freedom Association" and former President of the European Parliament's
Delegation for Relations with Iraq, were among the dignitaries who took part in
this exhibition and supported the call by the head of the opposition.

In his remarks, Stevenson condemned the recent trip of EU foreign policy chief
Federica Mogherini to Iran and said: "Rouhani has been hailed in the West as a
moderate and a reformist, despite the fact that more than 3,500 people,
including 80 women, have been executed during the 4 years he has been in
office, catapulting Iran into pole position as the world's number 1 state
executioner per capita. Several hundred people have been executed so far this
year, including women and teenagers. 3 days before Mogherini arrived in Tehran,
Amnesty International published a 94-page report highlighting the 'web of
oppression' that pervades Iran and detailing the catastrophic human rights
situation in the country."

He added: "The French government and the EU should also be demanding a full
United Nations inquiry into the 1988 massacre, with Khamenei, Rouhani and their
clique of killer clerics indicted for crimes against humanity and brought for
trial before the international courts in The Hague."

Khomeini, the founder of the clerical regime in the summer of 1988, in a fatwa
that was unprecedented in the history of Islam, stated that all those who were
imprisoned throughout Iran and were still loyal to the People's Mojahedin
Organization of Iran should be executed. More than 30,000 political prisoners
who were serving their terms were executed in a few months based on this
criminal fatwa. The Death Commissions, in trials that lasted just a few
minutes, sent to the gallows any of the prisoners who were not willing to
condemn the PMOI (MEK). The victims were buried in mass graves in secret.

In spite of the mullahs' attempts to impose silence on this crime against
humanity and to prevent the spread of this issue in the society, the movement
calling for justice for the victims of the massacre in Iran has expanded since
last year and has evolved into a public issue. The Justice seeking movement in
Iran managed to corner the mullahs.

Ali Khamenei intended to put a member of the 1988 massacre's Death Commission
in the office of president, but the nationwide campaign calling for justice
foiled his plans.

During the last year, new information about the slaughter, including a large
number of names of the victims, as well as the locations of numerous mass
graves which the mullahs had previously concealed, has surfaced.

The 1988 massacre and the conspiracy of silence has been an issue of consensus
among the regime's various factions and its senior officials.

Over the past 4 years, the mullahs' president Hassan Rouhani had appointed
Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, one of the key officials in charge of the 1988
massacre, as Minister of Justice. The new Justice Minister for his 2nd term,
Alireza Avaie, is another one of the perpetrators of the massacre, who has been
already designated as a violator of human rights by the European Union.

A number of relatives of the victims and individuals who spent years in prison
in Iran and were tortured shared their observations with the audience during
the exhibition.

(source: NCR-Iran)








VIETNAM:

Vietnam upholds death sentences against shipping execs in major corruption case



But without a major overhaul of the country's public sector, stern sentencing
may be only cosmetic, analysts say.

A court of appeals in Hanoi on Friday upheld the death sentences against 2
executives from the corruption-hit shipping industry after convicting them of
pocketing nearly $12 million in deals made between 2006 and 2008, the latest
punishment meted out as the ongoing crackdown on the public sector is widening.

At the 1st trial in February, Giang Kim Dat, the former sales manager of the
troubled shipbuilder Vinashinlines, and Tran Van Liem, the company's former
CEO, were sentenced to death for stealing more than VND260 billion ($11.65
million) from the company between 2006 and 2008.

In February, the firm's former accountant, Tran Van Khuong, also got a life
sentence for abetting the embezzlement, while Dat's father Giang Van Hien
received 12 years in prison for money laundering. Friday's appellate court
upheld all these sentences.

According to the indictment, Dat siphoned off the money from 16 deals to buy or
lease old vessels. He also advised Liem on how to buy and lease ships and
colluded with foreign partners to rig prices for personal gain.

The investigation found that Dat paid Liem $150,000 and Khuong $110,000 in the
scam. The rest of the embezzled money was transferred to multiple bank accounts
in Hien's name, who used it to buy houses and cars.

After his wrongdoings were discovered, Dat fled aboard and was arrested in July
2015 following an international arrest warrant.

Vinashinlines is a subsidiary of Vinashin, a shipping behemoth that racked up
debt of $4.5 billion in 2010 before being restructured into the Shipbuilding
Industry Corporation in 2013.

The Vinashinlines case is 1 of 6 serious corruption and economic mismanagement
cases the government planned to bring to trial by the end of March 2017. The
others involved violations at Agribank, OceanBank, VietinBank, the Vietnam
Waterway Construction Corporation and a public development fund in the northern
province of Bac Ninh.

However, authorities have failed to bring these cases to a close.

The trial took place in the context of Vietnam's widening crackdown on
corruption and malfeasance at the much-cosseted yet inefficient public sector.

But analysts say infrequent but harsh punishment can only serve as a deterrent
to contain large-scale corruption in the short run. They say without a major
overhaul of the state sector, which has proved a drag on a once-thriving
economy, corruption will remain endemic.

"Evidence from all over the world suggests the death penalty is not a deterrent
to grand corruption," said Carl Thayer, a Vietnam expert at the University of
New South Wales in Australia.

"The death penalty for high level corruption might win some publicity and
approval from the public. But this feeling wears off when large scale
corruption continues," Thayer said.

(source: vnexpress.net)








ENGLAND:

Letter to the editor: What has got to happen before the death penalty is
restored?



In response to your regular correspondent Robert Readman in Monday's Echo (Aug
14), he was appealing for the restoration of the death penalty, which I too
would like to happen, but it will never happen. Why?

Before the recent elections I contacted our local MP Conor Burns and put the
question to him, if you are restored to power will you consider the restoration
of the death penalty.

I received a letter which stated that he is against it and has been for a long
time.

He then went on to say that the government is clear that those who commit the
most serious crime will receive the most severe sentences which as Mr Readman
pointed out is a long stay in prison, life of luxury, all medical problems
sorted out. In fact, total heaven.

So the question now comes, what has got to happen before the death penalty is
restored?

Throughout the last few weeks there have been some horrific murders and the
culprit will receive the luxury stay in prison for a few years and then be
released so they can then carry out a greater crime.

I firmly believe the reason why the death penalty will never be restored is
because the government is afraid of creating a martyr to a cause if a terrorist
is ever executed.

But it should be remembered the death penalty is still carried out around the
world, even in some Christian countries.

To back this up I have spoken to several strongly religious people -
Christians, Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses - and they all say the same
thing. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

So, in concluding, I say to Mr Readman there are thousands of people in this
country who strongly support his views but "weak and wet" politicians are
frightened of creating a martyr of the executed felon. Just look at some of the
sentences handed out in the local courts which appear in the Echo regularly. I
sometimes have to sit down before I fall to the floor due to excessive laughing
at the pitiful sentence handed out!

Graham Potter

Fletcher Road, Ensbury Park, Bournemouth

(source: Letter to the Editor, bournemouthecho.co.uk)
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August 20



IRAN----executions

3 Prisoners Hanged in Qom----They were sentenced to death about 21 years ago
based on the Judge's opinion rather than actual documented evidence.



3 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Qom Central Prison on murder charges. The
case files for these prisoners were reportedly opened about 21 years ago.

According to a report by the human rights news agency, HRANA, the Iranian
authorities carried out the 3 executions on the morning of Tuesday August 15.
The report identifies the prisoners as Mahmoud Arab Khorasani, Mehdi Kaseb, and
Mohammad Taghi Dehparvar. The prisoners were reportedly transferred to solitary
confinement on Sunday August 13 in preparation for their executions.

"These three prisoners were sentenced to death about 21 years ago based on the
Judge's opinion rather than actual documented evidence," an informed source
tells Iran Human Rights. "21 years ago, 2 of the prisoners had their death
sentences commuted to lashings and a 3-year prison term each. However, they
were tried again and sentenced to death."

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced these 3 executions.

(source: Iran Human Rights)








BANGLADESH:

10 get death penalty for attempted assassination of Bangladesh PM Hasina----The
convicts had hatched the plot to kill Hasina in 2000 by planting a high-powered
explosive device



10 militants were on Sunday sentenced to death and 9 others jailed for 20 years
each by a court in Bangladesh for attempting to assassinate Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina in 2000.

The convicts had hatched the plot to kill Hasina in 2000 by planting a
high-powered explosive device in an open ground at her village home in
southwestern Gopalganj where she was scheduled to address a public rally.

Security officials, however, detected the bomb ahead of the rally.

On further investigation, outlawed Harkatul Jihad-e- Islami Bangladesh (HuJI)
chief Mufti Hannan, who was executed earlier this year in another case
involving the attempted assassination of the then Bangladeshi-origin British
High Commissioner, was found to be the mastermind of the plot.

25 suspects had been accused in the Special Powers Act case. Nine received 20
years in prison and were fined 20,000 taka each, while 4 were acquitted.

"They (convicts) will be executed either by hanging or by shooting with
permission of the High Court," Dhaka's Speedy Trial Tribunal-2 judge Mamtaz
Begum said.

Only 8 of the accused faced the trial in person while the rest were sentenced
in absentia.

Under the Bangladesh law, the death sentences would require being endorsed by
the High Court following an automatic death reference hearing. The convicts are
allowed to file an appeal as well.

The judgement comes even as a Dhaka court nears the end of a trial regarding
another major assassination attempt on Hasina while she was the opposition
leader as the chief of the Awami League in 2004.

An influential group of the then ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of
ex-premier Khaleda Zia is believed to have masterminded the plot, which they
had engaged HuJI to execute.

Hasina narrowly escaped the attack that killed 23 people and injured hundreds.

BNP leader and Zia's son Tarique Rahman is being tried in the case in absentia
as a prime accused.

"The verdict of the case is expected by the year end," a court official
familiar with the development said.

(source: business-standard.com)

************

Bangabandhu's grandson Radwan Mujib says he was surprised by law to protect
killers



It came as quite a shock to Radwan Mujib Siddiq, when he was told by his family
that there was a law in the country protecting the killers of his grandfather
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Bangladesh's founding father was assassinated with most of his family members
in a military putsch 42 years ago.

Bangabandhu's 2 daughters, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana were
in Germany when they lost their whole family in the carnage on Aug 15, 1975.

Siddiq, the son of Rehana, says he knew about it in 1986 when he was attending
preschool in Dhaka.

"I was quite surprised...how can it be a law," he told a group of students and
professionals on Saturday at a seminar in Dhaka.

He was addressing the seminar, 'Bangabandhu Murder Case: Journey,
Accomplishments and Remaining Challenges' organised by the Awami League's
research arm Centre for Research and Information or CRI.

After the assassination, Khandaker Mostaq Ahmad, a cabinet minister under
Bangabandhu, took over the presidency and on Sep 26, 1975 promulgated the
indemnity ordinance.

Later it was incorporated into the constitution as the Fifth Amendment in 1979,
after reconstitution of parliament during the rule of military dictator Ziaur
Rahman.

The amendment also legalised all military rules and orders given during the
period of Aug 15, 1975 to Apr 9, 1979.

The 12 army men involved in the killings had been rewarded with jobs in
diplomatic missions abroad during BNP founder Zia's regime.

"In 1986, my family moved to Dhaka and I was admitted at a kindergarten school
in Banani, but was shifted to another school soon after," Siddiq said recalling
his childhood memories.

"When I asked my mother why, her answer was the killers' sons went to the same
school. I was told about the law when I asked how murderers can roam free?"

Recalling that children of his age then did not know anything about
Bangabandhu, he said, "Our family never hides history. So we were briefed about
the brutality."

He added that he could not even speak about his grandfather in school for
security reasons.

21 years after the killing of the independence leader, a trial began when the
Awami League formed the government in 1996.

In November of the same year, the parliament repealed the Act paving the way
for the prosecution of the killers.

12 people were awarded the death penalty for the assassination. In 2010, 5 of
the convicts were executed while 1 died as a fugitive abroad. 6 others are
still absconding, including 1 of the masterminds, Abdur Rashid.

Convicts M Rashed Chowdhury and Noor Chowdhury have been traced to the US and
Canada. The government says the process to bring them back is on.

Prosecutors and investigators of the Bangabandhu murder case, legal academics
and senior journalists spoke at Saturday's seminar at the premises of the
Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.

Law Minister Anisul Huq, who was the chief prosecutor of Bangabandhu murder
case, was the keynote speaker at the seminar moderated by Mizanur Rahman,
former chief of Human Rights Commission.

The panelists included Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique,
Awami League MP Fazilatunnesa Bappy, Chairman of Centre for Genocide Studies at
the Dhaka University Delwar Hossain, and Executive Editor of Daily Janakantha
Swadesh Roy.

Trustee of CRI and State Minister Nasrul Hamid, Bangabandhu Memorial Trust CEO
Mashura Hossain, and Bangabandhu Museum's Curator Nazrul Islam Khan also spoke
at the seminar.

(source: bd news24.com)








PAKISTAN:

Murder accused gets death penalty



Additional Sessions Judge Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali on Saturday awarded death
penalty to an accused involved in a murder case of 2 people.

According to the prosecution, accused Waseem, Abid and their accomplices had
shot dead Hanif and Shahid Guhman over a minor issue in Bina Baryar village in
the limits of Sadar police 3 years ago.

The court awarded death sentence and Rs 500,000 fine to accused Waseem and life
imprisonment and Rs 500,000 fine to co-accused Abid. The court acquitted other
accused giving them the benefit of the doubt.

(source: thenews.com.pk)








MOROCCO:

415 people, including 14 Convicted for Terrorism



On the King and the People day celebration, King Mohammed VI granted a royal
pardon to 415 persons convicted by the various courts of the kingdom, said the
Department of Justice in a statement.

Out of the 343 detained beneficiaries of the pardon, 337 inmates benefited from
the pardon over their remaining prison term and 6 inmates had their prison
sentences commuted from life imprisonment to fixed prison terms.

In addition, among the 72 free beneficiaries of the royal pardon, 14 people
benefited from pardon over their imprisonment term, 1 person had his prison
sentence dropped and fine maintained and another person benefited from pardon
over his prison term and fine, while 56 people had their fines dropped.

King Mohammed VI also granted his pardon over the remaining prison term for the
benefit of 13 detainees, sentenced for terror charges and who participated in
the "Mussalaha" (reconciliation) program.

He has also commuted death penalty to a 30-year fixed prison term for the
benefit of 1 convict who was also involved in the Mussalaha program.

The royal pardons came as a response to the requests made by the people
concerned, after they officially expressed their attachment to the Morocco's
"immutable values and national institutions, reviewed their positions and
thinking, voiced their rejection of extremism and terrorism and affirmed that
they resumed the right path, while showing good conduct in prison," said the
department of justice.

During the Throne day celebration on July 30, the king granted a royal pardon
to 1,272 persons who were convicted by Moroccan courts.

(source: moroccoworldnews.com)

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2017-08-21 13:14:43 UTC
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Raw Message
August 21




THAILAND:

Myanmar men given death penalty for killing 2 British backpackers in Thailand
appeal against sentence----Bar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were found
guilty of murdering David Miller, 24, and raping and killing Hannah Witheridge,
23, in September 2014.



2 Myanmar men given the death sentence for murdering 2 British backpackers in
Thailand in September 2014 have used their last life line and appealed to a
court against the sentence.

Migrant bar workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were found guilty of murdering
David Miller, 24, and raping and killing Hannah Witheridge, 23, whose bodies
were discovered on a beach on the diving resort of Koh Tao in Thailand.

Both the men had raped Witheridge and bludgeoned the pair over the head, a
court had heard in December 2015.

Their death sentence was upheld by the Appeal Court in March this year when the
pair lost an appeal to have their sentence overturned.

Lin and Htun submitted their final appeal on Monday (21 August).

"The deadline is today so we have to submit it. This is the final chance to
appeal," Nakhon Chomphuchat, head of the Myanmar men's defence team, told
Reuters.

The conviction of the men in 2015 was mired in controversy as they had claimed
that the confessions they made during the questioning - which were later
retracted - had been extracted through torture or abuse.

The workers earned some supporters who also claimed that the DNA evidence
submitted by the Thai investigators was inadmissible as it had not been
collected, tested or analysed as per international standards. They also alleged
that questioning of the 2 men was unlawful as it had been done without the
presence of the lawyers of Lin and Htun.

The bodies of murder victims Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found on a
beach on the southern island of Koh Tao in ThailandFacebook

Reuters reported that some migrant rights groups also accused the Thai police
of failing to properly seal off the area where the crime took place and of
using the two Myanmar workers as scapegoats.

The Thai police denied the accusation. The families of the British tourists
were also thought to have spoken in support of the police investigation.

There were huge protests outside Thailand's embassy in Myanmar's capital city,
Yangon, which lasted a couple of days following the sentencing of Lin and Htun
in December 2015.

Reuters noted that although Lin and Htun were given the death penalty, this
mode of punishment has not been carried out in many years in Thailand.

(source: ibtimes.co.uk)








INDONESIA:

Indonesia to Reject UN Recommendation to Scrap Death Penalty



The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Muhammad
Nurkhoiron said that Indonesia is likely to reject 20 out of 75 recommendation
from the United Nations Human Rights Council. "One of which being the scrapping
of death penalty," Nurkhoiron told Tempo yesterday.

The commissioner did not divulge the details about 20 recommendations that
would be rejected by the government. He said that they would only be noted by
the government. He reasoned that, among others, the nations who made such
recommendations did not understand the context of human rights issues faced by
Indonesia.

The UN Human Rights Council in a universal periodic review (UPR) in May issued
225 recommendations on human rights to Indonesia. The government had
immediately accepted 150 recommendations including those relating to the
education sector, religious freedom and protection for vulnerable and disabled
people. However, 75 recommendations are still being discussed.

The UPR session in Geneva urges Indonesia to scrap death penalty. There are at
least 12 recommendations on the issue, including calls for the country to issue
a moratorium on death sentence and to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to
the Indonesian Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR-OP2).

The Komnas HAM will continue to talk with the government and civil society to
make a decision on the remaining 75 recommendations. "We expect to issue the
final decision in early September," he said. The government plans to announce
the result in September 20, which is deadline set by the UN Human Rights
Council.

The Foreign Ministry could not be reached for comment on Komnas HAM's
statements.

Hasan Kleib, the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Indonesia to the
United Nations in Geneva, had said that that the government is unlikely to
accept the recommendation to scrap death penalty. "Because it's still part of
positive law in Indonesia," Hasan said in May.

Director General of Human Rights of the Law and Human Rights Ministry Mualimin
Abdi said that death penalty law in the Criminal Code is being revised and is
currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives (DPR). "Death
penalty has been excluded from main penalty category. It has now become an
alternative which implementation must be done prudently," he said. The Ministry
said that 67 people are currently on death row.

(source: tempo.co)








IRAN----executions

3 Prisoners Hanged in Qom----They were sentenced to death about 21 years ago
based on the Judge's opinion rather than actual documented evidence.



3 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Qom Central Prison on murder charges. The
case files for these prisoners were reportedly opened about 21 years ago.

According to a report by the human rights news agency, HRANA, the Iranian
authorities carried out the 3 executions on the morning of Tuesday August 15.
The report identifies the prisoners as Mahmoud Arab Khorasani, Mehdi Kaseb, and
Mohammad Taghi Dehparvar. The prisoners were reportedly transferred to solitary
confinement on Sunday August 13 in preparation for their executions.

"These 3 prisoners were sentenced to death about 21 years ago based on the
Judge's opinion rather than actual documented evidence," an informed source
tells Iran Human Rights. "21 years ago, 2 of the prisoners had their death
sentences commuted to lashings and a 3-year prison term each. However, they
were tried again and sentenced to death."

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced these 3 executions.

(source: Iran Human Rights)








CHINA:

Nigerian excretes 1410.9 grams of cocaine, faces death penalty in China



The High People's Court of Guangdong Province, China, has finally confirmed a
death sentence with 2 years probation on a Nigerian, Mr. Ikechukwu Peter
Obiekezie, who was reportedly found guilty of smuggling 1410.9 grams of cocaine
into China.

Details reaching Vanguard disclosed that Obiekezie, with Nigerian standard
Passport No. A50296207, was on 2nd October, 2016, arrested at the Baiyun
International Airport in Guangzhou, China, upon arrival from Addis Ababa aboard
Ethiopian Airlines Flight No. ET 606 on suspicion of smuggled drugs, which he
swallowed and brought to China.

He has, since October 3, 2016, joined the growing list of Nigerians who are
detained and serving various jail terms in Guangdong Province, China, after he
excreted a total of 1410.9 grams of cocaine at the Chinese Aviation hospital.

Having been in detention since then, Obiekezie was on August 18, 2017, issued a
death sentence, following rejection of an appeal made at the Intermediate
Peoples' court of Guangzhou on April 7, 2017, after he was declared guilty of
smuggling the hard drug into China and was given suspended death sentence.

A follow up report from the Nigerian Consulate General in Guangzhou, China,
disclosed that, the death sentence, in the case of Obiekezie, will not be
carried out within the period of 2 years if the convict shows remorse, good
behavior and if no new crime is intentionally committed during the 2-year
probationary period.

The Consulate also said that the death sentence will be reduced to life or 10
to 15 years imprisonment if the convict remains of good behaviour.

"Capital Punishment is a legal penalty in the People's Republic of China. It is
mostly enforced for murder and drug trafficking, and executions are carried out
by lethal injection or shooting.

"There is widespread public support for capital punishment, especially as a
penalty for violent crimes. The People's Republic of China executes the highest
number of people annually.

"It is worth noting that after a 1st trial conducted by an Intermediate
People's Court which concludes with a death sentence, a double appeals process
must follow.

"The 1st appeal is conducted by a High People's Court if the condemned appeals
to it, and since 2007, another appeal is conducted automatically (even if the
condemned does not make the appeal) by the Supreme People's Court of the
People's Republic of China (SPC) in Beijing, to prevent the awkward
circumstance in which the defendant is proven innocent after the death penalty,
an obviously irrevocable punishment has been administered.

"Chinese courts often hand down the death sentence with 2 years probation. This
unique sentence is used to emphasize the seriousness of the crime and the mercy
of the court."

It also stressed that cases of drug smuggling into the People's Republic of
China is giving Nigeria a bad image in China, adding that, "Presently, there
are more than 500 Nigerians serving jail terms for drug trafficking and over
200 languishing in jail for illegal residence in China.

"The Consular problems arising from this barrage of drug related activities of
Nigerians have overwhelmed the staff of the Consulate-General of Nigeria in
Guangzhou, China.

"On 31st July, 2017, a Nigerian with drugs in his system died aboard the
Ethiopian airlines flight to Guangzhou".

In reaction, Nigeria Consul General to China, Ambassador Wale Oloko informed
the need to equip the Mission regulating authorities.

He noted that the Nigerian Mission in Guangzhou, China, is the busiest among
the 4 Nigerian Missions in China and should be quipped with necessary tools to
address affectively and follow up cases affecting some Nigerian immigrants to
China, while pointing out that the Mission should not be facing serious
financial predicament, which also include non-payment of Foreign Service
Allowances (FSA) and rent on the accommodation of the Home-Based Officers and
salaries of locally recruited staff.

The Mission currently is said to be facing ejection notice from its present
location after its inability to pay its rent.

And if it goes through, it would be the 2nd time within a period of 10 months
to witness such embarrassment, having earlier been ejected from its previous
location in November, 2016 for non-payment of accumulated rent to give way to
the Consulate-General of an African country and now the owners of the property
have taken the Mission to court to recover outstanding rent fees.

(source: niyitabiti.net)








BANGLADESH:

10 ordered to be executed in firing squad



HasinaA Dhaka court on Sunday handed 10 men death penalty for an attempt to
kill prime minister Sheikh Hasina at Kotalipara of Gopalganj in 2000.

Dhaka Speedy Trial Tribunal-2 judge Momtaz Begum handed down the verdict saying
the convicts will be executed in the firing squad.

On 22 July 2000, Bangladesh Army recovered a 76kg bomb from Sheikh Lutfor
Rahman Ideal College in Kotalipara upazila of Gopalganj which was planted
aiming to kill the then prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

Hasina was supposed to address a rally there the next day.

On 23 July, another bomb weighing 40kg was recovered from the same spot.

Kotalipara police then filed an attempted murder case and a case under
explosives act after the incident.

Police accused 10 people of banned militant group Harkatul Jihad including
their leader Mufti Abdul Hannan on 8 April 2001.

The other accused are: M Mahibullah, Munshi Ibrahim, M Mahmud Azhar, M Rashed
driver, M Shah Newaz, M Yusuf, M Lokman, Sheikh M Enamul and M Mizanur Rahman.

Gopalganj court sent the case to Dhaka fast track tribunal in 2010.

Mufti Hannan was later excluded from the case as he was sentenced to death in
another case of attempted murder of former British High Commissioner Anwar
Choudhury.

(source: prothom-alo.com)

*********************

10 get death penalty for attempted assassination of Bangladesh PM Hasina----The
convicts had hatched the plot to kill Hasina in 2000 by planting a high-powered
explosive device



10 militants were on Sunday sentenced to death and 9 others jailed for 20 years
each by a court in Bangladesh for attempting to assassinate Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina in 2000.

The convicts had hatched the plot to kill Hasina in 2000 by planting a
high-powered explosive device in an open ground at her village home in
southwestern Gopalganj where she was scheduled to address a public rally.

Security officials, however, detected the bomb ahead of the rally.

On further investigation, outlawed Harkatul Jihad-e- Islami Bangladesh (HuJI)
chief Mufti Hannan, who was executed earlier this year in another case
involving the attempted assassination of the then Bangladeshi-origin British
High Commissioner, was found to be the mastermind of the plot.

25 suspects had been accused in the Special Powers Act case. Nine received 20
years in prison and were fined 20,000 taka each, while 4 were acquitted.

"They (convicts) will be executed either by hanging or by shooting with
permission of the High Court," Dhaka's Speedy Trial Tribunal-2 judge Mamtaz
Begum said.

Only 8 of the accused faced the trial in person while the rest were sentenced
in absentia.

Under the Bangladesh law, the death sentences would require being endorsed by
the High Court following an automatic death reference hearing. The convicts are
allowed to file an appeal as well.

The judgement comes even as a Dhaka court nears the end of a trial regarding
another major assassination attempt on Hasina while she was the opposition
leader as the chief of the Awami League in 2004.

An influential group of the then ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of
ex-premier Khaleda Zia is believed to have masterminded the plot, which they
had engaged HuJI to execute.

Hasina narrowly escaped the attack that killed 23 people and injured hundreds.

BNP leader and Zia's son Tarique Rahman is being tried in the case in absentia
as a prime accused.

"The verdict of the case is expected by the year end," a court official
familiar with the development said.

(source: business-standard.com)

************

Bangabandhu's grandson Radwan Mujib says he was surprised by law to protect
killers



It came as quite a shock to Radwan Mujib Siddiq, when he was told by his family
that there was a law in the country protecting the killers of his grandfather
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Bangladesh's founding father was assassinated with most of his family members
in a military putsch 42 years ago.

Bangabandhu's 2 daughters, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sheikh Rehana were
in Germany when they lost their whole family in the carnage on Aug 15, 1975.

Siddiq, the son of Rehana, says he knew about it in 1986 when he was attending
preschool in Dhaka.

"I was quite surprised...how can it be a law," he told a group of students and
professionals on Saturday at a seminar in Dhaka.

He was addressing the seminar, 'Bangabandhu Murder Case: Journey,
Accomplishments and Remaining Challenges' organised by the Awami League's
research arm Centre for Research and Information or CRI.

After the assassination, Khandaker Mostaq Ahmad, a cabinet minister under
Bangabandhu, took over the presidency and on Sep 26, 1975 promulgated the
indemnity ordinance.

Later it was incorporated into the constitution as the Fifth Amendment in 1979,
after reconstitution of parliament during the rule of military dictator Ziaur
Rahman.

The amendment also legalised all military rules and orders given during the
period of Aug 15, 1975 to Apr 9, 1979.

The 12 army men involved in the killings had been rewarded with jobs in
diplomatic missions abroad during BNP founder Zia's regime.

"In 1986, my family moved to Dhaka and I was admitted at a kindergarten school
in Banani, but was shifted to another school soon after," Siddiq said recalling
his childhood memories.

"When I asked my mother why, her answer was the killers' sons went to the same
school. I was told about the law when I asked how murderers can roam free?"

Recalling that children of his age then did not know anything about
Bangabandhu, he said, "Our family never hides history. So we were briefed about
the brutality."

He added that he could not even speak about his grandfather in school for
security reasons.

21 years after the killing of the independence leader, a trial began when the
Awami League formed the government in 1996.

In November of the same year, the parliament repealed the Act paving the way
for the prosecution of the killers.

12 people were awarded the death penalty for the assassination. In 2010, 5 of
the convicts were executed while 1 died as a fugitive abroad. 6 others are
still absconding, including 1 of the masterminds, Abdur Rashid.

Convicts M Rashed Chowdhury and Noor Chowdhury have been traced to the US and
Canada. The government says the process to bring them back is on.

Prosecutors and investigators of the Bangabandhu murder case, legal academics
and senior journalists spoke at Saturday's seminar at the premises of the
Bangabandhu Memorial Museum.

Law Minister Anisul Huq, who was the chief prosecutor of Bangabandhu murder
case, was the keynote speaker at the seminar moderated by Mizanur Rahman,
former chief of Human Rights Commission.

The panelists included Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique,
Awami League MP Fazilatunnesa Bappy, Chairman of Centre for Genocide Studies at
the Dhaka University Delwar Hossain, and Executive Editor of Daily Janakantha
Swadesh Roy.

Trustee of CRI and State Minister Nasrul Hamid, Bangabandhu Memorial Trust CEO
Mashura Hossain, and Bangabandhu Museum's Curator Nazrul Islam Khan also spoke
at the seminar.

(source: bd news24.com)



PAKISTAN:

Christian boy in Pakistan faces death penalty for allegedly burning
Quran----Pakistan's blasphemy law states a mandatory death penalty for people
convicted of damaging the Quran.



A teenage boy from the minority Christian community in Pakistan has been
arrested over blasphemy charges for allegedly burning pages of the Quran. Asif
Massih, 18, could be awarded a death penalty if convicted of blasphemy.

Massih was arrested on the night of 12 August after a complaint was registered
against him. The complaint stated that he burnt a few pages of the Muslim holy
book outside a shrine in Jam Kayk Chattha village in central Punjab province.

"He is in jail now," Muhammad Asgharat, a police official at the Alipur Chattha
police station, told Al Jazeera.

Another police official said that hundreds of people had gathered at the time
of his arrest. People were demanding the accused to be handed over to them.

"When the police took the suspect into custody and brought him to a police
check post, a crowd of around 200 men gathered outside... demanding the culprit
be handed over to them," local police official Pervaiz Iqbal told the AFP news
agency.

"We then secretly moved the culprit to the police station in Wazirabad where he
was interrogated and confessed to his crime."

Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in the Muslim-majority nation and dozens of
people have been killed by civilian vigilantes for disrespecting the holy book
or the religion.

Massih was reportedly charged under section 295-B of Pakistan's penal code,
Iqbal said. Death sentence is a mandatory punishment for people found guilty of
damaging the Quran.

In general, blasphemy charges in Pakistan involve punishments ranging from
fines to the mandatory death sentence.

Currently in Pakistan, nearly 40 people are either on death row or serving life
sentences for blasphemy charges, according to Al Jazeera, citing data from the
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Since 1990, at least 71 people have been killed by angry mobs or vigilantes
over alleged blasphemy offences, the news channel added in its report.

(source: ibtimes.co.uk)

*******************

Murder accused gets death penalty



Additional Sessions Judge Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali on Saturday awarded death
penalty to an accused involved in a murder case of 2 people.

According to the prosecution, accused Waseem, Abid and their accomplices had
shot dead Hanif and Shahid Guhman over a minor issue in Bina Baryar village in
the limits of Sadar police 3 years ago.

The court awarded death sentence and Rs 500,000 fine to accused Waseem and life
imprisonment and Rs 500,000 fine to co-accused Abid. The court acquitted other
accused giving them the benefit of the doubt.

(source: thenews.com.pk)








MOROCCO:

415 people, including 14 Convicted for Terrorism



On the King and the People day celebration, King Mohammed VI granted a royal
pardon to 415 persons convicted by the various courts of the kingdom, said the
Department of Justice in a statement.

Out of the 343 detained beneficiaries of the pardon, 337 inmates benefited from
the pardon over their remaining prison term and 6 inmates had their prison
sentences commuted from life imprisonment to fixed prison terms.

In addition, among the 72 free beneficiaries of the royal pardon, 14 people
benefited from pardon over their imprisonment term, 1 person had his prison
sentence dropped and fine maintained and another person benefited from pardon
over his prison term and fine, while 56 people had their fines dropped.

King Mohammed VI also granted his pardon over the remaining prison term for the
benefit of 13 detainees, sentenced for terror charges and who participated in
the "Mussalaha" (reconciliation) program.

He has also commuted death penalty to a 30-year fixed prison term for the
benefit of 1 convict who was also involved in the Mussalaha program.

The royal pardons came as a response to the requests made by the people
concerned, after they officially expressed their attachment to the Morocco's
"immutable values and national institutions, reviewed their positions and
thinking, voiced their rejection of extremism and terrorism and affirmed that
they resumed the right path, while showing good conduct in prison," said the
department of justice.

During the Throne day celebration on July 30, the king granted a royal pardon
to 1,272 persons who were convicted by Moroccan courts.

(source: moroccoworldnews.com)



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August 22



IRAN:

Trial of Stockholm academic facing death penalty in Iran begins



The trial of a Stockholm academic who is detained in Iran on what Amnesty
International calls 'extremely vague grounds' and could face the death penalty
is set to get under way.

Researcher Ahmadreza Djalali has been detained since last April. He was
arrested in Tehran for espionage and 'enmity with God' - a crime which in Iran
can result in the death penalty - during a visit for a conference last year.

An Iranian citizen, the academic has a permanent residence permit in Sweden,
where he conducted research in disaster medicine at the prestigious Karolinska
Institute, and lived with his wife and two children. He previously worked at
the University of Eastern piedmont in Italy, and the Italian government
expressed "extreme concern" for his safety in February.

Human rights organization Amnesty International has urged the authorities to
release Djalali or give him a fair and secure trial.

"We hope he will be released. He has been in prison since April last year on
extremely vague grounds," Amnesty Sweden spokesperson Ami Hedenborg said. "You
have to ask yourself what it is really about. There is a great deal of concern
over what may happen."

Hedenborg added that it is impossible to speculate about what may happen, as
the Iranian justice system is difficult to comprehend:

"Iran has an arbitrary legal system which doesn't comply with the international
conditions for a fair trial. It could easily be cancelled or the sentence
announced within 2 minutes".

The trial was previously scheduled to start in early August, but was postponed
when the judge took ill.

"We have asked to attend, but received a refusal," Anne Torngren from
Sweden???s Foreign Ministry told news agency TT. The Swedish embassy has also
applied for permission to visit Djalali.

The researcher's wife admits she is not optimistic about the trial. "I can't
expect anything from my home country," she said.

Djalali launched a hunger strike earlier this year, leading his family to
become concerned about his health.

(source: thelocal.se)








IRAQ:

Iraqi court in Nineveh sentences 4 IS militants to death



Iraqi judicial authorities on Sunday handed down death sentences to 4 Islamic
State (IS) members, including a man who was recruiting militants across
Nineveh.

The execution sentences are the first verdicts issued in Mosul since Iraqi
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced victory against IS in early July.

After 9 months of fierce clashes, the extremist group was ousted from their
last major stronghold and de facto capital in the country.

Judge Abdul Sattar Bayraktar, a spokesman for the Supreme Judicial Council,
said the four suspects who were handed death sentences belonged to the militant
group.

"The 4 men were given the death penalty after being convicted of belonging and
having an allegiance to [IS]," the judge's statement read.

He added the 4 convicted members had been involved in "a number of terrorist
crimes."

"The investigations indicate that one of the terrorists was recruiting fighters
to join the ranks of the organization," Judge Bayraktar noted.

As the militant group continues to lose control in Iraq, more IS militants are
surrendering or being captured by Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi security forces.

The number of extremists currently detained and held in Iraqi prisons as well
as how many of those will face the death penalty is unknown.

International humanitarian organizations, including the European Union, have
criticized the Federal Government of Iraq and urge Baghdad to remove the death
penalty.

According to Iraqi forces, over 25,000 IS militants were killed during the
battle to liberate Mosul.

Security forces have now turned their attention to the city of Tal Afar, west
of Mosul, where an estimated 2,000 extremists remain.

(source: kurdistan24.net)








MALDIVES:

Maldives set to restore death penalty as Amnesty International, UN protest



Maldives is set to restore the death penalty due to rising crime and drug
trafficking cases, a senior advisor to President Abdulla Yameen told Reuters
today even as the country comes to grip with the political turmoil in the
country.

The country has never carried out a single death penalty order since 1962 when
the country gained independence from Britain. However, the present regime has
decided to bring the order into practice.

"It is to be used as a deterrent," Mohamed Hussain Shareef, a senior advisor to
Yameen and head of foreign relations of the ruling Progressive Party of
Maldives (PPM) told Reuters in an interview in Colombo.

"At the moment, overwhelmingly the people of Maldives are in support for
implementation. It is a difficult decision for any government. But as a
government, you have to safeguard the lives of innocent people," the minister
added.

The last execution carried out by Maldives was in the pre-independence era back
in 1954, ever since then, successive governments have resisted using the
capital punishment as a mode of execution resorting instead to lethal
injection.

Mohamed Hussain Shareef told Reuters that murders have been rising in the
country with more than fifty reported over the last decade.

The United Nations and Amnesty have called the government not to allow the
death penalty but the government has almost decided to give its stamp of
approval.

Shareef said there are 3 convicted murderers facing capital punishment.

(source: wionews.com)
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August 22



INDONESIA:

Rights group asks Indonesia to abolish death sentence----Jakarta-based group
says judicial system is vulnerable to mistakes after top court overturned death
penalty for young man



A human rights organization demanded on Tuesday that Indonesia abolishes
capital punishment, following a Supreme Court ruling earlier this year which
overturned a death sentence.

The Jakarta-based Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence
(KontraS) told reporters that in January this year, the top court overturned
death penalty for Yusman Telaumbanua to five years in prison, after it was
proven he was a minor.

"Yusman's case has become an important lesson for the government and law
enforcers to review the death penalty in Indonesia," said Putri Kanesia, deputy
coordinator of advocacy for the organization, in a press conference in capital
Jakarta, according to a local website kompas.com.

Indonesia ended a 4-year moratorium on the death penalty in March 2013.

A district court had sentenced Telaumbanua and his brother Rasula Hia to death
in May 2013 for murdering 3 of their employers.

KontraS had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Later, during investigations it was revealed that Telaumbanua had been forced
to accept charges against him while he was in police custody. He had also
admitted he was 19 years old at the time of the murder, when he was actually
only 16.

In 2016, he underwent a bone and teeth check which confirmed he was 18-19 years
old.

"The Supreme Court ruling corroborates the fact that the judicial system in
Indonesia is still very vulnerable to mistakes," said Arif Nur Fikri, head of
human rights defense division for KontraS.

Telaumbanua was released from prison last week after serving 5 years in prison,
following the ruling which said he was not the prime accused in the murder
case.

At least 14 drug smugglers -- mostly foreigners -- have been executed in
Indonesia over the last three years, prompting criticism from activists and the
international community.

(source: aa.com.tr)







BANGLADESH:

B'desh HC endorses death penalty of 3 army officers, 12 others



Bangladesh court sentences 23 to death for murders in 2002 Bangladesh court
jails JMB chief to over 7 years Bangladesh Islamists protest court's Greek
goddess statue JMB chief jailed in Bangladesh Thousands of hardline Islamists
protest Bangladesh statue

Bangladesh's High Court today upheld a trial court verdict sentencing to death
15 people including 3 army officers and a gangster, who had fled to India after
the gruesome killing of 7 people 3 years ago.

The abducting and killing of 7 people, including councillor Nazrul Islam and
lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarkar, in suburban port town of Narayanganj shocked the
nation.

"The High Court upheld the death sentence of 15 and commuted death penalties of
11 others to life imprisonment while the trial court had handed down death
penalties to 26 accused," a spokesman of the attorney general's office said.

The judgement awarded death penalty to 2 sacked military and a navy officers, a
gangster and 11 ex-servicemen posted in elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion
(RAB).

The 3 officers, a Lieutenant Colonel, a Major and a Lieutenant Commander of
navy were also serving the RAB at the time of the gruesome simultaneous murders
in 2014.

A 2-judge bench comprising Justices Bhabani Prasad Singha and Mustafa Zaman
Islam delivered the entire verdict that took hours, contrary to normal
practices when the court pronounces the operative or abridged part of the
judgment.

The 3 officers were found to be bribed to assassinate the city councillor and 6
others. The councillor, the lawyer and 5 others were abducted on April 27, 2014
from the port town and their nearly decomposed bodies were retrieved later.

According to the proceedings, a key accused of the case gangster Nur Hossain,
himself a city councillor, had bribed the RAB officials to eliminate councilor
Nazrul Islam in exchange of Taka 6 crore.

Soon after the murder Hossain fled to India as he was found to be the
mastermind of the plot but Indian police eventually tracked him down in West
Bengal and deported to Bangladesh in November 2015.

Investigations revealed 23 RAB personnel, including an army lieutenant colonel
and two navy officers, were involved in abduction and killing of the 7 people.

Sacked Lt Col Tarek Sayeed, the son-in-law of a cabinet minister, was the
senior most of the three officers who was serving as the RAB commander in
Narayanganj at the time of incident. The 2 others - Major Arif Hossain and Lt
commander MM Rana - were serving under his command.

The officers were immediately sacked on orders of their superior authorities
while police arrested them.

(source: business-standard.com)

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August 23




BANGLADESH:

Bangladesh HC endorses death penalty of 3 army officers, 12 others



Bangladesh's High Court on Tuesday upheld a trial court verdict sentencing to
death 15 people including 3 army officers and a gangster, who had fled to India
after the gruesome killing of 7 people 3 years ago.

The abducting and killing of 7 people, including councillor Nazrul Islam and
lawyer Chandan Kumar Sarkar, in suburban port town of Narayanganj shocked the
nation.

"The High Court upheld the death sentence of 15 and commuted death penalties of
11 others to life imprisonment while the trial court had handed down death
penalties to 26 accused," a spokesman of the attorney general's office said.

The judgement awarded death penalty to 2 sacked military and a navy officers, a
gangster and 11 ex-servicemen posted in elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion
(RAB).

The 3 officers, a Lieutenant Colonel, a Major and a Lieutenant Commander of
navy were also serving the RAB at the time of the gruesome simultaneous murders
in 2014.

A 2-judge bench comprising Justices Bhabani Prasad Singha and Mustafa Zaman
Islam delivered the entire verdict that took hours, contrary to normal
practices when the court pronounces the operative or abridged part of the
judgment.

The 3 officers were found to be bribed to assassinate the city councillor and 6
others. The councillor, the lawyer and 5 others were abducted on April 27, 2014
from the port town and their nearly decomposed bodies were retrieved later.

According to the proceedings, a key accused of the case gangster Nur Hossain,
himself a city councillor, had bribed the RAB officials to eliminate councilor
Nazrul Islam in exchange of Taka 6 crore.

Soon after the murder Hossain fled to India as he was found to be the
mastermind of the plot but Indian police eventually tracked him down in West
Bengal and deported to Bangladesh in November 2015.

Investigations revealed 23 RAB personnel, including an army lieutenant colonel
and 2 navy officers, were involved in abduction and killing of the 7 people.

Sacked Lt Col Tarek Sayeed, the son-in-law of a cabinet minister, was the
senior most of the three officers who was serving as the RAB commander in
Narayanganj at the time of incident. The 2 others - Major Arif Hossain and Lt
commander MM Rana - were serving under his command.

The officers were immediately sacked on orders of their superior authorities
while police arrested them.

(source: The Hindu)








MALDIVES:

Maldives to reintroduce death penalty despite international criticism



The UN and Amnesty International have urged the government not to reintroduce
the death penalty by hanging.

Despite international pressure, the Maldives will reintroduce the death penalty
after a 60-year moratorium to try and reduce the rising number of murders and
stop drug trafficking, a senior advisor to President Abdulla Yameen said on
Tuesday.

The UN and Amnesty International have urged the government not to reintroduce
the death penalty by hanging, citing concerns whether some inmates facing the
death penalty had had fair trials.

"It is to be used as a deterrent," Mohamed Hussain Shareef, a senior advisor to
Yameen and head of foreign relations of the ruling Progressive Party of
Maldives told Reuters in an interview in Colombo.

"At the moment, overwhelmingly the people of Maldives are in support for
implementation. It is a difficult decision for any government. But as a
government, you have to safeguard the lives of innocent people."

He said there had been more than 50 murders reported in Maldives during the
last decade.

The UN has said 20 prisoners, including at least 5 juvenile offenders, had been
sentenced to death, and 3 men convicted of murder were at imminent risk of
execution, despite concerns over whether they had had fair trials.

Shareef said the 3 convicted murderers would face capital punishment "soon" and
the victims' families are being now given an option to consider if the convicts
could be forgiven according to Islamic Sharia law.

The hangings will not be carried out in public, Shareef said, with the
government constructing a special execution chamber on Maafushi island where
the country's main prison is located from 27 km (16 miles) from capital Male.

A UN human rights expert early this month said the Maldives will make a big
mistake if it reinstates the death penalty, while Amnesty International has
said the executions are a ploy by the government to distract attention from its
own problems and ensure its political survival.

The largely Muslim island chain, which has a population of 400,000, has a
reputation as a tourist paradise, but it has been mired in political unrest
since Mohamed Nasheed, its first democratically-elected president, was ousted
in 2012.

The opposition is trying to unseat speaker Abdulla Maseeh Mohamed, alleging
President Yameen's administration is trying to cover up corruption, including
money laundering. The government has denied the accusations.

(source: news.az)








YEMEN:

Houthi justice: Yemenis flock in thousands to Sanaa public executions



The people had gathered in their thousands by the time Muhammad al-Maghribi, a
man in his 40s, was led from a prison van by armed police, hands tied behind
his back, and moved to a clearing in Sanaa's Tahrir square.

There, as police held back a surging crowd, Maghribi was led to a carpet, held
face down, and shot several times in the back with an automatic rifle. His
public execution was the 1st in what the Houthi movement says is a new
crackdown on hardened criminals.

The 2nd came a few days later. Hussein al-Saket, 22, was shot in the back in
the same square and in the same manner, but this time his lifeless body was
hoisted into the air by a crane and left to hang for all to see.

And while the vast majority at the executions backed the punishment of Maghribi
and Saket - both were accused of raping and murdering children - the methods
used and the potential for escalation could see a new wave of state-sponsored
violence, targeting dissidents as well as criminals.

Maghribi's crime

It was late June, and the Eid al-Fitr festival was bringing some much-needed
distraction from the war on Yemen. But for the family of 3-year-old Rana, any
joy was soon to be shattered, when her body was found in a nearby house.

She had been raped and murdered, and blame was soon directed at the owner of
the house in which she was found.

Immediately, protests erupted outside of the house - in the Beit Meyad area of
Sanaa - with locals demanding the arrest and execution of the owner.

Around the country, people began sharing a photograph of the alleged culprit,
Maghribi, who had already fled south towards Dhamar province.

2 days later, residents there, with the help of security forces, tracked him
down and arrested him.

Maghribi admitted his guilt, and he was then taken to appear in court in Sanaa.

Protesters soon surrounded the court building, again demanding that Maghribi
face capital punishment.

Abdul Hamid Ahsan, a pharmacist, was one of the hundreds of protesters who
turned up that day, demanding Maghribi be executed.

"What happened to Rana al-Matari was bad enough, but the fact it happened
during Eid, and that the criminal deprived her family from celebrating the
festival, meant that the crime provoked a unique reaction from people," Ahsan
told MEE.

While such court cases used to crawl through the judicial system - from the
court of first instance, to the court of appeals and then the criminal court -
Maghribi's trial was sped up, as the protesters threatened to surround the
building were the trial to be delayed at all.

"One day the court of appeals tried to delay the trial to the next week," Ahsan
added, "but we weren't going to allow that to happen and tried to storm the
court, but then soldiers confirmed that the judges would announce their verdict
the same day, which they did."

The trial was much faster than in normal cases, and the entire procedure,
through 3 different courts, took 1 month in total.

After he was sentenced to death, Maghribi was whipped in a public square, and
then shot dead by a soldier.

Crowds poured in from across the city to witness the first public execution
during the reign of the Houthis.

Both supporters and opponents of the Houthi rebel group - in power in Sanaa -
welcomed the execution, with many believing it will act as a deterrent for
similar crimes in the future.

"This was a humanitarian issue and people from different sides welcomed it as
there is seen to be nothing wrong with such executions. For me, I will keep
protesting to demand the execution of criminals who harm children," Ahsan said.

Maghribi was well known in central Sanaa, and renowned for being mentally
unstable, locals say. But any psychological issues were not taken into
consideration by the courts.

In 2014, Maghribi was shown on Yemeni TV, opening a cultural centre in Sanaa,
after the minister of culture declined the invitation - it was intended as a
dig at the minister, replacing him with a local character.

Children's issues prioritised

Rana's father, Yahya al-Matari, believes that his daughter's case might have
triggered a wave of support for public executions, and courts will now be
encouraged to seek similar punishments.

"My child's case stirred the stagnant water, and I think we will now see more
of the same such punishments, in the cases of crimes against children," he told
MEE.

A week after Maghribi was executed, the courts in Sanaa sentenced a child
rapist to 25 years in prison.

And then another child-killer, Hussein al-Saket, 22, was executed and hung from
a crane in the same square that Maghribi was executed in.

He had been found guilty of kidnapping, raping and murdering a 5-year-old child
2 years ago.

Matari is grateful to those Yemenis who campaigned for his child's killer to be
executed, and who ensured his trial was sped up, turning it into a matter of
public debate.

He now feels crimes affecting children have become a priority for the courts.

He did not bury Rana until after her killer was in the ground.

"It is difficult to bury the dead body of my child while her killer is still
alive. Retribution is the law of Allah and I hope to see more criminals meet
their punishments."

A judge in the court in Sanaa told MEE that after the protests last month, any
crimes in which children have been victims have now been prioritised, and all
outstanding cases are being addressed as soon as possible.

He spoke to MEE on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to
the media.

"During the last month, the courts in Sanaa have issued three judgments on
crimes involving children, including two which were punished with execution.

"The courts have not executed any convicted criminals over the last 2 years,
but we have now started to do that, since last month. And we will conduct fair
trials," the source said.

Despite the courts facing criticism to the contrary, he stated that they were
working independently and that the protests outside the courts were influential
in encouraging the judges, catalysts for capital punishment being handed down.

The source confirmed: "The judges decide the kind of punishment and the methods
according to the crime, so no one can decide the kind of punishment that the
criminal deserves but the judges."

The death penalty is deemed cruel, inhuman and degrading by human rights
groups.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, told MEE that
while the rights group had not yet been able to examine the cases in detail, it
was opposed to the death penalty in any instance.

"As you can imagine, we oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and would
be particularly wary of any death penalty sentence in a context such as Yemen,
where it is difficult to obtain a fair trial even in peacetime."

Amnesty also opposes the death penalty at all times, regardless of who is
accused, the crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.

Lack of trust in courts

Nabil Fadhel, head of the Yemen Organisation for Combating Human Trafficking,
said his NGO has monitored many crimes against children, and that often
families of victims are ashamed to go public with the cases due to societal
views on rape, often allowing victims to escape justice.

"The main reason that Rana al-Matari's killer's trial was so fast was due to
the campaign on social media and the protest outside of the courts - we are not
used to seeing trials finishing up within one month," Fadhel said to MEE.

"Moreover, the relatives of victims usually avoid complaining to police because
police often do not arrest criminals, and if they do the courts delay the issue
so long that trials take years to start, so people often prefer to bury their
children without complaining."

Also, he said, societal perceptions lead the rape of children to be a seen as a
source of shame for the victim's family, so many families prefer to keep it
secret.

Fadhel added: "The organisation tried to follow some cases of rape and killing
but the trials were delayed for such a long time that the relatives of victims
gave up any hope of seeing the perpetrators being punished."

Amid the praise for the public executions among much of the Yemeni public,
there have also been fears that the extreme punishment will soon be meted out
against political opponents.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a social activist in Sanaa told MEE that
there is growing disappointment in the Houthis as the humanitarian situation
lurches from bad to worse. He believes the Houthis are trying to send a message
that they are still strong and in control, by ruling with an iron fist.

"This period is sensitive and people are starting to lose trust in the Houthis,
as crime levels are increasing and public employees have gone without salaries
for over 10 months," he said.

"We fear that the Houthis have started with the execution of criminals, and
they will then move on to executing their opponents."

(source: middleeasteye.net)








IRAN----executions

2 more Prisoners Hanged on Drug Charges



2 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Isfahan Central Prison and Kashmar Prison
on drug related charges.

Close sources say one of the prisoners was hanged on the morning of Monday
August 21 at Isfahan Central Prison. The prisoner's name is reportedly
Abdolkarim Shahbakhsh and he was sentenced to death on drug related charges.
Mr. Shahbakhsh was reportedly taken to solitary confinement on Saturday August
19 in preparation for his execution.

"Karim had no criminal record, but he was sentenced to death after being
arrested and charged with 120 kilograms of heroin and 140 kilograms of opium,"
an informed source tells Iran Human Rights.

A report by the Kurdistan Human Rights Network says the other prisoner was
executed on Sunday August 20 at Kashmar Prison (Razavi Khorasan province). The
prisoner, who the report identifies as Mojtaba Heydari Abbasali, was reportedly
sentenced to death on drug related charges, and transferred to solitary
confinement on Saturday August 19 in preparation for his execution.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state-run media, have not
mentioned these 2 executions.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)

*********************

Young Prisoner Hanged in Public



On the morning of Monday August 21, a young prisoner was hanged in public on
murder and rape charges. The execution was carried out in the city of Nasrabad
in Isfahan on the morning of Monday August 21. According a report by the
state-run news agency, IMNA, the prisoner - which the report does not mention
his name - was arrested on January 3, 2017 at the age of 25 for the charge of
raping and murdering a 15-year-old teenage girl.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)

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August 23



VIETNAM:

Gang of 4 sentenced to death in Vietnam for heroin smuggling



Vietnam has eased its drug laws but smugglers still face capital punishment.

A court in Hanoi sentenced four men to death on Monday for smuggling more than
20 kilograms of heroin in less than a year, Vietnam News Agency reported.

The men, aged between 20 and 32 years, were arrested in April last year after 2
of them were caught driving a motorbike carrying 8 kilograms of heroin.

The smugglers, from the central province of Khanh Hoa and the nearby Dak Lak,
had flown to Hanoi before driving to the neighboring Hoa Binh Province to take
delivery of the drugs from "strange masked men", the indictment said.

Police discovered the group had successfully smuggled a total of 12 kilograms
of heroin on 9 different occasions from late 2015.

The scale of the operation remains unknown.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws, but those convicted of
possession or appropriation will no longer face the death penalty following
revisions to the Penal Code.

However, the production or smuggling of 100 grams of heroin, cocaine or
methamphetamine still carries the death penalty, according to the amended law
which will take effect in January 2018.

(source: vnexpress.net)








UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

The Parents Of The Murdered Abu Dhabi Boy Are Seeking The Death Penalty For The
Killer----"We are asking for a death penalty if he's found guilty of murder, we
want him to be killed for what he did to our son. Nothing else?"



The tragic story of the young Pakistani boy who was raped and murdered in Abu
Dhabi continues.

At the time it was reported that the boy disappeared in mysterious
circumstances, and was later found half-naked on the roof of his building, next
to the Quran.

The story unfolded; the alleged murderer had dressed as a woman to lure the boy
to the roof.

A 33-year-old is standing trial

The boys parents told the court they do not seek to pardon the killer, and
would like him executed, according to a report in the Khaleej Times.

"We are asking for a death penalty if he's found guilty of murder, we want him
to be killed for what he did to our son. Nothing else," the parents allegedly
told the court.

The man is charged with premeditated murder, rape, cross-dressing and driving
without a number plate, according to the report. The man pleaded not guilty to
the crimes.

(source: lovindubai.com)








INDONESIA:

Escaping the Death Penalty



The Supreme Court has corrected the death sentence imposed on Yusman
Telaumbanua when he was still underage. A grave mistake.

Death row convict Yusman Telaumbanua, who was aged 16 when he was tried, was
released last week. The sentence handed down to the youth from Hilionozega
village, Idanogawo subdistrict, Nias regency was revised by the Supreme Court
following an appeal. Now, it is time for the police officers, prosecutors, and
judges involved in Yusmans initial trial to be investigated, and when proven
guilty, be severely punished.

Law enforcement officials were clearly negligent when determining the age of
Yusman, who was sentenced to death by the Gunungsitoli District Court in May
2013. The youth, who was charged with involvement in a case of premeditated
murder, was declared to have been 19 years old when the offense took place a
year beforehand. This meant he was an adult, and no longer covered by the Child
Court Law, which stipulates that children are aged up to 18 years and cannot be
sentenced by capital punishment such as death penalty. At the court, the age of
Yusman, who failed to graduate from elementary school, was determined only
based on witness testimony, not official nor scientific documentation.

This serious error changed Yusmans life forever. An underage suspect cannot
face the death penalty. Even if proven guilty, he would face a maximum sentence
half that of an adult. That is why, the case of Yusman, who was accused of
murdering his boss, Kolimarinus Zega, and 2 other people, was very strange. Of
the 6 people accused of involvement, only Yusman and his brother-in-law were
tried.

The Yusman tragedy was revealed by a priest and the Commission for Missing
People and Victims of Violence (Kontras). This commission helped Yusman lodge
an appeal. The Supreme Court eventually granted the appeal and changed the
verdict to 5 years in jail. Because he had served enough of his sentence,
Yusman was released from Gunungsitoli Jail on August 17.

The error with Yusmans age came to light from, among other things, the church
baptism records showing that he was born on December 30, 1996, meaning he was
under 16 in April 2012, the time of the murders. A medical examination at the
Padjadjaran University Faculty of Dentistry showed that Yusman was under 18
when the murders took place.

The Yusman case was also strange because he was not the person who actually
carried out the murders of Kolimarinus and the two other victims, who had
initially planned to buy a gecko for a considerable sum of money. Yusman merely
told his boss that his brother-in-law, Rusula Hia, had a gecko. Kolimarinus and
the 2 other victims were then picked up by 4 of Rusulas neighbors on
motorbikes. These f4 bike riders are thought to have sadistically killed the
three prospective gecko buyers for their money. They are still on the run. Only
Yusman and Rusula were arrested and subsequently sentenced to death.

The police must solve this case and find the 4 fugitives. This is important for
justice. Although he has been freed, Yusman needs rehabilitation if he really
was not involved in the murders. And the sentence of his brother-in-law should
also be corrected if he was not guilty, or did not play a major part.

Law enforcement officers involved in the arbitrary trial must be questioned and
appropriately punished. Yusman is thought to have been ill-treated during
questioning, and his attorney sided with the police. It is not only police
officers and prosecutors who should be investigated, but also the judges who
sentenced Yusman, who should be questioned by the Judicial Commission. A trial
should not be conducted in such an arbitrary fashion, especially if it results
in death sentences for those on trial.

(source: tempo.co)








IRAN----execution

Sunni Political Prisoner Hanged at Gohardasht Prison



Iranian Resistance calls on international community to condemn the execution of
political prisoners in Iran, and urges all governments to make their relations
with the religious dictatorship in Iran contingent on an end to executions and
torture.

The Iranian regime hanged Seyed Jamal Mousavi, a Sunni Kurdish political
prisoner from city of Sanadaj on Wednesday August 23 after spending 9 years in
prison on the so-called charge of Moharebeh (waging war on God). This is while
the new cabinet of Hassan Rouhani has not been through its 1st week in the
office.

The authorities in in Gohardasht prison (west of Tehran) transferred Mr.
Mousavi from Hall 21 of Section 7 of the prison to solitary confinement on the
pretext of sending him to hospital on 16 August. He was held enchained in
solitary confinement for a week. They threatened Mr. Moussavi that his death
sentence would be implemented if he leaks any information from inside the
prison.

In order to intimidate and terrorize other prisoners, the authorities returned
Mr. Mousavi to the general ward in prison hours before his execution while his
arms and legs were bloody and injured. Subsequently he was once again
transferred to solitary confinement to await execution and finally was hanged
at dawn on Wednesday 23 August 2017.

Meanwhile in Hall 10 Section 4 of Gohardasht prison 21 other political
prisoners continue their hunger strike for 4th week to protest their forcible
transfer to the hall, increasing pressures and constraints imposed on them, and
destruction and confiscation of their property.

The Iranian Resistance offers its condolences to the family and friends of
Seyed Jamal Mousavi and the people of city Sanandaj and Kurdistan, and calls on
the youth to protest against the execution and support of political prisoners
and the families of those executed.

The Iranian Resistance also urges the international community in particular the
United Nations Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the
Human Rights Council and the United Nations Security Council to condemn the
execution of political prisoners by the clerical regime in Iran.

It urges all governments to to make their relations and trade with the
religious dictatorship in Iran contingent on an end to executions and torture.

The brutal violation of human rights is the other side of the coin of the
Iranian regime's export of terrorism, warmongering policies in the region, and
its efforts to acquire nuclear weapon.

***********************

The Terrible Year of 1988



During the summer of 1988, more than 30,000 political prisoners were executed
in Ayatollah Khomeini's jails. A "movement for justice" is campaigning for the
leaders of the religious dictatorship to face justice.

They are definitely the stars of Iranian politics. Not quite in their forties,
they are still young. Neither the current government nor the opposition have
managed to distance themselves from the 1980s, which were "crucial" to the
Islamic Republic, as the Supreme Leader of the Theocracy, Ali Khamenei, says
today. What was so "crucial" about them? Why did they come back with such a
punch in Iranian news? Why is the population so attached to them?

In its latest report on Iran, published on 2 August, Amnesty International
explains that "human rights defenders seek truth, justice and compensation for
thousands of prisoners who were summarily executed or were killed by force
during the 1980s and those who have to face new kinds of reprisals on the part
of the authorities. This includes relatives of the victims, who have become
human rights defenders out of necessity, and young human rights activists who
have taken to social media and other platforms to discuss atrocities committed
in the past1.The new crackdown has rekindled appeals for an investigation into
the killing of several thousand political prisoners in a wave of extrajudicial
executions in the country during the summer of 1988." 2

Let us return to those early years of the Islamic Republic. Barely 2 years
after the fall of the Shah. Ayatollah Khomeini who, on his arrival in Paris in
1978, had sworn in an interview given to the newspaper Le Monde 3 to withdraw
from power to continue his studies in Qom, is now unrecognizable. On his return
to Iran in February 1979, he quickly forgot about his theological studies and a
few months later, removed his too liberal Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan. He
started to rule the country with an iron hand. The 1st disagreements happened
when he imposed in the Constitution the principle of the Velayat Faghih, the
absolute power of a religious guide. He had already undergone 2 bloody
repressions by Kurdish and Turkmen minorities. As for women, the agenda can be
summarized as "a blow or veil on the head" and removing them from many
administrations and key posts. The 1st legislative and presidential elections
in the spring of 1980 were undermined by widespread fraud that left no room for
opposition (not one seat in the Assembly). As for foreign policy, it had
already resulted in 2 big booms: the hostage taking at the American embassy in
Tehran (from 4 November 1979 to 20 January 1981) and the war against Iraq,
which began on 22 September 1980, which the ayatollah considers "a divine gift"
and in which he sent thousands of children to the minefields.

Opposition reduced to silence

It was in this context that 1981 began. Most opposition movements were
silenced. Only one continued to gather crowds and defy the politics of terror
which is already visible: the People's Mojahedin (PMOI), who already deplore in
their ranks some 50 militants murdered by the henchmen of the new power. This
will not prevent them from launching a new appeal for a peaceful demonstration
in order to claim the freedoms they lost when the monarchy had been overthrown.

On 20 June, 500,000 people marched through the streets of Tehran without
resorting to violence. The old ruler panicked and responded by giving the order
to open fire. Several dozen protesters were killed, creating ripples across the
country. The prisons overflowed with opponents to the regime that were shot in
groups of "400 per night," according to survivors. Adults, young people, old
people, women, no one was spared. In the list of assassinated individuals drawn
up by the opposition there are even 13-year-old girls! "It was enough to
sympathize with the movement" the former head of the secret service, Mullah Ali
Fallahian, recently said in an interview4 about the 1980s.

In 1988, the Khomeini war machine was running out of steam. "No one was
fighting on the front," said General Said Ghassemi, one of the military
commanders at that time. After 8 years in which he repeatedly said that he
would continue the war against Iraq "to the last stone in the capital,"
Khomeini is forced to capitulate. And he is too attached to power not to
understand that this withdrawal will cost him dearly. Without a war that
justifies everything, from poverty to the assassination of opponents, the
ruling theocracy cannot avoid a social explosion. The old hermit then launches
a fatwa to get rid of all the regime's opponents that are in prison, even those
who have already been serving a sentence. The logic is simple: dissent can be
controlled if there is no opposition to manage protests.

30,000 political detainees massacred

It is with this logic that more than 30,000 political detainees, mostly
People's Mojahedin militants, were massacred during the course of a few weeks
in the summer of 1988 and buried in mass graves. According to Hossein
Montazeri, who at that time was set to be Khomeini's successor, among the
victims were pregnant women and adolescents5. This is a true genocide that has
affected many families in Iran, but none have been allowed to mourn. An obscure
silence fell upon the country for many years because of this massacre.

In 2016, the Iranian opposition is freed from its main concern: to free
thousands of militants threatened by another massacre at a camp in Iraq called
Liberty. After years that cost many human lives, frequent attacks by militias
and Iraqi forces under Iranian control, the operation to free them succeeded
with the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and in
September 2016 the last political refugees in the camp were transferred
unharmed to Albania. Relieved, the PMOI could then take the offensive and
launch a movement for justice for the victims of the 1988 genocide.

This movement quickly spread across Iran, mobilizing in particular all the
families that had lost loved ones in the massacre. Amnesty International
mentions the impact of the "audio recording of a meeting in 1988 during which
leaders can be heard discussing and defending the details of their plans to
carry out collective executions" in August 20166. The dissemination of the
document triggered "an unprecedented chain of reactions on the part of the
leaders who had to admit for the 1st time that mass executions in 1988 were
planned in the highest spheres of government". 7

Many young people who did not know about this page in history but who did not
identify with the power in place or its ramifications also joined the movement
which quickly took the form of a call for justice.

The 2017 presidential election

Ali Khamenei, the head of the Tehran dictatorship, had long been considering
manipulating the 2017 presidential election to ensure that one of his closest
collaborators, Mullah Ebrahim Raisi, became president of the Republic. The
Supreme Leader's mistake was to have underestimated the extent of the justice
movement that was already spreading across the country.

Ebrahim Raisi was one of the main protagonists of the 1988 massacre, a member
of Tehran's "death commission" formed by Khomeini to ensure the "smooth"
running of events in the prisons regarding the fatwa that ordered the
executions. His candidacy resulted in a real public outcry, the main slogan on
the walls and on social media being "neither executioner nor charlatan" (the
executioner: Raisi, the charlatan: Hassan Rouhani, the outgoing president [
Re-elected on 19 May 2017]).

Khamenei's 2nd big mistake was to not understand that the slogan meant a 3rd
protagonist would join the game - the people with the opposition, a protagonist
that could undermine the rest. It is because he did not grasp this change in
times that Khamenei was not able to influence Hassan Rouhani's removal from
power, urging him to play his last card ... that of the massacres of 1988.

"The Iranian people do not want those who, during the last thirty-eight years
[since the revolution in 1979], only knew how to hang and throw people in
prison," Rouhani said on 7 May at an electoral meeting in Orumiyeh
(north-western city), in a hidden allusion to the massacres of political
prisoners. Ironically, Rouhani's sinister Minister of Justice during his first
term was Mostafa Pourmohammadi who was also involved in these mass executions.
Pourmohammadi has even congratulated himself on having "executed the order of
God" in 1988 to preserve the regime.

Moreover, the Supreme Leader's clan did not fail to remind Rouhani that he
himself had occupied key positions in the fields of security during the last 37
years and that he is therefore not innocent either. Rouhani, however, wanted to
remind the Supreme Leader of the dangers he was taking by dismissing him, until
a post-election insurrection was triggered, as in the aftermath of the Iranian
presidential election in 2009.

As for the popular movement, it continued to gain momentum during the campaign
and the slogans against Raisi multiplied: "the 1988 killer" was beginning to
become viral in the capital and in major cities.

Justify the massacres

It was therefore very late on that the leader of the theocracy perceived that
he had underestimated this movement for justice. He then tried to turn the tide
in his speech marking the anniversary of Khomeini's death on 4 June. "The 1980s
were crucial years in the history of the Islamic Republic. Our policy is being
questioned by some loudspeakers," said Khamenei, who justified the massacres by
claiming that his regime would have been overthrown if Khomeini had not acted
in this way, that is to say as cruelly as he did.

Since then, demonizing the opposition to justify the repression of the 1980s
has become official propaganda business. This goes from a whole filmography
that tries to justify the 1988 massacre to the positions taken and
interventions by a group of dignitaries and imams during the Friday prayers
throughout the country. Ahmed Khatami, a member of the Council of Experts [the
deciding body of the Islamic Republic] and a very close collaborator of
Khamenei, said during prayers on July 21st that "we must decorate all those who
killed the PMOI members on the orders of Imam Khomeini".

But the regime cannot detach itself from the shadow of the victims. In the
composition of his new government, Rouhani dismissed Pourmohammadi to replace
him with ... Alireza Ava'i, another member of the "death commission" involved
in the 1988 massacre in the Khuzestan province!

Calls for justice

In this context, calls to the UN by the families of victims to investigate and
bring to justice those responsible for these killings are growing in Iran as
well as abroad. A series of exhibitions to mark the anniversary of the massacre
was organized in Paris this summer (16 and 17 August at the Mairie of the 1st
arrondissement and on 30 and 31 August at the Mairie du IIe) in the presence of
the survivors and members of the families of those who died.

In the meantime, on the walls of Tehran and other major Iranian cities, calls
for justice for the victims of the 1980s are abound. Cries that seem to catch
up with the mullahs who thought they had succeeded in forgetting their crimes!

A Swiss citizen of Iranian origin living in Neuch???tel, Gholam-Hossin
Vakilzadeh was born in the city of Shiraz. AN activist against the abuses of
the Iranian regime, he is a member of the Association of Iranian experts in
Switzerland and president of the Association of the families of the inhabitants
of Ashraf, these Iranian opponents mortally attacked several times in Iraq and
who succeeded in fleeing to Albania.

1 Amnesty International, "Iran: Caught in a web of repression: Iran's human
rights defenders under attack", 2 August 2017, http://bit.ly/2vAgu9j

2 ibid.

3 L. George, Le Monde, 6 May 1978.

4


5


6 Amnesty, "Iran: Caught in a web of repression", op.cit.

7 ibid.

(source for both: ncr-iran.org)




BANGLADESH:

SC stays execution of Gadag man convicted for rape, murder



The Supreme Court has stayed death penalty of a Gadag resident on his appeal
challenging conviction and punishment for rape-cum-murder of a 5-year-old girl
child.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra, Kurian Joseph and Amitava Roy suspended
execution of Irappa Siddappa Murgannavar till further orders.

The petitioner challenged the High Court of Karnataka's order of March 6. The
high court has confirmed the death penalty awarded to him by a trial court on
March 8, 2012, after finding his "culpability as of extreme depravity that
arouses a sense of revulsion in the mind of an ordinary person." On hearing his
counsel Gaurav Agrawal and Abhikalp Pratap Singh, the court directed for
calling for the record of the lower court. It also ordered for posting the
appeal before a 3-judge bench for consideration.

"After the record is received, the registry is directed to place the matter
before the appropriate bench.There shall be stay of execution of the death
sentence until further orders," the bench said.

Murugannavar, 25, was accused of kidnapping the daughter of Sanganabasappa, who
was known to him, by enticing her away on December 28, 2010.

He raped her and throttled her to death. Subsequently, he immersed her body in
a water body after putting it in a gunny bag.

The high court noted Murugannavar subjected an innocent and helpless 5-year-old
girl to "a barbaric treatment."

"The motivation of the perpetrator, the vulnerability of the victim, the
enormity of the crime and execution thereof persuade us to hold that this is
one of the rarest of rare cases where sentence of death is eminently desirable
not only to deter others from committing such atrocious crimes, but also to
give emphatic expression to society's abhorrence to such crimes," the high
court has concluded.

*******************

8 get death in 2016 murder of Habiganj businessman



A court in Habiganj has awarded the death penalty to 8 people over the murder
of a businessman 6 years ago.

11 others have been sentenced to life in prison.

In 2011, assailants barged into the home of Tipu Sultan in Madhabpur Upazila in
the northeastern district and attacked him with a sharp weapon leaving him
dead.

On Wednesday, the court of additional district and sessions judge delivered the
verdict with 4 of the convicts in the dock, said Prosecutor Sirajul Haque
Chowdhury.

He said the court acquitted 3 people as charges against them were not proven
beyond doubt.

(source: bdnews24.com)








SCOTLAND:

Hanged at Barlinnie: Bloody history of Glasgow's killers who walked to the
gallows



The days of murderers paying the ultimate price of death for killing someone
might be long gone.

But the history of Glasgow's hanging past will never be erased.

In this new Evening Times series, we will reveal the stories of the men who
were hanged at HMP Barlinnie prison and the crimes which took them on that
path.

Although only 10 men were given the death penalty at the notorious East End
prison, many more hangings took place across the city centuries before.

Evening Times:

If you look closely across the city, you might even spot a few nods to
Glasgow's hanging past including the prominent McLennan Arch, above, which
features at the Saltmarket entrance of the Glasgow Green.

"Jocelyn Gate. This area, formerly known as Jocelyn Square, was the site of
both the famous Glasgow Fair and, until 1865 of public executions," reads an
inscription on the flagstone of the impressive arch.

That memorial is a nod to the hangings which took place at the entrance to the
Glasgow Green, facing what is now the city's High Court building.

The 2st executions at the spot were in 1814, and over the years 67 men and 4
women were hanged there.

The story goes that the men and women who went to the gallows were hanged with
their backs to the court and facing the Nelson Monument in Glasgow Green.

When Dr Edward Pritchard became the last person to be hanged in Jocelyn Square
in 1865, it was such a sensation that the execution turned into one of the
year's greatest tourist attractions.

The respectable doctor, who had a practice in Sauchiehall Street, was convicted
of poisoning his wife and mother-in-law.

People travelled to the square, and filled the surrounding streets drinking and
celebrating the doctor's demise.

Those who owned rooms overlooking the hanging site hired them out at 3 guineas
a time so spectators could have a grandstand view and street vendors did a
roaring trade.

It was, in the words of one 19th century writer, the 'last great hanging' in
Glasgow.

City hangings then took place in a more modest setting at the now defunct Duke
Street Prison which was demolished in 1958 to make way for housing.

The prison was situated close to the High Street end of Duke Street and a total
of 12 hangings took place there between 1902 and 1928.

Among those who had the noose around their neck was Susan Newell who was the
last woman to be hanged in Scotland.

The Glasgow subway worker was found guilty of strangling newspaper boy Jean
Johnston who was just 13 when she killed him.

She was executed on October 10, 1923 at Duke Street Prison and officially the
last hanging of a woman had taken place in the city 70 years prior.

Fast forward to 1946, where the first hanging took place at HMP Barlinnie. HMP
Barlinnie replaced the gallows at Duke Street Prison where George Reynolds was
the last man to be hanged in 1928.

A total of 10 judicial executions by hanging took place at the prison until
1960. This was before the death penalty was eventually abolished in the UK in
1969.

The public executioners during that time were Thomas Pierrepoint, Albert
Pierrepoint and Harry Allen, above. The men gained worldwide notoriety as
public executioners. They travelled all over the world to carry out executions
and made 10 visits to Glasgow between them for the Barlinnie hangings.

Frank McKue also played an important role in the executions as death watch
officer at Barlinnie.

He previously told The Evening Times in an interview: "To sit with a guy who is
going to be hanged in the morning is quite an experience.

"You're saying cheerio to someone who you know won't ever be coming back. That
sort of thing didn't bother me, though - I never lost any sleep over it."

Once an execution had taken place, the remains of all executed prisoners were
the property of the state. They were buried in unmarked graves within the walls
of the prison.

During renovations at the prison in 1997, Barlinnie's gallows cell, which was
built into D-hall, was finally demolished and the remains of all the executed
prisoners were exhumed for reburial elsewhere on the grounds.

Frank revisited Barlinnie just before the old execution chamber was dismantled.

He went with Glasgow-based film-maker David Graham Scott, and the result was a
brief documentary, Hanging With Frank.

In one scene, Frank stands on the trapdoor and places the hangman's hood over
his head. It is a chilling sight.

"That was absolutely horrendous," he said.

"Once that hood was on, you were dead. You can't breathe. You're gasping for
air, and the next thing you know, the hangman has put the noose on. He pulls
the lever and you're away."

Through our own archives at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow, we will retell the
stories of those prisoners who paid the ultimate price for the crime of murder.

In the coming weeks, we will share the stories of Govanhill gang member John
Lyon, the 'fiend of the Gorbals' Patrick Carraher, Carntyne cop killer John
Caldwell, self-sacrificing Paul Christopher Harris, not so law-abiding police
officer James Robertson, dancefloor killer James Smith, wife killer Patrick
Gallagher Deveney, Lanarkshire murder hut killer George Francis Shaw, the
infamous Peter Manuel and Queen's Park killer Tony Miller.

Our reporters at the time covered the cases from the moment the crime was
committed to the hanging of the killer on the gallows.

It might be a gory history, but the disposal of capital punishment as a
sentence was very much a part of Glasgow's crime story.

(source: eveningtimes.co.uk)
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August 25



PAPUA NEW GUINEA:

General Public give views on 'Death Penalty'



Members of the general public in Lae City have given their views about imposing
death penalty on child rapists and murderers.

This follows the call made by the father of Rose Kimberley, a 7-year-old
schoolgirl who was raped and killed in New Ireland Province last week.

Some parents in Lae City said the Justice department should impose tougher
penalties to child rapists and murderers.

Brenda John, a mother who was angered by the story says the rapist and murder
should not live.

The number of child rape and murder cases are on the rise in the country.

Furuyu Hone, a mother of 4 boys said, anyone is capable of committing this
crime.

Hone continued, mindset training can be a solution to prevent such crimes.

2 community leaders from Bulolo District who came into Lae for business runs,
support the idea of death penalty suggested by Kimberley's father.

(source: emtv.com.pg)








IRAN----executions

2 Prisoners Hanged - 1 for Drug Charges, the other for Moharebeh



A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Maragheh Prison on drug related charges,
and a prisoner was reportedly hanged at Kerman Central Prison on Corruption on
Earth and Moharebeh (enmity against God) charges.

According to close sources, the prisoner at Maragheh Prison was executed on the
morning of Wednesday August 16. The prisoner has been identified as Manouchehr
Heydarkhah, 26 years of age, sentenced to death on drug related charges.
"Manouchehr was arrested 4 years ago on the charge of 14 kilograms and 800
grams of crystal meth, and he was sentenced to death by the revolutionary court
in Maragheh," an informed source tells Iran Human Rights.

According to the state-run news agency, Rokna, on the morning of Tuesday August
22, a prisoner identified as Arya Javidan was executed on "Corruption on Earth"
and "Enmity Against God" charges. The report mentions that Arya Javidan had
several previous convictions inclulding murder, robbery, kidnapping, and
extortion. The report also mentions that Arya Javidan is father of 3.

**************************

1 More Prisoner Hanged on Drug Charges / Sunni Prisoner May Be Hanged Any
Moment



A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Karaj's Rajai Shahr Prison on drug related
charges. Another prisoner was transferred to solitary confinement in
preparation for his execution.

Close sources say the prisoner at Rajai Shahr Prison was executed on the
morning of Wednesday August 23 on drug related charges. The prisoner has been
identified as Sadegh Gholami, sentenced to death on the charge of approximately
one kilograms of crack. He was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement
on Tuesday August 15 in preparation for his execution.

Last week, an informed source told Iran Human Rights: "Sadegh Gholami was
scheduled to be executed last year on drug related charges, but in order to
delay his execution, he murdered one of his cellmates. The status of the new
case file opened for him for the murder crime is uncertain right now. Sadegh is
attempting to receive forgiveness from the complainant on his new case file in
order to be spared from execution."

Some prisoners on death row in Iran have been known to murder a cellmate or
inflict self-injury in order to postpone their execution sentences. However, in
Mr. Gholami's case, he was executed on his original conviction.

On Tuesday August 22, a Sunni prisoner identified as Seyed Jamal Seyed Mousavi
was reportedly transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his
execution. Mr. Seyed Mousavi also spent last week in solitary confinement. He
was transferred back to his cell to only be transferred back to solitary
confinement on the same day. Close sources say Mr. Seyed Mousavi has already
received his last visit with his family.

Seyed Jamal Seyed Mousavi was arrested by the Ministry of Intelligence in
Sanandaj in 2008, he was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court on the
charge of "Moharebeh (enmity against God) through cooperation with Salafi
groups.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)

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August 26




JAPAN:

Japanese man sentenced to death over murders in Manila



A 43-year-old Japanese man accused of murdering 2 compatriots in Manila in 2014
and 2015 for insurance payouts was sentenced to death Friday in a district
court in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo.

Presiding Judge Tetsumi Maruyama of the Kofu District Court handed down the
capital punishment sentence on Toshihiko Iwama as prosecutors had sought.

"It was an inhuman crime to obtain money by any means necessary. The victims'
families hope for the death penalty," Maruyama said.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors insisted that Iwama orchestrated the
murder plot including insurance procedures, while the defense counsel had
claimed Iwama was innocent, saying he had no motive for murder as he was not
facing financial difficulties.

Iwama's defense counsel suggested it will appeal the ruling.

According to the ruling, Iwama conspired with accomplices to hire a local hit
man who shot and killed Shinsuke Toba, 32, in October 2014 and murdered Tatsuya
Nakamura, 42, in a similar way sometime between the end of August and the
beginning of September in 2015 in the Philippine capital.

1 of the accomplices, 44-year-old Shoichi Kubota, admitted to the accusation
and has been sentenced to life in prison.

The 2 victims resided in Yamanashi Prefecture, with Toba, a manager of an
osteopathic clinic, living in Nirasaki, and Nakamura, a company executive,
living in Fuefuki.

Both were executives of a company in which Iwama was a large shareholder. The
company was going to receive 100 million yen ($912,000) and 50 million yen for
the deaths of Toba and Nakamura, respectively, for insurance payouts. The
payouts never happened.

(source: abs-cbn.com)

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August 29



IRAN:

Iran Sentences Prisoner Mohammad Ali Taheri to Death



The Iranian regime's judiciary has sentenced to death political prisoner
Mohammad Ali Taheri, his attorney told news agencies on Sunday.

Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei told The Associated Press that the court has
sentenced his client to death on charges of "founding a cult."

The 61-year-old Taheri has been held in solitary confinement for over 6 years
in Tehran's Evin prison.

In an Urgent Action issued in July, Amnesty International had warned about Mr.
Taheri facing death Penalty.

Amnesty International statement said: "Prisoner of conscience Mohammad Ali
Taheri is accused of 'spreading corruption on earth' (efsad-e fel arz) through
the establishment of the spiritual group Erfan-e Halgheh and its related
teachings. His trial started on 6 March before Branch 26 of the Revolutionary
Court in Tehran."

"This is the 3rd time that Mohammad Ali Taheri is standing trial on the charge
of 'spreading corruption on earth'. The 1st time was in 2011 when a
Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced him to 5 years' imprisonment for
'insulting Islamic sanctities' but said further investigations were necessary
before it could rule on the charge of "spreading corruption on earth"

"For the next 4 years, the authorities kept him in solitary confinement in
Section 2A of Evin prison, where he remains imprisoned, under the pretext of
conducting investigations. This time counted toward his 5-year sentence, which
was deemed complete in February 2016. He was ultimately tried again on the
charge of 'spreading corruption on earth' in 2015 and sentenced to death, but
he was acquitted in June 2016. Despite this, he was not released and in late
2016, the authorities charged him again with 'spreading corruption on earth'
based on the same activities that had formed the basis of his 2011 conviction."

On Sunday, a group of Mr Taheri's followers gathered outside "Revolutionary
Court" in Tehran to protest the death penalty.

In recent weeks, authorities have detained dozens of his followers protesting
ill treatment of Mr. Taheri.

(source: ncr-iran.org)








INDIA:

"Hang rapist Baba to death", chants UP sadhus for rape convict Ram Rahim
Singh----CBI judge Jagdeep Singh will be soon arriving at Rohtak jail. Police
have been alerted in UP as well ahead of the announcement of the quantum of
punishment



Uttar Pradesh sadhu's demanded death penalty to the Dera Sacha Sauda chief
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in the rape case. Quantum of punishment will be
pronounced inside Rohtak jail at 2:30 pm today.

A group of sadhus, including a Naga sadhu, and a few people of Varanasi
demanded 'death by hanging' for the Dera chief who is in Rohtak jail. Sadhus
held placards which read: 'Balatkari baba ko Phansi do-Phansi do' it means hang
to death the rapist baba, reports ANI.

(source: indiasamvad.co.in)








VIETNAM:

51 bankers, businessmen on trial in Vietnam for fraud



A former banking magnate and 50 others went on trial in Vietnam Monday over a
multi-million dollar fraud at a major private bank, as the communist nation
cracks down on corruption in the sector.

Authorities have vowed to clean up an industry plagued by favouritism and dodgy
loans -- part of a broader drive against corruption in the country.

In the latest trial the ex-chairman of Ocean Bank, Ha Van Tham, is accused of
illegally approving loans worth $23 million in 2012, ultimately leading to the
bank's demise and stripping him of his status as one of the country's richest
men.

Tham and 50 other bankers and businessmen, most of whom worked at Ocean Bank,
face various charges related to the illegal loan in the 20-day trial that
opened Monday.

Some face the death penalty, according to the lengthy indictment.

The trial involves a record 50 defence lawyers and more than 700 witnesses, and
is the 2nd time the accused have appeared after a March trial was postponed for
further investigation.

Tham is accused of approving the loan to the Trung Dung real estate company
without proper collateral.

The head of the real estate company, Pham Cong Danh, is currently in jail after
a separate conviction of economic mismanagement.

Ocean Group, which includes real estate and hotel subsidiaries, enjoyed a
meteoric rise after its founding in 2007, and was valued at $500 million in
2013 under Tham's stewardship.

But after Tham was arrested in 2014, most bank branches shut and the State Bank
of Vietnam, the central bank, acquired Ocean Bank for $0.

Ocean Group is still active in real estate and hotels and services and was
valued at about $3.5 million in 2016, according to its website.

Vietnam has already jailed dozens of bankers in other high-profile banking
cases, though some say corrupt officials should be targeted as part of the
crackdown.

"In economic cases, only enterprise managers and owners are put on trial, not
policymakers or state officials... punishment of party and state (officials) is
not strong enough," economic law expert Nguyen Viet Khoa told AFP.

In September last year 36 former Vietnam Construction Bank employees were given
jail terms of up to 30 years, after they were accused of secretly withdrawing
millions of dollars from clients' accounts to use for loans or keep for
themselves.

Bad debts have long plagued the banking industry. They make up some eight
percent of outstanding loans, according to the state bank, though experts say
the real number could be far higher.

Authorities have also targeted other sectors in their anti-corruption drive,
though analysts say convictions are often driven by political infighting rather
than a genuine commitment to reform.

This month Germany accused Vietnam of kidnapping Trinh Xuan Thanh, a former oil
executive accused of corruption, from a Berlin park.

Officials in Vietnam said he turned himself over to police in Hanoi
voluntarily.

(source: dailymail.co.uk)








MALAYSIA:

Melaka woman who bashed own baby to death deemed of unsound mind; spared
gallows



A housewife escaped the gallows for killing her 22-month-old daughter 2 years
ago after the High Court here found her to be of unsound mind when committing
the offence.

Daphne Phang Mei Kei, 28, clad in a pink jacket over an orange shirt and jeans,
was all smiles and even shook hands with other accused at the courthouse here
when Judicial Commissioner Siti Khadijah S. Hassan Badjenid issued her ruling.

Siti Khadijah ruled that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt
against the prosecution's case, which held that the accused was responsible for
her daughter's death.

However, Daphne was ordered to be sent to the Permai Psychiatric Hospital in
Tampoi, Johor, at the pleasure of the Melaka Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Mohd
Khalil Yaakob.

"Under Section 84 of the Penal Code, Daphne was (deemed) of unsound mind when
committing the murder, and was incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or
that what she was doing what either wrong or contrary to the law.

"Due to this, the court has ordered, under Section 348 (1) of the Criminal
Procedure Code (safe custody of person acquitted), for Daphne to be placed
under the safe custody of the Permai Hospital in Johor Baru.

"Daphne is to be confined to the psychiatric hospital at the pleasure of the
Melaka Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob under Section 348 (2) of
the Criminal Procedure Code," Siti Khadijah said.

Earlier, the atmosphere at the courthouse was tense, as Daphne's relatives
anxiously awaited the sentencing hearing. Family members appeared calm and
composed, and breathed a sigh of relief after the court's verdict.

On Aug 4, 2015, Daphne was charged at the Alor Gajah magistrate's court with
killing her daughter, who was aged 1 year and 10 months. She was accused of
murdering Evan Chee Xin Ci at 5.30pm on July 20, 2015 at her house at No. PS
2237, Jalan Padi Indah Utama, Taman Padi Indah, Pulau Sebang here.

She was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the
mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

It was reported that Daphne, who was pregnant at the time, had tossed Evan in
the air before knocking her head on the floor several times, as she was annoyed
with her continuous crying for milk. Evan died later that day.

The case was initially classified as "sudden death." However, a post-mortem
showed that the child had suffered 2 severe cracks on the rear of her skull,
apart from fresh swelling on her forehead and nose.

Old injuries were also found on her body.

More than 25 prosecution and defence witnesses were called during the trial.

Deputy public prosecutor, Ifa Sirrhu Samsudin prosecuted, while lawyer Tiu
Leong Kim represented Daphne.

It is understood that Daphne has 3 other children by her 35-year-old husband.

(source: nst.com.my)

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August 29



EGYPT:

Court postpones verdict in the Al-Fatah Mosque case



The Cairo Criminal Court postponed Monday the verdict of 493 defendants in the
Al-Fatah Mosque case to 15 September, state media reported.

The defendants include several high-profile Muslim Brotherhood youth cadres and
preachers known to have supported the group.

They are charged with murder, attempted murder, violating Al-Fatah mosque,
protesting, torching public and private properties, attacking security
personnel, and possessing live weapons, birdshot firearms, and ammunition.

The 1st trial session took place in August 2014.

Amnesty International reported that the judges 'who made up a court panel which
was due to hear the case recused themselves on account of objections raised by
the defendants' lawyers'.

Among the defendants is Egyptian-Irish citizen Ibrahim Halawa, who Amnesty
International considered a 'prisoner of conscience', arguing that if convicted
he could face the death penalty.

'Ibrahim was shot in his hand when the security forces stormed the building,
but was not given access to medical care for his injury, and the only treatment
he received was from a cellmate who happened to be a doctor,' the organisation
said in an earlier statement.

Islamic preacher Salah Soltan, father of the hunger striking detainee Mohamed
Soltan, is among the defendants.

Violent clashes took place around and inside Al-Fath Mosque, 2 days following
the forced dispersal of the encampments in support of ousted president Mohamed
Morsi in August 2013. The clashes left over 90 dead, according to Amnesty
International.

The organisation argued that the high death toll was a result of the 'reckless
use of force by the security forces'. The Egyptian government, however, blamed
the Muslim Brotherhood, arguing that police forces provided 'a safe exist for
peaceful protesters'.

On 16 August, after the Friday prayers protests started after the Friday sermon
reaching Ramses Square in downtown. The demonstrations were confronted by riot
police, taking refuge in the mosque. After hours of confrontations, security
forces broke into the mosque and arrested scores of protesters.

(source: menafin.com)








IRAN:

Mass Executions, Death Sentences Continue----Call to condemn Tehran, condition
relations on halting executions



The religious dictatorship ruling Iran continues to issue death sentences and
carry out executions. The number of prisoners executed in the month of August
alone has reached over 50.

Seyed Jamal Seyed Mousavi, a Sunni Kurdish political prisoner, was executed on
August 23 on the bogus charge of moharebe (enmity against God) for having
contact with Sunni groups. He had endured 9 years behind bars.

The day before Ariya Javeedan was executed in Kerman prison for moharebe and
disrupting security.

Alireza Tajiki, arrested at the age of 15, was executed on August 10 after
enduring 6 years behind bars in Diesel Abad prison of Shiraz. A large number of
prisoners, arrested under the age of 18 for their alleged crimes, are currently
on death row.

Moreover, another so-called court in Iran has sentenced Mohammad Ali Taheri to
execution. Introducing himself as the founder of Iranian simontology, Taheri
has committed no crime, possessed no weapon, and based on this regime's own
medieval and cruel laws cannot even be charged with the vague charges of
moharebe or mofsed fel-arz (corruption on earth).

To justify this execution ruling the Iranian regime has charged him with
"providing illegitimate education, distributing visual-audio work, and illegal
use of scientific titles." Whereas all Iranian regime officials are involved in
embezzlement and huge theft from public funds.

Many senior officials of the regime, from its President Hassan Rouhani,
Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaie, Expediency Council Member Mohammad
Bagher Ghalibaf and former interior minister Ali Kordan claim to be doctors.
They are all ridiculed by the Iranian people.

These titles are entirely fabricated or simply documents issued by the regime's
own educational institutions based on orders from the Ministry of Intelligence
and Revolutionary Guards.

The Iranian Resistance calls on all human rights advocates and relevant United
Nations organs to strongly condemn the mullahs' regime for issuing death
sentences, including the recent ruling of Mr. Taheri, and to take urgent action
to halt mass executions in Iran. Continuing and expanding political and
economic relations with this regime must hinge on halting executions and
improving human rights conditions.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)

*****************

Taheri's Death Sentence Will Not Stand, Says Hopeful Lawyer



The lawyer for imprisoned Iranian spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri is
optimistic that the latest death sentence against his client will again be
turned down upon appeal.

The verdict, issued by Judge Mashallah Ahmadzadeh of Branch 26 of the
Revolutionary Court on August 27, 2017 on the charge of "corruption on earth"
will be appealed within the 20-day legal deadline, attorney Mahmoud Alizadeh
Tabatabaee told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

"The Supreme Court has already rejected the death sentence against my client on
the same charge and I am hopeful that it will once again declare the verdict
unlawful and reject it," said Tabatabaee.

The attorney added that the verdict had been issued on the basis of Article 286
of Iran's Islamic Penal Code which states, "Any person, who extensively commits
felony against the bodily entity of people, offenses against internal or
international security of the state, spreading lies, disruption of the economic
system of the state, arson and destruction of properties, distribution of
poisonous and bacterial and dangerous materials, and establishment of, or
aiding and abetting in, places of corruption and prostitution, [on a scale]
that causes severe disruption in the public order of the state and insecurity,
or causes harsh damage to the bodily entity of people or public or private
properties, or causes distribution of corruption and prostitution on a large
scale, shall be considered as mofsed-e-fel-arz [corrupt on earth] and shall be
sentenced to death."

As leader of the Erfan-e Halgheh spiritual organization established in the
2000s, Taheri, 61, was arrested on May 4, 2010 and charged with "insulting the
sacred," "immoral contact with women," and "carrying out illegal medical
procedures." At the time, he also taught at Tehran University and practiced a
form of alternative medicine.

He was sentenced to 5 years in prison and 74 lashes, along with a nine-billion
rial (approximately $300,000 USD) fine. But instead of being released at the
end of his sentence, he was re-questioned about his books and sentenced to
death for spreading "corruption on earth." In December 2015, the Supreme Court
rejected the death penalty and asked the lower court to review and issue a new
sentence.

"I don't understand such a sentence being issued in today's world where freedom
of speech is respected," Taheri's sister, Azardokht, told CHRI in reaction to
the 2nd death sentence.

"More importantly, the Supreme Court had already acquitted my brother and
rejected his execution. So how can you sentence him to death again for the same
charge?

"His sentence must be thrown out and he should go free. Any outcome other than
his freedom will be unusual and unlawful. This is the verdict his interrogators
decided for him. The trial was just a pretense.

"They say the sentence is based on charges stemming from his writings. But they
denied several requests by my brother for copies of his book in prison to
prepare for his defense. He wrote the books 10 years ago and he's been in
prison since 2010. He needed to read his books again to be able to defend
himself."

Iran's security establishment has cracked down on Taheri and supporters of his
Erfan-e Halgheh spiritual group, viewing it and any other organized alternative
beliefs as a threat to the prevailing Shia religious establishment.

During a speech on December 28, 2016, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei described the
emergence of spiritual groups in Iran as a Western plot to undermine Islam.

"The enemies are plotting to weaken our young people's faith in Islam and
Islamic principles by encouraging promiscuity and promoting false spirituality,
Bahaism and home churches," he said.

In March 2017, Iran's state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB)
aired a documentary titled "The Devil's Circle," which included alleged
"confessions" from Taheri and several of his followers about the group's
ideology and activities. In the heavily edited interviews, Taheri's "students"
claimed he taught anti-Islamic ideas.

(source: Iran Human Rights)








NIGERIA:

Court remands 3 men over kidnap of 2 Filipinos



3 men were on Monday remanded in prison on the orders of an Ebute-Meta Chief
Magistrates' Court, Lagos, for allegedly kidnapping 2 Filipinos.

The accused - Yinka Adebanjo, 29; Seun Ogunsumbo, 31; and Ishau Awokoya, 32 -
were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Oluyemisi Adelaja on a 4-count charge
bordering on conspiracy, kidnap and unlawful possession of arms and ammunition.

The Prosecutor, Insp. Chinalu Uwadione, had told the court that the accused
committed the offences on July 5 at Odonla in Ikorodu, Lagos State.

He said the accused allegedly kidnapped Jammie Lacar and Mario Maglundo, both
from the Philippines and staff of Mateco Industry West Africa, and demanded a
N4 million ransom for their release.

The accused also had in their possession arms and ammunition concealed in a DVD
player, he alleged.

The offences contravened Sections 2, 3 and 11 of the Kidnapping Prohibition Act
of Lagos State 2017.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the offence carries death
penalty.

The offence also contravened Section 329 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State
2015.

NAN reports that the three accused are to be kept behind bars at Ikoyi Prisons
pending legal advice from the State Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

(source: The Nation)








JAPAN:

Japanese man handed death sentence by Yamanashi court over Manilla killings



A 43-year-old Japanese man on Friday was handed a death sentence by a local
court over the murder of 2 fellow countrymen from Yamanashi Prefecture in the
Philippines in 2014 and 2015, reports Fuji News Network (Aug. 26).

At the Kofu District Court, presiding judge Tetsumi Maruyama handed Toshihiko
Iwama, a resident of Fuefuki City, the death penalty for crimes that were
fueled by the collection of insurance money.

"These were very clever and highly planned crimes. There can be no escape from
the death penalty," the judge said.

Iwama, 42, ordered the killing of Shinsuke Toba, a 32-year-old resident of
Nirasaki City, who was shot dead inside a taxi on a street in the Philippine
capital by a gunman riding a motorcycle on October 18, 2014, according to the
ruling. In September of the year after, Tatsuya Nakamura, a 43-year-old
resident of Fuefuki, a business acquaintance of Toba, was also killed by a
hitman hired by Iwama in Manila.

Shoichi Kubo, a 44-year-old accomplice of Iwama, received a life-in-prison term
in the case.

Insurance policies

Toba operated an osteopathic clinic in Nirasaki while Nakamura was a company
employee. According to a previous report, a traveler's insurance policy valued
at 100 million yen had been taken out on Toba. Another policy valued at 50
million yen was taken out in the name of Nakamura. However, payouts were not
made for either policy.

In its closing argument, the prosecution indicated that insurance payouts were
the motives for the crimes. The defense claimed innocence, countering the
accusations by saying that Iwama was not suffering from financial problems.

(source: tokyoreporter.com)

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August 31



IRAN----executions

At Least 2 Prisoners Hanged on Drug Charges



At least 2 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Ardabil Central Prison on drug
related charges.

According to close sources, the executions of "Fardin Hosseini" and "Massoud
Vaizadeh" were carried out on the morning of Wednesday August 30.

Fardin and Massoud were reportedly held in prison for more than 4 years before
they were executed. The 2 men were reportedly convicted in the same file and
sentenced to death each for the charge of manufacturing 3 kilograms of crystal
meth. "Fardin was a chemical engineer and had no previous criminal record," an
informed source tells Iran Human Rights.

The execution of prisoners with drug related charges continues in Iran at the
same time that the Iranian Parliament has approved a bill to stop drug related
executions. The bill must be approved by Iran's Guardian Council before it can
be passed.

*********************

Sunni Prisoner Hanged on Moharebeh Charges



Sunni prisoner Seyed Jamal Seyed Mousavi was reportedly hanged at Karaj's Rajai
Shahr Prison on Wednesday August 23, but his famliy did not find out until
Sunday August 27.

According to close sources, it was the prison authorities who confirmed Seyed
Jamal's execution to his family. The day before his execution, Seyed Jamal's
family were reportedly able to meet him for a brief visit.

Close sources say the Iranian authorities buried Seyed Jamal's body in a
location unknown, even to his family.

A week before his execution, Seyed Jamal was held in solitary confinement, but
he was returned to his cell on Tuesday August 22, only to be taken back to
solitary confinement on the same day and executed on Wednesday.

Seyed Jamal Seyed Mousavi was reportedly arrested in 2008 by the Ministry of
Intelligence in Sanandaj and was sentenced to death by a revolutionary court
for the charge of "Enmity against god through cooperation with Salafi groups".

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)








NORTH KOREA:

Seoul condemns N.K.'s threat to execute S. Korean reporters



South Korea's unification ministry on Thursday strongly condemned North Korea's
threat to execute Seoul reporters for allegedly insulting its leadership.

North Korea's Central Court said that it will hand down the death penalty to 2
reporters and 2 chiefs of 2 South Korean conservative newspapers, claiming that
they seriously disgraced North Korea's dignity with what it called their false
reports.

"The criminals hold no right to appeal and the execution will be carried out
any moment and at any place without going through any additional procedures as
soon as the objects are confirmed," a court spokesman was quoted as saying by
the Korean Central News Agency.

The Ministry of Unification called on the North to immediately stop such
intimidation.

"North Korea's threats in response to journalists' ordinary acts of reporting
constitutes a serious violation of freedom of the press and an intervention in
the South's affairs," it said. "This does not help an improvement in
inter-Korean ties at all. We sternly warn that North Korea should end its
threat to our nationals."

The ministry said that the government remains firm in defending national
security and its people's safety.

"The government will take necessary measures to guarantee the safety of South
Korean nationals," it added.

(source: yonhapnews.co.kr)








VIETNAM:

Russian woman, 30, faces execution for smuggling 3kg of cocaine into Vietnam
'after drugs were planted in her hand luggage by her Nigerian lover'----Maria
Dapirka, 30, was caught with 3kg of cocaine on a flight from Singapore



A 30-year-old Russian woman accused of being a cocaine mule faces the death
penalty in Vietnam.

But Maria Dapirka, who has already written a 'farewell letter' to her mother,
claims she was set up by her lover who posed as a top footballer.

Her lawyers have said she has accepted she may soon be executed, but still
clings on to some hope she will be freed after 3 years in prison.

Dapirka, who lived in Thailand when she met her lover, known as Nick, was
caught with almost 3kg of cocaine by Vietnamese customs on a flight from
Singapore.

She said the cocaine was planted in her luggage by Nick - or 'Chib Eze' - who
apparently has a penchant for seducing attractive young women before conning
them into carrying drugs.

Dapirka's verdict and sentence was due to be handed down by a Vietnamese judge
today in a Ho Chi Minh city court but the session was postponed 'for further
investigation' for the fifth time.

In a letter to her mother Olga, a desperate Dapirka said she was ready for any
decision by the court.

She wrote: 'Don't worry about me. I am fine. I am ready for any end. 'I hope
you will manage to visit me.

'I've not seen you for 4 years. I miss you so much! Please take good care of
your health.'

Her lawyer Sunkar Nurmagambetov said: 'We have received Maria's appeal.

'She addressed her family and said that she has not lost faith yet but
realistically she understands there might be scenarios like a death sentence or
life term.'

Before her arrest, she was a keen sportswoman who did not drink or smoke, he
said.

'She has had to get used to the new conditions. She is trying to stay as
optimistic as she can, but sometimes her mood can be quite low.'

Pro-Kremlin news site Mash in Russia published a picture purporting to be
'Nick', the man she accuses of framing her after they met in Thailand.

The Nigerian media has claimed the same man used different fake names to dupe
dozens of other women with model looks to act as drugs mules. His real name is
not known.

'What started as a beautiful love story for these innocent girls with model
looks ended up into a nightmare on the death row on drug-trafficking charges,'
reported NAIJ.com 2 years ago.

'All these beautiful girls have been duped into being drug mules by an elusive
Nigerian drug baron, who pretended to be a professional footballer or a pro
from the fashion industry.

'He seduced the girls promising to marry them and establishing intimate
relationships with his victims, but little did they know what they have been
chosen for.'

Suspected victim Akzharkyn Turlybay, aged 20, a Kazakhstan model, was sentenced
to life imprisonment in China, before the verdict was quashed last year and the
case sent back to the lower courts.

Another Zhibek Sakeeva was jailed for 12 years in Indonesia in 2012 after
allegedly being conned by the same drugs baron.

1 more possible victim was 22-year-old Colombian, Juliana Lopez, a university
student and model, who also hosted a TV show, it was reported.

Lopez was arrested 2 years ago in China with a notebook containing drugs.

A campaign organised by Maria Dapirka's friends calling for her release alleged
that 'a whole criminal syndicate of Nigerian men work in Asia and all around
the world, like Maria's so-called boyfriend.

'They make up all sort of stories, win trust, some even marry their potential
future drug mules.

'Maria is not in this alone, there is plenty of girls like her who trust these
men.'

Olga, her mother, insisted her daughter was innocent.

'I hope Maria will be released because Vietnam has the death penalty for this
crime.'

The woman was caught with 2 nylon bags packed with cocaine in her hand baggage,
and more wedged inside a magazine, at Ho Chi Minh City's Tan Son Nhat
International Airport in August 2014.

'Maria would not carry cocaine, she has always lived a strictly healthy
lifestyle,' said her brother Vadim.

'She does not eat meat, nor smoke, nor drink and has always said that she
thinks all of those things are really disgusting.'

Popular tourist destination Vietnam has some of the most severe penalties for
drugs offences in the world.

People caught with even small quantities of hard drugs are liable to be
executed.

More than 2 dozen foreigners are currently facing the death penalty or life
imprisonment for drug trafficking offences.

(source: dailymail.co.uk)



NEW ZEALAND/CHINA:

New Zealand court upholds government's decision to extradite man to China



A New Zealand court on Thursday rejected an appeal from a man challenging the
government's decision to extradite him to China in the 1st case of its kind for
the Pacific nation.

New Zealand Justice Minister Amy Adams had twice ordered that South Korean-born
New Zealand resident Kyung Yup Kim could be sent to China to face murder
charges, and both times Kim had appealed against the decision in the High
Court.

Kim has denied the murder accusation, according to court documents.

Judge Jillian Mallon, who had accepted Kim's first appeal last year, said that
when Adams reconsidered she had sought extra information that allowed her to
conclude Kim's rights would be protected in China.

A lawyer for Kim told the High Court in April that New Zealand's government
could not rely on assurances from China that the man would not be tortured or
receive the death penalty.

New Zealand agreed in December 2015 to extradite Kim to Shanghai on murder
charges after the body of a 20-year-old woman, who had been strangled, was
found in a Shanghai field in 2009.

China's 1st extradition request to New Zealand comes as it is trying to drum up
international support for returning to China corruption suspects who have gone
abroad.

China has struggled to enlist Western countries in its efforts, with many
proving reluctant to sign extradition treaties with China, pointing to its poor
rights record and opaque criminal prosecution process.

Kim can appeal again.

His lawyer, Tony Ellis, did not immediately respond to a request for comment
but earlier this year he told Reuters his client would likely continue to
appeal the decision.

(source: Reuters)








UNITED KINGNDOM/THAILAND:

National Crime Agency acted illegally in Thai double murder investigation



The National Crime Agency has been forced to admit that it acted illegally in
assisting Thai police investigate, arrest and convict 2 young Burmese men
sentenced to death for the murder of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and
David Miller.

The admission by the NCA in a High Court settlement, raises new doubts over
whether the 2015 convictions of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo are safe.

The 2 men were forced to take legal action, supported by Reprieve, after the
agency refused to admit its full role in their conviction.

Phone metadata provided by the NCA was presented at trial to bolster a
prosecution case marred by widespread allegations of corruption, incompetence
and fabricated evidence.

In the UK legal proceedings, it came to light that the NCA had also secretly
shared other data with the prosecution - data which pointed to other suspects
and would have supported the defence case, but which was never disclosed to the
defence team.

This 1-sided provision of assistance in a death penalty case goes against the
policy set out in the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance which
requires government agencies to seek approval at the highest ministerial level
in cases where assistance given to another country could result in human rights
abuses or a death sentence.

Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said: "It is bad enough that the National Crime
Agency secretly handed over evidence to help secure death sentences in a
country known for unfair trials and torture.

"But they now admit they did this illegally, without any proper thought that
their actions could contribute to a grave miscarriage of justice with 2 men now
facing execution.

"UK cooperation with foreign police and security forces should be open and
transparent. Government agencies shouldn't have to be dragged through the
courts for the public to know what is being done with their money."

(source: Scottish Legal News)

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Sept. 1



IRAN----executions

Man Charged With Rape Hanged in Rajai Shahr Prison----Prison authorities in
Rajai Shahr break routine and execute a prisoner on a Monday rather than the
usual Wednesday.



A 29-year-old man who was sentenced to death for the charge of rape was
reportedly hanged at Karaj's Rajai Shahr Prison. According to a report by the
state-run news outlet, Iran, the execution of the man, who was only identified
as "Morad", was carried out on the morning of Monday August 28. The report says
"Morad" burglarized the house of a 62-year-old woman whom he raped.

In addition to the death sentence, the prisoner was also issued a 10-year
prison term and 74 lashes for the charge of theft, and a 1-year prison term for
the charge of beating up a police officer.

Executions in Rajai Shahr Prison are typically carried out on Wednesdays, but
"Morad" was hanged on a Monday.

*********************

Unidentified Prisoner Hanged in Public



An unidentified prisoner who was sentenced to death on the charge of "raping a
married woman" was hanged in public in Bandar Abbas while a crowd of people
watched.

According to a report by the state-run news agency, Mehr, the public hanging
sentence of the man was carried out on the morning of Thursday August 31. The
report says the prisoner was also charged with kidnapping and armed robbery and
was issued prison and lashing sentences for those charges.

The research of Iran Human Rights shows 34 people were hanged in public in Iran
in 2016; and an audience of hundreds of people, including children, were
present for most of these hangings. Human rights activists and informed membes
of civil society have always severely criticized this issue.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)

*************************

Urgent Action



PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE SENTENCED TO DEATH

On 27 August a Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced spiritual
teacher???Mohammad Ali Taheri???to death for "spreading corruption on earth"
for establishing the spiritual group Erfan-e Halgheh. He has been held in
solitary confinement for over 6 years.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

* Urging the Iranian authorities to quash Mohammad Ali Taheri's conviction and
death sentence and release him immediately and unconditionally, as he is a
prisoner of conscience targeted solely for the peaceful exercise of his rights
to freedoms of belief, expression and association;

* Reminding them that, under international human rights law, the death penalty
may only be used for "the most serious crimes", which international bodies have
interpreted as being limited to crimes involving intentional killings, and that
the charges brought against him do not meet this threshold;

* Calling on them to order an independent and impartial investigation into his
prolonged solitary confinement, which violates the absolute prohibition of
torture and other ill-treatment, and bring those responsible to justice;

* Expressing concern that, in violation of the legal prohibition of double
jeopardy, he was tried three times in relation to the same peaceful activities

Friendly reminder: If you send an email, please create your own instead of
forwarding this one!

Contact these 2 officials by 12 October, 2017:

Head of the Judiciary

Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

c/o Public Relations Office Number 4

2 Azizi Street intersection

Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran

Salutation: Your Excellency

H.E. Gholamali Khoshroo

Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

622 Third Avenue, 34th Floor

New York, NY 10017

Phone: (212) 687-2020 I Fax: (212) 867-7086

Email: ***@un.int

Salutation: Your Excellency

(source: Amnesty International)








MALAYSIA:

Malaysian death judge who sentenced Kiwi to hang said he was reluctant servant



30 years ago today Kiwi Lorraine Cohen became the first white woman to be
sentenced to hang in Malaysia. Today we look at what was described as a
"sensational" sentencing after she was caught trying to smuggle heroin out of
the country.

When Lorraine Cohen was sentenced to die, the Malaysian hanging judge said he
was a "reluctant but obedient" servant of the country's lawmakers.

On hearing that she faced the gallows, Cohen reportedly remained standing in
the High Court dock, staring blankly at the judge for several seconds, before
an official told her to sit.

"By the time sentence was passed on [her son] Aaron 15 minutes later, Lorraine
was in tears. Mother and son clasped each other's hands tightly," the New
Straits Times wrote of the hearing, which was held on September 1, 1987.

The Auckland mother and son had been caught at a Malaysian airport trying to
smuggle heroin out of the country in their underwear in 1985.

Lorraine - who died in 2014, aged in her early 70s - and her son were charged
with trafficking.

The trial judge accepted that Aaron, but not Lorraine, was an addict at the
time of their arrest. The charge against Aaron, who was found with a smaller
amount of heroin than his mother, was reduced to possession. He was sentenced
to a whipping and life imprisonment.

The mother's sentence was reduced, on appeal, to life imprisonment after a
judge accepted the 140g of heroin found on her was for her own use.

Both were pardoned - at the 3rd attempt - and released in 1996, after more than
11 years in prison.

At the sentencing, Justice Mohamed Dzaiddin Haji Abdullah told the court that
Malaysia's death sentence for heroin trafficking was well known, the New
Straits Times reported.

Lorraine, "being no stranger to Malaysia, cannot complain that she did not know
the law and the penalty for trafficking".

"Every visitor who comes to Malaysia must have read the warning boldly stated
on the embarkation cards and the billboards at all entry points. Therefore, to
say that the warning did not actually explain the meaning of trafficking is no
excuse."

"Mandatory sentence is one field of the criminal [law] where my function as a
judge can be described as 'mechanical' because we judges become the reluctant
but obedient servants of the lawmakers.

"Accordingly, I sentence [Lorraine] to death by hanging."

To Aaron, who had been found with 34.6g of heroin, the judge said: "You may
consider yourself very lucky to escape the gallows by the skin of your teeth,
so to speak. I hope you will learn a bitter lesson for the great risk you have
taken in this case."

Anyone found with 15g of more of heroin is considered a dealer under Malaysian
law.

While in prison, Lorraine was diagnosed with breast cancer and treated in
hospital. The disease returned years later, but in the months before her death,
she told the Herald on Sunday that she was free of cancer.

She was also free of drugs, but this remained a struggle.

"It's very hard. It's always in your head. You can clean your body up but
getting it out of your brain - you're always looking for that first time again,
which never happens."

Aucklander Charles Chan, who in 1987 was associate editor of Malaysian
newspaper the Star, recalls that, by the country's standards, the case was not
controversial.

"It was sensational; it was the 1st time a white woman was sentenced to
hanging.

"I think in general people accepted she was sentenced correctly because other
people were similarly sentenced to death. The death sentence was mandatory.
They would be upset if she was exempted while other people were given the death
sentence."

Australians Brian Chambers and Kevin Barlow were hanged in Malaysia in 1986
after being convicted of heroin trafficking.

(source: New Zealand Herald)








SCOTLAND:

Barlinnie: The men who were hanged and their crimes: Carntyne cop killer John
Caldwell



CARNTYNE cop-killer John Caldwell features in the latest of our special crime
series.

Evening Times crime reporter Stacey Mullen has researched the stories of 10
judicial executions in Glasgow between 1946 and 1960... the men who were hanged
at Barlinnie

IT was the 'desperate and callous' murder which shocked the city - a retired
detective sergeant gunned down outside his neighbour's home in Carntyne.

James Straiton, 61, left his Edinburgh Road home and ran to the aid of his
neighbour who was being burgled by the gunmen.

They turned on him after he asked them to give themselves up and he was
brutally gunned down so they could make their escape.

In a story covering the murder in 1946, we reported: "He died from a bullet
wound within a few minutes, while his assailants, firing wildly in a headlong
flight, vanished into the darkness, despite a valiant effort by the driver and
conductor of a passing bus to intercept them."

Evening Times:

With gunmen on the loose in the city of Glasgow, this murder on March 26, was
at the forefront of the top detectives of that day's mind - and a major manhunt
was launched.

That probe started with a key piece of evidence one of the bandits had left
behind - their shoes. They were found in the garden by police and a description
of the footwear was issued in a bid to catch those responsible for the murder.

Cops also started their investigation with the theory that one or both of the
gunmen had made their escape by getting on a tramcar in the Duke Street or
South Carntyne areas.

But aside from finding those responsible, police officers had to say goodbye to
one of their own.

Evening Times:

The funeral of Straiton, who had work for the Eastern Division of Glasgow
Police, brought the East End of the city to a standstill.

"Bagpipes and crepe-covered drums of Glasgow Police Pipe Band played a lament,"
as the funeral cortege headed out of Edinburgh Road.

We also reported: "Hundreds of neighbours stood respectfully by the roadside,
men doffing hats and caps, and the women bowing their heads.

"The dead man's widow, leaning heavily on the arm of a daughter, came to the
door of her trim little villa to catch a last glimpse of the flower-covered
coffin as it was placed in the hearse."

While respects were made to Straiton, officers continued their manhunt and
issued an appeal for items which were missing from the house where the murder
took place.

Investigators then got the break they needed and on April 1, 1946 we reported
of John Caldwell's 1st court appearance - with a 15-year-old boy attending the
city's juvenile court.

Caldwell, 20, had served in the army and was arrested by top detectives at a
house in Bridgeton's Fielden Street when he was in bed. Cops arrived at
property in the early hours of the morning having cracked the case.

Lord Stevenson passed the death sentence on Caldwell with his hanging at
Barlinnie announced to take place.

He was found guilty by a jury on several charges after an absence of just 50
minutes. He did not show any emotion as he was taken below to the cells -
though his sister sobbed bitterly as the death sentence was read out. The jury
recommended that he should be shown mercy on account of his age.

On the day of Caldwell's death, the Evening Times revealed exclusively how
officers nabbed their man through, among several other things, a fragment of
thumb print on a glass he had left at the scene of another robbery.

Evening Times:

Only a few men were present outside Barlinnie prison when the notice was pinned
to its doors confirming that the execution of John Caldwell had been carried
out.

He had killed a man who had served the city as a police officer. But his victim
was honoured in the best way possible, by Glasgow cops nabbing their killer
through some good old detective work.

(source: Evening Times)








NORTH KOREA:

N. Korean court sentences S. Korean reporters, newspaper chairmen to death:
KCNA----Journalists reportedly committed "capital" crime by writing about
"North Korean Confidential" book



The DPRK Central Court has sentenced 2 reporters and the chairmen of 2 South
Korean newspapers to "capital punishment" for reporting on the release of a
newly translated book about North Korea, the state-run Korean Central News
Agency (KCNA) reported on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Central Court of the DPRK condemned the Chosun Ilbo and
the Dong-A Ilbo for reporting on the book "North Korea Confidential: Private
Markets, Fashion Trends, Prison Camps, Dissenters and Defectors," a Korean
language version of which was published in mid-August.

"The puppet conservative newspapers 'Dong-A Ilbo' and 'Chosun Ilbo' recently
committed hideous crime of seriously insulting the dignity of the DPRK by using
dishonest contents carried by a propaganda book 'North Korea Confidential',"
the KCNA quoted the spokesperson as having said.

"The Central Court of the DPRK declares that the Dong-A Ilbo journalist Son Hyo
Rim and Director General Kim Jae Ho and Chosun Ilbo journalist Yang Ji Ho and
Director General Pang Sang Hun will be sentenced to capital punishment under
the DPRK Criminal Code," it added.

The court said it has "seriously warned" the outlets "will be made to pay a
high price" for the work.

"Now they have reached the state of slandering and insulting even the
inviolable name of our country and its national emblem."

The title of the Korean version of the book translates to "Capitalist Republic
of Korea" and a design on its cover replaces the red star in the DPRK national
emblem with a U.S. dollar mark.

"Article 60 of the DPRK Criminal Code stipulates that those who insulted the
dignity of the DPRK from the anti-state purpose shall be sentenced even to
maximum punishment including death, depending on the severity of the
perpetration," KCNA said in an English-language version of the article.

The North Korean outlet said authors James Pearson and Daniel Tudor had written
a "propaganda book" based on the "ludicrous statements of the riff-raffs
including rubbish defectors 2 years ago."

KCNA criticized the book for its "sophistries which slandered atrociously,
distorted and fabricated the DPRK reality saying 'the lives of the North
Koreans are 100% capitalist'."

The book was released in English in 2015 by Tuttle, a Vermont, U.S.-based
publisher which specializes in works on Asia.

Other, more left-leaning South Korean outlets, including the Hankyoreh, the
Hankook Ilbo, and the Kyunghyang Shinmun also covered the book's release, but
are not mentioned in the North Korean statement.

The North said the Chosun Ilbo and the Dong-A Ilbo made "all kinds of abusive
languages blindly" in reporting on the book.

The DPRK court appears to have taken issue with several quotes from the book
cited by the Dong-A Ilbo, including: "North Korea is a country where the power
of money is stronger than the capitalist country", "young people without mobile
phone are treated as 'loser' in Pyongyang," and "a person with a lot of money
can marry a person of high status at any time."

The North said the "criminals... hold no right to appeal," saying that
punishment "will be carried out any moment and at any place without going
through any additional procedures."

"We will track down to the end those who masterminded and manipulated hideous
provocations of slandering and insulting the dignity of the DPRK and mete out
death to them."

South Korea's Ministry of Unification (MOU) on Thursday said that Seoul
"strongly condemned" the North's "preposterous threats."

"The menace to normal reporting activities of journalists is a serious threat
to freedom of the press and an act of intervening in domestic affairs," the MOU
said in a spokesperson's statement. "...it does not help in developing the
inter-Korean relations that should be based on respect for the other side."

"[We] gravely warn North Korea to immediately stop the threats to our people."

Thursday's statement is not the 1st time in recent months that a North Korean
judicial body has sentenced a South Korean citizen to death in absentia.

In June, the Ministry of People's Security and the Central Public Prosecutors
Office announced it would "impose [the] death penalty" on former President Park
Geun-hye and former director of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) Lee
Byung-ho.

In a statement carried by KCNA, the 2 institutions called on the government of
South Korea to hand over the 2 former officials so their sentence may be
carried out.

The ruling was a response to what North Korea claimed was a failed U.S.-ROK
assassination plot against current leader Kim Jong Un in April, which it
alleged was planned by Park and Lee.

(source: nknews.org)








INDIA:

Mumbai: TADA court convicts Abu Salem aide of Pradeep Jain murder



More than 20 years after the sensational murder of builder Pradeep Jain, the
Special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Prevention Act (TADA) court
convicted gangster Riyaz Ahmad Iqbal Ahmad Siddiqui of the crime. The same
court had in 2015 sentenced underworld don Abu Salem and his driver to life
imprisonment for the murder.

Brother recalls

Pradeep was murdered in March 1995 to teach a lesson to his family, after they
refused to vacate a property in Kol Dongri that Salem's gang had its eye on.
Pradeep's brother, Sunil, told mid-day, "Riyaz was the first to approach us for
the property. He called and said that Salem would kill our whole family if we
didn't do as they wanted. Riyaz also came to our office and asked us to hand
over the property to Salem quietly."

Also read: Gangster Abu Salem moves SC against conviction in Jain murder case

"Riyaz should be imprisoned for a long time. People like Salem and Riyaz, who
take the lives of others, should not be spared. I am happy with our judiciary;
it took time, but I got justice," he added.

In his testimony to the court, Sunil had said that he too had sustained a
bullet wound during the attack on his brother on March 7, 1995.

The charges

The special court, presided over by G A Sanap, convicted Siddiqui under the
same charges as Salem and Hassan, which are sections 120B (criminal
conspiracy), 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 193 (false evidence), 386
(extortion), 449, 450 and 452 (house-trespass) of the Indian Penal Code, along
with various sections under the TADA that attract the death penalty.

Siddiqui had initially turned approver for the prosecution, giving detailed
information about the crime. However, he was declared a hostile witness after
he denied his and Salem's roles in the killing. The court will hear arguments
on the point of sentencing on September 8.

(source: mid-day.com)








MALDIVES:

Urgent Action



MALDIVES TO RESUME EXECUTIONS BY SEPTEMBER

According to statements by the Maldives President, the death penalty would be
implemented 'by the end of September'. If carried out, these would be the first
executions in the country in over 60 years. The Maldives Supreme Court upheld
the convictions and death sentences of 3 men in mid-2016, who could be at
imminent risk of execution.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

* Halt any plans to resume executions and establish an official moratorium on
all executions, with a view to abolishing the death penalty;

* Immediately commute the death sentence against all prisoners under sentence
of death, including those imposed for crimes committed when the prisoners were
below 18 years of age;

* Amend national legislation to remove provisions that are not in line with
international law and standards and abolish the death penalty for all crimes.

Friendly reminder: If you send an email, please create your own instead of
forwarding this one!

Contact these 2 officials by 11 October, 2017:

President of Maldives

Abdulla Yameen Gayoom

The President's Office

Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Male' 20113,

Republic of Maldives

Fax: (960) 332 5500

Twitter: @presidency

Salutation: His Excellency

H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Sareer

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations

800 Second Avenue, Suite 400E

New York, NY 10017

Fax: 1 212 661 6405

Phone: 1 212 599 6194

Email: ***@MaldivesMission.com

Salutation: Dear Ambassador

(source: Amnesty International)


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Sept. 2



INDIA:

HC issues notice to Union law secretary on PIL



The Madras High Court has issued notice to the Union law secretary and the
secretary of the social justice and empowerment ministry on a PIL, urging for a
section of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), providing for a "mandatory
death penalty", to be declared as null and void.

The petitioner, Shazim Sagar, a law student, alleged that section 3(2)(I) of
the said act, providing for the punishment, was violative of the Constitution.

The petitioner submitted that the section provided for the punishment if any
person, not being a member of the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe community,
gave or fabricated false evidence, with an intention to cause a member of the
SC/ST community to be convicted for an offence, resulting in the imposition of
capital punishment.

The section added that if such a person was executed on account of the false
evidence, the person responsible for the same should also be punished with
death, the petitioner said, adding that the provision was "discriminatory".

A mandatory death punishment had been held to be opposed to human dignity and
struck down by constitutional courts across the world, the petitioner said and
prayed that the section be declared as null and void.

Justices K K Sasidharan and G R Swaminathan of the Madurai bench of the court,
after hearing the arguments of the petitioner, ordered issue of notice to the
Union law secretary and the secretary of the social justice and empowerment
ministry.

(source: ptinews.com)








NORTH KOREA:

Watchdog Urges North Korea to Overturn 'Chilling' Death Sentences for Reporters



The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Pyongyang on Friday to overturn
death sentences it had handed in absentia to 2 South Korean reporters for
allegedly defaming the North.

A central court in North Korea was reported Thursday to have given death
penalty to Son Hyo-rim and Yang Ji-ho and their newspaper publishers for
reviewing a book about the country.

"North Korea's threat to execute Son Hyo-rim and Yang Ji-ho for writing
critically about the regime is at the same time ridiculous and chilling. North
Korea should immediately commute the death sentence and end its hostile
rhetoric," CPJ deputy chief Robert Mahoney said.

The watchdog cited Son's colleague from the Dong-A Ilbo newspaper as saying the
female journalist was a culture reporter who did not cover North Korea
regularly. The book, North Korea Confidential, has received extensive coverage
and it is not clear why Pyongyang has singled out the 2 reviewers, he said.

(source: sputniknews.com)








KENYA:

Man faces death penalty in robbery with violence suit



A 20-year-old man who is facing a robbery with violence charge and stealing
from a blind man risks the death sentence if found guilty.

Simon Ndauti, alias Symo, is accused of stealing Sh1,000 from Boniface Maingi
in Rauraka on August 3.

According to police, Maingi was walking with his guide when the accused
snatched the snatched the money from him.

H's guide reported the matter and police arrested Nduati on August 24.

He denied the charge and was released on Sh10,000 cash bail or surety of
similar amount pending hearing on November 16.

In the same court, Nduati was also charged with violently robbing John Madugu
of Sh5,000 joined with others.

Police said, around 7am that complaint was in the house sleeping when he heard
knock on the door and upon inquiry the person identified himself as a
neighbour.

It is reported that Madugu's wife went to open the door where she was
confronted by Nduati and other seven men armed with knives.

The prosecution said, they entered in the house warned them form raising an
alarm as they demanded to be given money. The wife had Sh5,000 which she handed
to the accused.

He denied the charges before chief magistrate Emily Ominde and was released on
Sh200,000 bond. The matter will be heard on November 16.

(source: the-star.co.ke)








IRAN:

U.S. 'Deeply Concerned' By Death Sentence Against Iranian Spiritual Leader



The United States says it is "deeply concerned" by reports that imprisoned
Iranian spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri has been sentenced to death, and
it called on the authorities to reverse the decision.

The State Department on September 1 said the charges of founding a religious
cult and "spreading corruption on Earth" violate Tehran's obligations to
"respect and ensure his freedoms of expression and religion or belief."

The statement added that the death penalty should be used "only for the most
serious crimes."

"We call on the Iranian government to take whatever steps necessary to reverse
Taheri's conviction and death sentence," it added. "We join our voice with
those who call on Iran to uphold its obligations under Iranian and
international law and to ensure that the human rights of all individuals in
Iran are respected and guaranteed."

The State Department added it was "deeply disturbed" by reports that some of
Taheri's followers had also been arrested on "similar objectionable charges."

An Iranian court in August sentenced Taheri to death for a 2nd time, 2 years
after an initial death sentence was overturned on appeal.

Taheri's lawyer, Mahmud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, said on August 27 that Taheri had
been sentenced after being convicted of "spreading corruption on Earth" for
founding a group called the Circle of Mysticism.

Tabatabaei said he would appeal the ruling within the required 20 days and
expressed hope that the Supreme Court would overturn the sentence.

Taheri's family has claimed the spiritual leader has suffered harassment in
prison and was pressured into giving a forced video confession.

Taheri, 61, is a popular faith healer whose group promotes a mystical
understanding of the universe.

He was for a time allowed to practice and teach in public, but he came under
increased pressure following a warning by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, about "false mysticism that might lure away people from Islam."

Taheri was first arrested in 2010 and has been in Evin prison in Tehran since
2011, when a court sentenced him to five years in prison for blasphemy.

He was sentenced to death on similar charges in 2015, but an appeals court
later rejected the verdict.

Taheri has reportedly gone on hunger strike several times to protest his
detention.

Many of his followers, especially around the city of Isfahan, have been
detained by the authorities.

(source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

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Sept. 3




SAUDI ARABIA:

Set to execute 14 dissenters, Saudi Arabia defends its judicial
system----Rights group says convictions handed down by a 'secretive'
counterterrorism court using 'confessions extracted through torture'



Saudi Arabia's government, facing mounting criticism for the planned execution
of 14 Shiite Muslims, has issued a rare statement defending its judicial
system.

Ministry of Justice spokesman Mansour al-Qafari says all defendants facing
trial in Saudi Arabia receive due process.

In a statement published Friday in the Saudi Press Agency, al-Qafari says
terrorism-related cases and death penalty verdicts are reviewed by an appeals
court and the supreme court, with a total of 13 judges reviewing the case
before an execution is carried out.

The 14 men face execution for protests and violence against security forces.
Rights group Reprieve says the initial judgment came from a "secretive"
counterterrorism court that "used confessions extracted through torture as the
basis of convictions."

1 of the convicts, Munir al-Adam, was only 18 at the time of his arrest in
2012, allegedly for confronting police. His mother told The Washington Post
that he was tortured during the first 3 months of his detention.

"He has been ordered to stand for long intervals of time," the mother, Zahraa
Abdullah, said. "He was beaten with sticks and cables. He was electrocuted and
prevented from eating or going to the bathroom."

Ultraconservative Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia have in the past referred to
Shiites as apostates, and Shiite protesters have been accused of being allied
with the kingdom's rival, Iran.

(source: The Times of Israel)








IRAN----execution

Prisoner Executed on Murder Charges



A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Khorammabad's Parsilon Prison on murder
charges.

According to the human rights news aqency, HRANA, the execution of the
prisoner, who has been identified as Mohammad Mirzaie, was carried out on
Wednesday August 30.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced this execution.

(source: Iran Human Rights)








IRAQ:

Inside the Iraqi Courts Sentencing IS Suspects to Death



A young man wearing a shabby, brown prisoner's outfit stands before three
black-robed judges in a tiny, provincial courtroom, shaking nervously.

After sipping some water, he confirms his name: Abdullah Hussein. He is accused
of fighting for so-called Islamic State (IS).

"The decision of the court has been taken according to articles 2 and 3 of the
2005 Counterterrorism Law," states the judge. "Death by hanging."

And then Hussein - who, like many suspects here, was picked up on the Mosul
frontline - breaks down crying.

As IS is defeated on the battlefields of northern Iraq, some 3,000 suspected
group members or collaborators are waiting to be prosecuted in Iraqi courts.
Usually there are at least 50 hearings a day.

For security reasons, most are sent to 2 courthouses in this mainly Christian
town, 30km (19 miles) south-east of Mosul, retaken by US-backed Iraqi forces in
October.

Some human rights campaigners have criticised the system but top Iraqi judges
insist it is playing a vital role in restoring law and order.

I was allowed to sit in on some of their trials.

Court confession

The next defendant, Khalil Hamada, is 21 and more talkative. He comes from a
town held by IS for 2 years, and recalls seeking out its local recruiter.

"I went by myself, nobody forced me. A lot of us joined," he says.

"How did you join? What oath did you take?" the judge asks.

"I can't remember the sentences exactly," Mr Hamada replies. "But I swore
loyalty to [IS chief] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the caliphate."

He goes on to recount how he did training with IS - in Sharia law, bodybuilding
and using weapons.

But he tells the court he became "just a cook" - before admitting he was also 1
of 6 guards, "armed with Kalashnikovs" at an IS base.

He was paid about $150 dollars (120 pounds) a month.

When the judge summarises his story, Mr Hamada nods, "Yes, it's true". A woman
prosecutor then speaks and - albeit briefly - a state-appointed defence lawyer.

Like Abdullah Hussein, Khalil Hamada gets the death penalty.

He is told he can appeal and that a higher court in Baghdad makes final
rulings.

However, his look of resignation suggests he knows this is little more than a
formality. 'Sending a message'

During fighting in Mosul, Human Rights Watch (HRW) found evidence that some
Iraqi soldiers were executing suspected IS members instead of sending them to
trial.

It said men and boys fleeing the city were ill-treated, tortured and killed.
Iraq's prime minister has since admitted there were "clear violations".

Now HRW says it has "serious concerns" about the quality of defence in cases
being heard at the Nineveh Criminal Court in Qaraqosh.

But Chief Judge Salam Nouri insists his court acts professionally and does an
essential job.

"It sends a message to the people that the courts are the highest power and
that the Iraqi government is back in control," he says.

"The judge remains neutral," says Justice Younis Jameeli, head of the
Investigations Court, which has been temporarily set up in a large, family
house.

He points out that IS targeted the judiciary in Mosul and says 15 of his
colleagues were killed.

"Each of us lost family members and had homes destroyed but when a suspect
appears before us, we treat him according to the law," he goes on.

When I ask Judge Jameeli about evidence, he has a glint in his eye. "You know
IS are helping us convict them," he declares, reaching for a file in the stack
on his desk.

Inside there is further proof that IS are not some disorderly militia; they
meant to function as a state. It is a spreadsheet, printed off from a computer
and recovered by Iraqi intelligence.

Each of the 196 rows neatly identifies an IS member - his full name and
address, job and a photograph.

Culpability questions

With real fears that jihadists will try to blend back into the Iraqi
population, the hope is that prosecutions can stop IS re-emerging as an
insurgent group and prevent reprisals.

Outside the court, I meet Muwafaq who has come from Mosul to make an inquiry.
He tells me his neighbour, who joined IS, burnt down his home. "I hope he gets
to court before I see him," he says.

But others allege their loved ones were wrongly arrested.

One woman claims her husband, detained 2 months ago, has mental health
problems.

A father says his son was "a regular guy selling vegetables from a cart" - not
part of IS.

Talking to them, it is clear that judging exactly who was a collaborator is a
tricky business; it is hard to tell whether some locals did what they had to
just to survive or whether they bought into extremist IS ideology.

As court proceedings end for the day, armed guards march a column of prisoners
out the gates, their heads down.

The streets of Qaraqosh, all around, are virtually deserted.

Three years ago tens of thousands of residents fled this mostly Christian town
as IS advanced and very few have moved back.

Now Qaraqosh - with its desecrated churches - bears testimony to the barbarity
of IS and just how hard it will be for ordinary Iraqis to rebuild their lives.

(source: aina.org)

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2017-09-04 14:43:13 UTC
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Sept. 4



IRAN----executions

Iran hangs 4, 2 were flogged before being executed



2 prisoners were hanged on Sunday, September 3, 2017, in central prison of
Tabriz, northwestern Iran. The victims identified as Darush Rashidi and Kazem
Shiri had been sentenced to death and 100 lashes for rape. They were flogged in
prison yard before being executed.

"The death penalty for these 2 prisoners had been suspended several times over
the past few years due to ambiguities, but was eventually issued again,"
according to an informed source.

A prisoner identified as Adel Karimi, over 50-year-old, was hanged at dawn on
the same day, in central prison of Ardebil, northwest Iran. He was found guilty
of murder. Adel Karimi had been on death row 6 years in this facility.

In another development, another prisoner was executed on August 30 in Parsilon
Prison of Khoram Abad in western Iran. The victim identified as Mohammad
Mirzaei was found guilty of murder.

These executions have not been made public by the state media to this date.

(source: Iran Human Rights Monitor)

*******************

Iran re-imposes death sentence on spiritual figure that supreme court quashed



An Iranian court has re-imposed the death penalty on the founder of a spiritual
movement after the 1st sentence was struck down by the supreme court, the
judiciary said on Sunday.

Mohammad Ali Taheri, founder of Erfan Halgheh which calls itself
"Interuniversalism" in English, was arrested in 2011 and given 5 years in
prison for "insulting Islamic sanctities".

He was sentenced to death by a Revolutionary Court in 2015 for "corruption on
earth" but the Supreme Court later quashed the sentence.

"(Taheri's) case was sent back to court and tried with the presence of a lawyer
and various advisors and the judge has again reached," Judiciary spokesman
Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei was quoted as saying by the news agency ISNA. The
sentence can be appealed, he added.

Amnesty International says Taheri is a prisoner of conscience and has condemned
Iran's use of capital punishment "for vaguely worded or overly broad offences,
or acts that should not be criminalized at all".

Tehran dismisses such criticism as part of an effort from the West to heap
political pressure on the Islamic Republic.

(source: Reuters)








SINGAPORE:

Vigil held for man who was sentenced to death deemed as possible offence of
assembly without permit



Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan was executed by the state in the early
morning of Jul 14, years after multiple attempts failed to overturn his death
sentence in 2014 for importing heroin into Singapore.

Hangings in Singapore are always carried out on Fridays at dawn in Changi
Prison, and it was outside the prison that 15 people gathered to hold a vigil
for the young man. The group that congregated consisted of Prabagaran's family
and friends, all of whom stood solemnly in solidarity.

One of the attendees was none other than local journalist and anti-death
penalty activist Kirsten Han, whose group We Believe In Second Chances has
spoken out to oppose the execution of the young man (and many others before
him).

According to Han, the police dropped by the vigil to break up the crowd and
film the whole thing, taking candles and photos along with them when they left.
No explanation was provided, though the group was allowed to stay on as long as
they didn't light any more candles or set up photos.

It was only yesterday (Sep 3) that Han found out she might be in trouble for
taking part in the vigil. According to her account on Facebook, police officers
showed up at her door to hand her a letter stating that she is required to
assist in their investigations regarding "an offence of Taking part in a Public
Assembly without Permit".

It's part of the Public Order Act that basically outlaws protests without
permit in Singapore. It's considered an offence if there are 2 or more people
assembled for the purpose of (i) demonstrating support for or opposition to the
views or actions of any person, group of persons or any government; (ii)
publicizing a cause or campaign; or (iii) marking or commemorating any event.

Vigils may or may not be considered a chargeable offence, but it may take a
different form, considering that it???s a gathering of people standing in
solidarity for an individual impacted by the politically controversial death
penalty. By its definition itself, vigils are peaceful demonstrations in
support of a particular cause.

Han notwithstanding, imagine the distress felt by the family members of
Prabagaran who might've also received the letter - they'll have to deal with a
police investigation on top of mourning his death.

"...when a simple, nonviolent, quiet vigil for a man about to be hanged by the
state is deemed an illegal assembly worthy of a police investigation, perhaps
it is time to think about whether we are striking the right balance between
public order, freedom of assembly and compassion," Han wrote.

(source: coconuts.co)
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2017-09-05 13:01:28 UTC
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Sept. 5




BANGLADESH:

Dandupalya gang's death penalty commuted to life



The High Court of Karnataka on Monday commuted death penalty to life
imprisonment to 4 Dandupalya gang members.

A division bench comprising Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice John Michael
Cunha passed an order commuting the death sentence issued to gang members
Venkatesh, Munikrishna, Nalla Thimma and Lakshmi.

The gang members were accused of murdering Sudhamani, a resident of
Moodalapalya in Vijayanagar and stealing valuables from her house in October
1999. While the case of theft was proved, the prosecution could not provide
evidence that it was the same gang which had murdered Sudhamani. Due to lack of
evidence in the murder case, the bench commuted the sentencing in the matter.

The notorious Dandupalya gang is involved in a series of thefts and murders.

(source: Deccan Herald)








SINGAPORE:

Activist investigated for illegal assembly after vigil for hanged Malaysian



An activist is being investigated by Singapore police over her participation in
a candlelight vigil outside Changi Prison for Malaysian S. Prabagaran, who was
hanged almost 2 months ago.

Anti-death penalty activist Kirsten Han, who attended the vigil on July 13,
said that 2 police officers showed up at her house on Sunday and handed her a
letter saying that they are investigating an offence of "taking part in a
public assembly without a permit".

She said that the letter also summoned her and "some of the participants" to
present themselves for questioning.

Han said that the July 13 vigil for Prabagaran was to show support for the
family, who were present at the vigil, after they realised that Prabagaran's
execution would go ahead.

"There weren't that many people and there was no disturbance," Han told The
Star Online.

"We lit candles and put up his photo, but when the police came and told us to
take it down we complied," she said.

According to Han, the police showed up at the vigil 15 minutes after the
candles were lit.

Police confiscated the candles and photos, and filmed the people present at the
vigil.

"We were then told that we would be allowed to stay as long as we didn't light
any more candles, which we didn't," said Han.

Han said that she is aware of the "very restrictive laws" on public assembly in
Singapore.

"I'm not completely surprised that a peaceful candlelight vigil is now being
seen as an illegal assembly," she said.

However, Han said that the timing of the investigation is "a little odd"
considering that the vigil was held almost 2 months ago.

Han said that she would meet Singapore police on Thursday at 2pm for
questioning.

Singapore NGO Function 8 condemned the "police harassment" of anti-death
penalty activists who held the vigil.

"Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore guarantees the
right of citizens to freedom of speech, expression and assembly," said Function
8 in a statement on Monday.

"The act of issuing and having the police personally delivering letters which
require the said activists to appear at police stations to assist in
investigations, almost two months after the event, goes against the spirit of
our Constitution and is a waste of police resources," it said.

Function 8 urged the Singapore home affairs minister to rescind the action of
the police and cease the investigation.

Prabagaran was sentenced to hang for trying to smuggle a form of pure heroin
into Singapore in April 2012.

The Malaysian, who was working in a petrol station, was arrested at the
Woodlands checkpoint in April 2012 for possession of 22.24g of heroin, which
was found in a black bundle in the centre arm-rest console of the car he was
driving.

Prabagaran maintained his innocence, claiming that he borrowed the car from a
friend to enter Singapore that day and was not aware of the drugs in the car.

(source: thestar.com.my)








PAKISTAN:

Ignoring Mental Illness is Among Pakistan's Misplaced Priorities



On 21 October 2016, a 3-member bench of the highest court in Pakistan, headed
by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali, ruled that schizophrenia was not a mental
illness and won't disqualify one from being sent to the gallows. This was
ostensibly done to ensure that Imdad Ali, a schizophrenic man, would be hanged
for the 2001 murder of a cleric.

Imdad will be victim number 426 in Pakistan's merciless hanging spree, that
began after the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty, following the
Peshawar attacks in December 2014. In the wake of these attacks, 3 branches of
governments, spearheaded by a 4th military branch, devised a 'National Action
Plan', the salient points being the establishment of military courts and the
reinstatement of capital punishment.

Denying Rights to the Disabled and Mentally Ill

The political efficacy of such measures and their role in deterring terrorism
is a topic for another time, but one thing is certain - by implementing such a
draconian order, the Pakistani government, courts and military establishment
have grossly violated the rights of the disabled and the mentally ill.

As human rights lawyer Saroop Ijaz describes it: in its "populist pandering",
the state has violated the United Nations disability rights treaty that
Pakistan ratified in 2011. Imdad is the latest in a series of such victims.
Another such example is that of Kaneezan Bibi, who was convicted for a murder
in Toba Tek Singh in 1991. Despite the existence of compelling evidence to
suggest that she suffers from psychosocial disabilities, President Mamnoon
Hussain rejected her mercy plea - making her the 9th woman to be hanged in
Pakistan's history.

Khizar Hayat, a paranoid schizophrenic who spent 3 years in the prison
hospital, wasn't spared either.

Mental Illness Ignored in Pakistan

In Pakistan, conservative estimates say that 13 percent of the population is
afflicted with mental health problems. Given these figures, the WHO reports
that:

0nly 400 psychiatrists and 5 psychiatric hospitals exist across the entire
country for a population exceeding 180 million. Roughly translating to an
alarming psychiatrist-to-person ratio of 1 to half a million people.

PTSD, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia are generally written off as
trivial matters by most members of society in Pakistan. Patients are treated as
having been "erroneously diagnosed" as Arif Mahmood at Dawn contends.

To make matters worse, some are diagnosed as being under the influence of
supernatural powers or worse, black magic. They are then sent to spiritual
healers and hakeems. or asked to renew their faith in god.

This discrimination, coupled with petty and blinkered social attitudes and the
lack of resources and government attention, creates an environment where mental
health patients are relegated to Sufi shrines or ill-equipped institutions.

Disarray in National Priorities

The psychological exploitation of young boys at the hands of innumerable
Lashkars, Sippahs and Jaish-like groups is evident. But this cannot be solved
by secularising the education system, as the liberals demand. Counselling
services should be increased manifold before anyone can cry foul about Western
media biases and play the victim card.

In November 2016, Imran Khan's Movement for Justice Party "shut down"
Islamabad, bringing hospitals, schools, offices and courts to a standstill.
Mere miles away in the wee hours of the same day, Imdad Ali is unaware of his
own reality. There is no better allegory for a disarray of national priorities.

(source: Zarnaab Adil Janjua; The writer is a student of PublicPolicy at the
Wagner School at New York University----thequint.com)





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2017-09-06 13:39:35 UTC
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Sept. 6



PHILIPPINES:

House seeks replacement of Revised Penal Code



The House of Representatives justice committee has batted for the measure
overhauling the country's 85-year old Revised Penal Code, renaming penalties,
adjusting fines, requiring joint civil and criminal proceedings, introducing
community service, and lowering the minimum age of criminal liability to 12
years.

In a statement, committee chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali sought the speedy passage
of House Bill No. 6204, which seeks to replace Book 1, or the first 113
articles of the 367-article RPC. Book 1 was trimmed to just 78 articles.

Umali was quoted in the statement as saying that legal complications and
difficulty have arisen from the passage of special penal laws in the past eight
decades.

"Now we can hardly keep track of the exact number of penal laws that we have
and there is difficulty in determining which law or laws are to be used to
prosecute a particular criminal conduct," Umali added.

Book 1 covers the "general principles on the application of this Code, the
offenses, the persons liable and the table of penalties." The proposed
replacement of the RPC would be named "the Philippine Code of Crimes."

The bill had been prepared for the past 3 years by the Institute of Government
and Law Reform of the University of the Philippines Law Center, which
constituted an 8-member Code of Crimes Committee that included Umali.

Asked if the provisions recommended by the UP Law Center committee would still
be changed by the House justice committee, Umali said in a phone interview: "Of
course, it can. That will depend on the committee."

Age of criminal liability

Among the likely controversial provisions of the proposed code is the lowering
of the minimum age of criminal liability to "12 years of age or below" or
"above 12 years of age and under 15 acting without discernment."

This changes the threshold of 15 years old (or 15 to 18 years for those acting
without discernment) as set under Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act of 2006,
which raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from the original age
of 9 fixed by the RPC in 1932.

Another change is the Code's proposal to let convicts render community services
in case of failure to pay fines - instead of the current subsidiary
imprisonment at a rate of 1 day for every 8 pesos of unpaid fine.

This ranges from 4 to 6 months for grave crimes, 1 to 4 months for less grave
crimes, and a maximum of 30 days for light crimes.

The RPC provision for the court to consider "the wealth or means of the
culprit" in imposing fines, however, was deleted because it violated the equal
protection clause.

No 'prescription of penalties'

The proposed Code would also do away with the prescription of penalties, the
limitation within which the penalty can be imposed when the convict escapes the
service of his sentence.

It would also require civil liabilities to be tried simultaneously and jointly
with the criminal proceedings against a defendant. If the civil action is
instituted first, it would have to be transferred to the court where the
criminal case is subsequently filed.

"The filing of the criminal action shall carry with it the filing of civil
action, and no right to reserve the filing of such civil action separately from
the criminal action shall be allowed," the bill read.

Renamed penalties

The proposed Code of Crimes also replaced the terminologies, starting with the
use of the word "crime" in place of "felony."

Capital punishment is referred to as "punitive penalties" with "punitive 1"
referring to the death penalty, and "punitive 2" to imprisonment of 20 years
and 1 day to 40 years.

The proposed afflictive penalties are "afflictive 1" (12 years and 1 day to 20
years, or the current prision temporal), and "afflictive 2 and temporary
disqualification" (6 years and 1 day to 12 years, or the current prision
mayor).

The current penalty of prision correccional (6 months and 1 day to 6 years)
would be split into 2 penalties of "corrective 1 and suspension" (3 years and 1
day to 6 years) and "corrective 2" (6 months and 1 day to 3 years).

What are currently called light penalties will be renamed "restorative
penalties." These include "restorative 1" (1 month and 1 day to 6 months),
which is equivalent to arresto mayor, currently a corrective penalty.

"Restorative 2" (1 to 30 days) is equivalent to the current penalty of arresto
menor.

The proposed code would also introduce the penalties of "community service" of
1 day to 6 months, and "restrictive penalty" of 6 months to 2 years.

Updated outline of crimes

Umali could not say yet if Book 2 of the RPC, which lists down the crimes and
their correspending penalties, would be passed together with Book 1 under one
House bill.

He said the committee "hopes to complete" its work on the crimes and penalties
that may be covered by the overhauled Code of Crimes by March next year.

The Code of Crimes Committee was also composed by Court of Appeals Associate
Justice Mario Lopez, Special Prosecutor Edilberto Sandoval, former Special
Prosecutor Dennis Villa-Ignacio, former Sandiganbayan Justice Rodolfo Palattao,
former UP College of Law Dean Bartolome Carale, UP Vice-President for Legal
Affairs Hector Danny Uy, and Reps. Umali and Ramon Rocamora.

The 22-page House bill, meanwhile, was authored by Umali, Rocamora, Speaker
Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Farinas, and Rep. Marlyn
Primicias-Agabas.

(source: newsinfo.inquirer.net)








PAKISTAN:

Death penalty, angry mob await Pakistani Christian accused of blasphemy



A young Christian man remains behind bars in Pakistan weeks after he was
arrested for allegedly burning pages of the Koran outside a Muslim shrine, but
jail may be the safest place for him - at least for now.

Asif Massih, 18 was arrested Aug. 12 on blasphemy charges stemming from an
incident in Jam Kayk Chattha village Wazirabad, a central town of the Punjab
province.

"He is on judicial remand on the order of the judge," Alipur Chattha police
spokesman Malik Irfan told Fox News. "People had witnessed that Massih had
burnt the Holy Koran by pouring petrol on it outside Muslim shrine."

After Massih was arrested, an angry crowd of around 200 men gathered outside
the police station and demanded that he be handed over, Irfan said. Police
moved him to another police station to save him from angry mob, Irfan added.

Massih is charged under 295-B of Pakistan's penal code, the murky part of the
Pakistan's constitution that can lead to a death sentence for anyone convicted
of desecrating the Koran.

Blasphemy is highly sensitive issue in predominantly Muslim majority Pakistan,
where dozens sit on death row for allegedly insulting Prophet Muhammad or
mistreating the Koran. Even mere accusations are enough for huge uproar that
can ultimately lead to mob lynching and riots.

A court is recommending that parliament review Pakistan's controversial
blasphemy law and make changes that will prevent people from being falsely
accused of the crime. Islamabad's highest court recently recommended parliament
amend the law to require the same punishment - the death penalty - for those
who falsely allege blasphemy.

"Pakistan top court's ruling for falsely using these laws is welcome initiative
and at least it can bring some debate about reviewing these draconian laws,"
said Farzana Bari, an Islamabad-based human rights activist.

In recent months, several violent blasphemy allegations have alarmed the human
rights groups across the country. Critics believe blasphemy allegations are
often used to settle personal and political scores.

"The blasphemy accused persons in Pakistan are not properly investigated and
innocents are being victimized on false accusations," said Kapil Dev, another
Islamabad-based human rights activist.

According to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, around 40
people are on death row or serving life sentences in Pakistan for committing
blasphemy.

"It is my hope that the new prime minister and his government will promote
interfaith harmony and protect the rights of religious minorities," U.S.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said while releasing the annual US report on
religious freedom for 2016.

Hardline mobs have killed at least 71 people over alleged blasphemy since 1990,
according to reports.

In April, outspoken university student Mashal Khan was killed by a student mob
after being falsely accused of blasphemy in the northern city of Mardan, which
prompted huge calls for a change in the law. Police are currently probing more
than 50 students and some faculty members at the school Khan attended in
connection with his lynching following a dorm debate Islam.

(source: Fox News)








IRAN----executions

3 Prisoners Hanged



A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Ardabil Central Prison on murder charges,
and 2 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Tabriz Central Prison on rape
charges.

According to the human rights news agency, HRANA, the execution at Ardabil
Central Prison was carried out on Sunday September 3. The prisoner has been
identified as Adel Karimi, a man in his 50's. Sources close to Iran Human
Rights have confirmed the execution of Adel Karimi.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, the executions at Tabriz
Central Prison were also carried out on Sunday. The prisoners have been
identified as Dariush Rashidi and Kazem Shiri. Sources close to Iran Human
Rights have confirmed the execution of these 2 men and say that their death
sentences were reversed several times due to ambiguities in their case files,
but they were executed anyway.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state-run media, have not
announced these 3 executions.

**********************

Unidentified Prisoner Hanged in Public on Murder Charges



An unidentified prisoner was hanged at 22 Bahman Square in the city of Ilam in
front of a crowd of people. According to the Iranian state-run media, ISNA, the
prisoner was executed on the morning of Tuesday September 5 on murder charges.

The research of Iran Human Rights shows 34 people were hanged in public in Iran
in 2016; and an audience of hundreds of people, including children, were
present for most of these hangings. Human rights activists and informed membes
of civil society have always severely criticized this issue.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)








MALAYSIA:

Australian grandmother fronts court as she faces execution for drug trafficking
after she was arrested at Kuala Lumpur Airport with 1.5kg of crystal meth



An Australian grandmother is facing a death sentence for trafficking drugs
through a Malaysian airport.

Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto was arrested at Kuala Lumpur Airport with 1.5kg of
crystal meth in 2014, which she claimed was not hers.

The 54-year-old was escorted into Shah Alam court by a Malaysian policewoman as
she arrived at her trial on Tuesday.

The mother-of-4 may yet escape a death penalty however, after the Malaysian
government agreed to scrap mandatory capital punishment for drug trafficking.

Instead, judges could impose a term of imprisonment for anyone caught with more
than 50 grams of ice, which is assumed to be trafficking.

Malaysia's Parliament is yet to approve the decision by the country's cabinet
but is expected to do so, according to News Corp.

Ms Exposto's lawyer previously told reporters her chance of acquittal was 'more
than 50 per cent' because of evidence she had no knowledge of the drugs in the
bag.

She claimed to be in Malaysia to lodge documents for her boyfriend, a U.S.
soldier serving in Afghanistan, to retire from the army.

The Sydney woman said she only saw clothes when she opened her suitcase, which
was given to her at the last minute by a friend of her boyfriend as she left
Shanghai.

The drugs were hidden in a secret compartment she claimed not to have known
about, and were not heavy enough for her to notice.

There were fears Ms Exposto could have been ensnared by an online dating scam
that the U.S. military warned were 'a growing epidemic'.

They involved stealing photos of soldiers and using them on dating sites to
'lure unsuspecting citizens into providing money to them for such reasons as
transportation costs, communications fees, marriages, processing and medical
fees'.

Ms Exposto's Malaysian lawyer Shafee Abdullah told reporters after her arrest
that his client was a 'responsible mother' who maintained her innocence.

He said she was so anti-drugs that if her four children ever got involved with
drugs she would kill them herself.

Mr Abdullah also argued she must be innocent because she voluntarily put her
back through the scanner when passengers are randomly chosen.

'She wasn't even asked.If she was a person conscious of the contents, she would
... probably put the bag that was without the drugs,' he said.

(source: dailymail.co.uk)

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Sept. 7




INDIA:

Indian court pronounces death penalty to 2, lifer to 2 in 1993 Mumbai blasts
case



A court in India's western state of Maharashtra Thursday pronounced death
sentences to 2 people and life imprisonment to two others in 1993 Mumbai serial
blasts case that killed 257 people, officials said.

The special Terrorist and Disruptive Activity (TADA) court handed over death
penalty to Tahir Merchant and Feroz Khan, while as prominent gangster Abu Salem
and another person Karimullah Khan was given a life sentence.

The 15th convict Riaz Siddiqui has been sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment,
while as the 6th person Mustafa Dossa had died ahead of sentence.

Salem, who was a prime suspect in the 1993 Mumbai bombings, was arrested in
Portugal in 2002.

He was extradited to India in 2005 and has been in prison since then.

The court in June this year found 6 individuals guilty in the serial blasts
that rocked India's financial capital in 1993, killing 257 and wounding over
700.

In 2006, the special anti-terror court convicted 100 people for the blasts. 12
were given the death penalty and 20 others sentenced for life.

India's prominent film actor Sanjay Dutt was the most high-profile among the
convicts.

(source: globaltimes.cn)

*******************

Public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam explains



A special TADA court in Mumbai today today sentenced Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan
and Tahir Merchant to death in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case. Abu Salem
and Karimullah Khan were given life in prison while Riaz Siddiqui was sentenced
to 10 years in jail.

Senior public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam confirms that the prosecution could not
have asked for the death penalty for Abu Salem due to India's extradition
agreement with Portugal.

Salem, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Khan and Merchant were earlier convicted for
conspiring to carry out the dastardly 1993 serial blasts, which killed more
than 250 people. Mustafa Dossa was convicted as well, but he died of natural
causes before today's sentencing. Riaz Siddiqui was convicted of lesser
charges.

Earlier, Abu Salem, along with Mustafa Dossa, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Tahir
Merchant and Karimullah Khan, were convicted in June for conspiring to commit
the dastardly Mumbai serial blasts, which killed over 250 people.

(source: indiatoday.in)








MALAYSIA:

Death penalty: Wrongful convictions and unfair sentencing in Malaysia----Of
over 1,100 currently on death row, many have not been afforded their right to
representation and a fair trial.



While the death penalty in Malaysia is an issue that divides the nation and
continues to be a hot topic in parliament, there is a group of people whose
voices never enter the debate. They are the silent victims of this colonial-era
law and the ones that pay the ultimate price for the errors of others - the
wrongfully convicted.

Splitting public opinion pretty much down the middle, the death penalty in
Malaysia is a hangover from British rule and is still the mandatory punishment
for murder, drug trafficking, treason, and waging war against the King.

Last year, Malaysia executed 9 people - up from 1 the previous year - and
handed down 36 death sentences. In its latest report on the issue, rights group
Amnesty International ranked Malaysia 10th in the use of the death penalty
among 23 countries where executions were recorded.

Human rights charities have repeatedly called on the country to abolish the
practice altogether. Despite a years-long debate over amendments to the
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952 aimed at allowing judges to exercise discretion in
sentencing for trafficking offences, little has been done.

In a statement in August following the most recent proposal to amend the laws,
Legal Advisor at Human Rights Watch, Linda Lakhdhir called for decisive action
from parliament.

"The Malaysian government should stop playing games, and firmly commit now to
introduce legislation in the next sitting of Parliament to eliminate the
mandatory death penalty for all drug offenses - not just some drug offenses,"
she said.

"And while it is making changes to its policies on the death penalty, the
government should also impose a moratorium on executions, and move swiftly to
full abolition of the death penalty. Talk is cheap. It is time for action."

Despite mounting appeals, the punishment continues to be popular in a country
that values the premise of "an eye for an eye". But of the over 1,100 currently
on death row, many of them have not been afforded their right to representation
and a fair trial, according to prominent defence lawyer at the National Legal
Aid Foundation, Samantha Chong Yin Xin.

Speaking at the Freedom Film Festival in Kuala Lumpur, Chong explained how many
of those convicted do not understand their rights and, in some cases, don't
even know what they are being arrested for.

"Many people on death row do not have good legal representation," Chong
explains. "Around 50 % of them are migrants which raises immediate issues with
language. In a lot of cases, defendants don't even know what is happening when
they are arrested and are not allowed to see a lawyer until sometimes 6 of 7
months after arrest."

While some cases of wrongful or unfair conviction may receive media attention,
the voice of this "silent group", as Chong calls them, are kept in the shadows,
often left alone to fight the ultimate David vs Goliath battle against the
police.

"In about 5 % of death penalty cases the witnesses are the police," Chong said.
"In many cases we see policemen with zero principles but if the courts only
have the word of the police against the word of the suspect, who are they going
to believe? They will only reject police evidence if it's 'cow over the moon'
type stuff."

This leaves many suspects in an impossible position; deprived of quality
representation, not understanding the proceedings or their rights, and locked
in a your-word-against-mine situation with the police.

Chong cites a case of a young Thai woman to demonstrate how common this
treatment is.

When stopped on a bus on her way into the country, the young woman was asked by
police officers if she owned the bag on the seat next to her. She said, no.
Despite her denial, she was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after
the bag was found to contain heroin.

After conviction, she found out that her statement had been falsified by police
to say she claimed ownership of the bag. And the lawyer that defended her did
not speak to her before the trial. Through incompetence and language barrier,
she was not involved in the case at all, only to find later she was convicted
and sentenced to death.

Stories like that of this woman are not uncommon says Chong, and once a person
has been convicted at the High Court level, there is little recourse. In
Malaysia, appeals are made in Federal Court but, as Chong explains, the
likelihood of the original conviction being overturned are incredibly slim.

"If you are convicted at High Court, your fate is sealed," Chong said. "The
(Federal) Court's judgement is simple, 'You should have presented this (new
argument) at High Court' and they will disallow it. I have never seen a
successful case at Federal Court."

While some may look on death penalty cases with the attitude of "if you don't
want to face the consequences, don't do the crime" or think the idea of a
wrongful conviction is a nightmare that could never happen to them, Abdul
Rashid Ismail, former president of the Malaysian Human Rights Society and
solicitor, has a stark warning for all.

"We live in a system that's not perfect; witnesses make mistakes, police can be
dishonest, judges are human beings, so mistakes can happen," he said.

"It can be any of us; your friend, your family, it could be you who is in the
wrong place at the wrong time. It's that simple."

(source: asiancorrespondent.com)

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Sept. 8



SINGAPORE:

Singapore decried for 'harassment' of anti-death penalty activists



Singapore should end harassment of peaceful activists, Human Rights Watch has
said, after participants at a candlelight vigil for a man being executed for
drug trafficking were stopped from leaving the country.

On July 13, about 10 people, including opponents of the death penalty and
relatives Prabagaran Srivijayan, 22, attended the vigil outside Changi Prison
in support of the man, who was to be hanged early the next morning.

The man, who was executed on July 14, was convicted of trafficking 22.4 grams
of heroin into Singapore.

During the vigil, participants said they were approached by police and told
that a police report had been filed and that they were to remove the candles.

The police removed the candles and photographs of Prabagaran but the
participants say they were not asked to disperse.

Assemblies and processions for a cause in public places without a permit is a
criminal offense in Singapore. Anyone convicted of organizing such an assembly
faces penalties of up to S$10,000 ($7,440) in fines and up to 6 months in jail.

The Singapore government has said that the law is required to provide for the
individual's rights for political expression without compromising on "order and
safety".

Among those at the vigil were a journalist, who is an activist against capital
punishment, an editor of independent online blog "Online Citizen" and a
filmmaker whose most recent work focused on the detention in 1987 of political
activists under Singapore's Internal Security Act.

The 3 said in social media postings that they had been prevented from leaving
the country, and had been told that they were required to stay in Singapore to
assist police with an investigation.

As of Friday afternoon, police were not able to respond to requests by Reuters
for comment.

Human Rights Watch said the government should respect the right of free speech
and assembly.

"The government should end its harassment of activists campaigning against
capital punishment and respect their rights to freedom of expression and
peaceful assembly," the group said in a release on Thursday.

None of the 3 had been arrested or charged, Kirsten Han, the activist and
journalist, told Reuters.

(source: Reuters)

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Sept. 9



ICELAND:

Iceland gripped as infamous 1828 murders head for 'retrial'----Deaths of 2 men
to be re-examined under modern court rules.



It was on 14 March, 1828 when residents on Iceland's remote farm of Stapakot
were awoken by a maid from a neighbouring property, who burst in to tell them 2
men were trapped in a fire.

But the men were already dead - clubbed with a hammer and stabbed 12 times
before the house was set ablaze with shark oil.

Despite taking place almost 190 years ago, it's a crime that Icelanders have
never forgotten, since the convicted killers were the last people ever executed
in the country.

On Saturday (9 September), the case is set to grip Iceland once more as it is
re-analysed by a mock court, Associated Press reports.

The retrial, conducted under modern rules before a 3-judge panel, may shed
light on the motivation for the slayings, the fairness of the original
proceeding, and whether the 2 maids - Agnes Magnusdottir and Sigridur
Gudmundsdottir - had been abused by the men they eventually killed.

The case has sparked endless speculation, a feature film and a pop song. The
tenth book in Icelandic about the murders is set to be published and a
documentary is in production. Seats for the retrial have long been sold out.

It will be held at the community center in Hvammstangi, a northwestern village
near the murder scene, and will use handwritten court records from the 1828
case, which have been preserved in the National Library.

One of the judges - David Thor, a former judge at the European Court of Human
Rights - told Associated Press that the original trial nearly 200 years ago did
not address the motivation for the killings. It's not clear why Natan
Ketilsson, a self-taught doctor, and his guest were killed.

"No one cared about the motivation behind the murders - that wouldn't happen in
a modern court," he said.

"Today we would try to understand the motivation behind the murders and
particularly how the 2 women, who had no other place to live, were treated by
their master."

The 2 maids said the act was masterminded by Fridrik Sigurdsson, a 17-year-old
who held a grudge against Ketilsson. He and Magnusdottir, 32, were put to death
for their role in the killings. The other maid, a 16-year-old, was sentenced to
life in prison in Denmark.

The case highlights differing attitudes toward capital punishment. In modern
Iceland, the usual prison sentence for murder is 16 years or less. But in 1828,
officials successfully argued for the death penalty, which had not been imposed
in decades.

An axe was imported from Denmark to carry out the penalty and the brother of 1
of the victims was chosen as executioner.

Every farm was instructed to send a male representative to witness the event
and afterward the decapitated heads were jammed onto a stick for public
viewing.

Author Hannah Kent achieved international success with her novel "Burial
Rites," which depicts the crime through the eyes of Magnusdottir, who was
convicted of killing the 2 men and burning their bodies.

Kent, who said the case is still constantly in her thoughts, hopes the retrial
may provide some insight.

"If the murders really were premeditated, I would want to know if something
went wrong or if maybe this all happened more in the moment," she said.
"Because to me, it has always seemed like a particularly clumsy murder."

She said readers have often asked her what the outcome of the case would be if
it were tried under today's rules.

"I have never really been able to give them an answer until now," she said.

(source: Associated Press)








INDIA:

Around 50 face death sentence in Maharashtra



With 2 former aides of Karachi-based underworld don Dawood Ibrahim getting
death sentences in the 12 March 1993 serial blasts case, the list of the
convicted criminals facing death sentences in Maharashtra is around 50.

Pakistani national Mohammed Ajmal Kasab and Mumbai resident Yakub Memon are the
two persons from Maharashtra who had been hanged to death in the last 2
decades.

Kasab was among the group of 10 Pakistanis and the only one to the caught alive
during the 26-29 November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai. His clemency plea was
rejected by the President. He was hanged to death at the Yerawada jail in Pune
on 21 November 2012.

Yakub Memon, who played a key role inthe March 12, 1993, serial blasts in
Mumbai, was hanged to death in the Nagpur prison, on 30 July 2015.

According to Prison Statistics 2014 brought out by the National Crime Records
Bureau (NCRB), there are a total of 318 persons including 8 women on death row
across the country of which 36 including 3 women are from Maharashtra.

However, between 2015-17, capital punishments have been given to convicts -
which include the accused of the Shakti Mill rape incidents and the 7/11 serial
train bombing.

In April 2014, 3 youth Vijay Jadhav, Mohammad Qasim Shaikh and Salim Ansari -
were sentenced to death for repeating the crime. They were involved in the rape
of a photojournalist and telephone operator at the Shakti Mill.

In September 2015, a trial court in Mumbai sentenced 5 persons to death in the
7/11 train blasts case. They are Kamal Ansari, Faisal Shaikh, Estesham
Siddiqui, Naveed Khan and Asif Bashir Khan.

Among others on death row in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra are 3
Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives including a 43-year-old mother of 2, who were
awarded capital punishment for their involvement in the August 25, 2003,
explosions at Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazar. These convicts are Ashrat
Ansari, his aide Hanif Sayed Anees and Hanif's wife Fehmida Sayed. They too
have appealed to the Supreme Court.

2 sisters, Renuka Shinde and Seema Gavit too are facing capital punishment, in
what is known as the Anjanabai Gavit case. The case involves a series of
kidnappings and murders. They have been accused of kidnapping and killing a
dozen children in the nineties in Kolhapur, Pune and Nashik.

4 years ago, the Bombay High Court confirmed the death penalty of Purushottam
Borate and Pradeep Kokade, who were convicted kidnapping, raping and murdering
a 22-year-old BPO employee Jyotikumari Chaudhary in Pune in 2007.

(source: Deccan Herald)








IRAQ:

Iraq sentences Islamic State's "chemical emir" to death



Iraq's Central Criminal Court sentenced Sunday a prominent Islamic State
chemical warfare developer to death, convicting him of developing some of the
group's deadliest weapons.

In a statement on Sunday, Abdul-Sattar Beraqdar, a spokesman of the Supreme
Judicial Council, said Zeyad Tarek, who hd joined militant activity in 2003,
was sentenced to death based on the Iraqi counter-terrorism law.

He said the convict had confessed to developing toxic weapons for the Islamic
State, and had admitted using a chicken coop he owned for the purpose of
manufacturing the weapons.

Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council had previously published an interview with
Tarek, in which it revealed that the convict was arrested in Lebanon after an
intelligence operation that succeeded in retaking him back to Iraq. He was
ambushed outside an embassy in Lebanon where he was applying for asylum.

Tarek, who the militants had nicknamed the "chemicals emir", said that one of
the rockets he had developed could fire for a 20-kilometer range. The council's
paper said several militants arrested for manufacturing chemical weapons and
booby-traps had pointed during interrogations to Tarek's facility.

Iraqi and international agencies had occasionally reported suspected chemical
attacks by IS militants during the government's U.S.-backed military campaign
against the group in Mosul, its former capital which Iraqi forces recaptured
early July.

(source: iraqinews.com)








PAKISTAN:

COAS confirms death sentence of 4 hardcore terrorists



Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has confirmed death sentences of
another 4 hardcore terrorists.

According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement the deaths
sentences were given by the military courts.

The convicts were involved in offences of terrorism, including killing of
innocent civilians, attacking law enforcement agencies (LEAs) and armed forces
of Pakistan. On the whole, they were involved in the killing of 16 persons and
injuring 8 others. Arms were also recovered from their possession.

Around 23 convicts were also given imprisonment of various duration by the
military courts. The details of terrorists given death penalty are as under:

Raiz Ahmed son of (s/o) Ghularam Khan: The convict was a member of proscribed
organization. He was involved in attacking law enforcement agencies and armed
forces of Pakistan, which resulted in death of eight officials of police and
Frontier Constabulary and injuries to 5 police officials.

He was also involved in destruction of Government Middle School, Aligrama. He
was found in possession of fire-arm. The convict admitted his offences before
the magistrate and the trial court.

Hafeez ur Rehman s/o Habib ur Rehman: The convict was a member of proscribed
organization. He was involved in killing of 3 innocent civilians.

The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and the trial court.

Muhammad Saleem s/o Muslim Khan: The convict was a member of proscribed
organization. He was involved in attacking LEAs and armed forces of Pakistan,
which resulted in death of 4 soldiers and injuries to another soldier. He was
found in possession of fire-arm.

The convict admitted his offences before the magistrate and trial court. He was
given death sentence.

Kifayat Ullah s/o Dilresh: The convict was a member of proscribed organization.
He was involved in attacking armed forces of Pakistan, which resulted in death
of a soldier and injuries to 2 other soldiers.

He was found in possession of fire-arm. The convict had admitted his offences
before the magistrate and trial court.

(source: brecorder.com)








EGYPT:

Court set to sentence Giza Terrorist Cell members to death penalty



Giza Criminal Court referred the papers of 11 defendants in the case known as
Giza Terrorist Cell on Saturday to Grand Mufti Shawky Allam, before sentencing
them to the death penalty.

The court set October 22 as the final verdict date for the 26 defendants.

A referral to the mufti is a step that must be taken within Egypt's court
system ahead of death sentencing, even though the mufti's opinion is advisory
and not binding.

The defendants face charges of establishing an illegal group, intended to
disrupt the provisions of the Constitution and the law, preventing state
institutions from carrying out their actions, and attacks on personal and
public freedom.

They are also being charged with participating in gatherings intended to commit
a murder, destroying public property, the attempted killing of 2 police
officers, destroying a police vehicle, stealing police weapons, and making high
explosive devices.

(source: Egypt Independent)

*******************

Egypt court sentences 11 to death over violence



An Egyptian court on Saturday has sentenced 11 people to death over charges of
attempted murder and violence, official news agency MENA reported.

The defendants were convicted of militant gathering for terrorist purposes,
making explosives, assaulting a government institution and setting it ablaze,
Jeopardizing personal freedoms, harming national unity and social peace, and
providing funds and weapons to militants.

The court referred the sentence to Grand Mufti, the country's highest Islamic
official who will give the religious judgment of all preliminary death
sentences.

The Mufti's opinion is non-binding as it is usually considered a formality, but
his final opinion could reduce the penalty.

The court will give its final sentence against other 26 accused with the same
charges in October 22.

The case dated back to August 2013 when the Brotherhood members took into
streets, broke into some police stations, killing security men in retaliation
for the police's harsh crackdown on the supporters of the Islamist president
Mohamed Morsi who was ousted by the army in response to mass protest against
him.

Morsi along with prominent figures of his Brotherhood group were sentenced to
death over killing protesters, spying for foreign countries amid other charges.

However, all the charges are still appealable.

(source: xinhuanet.com)

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Sept. 10




PAKISTAN:

Christian teen accused of burning Koran face death sentence and mob violence



A Pakistani Christian teen who was arrested on Aug. 12 on blasphemy charges
after being accused of burning pages of the Koran now faces a possible death
sentence if he is convicted or mob violence at the hands of the local Muslim
community.

Asif Massih, 18, has been accused of burning pages of the Koran outside a
Muslim shrine in Jam Kayk Chattha village Wazirabad in Punjab province. Police
had to transfer him to another station after an angry mob crowded around the
one he was previously detained in and demanded that authorities hand him over,
Fox News detailed.

"He is on judicial remand on the order of the judge," Alipur Chattha police
spokesperson Malik Irfan explained to Fox. "People had witnessed that Massih
had burnt the Holy Koran by pouring petrol on it outside Muslim shrine."

Reports showed that at least 71 individuals have been killed in hardline mob
attacks over blasphemy allegations since 1990. In April, a student mob killed
university student Mashal Khanin in the city of Mardan over false accusations
of blasphemy.

In Pakistan, blasphemy is a highly sensitive issue, and there are dozens of
convicts who are lined up on death row over allegations of insulting the
Prophet Muhammad or desecrating the Muslims' Holy Book. In some cases, even
unproven accusations can stir mob lynching.

Last month, the Islamabad High Court requested parliament to make reforms to
Pakistan's blasphemy law to prevent false accusations of the crime. In his
order, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui suggested the death penalty for people who
will cast false blasphemy accusations, Al Jazeera reported.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's chairman Mehdi Hasan welcomed Justice
Siddiqui's order. He told Al Jazeera that the blasphemy law was being abused by
people to settle personal disputes.

Despite the positive reactions to the recommendation, legal experts see little
hope in the revision or repeal of Pakistan's blasphemy law. Previous attempts
to do the same were reportedly unsuccessful.

(source: christiandaily.com)








INDONESIA:

Drug trafficking, among 16 punishable by death penalty in Indonesia



His Excellency, Mr. Harry Purwanto is the Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria,
Cameroon, Ghana, Benin, Togo, Gabon, Liberia, Burkina Faso, DR Congo, Niger,
Sao Tome and Principe and ECOWAS. In this interview with Vera Samuel Anyagafu,
he disclosed the critical state of drug abuse in Indonesia and how after the
inauguration of the Indonesian President in 2014, he immediately declared there
would be no clemency for drug-related cases.

This decision made drug trafficking part of 16 serious offences that are
subject to death penalty in the country, and much more.

Excerpts:

What would you say on the issue of Indonesian government prescribing death
sentence for drug traffickers? Drug trafficking is a very serious challenge in
Indonesia. According to statistics in 2014, 4.5 million Indonesians were in
need of rehabilitation from illicit drugs. This means 30-50 Indonesians are
dying each day due to illegal drug use.

Considering the critical state of drug abuse in Indonesia, after the
inauguration of the Indonesian President in 2014, he immediately declared that
there will be no clemency for drug-related cases.

Drug trafficking is part of 16 serious offences that are subject to the death
penalty in Indonesia, which also includes corruption, terrorism, treason,
pre-meditated murder, and so on.

Considering the extreme nature of the death penalty, it is stipulated in the
Indonesian criminal justice system that death penalty is only imposed under the
most serious crimes, and applied as a last resort after strict and transparent
due process of the law has been exhausted.

With regards to death sentence, Indonesia attaches great importance in ensuring
the transparent, credible, and accountable due process of the law with maximum
prevention of miscarriage of justice.

The execution is carried out only after the verdict has a permanent legal
force; after all appeals, legal defenses, and other legal avenue have been
exhausted; and after clemency has been denied.

The defendant is granted and protected in exercising their rights for a fair,
transparent, and open legal process. In the case of foreigners, their
respective Embassies and Consulates are given frequent access in providing
consular assistance from the beginning, during detention, the trial,
imprisonment, until the planned execution.

Going by the last Indonesia Trade and Investment Forum in Nigeria, would you
say both countries maintain win-win cooperation, spotlighting some of your
country's assisted social responsibility to Nigeria.

Although there are dynamics and fluctuation in our balance of trade, economic
and trade relations between Indonesia and Nigeria continues to grow and become
stronger. Over the past several months, the Indonesian Minister for Foreign
Affairs and Indonesian Minister of Trade paid a working visit to Nigeria,
bringing with them a strong delegation of Indonesian businesspeople.

During the last Indonesia Business Forum that was held on July in Lagos, we
managed to seal business deals worth USD.21.1 million. There are Indonesian
investors that are interested in doing business and invest in Nigeria.

A number of them, in refinery and mining, are in their finalization phase of
due diligence as well as installing basic equipments.

Aside from economic and trade, Indonesia has also engaged on other fields of
cooperation with Nigeria, including various capacity building programs for
Nigerians. These programs include internship and training for Nigerian
officials in agriculture, fisheries, good governance, etc.

The Indonesian government also grants Post-graduate scholarships as well as
arts and culture scholarships for Nigerian students in some of Indonesia's most
prestigious universities, through the Developing Countries Partnership Program
(KNB) Scholarship and the Darmasiswa Arts and Culture Scholarship.

You may please tell us the exact visa fee Nigerians intending visiting
Indonesia are expected to pay and how high visa fee to Nigeria is dampening the
spirit of Indonesians intending coming to Nigeria, the reason we have less
Indonesians living here?

The single entry visa fee to enter Nigeria from Indonesia is USD.245 for
regular passport bearers. It is the most expensive visa fee for Indonesians
planning to travel abroad.

Whereas a single entry visa to enter Indonesia from Nigeria is USD.50 for
regular passports. All Indonesian visa applicants from abroad are processed
through headquarters in Jakarta, hence Nigerian applicants are advised to
submit their applications at least 3 weeks in advance.

We have submitted inquiries to the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to
review Nigeria's visa policy to Indonesians. Such review would enable Nigeria
to be one of Indonesia's frequent travelling destinations, which in turn may
also increase investment from Indonesian business communities as well as
exchange of Indonesian and Nigerian scholars/experts.

(source: vanguardngr.com)

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Sept. 11



MALAWI:

International community rattled by Malawi muslims' call to kill gays



The international community is abuzz with reports that the Muslim Association
has proposed the death penalty for homosexuals in Malawi.

The anti-Jihad Website Jihad Watch quoted local media which quoted Muslim
Association of Malawi (MAM) spokesperson Sheikh Dinala Chabulika calling for
gay people to be condemned.

The Jihad Watch article is currently making rounds on Twitter and is the
current most salient result on Malawi on Twitter at the time of publication.

Sheikh Chabulika was quoted in an article published by a fortnightly newspaper
'Mkwaso' dated 1st-14th September 2017.

In the article, Chabulika stated that homosexuality is not only against the
Islamic teachings and religion but also an abomination and therefore emphasized
that those practicing it be executed.

He further emphasized that as the Muslim Community, they will never change
their stand on the matter that homosexuals need to be handed death penalty as a
way of making sure that the issue is curbed.

Chabulika was also responding to the call by Malawi government through the
Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) on the need to conduct a survey to sort
views of Malawians on Homosexuality practice which is under the LGBTI
(Lesbians, Gays, Transgender and Intersex).

The Sheikh said the Inquiry is 'unnecessary'.

In response to Chabulika's calls, Malawi Network of Religious Leaders Living
with or Personally Affected with HIV and Aids (MANERELA) Human Rights Activist
Allie Mwachande described the sentiments as a 'big shame'.

"This is a very big shame! If they say homosexuals must be killed is he
[Chabulika] himself ready to kill? Because if he is ready then he should tell
us when and where he will do that" said Mwachande.

He added: "As a human rights campaigner, I meet different people and I know
some of the Muslims who are within the LGBTI Community. Some are even from
Mangochi where him and I all come from...will he be happy to see his brothers
and sister killed?".

Mwachande further reminded Sheikh Chabulika as a man of Allah to always preach
love in order to serve the souls of the so called 'worst sinners'.

"As a Sheikh, he should always preach about love without looking at the sexual
orientation, tribe, colour, cultural beliefs etc. Jesus and Mohammed both
preached about love and the Bible and Quran [sic] still tells us to love one
another" explained Mwachande.

The most revered prophet in Islam, Muhammad is quoted in the Hadith as
specifying the punishment for gays:

"The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said,
'Whoever you find doing the action of the people of Loot, execute the one who
does it and the one to whom it is done.'"

(source: The Malavi Post)








MALAYSIA:

Lawyer: Wrongful conviction makes the case for death penalty repeal



The case of a young Thai woman who is on death row demonstrates why the death
penalty should be repealed in Malaysia, says a lawyer with the National Legal
Aid Foundation.

In a report by the Asian Correspondent, Samantha Chong spoke about how the Thai
national was in Malaysia, and was waiting at a bus station platform and her
friend had left a bag beside her.

She happened to be then questioned by police who asked her if the bag was hers,
and she had replied that it was not.

"Despite her denial, she was arrested and charged with drug trafficking after
the bag was found to contain heroin.

"During the trial, the defendant claimed that her statement had allegedly been
falsified by police to say she claimed ownership of the bag," Chong was quoted
as saying.

Chong added that the defendant's lawyer had not properly presented her defence
in court and as a result, she was convicted and sentenced to death.

According to Chong, this is not an uncommon incident, and that all the "finding
of facts" decided in the trial at the High Court is normally "not disturbed"
when the case is heard on appeal.

"If you are convicted at the High Court, your fate is almost sealed. The
Federal Court's judgement is simple, 'You should have presented this new
argument at the High Court' and so they will disallow it.

"As the process of law stands, if the defence wants to challenge facts, the
lawyer must ask the questions during cross examination in the 1st trial, and
not present new facts on appeal," Chong said in calling for an end to capital
punishment as there could be other cases of wrongful conviction leading to an
innocent person facing the gallows.

Speaking at the Freedom Film Festival in Kuala Lumpur recently, Chong also said
many of those convicted do not understand their rights and, in some cases,
don't even know what they are being arrested for.

"Many people on death row do not have good legal representation," Chong was
quoted as as saying by Asian Correspondent.

"Around 50% of them are migrants which raises immediate issues with language.
In a lot of cases, defendants don't even know what is happening when they are
arrested and are not allowed to see a lawyer until sometimes 6 or 7 months
after arrest."

Calling them the "silent group", Chong said their cases are often out of the
media spotlight and they are left alone to defend themselves against the word
of the police.

"In most death penalty cases the witnesses are the police. There are many good
policemen but there are some bad apples. So, if the courts only have the word
of the police against the word of the suspect, who are they going to believe?"
Chong told the festival audience.

Cabinet approval for court discretion

The issue of the mandatory death penalty has long been a contentious one in
Malaysia with not just the law, but many people too supporting such punishment
for those convicted of murder, drug trafficking, treason and waging war against
the King.

However, the mandatory death sentence for the drug offence may soon be a thing
of the past.

It was reported last month that the Cabinet had unanimously agreed to allow
judges to impose an appropriate penalty on drug traffickers instead of the
mandatory death sentence under an amendment to Section 39B of the Dangerous
Drugs Act 1952.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said told the Dewan
Rakyat at the last parliamentary sitting that the relevant ministries and
agencies would prepare a memorandum to be handed over to the Cabinet for
approval.

She said research on the issue had been carried out through the International
Centre for Law and Legal Studies (I-CeLLS) and presented to the cabinet on
March 1.

"The cabinet unanimously agreed to the amendment to Section 39B of the
Dangerous Drugs Act," she had said.

Azalina was responding to a question from Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh, who
had asked for updates on the government's move to review the mandatory death
sentence.

In response, the Malaysian Bar called for the government to table a bill
soonest possible to put an end to the mandatory death penalty, declare an
official moratorium on the use of the punishment, stay any pending executions
and commute every death sentence to one of life imprisonment.

Last year, Malaysia executed 9 people. This was an increase from the 1 sentence
carried out in 2015.

This places Malaysia at number 9 among the 23 countries that still have the
death penalty, according to Amnesty International.

(source: freemalaysiatoday.com)








LEBANON:

Lebanese director faces tribunal at home for filming in Israel----Ziad Doueiri
reportedly detained at Beirut airport for 'dealing with the enemy' 5 years
after release of his film 'The Attack'



A Lebanese film director was brought before a military court in Lebanon Monday
to face charges related to a 2012 movie he made that was partially filmed in
Israel.

Ziad Doueiri was arrested the day before when he landed at Beirut airport, the
local blog "A Separate State of Mind" reported. He was charged with "dealing
with the enemy" and authorities took away his French and Lebanese passports.

According to the report, Doueiri's arrest came after "a complaint was filed,"
although it was not clear why the issue resurfaced so long after the fact, or
who filed the complaint. The director had returned to Lebanon from the Venice
Film Festival and was set to release his latest work "The Insult," which was
filmed in Lebanon, in the coming days.

Doueiri, 53, filmed parts of his movie, "The Attack," in Israel, where he
stayed for 11 months, breaking a Lebanese law that forbids its citizens from
traveling to Israel.

Simply by shooting the film in Israel and casting Israeli actors, Doueiri was
violating a 1955 Lebanese law that bans "cooperation with Israeli institutions
or acts, inside or outside Israel." He could even face the death penalty if a
Lebanese court interpreted his felony as full-fledged treason.

"The Attack" is based on the book of the same name by Algerian writer Mohammed
Moulessehoul. It tells the story of an Israeli-Palestinian surgeon working in
Tel Aviv, who discovers that a suicide bombing was carried out by his wife
after terrorists recruited her.

It was banned in Lebanon, and the Arab League called for its boycott because of
the Israeli locations used during production.

In a March 2013 interview with The Times of Israel, Doueiri was defiant despite
the risks posed by making the film in Israel.

"No Lebanese government is going to execute me for going to Israel, but they
can screw things up for me," he said at the time. "I'm not afraid. If I were, I
wouldn't have made the film."

Born in 1963, Doueiri is most famous for his film "West Beirut." He left his
home country during its civil war and studied in the US. He now mostly works
there and in Europe.

(source: The Times of Israel)








PAKISTAN:

If the US President could pardon terrorists and desperate, hardened convicts,
why can't the President of Pakistan pardon or give remission?



Clemency please!

The former President of the United States of America in 1999 granted clemency
to 16 convicted terrorists despite hue and cry raised by FBI, police, the US
Senate, and the House of Representatives. In 2001, on his last day in office,
Clinton accepted mercy petitions of three women terrorists given long jail
terms. Generally, US Presidents grant pardons all through their term; however,
former President Bill Clinton granted pardon to 140 people on the very day of
his as inauguration as President of the US. Former Presidents of US Ronald
Reagan and Jimmy Carter, during their tenures, as Presidents had pardoned 406
and 566 respectively.

In 2006 the Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, granted pardon to a
Tamil Tiger insurgent convicted who plotted a plan to kill him a decade ago.
The President of Sri Lanka welcomed him onto the stage and even blessed him by
touching him on his head. The opponents of the President accused him of
undermining nationwide safety by releasing desperate and hardened convicted
terrorists from the jail. Among mentioned instances were instances where
desperate and hardened convicted persons had been pardoned by the Presidents of
their countries. The question considering Pakistan arises is: how can the
President of Pakistan decide the clemency plea of convicted persons after
dismissal of their appeals in the Supreme Court?

The latest data released by the Ministry of Interior says that the President of
Pakistan since 2014 had dismissed 513 mercy petitions. Needless to say that
Pakistan lifted 8 year-long moratorium on the death sentence in 2014 in the
wake of the brutal massacre in Peshawar, wherein 144 school children were
murdered. The former President of Pakistan had to pardon Mirza Tahir Hussain-a
British Pakistani - who was convicted of murdering a taxi driver in Rawalpindi
in 1988. He was pardoned by the President and his clemency plea was drafted and
sent to the President by the Prince Charles. The former of Prime Minister of
Britain, Tony Blair, came on an official trip to Pakistan in 2006 wherein he
discussed Mirza Tahir Hussain's case.

There was another instance where the former President of Pakistan, Rafiq Tarar,
pardoned an inmate who was allegedly accused of spying in Pakistan. He was
pardoned by the President in 1998. The reason for quoting these instances are
that ratio of acceptance of clemency plea in Pakistan is very low. Furthermore,
no concrete, objective criteria is available for the President as to how he
decides on a mercy petition. As mentioned above, the President had dismissed as
many as 513 mercy petitions- the number is too high. If the US President could
pardon terrorists and desperate and hardened convicts, why cannot the President
of Pakistan pardon or give remission to those inmates who had come in conflict
in law by accident or for the first time. Since the introduction of military
courts, the cases involving terrorism-related issues were referred to them, and
cases involving ordinary criminal offences remained in ordinary civilian
criminal courts. The President of Pakistan, by virtue of Article 45 of the
Constitution, remained the final and last forum where an inmate can submit for
mercy after the dismissal of his appeal in the Supreme Court.

Since 2014, 472 people have been sent to the gallows and most of them were
convicted of single murder or other ordinary criminal offences. It is available
on record that the government, in consultation with other stakeholders,
reinstated the death sentence despite immense international pressure from human
rights organizations to execute terrorists and people convicted of heinous
offences against humanity.

There are many inmates who have been on death row for years and the President,
without having any objective criteria, had dismissed their mercy petitions.
Most of them have poor and vulnerable background. The President of Pakistan is
under a constitutional duty to exercise his power under Article 45 as soon as
possible: keeping a mercy petition for years is a failure on his part to
perform his constitutional duty effectively.

The President of Pakistan has a constitutional obligation to exercise his power
under Article 45 as soon as possible: keeping a mercy petition for years is a
failure on his part to perform his constitutional duty effectively

For instance, a case of a juvenile Muhammad Iqbal is foremost. His first mercy
petition had been dismissed by the President; no idea on what grounds his
petition was dismissed. No idea what criteria was adopted by the President
while deciding his clemency plea. He has been languishing in jail since 1998.
Another example could be of Kaniza Bibi who has been in jail since 1989, and
she was found to be insane. The authorities were about to send her to gallows a
year ago, but the intervention of international organisation save her from
gallows. The President must grant pardon and remission to vulnerable and
juveniles by exercising his power under Article 45.

The President and the authorities must perform their duties effectively. I
further submit that the President ought to consider clemency pleas with open
heart as the death sentence undermines human dignity. Pakistan can only be a
peaceful country if we de-weaponise it and also we abolish the death sentence.

(source: Sarmad Ali is an attorney in Lahore; Commentary----Daily Times)

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Sept. 12



FRANCE:

France's final guillotine: 40 years since the end of the death penalty



On September 10, 1977, 40 years ago this week, France conducted its last
execution. 4 years later capital punishment was abolished, thus ending the
reign of the guillotine.

The man who was executed was Tunisian immigrant, Hamida Djandoubi. He was found
guilty of torturing and killing a woman in Marseilles, France.

It's said that he lit her on fire, then strangled her and left her body in the
countryside.

Djandoubi was believed to have been a depressed man who had lost part of his
leg in an accident.

The case generated a great deal of attention throughout France. But despite
Djandoubi's confession, the jury determined that there were no extenuating
circumstances and he would go to the guillotine.

Over the centuries, there were many versions of execution, but the most
infamous was the French guillotine.

The 1st person to have his head chopped off was highwayman Nicolas Jacques
Pelletier in 1792.

The execution was considered to be a success and the guillotine was continued
to be used on political prisoners, the highest profile being King Louis XVI on
January 21, 1793.

During the "Reign of Terror" from 1793 to 1794 the guillotine was taking heads
sometimes at a rate of 300 a day.

The last public execution by guillotine was in 1939.

Djandoubi was the last execution, earning himself a place in history.

(source: euronews.com)








BELARUS:

Belarus should decide on death penalty on its own



Belarus should decide on the issue of death penalty independently, Ivan
Simonovic, a delegate of the non-governmental organization International
Commission Against the Death Penalty, told the media, BelTA has learned.

A group of international death penalty experts is in Grodno on a visit on 12
September.

"We did not come here to tell Belarusians what to do. Belarus should deal with
this issue on its own. We are visiting Belarus' regions and discussing death
penalty issues as we meet with representatives of civil society, academic
community, and local authorities," Ivan Simonovich remarked.

According to the professor, the delegation comprises international experts of
different levels.

They have already met with high-profile officials of the Grodno Oblast
Executive Committee and local deputies. The delegation is set to talk with
students and professors of Yanka Kupala Grodno State University and hold a
press conference.

Read full text at:
http://eng.belta.by/society/view/opinion-belarus-should-decide-on-death-penalty-on-its-own-104793-2017/I

(source: BelTA)








IRAN----execution

Man Hanged on Murder Charges



Iran Human Rights has obtained information about an execution that was carried
out in Iran in late August. According to close sources, a prisoner was hanged
at Shirvan Prison (northern Khorasan) on Sunday August 27 on murder charges.
Close sources have identified the prisoner as Farrokh Hamadollahi.

"On July 2, 2012, Farrokh got involved in a fight in order to defend his
cousin. During the fight, he shoved an individual to the ground, and the
individual died after his head hit on the concrete pavement. Farrokh repeatedly
insisted that he did commit an act of murder, but the authorities sentenced him
to death anyway," an informed source tells Iran Human Rights.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state-run media, have not
announced Farrokh Hamadollahi's execution. At the present time, there are
roughly 750 prisoners in Shirvan Prison who are held under deplorable
conditions.

(source: Iran Human Rights)








SAUDI ARABIA:

Execution looms for teen tortured to "confess" to protest-related crimes



A young Saudi Arabian Shi'a man who claims he was tortured to "confess" alleged
crimes committed when he was 16 years old faces imminent execution, in the
latest shocking example of Saudi Arabia's ruthless clampdown on dissent, said
Amnesty International today.

The family of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, now 21, were yesterday informed that the
Supreme Court upheld his death sentence for his alleged role in anti-government
protests. He has now exhausted all his appeals and faces execution as soon as
King Salman ratifies his sentence, which could happen at any time.

Al-Hawaj, who was sentenced to death in July 2016 after a grossly unfair trial,
denies participating in any of the acts attributed to him.

"Saudi Arabia's vicious crackdown on dissent appears to know no bounds. Its
latest victim, a child at the time of his alleged crimes, now faces death at
the hands of a repressive regime that uses the death penalty as a tool to crush
dissent," said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty
International.

"From his arbitrary arrest, to his torture in detention and unfair trial, the
conviction of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj has made a mockery of justice. King Salman
must step in to quash this sentence and order a retrial in line with
international fair trial standards, without resorting to use of the death
penalty."

Due to the secrecy surrounding the judicial process in Saudi Arabia, it is
unclear when the King would ratify the death sentence. Families are usually not
informed about the ratification process and the scheduled execution of their
relatives.

Abdulkareem al-Hawaj was sentenced to death last year for a range of offences
related to his alleged involvement in anti-government protests in the Shi'a
majority Eastern Province in 2012, when he was aged 16.

He had no access to a lawyer during his pre-trial detention and interrogations,
and said that he was held in solitary confinement for the first 5 months
following his arrest at a security checkpoint in 2012.

He also says he was beaten and threatened with the death of his family during
interrogations by officials in the General Directorate of Investigations.
Eventually he wrote and signed a "confession" that appears to be the sole basis
for his conviction.

"Rather than sending Abdulkareem al-Hawaj to his death based on a statement
possibly obtained through torture, the Saudi authorities should be
investigating the claims that he was tortured by security officers," said Lynn
Maalouf.

"The authorities must also immediately establish an official moratorium on
executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia."

Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
which strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed by
persons below the age of 18 at the time of the crime.

Background:

Amnesty International has recorded a worrying increase in death sentences
against political dissidents in Saudi Arabia since 2013, including the Shi'a
Muslim minority.

The organization has documented the cases of at least 33 members of Saudi
Arabia's Shia community who are currently facing the death penalty. All were
accused of activities deemed a risk to national security. 3 others who remain
on death row awaiting execution, Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood
al-Marhoon, were also arrested for alleged offences committed when they were
under 18 and have said that they were tortured to make them "confess".

Saudi Arabia is one of the world's most prolific executioners and uses the
death penalty for a wide range of offences such as murder, drug-related crimes
and terrorism. At least 85 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia since the
start of 2017, including 44 in the past 2 months.

Last week, the family of another man on death row, Said Mabkhout al-Sai'ari,
who was convicted on murder charges, learned that he will be executed on 13
September. The court sentenced him to death despite concluding that there was
not enough evidence, relying on the statements of the victim's father, who
swore 50 times in court that he believed Said Mabkhout al-Sai'ari was
responsible for the murder of his son even though he was not present at the
crime scene.

(source: Amnesty International)



MALAYSIA:

S'wakian and Filipina escape death



A Sarawakian and a Filipina, who were initially charged with drug trafficking,
were sentenced by the High Court here on a lesser charge of drug possession.

Stage technician Andy Lim Shau Seng, 32, was jailed 15 years and ordered to be
caned 10 times after he pleaded guilty to an amended charge of having 664.9gm
of syabu at 4.30pm on Aug 29, 2016 in front of Kedai Fook Yuen in Gaya Street,
here.

Filipina businesswoman Rubiah Lahani Abdul Rahman, 34, was handed 5 years' jail
on an alternative charge of having 56.43gm of syabu at 4.10pm on May 17, 2016
at the KFC outlet in Karamunsing Complex, here.

Earlier Monday, Lim was brought before Judge Datuk Nurchaya Arshad for ruling
on the main charge against him for trafficking the drugs, which carries the
death penalty under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

However, the court amended the charge to possession under Section 12(2) of the
Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, punishable under Section 39A(2) of the same Act,
which carries imprisonment for life or not less than 5 year, if convicted.

Counsel Kitson Fong, representing Lim, applied for a lenient sentence on the
grounds that it was Lim's 1st offence and that his guilty plea had saved time
and expenses.

Fong also asked the court to give Lim a chance to turn over, saying his arrest
caused him to evaluate his life and that he felt remorse.

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Peng Kun said drug offences were a major
problem for the nation and demanded a deterrent sentence.

He added that by pleading guilty was not entitled to a lesser punishment and
proposed a jail term of between 15 years and 20 years, and whipping
accordingly.

Meanwhile, Rubiah had, on Aug 29, admitted to an alternative charge offered by
the prosecution following a representation from her counsel.

She was initially scheduled to stand trial the said day on the original charge
of trafficking the drugs.

Counsel Hairul V. Othman, representing Rubiah, in her mitigation, told the
court that Rubiah, who is married to a local and has 3 children, has been
staying in the State for 20 years.

Hairul submitted, among others, that at the time of the arrest there were
another man and woman who actually played a bigger role in the case, which set
her up to be the scapegoat notwithstanding that she also knew what she was
into.

Rubiah was at fault considering that she could make some money working with the
said 2 persons, who were also arrested at the same time with her and were only
detained under the Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985, said
Hairul.

By pleading guilty proved that Rubiah had repented and being responsible of her
own act even if she did not do it alone, said Hairul, who applied for the
sentence be just and fair in a form of reasonable minimum period of
imprisonment.

(source: Daily Express)








VIETNAM:

7 Vietnamese arrested for transporting drugs from Laos to Vietnam



Vietnamese police on Monday detained 7 people from Vietnam's northern Dien Bien
province for transporting a total of nearly 5 kg of opium from Laos to Vietnam.

Among the 7 detainees, Chang A Thao, born in 1980 in Dien Biens Muong Nhe
district, was caught red-handed when transporting the biggest amount of opium
-- 1.5 kilogram, the provincial police said.

The detainees crossed borders to work as manual laborers in Laos and then used
their wages to buy opium and come back to Vietnam for resale.

According to the Vietnamese law, those convicted of smuggling over 600 grams of
heroin or more than 2.5 kg of methamphetamine are punishable by death. Making
or trading 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal drugs also faces
death penalty.

(source: xinhuanet.com)

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Sept. 13



TANZANIA:

I cannot 'execute' convicted murderers - Tanzania's president declares


Tanzanian President John Magufuli has stated clearly that he cannot assent to
an execution of the death penalty which is legal in the East African country.

He said on Monday during the swearing in of Chief Justice Ibrahim Hamis Juma in
Dar es Salaam, that he cannot make that "difficult decision" on the execution
of convicted murderers.

"I know there are people who convicted of murder and waiting for death penalty,
but please don't bring the list to me for decision because I know how difficult
it is to execute," he said.

Tanzania's Penal Code, Cap 16 stipulates the death penalty for serious offenses
like murder and treason.

According to the Tanzanian NGO Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC), 472 people
were sentenced to death in 2015 and among them are 20 women.

The Executive Director of LHRC, Dr Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, commended the president
for his stance but demanded that he goes further to abolish the penalty.

"We need the abolition of this penalty due to the fact that it can???t be
implemented; in this case, it should be wise for the judges to change
punishment from death to life imprisonment or sentenced to 30 and above years
in jail," she was quoted by local media Azania Post.

Only about 20 countries countries have abolished the death penalty with Egypt,
Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan still practicing executions.

Tanzania last executed a convict in 1994.

**********************

Rights Body Commends Magufuli's Stance On Death Sentence


The Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) has commended President John
Magufuli's stance on the execution of a death sentence.

During the Swearing in of the Chief Justice (CJ) Prof Ibrahim Juma at State
House on Monday September 11, President Magufuli said he is not going to sign
any death penalty certificate.

The LHRC Executive Director, Dr Hellen Kijo-Bisimba, said the Head of State's
statement was encouraging, however, he should influence changes of the law to
abolish the punishment or provide lighter ones.

"The 3rd and 4th phase president's position on death sentence was known in
spite of the fact that they didn't declare publicly. President Magufuli has
publicly declared his position, but he should go beyond that," she said adding:

"The Head of State should influence changes to relieve judges and magistrates
with difficulties they at the time of making rulings."

Meanwhile, LHRC has condemned assassination attempt against Singida East MP on
Chadema ticket Tundu Lissu.

Dr Bisimba said Mr Lissu's attack has raised concern on the country's security.
The rights group has recorded a total of 37 peace threatening incidents since
2015.

Therefore, she suggested that an independent commission of inquiry should be
formed by the Parliament and international organs to comprehensively
investigate the matter.

"Also, people implicated in previous attacks should be arrested and prosecuted.
The legal profession should be left to freely fulfill its duties and that
clerics should condemn attacks with all efforts," she said.

Mr Lissu who is also the President of the Tanganyika Law Society (TLS) and
Opposition Chief Whip is now admitted at the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi Kenya
where he was referred after surviving gunshots.

(source for both: africanews.com)








MALDIVES:

UN urges independent judiciary for Maldivians


The United Nations had called out for a transparent and indiscriminate judicial
system in Maldives.

Speaking during the 36th session of the Human Rights Council of UN, the High
Commissioner for Human Rights Zaid Ra'ad Al Hussain confirmed of receiving
several complaints and concerning reports of Maldivians being stripped from
their constitutional rights and civil liberties.

He expressed his grave concern regarding the matter.

He also stressed his concern regarding the dubious conduct of other judicial
bodies and authorities in Maldives - in which he emphasized the breach of
Maldives National Defense Force officials into parliament chambers and
disqualification of lawmakers under absurd conditions.

Hussain had once again reiterated his call to Maldives not to re-commence death
penalty as capital punishment.

(source: avas.mv)








LEBANON:

Death penalty calls for Hamoush killer


Beirut's 1st investigative judge, Ghassan Oweidat issued an indictment Tuesday
in the murder case of Roy Hamoush, requesting the death penalty for the
perpetrators. Mohammed Al-Ahmar and 2 others were arrested shortly after
killing the 24-year-old student. Hamoush was shot dead on the Dora highway,
north of Beirut, in early June. That night, Roy had just finished celebrating
his birthday and was headed home with a friend when a traffic dispute broke out
between them and 3 armed men in a BMW. Adnan Jamal Ghandour and Hani Mohammed
Al-Mawla have also been charged with attempted murder.

(source: The Daily Star)








IRAQ:

Iraqi court sentences Russian accused of IS ties to death penalty media----The
Russian was arrested by the Iraqi security forces during an operation to
liberate western Mosul from the IS group


Iraq's supreme judicial panel on Tuesday sentenced a Russian citizen to death,
who is accused of having ties with the Islamic State terrorist group, Al
Sumaria TV channel reported.

A spokesman for the Council, Abdul Sattar al-Birqadar, said the Russian citizen
was also accused of ties to the al-Zarqawi Battalion, one of groups part of the
Islamic State, outlawed in Russia. The militant admitted that he carried out
several terrorist attacks against Iraq's security forces in 2015, the spokesman
said.

The Russian was arrested by the republic's security forces during an operation
to liberate western Mosul from the IS group, he said. The capital punishment
was imposed in line with Iraq's anti-terrorism law.

(source: tass.com)
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Sept. 13


INDONESIA:

Drug dealer sentenced to death in Medan



The Medan District Court has declared Irwantoni, 38, guilty and sentenced him
to death for his involvement in the delivery of 270 kilograms of sabu-sabu
(crystal methamphetamine) from China.

The sentence was in accordance with what prosecutors sought.

In the verdict hearing held on Wednesday, presiding judge Saryana said
Irwantoni was proven to have sent the drugs from China to Dumai, Riau and
Medan, North Sumatra, violating the 2009 Narcotics Law.

"We sentenced the defendant with the death penalty," Saryana said.

Besides Irwantoni, 4 defendants - Daud aka Athiam, 47, Ayau, 40, Lukmansyah Bin
Nasrul, 36, and Jimmi Syahputra Bin Rusli, 27 - were handed the death penalty
in previous hearings in the case for their involvement in the delivery of the
drugs.

The delivery of the crystal meth was thwarted by personnel of the National
Narcotics Agency (BNN) on Oct. 17, 2015.

Meanwhile, personnel of the BNN's North Sumatra branch shot dead an alleged
drug dealer on Jl. Medan-Binjai KM 16, Sunggal, in Deli Serdang regency on
Tuesday evening.

The alleged dealer was believed to be part of the Medan-Binjai-Palembang drug
network.

"We shot dead 1 person and arrested 4 others. We seized 12 kilograms of
sabu-sabu from the network," BNN North Sumatra head Brig. Gen. Andi Loedianto
said on Wednesday.

(source: The Jakarta Post)

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Sept. 14



VIETNAM:

Vietnam seeks death penalty for embezzlement by ex-chairman of state energy
firm



Prosecutors in Vietnam on Thursday said they were seeking the death sentence in
an embezzlement case against a former chairman of state energy firm
PetroVietnam, as the communist country steps up one of its biggest corruption
crackdowns.

Some high-ranking political officials have been punished as investigations
widen into PetroVietnam and the banking sector, with dozens of banking and
energy officials facing trial on charges such as embezzlement, mismanagement
and abuse of power.

In a statement, the Supreme People's Procuracy of Vietnam said it had sought a
death sentence for the former chairman, Nguyen Xuan Son, on charges that
include wrongdoing with serious economic consequences and abuse of power to
usurp assets.

It urged "an overall penalty of death", listing punishments such as a jail term
of 16 to 18 years for flouting state rules on economic management and life
imprisonment for abuse of power, before seeking the "death sentence for
embezzlement".

In 2009, PetroVietnam acquired an 800-billion-dong ($35-million) stake in Ocean
Group's banking unit, Ocean Bank, which had to be completely written off in
2015, when the central bank took it over at no cost.

Son could not be reached for comment as he is on trial, and Reuters could not
immediately reach his lawyer.

Prosecutors also sought life imprisonment for Ocean Group???s founder, tycoon
Ha Van Tham on charges ranging from embezzlement to abuse of power, the
statement said, adding that dozens of other Ocean Bank staff could also face
years in jail.

Ocean Group, which has interests in real estate, finance, hotels and
infrastructure, said it had no comment on the sentence sought for Tham, who
cannot be reached as he is still on trial.

Police opened 3 new cases against state firm units, among them Russian joint
venture Vietsovpetro, Vietnam's sole refinery operator Binh Son Refining and
Petrochemical, and PetroVietnam Exploration Production Corp.

All three cases focus on alleged abuse of power to usurp assets and are linked
to violations at Ocean Bank, Vietnam's police said in a statement on their
website on Thursday.

Police added another accusation of abuse of power against PetroVietnam's vice
general director Ninh Van Quynh, they added, following his arrest and
prosecution this month for alleged wrongdoing.

(source: Reuters)

****************

Death row inmates stage jail-break in Hanoi----Police are tracking down the 2
men who escaped 4 days ago.



Police in Hanoi have launched a manhunt for 2 death row inmates who escaped
from solitary confinement in Thanh Oai District last Sunday.

Sources from the Ministry of Public Security only confirmed the jail break on
Wednesday, calling it a rare incident. People held in solitary confinement in
Vietnam are supposed to have their legs cuffed.

Nguyen Van Tinh, 28, was sentenced to death in April for heroin trafficking. Le
Van Tho, 37, received the death penalty in May for drug trafficking, murder and
fraud.

Both have appealed their sentences and were awaiting retrial.

(source: vnexpress.net)








IRAQ:

Russian who joined ISIS in Iraq sentenced to hanging



A man who left Russia to join ISIS in Mosul was sentenced to death by hanging
in Iraqi court - the 1st such ruling on a foreign fighter, according to a new
report.

The unnamed foreign fighter was captured after the fall of the ISIS-held city
in July, along with hundreds of suspected jihadists, including German
teen-bride Linda Wenzel, Telegraph UK reported.

Authorities said the 28-year-old Russian man was the 1st fighter to surrender
when Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul, and that he admitted to "carrying out
terrorism operations," since 2015.

He said he discovered Islam in Moscow when construction workers introduced him
to the religion and, after getting a degree in engineering in 2014, traveled to
Turkey with the intention of entering Syria to join ISIS.

It is estimated that as many as 7,000 people have left Russia and other former
Soviet states to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The Russian's death sentence could set a deadly precedent for others captured
alongside the bloodthirsty jihadists - including the 16-year-old "Belle of
Mosul."

Wenzel's case garnered attention after pictures and videos of her looking
disheveled as she was being led out of the Iraqi city were published. She faces
the death penalty but even if she is sentenced to death, she would not be
executed before the age of 22.

As many as 5,000 men are awaiting trial in Mosul, judges told the outlet and 27
ISIS fighters were sentenced to death by hanging last month in Baghdad.

In 2016, Iraq executed more than 88 people, topped only by Saudi Arabia, Iran
and China.

Russian who joined ISIS in Iraq sentenced to hanging

(source: nypost.com)








INDIA:

Madikeri: Cyanide Mohan, on death row, found guilty of murdering yet another
woman



Notorious murder convict Cyanide Mohan, who has already been awarded death
penalty for killing 3 out of the 20 women he is charged of murdering, has been
convicted in yet another case.

The 6th additional district and sessions court on Wednesday September 13 found
Cyanide Mohan guilty of killing a woman in Madikeri back in 2009.

As was his modus operandi, Cyanide Mohan lured a woman from Puttur with the
false promise of marriage, and took her to Madikeri, where he murdered her by
making her consume cyanide.

The quantam of punishment will be pronounced on September 15.

Advocate Judith O M Crasta was the public prosecutor in the case.

In December 2013, Mohan Kumar alias Cyanide Mohan was sentenced to death after
he was convicted of killing at least 3 women, out of the 20 murders he was
charged with. This will be the 4th murder case proved against him. The remaning
16 women also died of cyanide consumption in the same way.

He was earlier found guilty of murdering Anitha of Barimar, Leelavathi of
Vamadapadav and Sunanda of Peruvaje, Sullia.

(source: daijiworld.com)








MALAYSIA:

Murdering son: Filipino to know his fate Nov 3



A 40-year-old Filipino lorry driver charged with the murder of his 8-year-old
son will know on Nov 3 whether he will have to enter his defence or be
acquitted.

High Court Judge Datuk Nurchaya Hj Arshad set the date for Aldwin Rojas Saz
when the prosecution closed its case on Tuesday after calling 9 witnesses.

The court also fixed Oct 2 for the defence to submit their submissions and for
the prosecution to reply on or before Oct 23.

Aldwin is accused of committing the crime to Rojas Jonvin at 2am on Feb 18,
2016 in a house behind the Wangsa sawmill in Nabawan.

He had on Nov 21, 2016 pleaded not guilty to the charge under Section 302 of
the Penal Code which provides for the death penalty, upon conviction.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Peng Kun prosecuted while Aldwin was represented
by counsel Farazwin Hexdy.

Meanwhile, in the Magistrate's Court, 3 people were penalised for committing
drug-related offences.

Nur Shazila Azman, 21, was fined RM2,000 or 4 months jail after she admitted to
having 0.09gm syabu at 4pm on July 23 in Putatan.

Johnson Voo and Jaafar Makling were also fined RM2,000 or 4 months jail each
for taking drugs last month.

Insp Rasydan Jasni prosecuted before Magistrate Jessica Ombou Kakayun, while
Nur, Voo and Jaafar were not represented.

(source: Daily Express)


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Sept. 15




IRAN----executions

Unidentified Man Hanged in Public in Front of Crowd of People



A prisoner was hanged in public in the city of Eslamabad-e Gharb (Kermanshah
province) on murder charges. Photos published from the public execution shows
children among the crowd of people who watched the hanging. According to a
report by the state-run news agency, Mehr, the execution was carried out on the
morning of Tuesday September 12. The report does not mention the name of the
prisoner, but identifies his age as 27.

The research of Iran Human Rights shows 34 people were hanged in public in Iran
in 2016; and an audience of hundreds of people, including children, were
present for most of these hangings. Human rights activists and informed membes
of civil society have always severely criticized this issue.

******************

Prisoner Hanged in Public While Crowd Watched



A prisoner was hanged in public in Salmas County (West Azerbaijan) in front of
a crowd of people. According to a report by the state-run news agency, Javan,
the public execution was carried out on the morning of Thursday September 14.
This report did not identify the prisoner's name, but the Center for Democracy
and Human Rights of Kurdistan has identified the prisoner as Davoud Hajizadeh.

The research of Iran Human Rights shows 34 people were hanged in public in Iran
in 2016; and an audience of hundreds of people, including children, were
present for most of these hangings. Human rights activists and informed membes
of civil society have always severely criticized this issue.

(source for all: Iran Human Rights)








BOTSWANA:

Death row inmates' last plea for life



After months of postponements, 2 Gantsi farmhands convicted of a gruesome 2014
murder, today make their final pleas for mercy to convince Justice Abednego
Tafa not to impose the death penalty on them. Tshiamo Kgalalelo and Mmika Mpe
were earlier this year convicted of abducting, robbing and killing their
employer, Reinette Vorster, before stealing her motor vehicle and burning her
inside it.

Attorneys, Themba Joina for Kgalalelo, and Archibald Gijima for Mpe, are due to
submit extenuating and mitigating factors in favour of their clients, in an
effort to stave off the death penalty.

Yesterday, an insider close to the case told Mmegi that the lawyers had already
submitted written mitigating and extenuating circumstances in the past 14 days
and as such, there was no room for any further delays in the matter. "The
mitigating and extenuating circumstances have been already filed as Judge Tafa
had ordered, and we are hopeful that this time around there will be some
progress. We expect defendants to mitigate verbally today and we also expect at
the same time that there won't be long presentations because the arguments have
already been filed," the source said.

The case has dragged since the guilty verdict was announced earlier this year,
with Tafa growing exasperated by the frequent glitches. Mitigation and
extenuation was due to have been done on June 28, but failed after Joina did
not appear, triggering a stern warning from Tafa. It is reported that
anti-death penalty groups are closely following the case with a view to jumping
in should Tafa send the duo to the gallows.

(source: mmegionline.com)








VIETNAM:

Vietnam's graft trial: Defense lawyer blames ousted Party bigwig for
sanctioning backyard banking services----The lawyer says Dinh La Thang enabled
scandal-hit OceanBank to function as the de facto internal institution for
PetroVietnam.



The defense lawyer of a former PetroVietnam chairman facing the death sentence
in a massive graft trial has said his client just enforced the executive orders
already sanctioned by a recently dismissed high-ranking official who then
headed the state energy giant.

Prosecutors on Thursday sought the death penalty for Nguyen Xuan Son, who was
Petro Vietnam's chairman from 2014 until he was arrested in 2015, on charges of
embezzlement. Son was also charged with abuse of power and economic
mismanagement.

The proposed sentence came as the OceanBank trial, with 51 bankers and
businessmen in the dock, was halfway through its expected 20-day duration,
opening a can of worms in one of Vietnam's toughest corruption crackdowns of
which PetroVietnam and the banking sector have been at the center.

Son was the CEO of OceanBank between 2008 and 2010, during which time
PetroVietnam became a major shareholder. The 55-year-old, who had held various
executive positions at PetroVietnam from 2003, is accused of pocketing around
$11 million from the bank.

He was charged with abusing his power to railroad OceanBank into forking out
illegal interest payments in pursuit of personal gains. According to
prosecutors, more than 50,000 individuals and nearly 400 businesses and
organizations have been identified as the beneficiaries of such interest
payments worth $70.4 million from OceanBank.

But Son's defense lawyer, Nguyen Minh Tam, dismissed such allegations on
Thursday, saying the buck stopped with Dinh La Thang, the chairman of
PetroVietnam between 2006 and 2011.

Tam essentially argued that it was Thang that signed off on documents that
authorized OceanBank to function as the de facto internal institution tasked
with exclusively handling all financial transactions for PetroVietnam.

Tam invoked a document dated September 2010 in which Thang asked PetroVietnam's
contractors and units to open accounts at OceanBank and use other financial
services there.

According to Tam, in September 2008, Thang had already signed off on another
document stating that PetroVietnam would use OceanBank-provided services. Tam
noted that Son did not become CEO of OceanBank until 3 months later, suggesting
his client had no sway on the issue.

"No one at PetroVietnam, including Son, could upend such policies," Tam said at
the trial. "There is thus no reason to charge him with abusing his power to
usurp assets."

Grilled by prosecutors on such policies last Monday, Hoang Van Dung, a
PetroVietnam representative, said the group only encouraged its units to use
OceanBank's financial services "on a voluntary basis."

Lawyers are scheduled to continue spelling out their defenses Friday. Ha Van
Tham, the former OceanBank chairman, is facing life imprisonment on charges
ranging from embezzlement to abuse of power. Other ex-bankers are facing up to
27 years in jail.

Dinh La Thang was dismissed from the Communist Party's decision-making
Politburo in May, and later fired from his position as the leader of Ho Chi
Minh City.

Thang was held responsible for "serious" violations and mismanagement during
his time as PetroVietnam's chairman from 2009 to 2011. The Central Inspection
Committee, the Party's top watchdog, also blamed Thang for an excessive stake
purchased in OceanBank. PetroVietnam held a VND800 billion ($35 million) stake
in the bank, but that was completely written off when the central bank took it
over in 2015.

Since May, Thang has been demoted to the post of vice head of the Central
Economic Commission, which advises the Party on economic policies.

The punishment handed down to him was the harshest to be meted out to a
Politburo member in years, if not decades.

"This is a very unusual case," Zachary Abuza, a Southeast Asia analyst in
Washington, said of Thang's dismissal. The Party is trying to "show that even
the most politically powerful are not immune."

(source: vnexpress.net)

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Sept. 16



EGYPT:

Egypt court sentences 7 IS affiliates to death



An Egyptian court on Saturday has sentenced 7 members of the Islamic State (IS)
to death over charges of murder and violence, official news agency MENA
reported.

The defendants were accused of joining IS military training camps in Libya and
Syria and the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians working in Libya.

The crime of slaughtering the Egyptian workers was filmed by the group and
released in February 2015.

Explosive devices as well as CDs featuring military training of IS militants
were seized in their possession.

The court has referred the case to Grand Mufti, the country's highest Islamic
official who will give the religious judgment of all preliminary death
sentences.

The Mufti's opinion is non-binding as it is usually considered a formality, but
his final opinion could reduce the penalty.

The court will give its final sentence against another 13 accused with the same
charges in Nov. 25.

Egypt has been battling a wave of terrorist attacks, centered mostly in North
Sinai since the army-led ouster of the Islamic leader Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

The Islamists said the attacks that targeted security men and Coptics were in
revenge of the crackdown against Morsi's supporters and the Christians loyalty
to the army.

(source: xinhuanet.com)








PAKISTAN:

Pakistani Christian sentenced to death for sending Islam-insulting poem via
WhatsApp



A Pakistani Christian has been handed a death sentence for allegedly sending a
poem insulting Islam, in particular Prophet Mohammed, to a Muslim friend via
WhatsApp. The friend reported him to police, annoyed by the Christian man's
affair with a Muslim girl, the defendant's lawyer said.

"[Nadeem] James was handed a death sentence by the court Thursday on blasphemy
charges," James' defence lawyer Anjum Wakeel told AFP Friday. Wakeel said James
will "appeal the sentence in the high court as he has been framed by his friend
[Yasir Bashir] who was annoyed over James' affair with a Muslim girl."

James was held inside the prison for safety reasons as local Muslim clerics
repeatedly threatened his family, the lawyer added.

The story of James from the town of Sarai Alamgir in Punjab province hit the
headlines in summer 2016.

James, 28, is "illiterate and works as a tailor", according to the Rescue
Christians charity group which fights persecution of Christians.

The group said Pakistani police also "intimidated" James's family and arrested
his sisters-in-law. "They were threatened with prosecution if they did not give
up their brother," the group said, adding that the women were later released.

In July 2016, James shared the details of the incident to the Rescue Christians
group.

"... One of my friends sent me a WhatsApp message. I forwarded it to the Muslim
friends as I was not educated and unaware of the contents written in the
messages. [Now] they are after me to kill me as they believe that I have
committed blasphemy against their prophet," he stated.

The victim is believed to have been taken to Lahore for treatment.

The man continued, saying his Muslim friends "wanted to kill him" and sent a
complaint to police who later raided his home and eventually arrested him.

"Nadeem is uneducated and could not have possibly sent that text message. I'm
certain that Yasir Bashir downloaded the supposedly blasphemous text onto
Nadeem's phone and then forwarded it to his cell number to build a case against
my brother," the man's sibling Shahbaz James, told the Morning Star News, an
independent news service focusing on persecution of Christians.

The charge of blasphemy can carry heavy sentences in Pakistan. According to
Amnesty International, "Pakistan's blasphemy laws are often used against
religious minorities."

A 2016 Amnesty report "shows how once a person is accused, they become ensnared
in a system that offers them few protections, presumes them guilty, and fails
to safeguard them against people willing to use violence."

(source: rt.com)

****************************

HR Ministry to prepare proposal for seeking presidential pardon for most
deserving prisoners



Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Friday directed Ministry of
Human Rights to prepare proposal for seeking presidential pardon on
humanitarian grounds of highly deserving cases, as per law.

He directed this in a consultative meeting chaired by him in the Ministry of
Law & Justice to consider possible legislative reforms in criminal justice
system of Pakistan. The meeting was attended by senior representatives of
Ministry of Interior, Human Rights, Foreign Affairs, Narcotics Control
Division, and Law & Justice, said a press release here on Friday.

The SAPM stated that another proposal should be prepared for the prisoners
involved in minor offences to engage them in community services for their
social reintegration instead of keeping them in Jails. Keeping in view,
Pakistan's international commitments and concluding observations on Pakistan's
obligatory reports, Ministry of Human Rights was directed to conduct thorough
review of laws pertaining to human rights including offences related to death
penalty.

The concerns of international community regarding disabled prisoners who were
on death row were also discussed. Ministry of Human Rights Secretary Ms Rabiya
Javeri Agha proposed to review imposition of death penalty in drug crimes.

Besides, situation with regard to prisoners particularly women, children,
mentally-ill and physically challenged persons was discussed with a view to
protect their rights as guaranteed in the Constitution of Pakistan. It was
agreed that the detail analysis of each category of the prisoners along with
relevant crimes will be undertaken to comprehensively address the issue.

The meeting noted that in case of any report of death penalty imposed on such
categories of prisoners, the matter would be dealt on humanitarian ground and
presidential pardon under Article 45 of the Constitution would be recommended
subject to certification of the cases by the provincial government.

Furthermore, the issue of persons who were juvenile at the time of offence
before promulgation of Juvenile Justice Ordinance, 2000 and had been awarded
death penalty under the then prevailing law was also discussed.

???The Ministry of Human Rights was of the view that as per Presidential Order
2001, provides commutation of death penalties awarded to juveniles into life
imprisonment, so if there exists any such juvenile who was awarded death
penalty before 2000 should also get benefit from such relief???. Ministry of
Human Rights was directed to review relevant laws of such offences and prepare
proposals for further legislative review, if so required.

(source: Pakistan Today)








INDIA:

Mangaluru: After 3 death sentences, Cyanide Mohan awarded life imprisonment



The 6th additional district court awarded life imprisonment and a fine of Rs
26,000 to Cyanide Mohan in the rape and murder of a young woman in Puttur
taluk.

Holding Mohan guilty of murder, rape, looting jewelry and destruction of
evidence, Judge DP Putturangaswamy sentenced Mohan to life imprisonment which
gave justice to the family of the woman after 8 long years.

It may be recalled, on September 17, 2009, Mohan had taken the woman to Puttur
Market with gold jewelery and then brought her to Madikeri and had sexual
contact. Later, he had killed her by offering Cyanide at Madikeri bus stop. He
then escaped with her gold jewelry. Mohan had befriended the young woman and
promised to marry her. The police investigated 44 witnesses and produced 60
documents regarding the case.

Public prosecutor Judith Olga Margaret said that the case was 4th and requested
Mohan to be sentenced to death. However, the court sentenced life imprisonment
to Mohan.

Mohan has been accused of murdering 20 women by offering cyanide. Death penalty
has been imposed to him by Mangaluru court in 3 cases. Of the 20 cases, Mohan
has been convicted in 4 now, 5 cases are in the final stages of trial and about
9 cases are being heard.

(source: daijiworld.com)








BAHAMAS:

Restore The Death Penalty



EDITOR, The Tribune.

The recent murder of an 8-month-old infant has horrified and incensed many of
us. But I wonder if we as a nation are sufficiently horrified and incensed to
ensure that all convicted murderers receive the just and fitting punishment for
their crime, which is swift execution by the state.

From the looks of things, it does not appear so. Therefore, the carnage will
continue because we continue to send the message to murderers that they can
take the life of others and the state will spare theirs.

Recently, while speaking about our nation's excessively high crime rate, the
Minister of National Security, the Hon Marvin Dames, said, "We are proponents
of the death penalty, our leader talked about it during the campaign trail and
we have not changed our position on that. We will do what we promised we will
do." I pray that those words will be put into action very soon, but I wonder
what else needs to happen before they are.

I'm eagerly waiting to see if, when, and how Prime Minister Minnis and his
government will seek to enforce the death penalty. And if they do anything
short of giving Bahamian voters the opportunity to amend the constitution in
such a way to ensure that convicted murderers are swiftly executed by the
state, I and others will know they are not serious and are merely engaging in
BTNA (ie, big talk, no action).

The reality is that as long as we have a so-called system of justice where
people can take a person's life and then be rewarded by having theirs spared
(by being sentenced to prison), we will continue to match and break our record
rates of murder, year after year.

Yes, even when convicted murderers are given a sentence of life in prison, it
is more like a reward, because the just and proper sentence for murder is
death. And what is worse is that some convicted murderers are given less than
life sentences.

No doubt, some will chide me for calling for capital punishment. But the
reality is that even though it has been more than seventeen years since the
Bahamian state has executed a convicted murderer, we still have capital
punishment. It's just not in the state's hands; it's in private hands. And we
will continue to have an ever-increasing murder rate and the continuation of
privatised capital punishment if the government refuses to do its job and carry
out state-sanctioned capital punishment.

To be clear, I do not support the death penalty as a reaction to our high rate
of murder (even though I firmly believe that swift and consistent execution of
convicted murderers will reduce our high rate of murder). I support the death
penalty because it is the only just and fitting punishment for the crime of
murder.

PASTOR CEDRIC MOSS

Nassau (source: Letter to the Editor, The Tribune)
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Sept. 17




JAPAN:

Death-row inmate jailed for killing 4 people in 2002 dies of illness



A death-row inmate convicted of killing 4 people in 2002 has died of illness at
a Tokyo detention center, the Justice Ministry said Sunday.

Tetsuo Odajima, 74, was pronounced dead at 10:30 p.m. Saturday after losing
consciousness. He had suffered esophageal cancer and been treated at the
detention facility, the ministry said.

Odajima and an accomplice strangled the wife and daughter of Takaichi Mabuchi,
who at the time was president of Mabuchi Motors, after breaking into their home
in Matsudo, Chiba Prefecture, in August 2002.

After stealing hundreds of thousands of yen in cash and jewelry items, Odajima
set fire to the house.

Odajima and Katsumi Morita also killed a 71-year-old dentist in Meguro Ward,
Tokyo, in September 2002, and the wife of a discount ticket shop operator in
Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, in November of that year in murder-robbery cases.

According to the ministry, Odajima was diagnosed with esophageal cancer around
January this year. As he refused medical treatment, he had been receiving
nutritional support and administered pain relief medication.

The Chiba District Court handed down the death penalty to Odajima in March
2007. Although he once appealed to a high court, he dropped the motion in
November that year and the ruling was finalized.

The district court also sentenced Morita to death in December 2006, and the
decision was upheld by the Tokyo High Court in March 2008.

K (source: japantimes.co.jp)








VIETNAM:

Death row inmates arrested after a week on the run in Vietnam----Suspicion is
hanging over the prison guards who allowed them to escape.



Vietnamese police have arrested 2 death row convicts who escaped from a Hanoi
prison a week ago.

Nguyen Van Tinh, 28, was arrested in Hoa Binh Province which neighbors the
capital in the early hours of Sunday.

His accomplice Le Van Tho, 37, was arrested 8 hours earlier while taking a taxi
in Hai Duong Province, around an hour's drive from Hanoi.

Tinh was sentenced to death in April for heroin trafficking. Tho received the
death penalty in May for drug trafficking, murder and fraud. Both have appealed
their sentences.

They shared a cell in Thanh Oai District on the outskirts of Hanoi which they
broke out of on the night of September 10 during heavy downpours.

An investigation found they managed to unlock their cuffs, make a hole in the
wall of their cell and climb out of the prison using rope.

They took a motorbike from a relative in Hanoi and fled the city, and were
first spotted in Ha Long 3 nights later.

Vietnam's top prosecutors have ordered an investigation into the role the
prison guards played in the breakout.

(source: vnexpress.net)








IRAN----execution

Man Hanged on Murder Charges, Authorities Silent



A prisoner by the name of Abuzar Ghadami was reportedly hanged at Shiraz's Adel
Abad Prison on murder charges.

According to the human rights news agency, HRANA, the execution was carried out
on the morning of Monday September 11.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state-run media, have not
announced Abuzar Ghadami's execution.

(source: Iran Human Rights)








IRAQ:

Iraqi Prime Minister: German Teen Runaway Could Face Death Penalty



Iraq's prime minister says the teenage German girl found in Mosul last month
who ran away from home after communicating with Islamic State group extremists
online is still being held in a Baghdad prison.

Speaking to The Associated Press in an exclusive interview Saturday, Haider
Al-Abadi says Iraq's judiciary will decide if the teen will face the death
penalty.

"You know teenagers under certain laws, they are accountable for their actions
especially if the act is a criminal activity when it amounts to killing
innocent people," he said.

16-year-old Linda W. ran away last summer from her hometown of Pulsnitz in
eastern Germany. She was found in the basement of a home in Mosul's Old City by
Iraqi forces who are driving IS militants from the city.

(source: Associated Press)








EGYPT:

Criminal court set to sentence Libyan Da'ish members to death penalty



Cairo Criminal Court referred the papers of 7 defendants in the "Da'ish Libya"
case, Saturday, to Grand Mufti Shawky Allam, before sentencing them to the
death penalty.

The court set the final verdict date as October November 25 for the 20
defendants.

A referral to the mufti is required in the Egyptian court system ahead of death
sentences, even though the mufti's opinion is advisory not binding.

Prosecution referred the defendants to trial court last year for forming a
terrorist cell affiliated to the "Islamic State (IS)" faction in Libya,
alleging that a number of the defendants were involved in the beheading of 21
Egyptian Coptic Christians.

The defendants face accusations of "violence and vandalism, resisting
authorities and possession of firearms, which led to a public security threat."

According to investigations, the 20 defendants received military training at IS
camps in Syria and Libya.

The defendants made an agreement with Libyan IS leaders to establish a group in
Egypt's Matrouh governorate, which would embrace the ideas of ISIS, according
to the investigations.

The group had planned to target the head of security in Matrouh, governorate
police officers and sheikhs, who disapproved of Takfiri fundamentalist ideas.

Egypt listed the IS groups and their affiliates as "terrorist organizations"
per a court ruling in November 2014.

(source: Egypt Independent)








INDIA:

HC commutes mans death penalty to life term in double murder



The Madras High Court has commuted the death sentence awarded by a Tirupur
court to 1 of the 5 accused in a double murder case to life imprisonment.

A division bench of justices PN Prakash and CV Karthikeyan yesterday commuted
the death sentence awarded by the Tirupur Mahila Court to Selvam alias Koolai
Selvam to life term.

It also slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on the convict and said if he failed to pay
the amount, he would have to undergo another year of rigorous imprisonment.

The 2 prison terms would run consecutively and not concurrently, the court
said.

The court said there was no evidence against another accused, Rangaraj, who too
was awarded death penalty by the lower court, and acquitted him of all the
charges.

The court, which also set free 2 other accused in the case -- Nagaraj and
Anandan -- however, upheld the life sentence of another accused, Deivasigamani.

According to the prosecution, a dispute had arisen between Selvam and one
Thangavelu over a financial transaction in 2015 and subsequently, the latter
was killed by a gang, led by the former.

Investigations revealed that both Thangavelu and his daughter, Mahalakshmi,
were burnt to death at different places under the Mangalam police station
limits in Tirupur and Vadavalli police station limits in Coimbatore, by the
gang.

Reducing the sentence, the bench said, "Insofar as Selvam (A1) is concerned,
the sentencing must address his concerns in relation to judicial discretion and
there must be an equal treatment of similarly situated convicts."

It observed that though it held Selvam guilty of the murders of Thangavelu and
Mahalakshmi, the question which had to be addressed was, whether his act
warranted capital punishment or whether life imprisonment, "which would act not
only as a retribution for his crime, but also, to some extent, hopefully reform
him", would be sufficient.

"However, had this motive been removed or had this entire incident not surfaced
in the life of Selvam, the court should also ask the question whether he would
still have pushed himself to commit a grisly crime of murder.

"If the answer is yes, then certainly, he would deserve capital punishment,
but, if there is a doubt that he might not have exhibited the same conduct,
then it is only just that the court also recognises the fact and awards him
life imprisonment," it said.

(source: Press Trust of India)








SAINT LUCIA:

Francis: Death penalty will not solve 'murder crisis'



Attorney at Law, Mary Francis, has dismissed a statement Thursday by National
Security Minister, Hermangild Francis, in support of capital punishment,
asserting that implementing the death penalty will not solve the 'murder
crisis' in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean.

"If the issue of the death penalty was not such a serious matter, I would say
that his comments are laughable to me," Mary Francis told Saint Lucia Times.

The National Security Minister had complained that criminals were being given a
slap on the wrist by the courts, and announced plans to visit the gallows at
Bordelais Correctional Facility (BCF) to ensure that the mechanisms were in
working order.

But Mary Francis has declared that she cannot not see how, in this 21st
century, implementing the death penalty will address the problem of murder.

Saint Lucia has so far recorded 37 homicides.

"We are fooling ourselves into believing that if you send people to the
gallows, automatically it is going to be a deterrent," the outspoken Human
Rights Activist asserted.

She said there is no factual basis to prove that executions deter violent
crime.

The Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights recalled
that there was a recommendation some years ago that Saint Lucia abolish the
death penalty because it is a barbaric, inhuman measure which goes against the
right to life - the most important human right.

"If you take away that right, what other human rights are there?" The Attorney
at Law remarked.

"If the state is saying killing is wrong, the state cannot commit a wrong. 2
wrongs don't make a right," Mary Francis argued.

She explained that the issue of gang violence and murders is rooted in the
drugs trade and socio-economic problems including improper parenting.

While making it clear that she does not condone crime, Francis explained that
the problem of criminal behaviour is multi-faceted.

"You just cannot simply talk about visiting the gallows and the death penalty.
In this day and age these things sound almost laughable," she told St Lucia
Times.

(source: Saint Lucia Times)






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Sept. 18




VIETNAM:

Vietnam suspends prison staff in wake of death row breakout----The 2 inmates
spent months digging their way out with the guards apparently oblivious.



The Ministry of Public Security has suspended 13 guards and supervisors at a
prison in Hanoi for letting 2 inmates who were cuffed break out a week ago.

They have been held accountable for the escape of death row inmates Le Van Tho,
37, and Nguyen Van Tinh, 28, who shared a cell equipped with surveillance
cameras at T16 prison in Thanh Oai District on the capital's outskirts. Both
were recaptured in nearby provinces over the weekend after around 400 police
officers were deployed.

Tinh was sentenced to death in April for heroin trafficking. Tho got the death
penalty in May for drug trafficking, murder and fraud.

An investigation has found that Tho did most of the work by hiding a small
piece of iron in his anus and using it to dig a hole in the wall of their cell
over the space of several months. The 2 disguised the hole using rice mixed
with toothpaste, they said.

Tho is also a professional locksmith and was able to uncuff himself before
helping Tinh. They climbed out of the prison using a rope.

Investigators from the country's top prosecution agency have already opened a
criminal investigation, accusing guards and supervisors at the prison of
"neglecting responsibility resulting in the escape of detainees", which carries
up to 10 years in jail.

In October 2001, 13 officers and guards at a prison in Hanoi also received
punishments ranging from official warnings to demotions after 2 death row
inmates escaped. One was recaptured after a week and the other after 17 days.

(source: vnexpress.net)








INDONESIA:

Escaped Prisoners Face Death Sentences



Police stated that the 4 prisoners who escaped the West Jakarta Metro Police
custody would be subjected to layered articles and face the death penalty.

Head of Public Relations of Jakarta Metro Police, Senior Commissioner Argo
Yuwono, on Sunday (9/17/2017) urged the remaining 4 prisoners to surrender
themselves. He is also convinced that they would be immediately apprehended.

"On this occasion I urged the prisoners to turn themselves in as soon as
possible to West Jakarta Metro Police or to the nearest police station," said
Yuwono.

As reported, 8 prisoners escaped from West Jakarta Police custody by sawing off
the iron railings in Room 14 of West Jakarta Police Station, Saturday (9/16).

Currently, police have captured 4 out of the 8 prisoners, Yocke Arya Winta and
Bagas Fathiong Ramadhan bin Joko Susilo were injured, while Yudi Rohmansyah bin
Rohman and Franco Graizani Julizar bin Leo Francis were shot dead for trying to
fight of the police.

West Jakarta Metro Police assisted by Jakarta Metro Police have formed 7 teams
to capture Abbi Isa bin Muhamd Nur, Thio Erwin Gunawan, Kurniawan bin M Idrus,
and Ramlan bin Satin who are still at large.

(source: netralnews.com)








MALAYSIA:

Calls For Death Penalty For Those Who Started Tahfiz School Fire, Victim's
Father Says It Is Inappropriate



The aftermath of the tragic fire accident that occurred at the Darul Quran
Ittifaqiyah tahfiz school led to plentiful of Malaysians debating over
especially over just punishment following the news of 7 youths arrested for
suspected arson.

Amidst the sea of criticism and anguish, Malaysian Digest queried a few members
of the public in light of the arrest and found that majority are calling for
the suspects to be sent to the death row whilst criticising the parents of the
suspects.

"An eye for an eye - they deserved the death penalty for taking 23 lives away
from the loved ones," one frustrated citizen opined and questioned where are
the parents in this matter.

"They should be hanged to death for their crime. Because of petty teasing, they
succumb to murder. How were these animals raised?," another distraught citizen
relayed.

"As cruel as it is, they are deserving of the death penalty - but their
sentence is no more vicious than what they have done. Their punishment will
remind people that taking lives is never permissible," one citizen lamented.

While Malaysians are grief-stricken, it is safe to say that our pain pales in
comparison with the family of the victims, as Noorazlina Bakry emphasised that
she will not forgive those who are responsible for the demise of her
11-year-old son.

"I do not want to meet with them, I do not want to look at their face. I will
never forgive them for their crime," the 36-year-old mother tearfully
communicated to Berita Harian.

"I hope justice will be served. Let them serve a life prison sentence. What
kind of person would have the heart to commit such transgression ... towards
those who are enrolled in a religious school no less."

Meanwhile Harian Metro reported that a 46-year-old father of one of the
perished victims underlined that the death penalty is an inappropriate
punishment for the suspects.

"I believe there is no need to criticise the parents (of the suspects), as no
one would want their children to commit this act," said Norazizan Abd Razak and
emphasised that he does not blame the parents, even after 6 of the 7 were
tested positive for drugs.

"If it is true that they were under the influence of drugs, the death sentence
would not be able to correct the situation.

"Maybe a life-sentence in jail, and they can be taught lessons from the
al-Quran (which will help them) turn over a new leaf. This is just my personal
opinion, and I'm not sure how other families would react," he said.

His beloved son, Taufik Hidayat Norazizan, was one of 23 victims who perished
in the tragic blaze that occurred last Thursday (14 September).

"I last saw him on Tuesday last week, at Taman Tasik Dato' Keramat, which is
right behind the tahfiz school. We were both there coincidently, since the
tahfiz students are only allowed to go there on Wednesdays.

"I live near the school, so when I saw him, I bought some drinks and had a
conversation with him. He seemed very normal and nothing was odd in his
behaviour," the father of 5 recalled of his late 16-year-old son.

Sharing that Taufik was the third child and an immensely obedient son,
Norazizan conveyed that he accepts the loss of his son and stated that it was
the will of God.

While he regards this hard time as a challenge from God, he additionally
expressed his heartfelt gratitude for the prayers and expression of condolences
that the family has been showered with.

Our deepest condolence goes out to the family of those who perished, and we
take this opportunity to remind Malaysians to delay judgments while the
investigation is still on going.

(source: Malaysian Digest)

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Sept. 19



PAKISTAN:

In Pakistan, a Text Message Can Lead to a Death Sentence----Officials Lean on
Abusive Blasphemy Law to Punish Free Speech



In Pakistan, a poem sent over WhatsApp can prove deadly.

On September 14, a court in Gujrat district, Punjab province sentenced to death
Nadeem James, a 35-year-old Christian, for sending a poem to a friend that was
deemed insulting to Islam. James denies ever having sent the message.

James isn't the only person in Pakistan condemned to death over a post on
social media.

In June, Taimoor Raza, 30, was sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in
Bahawalpur district for allegedly making blasphemous comments during a Facebook
chat with someone who eventually turned out be a counterterrorism agent on the
prowl. In April 2014, a Christian couple were sentenced to death for sending a
blasphemous text message to a local cleric. The couple claimed that they were
illiterate and could not have sent a blasphemous text in English. Junaid
Hafeez, a university professor, has been imprisoned for nearly four years
facing a possible death sentence for accusations of sharing blasphemous
material online. Hafeez's lawyer was murdered in May 2014.

The abusive nature of Pakistan's blasphemy laws is not new. However, the
increasing use of blasphemy provisions to jail and prosecute people for
comments made on social media is a dangerous escalation. Many officials are
using religious rhetoric and whipping up tensions over the issue of blasphemy.
In March, the then-interior minister described blasphemers as "enemies of
humanity" and expressed the intention of taking the matter of blasphemers to a
"logical conclusion." Although no one has yet been executed for the crime,
Pakistan's penal code makes the death penalty mandatory in blasphemy
convictions. At least 19 people remain on death row.

Even accusations of blasphemy can be deadly. Since 1990, at least 60 people
accused of blasphemy have been murdered.

Religious minorities are significantly overrepresented among those facing
blasphemy charges, and are often victimized due to personal disputes. A death
sentence for alleged blasphemy online in a country with low literacy rates and
lack of familiarity with modern technology is an invitation for a witch-hunt.
Pakistan needs to amend and ultimately repeal its blasphemy laws; not extend
their scope to digital speech.

(source: Human Rights Watch)

******************

Death penalty for corrupt people to eliminate corruption: PPP leader



Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Khwaja Mohammad Khan Hoti has said the
government should announce death penalty for corrupt people with the aim of
eliminating corruption.

Talking to reporters here on Monday, he said that the economy of Pakistan was
in a poor shape and the national debt was increasing with each passing day.
"The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission set up with the aim to end
accountability has failed," he maintained.

Referring to the ouster of Nawaz Sharif from the office of the prime minister,
he said: "It is only because of the Supreme Court that action was taken against
a big fish but there are many others who looted the public exchequer but no
action has been taken against them.

"The country will become bankrupt if the situation remains the same." Khwaja
Hoti, who had resigned from the federal cabinet to protest corruption in the
government in the past, suggested amendments to the Constitution like that of
China, which hanged the corrupt even if they held high positions.

He felt that across-the-board accountability of corrupt people in every
institution would purge the society of corruption and develop the country. The
PPP leader observed that the rich were getting richer and the poor poorer while
the middle class was vanishing.

He called for bringing back around 200 billion dollars held by Pakistani
nationals in foreign banks to boost the country's economy. He also demanded
investigation into all the mega projects initiated by the Nawaz Sharif-led
government, including the LNG and Nandipur projects.

The PPP leader said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government couldn???t
reduce electricity loadshedding during its 4 1/2 years rule. He said the nation
and rulers should not worry about the threats, including those given by US
President Donald Trump and said the conspirators in the country could create
trouble at home.

"Instead of recognising Pakistan's sacrifices against terrorism, the US
president hurled threats at us. "The superpower should find out a political
solution of the Afghan issue as it cannot be resolved by the use of force," he
stressed.

(source: thenews.com.pk)








MALAYSIA:

Mother of 3 nabbed for drug trafficking less than a year after release from
rehab centre



It must be true what they say, that old habits die hard. But for one
38-year-old woman, it seems these old habits have taken a turn for the worse.

On Thursday, just 8 months after being released from a drug rehabilitation
centre in Batu Gajah, the mother of 3 was arrested by police again, this time
on suspicion of trafficking.

State Narcotics Department chief Assistant Commissioner V.R. Ravi Chandran said
the woman was picked up at 12.10am at a shop lot in Kampar Trading Centre,
where she rented a room on the 3rd floor.

"During the raid, police seized 3.07kg of syabu and 3l of ethanol worth
RM214,770. She also tested positive for methamphetamine abuse and was remanded
for 7 days beginning Thursday," he told reporters at the state police
headquarters today.

Ravi Chandran said the woman had a criminal record with 4 previous drug-related
offences, adding that the last one led to her being sent to the rehabilitation
centre after being picked up in Shah Alam on July 19 last year under the
Dangerous Drugs (Special Preventive Measures) Act 1985. She had been released
from the centre on Jan 11.

"(We believe) the woman is active in drug trafficking in Selangor and we are in
the midst of an investigation to find out where she got her supply," said Ravi
Chandran.

In a separate case, he said, police detained 4 men aged between 17 and 23,
including 2 brothers, in possession of drugs at a house in Pokok Assam,
Taiping, on Wednesday.

"During the 5.30pm raid, police seized 218.33g of heroin worth RM5,458 and 2
motorcycles. Further checks revealed that 2 of them had criminal records
involving drugs.

"They were remanded for 7 days until Wednesday to facilitate investigations,"
he said, adding that both cases were being investigated under Section 39B of
the Dangerous Drug Act 1952 which carries the mandatory death penalty upon
conviction.

Ravi Chandran said, until August this year, a total of 5,573 people were
arrested in the state for various drug offences, a 20 % increase compared to
the corresponding period last year.

"During the same period, police seized a total of 79.18kg of syabu, 934.54g of
ketamine, ecstasy (2,480 pills), yaba (180,001 pills) and Eramin-5 (18,098
pills), 76.24kg of ganja and 32.17kg of heroin," he said, adding that the total
drug seizure amounted to RM10.5 million.

(source: nst.com.my)








SAUDI ARABIA:

Urgent Action



JUVENILE OFFENDER AT RISK OF IMMINENT EXECUTION

The family of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, a Saudi Arabian Shi'a young man sentenced
to death for offences that occurred when he was 16 years old, learned that
their son's sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on 11 September. He has
exhausted all his appeals and is at risk of imminent execution.

Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:

* Urging King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud to halt the execution of
Abdulkareem al-Hawaj and commute his and all other existing death sentences;

* Calling on them to order an independent investigation into his allegation of
torture and other ill-treatment;

* Reminding them that Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Convention on the
Rights of the Child, which strictly prohibits the use of the death penalty for
crimes committed by persons below the age of 18.

Friendly reminder: If you send an email, please create your own instead of
forwarding this one!

Contact these 2 officials by 30 October, 2017M

King and Prime Minister

Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud

The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques

Office of His Majesty the King

Royal Court, Riyadh

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fax: (via Ministry of Interior)

+966 11 403 3125 (please keep trying)

Twitter: @KingSalman

Salutation: Your Majesty

Ambassador Prince

Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

601 New Hampshire Ave. NW

Washington DC 20037

Phone: 1 202 537 3100

Fax: 1 202 295 3625

Email: ***@saudiembassy.net

Contact Form: https://www.saudiembassy.net/contact

Twitter: @SaudiEmbassyUSA

Salutation: Your Royal Highness

(source: Amnesty International USA)

*********************

Another Saudi young Shia faces execution after unfair trial



Execution of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, only 16 at time of alleged crime, would be
in clear contravention of international law.

83 already executed this year, with political dissidents and Shia minority
targeted

A young Saudi Arabian Shia man who says he was tortured to "confess" alleged
crimes committed when he was aged 16 faces imminent execution, said Amnesty
International today.

The family of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, now 21, were yesterday informed that the
country's Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence for his alleged role in
anti-government protests.

Mr Al-Hawaj was sentenced to death in July last year for a range of offences
related to his alleged involvement in anti-government protests in the
Shia-majority Eastern Province in 2012, when he was aged 16. His case is just
one of several death penalty cases involving Shia Muslim men from the Eastern
Province.

Al-Hawaj has now exhausted all his appeals and faces execution as soon as the
Saudi Arabian king - Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud - ratifies his sentence,
which could happen at any time. Due to secrecy surrounding the judicial process
in Saudi Arabia, it is unclear when the king will ratify the sentence, while
families are usually not informed about the ratification process or the
scheduled execution of their relatives.

Al-Hawaj's trial was grossly unfair. He had no access to a lawyer during his
pre-trial detention and interrogations, and said he was held in solitary
confinement for the first 5 months following his arrest at a security
checkpoint in 2012. He also says he was beaten and threatened with the death of
his family during interrogations by General Directorate of Investigations
officials. Eventually he wrote and signed a "confession" that appears to be the
sole basis for his conviction. Al-Hawaj denies participating in any of the acts
attributed to him.

At least 85 executions this year, 44 in past 2 months

Amnesty International has recorded a worrying increase in death sentences
against political dissidents in Saudi Arabia since 2013, including among the
Shia Muslim minority. Amnesty has documented the cases of at least 33 members
of Saudi Arabia's Shia community who are currently facing the death penalty.
All were accused of activities deemed a risk to national security. 3 others who
remain on death row awaiting execution, Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and
Dawood al-Marhoon, were also arrested for alleged offences committed when they
were under 18 and have said that they were tortured to make them "confess".

(source: (AhlulBayt News Agency








EGYPT:

Ibrahim Halawa freed: Irish student facing death penalty in Egypt acquitted
after 4 years----He was detained on a slew of charges, including murder, arson
and illegal possession of weapons



An Irish citizen held for 4 years in Egypt and threatened with the death
penalty has been acquitted of all charges.

Ibrahim Halawa, from Dublin, was 17 when he was arrested during a protest in
Cairo in 2013.

He was detained by the Egyptian army during a demonstration staged by
supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood after their elected leader, Mohamed Morsi,
was ousted from power in a military coup.

Mr Halawa is the son of a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist
group that swept to power in elections after the 2011 uprising, but was later
outlawed as a terrorist organisation.

He was accused along with 500 others, including his 3 sisters, of murders,
bombing, possession of firearms and explosives, arson, violence against police
and desecration of the Al Fatah mosque in Cairo's central Ramses Square.

Mr Halawa's sisters were released three months after their arrest and allowed
to return home to Dublin, but he remained in the Wadi Natrun jail, where he
says he was kept in solitary confinement, often without light or a toilet.

His family said he was beaten and refused treatment for a gunshot wound he
sustained shortly before his arrest.

Mr Halawa was cleared of all charges on Monday - 1 of 52 who were acquitted.

A further 43 defendants were sentenced to life imprisonment - 25 years under
Egyptian law - while 399 defendants were sentenced to between 5 and 15 years.

Mr Halawa, now aged 21, was on a family holiday at the time in his parents'
homeland.

He is unlikely to be released immediately due to delays in the Egyptian
judicial and prison system.

Maya Foa, director of human rights group Reprieve, told The Independent:
"Ibrahim has been repeatedly tortured throughout his detention; he's reported
being beaten with metal chains, stamped in the back, threatened with execution,
and denied medical treatment.

"Today's ruling should be welcomed, but let's be clear - this trial made a
mockery of justice. Protesters should never have been rounded up and threatened
with the death penalty, and the trial should not have dragged on for as long as
it did. The proceedings in this case and other mass trials were always more
about crushing dissent than seeing justice done." Amnesty International, which
called the mass trial "grossly unfair", said all 442 other defendants in the
case should be retried.

The group said there was "no evidence" that Mr Halawa was involved in the
violence, adding that he was "detained solely for peacefully exercising his
rights to freedom of expression and assembly".

"He is a prisoner of conscience who should never have been detained in the
first place," said Najia Bounaim, North Africa research director at Amnesty.

"This trial has been a cruel farce from start to finish. From relying on
questionable testimonies to dismissing key evidence and depriving the
defendants of the proper means of defending themselves, these proceedings
expose the deep flaws in Egypt's notorious criminal justice system."

Amnesty said there was evidence to support the case against just 2 of the
defendants, despite hundreds standing trial.

Lawyers told the charity the trial defendants were held behind a glass screen
preventing them from hearing the proceedings or being able to participate.

Ireland's Taoiseach Leo Varadkar welcomed the news of Mr Halawa's acquittal.
The Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, said: "Ibrahim Halawa's name
has been cleared and his innocence is confirmed. I look forward to him being
released from custody without delay."

Nosayba Halawa said her brother would be "very happy and delighted" with the
outcome.

"We couldn't believe [the news] after all the suffering. It is coming to an
end," she said.

(source: independent.co.uk)

******************

Egypt: Irish national acquitted, hundreds sentenced following grossly unfair
mass trial



The acquittal of Irish national Ibrahim Halawa by a Cairo criminal court today,
after a grossly unfair mass trial involving 494 defendants, brings his four
year ordeal to an end said Amnesty International, emphasizing the need for 442
other defendants in the case, who were sentenced to between 5 years and life
imprisonment, to be re-tried in line with international due process standards
or released.

Ibrahim Halawa was arrested aged 17 along with more than 330 others during
protests which erupted into violence on 16 and 17 August 2013 around al-Fath
Mosque in Cairo when at least 97 protesters were killed. There is no evidence
that Ibrahim Halawa was involved in the violence and Amnesty International
believes he was detained solely for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom
of expression and assembly.

"Today's acquittal of Ibrahim Halawa after 4 years in unlawful detention comes
as a welcome relief but is long overdue. He is a prisoner of conscience who
should never have been detained in the first place," said Najia Bounaim, North
Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

"Ibrahim Halawa's acquittal puts an end to the gross injustice in his case.
However, it is utterly disgraceful that at the same time the Egyptian
authorities have handed out heavy sentences to 442 others after sham
proceedings in a mass trial that flouted the most basic standards of a fair
trial, while security forces who used excessive and lethal force during
protests that day have escaped unpunished."

Amnesty International is calling for any other defendants in the case who were
detained and sentenced for peacefully exercising their legitimate rights to be
immediately released.

The organization analysed the casefile and spoke to at least 5 lawyers working
on the case. It found that the court had relied entirely on unsound reports by
security forces and investigations conducted by the National Security Agency as
a basis for the convictions.

According to an audio-visual evidence report sent by the Ministry of Interior
to the court, out of the 330 defendants who have been detained in the case for
more than 4 years, only 2 of the defendants appear to have evidence against
them.

"This trial has been a cruel farce from start to finish. From relying on
questionable testimonies to dismissing key evidence and depriving the
defendants of the proper means of defending themselves, these proceedings
expose the deep flaws in Egypt's notorious criminal justice system," said Najia
Bounaim.

"All those convicted for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of
expression and assembly must be released immediately. Those against whom there
is sufficient admissible evidence should either be retried in fair proceedings
that meet international fair trials standards and without the possibility of
the death penalty or released."

The trial took place in a courtroom inside Wadi al-Natroun prison around 110Km
North of Cairo. Lawyers told Amnesty International that during the trial
defendants were held behind a glass screen prohibiting them from hearing the
proceedings or being able to participate in the trial. Trying defendants inside
a prison also undermines their presumption of innocence.

Background

The court today sentenced 43 defendants to life imprisonment (25 years under
Egyptian law), 399 defendants were sentenced to between five and 15 years and
52 were acquitted including Ibrahim Halawa. The case involved 494 defendants
among whom 333 were in detention. Those sentenced in absentia can appeal the
verdict and be retried before the same court while those sentenced in their
presence can appeal the decision before the court of Cassation.

(source: Amnesty International)

***************

Were you afraid of sentencing him to death?



Were you afraid of sentencing him to death? Then why did the Court of Cassation
sentence Morsi to lifetime in jail, not death? Wasn't the crime 'conspiring'
and leaking top secret military information? Is it because of political
alignments or international demands? Are there reasons for not sentencing him
to death, so the Brotherhood doesn't revolt? Has the Brotherhood passed the
death penalty time frame and are awaiting the presidential pardon? Does this
mean Egypt has stopped capital punishment?!

I am not criticizing the court here in any way, but I am seeking an explanation
for the ruling.. Why lifetime imprisonment, not death?.. First, cases of
espionage in times of war are different than when it occurs in times of peace..
In other words, conspiring with a foreign state we have waged war on ends with
the death penalty, according to the law. But In the case of Qatar, with which
we are not at war, this ends with prison.. So why was it lifetime imprisonment
for Morsi?.. The answer is because the spy was the 'President' and not just any
citizen!

The question is: Why did the court annul the 15 years imprisonment sentence,
and sentence him to lifetime imprisonment, although he appealed against the
first ruling, shouldn't he get a tougher sentence?.. this is because the
president is not an ordinary citizen. The court didn't find a proper punishment
for the former president, because there is no clause in the law outlining the
punishment for if the president is implicated of espionage. The legislator
originally couldn't imagine that a president may work as a spy, and would leak
confidential information about military formations and bases to any "foreign
party"!

This is unprecedented in history, that the president is the spy and the leader
of the gang. He harmed the national security of his country, and the most
dangerous part is that he leaked documents about secret military communication
codes and documents. This delicate information included base location and
formation positions of armed forces nationwide; As well as detailed information
on the armament, equipment and vehicles forces across the country!

Crucial confidential information like the organizational chart of The Ministry
of Military Production and military factory production was leaked along with
its specialties, means of developing the ministry and its affiliated factories.
In addition to these shared charts was a report on the military mobile network
and ways of securing it; a report on the budget of the General Intelligence
Service; and a memo detailing assessment of the security situation and
proposals to restore it and achieve comprehensive development in Sinai. What a
dark day!

Of course, it was necessary to change all these plans and formations following
the disclosure of the documents. This was not an easy job, but a heroic effort
to rebuild the army systems again. For all of this chaos, Morsi knows deep down
that he deserves death. He and his Guidance Bureau knew he was guilty, and
would have received a harsh verdict. He alone knows that he has been a
'thorough' spy since the 'Black Carbon' incident!

This means that Egypt was not afraid to sentence Morsi to death, nor his
Guidance Bureau, but rather committed itself to following state of law; and
oddly enough the law did not consider that the defendant was the President, so
Morsi was not sentenced to death.

(source: Mohamed Ameen, Egypt Independent)








IRAN:

More Public Executions - Prisoner Hanged While Crowd Watched



A prisoner by the name of Samir Deivband was hanged in public in the city of
Ilam in front of a crowd of people.

According to a report by the state-run media IRIB, the prisoner was sentenced
to death on murder charges and was hanged in public on the morning of Sunday
September 17. The IRIB report only identified the prisoner by the initials
"S.D.", but local sources confirmed the prisoner's name to Iran Human Rights as
Samir Deivband.

The research of Iran Human Rights shows 33 people were hanged in public in Iran
in 2016; and an audience of hundreds of people, including children, were
present for most of these hangings. Human rights activists and informed membes
of civil society have always severely criticized this issue.

********************

13 Prisoners in Imminent Danger of Execution



13 prisoners are scheduled to be executed at Rajai Shahr Prison on Wednesday
September 20.

On Saturday September 16, 13 prisoners in Karaj's Rajai Shahr Prison who are on
death row on murder charges were transferred to solitary confinement in
preparation for their executions.

According to close sources, the 13 prisoners are scheduled to be executed on
Wednesday September 20. Iran Human Rights has obtained the names of 4 of these
prisoners: Jafar Zamani, Jamshid Javanbakhsh, Reza Heydari, and Mojtaba
Ghiasvand.

"Mojtaba Ghiasvand was sentenced to death on murder charges, but he had
repeatedly insisted on his innocence," an informed source tells Iran Human
Rights.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)
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Rick Halperin
2017-09-20 11:04:02 UTC
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Sept. 20




INDIA:

Death penalty in hooch deaths in UP



Cases of hooch deaths could now attract death penalty in Uttar Pradesh. UP
cabinet on Tuesday decided to amend the excise act providing for death penalty
or life imprisonment in cases of hooch deaths in the state.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the cabinet here, official sources
said. The decision was taken to deter manufacturing and selling illicit liquor
in the state. Hundreds of lives are lost every year in the state from hooch.

Sources said that the amount of penalty in cases involving manufacturing
illicit liquor had also been substantially hiked.

(source: Deccan Herald)








BARBADOS:

Call made for death penalty research



There is a need for research relating to the death penalty and how the general
public views this type of punishment in Barbados.

This was the consensus after a session that was organised by Michelle
Brathwaite, National Human Rights Officer for Barbados and the OECS at the
United Nations, and conducted by Dr. Florence Seemungal; Dr. Lizzie Seal,
Senior Lecturer of Criminology at the University of Sussex; and Dr. Lynsey
Black, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University College Dublin.

During the seminar, which was held recently at UN House, the findings of 3
studies that were carried out in Trinidad on homicides in that nation; how the
administrators of justice go about administrating their duties; and getting
public opinion on the matter were revealed.

"The outcome was driven by the profile of the participants. So we had maybe
around 26 persons and I would say that maybe around 80 % of the persons are
legally trained. So they came with an understanding already of how the death
penalty is imposed or not imposed, given the current legislation and case
outcomes of the courts, and they came to find out exactly how we conducted the
study of the methodology, how it may be applicable to Barbados. In Trinidad we
used case characteristics which were typical for Trinidad homicides.

"So they looked at all of these nuances and they thought that in general it was
important to do the research and that it was even more important to do it in a
Barbadian context..."

(source: barbadosadvocate.com)

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Rick Halperin
2017-09-21 10:56:06 UTC
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Sept. 21




IRAN:

Iranian Resistance Call to Save 25 Youth Prisoners at Death Row----Some of the
convicts were less than 18 years old when committing the attributed crime



The Iranian Resistance calls on international authorities, especially the High
Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights in Iran, and all the defenders of the rights of children and youths to
take immediate action to save 25 death row inmates at the youths ward in
Ardebil's central prison youth section.

According to received reports, from 170 prisoners detained in this prison, 25
are sentenced to death. The rulings for some of them have been verified by the
mullahs' Supreme Court. Some of them were under the age of 18 at the time the
crime was committed.

Meanwhile, on Monday morning, September 18, Shahin Parsajou, 23, and a
40-year-old man were executed in Ardebil Prison. Shahin Parsajou was sentenced
to 3 years in jail for being charged with robbery, but following a clash in
prison, the regime formed a new case and sentenced him to death. The prisoner
was hanged while his hands and feet were in chain. At the request of Ardebil's
criminal prosecutor, the henchmen of Ardabil Central Prison, in order to
exacerbate the atmosphere of intimidation, forced 50 prisoners to go to the
execution area in order to watch the execution of these victims.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)








INDIA:

PIL asks Supreme Court abolish hanging as death penalty, bring in shooting or
lethal injection



A petition in the Supreme Court has asked the court to do away with the
practice of hanging death row convicts. The petition suggests that methods such
as shooting or lethal injection be used instead.

The dormant debate on doing away with the practice of hanging death row
convicts has revived momentum thanks to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL)
filed in the Supreme Court. Petitioner Rishi Malhotra, a Supreme Court
advocate, has sought abolition of the present practice of hanging and suggested
alternative methods such as intravenous lethal injection or shooting.

Holding that hanging involved prolonged pain and suffering compared to the
other two suggested procedures, Malhotra quoted earlier judgments of the
Supreme Court and recommendations of the Law Commission to bolster his case.

The petition said in Gian Kaur vs State of Punjab (1996), the Supreme Court had
held that "the right to life, including the right to live with human dignity,
would mean the existence of such a right up to the end of natural life. This
also includes the right to a dignified life up to the point of death, including
a dignified procedure of death. In other words, this may include the right of a
dying man to also die with dignity when his life is ebbing out."

Drawing a comparison, the petition said while in hanging the entire execution
process takes more than 40 minutes to declare a prisoner to be dead, the
shooting process involves not more than a few minutes. In case of intravenous
lethal injection, it's all over in 5 minutes.

Malhotra said the Law Commission's view was that developed as well as
developing countries have replaced the execution by hanging with intravenous
lethal injection or shooting, "which is most acceptable and humane method of
executing death sentence involving less pain and suffering to a condemned
prisoner".

EARLIER PRECEDENTS

Drawing attention to another SC judgment, Deena vs Union of India, Malhotra
said in that case it was said the act of execution should be as quick and as
simple as possible and free from anything that unnecessarily sharpens the
poignancy of the prisoner's apprehension.

"The act of the execution should produce immediate unconsciousness passing
quickly into the death, should be decent and should not involve mutilation,"
the SC had said.

Malhotra argued that the law panel in 1967 in its 35th Report had also noted
the fact that most of the countries has either adopted electrocution, firing
squad or gas chamber as a substitute for hanging.

He wants the Supreme Court to declare Section 354(5) of Criminal Procedure,
which says "when any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct
that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead", declared violative of the right
to life guaranteed by the Constitution.

He also wants that the right to die by a dignified procedure of death should be
declared a fundamental right.

"Shooting and injecting with lethal poison necessarily involves lesser agony
compared to hanging, which involves a torturous procedure of weighing the
convict, measuring the height, etc. in order to determine the length of the
drop," Malhotra said.

The lawyer argues that the execution as contemplated under Section 354(5) of
CrPC (hung by the neck till the person is dead) is not only barbaric, inhuman
and cruel, but also against resolutions adopted by the United Nations Economic
and Social Council (ECOSOC) that had categorically resolved that "where Capital
punishment occurs, it shall be carried out so as to inflict minimum possible
suffering".

(source: India Today)








SOUTH KOREA:

Death penalty sought for doctor accused of fatally poisoning wife



Prosecutors want the death penalty for a plastic surgeon accused of killing his
wife with a lethal injection.

The Daejeon High Prosecutors' Office said on Wednesday it is seeking the
highest punishment for the doctor, surnamed Bin, 45. He is suspected of killing
his wife in March by injecting a lethal dose of poison into her while she slept
at home. The doctor initially insisted she died of a heart attack. But police
found evidence that led Bin to be prosecuted in April.

According to investigators, Bin and his wife were on bad terms for various
reasons, and he killed her for assets registered in her name.

(source: koreatimes.co.kr)

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Rick Halperin
2017-09-22 13:20:36 UTC
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Sept. 22




IRAN----executions

A man and a Woman Executed on Murder Charges----A man and a woman were executed
in 2 different Iranian prisons on murder charges.



A man was reportedly hanged at Mashhad Central Prison on murder charges, and a
woman was reportedly hanged at Zanjan Central Prison on murder charges.

According to the state-run news agency, Khorassan News, the prisoner at Mashhad
Central Prison, was executed on the morning of Monday September 18. The report
did not identify the name of the prisoner, but identified his age as 29.

According to the state-run news agency, Mehr News, the execution at Zanjan
Central Prison was carried out on Tuesday September 19. The woman was
identified only by the initials N.A.

*********************

Man Hanged, Prison Mates Forced to Watch



On Monday September 18, at least 1 prisoner was reportedly hanged on sodomy
charges at Ardabil Central Prison.

According to close sources, prison authorities forced approximately 50 prison
mates to watch the execution being carried out. Close sources have identified
the prisoner as Shahin Parsajoo, 42 years of age.

Shahin Parsajoo and another prisoner by the name of Tofigh Yousefi were
reportedly transferred to solitary confinement on Sunday September 17 in
preparation for their executions. Close sources say Tofigh Yousefi, who is on
death row on drug related charges, was not executed and is currently held in
solitary confinement.

"Shahin was arrested in 2012 on theft charges, but he was sentenced to death
for committing a sodomy offense in prison," an informed source tells Iran Human
Rights.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the media, have not
announced Shahin Parsajoo's execution.

(source fopr both: Iran Human Rights)

******************

Increased Public Executions on the Eve of Moslem Holy Month to Intimidate
People



Trying to prevent the public protests by intensifying the atmosphere of terror
and intimidation in the society on the eve of the Islamic holy month of
Muharram, Iranian regime has increased the public executions in various streets
and prisons of the country.

Just between September 12 and 20, 5 prisoners, including a 27-year-old youth in
Islamabad, another prisoner in Anbarabad city in Kerman province, (September
12), a prisoner in Modarres Blvd in Ilam (September 17), a prisoner at the the
Salmas municipality square (September 14), as well as another prisoner in Pars
Abad, Moghan, in Ardebil province, were hanged in front of the public eyes.

Meanwhile, 6 prisoners were hanged in the prisons of Ardebil, Boroujerd,
Khorramabad, Mashad and Zanjan on September 18 and 18. A female prisoner was
among the executed on September 18. On September 19, a 23-year-old man was
executed while he was sentenced to 3 years in prison for robbery, but was
sentenced to death in a new pumped up charge.

The henchmen hanged him along with another prisoner, while their hands and feet
were in the chain. On the order of the criminal prosecutor of Ardabil, about 50
prisoners had to watch the execution scene of their cellmates.

In another event, 13 prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement cells
of Gohardasht Prison since Saturday September 18, for execution.

The Iranian Resistance calls on the international human rights organizations to
urgently and effectively stop the executions of those prisoners on the verge of
death, and insists that the greatest thieves and the greatest killers and
criminals of Iranian history are Khamenei and the ruling fascist gangs, who,
without any accountability, continue their plunder and crimes for the past 38
years. Therefore, Khamenei and other leaders of the mullahs' regime must be
brought to justice for serious and systematic violations of human rights and
collective and arbitrary executions, and this is why their case should be
referred to the International Criminal Court by the UN Security Council.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)








MALAYSIA:

Tahfiz fire: Stop calling for the death penalty, they're minors



The 7 youths held over the tahfiz fire last Thursday cannot be punished with
the death penalty as they are underage, said Minister in the Prime Minister's
Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

She said that the suspects will be tried in accordance with laws such as
Section 97 (1) of the Child Act 2001.

However, if the suspects are found guilty of murder, the mandatory death
penalty cannot be imposed on them, she said in a statement Thursday.

The offenders may also be punished under Section 91 (1) of the Act, which
includes whipping, fines or detention at an approved school.

Police have confirmed that the 7, aged between 11 and 18, were detained for
murder and causing mischief in connection with the fire on Sept 14.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun also said that the
parents of the suspects would not be charged as they had nothing to do with the
case.

Azalina said the incident should be used as a lesson for all parties,
especially parents, in the fight against crime involving children.

"I urge all parties to stop speculating and give space to the authorities to
complete the investigation.

"I believe the case will be brought to justice," she said.

The early morning fire at the Darul Quran Ittifaqiyah school resulted in the
deaths of 21 students and 2 teachers.

(source: thestar.com.my)








PAKISTAN:

Pakistan's Army Chief Ratifies Death Penalty against 4 Terrorists



Pakistan''s Army Chief Qamar Jawed Bajwa has ratified death penalty against 4
men convicted in military courts for committing several terrorist acts, today
reported the body.

A statement from the Army's Inter-Services Public Relations said that the
accused participated in attacks, kidnappings and killings of soldiers.

They were involved in the death of 21 people, stressed the text of the military
body.

On January 3, 2015, Parliament overwhelmingly approved the establishment of
military courts to try cases of terrorism after a Taliban commando's attack on
a school a month earlier in Peshawar, which caused over 150 deaths, mostly
children and young people.

The massacre shocked national public opinion and led the army to intensify a
military offensive against that radical organization in areas bordering
Afghanistan.

8 months later, the Supreme Court sanctioned the establishment of these
instances, whose sentences must be ratified by the high command of the Armed
Forces.

(source: Prensa Latina)

*************

Bahawalpur court awards death penalty to 2 in murder case



A court awarded death sentences to 2 murder convicts in Bahawalpur on Thursday.

The judgment was announced by District and Sessions Judge Cahudhry Muhammad
Tariq Javed. The prosecution told the court that accused Maqsood Ahmed and
Arshad had gunned down Muhammad Shafiq and injured Munir Gul during a robbery
bid.

The local police registered a case against the accused and presented the
challan before the court.

After hearing the arguments, the judge handed down death sentences to Maqsood
and Arshad and awarded an additional 20 years imprisonment on other accounts.
The judge also imposed a fine of Rs1 million on the convicts.

Earlier, a court awarded a death sentence to a murder convict and three years
imprisonment to two others for their involvement in a murder case in
Faisalabad. The judgment was announced by Additional Sessions Judge Khalid
Saeed Wattoo.

The prosecution told the court that accused Yasir Abbas, Noman, Adnan and Bilal
had gunned down their rival Ali Ahsan over enmity some 3 years back.

The local police registered a case against the accused and presented the
challan before the court. After hearing the arguments, the judge handed down
death sentence to Yasir and awarded 3 years jail term to Adnan and Bilal.
However, the court declared Noman as a proclaimed offender.

(source: The Express Tribune)



CAMEROON:

Journalists face death penalty in Cameroon crises



Journalists in Cameroon are facing the increasing threat of jail and death
penalty for coverage of the Boko Haram terror group and the civil unrest by
English-speaking communities.

The crackdown on the press largely reporting on the government's alleged laxity
against the problems has left journalists too scared to cover such sensitive
issues.

Media professionals arrested under the draconian anti-terror law face military
tribunal and harsh sentences including capital punishment.

Among these is radio broadcaster, Ahmed Abba, is currently serving a ten-year
sentence and could still be executed.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Cameroon was clearly using
anti-state legislation to silence criticism in the press.

"When you equate journalism with terrorism, you create an environment where
fewer journalists are willing to report on hard news for fear of reprisal," the
organisation's regional director, Angela Quintal, said.

The media rights group said despite a presidential decree ending legal
proceedings against at least four journalists, the law that was used against
them is still in place as next year's elections approach.

"Cameroon must amend its laws and stop subjecting journalists - who are
civilians - to military trial," Quintal said.

The Central African country of 23 million people is besieged by deadly protests
by English communities decrying alleged marginalisation by a government
dominated by French-speaking Cameroonians, including President Paul Biya.

It is also facing a terror threat by the Nigerian Islamist Boko Haram radicals.

(source: CAJ News)








LIBERIA:

PYJ promises death penalty



Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR) presidential candidate Sen.
Prince Y. Johnson says when elected president, anyone caught in ritualistic
killing and found guilty in court will be hung upside down from 6am to 6pm.

The Nimba Senator told a group of Liberians on Wednesday, 20 September at the
Dry Rice Market Community in Gardnerville that under his administration,
security will protect all from ritualistic killing.

The wartime leader of defunct rebel group Independent National Patriotic Front
of Liberia (INPFL), now Nimba Senator Mr. Johnson says under his rule as
president, armed robbers will no longer disturb peaceful citizens because when
they are caught and found guilty, they will be dealt with through the law.

While vowing drastic actions against ritualistic killers and armed robbers,
Sen. Johnson apologizes to Liberians for the role he played during the war that
dethroned and witnessed the murder of sitting President Samuel K. Doe. The MDR
presidential candidate says he was just an instrument being used for
liberation.

Turning to other matters of national concern, Sen. Johnson claims that under
his rule, Liberia will not depend on any foreign aid for development, promising
a new Liberia in which justice will be for all and not few.

He accuses ruling Unity Party (UP) presidential candidate Vice President Joseph
Nyumah Boakai of sleeping, alleging that the UP candidate has worked for 42
years without anything to show.

He believes that what Mr. Boakai could not do in 12 years cannot be done now,
telling supporters that if Boakai wins the October elections, Liberians should
buy a bronze casket and set it beside him because they do not know what causes
him to sleep.

He cautions Liberians that government is not for a family, saying Mr. Boakai's
running mate House Speaker Emmanuel Nuquay allegedly married and has 2 children
by Vice President Boakai's niece.

He further alleges that President Ellen Johnson - Sirleaf and Liberty Party
(LP) presidential candidate Cllr. Charles Burmskine are 2nd cousins. Due to the
alleged family line between the 2, Sen. Johnson claims that Cllr. Burmskine is
not critical on the President???s leadership.

He also fired salvos at the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) candidate
Sen. George Weah, criticizing him for not having a football academy as
Liberia's soccer icon.

Sen. Johnson professes to be the best person for the Presidency, promising good
roads, agriculture development, and better living conditions. He calls on
Liberians not to vote people because they have money, but what they can do.

(source: The New Dawn Liberia)








GAMBIA & MADAGASCAR:

I am really pleased to let you know that Gambia signed the Second Optional
Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at
the abolition of the death penalty on 20 September 2017
(https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2017/CN.570.2017-Eng.pdf
[treaties.un.org]) and that Madagascar ratified it on 21 September 2017
(https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/CN/2017/CN.587.2017-Eng.pdf
[treaties.un.org]), together with the Optional Protocol to the Convention
against Torture.

The UN treaty event is currently going on in New York, at the beginning of the
UN General Assembly, and it is a time when states often ratify international
treaties
https://treaties.un.org/pages/TreatyEvents.aspx?path=Treaty/Focus/Page1_en.xml
[treaties.un.org].

Last year, at the same time, Togo and the Dominican Republic also accessed to
the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights.

For more information on the World Coalition's campaign for worldwide
ratification: www.worldcoalition.org/protocol [www.worldcoalition.org]

(source: Aurelie Placais, WCADP)
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Rick Halperin
2017-09-23 12:35:41 UTC
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Sept. 23




IRAN----executions

8 People Hanged in Various Iranian Prisons



A total of 8 prisoners were reported hanged in various Iranian prisoners.
Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced these 8 executions.

According to close sources, on Tuesday September 19, a prisoner was reportedly
hanged at Khorramabad Central Prison on murder charges. The prisoner has been
identified as Mohammad Haji Sabzali. Mohammad was reportedly arrested and
sentenced to death 6 years ago. On the morning of Wednesday September 20,
another prisoner was hanged at this prison on murder charges. The name of the
prisoner is not known at this time.

According to the human rights news agency, HRANA, on the morning of Monday
September 18, a prisoner was hanged at Broujerd Central Prison on murder
charges. The prisoner has been identified as Hossein Dalvand.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network and sources close to Iran Human
Rights, on the morning of Monday September 19, three prisoners were hanged at
Tabriz Central Prison. These 3 prisoners were reportedly transferred to
solitary confinement on Sunday in preparation for their executions. The
prisoners have been identified as Sina Assadzah and Ahad Pourtaghi, sentenced
to death on murder charges, and Yousef Ebrahmi. "Yousef Ebrahimi was in prison
for 20 years on murder and sodomy charges. He was able to gain forigiveness
from the complainants on his case file regarding the murder charge, but he was
executed on sodomy charges.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, on the morning of Wednesday
September 20, two prisoners were hanged at Qazvin Central Prison on drug
related charges. The 2 prisoners have been identified as Teyb Hajizadeh and
Mojtaba Rahmati. Teyb and Mojtaba were transferred to solitary confinement on
Tuesday night in preparation for their executions.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and the state-run media, have
not announced any of these executions. The recent wave of executions in Iran
may be related to the upcoming Muslim holy month of Muharram. During Muharram,
the rate of executions in Iran significantly decreases.

Close sources have also reported on a prisoner by the name of Massoud Joodaki,
who was taken to solitary confinement on Saturday September 16 in preparation
for his execution. Massou Joodaki, who is on death row on drug related charges,
was reportedly returned to his cell after his execution was stayed.

*******************

5 Executions in Kerman Province Including 1 in Public



adollah Movahed, the head of the Judiciary in Kerman, has reported on 5
executions in Iran, including 1 in public.

According to the state-run news agency, Mehr, Yadollah Movahed announced the
execution of 5 prisoners in the province of Kerman who are "agents of
insecurity and evil".

"In the past several days, the execution sentences for 5 prisoners, who are
agents of insecurity and evil, were carried out in the eastern and southern
parts of the Kerman province for various charges, including Moharebeh, armed
robbery, kidnapping, and murder. They were executed after they were convicted
and the course of legal proceedings," says Yadollah Movahed.

Mr. Movahed did not indicate the exact dates of the executions, the exact
charges of the prisoners, or the names of the prisoners. No other Iranian
state-run news agencies have reported on these 5 executions.

The lack of transparency regarding executions in Iran and the closed space for
human rights activists have raised concerns that the real number of executions
in Iran are much higher than those recorded by human rights activists.

***********************************

4 Prisoners Executed at Rajai Shahr Prison



4 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Rajai Shahr Prison on murder charges.
According to close sources, the prisoners were executed on Wednesday September
20.

Iran Human Rights has been able to identify 1 of the prisoners so far: Saman
Mohammadian, imprisoned for approximately 7 years before he was executed.

These four prisoners were among a group of 13 who were transferred to solitary
confinement on Saturday September 16 in preparation for their executions. The
other prisoners were returned to their cells after receiving an extension or
forgiveness from the complainants on their case files. One of the prisoners who
was returned to his cell is Mojtaba Ghiasvand. "Mojtaba Ghiasvand was sentenced
to death on murder charges, but he had repeatedly insisted on his innocence, "
an informed source tells Iran Human Rights.

Iranian official sources, including the Judiciary and state-run media, have not
announced these 4 executions.

************************

Man Executed on Murder Charges



A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Karaj Central Prison on murder charges.
According to the state-run news agency, the execution of a prisoner who was
only identified as "Abbas" was carried out on September 20.

(source for all: Iran Human Rights)








SCOTLAND:

Hanged at Barlinnie: It took just 66 seconds to end life of serial killer Peter
Manuel



NOTORIOUS serial killer Peter Manuel features in the latest of our special
series on Barlinnie: The men who were hanged and their crimes.

A total of 10 judicial executions by hanging took place at HMP Barlinnie
between 1946 and 1960, replacing the gallows at Duke Street Prison. This was
before the death penalty was abolished in the UK in 1969. All the executions
took place at 8am. The public executioners during that time were Thomas
Pierrepoint, Albert Pierrepoint and Harry Allen. The remains of all executed
prisoners were the property of the state. They were buried in unmarked graves
within the walls of the prison. During renovations at the prison in 1997,
Barlinnie's gallows cell, which was built into D-hall, was finally demolished
and the remains of all the executed prisoners were exhumed for reburial
elsewhere. This is the story of Peter Manuel who was executed by Harry Allen on
July 11, 1958. His hanging was the second last at Barlinnie and followed John
Lyon, Patrick Carraher, John Caldwell, Paul Christopher Harris, James
Robertson, James Smith, Patrick Gallagher Deveney and George Francis Shaw.

The Beast of Birkenshaw Peter Manuel is perhaps the most notorious criminal in
our series on the men who were hanged at Barlinnie. The terror which he reigned
on communities of Lanarkshire is a story that has been passed from generation
to generation, and ultimately his hanging at Barlinnie prevented him from
continuing to inflict the level of violence that he did on his innocent victims
who included a young boy of 10 years old.

Manuel was born to Scottish parents in New York City on March 13, 1927 but his
family returned back to their native Scotland when he was 5 in 1932.

He came to the attention of the authorities at a young age in the Lanarkshire
area of Birkenshaw where he grew up. He was a petty thief and at the age of 16,
he committed several sex attacks which resulted in him being handed a stretch
of nine years in Peterhead Prison.

Prior to the start of his killing spree, he also successfully conducted his own
defence on a rape charge at Airdrie Sheriff Court in 1955.

But the early charges and prison sentences on his rap sheet were only the start
of things to come.

He was responsible for killing Anne Kneillands, 17, Marion Watt, 45, Vivienne
Watt, 16, Margaret Brown, 42, Isabelle Cooke, 17, Peter Smart, 45, Doris Smart,
42, and Michael Smart, 10.

Manuel, however, only went to the gallows at Barlinnie Prison convicted of 7
murders. The case against him for Anne Kneillands was dropped due to
insufficient evidence. It is also believed he was responsible for many more
killings.

On January 2, 1956, Anne Kneilands left her home in East Kilbride to go on a
date but the teenager never got there. Her body was found 2 days later on a
golf course in East Kilbride. Her head had been split open and police
established she had been running in terror from her attacker.

9 months later, vicious Manuel struck again at the home in High Burnside,
Rutherglen, of master baker William Watt.

Mr Watt had gone on a fishing holiday to Lochgilphead, but his wife Marion, 45,
their daughter Vivienne, 16, and Mrs Watt's sister Margaret Brown were still at
home. Manuel broke in and shot all 3 as they slept.

Manuel, however, was not the chief suspect for the triple killing - it was Mr
Watt. The family man even spent 67 days locked up in Barlinnie while police
investigated.

Manuel was also soon in Barlinnie serving a sentence for housebreaking. When he
was released in November 1957 he travelled to Newcastle to look for work, and
he killed taxi driver Sydney Dunn. His responsibility for this death was
determined by a coroner's jury after Manuel was hanged.

When he returned to Glasgow just before Christmas, the pace of his killings
quickened.

On December 28, Isabelle Cooke left her house in Mount Vernon to meet her
boyfriend in Uddingston. She was Manuel's next victim and originally the
Evening Times reported on her as a missing woman until her body was discovered.

It was actually Manuel who led police to the spot near Uddingston where he had
buried her, he told them: "I think she is here. I think I'm standing on her
now."

He struck again on January 1, 1958 when he broke into a house in Sheepburn
Road, Uddingston, occupied by Peter Smart, his wife Doris and their son
Michael.

He killed all 3 with a Webley revolver and, in the days that followed, popped
back into the house to feed the family cat and help himself to the remains of
the festive turkey.

He even drove Mr Smart's car, but his downfall came when it was found the
serial numbers of bank notes he had used in a pub matched those paid to Mr
Smart just before New Year.

Manuel's trial was a sensation - he became the 1st person in Scotland to sack
his legal team and defend himself in a murder trial.

But he ultimately played the price for the cruel acts he committed, and at one
minute past eight on July 11, 1958 Manuel at 31 was hanged on the gallows of
Barlinnie.

The Evening Times reported: "As the hands of the prison clock pointed to the
execution hour, fewer than a dozen people stood silently outside the prison.
There was no demonstration, no protest by opponents of capital punishment, as
the final act was carried out 'under the due process of law'."

The reported continued: "Outside the prison there was nothing to show that the
execution had taken place. There was no notice posted on the gates - that
practice ended with the new homicide act."

Manuel's family home in Fourth Street, Birkenshaw was empty on the day of
execution. We reported that his parents had left days before with a relative.

Prior to his execution by Harry Allen, the warders who looked after Manuel were
increased from two to three after he attempted suicide on June 20 by swallowing
disinfectant powder while a warder was cleaning his cell.

But his attempt did not deter his path to the hangman. We reported: "At the
appointed time the executioner entered the condemned cell, pinioned Manuel's
arms behind his back, and led him the few paces to the scaffold in the next
cell.

"A white cap was placed over Manuel's head, followed by the noose. A lever was
pulled and the trap door dropped.

"Less than 66 seconds had elapsed since the hangman entered the cell.

"2 doctors pronounced life extinct. Immediately Manuel's body was taken to an
unoccupied cell below the execution chamber."

His reign of terror was over, and in that moment Manuel's went down as one of
Scotland's most notorious serial killers.

(source: eveningtimes.co.uk)








GAMBIA:

Gambia pledges to abolish death penalty



The Gambia has pledged to abolish the death penalty in a clean break with the
former regime of Yahya Jammeh, giving activists hope that more African states
will follow its example.

President Adama Barrow, elected in December 2016, signed a UN treaty on the
abolition of capital punishment following his maiden speech at the world body's
general assembly, the government said in a press release Thursday.

"By signing the treaties, the new Gambia continues to promote democracy and
show the commitment of the state to protect lives of political activists," the
statement said, referring to 4 other treaty pledges on issues including forced
disappearances.

Jammeh, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years until being forced
from power after losing to Barrow, executed 9 soldiers in 2012 and threatened
to expand a list of capital crimes in 2015 in response to what he said was a
rising crime rate.

Francophone west African nations such as Benin, Congo Republic and Guinea have
all made steps to ending the death penalty in recent years.

But English-speaking countries in the region are lagging.

"This is a positive step forward for Gambia when just 5 years ago people on
death row were tragically executed and abolition seemed a pipe dream. We hope
Gambia will lead the way, as no Anglophone country in West Africa has yet
abolished the death penalty," said Amnesty International West Africa researcher
Sabrina Mahtani.

Although the UN has welcomed the Gambian pledge, the numbers executed in the
country's once-notorious prisons are dwarfed by those who were forcibly
disappeared, a figure that runs into the dozens, according to the authorities.

The government statement claimed the move - which must still be ratified -
"will remove fear and promote rule of law for citizens to express their civil
and political rights."

The treaty - formally named the "Second Optional Protocol to the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death
penalty" - has been ratified by 85 member states of the UN so far.

(source: The Independent)








INDIA:

High court confirms death for man who murdered his 2 children, in-laws



Ramesh Naik, a former manager at Punjab National Bank, was convicted of killing
his children by drowning them in a pond near Panaje in Puttur taluk, Dakshina
Kannada district.

The High Court of Karnataka has confirmed the death penalty given by a lower
court to a former bank manager for murdering his 2 children, mother-in-law and
sister-in-law.

Ramesh Naik, a former manager at Punjab National Bank, was convicted of killing
his children by drowning them in a pond near Panaje in Puttur taluk, Dakshina
Kannada district. Prior to that, Naik killed his mother-in-law Saraswathi and
sister-in-law Savitha with whom he had an affair. Naik had helped Savitha get a
job in Bengaluru. She allegedly became close to one of her colleagues. Naik
disapproved of the purported liaison and killed Savitha as well as her mother
in Tumakuru. He later went to his hometown and killed his children.

Public prosecutor Vijaykumar Majage told the court that Naik had no remorse for
the murders. A division bench of Justices Ravi Malimath and John Michael Cunha
confirmed the death sentence on Friday.

(source: Deccan Herald)

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Sept. 24



BARBADOS:

A GUY'S VIEW----Do not insult our intelligence



This newspaper's edition of September 20, 2017, reported that the National
Human Rights Officer for Barbados and the Organisation of East Caribbean States
posited that there is a need for research into the death penalty and how the
general public views this punishment in Barbados.

That report was evidence of a perfect example of an international body seeking
to hoodwink an entire population with senselessness. The only good thing, I
hope, is that tax payers' money is not going towards any portion of their
useless work.

As they may have done elsewhere, they could focus their investigation on a
particular interest group, like defence attorneys, and then extrapolate from
that finding to the rest of the country. But it is in poor taste for any person
to sit in front of a Barbadian audience and say that they intend to investigate
what or how Barbadians feel about the death penalty.

One of the things that may cause the outstanding work of the Attorney General
of this country to be diminished in the eyes of many Barbadians is the
perception that he has something to do with this country's refusal to execute
murderers. Although it may be common knowledge in informed circles, it is
apparently not so well known by the lady on the Bathsheba bus that while the
death penalty remains on our books, for practical reasons, we cannot execute
anyone.

If my memory serves me well, I believe that the Attorney General has let slip
that no one will hang during his tenure. He was not necessarily suggesting that
he is against the death penalty, although he might be, but was merely stating a
fact. No one will hang during his tenure, or that of his successors for a long
time to come.

An unfortunate reference was made to the June 5, 1999 hanging of the Dole
Chadee gang in Trinidad as evidence that the death penalty has not prevented
violence in that country. It is indeed fruitless to take a one-off action and
expect that it would forever influence behaviour in any significant way. That
event is the high water mark of how not to use the death penalty.

Effective use of the death penalty cannot be a knee jerk reaction to a
particular crime. Dole Chadee and his gang took out a family because of a
botched drug event. That killing outraged persons, not only in Trinidad, but
across the Caribbean. I am old enough to remember the atmosphere at that time.

An extract from the Los Angeles Times painted the societal picture in Trinidad
then: "Marking the moment with prayer and protest, the church bell at the
capital's Roman Catholic Cathedral tolled 9 times at 8 a.m. - a reminder,
Archbishop Anthony Pantin said, that 'enough blood has been spilled.'"

But with hourly news bulletins, street-corner banter and banner headlines
announcing, "Hanging Time," many in this crime-weary nation of 1.3 million
heaved a sigh of relief that justice was done."

In "democratic" countries, different interests compete for prominence.
Unfortunately, in the Caribbean, as elsewhere, the wishes of the majority are
only acknowledged when they are shared with the views of the powerful. What the
majority of Trinidadians felt then, or feel now, really does not matter. The
power bases in the society said no more, and there have been no more.

In a great display of puff, Trinidad withdrew from the jurisdiction of
Inter-American Court on Human Rights because that organisation stood firmly
against the death penalty and did everything to obstruct that punishment.

On May 26, 1998, the government of Trinidad and Tobago notified the Secretary
General of the Organisation of American States that it was withdrawing its
ratification of the American Convention on Human Rights. That withdrawal became
effective 1 year later. There has since been a lot of talk about executions,
but none has followed.

With the full knowledge of the intention and tactics of the said Inter-American
Court, Barbados has chosen to remain loyal to that organisation. If there were
any doubt about this country's willingness to carry out the death penalty,
there should now be none.

Our history is one of always being told what to do. When we were slave
societies, our people had no say in what was done in their country or even done
to them personally. When we graduated to "free" colonial status, we still had
no say in what would be done in our country. At the level of decision making,
we could or could not agree with any decision, it made no difference. Now, as
independent Caribbean states, the wishes of the majority of our people is of no
moment on the issue of the death penalty.

It is commonly believed that our last executions in Barbados were dictated by
the status of the victim who suffered at the hands of her killers. That could
never be an appropriate use of that punishment. If an act is unlawful, it
should attract the same punishment, regardless of who suffered by it. Would it
take a similar circumstance to trigger the use of this punishment again? Such
use would be wrong, and in any event, a single act of state revenge would not
change the national situation. For any penalty to be effective, it must be
applied in a fair and transparent manner on a sustained basis. It cannot be
used as shock therapy.

The plan is for there never to be another state execution in Barbados, but
perhaps one day the people will stand up and insist that their voice be heard.
If that ever happens, before they are completely brainwashed, hanging will
recommence. But there should be no holding of breath. There would literally
have to be a revolution in Barbados for hanging to resume.

The United Nations need not investigate anything in Barbados about this
penalty. They have already done enough to ensure that it will not be carried
out again here. Barbados no longer has the sovereignty to make such a decision
and they know it.

(source: Editorial, Barbados Advocate)








BANGLADESH:

Death-row convict Juba League leader back in politics



Orders to hang Juba League leader Aslam Fakir, convicted for murder, were
suspended at the last moment due to his 'unnatural' behaviour.

However, there is nothing 'unnatural' in his behaviour following his release
from prison. On the contrary, he is busy with his political campaigning.

Aslam Fakir has been seen with the Faridpur-4 member of parliament member and
ruling Awami League (AL) presidium member Kazi Zafarullah and his wife Nilufer
Zafarullah, also an MP, at different programmes in the area after his release.

The 2 MPs are said to have backed Aslam's release from prison. Aslam also has
ambitions to become a local representative and an AL leader.

Asked over phone about how he got sick just before being hanged, Aslam said, "I
was not sick, I just got scared as the conviction was fixed. The next day I saw
the conviction was cancelled."

When asked who helped him to get clemency, Aslam replied, "Who else? Leader
Zafarullah and his wife MP Nilofer Zafarullah. They showed what they can do."

Faridpur's Bhanga upazila Juba League leader Aslam Fakir was accused on 25
September 2005 of murdering Manikdaha union chairman Shaheb Ali alias Shaheb
Miah.

District and sessions court sentenced him to death in the murder case. The
verdict was also upheld by the High Court.

Kashimpur central prison sources said, Aslam Fakir appealed for a presidential
clemency on 19 May 2013, which was rejected on 13 October 2014 and he was to be
hanged on 13 November 2014.

However, the death penalty was suspended on 12 November, just at the last
moment due to Aslam's 'unnatural' behaviour.

Plea for a presidential clemency, for the 2nd time, was also filed on the same
day.

Later on 26 February 2015, the conviction was reduced to a 14-year imprisonment
sentence.

This too was revoked as Nilofer Zafarullah MP issued as recommendation letter
to the home ministry to release Aslam on 26 March for "good behaviour".

Aslam was released from jail on 25 August, after 13 years and 2 days of
imprisonment.

Aslam returned to his home, Manikdaha village, 3 days later on 28 August. "And
the leader is very punctual", he said.

Later the reporter had a talk with Aslam over phone. Aslam said he was
perfectly fine now. He had checkups in different hospitals, and they said he
has no problems now. He is now busy with campaign work.

Kazi Zafarullah said the matter is political and refrained from further
comment.

Home minister Asaduzzaman said, "He was a mental patient. That is why he is
pardoned. This is not right if he is roaming around and campaigning. This is
not right."

Shaheb Miah's wife Paruli Begum, who was a plaintiff in the case, told Prothom
Alo, "Such injustice in intolerable. After being sentenced to death, Aslam
Fakir's pleas for mercy had been rejected. Even so, the orders were withdrawn
just before he was due to hang. Influential people are now celebrating with my
husband's murderer and campaigning in the area."

Lawyer Shahdeen Malik has said, "The incident indicates that we are facing a
sick situation. There is no specific policy to decide who will be pardoned and
who will not. Other countries have a clear policy. Lack of policy is helping
the misuse of power".

(source: prothom-alo.com)

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Sept. 25




SUDAN:

Sudanese student sentenced to death for alleged murder of policeman



A Sudanese court sentenced a university student to death by hanging on Sunday
for the alleged killing a policeman during protests last year, triggering
protests after the verdict.

Last August, Khartoum North Criminal Court found Asim Omer, 21 years, guilty of
premeditated murder, however, the judge delayed the sentencing until the 24th
September to listen to the victim's family and make them decide on whether the
convict should be punished or receive a pardon.

The Khartoum court, headed by Judge Abdeen Dahi, sentenced Omer to death by
hanging, pointing that the family of the deceased's family refused blood money
and demanded the death sentence.

Omer is a student at the University of Khartoum, he was arrested by the
Sudanese security service and accused of killing a police officer who died
after a hit by a Molotov cocktail during the student protests in April 2016.

The trial session which was held amid tight security measures was attended by
representatives of the European Union, a number of Western embassies and
international human rights organizations.

After the verdict, hundreds of students and representatives of the Sudanese
opposition demonstrated outside the court, chanting anti-government slogans.
But the Police responded to the protesters using tear gas to disperse them.

The demonstrations moved to the University of Khartoum, where police forces had
to close the surrounding streets and disperse protesters with heavy tear gas.
Eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune that the security forces arrested a number of
protesters.

The Sudanese Congress Party (SCoP) slammed rejected the "fabricated" sentence
against Omer who is one of its members. It further stressed that verdict is
"contrary to the law and to the evidence," pointing out that the prosecution
did not offer evidence to justify the penalty.

The opposition party stressed that it would challenge the decision before the
Supreme Court, adding "despite our knowledge of the nature of the critical
stage reached by state institutions under the absolute control of the security
apparatus."

The statement said all the options are open for dealing with this issue and to
protect Omer's life.

SPLM-N Agar Secretary General Yasir Arman slammed the verdict and described it
as "political by excellence".

He further voiced their solidarity with him and called on the SPLM-N
membership, allies and supporters to continue to defend him adding that "such
crimes would not stop until the removal of this criminal regime".

Sudanese Communist students office in Khartoum, for its part, condemned the
death sentence saying it comes in line with the "political trials the regime
has been conducting against the innocents and those who resist its policies".

"The prosecution did not provide any evidence condemning Asim," said the
Communist students emphasizing that "The defence evidence confirmed that the
day the crime was committed the student was at his home."

(source: Sudan Tribune)








ZIMBABWE:

Mawarire Faces Death Penalty After Renewed Treason Charge



Mawarire is being charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government
or alternatively for inciting public violence. The charges are coming from the
video he did yesterday before the FB live talking about the current cash
crisis, they are treasonous and carry a death penalty.

Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights reports that authorities
have lined up 8 witnesses to testify against His Generation Church leader
Mawarire, whose trial on charges of subverting constitutional government
commences at the High Court in Harare on Monday 25 September 2017.

The 40 year-old Mawarire, who is represented by Harrison Nkomo of Mhishi Nkomo
Legal Practitioners, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights will appear
before High Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba, who will preside over his
trial on Monday 25 September 2017.

The clergyman, who was arrested in July 2016 and in January 2017 will be on
trial facing 2 counts of subverting constitutional government as defined in
section 22 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter
9:23 or alternatively incitement to commit public violence as defined in
section 187 (1) (a) as read with Section 36 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) claimed that Mawarire incited
Zimbabweans from "all walks of life either locally or internationally" to
revolt and overthrow a constitutionally elected government.

The NPA has lined up 8 witnesses who include Crispen Makedenge, Innocent
Chipangura, Patrick Romeo Moyo, Lawrence Njodzi, Marshal Dube, Jeremiah
Murenje, Edmore Runganga and Mavhira Richard Mhlanga to testify against
Mawarire.

If convicted of subverting constitutional government, Mawarire is liable to
imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years without the option of a fine,
while if he gets convicted for public violence, the clergyman will be liable to
a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both.

(source: zimeye.net)








KENYA:

Man to hang for stealing Sh 16, tooth paste and toothbrush



A man who violently stole Sh16, a toothbrush and toothpaste faces the death
penalty after his appeal was dismissed. James Muchangi was sentenced to death
by a magistrate's court in 2010 and has since been fighting for his freedom.

His appeals at the High Court and the Court of Appeal have flopped and sealed
his fate.

On March 20, 2008, at about 5am, John Kanyingi was walking to a bus stage in
Kahawa Wendani when 2 men armed with a panga and a piece of metal confronted
him. They frisked his pockets and stole a black bag that contained a
toothbrush, toothpaste and Sh16.

The robbers cut Kanyingi on the left side of the face below the eye.

He later reported the incident at Kahawa Police Post and was issued with a P3
form. On April 2, 2008, he was called by the police that 2 people had been
arrested.

The following day, the officers proceeded to Muchangi's house and found
Kanyingi's black bag hanging on the wall. Muchangi and his accomplice were then
charged in court.

The co-accused died during trial. In his defence, the accused claimed he was
arrested by police officers while on his way home after having drinks at a
local club.

Muchangi maintained the charges were framed against him by the police as a way
of keeping him behind bars.

But the lower court did not believe his testimony and sentenced him to death
for robbery with violence.

He appealed before High Court judges Mbogholi Msagha and Lydiah Achode, arguing
that the complainant did not positively identify him.

But the 2 judges threw out the case and Muchangi moved to the Court of Appeal.

In the Court of Appeal, he complained that he never led the police to the house
where the items belonging to the complainant were recovered. He, however, could
not explain how the items ended up in his house.

"The fact that the appellant was found with personal effects of the complainant
only days after the robbery points to the irresistible conclusion that he was
involved in the robbery," Justices Philip Waki, Asike Makhandia and William
Ouko ruled.

(source: standardmedia.co.ke)

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Sept. 26



INDONESIA:

Indonesia Rejects UN Recommendation to Abolish Death Penalty



Indonesia on Thursday (21/09) accepted 167 of the 225 recommendations it
received from international delegations during the 27th session of the United
Nations Universal Periodic Review, or UPR, earlier in May, but crucially
rejected the recommendation to abolish the death penalty.

Indonesia said the remaining 58 recommendations, including ones on abolishing
the death penalty, addressing past human rights violations and ending
prosecutions under blasphemy laws, "were noted" but considered "not in line
with the priorities in Indonesia's human rights agenda."

Indonesia went through its third UPR cycle in May, and had straight away
accepted 150 recommendations put forward by 101 delegations during the review
while placing the remaining 75 under further examination.

Indonesia stated its final position on the pending recommendations during the
36th session of the Human Rights Council last week.

During the session, Indonesia reaffirmed its position that "the death penalty
is still a prevailing positive law in Indonesia."

"However, the revision of the penal code had provided a more robust safeguard
in due process of law on the death penalty," Indonesia's deputy permanent
representative to the UN office in Geneva, Michael Tene, said.

The United Kingdom said it "regretted that the recommendations on the
moratorium on the use of the death penalty had not been supported" and repeated
its call that no evidence suggests death penalty is a more effective deterrent
than alternative forms of punishment.

Other delegations in the session also expressed concerns that the Indonesian
government had not addressed discrimination against minority groups in the
country, which include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and
followers of religious minorities.

"Indonesia took note of the remaining 58 recommendations with the consideration
that they are not in line with the priorities in Indonesia's human rights
agenda. Some of the recommendations were also inaccurate and not based on
facts," Michael said, according to a statement released by the Foreign Affairs
Ministry.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) urged the Indonesian
government nevertheless to take some measures to deal with the recommendations
it did not accept, including "measures to eradicate impunity, prioritize the
settlement of gross human rights violations, guarantee freedom of religion and
belief, ensure freedom of expression and abolish the death penalty."

Komnas HAM and Amnesty International also noted that Indonesia has yet to
ratify several international human rights accords, including the Optional
Protocol on the Convention Against Torture and Convention for the Protection of
All Persons From Enforced Disappearance.

(source: Jakarta Globe)








IRAQ----mass executions

Iraq hangs 42 Sunni militants convicted of terrorism



Iraq on Sunday executed 42 Sunni Muslim militants convicted on terrorism
charges ranging from killing members of security forces to detonating car
bombs.

The biggest mass execution this year in Iraq came after Sunni suicide attacks
killed at least 60 people near the southern city of Nassiriya, a Shi'ite area,
on Sept. 14, prompting Shi'ite demands for tougher judicial action.

Amnesty International criticized the move, saying on Monday that "mass
execution is a shocking display of the Iraqi authorities' resort to the death
penalty to try to show they are responding to security threats".

"The death penalty is an irreversible and reprehensible punishment that should
not be used in any circumstances and there is no evidence to show that it
deters crime more than any other means of punishment," Amnesty said in a
report.

The Justice Ministry said on Sunday the 42 had been hanged at a prison in
Nassiriya, 3 months after 14 other militants were executed following
convictions for terrorism.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for three suicide attacks targeting
restaurants and a security checkpoint near Nassiriya.

Relatives of victims were invited to witness Sunday's executions, the justice
ministry said.

"Despite all the pain inside me after losing my 2 brothers in the suicide
attacks, when I saw the terrorists dangling from the rope I felt relief," said
Fadhil Abdul Ameer from Nassiriya.

Islamic State's self-declared caliphate, declared in 2014 after it captured
wide areas of northern and western Iraq, effectively collapsed in July when
U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured Mosul, the group's de facto capital in Iraq.

But recent deadly bomb attacks in Baghdad and other cities show the jihadists
remain capable of guerrilla-style warfare, a tactical shift away from seeking
territorial conquest.

(source: Reuters)

****************

For terrorism in Iraq executed more than 40 people----The penalty of death on
charges of terrorism has received more than 40 criminals.



The Ministry of justice of the Islamic Republic of Iraq has released
information about the next death penalty in this country, reports Rus.Media.
The penalty of death on charges of terrorism has received more than 40
criminals.

The Ministry said that the executions by hanging were carried out over the 42
convicted of terrorism. Today in the prisons of Iraq are thousands of prisoners
of militants of radical organizations. Military operation to liberate Mosul and
other towns captured by terrorists, many war criminals, including immigrants
from other countries who were captured. Each case is trial.

Recently Baghdad was visited by the delegation of Belgium, its members
expressed support for the justice of Iraq and urged to refrain from granting
Amnesty to the militants of radical groups.

At the same time, the UN high Commissioner for human rights concerned for such
cases. Navi Pillay condemned the executions in Iraq and questioned the
transparency of the judicial system of this country.

(source: sherbrooktimes.com)

********************

Mass execution in Iraq



Responding to the news that at least 42 people were executed in Iraq today on
"terrorism" charges, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty
International said:

"Today's mass execution is a shocking display of the Iraqi authorities' resort
to the death penalty to try to show they are responding to security threats.

"There can be no doubt that individuals who carry out deadly attacks against
the civilian population should face justice, but the Iraqi authorities need to
recognize that carrying out executions is not the answer and will not make the
country or its people safer.

"The Iraqi authorities have a deplorable track record when it comes to use of
the death penalty. In many cases previously people have been put to death after
deeply unfair trials and in some cases after being tortured to 'confess'.

"The death penalty is an irreversible and reprehensible punishment that should
not be used in any circumstances and there is no evidence to show that it
deters crime more than any other means of punishment."

(source: Amnesty International)








SINGAPORE:

2 drug traffickers get death sentence----A third convict, found to be a
courier, receives life sentence and 15 strokes of the cane



A drug trafficker convicted of a capital offence was sentenced to death in the
High Court, although he had been certified by the Public Prosecutor to have
cooperated with the authorities.

In the 1st such case here, the court found that Hamzah Ibrahim, 54, was not a
courier, after a joint 16-day trial with 2 other traffickers.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the court has the discretion not to impose the
death penalty, if the convicted offender is a courier and has also been issued
a certificate stating he cooperated with authorities.

But Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng ruled that Hamzah's role "went beyond
that of a courier".

"Hence, although the PP (Public Prosecutor) issued a certificate of substantive
assistance, the alternative sentencing regime was not available," she said in
judgment grounds last week.

Another man in the joint trial for trafficking in 26.29g of heroin, Muhammad
Farid Sudi, had also been certified to have "substantively assisted the Central
Narcotics Bureau in disrupting drug trafficking activities".

Farid, who delivered the drugs to Hamzah and acted as no more than a courier,
escaped the gallows with the mandatory life sentence and 15 strokes of the
cane.

Another accomplice, Tika Pesik, had not been certified as a courier and was
sentenced to death.

Farid and Tika had arranged for Farid to deliver 2 packets of heroin to Hamzah
on Dec 20, 2013.

Farid did so during a drive from a Senja Road multi-storey car park to Dairy
Farm Road.

Hamzah claimed trial to a single capital charge of possessing heroin for the
purpose of trafficking.

During the trial, Deputy Public Prosecutors Wong Woon Kwong and Sarah Shi
argued that Hamzah was not a courier and had received the drugs intending to
pack them into smaller packets for sale.

Hamzah, defended by lawyers Luke Lee and Sukdave Singh, contended that he was
merely a courier.

But, in light of all the evidence, such a claim would be "unsustainable", noted
Judicial Commissioner Hoo.

"It was evident that Hamzah's purpose after taking delivery of the drugs was to
sell the drugs," she said, noting that he had brought along smaller empty
plastic packets to repack and sell the drugs.

The judge also found that Tika could "not in any way be described as a
courier", as she had coordinated the supply of drugs and had got Farid to
deliver the drugs to Hamzah, among other things.

"Moreover, the PP did not issue Tika with a certificate of substantive
assistance," added the judge in imposing the mandatory death sentence.

(source: thenewspaper.com)








GAMBIA:

Gambia signs UN death penalty abolition treaty



Gambian President Adama Barrow signed on Wednesday 5 United Nations treaties,
including 1 on abolition of death penalty, as he attended his maiden UN General
Assembly Summit in New York, a statement from the presidency said Thursday.

Other treaties signed include 1 on the protection of the rights of migrant
workers, 1 against forced disappearance, 1 on transparency in treaty-based
investor-state arbitration and 1 on the prohibition of nuclear weapons, it
indicated.

According to State House release, this is done as the Gambia continues to
promote democracy and show the commitment of the state to protect lives.

Barrow was the 1st Gambian president to sign 5 UN treaties at the same time.
The treaties will require ratification and domestication before they can be
enforced.

(source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh)




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2017-09-27 11:00:11 UTC
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Sept. 27




UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

Death penalty sought as UK journalist denies murdering his wife in
Dubai----British journalist Francis Matthew appeared in court in Dubai



Prosecutors in Dubai are seeking the death penalty for a British journalist
accused of murdering his wife.

Francis Matthew, the editor-at-large of a prominent English-language newspaper,
pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to a premeditated murder charge.

Police allege Matthew, who worked for Gulf News, beat his 62-year-old wife Jane
to death with a hammer, leaving her body in a pool of blood in their bed before
telling detectives that robbers killed her.

The killing has shocked the United Arab Emirates' large British expatriate
population.

The 61-year-old Matthew wore white prison-style clothes to a brief hearing in a
Dubai courtroom on Wednesday.

He looked thin and sombre while entering his plea, saying: "Not guilty."

After the hearing, Matthew's lawyer Ali al-Shamsi said they are looking to get
a minimum sentence for his client.

"There is a mistake in the autopsy report," Mr al-Shamsi said, without
elaborating.

On July 4, Dubai police said they were called to Matthew's 3-bedroom villa in
Dubai's Jumeirah neighborhood.

There, they say they found his wife of over 30 years dead and the editor told
them robbers broke into the home and killed her.

During a later interrogation, however, police say Matthew told them his wife
had grown angry with him because they were in debt and needed to move.

Matthew said he got angry when his wife called him "a loser" and told him "you
should provide financially", according to police.

Matthew told police his wife pushed him during the argument.

He then got a hammer, followed her into the bedroom and struck her twice in the
head, killing her, according to a police report.

The next morning, Matthew tried to make it look like the house had been robbed
and later went to work like nothing had happened, throwing the hammer in a
nearby tip, police said.

Gulf News previously has said Matthew served as its editor from 1995-2005 and
then became an editor-at-large at the newspaper.

He was still with the newspaper at the time of the killing, though a Gulf News
article on the court appearance on Wednesday referred to him as a former
employee.

(source: Belfast Telegraph)








ISRAEL:

Liberman's party revives death penalty for terrorists bill after Har Adar
attack----MK Robert Ilatov says legislation needed to send a 'clear and
unequivocal' message on punishment for terrorism



Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu party said Tuesday it will
revive legislation applying the death penalty to convicted terrorists after a
deadly terror attack in the settlement of Har Adar earlier in the day.

MK Robert Ilatov, who will submit the bill, said the legislation is necessary
to deter future terrorists from carrying out attacks.

"The legislation needs to be clear and unequivocal. A terrorist who comes with
the goal of murdering innocent citizens - his sentence is death," said Ilatov
in a statement Tuesday.

Liberman and his Yisrael Beytenu party have long advocated introducing the
death penalty for terrorists and the issue was one of the party's key campaign
promises in the 2015 elections.

While the proposed legislation has previously failed to garner sufficient
support, Liberman expects Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to support the
bill, Channel 2 reported Tuesday.

Following a terror attack in July in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, in
which a Palestinian stabbed to death 3 family members of the Salomon family as
they celebrated the birth of a grandson in their home, Netanyahu said he
supported the death penalty for the terrorist, saying it was a fitting
punishment for a "base murderer."

Despite the comment by Netanyahu and a number of other top right-wing political
figures at the time, an IDF prosecutor said the punishment is not Israeli
policy, despite it being permissible under law.

In Israel, the death penalty is applicable only in limited circumstances, and
has only been carried out once in a civilian court, against Nazi war criminal
Adolf Eichmann, one of the architects of the Final Solution, in 1962.

According to a poll in August, over 70 % of Jewish Israelis said they support
the death penalty for terrorists.

The Knesset has several times rejected legislation that would apply the death
penalty to Palestinian terrorists, including in Netanyahu governments.

Yisrael Beytenu's latest call for legislation mandating the death penalty for
convicted terrorists came after Tuesday's terror attack in Har Adar, in which a
Border Police officer and 2 security guards were shot dead by a Palestinian
from a nearby village.

The terrorist, identified as Nimer Mahmoud Ahmad Jamal, a laborer from the
nearby Bayt Surik village, was shot and killed by security forces at the scene,
police said.

The victims - border policeman Solomon Gavriyah, 20, and civilian security
guards Youssef Ottman, 25, from Abu Ghosh and Or Arish, 25, a resident of Har
Adar - were all buried later Tuesday.

(source: The Times of Israel)

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2017-09-28 10:58:10 UTC
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Sept. 28




IRAN----execution

1 Prisoner Hanged In Northwestern Iran



A prisoner was executed at Urmia Central Prison (Darya) northwestern Iran.
According to a close source, on the morning of Tuesday September 26, the
execution sentence of a prisoner who was charged with murder was carried out at
Urmia Central Prison. The prisoner was identified as Javad Khayyeri from ward
15. Javad Khayyeri was transferred to solitary confinement along with three
other prisoners yesterday. The t3 prisoners returned to their cells after
either wining the consent of the plaintiff or asking for time.

Javad Khayyeri was charged with drug trafficking and murdering a police officer
and was sentenced to death twice. But the death sentence for his drug related
charges was reduced to life imprisonment a while ago.

This execution has not been announced by the state-run media so far.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty, 142 of the
530 executions in 2016 were due to murder charges. There is a lack of a
classification of murder by degree in Iran which results in issuing death
sentence for any kind of murder regardless of intent.

*****************

Man Executed For Drug Charges In Ardebil



1 prisoner was reportedly executed at Ardebil Central Prison (Northwestern
Iran).

According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday September 20, a
prisoner was executed at Ardebil Central Prison on drug related charges.

The prisoner was identified as Tofigh Yousefi. On the morning of Sunday
September 17, Tofigh Yousefi and another prisoner, named Shahin Parsajou, were
transferred to solitary confinement. Iran Human Rights (IHR) had reported the
execution of Shahin Parsajou which was carried out on Monday September 18.
However, Tofigh's execution was delayed until Wednesday for unknown reasons.

The execution of Tofigh Yousefi and Shahin Parsajou has not been announced by
the state-run media so far.

The execution of prisoners with drug related charges continues to be carried
out in Iran despite the fact that the bill for the amendment to the drug law in
Iran has been approved by Iranian Parliament. However, the Guardian Council
must still approve the bill.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)








GAZA:

'It's cruel and inhuman': EU condemns death sentences issued in Gaza



The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah condemned on Wednesday recent death
sentences issued in the besieged Gaza Strip, calling the practice "cruel and
inhuman."

On Tuesday, a Gaza court issued death sentences against 3 Palestinian residents
of Khan Younis, charged with killing a resident of Deir al-Balah during a
robbery on his home, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The EU responded to the reports by reiterating their "firm opposition under all
circumstances to the use of capital punishment," adding that the EU supports
the complete abolition of the death penalty in order to protect "human dignity
and the progressive development of human rights."

The EU "considers capital punishment to be cruel and inhuman, that it fails to
provide deterrence to criminal behaviour, and represents an unacceptable denial
of human dignity and integrity," the statement added.

The statement then urged authorities in Gaza to cease carrying out executions
and to comply with the moratorium on executions imposed by the Ramallah-based
Palestinian Authority (PA).

Under Palestinian law, willful, premeditated murder and treason as well as
collaboration with the enemy -- usually Israel -- are punishable by death.
However, all death sentences must be ratified by the Palestinian president
before they can be carried out.

Despite this, the Hamas de facto administration in Gaza has carried out
executions periodically without receiving approval from PA President Mahmoud
Abbas since 2010.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, at least 22 death
sentences have been carried out in the besieged Gaza Strip since the Hamas
movement rose to power there in 2007.

However, Hamas has recently agreed to allow the national reconciliation
government to operate in the besieged Gaza Strip, possibly putting an end to a
national split in the Palestinian government since a bloody conflict broke out
between the Fatah-ruled PA and Hamas more than a decade ago.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said on Tuesday that by next Monday,
when the PA holds its next weekly cabinet meeting in the Gaza Strip, all of
Gaza's affairs will be handed over to the PA.

(source: maannews.com)








SRI LANKA:

Death Penalty for seven accused of Jaffna school girl's rape and murder



A Sri Lankan court today sentenced 7 accused to death for the abduction, rape
and murder of a school girl in Jaffna in 2015.

The 18-year-old school girl, Sivaloganathan Vidya was kidnapped, gang raped and
murdered on Pungudutivu island of Jaffna in Northern Province on 13 May 2015.

Jaffna High Court today convicted 7 of the 9 suspects in the brutal crime and
acquitted and released the 1st and 7th suspects of all charges.

1st suspect Poobalasingham Indrakumar alias Sinnappa and 7th suspect Palani
Rubasingham Kuganathan alias Nishanthan were released.

The other suspects Poobalasingham Jeyakumar alias Ravi, Poobalasingham
Navakumar alias Sendil, Mahalingam Shashidaren alias Shashi, Pillainandan
Chandrakasan alias Chandra, Shivaderan Kushange alias Periyathamby, Jeyadaran
Kokilan alias Kanna, and Mahalingam Shashikumar alias Swiss Kumar were
sentenced to death.

The suspects were charged with a total of 47 counts. Hearing in the case began
on June 28 and concluded on September 13.

The special 3-judge panel hearing the case comprising Vavuniya High Court judge
Balendran Shashi Mahendran, Trincomalee High Court judge Annalingam
Premachandra and Jaffna High Court Judge Manickavasagar Illancheliyan made a
unanimous decision to impose the death penalties.

The mother of the girl, Shivayoganathan Saraswathi, was also present in court
on a notice issued by the court to appear before the court today (27).

The security of the Jaffna Court Complex and Jaffna town was tightened today.

The brutal gang rape and the killing shook the island nation sparking violent
protests in Jaffna seeking justice for the young victim.

(source: colombopage.com)








INDIA:

Uttar Pradesh govt promulgates excise ordinance to include death penalty to
punish illicit hooch makers



Those who cause hooch deaths in Uttar Pradesh can now be sentenced death, the
state government on Wednesday said, promulgating an ordinance for amending the
UP Excise Act.

Under the new act, people dealing with illicit or spurious liquor can be
sentenced to life or hanged to death.

"Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik has promulgated the Uttar Pradesh Excise
(Amendment) Ordinance 2017. The ordinance is related to the poisonous nature of
illicit liquor and the loss of life caused by its consumption," an official
statement released by the Raj Bhavan said.

Since the state legislature is not in session and seeing the immediate nature
of the issue, the governor approved the proposal passed by the Uttar Pradesh
Cabinet after legal examinations, it said.

The measure is seen as an effort to stamp out the state's illicit liquor mafia,
an excise department official said.

The decision to add the death penalty provision was taken last week at a
meeting of the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

The measure would act as a deterrent, Uttar Pradesh excise minister Jai Pratap
Singh had told PTI.

After Delhi and Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh has become the third state where
bootleggers may be sent to the gallows if consumption of spurious liquor leads
to a loss of life.

Singh explained that to curb the manufacture of spurious liquor, provisions of
life imprisonment and the death penalty have been incorporated in the existing
law through the ordinance.

The death penalty provision will be applied depending upon the intensity of the
case, he said.

Under the proposal mooted in the Cabinet (on 19 September), the government
amended various sections of the UP Excise Act and added a new section 60(A) for
the purpose. The amendment will also make the offence non-bailable.

The new section seeks to provide that the guilty may be punished with life
imprisonment, or Rs 10 lakh penalty, or both. Those whose spurious liquor have
caused death or permanent disability can be sentenced to death.

The other sections to be amended seek to enhance financial penalties in other
illicit liquor-related offences.

Hooch tragedies take a heavy toll every year in Uttar Pradesh.

In July, 17 people died in Azamgarh after they consumed spurious liquor. In
2015, 28 people were killed in a similar incident in the Malihabad area of
Lucknow.

(source: firstpost.com)








IRAQ:

UN human rights chief "appalled" at Iraq mass execution



The mass hanging of 42 prisoners on Sunday 24 September at Al Hoot prison in
the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah raises "massive concerns" over the
country's use of the death penalty, the UN human rights chief said Wednesday.

"I am appalled to learn of the execution of 42 prisoners in a single day," UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said. "Under
international law, the death penalty may only be imposed after a strict set of
substantive and procedural requirements have been met."

Zeid said it was "extremely doubtful" that these strict due process and fair
trial guarantees - including the men's rights to effective legal assistance and
a full appeals process, and to seek pardon or commutation of their sentence -
had been met in every one of these 42 individual cases.

"In such circumstances, there is a clear risk of a gross miscarriage of
justice," he added.

He also stressed that the death penalty, if it is used at all, can only be
imposed for the "most serious crimes," a category UN human rights mechanisms
have consistently interpreted as restricted to murder and other forms of
intentional killing.

"We can all agree that members of terrorist groups who are proven to have
committed serious crimes should be held fully accountable for them," Zeid said.
"However, Iraq's use of anti-terrorism legislation to impose the death penalty
for a wide range of acts does not appear to meet the strict threshold of 'most
serious crimes.'"

Iraqi government officials have stated that the executed prisoners were Iraqis
affiliated to ISIL or al-Qaeda, who had been charged under anti-terrorism laws
with offences including kidnapping, killing members of the security forces,
carrying out armed robberies, and detonating Improvised Explosive Devices.
However no information has been released about their names, places of
residence, exact crimes, trials, date of sentencing, or the appeals processes
which Iraqi officials say they have exhausted.

"The lack of precise information about the cases is an additional cause for
concern," Zeid added. UN human rights staff in Iraq have been regularly
requesting information on the use of the death penalty for the past 2 years -
including as recently as last week - but have received no responses from either
the Government or the judiciary.

The UN human rights office, noting that Iraqi officials have stated that around
1,200 of the estimated 6,000 prisoners held in Nasiriyah have been sentenced to
death, has repeatedly warned that the Iraqi justice system as a whole is too
flawed to allow for any executions.

"We are extremely concerned at reports that Iraq may be planning to expedite
the process of executing prisoners already sentenced to death, and that this
could result in more large-scale executions in the coming weeks," Zeid said.
"This raises the prospect of further violations, as the imposition of a death
sentence upon the conclusion of a trial in which fair trial provisions have not
been respected constitutes a violation of the right to life."

He noted general concern at Iraq's lack of compliance with its international
human rights obligations in relation to the imposition of the death penalty, in
particular under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to
which Iraq has been a State Party for more than 40 years.

"I urge Iraq to step back from its policy of accelerated or mass executions,"
Zeid said. He also called on the Government to establish a special judicial
oversight body to make recommendations on legal reforms that would ensure
respect for due process and fair trial standards, as well as to monitor any
future trials related to capital punishment.

"I also urge the authorities to halt all imminent executions and to establish
an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty," he added.

(source: reliefweb.int)








MOROCCO:

Nador Court Sentences Man to Capital Punishment, Amid Calls to Eliminate Death
Penalty in Morocco



The penal court in Nador in northern Morocco has sentenced a man to death, the
Moroccan daily Al Massae reported on Wednesday. The sentence comes at a time
where Morocco where human rights NGOs still urge for the suspension of the
death penalty in Morocco.

The person in question was found guilty of murdering a couple in the
neighboring rural municipality of Bni Sidel Louta in February 2016.

The man committed his crime when broke into the couple's house for robbery,
according to Al Massae. When discovered by the family, he murdered the husband
and his wife and severely injured their daughter and the father's sister.

After a 1-year deliberation, the court found the accused guilty of voluntary
homicide, robbery with violence, taking victims as hostages, and committing
torture and death threats against them.

In Morocco, the death penalty is still issued by courts but is rarely carried
out. The last execution in the country happened in 1993 after the country's
biggest sexual violence case, when Mustapha Tabit, a police officer was found
to have abused and video-taped hundreds of victims, was killed by firing squad.

The Moroccan Coalition Against the Death Penalty (CMCPM), which is made up of
several human rights group, said in December 2016 that 93 prisoners in Morocco
are currently on death row.

The coalition advocates for the "right to life" and urges Morocco to abolish
the death penalty.

Advocates of eliminating capital punishment from local penal laws had on
several occasions staged demonstrations and held conferences to push for a
change in Moroccan legislation.

Anti-death penalty activists say that sentencing people to capital punishment
is a "vengeful" attitude from the state and that the latter has no right to
take people's lives.

However, advocates for death penalty in Morocco see it as a "fair" sentence
especially against criminals found guilty of multiple cases of muder.

(source: Morocco World News)

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Sept. 29



LEBANON:

Lebanon's Military Tribunal Sentences Terrorist Ahmad Assir to Death



The Permanent Military Tribunal, chaired by Major General Hussein Abdullah, on
Thursday sentenced in absentia death penalty against the terrorist Ahmad
al-Assir in the Abra incidents' case.

The Military Tribunal also sentenced Assir's assistant Fadel Shaker to 15 years
of hard labor and stripped him of his civil rights with an 800,000 lira fine.

In 2013, Ahmad Assir led a terrorist group to launch attacks on the civilians
and the Lebanese army in the southern city of Sidon, causing the martyrdom of
18 army soldiers.

(sources: Al-Manar Website and NNA)








NIGERIA:

Senate recommends death penalty for kidnappers



The Senate on Thursday passed a Bill for a law against abduction, wrongful
restraint or wrongful confinement for a ransom.

This came after a clause-by-clause consideration of a Report on the issue by
Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters at plenary.

The Bill was sponsored by Senator Isa Misau (APC-Bauchi) and Senator Chukwuka
Utazi (PDP-Enugu), who presented the report on behalf of the Chairman of the
committee, Senator David Umaru.

While presenting it, Utazi said the Bill sought to prescribe stiff punishment
for the offence of abduction, wrongful restraint and wrongful confinement for
ransom.

He said the bill sought to combat and prevent any form of kidnapping in Nigeria
and gave wider powers to the Inspector-General of Police to ensure adequate
combating of crime.

Clause 1 (3) of the Bill states: "Whoever is guilty of the offence and then
results in the death of the victim shall be liable on conviction to be
sentenced to death."

Clause 5 (2): "Anyone who fails to produce any book, account, receipts,
vouchers or other documents which is in his possession or control shall be
guilty of an offence.

"The person shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding N100, 000 or
to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both fine and
imprisonment."

Clause 3 provides a 30-year jail term to anyone who colludes with abductor to
receive any ransom for the release of any person who has been wrongfully
confined.

The report was unanimously accepted by the lawmakers after a voice vote put by
the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki.

The Senate also passed the Bill for the Prohibition and Protection of Persons
from Lynching.

However, the report of the Committee on Trade and Investment on Counterfeit
Goods Bill was stepped down due to technical irregularities.

Saraki, thereafter, referred the report to Legal Department of the National
Assembly and urged chairmen of all committees to ensure that their reports
passed through the legal department before consideration by the Senate.

(source: theeagleonline.ng)








KENYA:

3 face death penalty for Del Monte Kenya pineapple theft, report says



Kenya's Court of Appeal has reportedly upheld the death sentence handed to
three men who allegedly stole 30 pineapples from a Del Monte farm, according to
local publication Standard Media.

Julius Mugambi, Edward Mburu and Francis Maina lost their case after the court
found they were positively identified as part of a gang of 7 intruders, the
story said.

They are now reported to be on death row even though they never got away with
the fruits worth Sh1,500 from a facility belonging to Del Monte Kenya, which is
owned by Fresh Del Monte.

The 3 were charged with threatening security guards using machetes before
stealing the pineapples and also with unlawfully injuring an animal, the story
said.

They were reportedly first arraigned in the magistrate's court in Thika on
November 1, 2008, where they were tried and sentenced to death.

They filed an appeal at the High Court, arguing there was a mistake in the
identification of intruders at the farm on the day, according to Standard
Media.

At the time of writing, Fresh Del Monte had not replied to Fresh Fruit Portal's
request for comment on the matter.

(source: freshfruitportal.com)








EGYPT:

NCHR annual report recommends restriction of military trials, denies systematic
torture



The Egyptian National Council of Human Rights [NCHR] released on Wednesday its
annual report on the period from April 2016 to June 2017, which highlighted the
conditions of human rights in Egypt and the state's efforts in combating
terrorism.

The report asserted that there is no systematic torture performed against
prisoners inside Egyptian prisons as rumored, noting that the monitored torture
cases are 'individual' and all its perpetrators are tried on a regular basis.

Meanwhile, the report mentioned that NCHR's head Mohamed Fayek met with
delegations from the US congress and stressed to them that all reports issued
by the Congress on the presence of sectarian strife in Egypt between Copts and
Muslims have no relation to reality.

Moreover, the report said that Fayek asserted in a meeting with the Philippines
ambassador to Cairo that the Egyptian Armed Forces are controlling the
situation in North Sinai, noting that the problem there is present in the
smuggling of weapons from Gaza strip and Libya to North Sinai.

In the report, the NCHR called on the government to hold a national conference
to develop a law in the Egyptian constitution for the sake of limiting the
death penalty for certain crimes and to expand pardons issued for prisoners who
suffer from health troubles.

Group calls for establishing ministry to defend Egypt's human rights situation

In addition to restricting military trials for those who committed assaults
against any person or facility affiliated to the Egyptian Armed Forces, and to
afford comprehensive data base for those who are detained and the future of
their trials.

The NCHR also called for the pardoning of prisoners by the President Abdel
Fattah Al-Sisi for young people, and recommended it especially for young people
who are detained and have been proved to be not perpetrators of 'terrorist
attacks'.

(source: Egypt Independent)




VIETNAM:

Former energy exec gets death sentence as Vietnam's massive graft trial
delivers verdict



A court in Hanoi sentenced a former chairman of state fuel giant PetroVietnam
to death and his counterpart at OceanBank to life imprisonment on Friday for
their roles in a multi-million-dollar graft case that has riveted the nation.

Nguyen Xuan Son, who served as chairman of the board at the oil and gas group
from 2014 until his arrest in 2015, received the death penalty for
appropriating VND246 billion ($13.6 million) from the bank.

PetroVietnam had bought a 20 % stake in OceanBank, which meant Son had stolen
VND49 billion in government money, prosecutors said. The 55-year-old was
charged with embezzlement, abuse of power and deliberately violating state
regulations on economic management.

Ha Van Tham, former chairman of the board at OceanBank, was sentenced to life
in jail on charges of embezzlement, deliberately violating state regulations on
economic management and breaking regulations on lending activities at credit
institutions.

Tham is accused of offering deposit rates above those set by the central bank
to various customers including PetroVietnam between 2010 and 2014, causing
losses of nearly VND1.6 trillion ($70.4 million).

Although the defendants said that the excessive interest rates were just a
business strategy aimed at saving the bank and actually resulted in a healthy
profit, the indictment said the crime "seriously affected the monetary market."

Other bankers received up to 22 years in jail.

Tham, a U.S.-educated banker who was Vietnam's 8th richest man in 2013 based on
stock holdings, had won several national awards for outstanding
entrepreneurship before his arrest in October 2014.

He is also accused of approving a VND500 billion ($23.5 million) loan for Pham
Cong Danh, former chairman of Vietnam Construction Bank, via a real estate firm
without properly securing collateral in 2012. The Ho Chi Minh City-based
company later defaulted on the loan.

Danh was sentenced to 14 years. He is already serving a 30-year jail term after
being found guilty last year of illegally withdrawing more than VND9 trillion
($404 million) from the bank.

On Monday, in his closing statement, Tham asked the judges to be lenient with
his employees.

"You used to sit with me on a boat when I was captain. I fell and many of you
had to fall with me," Tham said, addressing his former employees who account
for a large number of the defendants.

"I am sorry for implicating you in this," he said.

Also on that day, Son called the death penalty proposed against him "an unjust
verdict." Reuters on Friday quoted his lawyer, Le Minh Tam, as saying that he
would appeal against the verdict.

OceanBank was founded in 1993 with a 20 % stake from the Ocean Group, which
also invests in hospitality, securities, media and retail. It was taken over by
the central bank in April 2015 after the scandal broke out.

The high-profile trial, with 51 bankers and businessmen in the dock, lasted a
month, and the heaviest sentences followed the recommendations made by the
country's top prosecutors 2 weeks earlier.

It could go down as the biggest fraud trial in Vietnam's history.

The Ministry of Public Security has launched a separate investigation into who
else benefited from the illegal money.

According to the indictment, more than 50,000 individuals and nearly 400
organizations and businesses received preferential deposit interest payments
from the bank, including many state-owned units besides PetroVietnam. But only
19 businesses have admitted to having received a combined VND3 billion, while
124 denied taking any money and the rest remained silent.

At least 3 PetroVietnam units were put under investigation earlier this month
for colluding with OceanBank execs to appropriate $5.2 million.

PetroVietnam and the banking sector are at the center of Vietnam's sweeping
corruption crackdown that has ensnared scores of high-ranking officials,
including Dinh La Thang, a former member of the Communist Party's
decision-making Politburo who headed PetroVietnam from 2005 to 2011.

The country's Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong, who is spearheading the country's
anti-corruption campaign, said in July that the fight against corruption is no
longer being handled slowly or on a case-by case basis.

"It has become a movement," he said.

(source: vnexpress.net)








SINGAPORE:

Drug trafficker granted certificate of substantive assistance but still
sentenced to death



During a 16-day joint trial held for 3 men convicted of trafficking 26.29g of
heroin into Singapore, 2 have been sentenced to death, and 1 to the life
sentence.

According to The Straits Times, Hamzah Ibrahim, 54, was certified by the Public
Prosecutor (PP) to have "substantively assisted the Central Narcotics Bureau
(CNB) in disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore".

Nonetheless, he still given the death penalty.

Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, the court has the discretion not to impose the
death penalty if the convicted offender is a courier and has been issued a
certificate by the PP stating that he had cooperated with authorities.

Defended by lawyers Luke Lee and Sukdave Singh, Hamzah had asserted that he was
merely a courier.

However, Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng ruled that Hamzah's role "went
beyond that of a courier".

"It was evident that Hamzah's purpose after taking delivery of the drugs was to
sell the drugs," she said, referring to him bringing along smaller empty
plastic packets to repack the drugs for sale.

"Hence, although the PP issued a certificate of substantive assistance, the
alternative sentencing regime was not available," she stated.

Another man in the joint trial, Muhammad Farid Sudi, was also certified by the
PP.

The Straits Times reported that Farid, who delivered the drugs to Hamzah and
acted as no more than a courier, left the trial with a life sentence and 15
strokes of the cane.

The last accomplice, Tika Pesik, was not certified as a courier and hence
sentenced to death.

Farid and Tika had arranged for the former to deliver 2 packets of heroin to
Hamzah on Dec 20, 2013.

The judge found that Tika could "not in any way be described as a courier", as
she had coordinated the supply of drugs and gotten Farid to deliver the drugs
to Hamzah.

"Moreover, the PP did not issue Tika with a certificate of substantive
assistance," the judge added.

Court ruling contradicts issuance of certificate by PP

On Hamzah's situation, international human rights lawyer M Ravi noted that the
pre-requisites for the issuance of the Certificate of Cooperation includes
establishing the role of the trafficker as a courier, as well as gaining
substantial assistance from the trafficker for CNB to disrupt drug trafficking
activities within or outside Singapore.

This means that the PP already had to determine the fact that Hamzah was only a
courier before issuing him the certificate. Despite this, the court later
contradicted this pre-requisite and ruled that he was more than just a courier.

Mr Ravi told The Independent:

"This situation is so contradictory that it defeats the whole point of the
Certificate of Cooperation. This sort of situation opens itself for a potential
miscarriage of justice, and a bystander looking at this will come to a
conclusion that there is a serious flaw in the administration of justice."

"It's basically a very superfluous exercise, given the fact that the
Attorney-General (AG) already had to consider this requirement," he said,
adding that it would be more appropriate for the decision of the trafficker's
role to rest solely on the AG's shoulders.

(source: The Independent)








IRAN----execution

1 Prisoner Executed in Western Iran



A prisoner was executed at Yasuj Central Prison on murder charges.

According to IRIB News Agency, on the morning of Tuesday September 26, the
execution of a prisoner who was charged with murder was carried out at Yasuj
Central Prison.

The prisoner was identified as M., 27 years old, who had run over a person with
his car over a tribal dispute.

The chief of police of Choram County said, "After the execution was implemented
by the judicial authorities of the province, some members of the murderer's
clan tried to cause chaos which was averted by the police and the security
forces".

Rahimi added, "Currently the tension in the city has calmed down and law
enforcement forces are sent to the main areas of the city".

According to the annual report on the death penalty report by Iran Human
Rights, 142 of the 530 execution sentences in 2016 were implemented due to
murder charges. There is a lack of a classification of murder by degree in Iran
which results in issuing death sentence for any kind of murder regardless of
intensity and intent.

(source: Iran Human Rights)

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2017-09-30 13:41:31 UTC
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Sept. 30




IRAN:

74-year-old Iranian, who hosted 'half-naked parties', sentenced to death----The
chief prosecutor said the man led "a corruption gang" which held parties with
drugs and alcohol, and where women were "sexually harassed".



Iran has sentenced a 74-year-old man to death for hosting "mixed and half-naked
parties", the head of Tehran's judiciary said.

Chief prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said the man led "a corruption gang"
which held parties with drugs and alcohol, and where women were "sexually
harassed".

"The head of this corruption gang has been sentenced to execution and the case
has been sent for appeal to the supreme court," he said, according to the
judiciary-linked Mizan news agency.

Dolatabadi mentioned another case in which 6 people had been arrested for
downloading "obscene" Hollywood films and dubbing them into Persian.

"The gang's website was the largest download centre for Hollywood films and
series, and in the past 3 years they have published 18,000 dubbed films and
series, many of which were obscene and pornographic," said Dolatabadi.

(source: hindustantimes.com)








KUWAIT:

Death penalty of 15 Indians commuted to life term by Emir of Kuwait



Death sentences handed down to 15 Indians lodged in a Kuwaiti jail have been
commuted to life imprisonment by the Emir of Kuwait, external affairs minister
Sushma Swaraj said on Saturday.

Swaraj said the Emir has also directed that the sentences of 119 Indian
nationals be reduced.

"The Emir of Kuwait has been pleased to commute the sentence of 15 Indian
nationals from death to life imprisonment," she tweeted.

Swaraj thanked the Emir of Kuwait for his "kind" gesture and said the Indian
Embassy in that country will extend assistance to the Indian nationals who will
be released from jails.

(source: english.manoramaonline.com)








PAKISTAN:

FIA challenges ATC verdict in Benazir Bhutto murder case



The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Friday filed a petition challenging
the anti-terrorism court's (ATC) decision in the Benazir murder case.

The petition that had been filed in the Rawalpindi bench of the Lahore High
Court (LHC) maintains that the FIA has irrefutable evidence against the
acquitted suspects.

Subsequently, the FIA has requested death penalty be awarded to the 5 accused
acquitted and two police officials imprisoned. The petition states that the ATC
has not done justice through its verdict.

The LHC on Thursday accepted petitions challenging detention of those acquitted
in Benazir murder case for regular hearing.

A division bench of LHC Rawalpindi bench comprising Justice Tariq Abbasi heard
the petitions filed by relatives of Sher Zaman, Hasnain Gul and Rafaqat Hussain
acquitted in Benazir murder case against their detention after acquittal in the
Benazir murder case.

After hearing preliminary arguments of the petitioners' counsel, the court
accepted the petition for regular hearing and issued notices to the
Rawalpindi's deputy commissioner.

Earlier, ATC Judge Asghar Khan at Adiala Jail had announced the verdict in
Benazir Bhutto murder case, sentencing 2 police officers to 17 years
imprisonment for being "negligent" and had acquitted the 5 suspects belonging
to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) - who were indicted in 2008 over lack of
evidence. The court had also declared the then-president Pervez Musharraf an
absconder in the case.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and bomb attack
after an election rally in Liaquat Bagh on Dec 27, 2007. The then government of
Pervez Musharraf had blamed TTP chief Baitullah Mehsud for the killing but
Mehsud had denied any involvement in the murder.

(source: Pakistan Today)








INDONESIA:

AGO Waits for Supreme Court Decision on Pardon for Death Penalty Execution

The Indonesia Supreme Court (MA) has yet to issue a decision regarding the time
limit for the submission of pardon for death row inmates convicted by the
Attorney General Office (AGO) since August 2017.

"We are still waiting [for the Supreme Court decision], we must be careful on
this, as this is a decision on life or death of a human being," said Attorney
General HM Prasetyo in Jakarta, Friday (29/09/2017).

He asserted the death execution was related to the life of a person, and
therefore the AGO needs to request for a decision from the Supreme Court ,
since the decision of the Constitutional Court about the pardon did not mention
the time period for submission of pardon.

The Constitutional Court, through Decision No. 107/PUU-XIII/2015 abolished the
enactment of Article 7 paragraph (2) of Law no. 5 of 2010 on Amendment to Law
no. 22 of 2002 on Pardon related to the time limitation of submission of pardon
to the president. That is, the Court "frees" the convicted person to apply for
pardon at any time.

This ruling changed the preceding rules, the submission of pardon is done no
later than a year since the decision of permanent legal force.

The petitioner of this case is Su'ud Rusli, a death row inmate of the murder of
President Director of Asaba Budyharto Angsono. Su'ud regards Article 7
paragraph (2) of the Law on Gracency injured a sense of justice due to the
submission of pardon more than a year since the final decision was considered
expired.

The filing of Su'ud's pardon in 2014 was rejected by President Joko Widodo on
31 August 2015, which was received on October 8, 2015.

Previously, the Attorney General admitted concerned with the disclosure of drug
smuggling cases in the country that increasingly rife.

"We are concerned about the disclosure of a ton of shabu in Banten and the
hundreds of kilos in Pluit, proving it appears that Indonesia is the center of
the drug network in Southeast Asia," said Attorney General HM Prasetyo after
receiving a visit to the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission of
Malaysia (MACC) Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad last month.

He mentioned the drug case would undermine the generation of the Indonesian
Nation. Therefore there is no compromise to such a crime. "It must be fought
sincerely and seriously," he said, asserting.

Prasetyo added that the AGO would not hesitate to sue the perpetrators of drug
trafficking. Let not a ton, no compromise of evil as it should be fought
sincerely.

(source: netralnews.com)



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2017-10-02 10:59:48 UTC
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Oct. 2




SAUDI ARABIA----executions

Pakistani 'drug trafficker' among 6 beheaded in Saudi Arabia



The Saudi Arabia government on Monday executed 6 people, including a Pakistani
citizen, convicted of drug trafficking and homicide, the highest number of
executions in a single day this year.

The Pakistani man was beheaded for drug trafficking and 5 Saudi nationals for
homicide, the interior ministry said.

Monday's executions bring to 44 the number of convicts put to death this year,
according to an AFP tally of government statements.

The oil-rich kingdom has one of the world's highest rates of execution, with
suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug
trafficking facing the death penalty.

The country reported 153 people executed last year, a number confirmed by
London-based rights group Amnesty International.

(source: Pakistan Today)








IRAN----executions

Three Executions On Murder Charges



2 prisoners were executed, 1 at Kerman prison and another at Tabriz Central
Prison. The total number of the executions in Urmia on Tuesday has increased to
2.

Execution of Prisoner in Kerman

According to a report by ISNA and the deputy of Public and Revolutionary
Prosecutor's Office for Central Kerman Province, a prisoner who was charged
with murder was hanged at Kerman prison. According to the same source, the
prisoner, identified as Gh.N., murdered his brother-in-law with a knife in a
quarrel on April 3, 2013.

"The victim, Ahadi, was a close relative of the murderer's and there was no
intention of murder. But it all happened extremely fast," Amine Salari
explained.

The official sources that reported the execution of this prisoner didn't
mention the exact date of it, however, it appears that the execution was
carried out on Thursday September 28.

Execution of Prisoner in Tabriz

According to a report by HRANA, a prisoner was executed at Tabriz Central
Prison on murder charges. The prisoner, identified as Ahad Pourtaghi, was
executed on Thursday September 21.

Mr. Pourtaghi had been in prison since 2012 on the charge of murdering his
wife. He was tried in a court and his death sentence was issued.

Execution of Prisoner in Urmia

According to a close source, a prisoner, named Moslem Tamrkhani from ward 2 of
mental ward, was executed at Urmia Central Prison on Tuesday 26. Moslem
Tamrkhani was sentenced to death on murder charges.

Previously, Iran Human Rights (IHR) had reported about the execution of a
prisoner named Javad Khayyeri at Urmia Central Prison on Tuesday. This brings
the total number of the executions on Tuesday to 2. The 2 prisoners were
transferred to solitary confinement in a group of 4 on Monday September 25. The
other 2 prisoners returned to their cells after either winning the consent of
the plaintiff or asking for time.

The executions in Tabriz and Urmia have not been announced by the state-run
media so far.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty, 142 of the
530 execution sentences in 2016 were implemented due to murder charges. There
is a lack of a classification of murder by degree in Iran which results in
issuing death sentence for any kind of murder regardless of intensity and
intent.

(source: Iran Human Rights)








VIETNAM:

In Vietnam, corruption can mean death. But so what?



Unless the day-to-day corruption that affects the masses is rooted out, any
anti-graft drive would be just cosmetic, analysts say.

Mac Thi Hao seems unperturbed by the news coverage of Vietnam's corruption
crackdown blaring from screens all around her. A retired accountant in Hanoi,
Hao has a much more pragmatic, no-nonsense stance on what corruption means to
her.

"I just don't care about a bigwig being punished," Hao told VnExpress
International. "I know there is an ongoing crackdown on corruption, but that
really has nothing to do with me," she said.

"Whenever I think of corruption, I always recall the bribes I had to pay for my
children's school admissions or for better hospital services. To me, that's the
corruption that affects my life the most."

Hao's account offers a small glimpse into what most Vietnamese people make of
corruption and what it means to them. It was revealed against the backdrop of
Vietnam's sweeping corruption crackdown that has grabbed both international and
local headlines.

Just last Friday in Hanoi, a former chairman of the state energy giant
PetroVietnam was sentenced to death and a former CEO of a scandal-hit bank got
a life sentence in what has been considered the biggest fraud trial in
Vietnam's history. The OceanBank trial, as referred to by local media, also saw
a slew of officials and bankers receive jail terms of up to 22 years.

Given that Vietnam's top echelons have repeatedly tried to assuage people's
fears of rampant graft, the sentences apparently exhibit the political will to
repair shattered public confidence. In late 2013, 2 former bosses of the
state-run Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) also received death
sentences for embezzling $476,000 each in a high-profile corruption scam that
riveted the nation.

But unless the day-to-day corruption that exacts a heavy toll on the most
average people is rooted out, any so-called anti-graft movement would amount to
little more than window dressing, analysts say.

"Harsh prison sentences and even the death penalty will only have a marginal
impact on curbing grand corruption," Carl Thayer, an Australia-based veteran
Vietnam analyst, said. "Resorting to hard sentences is like a medical booster
shot, it wears off over time," he told VnExpress International.

"The masses encounter everyday low-level corruption in their dealings with
government officials, traffic police and so on," Thayer said. "They would like
to see this ended as their 1st priority."

In Vietnam, the practice of passing money under the table is so common that
many insiders do not even consider it bribery, but an inevitable part of
getting things done.

In a survey in March, Transparency International ranked Vietnam as the second
most corrupt country in Asia after India in terms of bribery. In its Corruption
Perception Index 2016, the Berlin-based advocacy group also ranked Vietnam
113th out of 176 countries and territories.

According to the most recent Governance and Public Administration Performance
Index, which interviewed around 14,000 residents in all 63 Vietnamese provinces
and cities, there were "noticeable spikes" in reports of extra money being paid
for everything from civil service positions to good grades.

Many analysts blame the problem on Vietnam's failure to complete market reforms
that began in the late 1980s. They say there is still too much state control
over the economy, which allows connected insiders to profit.

According to the analysts, individuals who have access to centrally planned or
government-controlled assets like land or capital are getting very rich, but
individual entrepreneurs who have to compete without subsidized land, capital,
fast-tracked approval or tax breaks are having a much harder time.

This has fueled an entrenched bribe-for-approval system.

"It is just too accepted as 'the Vietnamese way of doing business'," Dennis
McCornac, a professor of economics at Loyola University in Baltimore
(Maryland), said.

"Right now, the attitude about corruption is still 'this is Vietnam'. Until
there is a change in the mentality of the population and all levels commit to
reducing corruption, the problem will persist," he said.

But apparently, the status quo has already perpetuated widespread public
distrust in the government's determination to fight corruption.

In its March survey, over half of the Transparency International's Vietnamese
respondents reported their government was doing a poor job of fighting
corruption. Questions about public faith in provincial leaders drew rock bottom
responses in the Governance and Public Administration Performance Index, but
only 3 percent of respondents said they would blow the whistle on corrupt
officials.

But still, the death penalty handed down last week to Nguyen Xuan Son, the
former PetroVietnam chairman, and the life sentence for Ha Van Tham, the former
chairman of OceanBank, will send a powerful message to the general public that
the current leadership is serious about its anti-corruption drive, Thayer said.

"To be effective the anti-corruption campaign must be never-ending. There are
undoubtedly other corruption scandals waiting to be exposed," he said.

State oil and gas giant PetroVietnam and the banking sector have been at the
center of the crackdown that has netted scores of officials. Chief among them
is Dinh La Thang, who was ousted from the Politburo, the Communist Party's
decision-making body, last May and fired as the top leader of Ho Chi Minh City
soon after.

But the bottom line is going after high-profile individuals is not going to
restore public trust in any significant way, analysts say. They say the fight
against deep-rooted graft in Vietnam requires a political sledgehammer to fix a
badly broken system, leaving no room for the ???kill the chicken to scare the
monkeys" approach.

"Corruption is like Hydra, a 9-headed serpent-like snake in Greek Mythology in
which it was said that if you cut off 1 hydra head, 2 more grew back,"
McCornac, the American analyst, said. "Perhaps the new heads are not as large
or powerful as the one cut off, but they emerge nevertheless," he said.

"The only way is to address the issue at all levels."

Having lived abroad for years, a retired Vietnamese researcher still keeps
close tabs on what is happening back home. Unsurprisingly, the corruption
crackdown has been high on her radar.

"If the top officials are squeaky clean, no traffic policeman or doctor would
dare to extract bribes from the public," she said, declining to be named,
citing the sensitivity of the issue.

If, as Vietnam's leaders have repeatedly warned, corruption threatens the
survival of the system, addressing it will require the overhaul of the system
itself, she said.

"And that only happens when the powers that be have the political will to do
so."

(source: vnexpress.net)








SINGAPORE:

8 Singaporeans arrested for suspected trafficking after heroin and Ice worth
$275,000 seized----The drugs included about 2.15kg of heroin and 495g of Ice or
methamphetamine.



Drugs worth about $275,000 were seized and 8 suspected drug offenders were
arrested in an operation by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) on Friday (Sept
29).

The drugs included about 2.15kg of heroin and 495g of Ice or methamphetamine,
said the CNB in a statement on Saturday.

On Friday afternoon, CNB officers were deployed near a carpark at New Upper
Changi Road to observe a group of suspected drug traffickers.

At around 4pm, a man was seen leaving a unit and waiting at the void deck of a
building.

Soon after, 3 men arrived in a car. The man from the building approached the
car and was seen talking to the t3 suspects, said the CNB.

After they parted ways, officers arrested the man at the void deck, together
with another younger man who had met him.

Officers then raided the unit that the man had exited from earlier and
recovered about 2,132g of heroin and 191g of Ice.

3 other suspects, a man and 2 women, were also arrested in the unit, said CNB.

The 3 men in the car were also arrested by another party of officers who had
tailed the car to a petrol kiosk along Bedok South Avenue 1, where they had
stopped to refuel.

About 304g of Ice and 18g of heroin were found in the car, said CNB.

All 8 suspects are Singaporeans, aged between 25 and 55 years old.

Investigations into the drug activities of the suspects are ongoing.

For trafficking more than 15g of diamorphine, or pure heroin, or more than 250g
of methamphetamine, a convicted drug trafficker can face the death penalty.

(source: The Straits Times)








MALAYSIA:

Kim Jong-nam murder: Women plead not guilty in Malaysia trial



2 women have pleaded not guilty to murdering Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of
North Korea's leader, as their trial in Malaysia got under way.

The brazen nature of his killing, using the highly toxic VX nerve agent as he
waited for a flight at Kuala Lumpur airport in February, shocked the world.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 29, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, are accused of
rubbing the chemical on his face.

The pair say it was a TV prank and they were tricked by North Korean agents.

Pyongyang has denied any involvement in the killing, but in court prosecutors
said that 4 men - believed to be a reference to 4 North Koreans who fled
Malaysia the same day - were also suspects in the killing.

The incident led to a bitter diplomatic row and strained the once cordial ties
between North Korea and Malaysia, which expelled each other's ambassadors.

What happened at court?

The trial has been 8 months in the making and the 2 women are the only suspects
actually charged so far with the murder of Kim Jong-nam.

With their heads bowed and wearing handcuffs and bullet-proof vests, the women
walked past a horde of journalists gathered outside the court in Shah Alam,
outside Kuala Lumpur.

After the charges were read to them in court in Indonesian and Vietnamese, the
2 women entered their pleas through interpreters.

If found guilty, the women face the death penalty. Their defence lawyers are
likely to argue that the real culprits are North Korean agents, who left
Malaysia.

But in his opening remarks, the prosecutor said he aims to prove that the
women, along with four people still at large, had the "common intention" to
kill Mr Kim.

He said the women had carried out practice runs in Kuala Lumpur shopping malls
before the attack, under the "supervision" of the 4 people, who were not named
in court.

Dozens of witnesses, including airport staff who came into contact with Mr Kim,
are expected to take the stand in the trial which will run for weeks.

\ Why was the murder so shocking?

The murder is notable for its sheer audacity, taking place as it did
mid-morning in full view of security cameras at Kuala Lumpur's airport.

On 13 February the 2 women were seen threading through crowds of people and
accosting Mr Kim, before rubbing their hands on his face.

The CCTV footage shows a woman in white lunging at a man

Then there was the speed with which Mr Kim died. Immediately after the attack
he sought help from airport staff, who led him to a clinic, but he collapsed
and died just minutes later.

After a post-mortem examination, Malaysian authorities announced he had been
killed by VX, a toxin so lethal that it is classified as a weapon of mass
destruction by the United Nations.

How is North Korea involved?

The 2 women, who were arrested days after the killing, have insisted that they
were tricked by North Koreans into taking part in what they thought was a TV
prank. Four North Korean men who fled Malaysia shortly after the incident are
believed to suspects. Interpol issued "red notices" for their arrest in March.

Malaysia has named and questioned other North Koreans in relation to the case.

But authorities also allowed 3 of them to leave the country in late March, in
return for North Korea releasing 9 Malaysian diplomats and their families.

What does the case tell us about North Korea?

Mr Kim, who was in his mid-40s, was the estranged older half-brother of North
Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

At the time of his death, he was believed to have been living in self-imposed
exile in Macau and was thought to have had some links to China.

Some believe he was killed because he was seen as a potential
leader-in-waiting, and therefore a threat to his younger brother, but many
analysts have dismissed this.

As with much concerning North Korea, the real motivations behind Mr Kim's
murder are likely to remain unclear.

(source: BBC News)


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Oct. 3



SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi Arabia Death toll reaches 100 as authorities carry out execution spree



The Saudi Arabian authorities executed a man today, bringing the total number
of people put to death so far in 2017 to 100, with 60 people executed in the
past 3 months alone, said Amnesty International.

"Since July 2017, the Saudi Arabian government has been on an execution spree
with an average of 5 people put to death per week. This sets the country firmly
on track to remain one of the most prolific executioners on the planet," said
Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for Amnesty International in the
Middle-East.

"If the Saudi authorities are truly intent on making reforms, they must
immediately establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step
towards abolishing the death penalty completely."

40 % of the executions carried out so far this year were related to
drug-related offences, which do not fall into the category of "most serious
crimes". The use of the death penalty for such offences violates international
human rights law.

Unfair trials

Many people in Saudi Arabia sentenced to death and executed are charged guilty
following seriously flawed court proceedings that routinely fall far short of
international fair trial standards. They are often convicted solely on the
basis of "confessions" obtained under torture and other ill-treatment, denied
legal representation in trials which are held in secret, and are not kept
informed of the progress of the legal proceedings in their case.

For example, on 13 September Said al-Sai'ari was executed in the city of
Najran, in the southwest of Saudi Arabia. He was found guilty of the murder of
another Saudi Arabian man, by the same court that concluded that there was not
enough evidence to convict him.

"Said al-Sai'ari was put to death in spite of the lack of evidence against him.
This just shows how facile it is for the Saudi Arabian authorities to resort to
this inhumane, and more crucially, irreversible punishment," said Lynn Maalouf.

Death penalty as a tool to crush dissent

"The Saudi authorities have been using the death penalty as a tool to crush
dissent and rein in minorities with callous disregard for human life. They
should immediately quash these sentences and ensure that all trials meet
international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty" said
Lynn Maalouf.

At least 33 members of Saudi Arabia's Shi'a Muslim community currently face the
death penalty. All were accused of activities deemed a risk to national
security. Among them are Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher, Dawood al-Marhoon who
were arrested for alleged offences committed when they were under 18 and who
said that they were tortured in order to make them "confess". Last month the
family of another young man Abdulkareem al-Hawaj were informed by court
officials that the Supreme Court had upheld his death sentence for offences
related to his involvement in anti-government protests. Al-Hawaj was only 16
when he took part in the protests; he has exhausted all his appeals and can be
executed as soon as the King ratifies his sentence. They are all at imminent
risk of execution.

On 11 July, Yusuf al-Mushaikhass along with 3 other Shi'a men were executed in
the country's Eastern Province of Qatif for terror-related offences in
connection with their participation in anti-government protests between 2011
and 2012. He was convicted following a grossly unfair trial which hinged
largely on a "confession" obtained through torture.

The families of the 14 Shi'a men accused of protest-related crimes and whose
death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on 24 July live in the fear of
receiving at any time the horrific news of the execution of their relatives.

Background

Saudi Arabia uses the death penalty for a wide range of offences that are not
accepted as the "most serious crimes" under international human rights law,
which are limited to crimes involving intentional killings.

Saudi Arabia is one of the top executioners in the world, with more than 2,000
people executed between 1985 and 2016.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception
regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or
other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to
carry out the execution.

(source: Amnesty International)








MALAYSIA:

Entertainment centre operator, Thai woman charged with drug trafficking



An entertainment centre operator and a Thai woman were jointly charged at the
magistrate's court here today for drug trafficking and the possession of
contraband cigarettes and alcoholic drinks.

For the 1st count, T. Kartik, 26, and Jutamas Pattarapanichkul, 27 were charged
with trafficking 448.98 grammes of heroin and monoacetylmorphine at a house at
Lot 585, Jalan Damai 1, Taman Damai, Padang Serai on Sept 20 at 2pm.

They were charged under Section 39B (1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952,
which upon conviction, carries the mandatory death penalty.

For the 2nd count, the duo were jointly charged with the possession of imported
contraband items, namely 20 cartons of contraband cigarettes and 5 cartons of
various brands of contraband beers worth RM558.24.

The offence was investigated under Section 135 (1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967,
which is punishable under Section 135 (1)(iii) of the same act.

They face a maximum fine of between 10 to 20 times the total value of the items
or 3 years' imprisonment or both, upon conviction.

No plea was recorded from the 2, who were unrepresented when the charges were
read before Magistrate R. Manoman.

Customs Department's Deputy Public Prosecutor Nazir Amir Johari prosecuted.

The court has set Nov 27 for the next mention, pending the chemist report.

(source: thesundaily.my)








IRAN:

Executions continue unabated in Iran



The recent NCRI Human Rights Center Weekly Bulletin gives fresh evidence of the
level of violence that permeates the Iranian regime.

The death sentence for a man convicted of murder, for example, was held in
public on Modares Boulevard. The man was only identified by state-run media as
SD.

Yet, according to the bulletin, there were other men charged with murder that
were also executed in September, but these men were hanged within the prisons
where they were being held.

Executions are also used as a sentence for those who commit lesser crimes,
including rape. However, many of these convicted criminals were not given a
fair trial and were often denied legal representation. As a result, members of
the international community continue to call for Iran to end these executions.
The regime, however, has continued executions unabated.

One prisoner was hung in front of his fellow prisoners. He was convicted of
having an illegitimate relationship. During his execution, 50 prisoners were
assembled by the prison authorities and forced to watch. This type of abuse,
both mental and physical, is common for those in prison in Iran.

Another man was lashed and executed for his conviction of killing a girl. His
execution was also done publicly. The Ardabil Public and Revolutionary
Prosecutor, Pars Abad Prosecutor, judiciary and security officials, along with
a number of other officials, were present for the execution ceremony.

These executions are not limited to just men. A woman was executed on charges
of murder. According to the Justice Department of Zanjan, the execution was
carried out in the central prison of Zanjan.

The killing of government agents is also considered a crime worthy of the death
penalty. For example, the governor of Golestan Province said the man
responsible for the death of a security agent was hanged in the town of Agh
Ghola. He referred to the execution as a retribution sentence, which was
confirmed by the Supreme Court.

3 other prisoners were executed after being charged with murder. One of the
individuals was charged with killing a government agent and had already served
over 30 years in prison prior to his execution.

These executions often involved solitary confinement prior to the sentences
being carried out. Parts of their sentences, including the removal of hands,
feet, and lashings, are done prior to the execution. The treatment these
prisoners receive could be classified as cruel and unusual punishment.

The Iranian regime also sees nothing wrong in executing those arrested for
selling or possessing drugs. Executions for these charges are condemned by
international law, yet Iran continues to ignore these violations in favor of
continuing the executions.

2 prisoners were hanged in Qazvin Prison after being convicted on drug related
charges. Both prisoners had already been detained several years prior to their
executions. These men were older and had already served a prison sentence,
which would have been satisfactory under international law.

Many of these killings are also meant to be a message to those within the
prisons and the Iranian population as a whole. The message is meant to
discourage anyone from opposing the regime and its theocracy in any way.

The Chief Justice of Kerman province announced the execution of 5 prisoners,
who he said were threats to security and troublemakers. He also noted their
executions were carried out after legal procedures were completed.

All of these examples demonstrate that the call of a moderate Iran is a false
hope. Iran's mullahs are continuing to violate human rights, while claiming
that change is possible. Yet, their actions demonstrate that the regime is
incapable of true change for the betterment of its people.

(source: merinews.com)








GLOBAL:

These 13 countries voted against UN ban of death penalty for being gay----You
might be surprised by some of the Western countries who voted against



The United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to condemn countries who use
the death penalty on gay people.

Although the resolution passed with 27 countries voting for the measure - 13
countries including the United States voted against.

Being gay is still punishable by death in 6 countries including Iran, Saudi
Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.

Similarly, gay people are also being killed in so-called ISIS-held territories
in Northern Iraq and Northern Syria.

Although not countrywide, there are also parts of Nigeria and Somalia where the
death penalty is in use against LGBTI people too.

However, this resolution doesn't call for an end to death as punishment. It
asks countries who have the death penalty to ensure they do not use it in a
'discriminatory manner.'

It calls for an end to using the death penalty for anyone:

with intellectual disabilities

below 18 years of age at the time of the crime

pregnant women

for apostasy

blasphemy

adultery

consensual same-sex relations

Responding to the vote, Renato Sabbadini, Executive Director of The
International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA)
says:

'It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people
living in States where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they
love.

'This is a monumental moment where the international community has publicly
highlighted that these horrific laws simply must end.'

Who voted against the resolution?

This is not the 1st time the UN has made this kind of statement.

More than a decade ago, the now-disbanded UN Human Rights Commission passed a
similar resolution. The United Nations General Assembly in New York also passes
a resolution on 'extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions' every 2 years.

However, this resolution is the 1st by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

There were 6 attempts by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Russia to change and dilute
the resolution. Despite this, they all failed to allow the measure to pass.

These are the 13 countries that voted against the resolution:

Bangladesh

Botswana

Burundi

China

Egypt

Ethiopia

India

Iraq

Japan

Qatar

Saudia Arabia

The United Arab Emirates

United States

However, despite submitting several changes, Russia is not able to vote.

An extensive campaign by human rights groups opposing Russian membership was
successful in 2016 when they were denied a place on the council in 2016. The
groups took issue with the countries bombing of Syrian cities.

Andre du Plessis, Head of UN Programme and Advocacy at ILGA says:

'We are grateful for the leadership of the 8 countries that brought this
resolution - Belgium, Benin, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, and
Switzerland.'

Above all adding, 'they stood firm on principle through a difficult negotiation
and voting period.'

(source: Gay Star News)

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Oct. 1



MALAYSIA:

The 2 women 'pawns' facing death penalty over assassination of Kim Jong-un's
brother



2 young Asian women are expected to plead not guilty to one of the most
audacious crimes of the year on Monday, when they stand trial in a Malaysian
court for the murder of the half-brother of North Korea's despotic young
leader.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam are charged
with murdering Kim Jong-nam, 45, at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 by
smearing his face with VX, a chemical weapon the United Nations has described
as a weapon of mass destruction.

The pair have claimed from the start that they did not know they were taking
part in the international assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un's estranged
relative, and believed they were taking part in a TV prank show. They face the
death penalty if convicted.

(source: telegraph.co.uk)

**********************

Online outrage over death of navy sailors



The death of 2 Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) personnel while in the detention unit
at Sungai Wangi, Sitiawan in Perak on Friday has sparked widespread outrage
with people calling for justice for the duo.

Netizens who took to social media to comment on the incident said those
responsible should be made to pay for loss of lives of the 2 navy men.

"Punish the murderers accordingly and set it as an example for all to observe
and obey the law as well as to respect others," said Weng Kit, who posted a
comment on the New Straits Times Facebook page.

Ahmad Tejuddin Abdul Majeed wrote: "The medical report is final. Any suspected
foul play must be investigated and if found to be any acts of brutality, all
those involved in at the detention unit must be charged in court.

Romuald Nonis said: "They had families and could anyone do such things to these
guys? Get the culprits and send them to the gallows. My deepest condolences to
their families and friends."

Meanwhile, Maurice Ryan Downs said: "It sounded very weird to me when 2
individuals died at the same time at the same place for seemingly the same
reason."

Laura Wong said: "Angry that the thoughtless and cruel acts or some people
caused the death of two young and able men. I feel sad for them and their
parents. May they rest in peace."

Another said: "These are the people trained to protect the country and its
citizens, but instead they were tortured by own countrymen."

Some of the netizens also questioned the standard operating procedures at the
detention unit and called for a review to the existing procedures.

"Must it torture to toughen a man? Is it an accepted practice in the whole
world to heightened one's endurance level," said Klissa Siti.

Earlier yesterday, RMN had confirmed that the 2 died while at the detention
unit on Friday.

According to the statement, the 2 appeared to be exhausted and were vomiting
and having breathing difficulties after undergoing physical training according
to the (SOP).

The duo then were then given treatment by staff at the unit but were pronounced
dead by the paramedics at 3.15pm.

However, post mortem from the Pathology Department of the Raja Permaisuri
Bainun Hospital revealed that the 2 sailors- Nik Muhammad Baihaqy Nik Mat, 28,
and Muhammad Lailatulman Mohd Sukri, 26, died due to bleeding on the lungs and
blunt trauma on soft tissue.

This morning, 3 RMN personnel, who were on duty on the day of the incident,
were remanded for 7 days today to assist in an investigation.

Magistrate Nur Shaqira Ibrahim granted a 7-day remand request on the 3
personnel, aged between 29 and 44, starting from today until Oct 7.

The case is being investigated under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which
carries the death penalty upon conviction.

(source: nst.com.my)








BARBADOS:

Pressure is on to end death penalty----Government is facing an international
campaign intended to pressure Barbados into abandoning the death penaltyRelated
articles

3 human rights organisations, the Advocates for Human Rights (The Advocates),
the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (World Coalition), and the
Greater Caribbean for Life (GCL), have submitted a "joint stakeholder report"
to the United Nations' (UN) Human Rights Council calling for Barbados to
abolish the death penalty and replace it with "human-rights centred
legislation".

The trio, based in the United States, France, and Trinidad and Tobago
respectively, also recommended that "current death sentences should be
commuted".

The Sunday Sun learnt that their recommendations were included in a report sent
to the UN body ahead of Barbados' next Universal Periodic Review (UPR) due in
January.

(source: Nation News)








CAYMAN ISLANDS/JAMAICA:

Suspected Jamaican killer fights deportation



A Jamaican national who is currently being held on remand at HMP Northward,
having been charged with illegal landing, is fighting deportation to his native
country over fears he could be executed because he is a murder suspect there.
The Jamaican authorities believe O'Brian Ellis, from Westmoreland, murdered his
brother, Steadman Sterling, last December and is on the country's 'most wanted'
list. Ellis had been living in Windsor Park for several months, having arrived
in Cayman illegally, when he was picked up during a raid last month.

Ellis is challenging removal to his homeland on human rights grounds because,
although it is nearly 3 decades since anyone was put to death by the state,
Jamaica still has the death penalty for aggravated murder on its statute books.
However, most prisoners who have been sentenced to hang over the last 30 years
have appealed their death sentences to the Privy Council and all have been
commuted, leaving only a handful of inmates on the country's death row.

In an application for a judicial review filed by his attorneys this month,
Ellis argued that his deportation to Jamaica would expose him to the death
penalty because he believes the authorities there intend to charge him with
aggravated murder, and that this would be in breach of the Constitution of the
Cayman Islands, specifically the guarantees within the Bill of Rights and the
right to life.

Section 24 of the BoR states that it is unlawful for a public official to make
a decision or to act in a way that is incompatible with the Bill of Rights.

Ellis further argued that prison conditions in Jamaica are such that, even if
he was not given the death penalty, life imprisonment would constitute a
violation of the prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment.

(source: Cayman News Service)








TANZANIA:

Death Penalty 'Here to Stay'



The Law Reform Commission of Tanzania has responded to an outcry by human
rights bodies on abolition of the death penalty, insisting that currently there
is no justification to implement such a call.

The Commission's Executive Secretary, Mr Casmir Kyuki, told the 'Sunday News'
that in recent years, the Commission conducted several researches on the same
subject after which results showed that majority wanted the capital punishment
to stay.

"I don't think we, at the Law Reform Commission of Tanzania, have any reason to
initiate the process of writing a law to abolish death penalty, because
researches conducted show that people want the verdict to stay," Mr Kyuki
insisted.

He added: "If my memory serves me right, we have about three reports compiled
from researches conducted on the same subject. In all the reports, majority of
Tanzanians called for upholding of the sentence."

Mr Kyuki said individuals who insisted on the abolition of capital punishment
ought to take note that they were dealing with people's lives, adding that one
of the key roles of the State was to ensure life was protected.

"The law states clearly that if one is proven beyond reasonable doubt of
committing murder, he/she should also be subjected to death penalty. However,
commuting the sentence is again vested in the powers of the President," he
explained.

"The President, under the powers vested upon him by the constitution, can let
inmates on death row serve life imprisonment sentences or 30 years instead of
signing execution warrant," he observed.

Touching on the statement by President John Magufuli recently that he will not
sign execution warrant for any inmate on death row, Mr Kyuki said 'it doesn't
mean that the President can indeed not sign it."

He said the Commission has, at different occasions, gone an extra mile to
explain about the country's position on death penalty to the international
human rights bodies.

Tanzania is yet to sign and ratify the "2nd Optional Protocol to the
International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights of 1989" which pushes
countries to abolish death penalty.

The Commission is an independent institution established under the Law Reform
Commission Act, 1980 to constantly keep under review all laws of the country
with the view to attaining a systematic development of the laws through reform.

Recently, human rights bodies called for abolition of the penalty as it was
against the fundamental right - the right to live. The call to abolish the
capital punishment comes at a time when the number of inmates sentenced to
death in the country keeps soaring.

This month alone the High Court, Sumbawanga Zone, sentenced nine people, 6 of
whom being relatives, to death after convicting them of various offences.

According to data obtained by the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) from
Tanzania Prison Services on July 10, 2015, there were 472 individuals under
death sentence, of which 452 are men while 20 are women. No other recent data
have been made public to date.

Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC) Executive Director, Dr Hellen
Kijo-Bisimba, spoke to the 'Sunday News', insisting that Head of State had
powers to scrap the death penalty.

Dr Bisimba said given the fact that Tanzania was yet to sign and ratify the 2nd
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights
of 1989, the President had mandate to order the Attorney General (AG) to draft
a Bill for enacting a law to scrap capital punishment. The protocol was created
on December 15, 1989 and entered into force on July 11, 1991.

As of September 2016, the Optional Protocol had 83 states parties. The protocol
commits its members to the abolition of the death penalty within their borders,
though Article 2.1 allows parties to make a reservation allowing execution 'in
time of war.'

According to Dr Bisimba, issuance of death penalty by judges, according to the
country's Penal Code, was unavoidable, as long as one was proven guilty beyond
reasonable doubt to have committed murder.

"The problem with our Penal Code is that it does not give discretional powers
to the judges to give alternative punishment to an accused proven beyond
reasonable doubt to have committed murder," she said.

"She added: " I think we can have a law that requires individuals convicted of
murder to serve let's say life imprisonment or even 30 years in prison instead
of taking their life away."

Dr Bisimba said if the President finds that drafting the Bill to have a law
that provides for alternative punishment for those convicted of murder is a
long process, he can issue a decree instead.

About three weeks ago, President Magufuli said he would not sign execution
warrants for any inmates on death row by hanging after being convicted of
various serious crimes.

He made the remarks at State House while swearing-in the newly appointed Chief
Justice (CJ), Prof Ibrahim Juma.

"I am aware of the difficulties in implementing such sentences, so I have
directed the court not to submit names of prisoners who are in line to be
hanged to death," President was quoted as saying.

The LHRC, in one of its documents, cites the 2015 Tanzania Human Rights Report,
saying death penalty violates the rights to life which is fundamental right.

The rights body states that though death penalty is part of the country's laws,
there have not been any executions since 1994.The right to life is provided for
under Article 14 of the Constitution.

However, the protection of the right is not absolute, as this right under
article 14 can be subjected to other laws," the LHCR states.

The rights body further says in the Tanzanian laws it is stipulated as a
mandatory sentence for cases of murder and treason under the Penal Code
sections 39 and 197.

(source: Tanzania Daily News)








NIGERIA:

Overwhelmed by unrelenting kidnappings, Umahi vows, 'I'll sign death warrants
of convicted kidnappers'



Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State has expressed dismay over the unrelenting
kidnappings in the state, saying he would not hesitate to sign the death
warrant of convicted kidnappers.

Umahi made the declaration in Abakaliki on Saturday in a special broadcast
marking the nation's 57th Independence anniversaty celebration.

The occasion also coincides with Ebonyi State's 21st anniversary.

He said, "In spite of the death penalty we have in our state, kidnappers
continue to thrive, their activity is that of man's inhumanity to man.

"We set up the Neighbourhood Watch security initiative to tackle the security
challenges in our state.

"In the months ahead, we are going to man all our exit points with Closed
Circuit Television, kidnappers will not have easy exit."

(source: punchng.com)

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2017-10-04 14:06:45 UTC
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Oct. 4



SOUTH KOREA:

South Korean student once lined up for death penalty now acquitted after cop
lied



A South Korean student, once in line for an automatic death sentence for drug
trafficking, has seen a reversal in fortunes after he was acquitted today. The
ruling occurred after the suspect???s defense team was able to prove that the
police officer had lied several times while under oath.

Kim Yun Soung was subsequently freed by Seremban Judge Abu Bakar Jais, after
being held in remand for nearly a year.

Kim had been charged with trafficking 219 grams of cannabis from an apartment
in Bandar Baru NIlai, an hour outside of Kuala Lumpur, last October 19.

Earlier, the prosecution had asked Judge Abu Bakar for a discharge, making the
case a contender for re-opening at a later date.

However, Kim's attorney, Gobind Singh Deo, successfully argued that after a
year in lock-up, his client should not have the charge looming over his head.

Deo had proved that the police officer who led the raid was no longer a
credible witness, after having been caught red-handed in contempt of court
lying about who was present at the time of the arrest. When challenged with a
potential charge after CCTV footage contradicted his version of events, the
inspector buckled under pressure and admitted to lying.

Video clearly showed that another individual had been handcuffed - though never
arrested - despite the fact that throughout the trial, the police officer had
maintained only Kim had been handcuffed.

Lessons learned all-round! Don't sell drugs out of your apartment, and also,
don't lie under oath.

(source: coconuts.co)








SAUDI ARABIA:

STOP EXECUTION OF JUVENILES IN SAUDI ARABIA

Ali, Dawood and Abdullah are facing imminent execution. They were arrested
after allegedly participating in pro-democracy protests and sentenced to death.
They were all children at the time. They were all tortured into 'confessions'
and convicted in secret trials.



Executioners Wanted: 5 alarming facts about executions in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has been 1 of the 5 top executing countries in the world for more
than a decade. So far this year, the Saudi authorities have put 100 people to
death. Last year they killed 154 people. The year before that, 157 people.

Here are 5 incredible facts about one of the world's most prolific executors:

1. In 2015 Saudi Arabia advertised for 8 new executioners to cope with the rise
in executions.

The advert specified no special qualifications and described the main role as
"executing a judgment of death". Performing amputations on those convicted of
lesser offences was also part of the role. That year, the authorities executed
157 people.

2. Saudi Arabia's main method of execution is beheading with a sword.

Some reports suggest that executions can be carried out by 'crucifixion', which
involves beheading and public display of the body on a cross.

3. The death penalty in Saudi Arabia is regularly imposed for offences
including attendance at political protests.

The Kingdom retains the death penalty for non-lethal 'crimes' like adultery,
drug offences and sorcery. In 2015, a Palestinian poet was sentenced to death
for apostasy for publishing a book of poetry.

Ali al-Nimr, just 17 when sentenced to death by beheading. He was accused of
participation in an illegal demonstration and other offences such as
"explaining how to give first aid to protesters"

4. Executions are either carried out in complete secrecy or in public.

One of the locations in Riyadh for executions is known locally as 'Chop-Chop
Square'.

5. In January 2016, the Saudi authorities carried out a mass execution.

The Saudi authorities killed 47 people in just one day. Among them were at
least 4 juveniles, including Ali al-Ribh, who was arrested at his school,
tortured into a false 'confession' to protest-related charges, and beheaded.
His body was never returned to his family for burial.

(source: repireve.org.uk)

*******************

'5 people put to death per week': Saudi Arabia carries out 100th execution this
year----Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has one of the world's highest rates of
execution, with suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery
and drug trafficking facing the death penalty.



A Saudi was executed in Riyadh on Monday bringing the number of people put to
death in the kingdom so far this year to 100.

The man was sentenced to death for murdering another Saudi man and an appeals
court upheld the ruling, the official SPA news agency reported, without
elaborating.

Human rights organisation Amnesty International condemned what it called Saudi
Arabia's "execution spree".

"Since July 2017, the Saudi Arabian government has been on an execution spree
with an average of 5 people put to death per week. This sets the country firmly
on track to remain one of the most prolific executioners on the planet," said
Lynn Maalouf, director of research for Amnesty in the Middle East.

"If the Saudi authorities are truly intent on making reforms, they must
immediately establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step
towards abolishing the death penalty completely."

40 % of the executions carried out so far this year were related to
drug-related offences, which do not fall into the category of "most serious
crimes". The use of the death penalty for such offences violates international
human rights law, Amnesty added.

Death penalty as a tool

At least 33 members of Saudi Arabia's Shia Muslim community currently face the
death penalty, the rights group reported. Among them are Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah
al-Zaher, Dawood al-Marhoon who were arrested for alleged offences committed
when they were under 18 and who said that they were tortured in order to make
them "confess". They were accused of activities deemed a risk to national
security.

On 11 July, Yusuf al-Mushaikhass, along with 3 other Shia men, were executed in
the country's eastern province of Qatif for terror-related offences in
connection with their participation in anti-government protests between 2011
and 2012. Amnesty says Mushaikhass was convicted following a grossly unfair
trial which hinged largely on a "confession" obtained through torture.

"Saudi authorities have been using the death penalty as a tool to crush dissent
and rein in minorities with callous disregard for human life. They should
immediately quash these sentences and ensure that all trials meet international
fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty," Maalouf added.

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has one of the world's highest rates of
execution with more than 2,000 people executed between 1985 and 2016. Suspects
convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery and drug trafficking face
the death penalty.

(source: alarby.co.uk)








BANGLADESH:

Woman gets death penalty for killing stepdaughter



A Dhaka court has sentenced a woman to death for killing her 6-year-old
stepdaughter in the capital's Jatrabari area in 2014.

The convict, Sumaya Islam Sharmin, 30, was present at the court when Judge
Shamim Ahmed of Dhaka Special Judge???s Court 8 delivered the verdict on
Tuesday.

The court also fined her Tk1 lakh. 9 witnesses testified in the case during the
trial.

According to the case, the victim, Maymuna Akhter, used to live with her father
Razzak Hawlader, his 2nd wife Sumaya and their 2 children in Dhalpur,
Jatrabari.

On October 10, 2014, Maymuna's body was recovered from a bathroom in their
residence.

Her father Razzak, a storekeeper at Dhaka Wasa, was visiting their village home
in Madaripur when the incident took place.

When he learnt of his daughter's untimely death, Razzak filed a case with
Jatrabari police station accusing Sumaya of killing her.

(source: Dhaka Tribune)








CHINA:

China votes against UN resolution to condemn death penalty for gays and
lesbians



In 2005, Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were publicly hanged after
being convicted of raping a 13-year-old boy. Critics of the decision have said
that the 2 were executed for consensual homosexual sex.

On September 29th, China joined 12 other countries in voting against a United
Nations resolution aimed at condemning countries for executing people for
having gay sex.

The Human Rights Council resolution asked countries in which the death penalty
is legal to ensure that it is not applied "arbitrarily or in a discriminatory
manner" or imposed against those under the age of 18, pregnant women, or for
adultery, blasphemy and consensual same-sex relations.

Despite China's nay vote, the resolution passed with 27 members of the council
voting for, 13 against and 7 abstaining from the vote.

In its opposition to the resolution, China was joined by Bangladesh, Botswana,
Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United
Arab Emirates and the United States.

Afterward, a US State Department spokesperson said that the US "unequivocally
condemns" the application of the death penalty to homosexuality, adultery, and
religious offenses, explaining that their vote against the resolution was
really only a vote for the death penalty.

"We voted against that resolution because of broader concerns with the
resolution's approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances, and
it called for the abolition of the death penalty altogether," the spokesperson
said.

The Human Rights Council resolution actually calls upon states that have not
already abolished the death penalty to "consider doing so." You can read the
full resolution here.

China's rationale for voting against the resolution was likely very similar to
America's. The country has not abolished the death penalty, in fact, it
executes more people each year than the rest of the world combined, though it
keeps these statistics secret. Additionally, on the international stage, China
is always quick to support giving countries the freedom to handle their own
affairs inside their own borders with their own laws, allowing Beijing to brush
off criticism regarding human rights abuses from the UN or US.

Back in 2010, China voted against a UN General Assembly resolution aimed at
reinserting "sexual orientation" into a resolution condemning extrajudicial,
summary and arbitrary executions, casting its "nay" vote alongside countries
like Benin, Saudi Arabia, Malawi, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

There are currently 6 countries where the death penalty is used for people in
same-sex relationships: Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and Sudan. Gay
people in areas of Iraq and Syria that are controlled by ISIS are also at risk
of being executed.

Homosexuality is not a crime in China. In 2001, it was removed from the
country's list of psychiatric disorders. Though, China remains far from a
gay-friendly place to live.

(source: shanghaiist.com)








PAKISTAN----executions

Pakistan executes 3 militants convicted over terror attacks



Pakistan's military says authorities have executed 3 militants sentenced to
death by military courts after being convicted of carrying out terror attacks
in recent years.

A statement from the military says the executions took place at a prison in the
country's northwest on Wednesday.

The executions came day after a rights group, Justice Project Pakistan,
expressed concern over the multitude of executions taking place, saying that
the country has sent 477 prisoners to the gallows since 2014.

The group also announced a weeklong public awareness campaign against
executions ahead of World Day Against the Death Penalty, Oct. 10.

Pakistan halted executions in 2008 due to pressure from rights groups but
reinstated capital punishment after the Taliban attacked a school in the city
of Peshawar, killing 150 people, mostly schoolchildren.

(source: Associated Press)

*********************

Pakistani Christian On Death Row Among Nominees For Sakharov Prize



Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have presented their nominations for
this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought -- including Asia Bibi, a
Christian woman sentenced to death in 2010 under Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Polish MEP Anna Fotyga of the conservative ECR group in the European Parliament
said on October 2 that Bibi's "behavior in prison, the dignity she has shown
during all these years is the best proof of her being able to represent the
dignity of a defender of human rights in the face of the worst fate."

Fotyga spoke at a joint meeting of the foreign affairs, development, and human
rights committees in Strasbourg.

Bibi has been on a death row for almost 7 years and her appeal to Pakistan's
Supreme Court has been postponed to an undetermined date.

She was convicted and sentenced to hang after an argument with a Muslim woman
over a bowl of water. Her supporters maintain her innocence and insist it was a
personal dispute.

Under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, anyone found guilty of insulting Islam can be
sentenced to death. Rights groups say blasphemy laws are often abused to carry
out personal vendettas, mainly against minority Christians.

Bibi is among 6 nominees for the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov
Prize, which honors individuals and organizations defending human rights and
fundamental freedoms.

The others nominees are Guatemalan human rights defender Aura Lolita Chavez
Ixcaquic; Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of a pro-Kurdish
party in Turkey; a group of people representing the Venezuelan opposition; the
Swedish-Eritrean prisoner of conscience Dawit Isaak; and Pierre Claver
Mbonimpa, a human rights defender from Burundi.

On October 10, the European Parliament's foreign affairs and development
committees are scheduled to vote on a shortlist of 3 finalists and the laureate
is to be announced on October 26. The award ceremony will take place at the
parliament in Strasbourg in December.

(source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)








VIETNAM:

Vietnam-Laos drug trafficking ring member arrested



Police of Vietnam's central Nghe An province have detained a local man, member
of a ring which has smuggled drugs from Laos to Vietnam, local media reported
on Tuesday.

Pham Van Tung, 27 from Nghe An, was caught red-handed transporting 20 cakes of
heroin, 1kg of methamphetamine, and 12,000 pills of lab-made drugs, daily
newspaper Tien Phong (Pioneer) quoted the provincial police as reporting.

He is a member of the ring which has illegally traded large volumes of drugs in
Laos and Nghe An.

According to Vietnamese law, those convicted of smuggling over 600 grams of
heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamine are punishable by death.
Making or trading 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal drugs also
faces death penalty.

(source: xinhuanet.com)




PHILIPPINES:

Nearly 1/2 of Pinoys believe drug use punishable by death - SWS survey



Nearly 50 % of Filipinos believe that drug use is punishable by death, said a
Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted amid the government's deadly war
on drugs.

The survey conducted from June 23 to 26 this year, released on Tuesday, said 47
% of Filipinos believe drug use is punishable by death and 53 % "correctly
responded that it is not true."

The SWS said the survey had 1,200 adult respondents, 300 each from Metro
Manila, Balance of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

It has sampling error margins of + or - 3% for national percentages, + or - 6%
each for each areas.

The SWS said respondents from Mindanao and Visayas have "higher belief" that a
drug user can be meted the death penalty.

Majority of respondents from Metro Manila or 61 %, meanwhile, responded
correctly to the survey question: "As far as you know, is it TRUE or NOT TRUE
that using banned drugs is a crime punishable by death?")

Death is the most severe penalty cited in Republic Act 9165 or the
Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, signed in 2002 or before the abolition of
death penalty.

Section 11 of RA 9165 says possession of 10 grams of more of opium, morphine,
heroin, cocaine, shabu, marijuana resin and 500 grams of marijuana is
punishable by "life imprisonment to death" and a fine ranging from P500,000 to
P10 million.

Possesion of 5 grams or more but less than 10 grams is pusnishable by 20 years
to life imprisonment and possession of 5 grams of less is punishable by 12
years to 20 years dangerous drugs.

The punishment of death could not be carried out because it had been abolished
in 2006 during the time of former President and now Pampanga Representative
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, or 4 years after RA 9165 was signed into law.

President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for the revival of the death penalty.

Death for selling drugs?

Meanwhile, the same survey showed that 59 % of Filipinos also mistakenly
believe that selling illegal drugs is a crime punishable by death.

The SWS said there was almost no difference in the belief that selling illegal
drugs is punishable by death in the 4 surveyed areas: 61 % in Visayas, 59 % in
Metro Manila, and 58 % each in Balance Luzon and Mindanao believed selling
drugs can cost a drug retailer's life.

In the same survey, SWS found 56 % of surveyed Filipinos do not know of any
rehabilitation program for drug users.

Metro Manila had the highest proportion of those who know of rehabilitation
programs for surrenderees at 62 % followed by Balance of Luzon at 43 %, while
40 % of respondents from Visayas and Mindanao, answered in the affirmative to
the survey question.

The SWS in recent weeks released results of surveys related to illegal drugs or
the administration's war on drugs.

Some of these results showed a majority of Filipinos believed drug suspects
were killed despite surrendering, and that more than 50 percent of Filipinos
believed that many of those killed by police did not really put up a fight,
contrary to the usual police line.

Malacanang had slammed the SWS' survey questions, calling them "leading" and
"pointed."

(sources: ALG, GMA News)








INDONESIA:

Barrister Alex Wilson reveals how the death of Bali 9 duo----Melbourne
barrister Alex Wilson will never forget the desperate final attempt to save 2
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. She couldn't.



When Melbourne barrister Alex Wilson accepted the job of trying to stop the
execution of Bali 9 duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, she knew the case
would be the toughest of her career.

It was 2008 when Mrs Wilson accepted the call from fellow lawyer, Julian
McMahon, to assist in getting Chan and Sukumaran off death row. It was a battle
that left her emotionally traumatised, and the a case she described as the
"hardest" of her career.

"I hadn't ever been involved in a pro-bono case prior to this one," Mrs Wilson
told news.com.au.

"I didn't quite understand what I'd be involved with. I was interested in the
death penalty, and I'd written letters to Amnesty International about it when I
was a student.

"But I'd never done anything like this before."

Ms Wilson, who is now a partner at Lethbridges Barristers & Solicitors,
explained that she and the legal team never intended on getting Chan and
Sukumaran acquitted or their sentence reduced.

"Our goal was to get them off the death penalty. We wanted to get them life in
prison, and not death," she said ahead of her appearance on Insight on SBS on
Tuesday.

"But ultimately my view is that this was not a legal challenge, it turned in to
a political one."

Convicted drug traffickers Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 34, were shot dead on the
prison island of Nusakambangan in April 2015, after being arrested 10 years
prior for trafficking heroin. Both men were the co-ringleaders of a
heroin-smuggling operation from Indonesia to Australia.

But despite their conviction, the men started to reform while behind bars -
which Ms Wilson hoped would assist in getting the pair off death row.

"These boys had reformed ... there's no question," she said.

Mrs Wilson, who found out about the execution of her clients while on board a
flight from Jakarta to Melbourne, said lawyers will often face the risk of
vicarious trauma after being exposed to confronting stories, clients and
evidence. She said that the effects of a criminal trial can go far beyond the
courtroom.

"Bali 9 was the hardest case of my career," she said.

"Others have been emotionally pressing, but nothing compares to when your
clients are killed, because the ultimate outcome is so final and forever.

"I had a fair few things come up in my life at the time of the execution. I'd
lost my mum, and also a close friend at work, so I was surrounded by death at
that stage.

"This is not an easy job, because often we are criticised as defence lawyers
because people think we condone what our client has done.

"But we are simply on the other side of justice ... that's our job, and I don't
have problems sleeping at night for what I do."

Mrs Wilson, who had to seek counselling following their execution, said she
hopes to successfully have the death penalty abolished worldwide in the near
future through the work with charity organisation, Reprieve.

"We had advocated for so many years to get them [Chan and Sukumaran] off death
row, so the outcome just felt unbelievably crushing," she explained.

"But these boys were being made an example of by the Indonesian president, Joko
Widodo.

"They were doing so much for so many, but that meant nothing in the end."

Alex Wilson will appear on Tuesday night's episode of Insightat 8.30pm, which
will be discussing the impact on lawyers who work on criminal trials.

(source: news.com.au)








ETHIOPIA:

Boris Johnson urged to intervene to save Briton on death row in Ethiopia



Boris Johnson has been urged by the heads of both branches of the legal
profession to call for the release of a Briton who was abducted in Yemen and is
now on death row in Ethiopia.

The president of the Law Society, Joe Egan, and the chair of the Bar Council,
Andrew Langdon QC, have written to the foreign secretary to ask him to
intervene more forcefully in the case of Andargachew Tsege.

Johnson has said he will "not interfere in the legal systems of other
countries" and that calling for his release would not "be helpful at this
stage".

Tsege, known as Andy, was kidnapped in 2014 and forcibly flown to the Ethiopian
capital, Addis Ababa, and is an opponent of the regime. He holds British
citizenship. His partner, Yemi Hailemariam, and their 3 children are also
British and live in the UK. She has not spoken to him for nearly 3 years.

Tsege, 63, had previously been secretary general of Ginbot 7, a political
opposition party that called for democracy, free elections and civil rights in
Ethiopia. He first came to the UK in 1979.

Tesge was travelling from Dubai to Eritrea in June 2014 when his flight stopped
over in Yemen. It is believed Yemeni security staff handed him over to the
Ethiopians.

The letter to Johnson from Egan and Langdon says they are very concerned about
the situation of Tsege, who is "unlawfully detained on death row". It points
out that he was tried in absentia, without notice and sentenced to death in
2009.

"He was hooded, shackled and rendered at night to Ethiopia where he was held
incommunicado for over 50 days and has been detained ever since," the letter
continues. "We understand that, in 3 years, he has been permitted a single
phone call to his wife and children, and that the UK government has yet to
secure effective consular access. Mr Tsege has now been unlawfully held on
Ethiopia's death row for over 1,000 days."

Egan and Langdon say that Tsege's conviction violates international law
standards. Their letter to Johnson concludes: "We are deeply concerned about
these flagrant violations of a UK citizen's rights and hope you will make
representations to the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that [they] ... release
Mr Tsege without delay and enable him to return to the United Kingdom."

Hailemariam told the Guardian: "The foreign secretary is saying we should
accept kidnapping. It's illogical and it's heart-breaking. The Ethiopian
government refuses to let me travel to see him."

Hailemariam had a meeting with Johnson at the Foreign Office earlier this year.
"The British government needs to do more," she said. "The last thing that Boris
told me was that I had left him 'with a lot to think about'. But I don't know
what that means. There's no political will and that's really the problem."

Maya Foa, the director of Reprieve, which is campaigning for Tsege's freedom,
said: "[He] has suffered extreme abuses at the hands of the Ethiopian
government, from kidnap to torture to an unlawful death sentence imposed for
his political views while he was living with his family in London.

"By failing to secure Andy's return to his partner and three children in the
the UK, Boris Johnson is failing to stand up for British values and the rights
of a vulnerable British citizen."

In a public letter to the foreign secretary earlier this year, 2 former justice
secretaries and a former DPP - Dominic Grieve QC, Lord Falconer QC and Lord
Macdonald QC - also urged Johnson to call for Tsege's "immediate release" in
"the light of the international law violations".

In an open letter published in August on the Foreign Office website, Johnson
said he had raised Tsege's case with the Ethiopian government on numerous
occasions.

He added: "Britain does not interfere in the legal systems of other countries
by challenging convictions any more than we would accept interference in our
judicial system.

"We do, however, lobby strongly and consistently against the application of the
death penalty ... Neither calling for his release nor reducing our commitment
to the Ethiopian people would be helpful at this stage. It could, in fact,
damage the progress we have made in this case, including consular access to Mr
Tsege."

(source: The Guardian)
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Oct. 6



VIETNAM:

Former energy exec appeals death penalty after massive graft trial in Vietnam



A former chairman of state fuel giant PetroVietnam has appealed against the
death penalty he received last week from a court in Hanoi for his role in the
infamous multi-million-dollar graft case at OceanBank.

On September 29, the court sentenced Nguyen Xuan Son, chairman of the board at
the oil and gas group from 2014 until his arrest in 2015, to death for
appropriating VND246 billion ($13.6 million) from OceanBank.

PetroVietnam had acquired a 20 % stake in OceanBank during that time, meaning
Son had stolen VND49 billion in government money, prosecutors said. The
55-year-old was found guilty of embezzlement, abuse of power and deliberately
violating state regulations on economic management.

The court on Friday said it had received Son's appeal, in which he claimed he
was innocent of embezzlement and charges of abusing his power to steal money,
local media reported.

He admitted in the appeal that he had broken lending regulations at credit
institutions and accepted the charge of deliberately violating state
regulations on economic management.

But he said he would like the court to reconsider the case and reduce his
sentence.

After the sentence was announced last Friday, Son called it "an unjust
verdict", and Reuters quoted his lawyer as saying that he would appeal.

Judges at the 1-month trial also sentenced Ha Van Tham, former chairman of the
board at OceanBank, to life in jail on charges of embezzlement, deliberately
violating state regulations on economic management and breaking regulations on
lending activities at credit institutions.

Tham is accused of offering deposit rates above those set by the central bank
to various customers including PetroVietnam between 2010 and 2014, causing
losses of nearly VND1.6 trillion ($70.4 million).

Other bankers received up to 22 years in jail.

OceanBank was founded in 1993 with a 20 % stake from Ocean Group, which also
invests in hospitality, securities, media and retail. It was taken over by the
central bank in April 2015 after the scandal broke out.

The high-profile trial, with 51 bankers and businessmen in the dock, could go
down as the biggest fraud trial in Vietnam's history.

The Ministry of Public Security has launched a separate investigation into who
else benefited from the illegal money.

According to the indictment, more than 50,000 individuals and nearly 400
organizations and businesses received preferential deposit interest payments
from the bank, including many state-owned units besides PetroVietnam. But only
19 businesses have admitted to having received a combined VND3 billion, while
124 have denied taking any money and the rest have remained silent.

At least 3 PetroVietnam units were put under investigation earlier this month
for colluding with OceanBank execs to appropriate $5.2 million.

PetroVietnam and the banking sector are at the center of Vietnam's sweeping
corruption crackdown that has ensnared scores of high-ranking officials,
including Dinh La Thang, a former member of the Communist Party's
decision-making Politburo who headed PetroVietnam from 2005 to 2011.

(source: vnenxpress.net)








INDIA:

Supreme Court issues notice to Centre asking for alternatives to death by
hanging----A petition said that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution includes
the right of a convict to have a dignified mode of execution



The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Centre on a plea seeking
alternatives to death by hanging for prisoners sentenced to die. The top court
asked the government to give a detailed reply within 3 months.

The plea said that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution on the right to life
includes the right of a convict to have a dignified mode of execution. The
petition also challenged the constitutional validity of a provision in the
Criminal Procedure Code, which specifies hanging by the neck as the mode of
executing a death penalty, PTI reported.

"Our Constitution is a compassionate one, which recognises the principle of the
sanctity of life," the Supreme Court said while hearing the plea. "The
legislature can think of some other means by which a convict, who under law has
to face a death sentence, should die in peace and not in pain," Chief Justice
Dipak Misra said in the order.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice Misra and justices DY Chandrachud and AM
Khanwilkar, said that since other more painless methods of causing death exist
in modern science, the legislature could think of using these other methods to
execute the death sentence.

(source: scroll.in)








PAKISTAN:

Court awards death penalty, 53 years' jail to murder convicts



A court awarded a death sentence to a murder convict and 53 years imprisonment
to his accomplice for their involvement in a murder case in Faisalabad on
Thursday.

The judgment was announced by Additional Sessions Judge Inamul Haq. The
prosecution told the court that accused Ghulam Rasool, Shafqat Ali and Shahbaz
had gunned down Nazar Abbas during a robbery bid.

'Prison officials must ensure convicts' appeals are filed'

The local police registered a case against the accused and presented the
challan before the court. After hearing the arguments, the judge handed down
death sentence to Ghulam Rasool and awarded 53 years jail term to Shafqat Ali.
However, the court acquitted Shahbaz giving him the benefit of doubt.

The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 0.5 million on Ghulam Abbas and Rs0.3
million on Shafqat that would be paid to legal heirs of the victim.

Earlier in July, a court awarded death sentence to a murder convict and life
term to 2 others for their involvement in a murder case in Sargodha.

The prosecution told the court that accused Ramzan, Ahmad Nawaz, Ahmed Khan,
Ejaz, Lakh Mir and Haq Nawaz had gunned down Mehr over a property dispute in
2015.

After hearing the arguments, the judge handed down death sentence to Ramzan and
awarded life term to 2 of his accomplices. However, the court acquitted 3
co-accused due to lack of evidence.

(source: The Express Tribune)

****************************

Mr President, how can you hang a man who cannot even stand?



Abdul Basit, a former administrator at a medical college, was sentenced to
death in 2009. On 1 August, 2010 whilst in Central Jail, Faisalabad, Basit
contracted tubercular meningitis which, due to lack of action on behalf of the
jail authorities, has left him paralysed from the waist down.

As a result of his paralysed condition, jail authorities have determined that
there is no way to carry out the execution in accordance with Pakistan Prison
Rules. His execution has been stayed pending further instructions. The jail
authorities as well as Justice Project Pakistan have made clemency appeals on
his behalf to the President of Pakistan. This is the testimony of Basit's wife,
Musarrat Nausheen.

I married Abdul Basit in 2002. He was an administrative assistant at a local
medical college, handsome, and promised me a good future. He liked to wear good
clothes, and loved cologne. We had two sons. Today, they are 13 and 9.

My eldest son has known his father for only the first four years of his life.
The younger one was barely a year old when Basit left us.

His arrest was sudden, to say the least. He has always maintained his innocence
for the murder that saw him sentenced to death in 2009. A gun was fired in the
middle of an altercation, with the family of a woman he knew.

We don't know who shot it. Basit insists that it was not him. I believe, in my
heart, that he is right. He had no reason to kill that man. We were stable, we
were happy and Basit was neither angry nor violent.

But a man did die, and Basit was arrested for it. When he went to jail, we had
no idea what hit us. It was only me and Basit's mother, facing a judicial
system we did not understand, and a lawyer who was only interested in money.

And everything cost far more than we could afford. Getting to the courthouse -
which was 4 hours away in Okara District, would cost us a few thousand rupees
just in travel costs. Then there were the lawyer's fees and the demands of the
policemen themselves.

There were days when I did not have money to buy milk for my infant son and I
would dissolve sugar in water, and feed him through a bottle. He would cry. But
eventually he would sleep, even if I would not be able to.

We were 2 women with little understanding of our rights, and unsure about whom
to turn to for help. To make matters worse, we were harassed and abused by our
opponents, every time we appeared at the court.

They would warn us to not show up at the next hearing, following us all the way
to the bus stop. They would tell me that they would kidnap my sons if I did not
heed their warnings.

We were alone, poor, female and so, easy targets.

I thought that was it. That his death sentence was a death sentence for all of
us.

But Basit was not done being punished. He had spent the first 18 months of his
detention in Sahiwal Jail, before being transferred to Central Jail, Faisalabad
in 2010.

In August, I received a phone call from the jail hospital. Basit was in a coma,
and we were told that in all likelihood, he would not wake up again. Perhaps we
should come say goodbye.

How had this happened? Riots had broken out in the prison, to protest the use
of use of torture by the jail authorities. Basit, and many other inmates were
confined to a "punishment wing," a small room in filthy conditions. He became
ill, collapsed and received medical attention too late.

When we got to the hospital, we were told that he had tubercular meningitis. He
would never walk again as a result.

He lies like a corpse in his bed, directly as a result of jail negligence.

And if that wasn't humiliation enough, the Government of Pakistan issued two
execution warrants for him after he was paralysed. The only reason Basit is
alive today (if even barely) is simply because prison authorities do not know
how to hang a man who is unable to stand. What they hope to gain from hanging a
cripple is beyond me.

Each time I visit him in prison I see how he is deteriorating, but there is
nothing I can do for him. When we meet, when he speaks, he makes little sense
and barely recognises me. He is also in considerable pain, and of course, the
conditions of the prison only make matters worse.

I feel tired. The burdens have increased - the rent, the children's school
fees, their private tuition costs, and the general cost of living is making
things harder. I have 2 jobs now just to keep things going, keep my head above
water.

I worry about the boys - not having a father has adversely affected them. They
are reserved and silent. People talk, and I know the children hear.

So a healthy, fully able man walked into a jail - and today, he requires a
catheter, and prison authorities to regularly turn him to prevent bed sores. To
the guards, for all intents and purposes, Basit is nothing more than a heap of
inconvenient flesh.

If this isn't grounds for mercy, I'm not sure what else is.

As narrated to Asim Rafiqui, who put it in the form of an article.

This article is 1st of a 3-part series, curated in collaboration with Justice
Project Pakistan, in lead up to The World Day Against the Death Penalty on
October 10th.

(source: dawn.com)








ISRAEL:

'Time for Defense Minister to deliver on death penalty promise'



Bereaved families from the Almagor terror victims organization plan to launch a
campaign after the holidays that will call on Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman
to fulfill his promises to promote the death penalty for terrorists who
murdered Jews.

Dr. Aryeh Bachrach, the father of Ohad Bachrach, who was murdered by terrorists
in Wadi Kelt in 1995, said that "Liberman has been in office as Defense
Minister for a year and a half, and has not yet ordered the military
prosecution to demand the death penalty."

"In his field and in his shift, the military prosecution plays its game as if
there is no defense minister, and the defense minister is silent on the one
hand and sends belligerent statements through his party at the same time."

Yisrael Beytenu chairman MK Robert Ilatov submitted a bill several days ago to
make it possible to seek the death penalty for a person convicted of a
nationalistic murder by a military court.

The bereaved families at Almagor view the bill as nothing more than spin. Ron
Kerman, whose daughter Tal was murdered in a terror attack in Haifa, said that
"this is another spin on the backs of the victims of terror. This time it is
not for election purposes, but to make it feel as though the absence of a law
is what is not allowing Liberman to act."

Kerman recalled the announcement by the Military Advocate General, Brigadier
General Sharon Afek, that he will not seek to impose the death penalty on the
terrorist who murdered three members of the Salomon family in Neve
Tzuf-Halamish.

Yossi Zur, also a bereaved father, conveyed a clear message to Liberman: "You
do not need the death penalty legislation to apply the death penalty within the
framework under your responsibility. Use the existing law under military law -
today. The Salomon's murderer should be the 1st of the killers to deserve the
death penalty."

(source: israelnationalnews.com)








LEBANON:

Death sentence marks the end to Lebanese cleric's dramatic rise and fall



There has been little outcry in Lebanon after a military tribunal sentenced a
once-popular cleric and at least 6 of his followers to death last week for
their roles in a gun battle that killed 18 soldiers.

The cleric, Amhed Al Assir, was convicted of terrorism in the deaths of the
soldiers, which occurred during 2 days of fighting in June 2013 in the coastal
city of Saida. At least 20 of Al Assir's followers died as well.

Along with Al Assir, more than 30 other defendants stood trial, with 15 of them
receiving life sentences, according to Amal Shamseldin, Al Assir's wife. She
put the number of death sentences handed down by the court at nine.

The sentencing is the latest chapter in the meteoric rise and fall of Al Assir,
who had been the preacher at a mosque near his house in Saida's Al Abra
neighbourhood for nearly 20 years before quickly rising to prominence after the
beginning of the rebellion against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad in 2011.

Al Assir openly supported the rebellion and called on Lebanese Sunnis to travel
to Syria to fight, personally visiting the Syrian city of Qusayr in April 2013,
where he was filmed patrolling a front line with an assault rifle and firing
weapons.

He also tapped into a sense of disenfranchisement among many Lebanese Sunnis
with his public criticisms of Hizbollah, the Shiite political party and militia
that wields considerable influence within the Lebanese government and has been
fighting openly in Syria in support of Mr Al Assad since 2013.

Al Assir also drew attention by engaging in high-profile stunts that sometimes
bordered on the comical, such as taking his Salafist followers skiing in the
majority Christian town of Faraya or riding around on a BMX bicycle at a
Hizbollah rally. He staged a high-profile sit-in in central Beirut to call for
Hizbollah's disarmament and won over Lebanese pop singer Fadl Shaker as a
follower. Shaker received a 15-year prison sentence in absentia from the court.

"He had charisma and he was accepting of everyone," Ms Shamseldin said, arguing
that her husband's outspokenness was his undoing. "If anyone talks about the
Syrian revolution, they are sent to jail. Hizbollah wanted to finish him."

But Al Assir's attempts to present himself as a moderate flailed as his calls
for jihad in Syria and even in Lebanon grew louder and tensions rose between
his supporters and Hizbollah's. Smaller clashes preceded the June 2013 battle,
and though Al Assir had called for the disarmament of Hizbollah within Lebanon,
he and his supporters were heavily armed by June 2013.

In the years since, criticism of Hizbollah for its role in Syria faded inside
Lebanon, as has support for Al Assir. The radicalisation of the Syrian
rebellion and bombings inside Lebanon attributed to Al Qaeda-affiliated groups
and ISIL since 2013 have also contributed to that shift. Hizbollah has more
recently received praise even from some of its detractors for its role in
helping drive those groups from the country.

Hostility towards the presence of more than 1 million Syrian refugees in
Lebanon has also grown in recent years, as well as the sense that Mr Al Assad
has more or less won the war.

In Al Abra this week, there were no signs of the destruction the neighbourhood
suffered in 2013, and most of the opposition to the sentencing has been small
demonstrations by families of the men who stood trial. Last week, Ms Shamseldin
and others demonstrated in Al Abra, and another demonstration was planned for
Friday.

Families of the soldiers who died in the fighting have also demonstrated,
blocking roads last year in Beirut to protest against delays in the trial and
reiterate demands for harsh sentences for the accused.

"We will follow him to his grave," the mother of George Bou Saab, one of those
soldiers, told the Lebanese paper The Daily Star after a court hearing in 2015.
"If I wasn't present at a court ... I would've killed him and drank his blood.

"This criminal cannot remain alive while 18 men are buried underground," she
added.

Many of the facts surrounding the battle remain murky. Ms Shamseldin and others
claim the fighting was provoked by Hizbollah militiamen in the neighbourhood,
while others say Al Assir's supporters started the fighting when they attacked
an army checkpoint. Ms Shamseldin and others also accuse Hizbollah of
participating in the battle alongside the army.

"No one was allowed to investigate," Ms Shamseldin said. "No witnesses were
allowed in court. ... There were many people who witnessed the involvement of
Hizbollah."

Umm Mahmoud Al Halabi, whose son was killed in the fighting, made similar
claims. "My son was shot in the back by Hizbollah," she said.

Omar and Mohammed Al Assir, 2 of the couple's 3 sons, also received life
sentences in absentia for their roles in the fighting. Omar was 17 at the time
of the battle, and Mohammed was 20. Ms Shamseldin said lawyers for the family
would appeal the sentences in the coming week.

Al Assir had also initially escaped capture and went in to hiding after the
fighting, but was arrested while trying to leave the country in 2015 though
Beirut's airport.

The lack of due process in Lebanon's military tribunals, as well as the
military's use of torture, are issues that have been raised by rights
activists. It was even difficult for journalists to obtain the exact number of
defendants in the trial and who had received what sentence. On Wednesday, an
army spokesman said he had "no information" regarding the proceedings.

"Our major concern about the tribunal is that it's not an independent court
that does not have the guarantees of a fair trial," said George Ghali, the
programmes manager at ALEF, a Lebanese human rights group. "The court is not
impartial. You have military people judging civilians. In the case of Al Assir,
he's being tried for attacking the Lebanese army."

The mother of Omar Al Baraka, a 24-year-old man who received a 10-year prison
sentence, said her son had been a bystander and was attempting to check whether
his cousins, who lived in the neighbourhood, were safe. He was arrested, along
with more than 100 other people in the area, after the fighting.

Rights groups also collected evidence of torture by the military after the
fighting, and a 36-year-old man named Nader Al Bayoumi died in military custody
after the battle.

"That death has not been investigated properly," Mr Ghali said.

Though the Lebanese government has not carried out an execution since 2004, Mr
Ghali said he was concerned that Al Assir's death sentence might actually go
ahead.

Earlier this year interior minister Ibrahim Machnouk called for the state to
resume carrying out the death penalties of those convicted.

"I know we would have European, Western, or even international opposition," Mr
Machnouk said. "But we have a situation of deranged people carrying weapons."

Mr Ghali said there are about 80 people in Roumieh prison that have been
sentenced to death, and approximately another 40 who have received death
sentences in absentia, a number that has risen in recent years.

"We are certainly concerned with the hike in sentences with the guise of
counterterrorism," Mr Ghali said. "The public is supportive of the death
penalty, and we are worried politicians seeking support will return to it."

More recently, the families of 9 Lebanese soldiers who died after being
captured by ISIL and Al Qaeda-linked militants in northern Lebanon in 2014 have
also demanded the death penalty for defendants in that case.

"Whatever he may have done, executing Mr Al Assir would be a step backwards for
Lebanon's human rights record, and wouldn't deter crime or make Lebanon any
more safe," said Bassam Khawaja, the Lebanon and Kuwait researcher at Human
Rights Watch.

While 58 countries still have death penalty laws on the books, 23 were believed
to have carried out executions in 2016.

There have been multiple proposals since 2004 by members of the Lebanese
government to fully abolish the death penalty, though none have gained enough
traction to be passed.

(source: The National)

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Oct. 6



UGANDA:

EU delegation visits Luzira death-row inmates, promises to support them



The European Union Ambassador designate to Uganda H. E Attilio PACIFICI has
promised to do whatever is possible to support inmates on death row in Uganda.

The commitment was made during a solidarity visit to the inmates on death row
at Luzira Maximum Security Prison where he led a delegation of the European
Union (EU) Heads of Mission in Uganda.

Meanwhile the Ambassador of France to Uganda, H.E Stephanie RIVOAL, in a
message to the female death row inmates said they do not believe in execution,
but rather in redemption, arguing that the death penalty does not prevent
crime.

The visit was organised in partnership with the Foundation for Human Rights
Initiative as part of activities to mark the 15th World Day Against the Death
Penalty set for Tuesday next week, under the theme "Poverty and Justice: A
deadly mix".

The delegation included Ambassadors and representatives from Austria, Belgium,
Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

(source: kfm.co.ug)








BOTSWANA:

Death penalty dread lingers on farmhands who killed white farmer in Botswana



2 legal brains have joined to put on a spirited fight to save their convicted
killer clients from being hanged by the Botswana government.

Earlier this year, Lobatse Judge Abednego Tafa convicted Tshiamo Kgalalelo (32)
and Mmika Mpe (28) for murdering and then setting their Afrikaner boss',
Reinette Vorster, body on fire in her car.

In Botswana, the death sentence is usually issued upon murder under aggravated
circumstances and is carried out by hanging. Experienced lawyer Themba Joina
represents Mpe while Kgalalelo is relying on Archibald Gijima to save him from
the gallows.

The latest on the case is that the 2 lawyers had already submitted written
mitigating and extenuating circumstances to deliver their clients from the
dreadful hangman.

On 24 November the 2 lawyers will plead for the last time and explain why their
clients should be shown mercy.

In the last court session the 2 convicts said they killed their employer out of
anger, because the deceased had subjected them to slave conditions on the farms
of Okwa Valley in Gantsi, a village 667 kilometres away from the capital,
Gaborone.

The duo said they experienced hardships and barbaric and harsh treatment at the
hands of the white lady they brutally murdered and burnt, inside her Toyota
D4D.

This attracted other charges besides murder like: abduction, robbery, motor
vehicle theft and arson.

In the last court sitting Kgalalelo testified that: "I worked at Okwa Valley
for several years despite the harsh treatment from my employer.

We could not report the ill-treatment to labour or any other department because
the farm was too far from where [those] offices are. There was also no labour
inspection."

Both lawyers agreed that their clients were ill-treated by Vorster.

Kgalalelo's lawyer, Gijima, said his client did not murder Vorster. Mpe's
lawyer, Joina, said his client was young when he committed the offence and the
court should take that factor into consideration. Another thing that shows Mpe
was immature, Joina said, is the court findings that show he strangled Vorster
to death.

Botswana citizen Patrick Gabaakanye is the last man to receive the death
penalty. He was the 4th inmate to be executed in Botswana in the last 20 years
after the 1999 execution of South African immigrant Mariette Bosch, for murder.

Bosch's hanging, which caused international attention and mixed reactions, was
followed by another South African national Lehlohonolo Bernard Kobedi's
execution in July 2003.

In 2008 Modise Mokwadi Fly, a Motswana, was hanged for killing his son.

This means that current President Ian Khama has seen at least 2 executions
while in power.

According to the Botswana Constitution, after the courts of Botswana have
confirmed a death penalty, the case must still be referred to the Advisory
Committee on Prerogative of Mercy, who in turn shall advise the president if
there are grounds for him to exercise his powers under Section 53 of the
Constitution to "substitute a less severe form of punishment".

The membership of the Advisory Committee on Prerogative of Mercy consists of
either the Vice-President or a minister appointed by the President, the
Attorney-General; and a person qualified as a medical practitioner in Botswana,
who is appointed by the President.

After Botswana's last execution, which was exercised on Gabaakanye, the
European Union (EU), which is anti-death penalty, issued a statement condemning
Botswana. The EU said the use of capital punishment can never be justified.
"The European Union believes that the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane
punishment and has consistently called for its universal abolition," it said.

(source: The African Independent)








NIGERIA:

Hairdresser to Die by Hanging for Stealing Laptop, Phone



Justice Kudirat Jose of an Ikeja High Court Wednesday sentenced to death Izunna
Ajaere, a 25-year-old male hairdresser for stealing a laptop and a mobile phone
at gunpoint.

Ajaere was found guilty based on the 2-count charge of conspiracy and armed
robbery and was sentenced to death by hanging.

The judge in her judgment, noted that the evidence of the victim of the crime,
Mr Uchenna Ukah, was overwhelming and pivotal in convicting Ajaere.

"The evidence of the prosecution witness proved that the defendant was one of
the armed robbers, therefore, all the ingredients of the crime of armed robbery
has been shown.

"The prosecution has proved the charge of conspiracy to commit armed robbery
and armed robbery beyond reasonable doubt.

"The defendant is hereby sentenced to death for conspiracy to commit armed
robbery and sentenced to death for armed robbery.

"He is to be hanged by the neck till he is dead, may the Lord have mercy on his
soul," the judge said.

The prosecution led by Mrs A.B Awosika had told the court during trial that the
convict committed the offences at 9.30p.m. on June 22, 2012 at No. 12, Vincent
Eze, St., Ajao Estate, Lagos.

According to the prosecution, the convict alongside an accomplice had accosted
Ukah at gunpoint outside his flat.

"Ukah led them to his flat where they stole a laptop, a modem and a blackberry
mobile phone.

Ajaere and his accomplice after the robbery, locked the complainant in his
apartment with the intent to also rob his neighbours.

"The complainant managed to get out of his apartment to raise an alarm leading
to Ajaere and his accomplice being apprehended.

Ukah's laptop and modem were recovered from the duo, however, his blackberry
mobile phone was never recovered," Awosika said.

However, while testifying in his defence during the trial, Ajaere denied
robbing the complainant, he claimed he went to Ajao Estate for hairdressing
work and was arrested by policemen during a raid.

The convict claimed that he was falsely charged with conspiracy and armed
robbery by officials of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

The offences violate Sections 295(2) and 297 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State
2011.

(source: signalng.com)








KENYA:

Babu Owino: Government Planning to Hand Me a Death Sentence



Embakasi East Member of Parliament Babu Owino claims that there is a scheme by
Jubilee government to hand him a death sentence.

Speaking in an interview on Hot 96FM on Wednesday, the youthful MP accused the
government of mistreating him and was planning to charge him with treason,
which attracts a death penalty.

There are plans to charge me with treason and hand me a death sentence." He
claimed.

The penal code states that "any person who is guilty of the offence of treason
shall be sentenced to death."

The youthful was arrested on Monday last and was charged with subversion,
offensive language and incitement to violence. This was after making a slur
directed at President Uhuru Kenyatta during a National Super Alliance rally in
Nairobi.

He was rearrested shortly after he was released on sh 500,000 cash bail, and
was charged with assaulting a voter the following day.

Last week, the former Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU)
chairman alleged that police officers tried to inject him with mercury after
sending street children to harass him while at the cell room.

(source: mwakalishi.com)








BAHAMAS:

Uncertainty Over Progress On Capital Punishment Plans



Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said Tuesday he does not know if the Minnis
administration has made progress in its plans to allow capital punishment to be
resumed in the Bahamas.

After demanding in opposition that the law on capital punishment be enforced,
the Minnis administration has, since its election victory in May, done nothing
to suggest it has begun movement on the issue.

"I don't know if or when that will happen," Mr Newbold said yesterday when
asked what the administration's plans are to allow capital punishment to
resume.

"I will say this: the Attorney General's Office is pretty busy right now doing
a lot of things, like preparing the anti-corruption agenda the prime minister
has talked about. The attorney general spoke last week about the fact that our
money laundering laws are a total mess. Is something being prepared to deal
with capital punishment? I can't say at the moment.

"I don't know when or if, the prime minister hasn't said anything to me
certainly about capital punishment. In light of what's happening, it's
certainly one I will ask him."

107 people have been murdered so far this year, a number that outpaces last
year's rate up to this point when about 76 people had been killed, according to
The Tribune's records.

In February, while in opposition, Dr Minnis said unless the government is
willing to enforce the death penalty, "criminals will continue to ravage our
country and keep citizens in fear."

Although the law allows for capital punishment, the death penalty has not been
carried out since January 2000. That year, David Mitchell was executed for
stabbing 2 German tourists to death.

In 2006, the London-based Privy Council ruled that the Bahamas' mandatory death
sentence for convicted murderers was unconstitutional.

In 2011, after a ruling from the Privy Council, the Ingraham administration
amended the death penalty law to specify the "worst of the worst" murders that
would warrant execution.

Under the amended law, a person who kills a police or defence force officer,
member of the Departments of Customs or Immigration, judiciary or prison
services would be eligible for a death sentence. A person would also be
eligible for death once convicted of murdering someone during a rape, robbery,
kidnapping or act of terrorism.

Chief Justice Sir Hartman Longley said last year that the chances of ever
imposing the death penalty under present laws are nil, adding that a massacre
is a kind of event that may allow the death penalty to take place.

Last year, however, Dr Minnis said it's time to pop the necks of "murderous
scumbags."

"Our economy, Mr Speaker, will not grow until we solve the issue of crime and
as you know crime is a multifaceted issue, which requires multifaceted
approaches (involving) the family, the church, civil society and the
government. (They) must all join forces to combat this societal mess," Dr
Minnis said in the House of Assembly in June 2016.

"Just the other day, a young man was gunned down at the ATM machine. We must,
as hanging is on our books, we must hang these criminals. These murderous
scumbags must be hung by the neck until they are dead."

He continued: "The murderous scumbags must be hung as that is on our laws.
Hang, hung, whatever...pop their necks."

Later that month, he told The Tribune if elected as prime minister, he would
immediately seek to amend the Constitution to remove the UK-based Privy Council
as the highest court of appeal for murder convicts.

He said last year in the case of such convictions, Supreme Court judges, if
they believe the nature and circumstance of a murder merit a death sentence,
should not have their ruling appealed to any court outside the country if the
Court of Appeal upholds their ruling.

"I want to amend the Constitution so murder cases will only go as far as the
Court of Appeal right here and would no longer go to the Privy Council," he
told The Tribune last year.

"I will do everything to carry out the law and the law says hang so that is
what I will do.

"This issue will be discussed and debated in the House of Assembly and then
taken to the people. We will have this referendum because I am a strong
advocate and believer of hanging.

"The crime has to stop and this is just one way we will attempt to stop it.

"I will do everything in my power to ensure that we start hanging these
murderers," Dr Minnis said in June 2016.

(source: tribune242.com)

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Oct. 7



JAPAN:

European envoys call on Japan to abolish death penalty



3 European ambassadors to Japan on Friday called on Tokyo to abolish the
practice of capital punishment prior to next week's World and European Day
against the Death Penalty.

"As friends, we should share our experience and speak our mind," Viorel
Isticioaia-Budura, the European Union's ambassador to Japan, told a press
conference in Tokyo. "The EU has, on a number of occasions, called on the
Japanese authorities to abolish the death penalty or at least put a moratorium
in place and have a debate."

"We regard the abolition of the death penalty as an essential part of the
protection of human dignity and, together with our member states, we are
therefore working towards a universal abolition," Isticioaia-Budura said. He
was joined by Swiss Ambassador Jean-Francois Paroz and Irish Ambassador Anne
Barrington.

According to the EU envoy's remarks, only 8 countries had abolished the death
penalty in 1945, but in 2016, 140 countries have ended the practice or stopped
implementing it through moratoriums.

Isticioaia-Budura also expressed doubts about the crime deterrent effect of
capital punishment, saying: "Extensive studies done in different countries and
regions of the world have found no proof that the death penalty has a direct
correlation with reducing serious crime, or that abolishing it increases
serious crime."

"The death penalty eliminates a defendant once and for all," Isticioaia-Budura
said. As no court system in the world is perfect, "If a mistake is made, and
then discovered, a person who was wrongfully executed can never be brought
back."

Based on the EU's stance, Isticioaia-Budura welcomed the Japan Federation of
Bar Associations' call for the abolition of capital punishment by 2020.

He also said the 28-member bloc will send a letter to Japan's Justice Minister
Yoko Kamikawa on the World and European Day against the Death Penalty next
Tuesday to ask her to promote "an open public debate" on capital punishment,
with a view to its abolition.

In Japan, the death penalty again came into the public eye when a death row
inmate seeking a retrial was hanged in July.

Anti-death penalty campaigners have argued the execution breaches Article 32 of
the Constitution, which guarantees the right of access to the courts, saying
some death row inmates were exonerated in postwar Japan after their pleas for
retrial had repeatedly been rejected.

Paroz said the death penalty "contravenes human rights" and that it "is not a
suitable means of deterrence or atonement," while its abolition promotes human
rights, peace and security.

Referring to Ireland's decision to end capital punishment in 1990, Barrington
said, "The process to abolish the death penalty is not easy. It took nearly 70
years in our case."

"But we believe that it is the right thing to do and we hope that Japan, our
friend and partner, will join us," she said.

According to human rights organization Amnesty International, 23 countries or
regions, including Japan, executed inmates in 2016.

(source: Japan Today)








GLOBAL:

Death penalty disproportionately affects the poor



United Nations human rights experts* are calling for urgent action to end the
disproportionate impact of the death penalty on people from poorer communities.
They say imposing the death penalty as a result of discrimination constitutes
an arbitrary killing and Governments must not stand idly by. Their comments
come in a joint statement marking World Day Against the Death Penalty on
Tuesday 10 October:

"If you are poor, the chances of being sentenced to death are immensely higher
than if you are rich. There could be no greater indictment of the death penalty
than the fact that in practice it is really a penalty reserved for people from
lower socio-economic groups. This turns it into a class-based form of
discrimination in most countries, thus making it the equivalent of an arbitrary
killing.

People living in poverty are disproportionately affected by the death penalty
for many reasons. They are an easy target for the police, they cannot afford a
lawyer, the free legal assistance they might receive is of low quality,
procuring expert evidence is beyond their means, tracing witnesses is too
costly, and access to appeals often depends on being able to afford extra
counsel. Many cannot afford bail and therefore remain in custody before their
trials, further hindering their efforts to prepare an effective defence.

Some legal aid systems become active only at the trial stage, meaning that
defendants from low socio-economic backgrounds are often interrogated and
investigated without a lawyer. By the time the case reaches court, it may
already be too late to guarantee a fair trial. Corruption of law enforcement
officials is another detrimental factor.

Poverty also compounds obstacles which vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in
society are already facing. In many countries, this especially includes people
of African descent, as well as others who are discriminated against on the
basis of their gender, ethnicity, race or migration status.

Meanwhile, migrants who find themselves caught up in the criminal justice
system face multiple obstacles in effectively challenging charges made against
them, including unfamiliarity with legal language and procedures, limited
awareness of their rights, financial constraints, and the possible lack of a
supportive social network.

They may also face bias by judges, police officers and investigators, which can
influence the verdict against them, and leave them at increased risk of
receiving the death sentence.

We call on all States to treat all migrants involved in the criminal justice
systems with respect and dignity as equal rights holders, regardless of their
migratory status.

Women living in poverty are also at a severe disadvantage when faced with the
risk of a death sentence. In some States, women face the death penalty,
including by stoning, not only in cases of murder, but also for alleged
adultery, same sex-relationships and drug-related offences.

Discrimination against women is compounded by intersecting factors, including
their socio-economic status. This discrimination based on gender stereotypes,
stigma, harmful and patriarchal cultural norms and gender-based violence, has
an adverse impact on the ability of women to gain access to justice on an equal
basis with men.

We are also concerned that it is extremely rare for domestic abuse to be
treated as a mitigating factor. Imposing the death penalty in cases where there
has been evidence of self-defence constitutes an arbitrary killing.

Poverty continues to affect prisoners - and their families - even after they
reach death row. Living conditions are worsened by difficulties in accessing
food, medical care and other services. Relatives who themselves live in poverty
are unable to provide financial help. These inmates may even lack the resources
to stay in touch with their families and friends while in prison.

Around the world, death sentences continue to be imposed in violation of major
international standards, including the right to a fair trial and the principle
of non-discrimination. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
makes clear that all people are entitled to the equal protection of the law
without discrimination, while UN safeguards on the use of the death penalty
make clear that people must have received a fair trial, including the right to
adequate legal assistance, at all stages.

The disproportionate impact of the death penalty on the poor shows that these
international standards are being violated.

We applaud the growing number of countries that have abolished the death
penalty and welcome the figures for 2016 showing an overall decrease in its
use.

However, the global effort towards its progressive abolition must continue to
grow, along with the work to end systemic discrimination against some of the
most vulnerable people in our societies."

(source: scoop.co.nz)








IRAN:

Activists Demand Death Sentence Of Spiritual Healer To Be Overturned



A group of Iranian activists have demanded the judiciary overturn the death
sentence and immediately release Mohammad Ali Taheri, the head of a spiritual
group called the Circle of Mysticism.

In an open letter, 18 Iranian human rights and political activists described
Taheri's case as one of the most unfair judicial cases and rejected the
arguments of the revolutionary court that issued his death sentence.

Taheri was acquitted several times on similar charges but after each acquittal
a new case was opened against him in order to "fulfill the will of security
agents who were seeking his execution," the letter reads.

In its latest verdict, Iran's Supreme Court had acquitted Taheri on charges of
"corruption on Earth," but a similar case was opened again and a lower court
had convicted Taheri on the same charges, the activists wrote and asked the
Supreme Court to "maintain its integrity" and "prevent more illegal steps in
this case."

Taheri was arrested in 2010 and released later after spending 67 days in
solitary confinement. He was again confined in 2011. This August, one of his
lawyers announced he had been sentenced to execution. Charges against the
spiritual leader include acting against Iran's national security, blasphemy,
and touching the wrists of unrelated female patients, which is forbidden in
Islam.

Some conservative media have published Fatwas -- religious verdicts -- issued
by at least 3 renowned Shi'ite scholars declaring Taheri an apostate. As
prescribed in Islam, Iranian law provides the death penalty for apostasy.

Taheri's verdict is currently under review by the judges from Branch 33 of
Iran's Supreme Court. The same judges reportedly acquitted Taheri in the past.

Thousands of people have voiced their support for Taheri's release and the U.S.
has voiced concern over his conviction.

The activists who signed the open letter in Taheri's defense also referred to
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Iranian Constitution, saying
that based on both documents "Iran is not allowed to punish or threaten its
citizens with the death penalty for having particular beliefs."

Renowned Iranian lawyers Nasrin Sotoudeh and Mohammad Seifzadeh and political
activists such as Mohammad Nourizad were among the letter's signatories.

(source: radiofarda.com)








SAUDI ARABIA:

More Than 100 People Have Been Executed in Saudi Arabia This Year



More than 100 people have been executed in Saudi Arabia this year.

According to Amnesty International, since July, the Saudi Arabian government
has been executing, on average, 5 people a week. On an Oct. 2, post on their
website Amnesty International referred to the killings as, "an execution
spree."

The Middle Eastern country is ruled by an absolute monarchy and follows a very
strict interpretation of Islamic law. It has one of the highest death penalty
rates in the world, with many crimes punishable by death, including non-lethal
crimes, such as drug offenses and witchcraft.

Amnesty International says the government hands out the death penalty after
unfair trials and confessions obtained by torture. The group wants the kingdom
to meet international fair trial standards, without resorting to the death
penalty. It added if Saudi authorities want to make reforms, they need to
abolish the death penalty.

(source: United News International)



ZIMBABWE:

Former death row inmate outlives judge, prosecutor, State witness



A man from Esigodini who was sentenced to death in 1985 has outlived the judge,
prosecutor, State witness and his lawyer who were all involved in his case.

In 1985, Mr Albert Gasela, now 69, was convicted for murdering his tenant in
Barbourfields, Bulawayo and sentenced to death. At that time, he never thought
he would taste freedom once again, little did he know that life had something
else in store for him.

Mr Gasela appealed against the death penalty and his sentence was commuted to
life in jail.

On Tuesday he turned up at the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Week
at Bulawayo Prison and told The Chronicle of his story of escape from the jaws
of imminent death.

"I was facing a murder charge. After I was charged and convicted of first
degree murder I lost hope on everything. My life had ended. I was arrested in
1983 for murdering my tenant and convicted in 1985 but I still insist I never
killed him," he said.

He said while in prison, his wife died. He applied to go to bury her, but the
process took too long until she was buried in his absence. Mr Gasela says he
served in prison for 22 years at Chikurubi in Harare and later Khami Maximum
Prison in Bulawayo after his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.

He was finally released in 2007 after becoming one of many prisoners who were
pardoned by President Mugabe.

Upon gaining freedom, to Mr Gasela's surprise, all the people who were involved
in his case had died.

"I was sentenced in 1985 but when I was released from prison, all the people
who were connected to my case had died. Judge Muchechetere was late, my
prosecutor Brasel Siki, my lawyer Richard Ncube were also late. Even the State
witness who was my girlfriend at the time is also late," he said declining to
name her.

The ex-prisoner said the person he had wanted to talk to the most was the State
witness as he does not understand why she nailed him.

Mr Gasela said his girlfriend testified in court that she found him in bed
shaking following the murder and it was this evidence that led to the judge to
convict him. He says he has since started a new life; remarried and has been
blessed with a child, now 2.

Reflecting on his life in prison, he says he never thought he was going to be
alive up to this day.

He said when Justice Simbarashe Muchechetere handed him the death sentence at
the High Court in Bulawayo, his life literally ended. Mr Gasela said what made
matters worse for him was that he worked at the prison workshop making coffins
that were supposed to bury those on death row.

"Word would spread that 10 coffins have been made in the workshop which meant
that 10 people will be hanged and that the guards would come at 5AM to collect
prisoners selected for the hangman's noose. You wouldn't know if it was your
turn," he said.

He said during those years, some welcomed their fate, but others would fight
tooth and nail not to be hanged.

"Those who didn't fight were hanged peacefully. However, those who resisted,
there was a special place for them, where they were placed in a small corridor
that has a trap door to execute them," he said.

Mr Gasela said being on deathrow was a nightmare as one did not know when the
time to face the hangman's noose would come.

"I was the 46th prisoner to be on deathrow during our time. But this didn't
matter because they were not following any order as prisoners were randomly
picked to be hanged. Every time other prisoners were taken the incident left us
traumatised, you wouldn't eat on that day," he said.

Mr Gasela says following a successful appeal in 1993 the courts reduced his
sentence to life in prison.

He said it was a huge relief to know that he would not worry about being hanged
again.

Mr Gasela said freedom finally came in 2007 due to a Presidential pardon. He
said before his incarceration he was blessed with six children who are all
still alive, but he found his wife dead. Mr Gasela said spending 22 years in
prison was not easy but support from family has kept him going.

"The only thing that kept me going was that my family, relatives, didn't desert
me. They'd visit me periodically in prison. This made me remain hopeful that
one day I'd be reunited with them," he said.

He says having spent 22 years in jail, all is not lost as he has managed to
transform his life but what pains him the most is that his 1st wife died while
he was still in prison.

On a lighter note, Mr Gasela said due to his long service in prison, he was the
head of the welcoming committee for new inmates coming into prison.

He said he now makes a living from making coffins, a skill he learnt in prison.
"The only mistake that I have made so far is not making my own coffin," he
joked.

(source: bulawayo24.com)








MALAYSIA:

2 Kepong men to stand trial for allegedly trafficking 123kg of drugs----The
Kuala Lumpur High Court today ordered Ong Chen Yaw, 32 and San Kim Huat, 37 to
enter their defence for allegedly trafficking 123 kilogrammes of drugs 2 years
ago.



The High Court here today ordered 2 Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah made the order
after the prosecution proved a prima facie case against Ong Chen Yaw, 32 and
San Kim Huat, 37.

According to the charge sheet, the duo was charged with trafficking 95.016kg of
methamphetamine; 26.791kg of Methylenedioxymethaphetamin (MDMA); and 1.245kg of
ketamine at 39, Jalan Denai Selatan, Desa Park City, Kepong, at 6.25pm on May
12, 2015.

The offence falls under Section 39B (1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, and
is punishable under Section 39 (B)(2) of the same Act, which carries the death
penalty upon conviction.

Deputy public prosecutor Zalina Awang @ Mamat prosecuted, while the duo was
represented by counsel Datuk Hariharan Tara Singh.

The court fixed Nov 14 for trial.

(source: New Straits Times)

*****************

Sub-contractor gets death for murdering younger brother in property dispute



An air-conditioning sub-contractor who murdered his younger brother over a
property row 2 years ago was sentenced to death by the High Court in Shah Alam.

Judge Datuk Zulkifli Bakar meted out the sentence on M. Nageswaran, 41, after
finding that the defence failed to raise reasonable doubt on the charge at the
end of the trial.

According to the charge sheet, Nageswaran, from Jalan Kota Raja in Klang, was
charged with killing 37-year-old Gunalan at a house in Kampung Jawa at about
5.30pm on May 5, 2015.

The offence under Section 302 of the Penal Code provides for death penalty upon
conviction.

In his judgment Friday, Judge Zulkifli said that Nageswaran's defence was a
mere denial, which also accused the deceased's wife as the killer or the person
who caused death.

By taking into consideration all aspects of findings, he said the court found
that the accused's defence was coated with afterthoughts that could not be
accepted.

"Therefore, the court found that the prosecution had succeeded in proving the
case beyond reasonable doubt, and found the accused guilty as charged.

"You are hereby sentenced to death under Section 302 of the Penal Code," he
said.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Fairuz Johari prosecuted while Nageswaran was
represented by counsel S. Ravichandran.

A total of 15 prosecution witnesses and 1 defence witness testified throughout
the trial.

Gunalan's wife, who did not wish to be name, lauded the judgment.

"One must be punished for the crime he does.

"I am still distraught thinking how could he resort to murder his own brother
until this day," she said when met outside the court.

(source: thestar.com.my)





INDIA:

Death penalty for sexual abuse of children: MP chief minister promises to bring
bill



Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday said his
government will bring a bill in the next session of the Assembly to provide
death penalty for those guilty of sexual violence against children.

"We will bring this bill in the next session. After the Assembly passes it, it
would be sent to the Centre," Chouhan said.

The chief minister was speaking at a function here to welcome Nobel laureate
Kailash Satyarthi's 'Safe Childhood - Safe India' campaign, aimed at spreading
awareness about child safety.

"We should be united in uprooting the deadly mentality which gives rise to
sexual violence against children....It is very painful when we hear news of
sexual assaults on kids as young as 2 years," Chouhan said.

Satyarthi said that his tour, which started on September 11, will cover 11,000
kilometres and pass through 22 states before concluding, on October 16, at the
Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi.

(source: Hindustan Times)

*******************

Hanging to death: Supreme Court to examine mode of execution----Lawyer Rishi
Malhotra, who filed the PIL seeking relief under Article 21 (Right to Life) of
the Constitution and said the Article must provide for the right of a condemned
prisoner to have a dignified mode of execution.



Hanging to death sentence, Supreme court on death penalty, hanged to Death and
Supreme court news, India news, national news, latest news, India news,
national news, Latest news The plea before the Supreme Court said "dying with
dignity is part of right of life" and the present practice of executing a death
row convict by hanging involves "prolonged pain and suffering".

'Hang by the neck till death.' This legal mode of executing a death row convict
on Friday came under the scanner of the Supreme Court which sought the
government's response on a plea seeking setting aside of the legal provision.
Terming the Constitution as a "compassionate" and "organic" guiding book, a
bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the legislature can think of
changing the law so that a convict, facing death penalty, dies "in peace and
not in pain".

The bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, issued
notice to the Centre and sought its response within 3 weeks on the PIL, which
also referred to the 187th Report of the Law Commission advocating removal of
the present mode of execution from the statute.

Lawyer Rishi Malhotra, who filed the PIL in his personal capacity, referred to
Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution and said it also included the
right of a condemned prisoner to have a dignified mode of execution so that
death becomes less painful.

The plea said the Law Commission in its 187th Report had noted that there was a
significant increase in the number of countries where hanging has been
abolished and substituted by electrocution, shooting or lethal injection as the
method of execution. "It had categorically opined that hanging is undoubtedly
accompanied by intense physical torture and pain," the plea said.

The lawyer also referred to various apex court judgements in which the practise
of hanging a death row convict has been assailed.

The plea said "dying with dignity is part of right of life" and the present
practice of executing a death row convict by hanging involves "prolonged pain
and suffering".

The present procedure can be replaced with intravenous lethal injection,
shooting, electrocution or gas chamber in which death is just a matter of
minutes, it said.

The PIL sought quashing of section 354(5) of the Criminal Procedure Code, which
states that when a person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that
he be hanged by the neck till he is dead.

It said that execution was not only "barbaric, inhuman and cruel", but also
against the resolutions adopted by the United Nations Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC).

The plea also said that execution should be as quick and as simple as possible
and free from anything that unnecessarily sharpens the poignancy of the
prisoner's apprehension.

It sought to declare "right to die by a dignified procedure of death as a
fundamental right as defined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India".
"This also includes the right to a dignified life up to the point of death
including a dignified procedure of death. In other words, this may include the
right of a dying man to also die with dignity when his life is ebbing out," it
added.

Drawing a comparison, the petition said that while in hanging, the entire
execution process takes over 40 minutes to declare prisoner to be dead, the
shooting process involves not more than few minutes. In case of intravenous
lethal injection, it is all over in 5 minutes. "The Act of the execution should
produce immediate unconsciousness passing quickly into the death. It should be
decent. It should not involve mutilation," the plea added.

(source: indianexpress.com)

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Oct. 8




IRAQ:

At least 100 European Isis fighters 'to be prosecuted in Iraq, with most facing
death penalty'----Fate of militants' families remains uncertain



At least 100 European Isis fighters will be prosecuted in Iraq, with most to
face the death penalty, the country's ambassador to Belgium has reportedly
said.

Jawad al-Chlaihawi said Belgians were among those detained, along with
jihadists from Russia, Chechnya and Central Asia.

Fighters from around the world joined Isis's call to arms as the group
established its so-called caliphate across Iraq and Syria in 2014.

British fighters, including the notorious Mohammed Emwazi, also known as
'Jihadi John', were among them. He is believed to have been killed in a drone
strike in Raqqa, Syria in 2015.

Mr Chlaihawi told Belgium's RTPF there were around 1,400 family members of
foreign fighters, including children, of suspected Isis members being held near
Mosul.

Many are reportedly from Turkey, and former Soviet countries in Central Asia,
but there are also believed to be some French and Germans among them.

It is unclear what will happen to the families and children of members of Isis,
also known as Daesh.

"We are holding the Daesh families under tight security measures and waiting
for government orders on how to deal with them," Army Colonel Ahmed al-Taie
told Reuters.

He added: "We treat them well. They are families of tough criminals who killed
innocents in cold blood, but when we interrogated them we discovered that
almost all of them were misled by a vicious Daesh [Isis] propaganda."

(source: independent.co.uk)








INDIA:

Back To Godhra: Gujarat HC To Pronounce Verdict On 2002 Sabarmati Express
Carnage Tomorrow



The Gujarat High Court on Monday will pronounce its judgement on the 2002
Godhra train carnage. In the horrific incident, 59 passengers were charred to
death at the Godhra railway station on February 27, 2002.

In 2011, the special court in its verdict had concluded that it is rarest of
the rare case had convicted 31 accused and acquitted 63 others including main
accused Maulana Umarji.

Out of 31 who were convicted, 11 were awarded death penalty and rest 20 were
sentenced to life imprisonment. The special court's verdict was challenged by
the state government in Gujarat High Court in April 2011.

Out of 31 convicts, 11 were awarded death penalty and the other 20 were
sentenced to life imprisonment.

The special court's verdict was challenged by the state government and the
convicts before the Gujarat High Court on April 06 2011. The state had appealed
for the confirmation of the special court order, whereas convicts had pleaded
for quashing of the convictions.

(source: Indiatimes.com)

****************

Convict facing death-sentence should die in peace, not pain: SC----SC seeks
response on alternatives to death penalty



The Supreme Court has sought a response from the Centre on a plea seeking
alternatives to death by hanging for convicts sentenced to death.

Observing that such prisoners must die in peace, it agreed to examine if
hanging could be replaced by less painful procedures such as death by lethal
injection or shooting.

The Centre was asked to respond within 3 weeks.

(source: newsbytessapp.com)








PAKISTAN:

On death row



FOR the thousands of prisoners on Pakistan's death row, Oct 10 will pass just
like any other day. They will just strike off one more day of their nearly
12-year average jail sentence. It does not fall on a Thursday this year, so
they will not have any family come visit them. Ostensibly, there is nothing
special about this date to them.

But beyond their literal prison, Oct 10 is World Day Against the Death Penalty
- an annual accounting of this punishment that is as irreversible as it is
inhumane. Activists around the world reflect on how many lives have been ended
by the state and for what, and how to continue the global trend towards
abolition.

I would like to think, knowing this day exists, that someone cares about what
happens to them; it would be heartening for those who remain in jails, waiting
to die.

But until December 2014, they had no reason to expect the arrival of their
warrants. Pakistan had a de facto moratorium in place for nearly 6 years.
Today, we have executed 480 prisoners in less than 3 years.

We are used to counting bodies in Pakistan. Sometimes in the tens, other times
in the hundreds; 480 is a significant death toll, if not a wholly unnecessary
one. The numbers are terrifying. The figure has included juvenile offenders,
the mentally ill. There are still more who have been executed only to have
their corpses acquitted a year later. Many have died waiting to die.

So in 2 days, as we take stock of the way the death penalty is implemented in
Pakistan, let's go back to the reasons why it was resumed in the first place.
No amount of time or commiseration can mitigate the horror of the attack on the
students and staff of the Army Public School, Peshawar. I will always stand
with the families of the victims of terrorist attacks, and it is my sincere
hope that their memories are honoured appropriately, with dignity.

But this cannot be the case if Pakistan continues to wrongfully execute
innocent individuals, the impoverished, juveniles and persons with mental and
physical disabilities in their name. In line with this year's theme, the
criminal justice system is rigged against those who need it the most.

More worrying still, is the narrative connecting terrorism to resuming
executions in Pakistan. It is true that Pakistan has experienced a decrease in
terrorism in the past few years, but is it because we have been executing
terrorists? The data reveals that less than 17 % of all executions have been
for those convicted of terrorism-related charges. In fact, the majority of
death sentences have been issued by district and sessions courts that have no
jurisdiction over terrorism.

And looking at the courts that do, ie the anti-terrorism courts, this nexus
becomes even more doubtful. The Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997, bears a definition of
terrorism so broad as to include any action or threat that may create a "sense
of fear or insecurity in society". ATCs have convicted 'terrorists' for
stealing cattle and even once, for flying a kite.

It is no wonder then, that research by Justice Project Pakistan has found that
88 % of all those convicted and 86.3 % of all those sentenced to death under
the ATA were for crimes bearing no connections to terrorism.

The ATA makes the death sentences it breeds even more difficult to stomach with
its required expedited trials, suspension of fundamental safeguards,
admissibility of confessions in police custody and restrictions on bail. Under
it, juvenile offenders are sentenced to death (like Iqbal was in Mandi
Bahauddin) and have been executed (like Aftab Bahadur was in 2015). Under it,
the victim's family's wishes are disregarded. If they do not want the defendant
to hang, it does not matter because ATA convictions are non-compoundable.

Until this law is reformed, death sentences and executions will always be near
impossible to justify. This was meant to happen in the 2 years before military
courts expired. Nothing happened, showing an inherent reluctance to actually
resolve the problem at hand and an apathy to the human rights abuses it
enables.

Pakistan must introspect. Who are the people in jail? What are the
circumstances that put them on death row? Would they be in danger of being
hanged if they had the means to adequately defend themselves? Is terrorism
being curbed because a mentally ill man was hanged? Does Pakistan want to go
against the global tide that wants to abolish the practice?

This reflection won't just take the one day. But World Day Against the Death
Penalty (Tuesday), would be a good time to start.

(source: Sarah Belal; The writer is executive director, Justice Project
Pakistan----dawn.com)








UNITED KINGDOM:

Death by firing squad - The day 3 Marines were executed on the Hoe----Public
execution was witnessed by some 50,000 people



It was 220 years ago that 3 men were marched out from their Citadel cells on to
the Hoe ??? carrying the coffins they would be taken away in again.

The last public execution of its kind to be held in Plymouth, it was attended
by about 10,000 military personnel and 40,000 civilians.

Supposedly shot by the men that provided evidence against them, the 3 Marines
from Stonehouse Barracks had all been found guilty of mutiny - traitors to the
admiralty.

With a full procession and military band, the men were lined up and shot in
ways designed to cause them maximum pain before they died - with gaping holes
left in their bodies.

A 4th perpetrator, whose sentence was lessened, was given 450 lashings on the
same day, until he passed out. The final 50 lashings were given when he
regained consciousness.

But it is the view of some that the men were not traitors at all, merely
"scapegoats" for a much larger group - who weren't planning anything
particularly malicious.

Keith Black of Plymouth Ocean City Tours has been exploring and researching
this exact story for 4 years, and has described the execution as "Plymouth's
dirty little secret".

And Wesley Ashton, a local military historian with Hidden Heritage, who has
spent time transcribing the original court documents from the hearings more
than 2 centuries ago, said it is only now the truth has emerged.

"I think opinions are changing now about the execution," said Mr Ashton. "There
was really no malice [in their mutiny plot] at all."

Mr Black added: "I do not identify the executed men as anything other than
scapegoats of a far larger group involved in behaviour against appalling and
delayed wages paid to sailors and Marines at the time.

"In this year of 1797 there had been numerous acts of mutiny along the south
coast of England. The demands of the sailors had been met for the 'shilling a
day', but unfortunately this news had not reached the sailors and Marines by
May 28, when the Marines were detained."

Robert Lee, who is thought to have been shot at least 8 times before he finally
died, was the main culprit in the whole affair.

Lee, who moved from Dublin to England to join the Marines after his brothers
allegedly stopped him from seeing his sweetheart, wrote a distressing letter
from his lonely prison cell on the morning of his execution to one of these
same siblings.

Beginning, 'My Dear Brother', it continues: 'Your exertions to save my life
cannot now avail, yesterday the order for my execution this day arrived. I have
but a few short moments to live, and, I trust, that, therefore, what I wish to
impart to you, will be received by you with that seriousness with which it must
come from the heart of a dying man.

'Like you l have been misled by the sophistications of those who deny the
truths of the Gospel, and deride the evidence of God's word. Like you I gave
them implicit confidence; but, the awfulness of my present state has induced a
candid examination of them; and the arguments of the enemies of Devine
Revelation, appear now to me in the vilest colours.

'I have thought it necessary to seek the aid of a Minister of the Gospel, who,
I trust, as a witness to my conversion - to my regeneration - and will testify
it - as far as he can be supposed to place a confidence in the sincerity of it.

'On this subject I have no time to add more, than to exhort you to avail
yourself of the opportunity you have, to renounce those opinions, which were
near proving fatal to my external happiness here after, through the merits of
his dear son Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind.

'The Gentleman who has been considerably instrumental in producing my
conversion, will I presume at my request, take up the pen to offer you such
arguments as his superior abilities and experience will dictate; and, I have no
doubt, if you investigate the truth with a due impartiality, your mind will
soon acknowledge that conviction I do, and your soul will be filled with it.

'Whatever family claims I have, I transfer to my sister Aldridge, and request
you will do all in your power to render the evening of her days as comfortable
as possible.

'For ever, Farewell dear brother, - remember my last, dying advice, and consult
your eternal welfare - recommend my affection to my sisters and brothers, and
all friends. Your sincere brother, Robert Lee.'

Mr Ashton believes this was simply a last-ditched attempt at saving his own
life by pretending he had converted from Roman-Catholicism to the Church of
England, but Mr Black believes different.

"You could not join the Marines if you were Roman Catholic," explained Mr
Black. "It was against the rules, but when taken on, they would never ask if
you were or not. The Marines were therefore riddled with Roman Catholics.

"When he came to Plymouth Lee's faith waned, and when he arrived at Stonehouse
Barracks he was a bit indifferent, which is when he ends up in communication
with Reverend Robert Hawker, who took Lee under his wing.

"When Lee was executed, he had converted to being a Protestant, and wrote to
his brother suggesting he did the same.

"He asked in the letter that anything he had left be given to his sister,
although she probably would not have got anything, and he was subsequently
wiped out the family history."

Keith is writing a novel of the events based on the facts known - and his
imagination of the unknown.

From the research he has conducted, including sifting through the National
Archives, Irish and Australian historical records and numerous other sources,
he believes he has enough of an understanding of the events and circumstances
leading to the public execution and beyond.

He said: "I do not see these men as traitors at all and hopefully will be able
to persuade otherwise in due course. I think this is Plymouth's worst event in
history with the Government and Admiralty of the time intent on making an
example of a few men, all Irish and all Catholic.

"Some of the witness testimony was at least dubious with financial reward and
advancement offered as inducement to provide testimony where none was
forthcoming."

Elaborating, Mr Ashton said: "The local myth is that the group was overheard
plotting by a drummer boy, but only 1 out of 22 witnesses suggested a callous
side to the plotting, including blowing up the barracks and freeing French
prisoners.

"All they were really guilty of was planning to refuse to take orders because
their friend was going to get a flogging. However, back then a new law said
anyone that took an oath faced the death sentence, which is where they went
wrong."

On the execution day itself - which was to act as a brutal example for all of
the other Marines, seamen and soldiers, saw the whole of the Hoe - then just a
bare cliff - awash with these military personnel and members of the public.

First came John Maginnis, the man who was to receive 500 lashings, followed by
the other 3 men later in the day, who were to meet their untimely deaths.

"It is one of the most disgraceful things that has ever taken place in our
city," said Mr Black. "It is Plymouth's dirty little secret."

Although there is some disagreement about who the three 'traitors' were shot
by, Mr Ashton, who has been posting a snippet of the sordid tale every day on
the Hidden History Facebook account, believes they were shot by the very same
men who gave evidence against them in court - men who they had taken the oath
with.

Describing the execution, he said: "They say one of them missed Lee's head on
purpose, to cause him more pain.

"The 3 killed were all under 30 years old. But Maginnis was allowed to live,
and was sent to live in Australia in 1799. He received 450 lashings on that day
before he passed out.

"By law you had to be conscious, so he was taken back to Stonehouse Barracks
where I expect he got some rest and recovered, before the other 50 lashings
took place.

"The real twist in the plot is the executioners were made up of co-accused guys
who were spared the death penalty.

"There were 12 shots altogether in the first round. Lee didn't appear to have
been hit, as they were all through his belly, which winded him and he slumped
forwards. The other 2 died instantly.

"The reserve line of men moved forwards and shot, and 1 of these shots hit Lee
in the head. He fell onto his coffin, still writhing in pain and twitching, and
it was then the officer in charge quickly put a pistol to his head.

"It took 8 balls to kill Lee. It was a proper bloody execution."

It is hoped Mr Black's book The Circle on the Hill will be completed by April
2018.

(soruce: plymouthherald.co.uk)
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Oct. 9




MALAYSIA:

In Malaysia's high court, pathologist testifies Kim Jong Nam was killed by
weapon of mass destruction



On Wednesday, pathologist Mohd Shah Mahmood testified before Malaysia's high
court in the trial of Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, who stand accused of
killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim
Jong Un. Mohd Shah, an employee of the Malaysian government, testified that VX
nerve agent, by international treaty a weapon of mass destruction, caused Kim's
death, and Judge Azmi Ariffin officially admitted tissue and fluid samples as
evidence. Both Aisyah and Huong are subject to death penalty if convicted of
killing Kim.

The samples were sealed in plastic when presented at court, but the judge and
lawyers for both the prosecution and defense nonetheless wore protective gloves
and masks to examine them. Both the North Korean government and Aisyah's lawyer
have said the victim may have died of a heart attack or some cause other than
VX nerve agent.

Mohd Shah based his conclusion on VX nerve agent in Kim's system and on the
timing of Kim's death: he expired on the way to a hospital, less than 2 hours
after encountering Aisyah and Huong. He also testified Kim Jong Nam had 6
different medications in his system, one a common Viagra heart-condition
treatment, but no indications of a heart attack when he examined Kim's body. He
also said neither this nor the other medicines Kim was taking would have killed
him quickly.

Aisyah's lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, argued the autopsy reports indicate only that
Kim was killed by chemical poisoning, not necessarily by VX nerve agent, and
Mohd Shah admitted under cross-examination he does not have much experience
with VX and other nerve agents.

Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, age given as 28 or 29, pled not guilty of
murdering Kim Jong Nam on Monday, though they do not contest they met him. Both
were represented by lawyers hired by their home countries' respective
governments. Both women are on video approaching Kim in Kuala Lumpur
International Airport where 1 of them sprayed him with liquid, but they both
claimed they had been hired to spray travelers with a harmless substance as
part of a prank TV show. Aisyah's lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng, told the press his
client had already performed the prank several times, always with oil or
pepper. According to the police, the two men who hired Huong and Aisyah were
Hong Song Hac and Ri Ji U, North Koreans who avoided questioning by,
respectively, fleeing Malaysia and remaining within the North Korean embassy.

Huong's lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said after a prosecution phase of probably
about 2 months, at the Judge's discretion the defense would proceed.
Proceedings earlier this week included testimony from an airport employee, a
police officer who spoke to the dying Kim, and pathologists who examined
samples from Kim, Huong and Aisyah. Dr. Norashikin Othman of Hospital Kuala
Lumpur testified Kim Jong Nam's blood, liver and other tissues appeared to have
been depleted of cholinesterase, an enzyme we need to move. "The low
cholinesterase level in Kim Chol could be caused by exposure to poisons such as
insecticide or nerve agents," he said, and that Huong and Aisyah both had
normal levels of cholinesterase. He said the 2 women could have protected
themselves by washing their hands, which both women did that day, or by taking
antidote.

The alleged poisoning took place at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

Gooi Soon Seng told the press the prosecution had not disclosed this
information to the defense before Norashikin's testimony: "This piece of
evidence was never served to us". South Korean intelligence has maintained this
was part of a plan on the part of Kim Jong Un or his government to assassinate
Kim Jong Nam, who had once been his father Kim Jong Il's heir apparent. They
had a falling out in 2001 and Kim Jong Nam had been living quietly with his
family in Macao.

The events surrounding Kim's death have included diplomatic troubles between
the formerly friendly North Korea and Malaysia, a hostage exchange, ambassador
expulsions, and a break-in at the mortuary that housed Kim's remains.

Earlier statements from Malaysia's health ministry asserted Kim died within 20
minutes of his encounter at the airport, but testimony given this week differed
from this.

(source: wikinews.org)








INDONESIA:

Death penalty prosecutions in Indonesia nearly doubled over last year,
activists call for moratorium----Executions are down but death penalty
prosecutions are up over the last year of President Joko Widodo's
administration.



Tomorrow, October 10, is World Day Against the Death Penalty, and human rights
activists in Indonesia used the opportunity to highlight an alarming increase
in death penalty prosecutions over the last year, a trend that runs counter to
the narrative that President Joko Widodo is softening his stance on executions.

Under President Jokowi's administration, 14 people were executed in 2014, 4
were executed in 2016 and none have been executed so far this year. But in
contrast to the downward trend in executions, the number of cases involving the
death penalty has risen sharply over the last year.

From January-June 2016 there were 26 cases in which prosecutors demanded the
death penalty and, out of those, judges in 17 of the cases sentenced the
defendants to be executed. But from July 2016 to September 2017, there were 45
cases in which prosecutors asked for the death penalty and 33 in which judges
handed out the sentence.

"Compared to 2016, the trend of death penalty demands and sentences, based on
the number of cases, nearly doubled," said the director of the Institute for
Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), Supriyadi Widodo, during a discussion in
Jakarta on Sunday as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

Supriyadi said most of the death penalty cases involved drug trafficking,
followed by murder cases. But he noted there was a new category of death
penalty case, suspects accused of child sexual assault, a crime which became
eligible for the death penalty under a new law passed by President Jokowi in
2016, which contributed to the increased numbers.

There are currently 134 people on Indonesia's execution waiting list and the
attorney general has stated recently that they are still planning on carrying
them all out eventually, although no dates have been mentioned.

ICJR asked that Indonesia declare a moratorium on the death penalty while the
process in which criminals can be convicted and appeal the sentence be reviewed
for violations of human rights. Supriyadi noted that one of the last people
executed by the government, Humphrey Jefferson "Jeff" Ejike, had been denied
the ability to exercise all of his appeal options before he was killed.

"Under conditions of uncertainty and doubt regarding executions, the government
should immediately conduct a moratorium to avoid the great potential for human
rights violations," he said.

Speaking at the same discussion, Ifdhal Kasim, an advisor on political, legal
and human rights issues at the Presidential Staff Office, said it was unlikely
the administration would declare a moratorium as the government believed that
the death penalty was an effective deterrent to fight the so-called drug
emergency facing the country.

(source: coconuts.co)








PAKISTAN:

Reinstate the moratorium



The World Day against the Death Penalty will be observed tomorrow. The day is
marked to urge states to abolish capital punishment since it has no place in a
modern society. This is primarily because the objective of punishment is to
rehabilitate and reintegrate criminals into society and not exact revenge.

More than 2/3 of the world has abolished the death penalty in law or practice.
At least 104 countries have abolished it for all crimes, seven countries have
abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes and 30 countries haven't
executed anyone in last 10 years and have abolished executions in practice.
There are only 57 countries who still uphold the death penalty as a form of
punishment.

A report of the World Coalition Against Death Penalty claims that Pakistan was
among the top 5 in the list of 23 countries where executions were carried out
in 2016. The report also claims that Pakistan awarded the death penalty to the
juvenile offenders by violating the principles of the ICCPR and the CRC.

Our criminal justice system is full of such miscarriages of justice where
people have been denied the opportunity of a fair trial. And yet, courts in
Pakistan can award the death penalty for 27 different crimes, including
blasphemy, sexual intercourse out of wedlock and narcotics smuggling. We can't
forget when Mazhar Hussain was acquitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan 2
years after his death in the prison. The same court acquitted Ghulam Sarwar and
his brother Ghulam Qadir, who were shockingly executed before their appeals
could be heard and decided by the Supreme Court. We are still not prepared to
accept this bitter reality and find answers to the countless questions that
this problem presents.

In addition to the failure of the administration of justice through ordinary
courts, Pakistan also has a history of introducing military courts for the
trial of civilian suspects of terrorism. These mechanisms have been viewed with
suspicion by human rights activists because they are considered to be deficient
in fulfilling the components involved in an individual's right to a fair trial.

Since January 7, 2015, military courts have convicted nearly 309 people -
including 169 death convictions - while at least 48 others have been executed.
All the cases that were reviewed were eventually dismissed by the high courts
and the Supreme Court. Only the conviction of Muhammad Imran was set-aside by
the Peshawar High Court.

Astonishingly, 93 % of the convictions are based on confessions where the
accused were defended by 'military officers' and the families had limited
access in these matters.

There are around 3 million cases pending in our courts. In some cases, it takes
decades to prove that a person is not guilty. A system with a weak
administration of justice, false FIRs, incomplete and outdated investigation,
corrupt practices, the unavailability of modern forensics for the investigation
process, false testimonies, weak prosecution, limited access to lawyers due to
financial or other reasons and overburdened courts where only the rich can
afford justice takes between 15 and 20 years to decide a criminal case. It
can't guarantee the accused the right to a fair trial.

How can the state legitimise the death penalty when it has failed to guarantee
these important components of an individual's right to a fair trial? The state
shouldn't execute people on the basis of a deficient and fragile criminal
justice system. In order to guarantee the right to a fair trial and make the
administration of justice efficient, it is essential that Pakistan work on its
police, prosecution, parole, prisons and judicial systems.

When capital punishment is non-reversible, has no special deterrent effect and
is based on a system where there is a high probability of a miscarriage of
justice, executions can never serve as good options. Therefore, Pakistan should
reinstate moratorium on death penalty and should ratify the Second Protocol to
the ICCPR. It should also work to improve its criminal justice system by
protecting witnesses, lawyers and judges. It should introduce timely reforms in
the criminal justice system because after January 7, 2019, problems within this
system might be used once again a rational ground to further extend the
operation of military courts.

(source: Irshad Ahmad; The writer is a Peshawar-based lawyer----thenews.com.pk)








INDIA:

Godhra verdict: Gujarat High Court commutes death penalty of 11 convicts to
life imprisonment



The Gujarat High Court today pronounced the verdict in 2002 Godhra train
carnage.

The High Court commuted the death penalty of 11 convicts to life imprisonment.
The court sustained the acquittal of 31 accused and also sustained the life
term of 20 convicts.

While awarding compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the victims, which is over and
above already paid under various schemes, the court said that the state 'failed
to maintain law and order.'

In the horrific incident, 59 passengers were charred to death at the Godhra
railway station on February 27, 2002.

According to the prosecution, the Sabarmati Express was late and as per
pre-planned conspiracy, the chain was pulled just outside the railway station
and mob armed with lethal weapon and carrying petrol attacked the train.

They pelted stone and locked the doors of the S6 coach from outside. They
poured petrol inside the coach and set it on fire.

59 passengers in the coach died after suffering severe burn injuries and
suffocation.

According to police investigation, Aman Guest house owner Abdul Razak Kurkur
had procured 60 litre patrol from a fuel pump on February 26. He had hatched
the conspiracy of attacking the Sabarmati Express train at his guest house
along with Bilal Hussain Kalota.

The other accused according to the police investigation was Maulan Umarji. The
probe said that on the morning of February 27, he had appealed people from
minority community using the mosque loud speaker to gather and rush to railway
station.

Interestingly, the trial court has acquitted him. After acquittal he died due
to old age.

However, Kurkur and Kalota with 29 others were convicted for hatching
conspiracy and for murder.

The special court's additional sessions judge PR Patel while accepting
prosecution theory of pre-planned, had passed verdict running in 850 pages in
2011.

The first part of judgment of conviction was announced on February 22 and
quantum of punishment on February 25.

(source: dnaindia.com)

********************

Will the Government Abolish Execution by Hanging? Supreme Court Seeks
Response----The apex court has asked the central government to respond to the
PIL within 3 weeks.



Acting on a writ petition challenging the mode of execution in a death
sentence, the Supreme Court on Friday has observed that the legislature could
consider another mode rather than the present one in practice, which is hanging
by neck till the prisoner is dead.

The apex court sought the central government's response to the plea within
three weeks. The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed by senior
lawyer Rishi Malhotra in his personal capacity.

During the hearing, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said: "What would be the
mode will be decided by the legislature".

"Prima-facie with the invention of various modes, the legislature can think of
some other mode by which a convict who in law has to face death sentence shall
die in peace and not in pain," said a bench headed by Misra.

The petition said that the present practice of execution under 354(5) Criminal
procedure code (Cr.P.C) is not only barbaric, inhuman and cruel but also
against the resolutions adopted by United Nations Economic and Social Council
which had categorically stated that if capital punishment is to occur it shall
be carried out so as to inflict minimum possible suffering.

Speaking to Newsclick, the petitioner lawyer, Rishi Malhotra said he welcomed
the court's observations. "The Supreme Court has directed the central
government and the attorney general to respond in this matter within 3 weeks,"
he said.

Relying on the judgments in Gian Kaur Vs State of Punjab (1996), Deena Vs Union
of India (1983) and 2 reports of the law commission (which established that
execution by hanging involves intense pain and suffering) in support of his
petition, Malhotra has prayed the court to declare provisions contained under
354(5) Cr.P.C., 1973 to be ultra vires to the Constitution and especially in
contravention of Article 21 of the Constitution and to declare 'Right to Die by
a dignified procedure of death' as a Fundamental right as defined under Article
21 of the Constitution of India. The petition also prayed to pass any such
further orders or directions the honourable court may deem fit and proper in
the facts and circumstances of the case.

The petition also said that as compared to hanging, death is less painful and
is a matter of minutes in other modes of execution such as intravenous lethal
injections, shooting, electrocution or gas chamber.

However, hanging is the most common method of execution across the world with
the laws of 60 countries authorising it, according to the Death Penalty
Database .

(source: newsclick.in)



IRAN:

Stop execution of women in Iran



October 10, marks the World Day against the Death Penalty.

Death penalty violates the most fundamental human rights, the right to life and
the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

The death penalty is also considered discriminatory as it is often used against
the most vulnerable in society, including the poor, ethnic and religious
minorities, and people with mental disabilities. It is also used by some
governments to silence their opponents.

Iran is the world's leading per capita executioner. It also holds the record in
the execution of women and minors.

The Iranian regime is among those governments that execute their opponents.
120,000 people have been executed in Iran since 1981 for their opposition to
the government, at least 1/3 of whom have been women. According to the
international laws, pregnant women must not be executed, whereas in Iran, at
least 50 pregnant women have been executed in the 1980s. Women were also
executed en masse in 1988, during the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in
Iran.

The Iranian regime uses execution as a tool to suppress and silence a
disgruntled public the majority of whom live under the poverty line, are
unemployed and deprived of freedom of expression.

Execution is a tool which helps the mullahs' regime hold its grab on power.
Over 3,200 people have been executed over the past 4 years under Hassan
Rouhani. In the same period, 81 women have been executed, 10 since January
2017.

Among the reasons that lead to the execution of women are early forced
marriages, being deprived of the right to divorce, domestic violence against
women, and poverty.

The international law recommends alternative punishments for imprisonment of
women who are mothers and have to take care of their children. In Iran,
however, mothers are not only imprisoned but handed death sentences.

Most women do not report violence and rape because judicial authorities might
hold the woman, the victim, guilty and accuse her of illicit relations which is
punishable by death.

One of the infamous cases of execution of women has been the case of Reyhaneh
Jabbari. Reyhaneh was an interior designer, 19 years old, when she was
assaulted by one of her clients, a senior official of the Intelligence
Ministry. Reyhaneh killed the man in self-defense, however, the court convicted
and executed her after 7 years of torture and imprisonment, on October 25,
2014. The Intelligence Ministry and prison officials wanted Reyhaneh to make
false confessions to justify the crime of their official in exchange for her
life.

On the World Day Against the Death Penalty, we draw attention to the plight of
women in Iran who are victims of execution and urge the international community
to pressure the Iranian regime to stop the death penalty, especially against
women.

(source: NCR-Iran)








EGYPT:

Egypt court recommends death penalty for 13 members of disbanded militant group



13 members of disbanded militant group Ajnad Misr were sentenced to death on
Sunday by a Cairo criminal court after being convicted of launching attacks on
security forces, judicial sources said.

Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt, were a group that emerged in January 2014 and
targeted security forces in and around the Egyptian capital.

The group's leader was killed by security forces in 2015, and many of its
remaining members are held in custody.

The court referred its sentencing recommendation to the country's top religious
authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding but legally required opinion.

Once that is received, the court will then formally announce its verdict on
Dec. 7, after which time the sentence can be carried out.

Egypt is fighting an Islamist insurgency in Sinai that gained momentum in
mid-2013 when the military ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Mursi
after mass protests against his rule. Hundreds of soldiers and police have been
killed.

The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement but Egyptian security forces do
not differentiate between it and groups such as Ajnad Misr and Islamic State,
which has led the insurgency in recent years.

(source: Reuters)








PHILIPPINES:

'No death penalty means no EJK'



There are no extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in the Philippines because there is
no death penalty, Malacanang said yesterday as it stressed that slain drug
suspects either fought with police or were killed by drug syndicates.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has drawn flak after declaring that there
is not a single EJK in the country despite the rising number of deaths linked
to President Duterte's war on drugs.

Officials have defended the claim, citing Administrative Order 35, which
defined EJK as the killing of members of cause-oriented organizations,
advocates, media practitioners or victims of mistaken identity. Malacanang has
said that the order, issued by former president Benigno Aquino III, has not
been revoked so the definition of EJK remains the same.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar insisted that there is no
EJK in the Philippines because state-sponsored killings are not allowed under
the Constitution

"We do not have judicial killing, we do not have capital punishment. It is
prohibited to kill in our country. So why is there extrajudicial killing when
there is no judicial killing? Why put 'extra?' So there are no extrajudicial
killings in our country. There is no judicial killing, it is not state
sponsored, it is not legal, it is not in our Constitution," Andanar told radio
station dzBB yesterday.

But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon described the PNP claim as
propaganda, saying over dzBB "they (PNP) are trying to take us for fools. Do
they actually think the people will believe them?"

The Commission on Human Rights has also described the government's definition
of EJKs as "inappropriate," noting that AO 35 was issued to address politically
motivated killings.

Andanar also dared the policemen who went to the Catholic Bishops' Conference
of the Philippines to confess their involvement in EJKs to show proof that the
government is behind the killings.

"They should show proof. It is easy to talk and to make allegations ... Gather
the evidence, file cases. It's easy to make noise, for example, that there are
13,000 people who were killed. With regard to EJK, the government has real
numbers and only 3,000 died because of drug operations," Andanar said.

(source: Philippine Star)








TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:

Poverty, Justice - a deadly mix



For the rule of law, the death penalty represents a failure, as it obliges the
state to kill in the name of justice. (Pope Francis)

On Tuesday the World will observe the 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty.
The theme this year is: Poverty and Justice: a deadly mix. It "aims at raising
awareness about the reasons why people living in poverty are at a greater risk
of being sentenced to death and executed."

Capital punishment remains in the legal system of 11 English-speaking countries
in the region - of which 2 countries retain the mandatory death penalty for
murder (TT and Barbados). Although the last hanging took place in St Kitts in
2008 and few death sentences have been handed down in the region, since then,
these countries have consistently voted against the UN resolutions on a
moratorium on the use of the death penalty and have signed the note verbale,
dissociating them from the Moratorium. It is to be noted that recent
international studies and research show that capital punishment does not act as
a deterrent, nor does it foster respect for life in our communities.

The World Coalition against the Death Penalty (WCADP) states: "Since the 1980s,
there has been a global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty, a
trend which continues to this day. According to Amnesty International, 16
countries had abolished the death penalty in law for all crimes in 1977. Today,
2/3 of all countries (141) are now abolitionist in law or in practice.

"However, the application of the death penalty is inextricably linked to
poverty. Social and economic inequalities affect access to justice for those
who are sentenced to death for several reasons: defendants may lack resources
(social and economic, but also political power) to defend themselves and will,
in some cases, be discriminated against because of their social status??? "In
the United States, in 2017, according to the Equal Justice Initiative, 95 % of
people on death row have disadvantaged economic backgrounds. A defendant who
does not have the financial capacity to hire a private lawyer will have to rely
on the free legal aid provided by the government. Such attorneys, however, are
often underpaid and unprepared for death penalty cases. Poverty is not solely
an economic issue, but rather a multidimensional phenomenon that encompasses a
lack of both income and the basic capabilities to live in dignity."

(See:
http://www.worldcoalition.org/media/resourcecenter/EN_2017WorldDayLeaflet.pdf
for ten reasons why the death penalty is used discriminatorily, and often
against the poor and should be abolished.)

The Bishops of the Antilles Episcopal Conference stated in their 2016 Pastoral
Letter: Human Life is Gift from God: "We wish to affirm the Church's teaching
in regard to the inherent dignity of every human being. As such, every effort
must be made to protect and preserve the sanctity of life. We believe that the
protection of society and the common good are assured by a proper functioning
justice system that detects and convicts and by a prison system that focuses on
rehabilitation.

"We urge our Governments to strengthen the capacity of public institutions,
including criminal justice systems, to address crime and violence; to address
the risk factors that contribute to crime, for example: poverty, urban decay,
social inequality and exclusion, family disintegration, poor parenting, lack of
quality education and employment, poor housing, the proliferation of guns,
drugs and gangs in the region, human trafficking, domestic violence, and to
employ related preventive measures. We stand ready and urge our faithful and
all people of good will to work together to this end.

"While we oppose the death penalty, we embrace the victims of violent crimes;
those who are hurting and grieving for their loved ones who have been killed,
at times in the most heinous ways. We urge each parish to establish victim
support groups and seek to meet their physical, mental, spiritual, financial
and other needs."

Pope Francis has repeatedly called for the abolition of the death penalty
which, he says, "is an offence to the inviolability of life and to the dignity
of the human person ... there is no humane way of killing another person. The
commandment 'thou shall not kill' has absolute value and pertains to the
innocent as well as the guilty."

Pro-life, means pro-ALL LIFE.

(source: Leela Ramdeen is the chair of the Catholic Commission for Social
Justice and chair of the Greater Caribbean for Life----newsday.co.tt)
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Oct. 9




PAKISTAN:

'In Pakistan, death penalty is for the poor'


When my son Khizar was born, I held his small head in my hand and fell in love.
Like all mothers, I dreamed that Khizar would grow up strong, live a good life
with a wife and children, and be surrounded by love.

He did grow up, he did get married, and had children. But he is not surrounded
by love. Love is hard to come by in prisons.

I never imagined that I would be visiting my only son in a jail, where I can
barely recognise him.

In truth, during most of my visits to him in Kot Lakhpat Jail (Central Jail
Lahore), Khizar struggles to recognise me. Schizophrenia does that to a person.
Even his own mother has become a stranger to him; on bad days, he thinks I’m an
enemy.

Khizar did well in school. He decided to stay in our village to become a police
officer. He grew into a good-natured person who enjoyed being well-dressed, and
going to early-morning prayers with me. He loved and respected Allah.

But every now and then, Khizar would withdraw into himself. Sometimes, I would
find him speaking to someone in the room. There would be no one there.

Khizar met a pir who used his age and spiritual influence to take advantage of
my son’s generosity. Over time, this man filled Khizar’s head with distrust and
suspicsion. He encouraged Khizar to distance himself from me, his wife, and his
children.

The pir told Khizar that his uncles and others wanted to kill him. He convinced
my son to sell our property and steal our belongings. Khizar gave everything to
the pir and his family. My son left home and began living with the pir.

He stopped going to prayers, became angry and paranoid, and his physical
appearance deteriorated. When he would come to visit us, he would shut himself
in a room and burn his hands. I was afraid for him and wanted him to go to the
hospital. I knew that Khizar was sick, and that this man, the pir, was making
it worse.

Khizar was arrested and sentenced to death in 2003, accused of murdering one of
his closest friends and a fellow police officer. I sold my jewelry to pay for a
lawyer, certain that my son didn’t kill anyone.

At the trial, there was no clear evidence against Khizar, but his lawyer didn’t
submit any evidence in support of him or call a single witness to defend him.
Khizar was sentenced to death based upon suspicion and lack of defense.

When his case was appealed, I again borrowed money for a government lawyer to
speak to the judge, but when we were called into the judge’s chamber, my lawyer
didn’t speak. He did not ask a single question. He took my money and did
nothing.

In Pakistan, the death penalty is for the poor. Those who can afford to buy
good lawyers don’t get sentenced to death. Is that justice?

Khizar has been diagnosed by doctors with paranoid schizophrenia and placed in
a section of the jail for mentally ill prisoners. It has been 14 years. He will
never get better. He will never know his children, who have grown into adults.
He will never again go to prayers with me.

I borrow what money I can to visit Khizar in jail, where he sits in solitary
confinement. The visits are very hard for me. He no longer knows who I am. He
doesn’t know where he is.

Sometimes, he has ripped his clothes and sits naked in his cell, repeating
paranoid thoughts to himself out loud. I sit near him, trying to come to terms
with what has become of my son – that beautiful baby with almond-shaped eyes
and long lashes, who had a whole lifetime ahead of him.

I challenge anyone to watch as their son stops being able to recognise his own
mother or his children – Khizar no longer knows where he is or how to talk to
other people. Even with treatment, schizophrenia doesn’t go away – it just
becomes manageable. There is no cure.

Whether you think that Khizar is innocent or guilty, he is still a human being,
a son, a father, and he has a severe illness. I’m getting older and I am
Khizar’s only family. My visits are the only care he gets.

I understand that he will never walk around a free, happy man, but I urge the
Government of Pakistan to please take my son off of death row and beseech that
he be moved to a medical facility that is properly trained to treat
schizophrenic patients.

(source: As narrated to Asim Rafiqui and Michael Braithewaite, who put it in
form of an article.

This article is second of a three-part series, curated in collaboration with
Justice Project Pakistan, in lead up to The World Day Against the Death Penalty
on October 10th----dawn.com)
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Oct. 11




EGYPT:

Egypt sentences 8 defendants to death over violence-related charges



An Egyptian court on Tuesday sentenced 8 defendants to death over storming a
police station in a city just south of Cairo in 2013.

The ruling by the Cairo Criminal Court also sentenced 50 others to life in
prison on charges that include the 2013 attack on the Helwan police station.

The attack came after security forces dispersed two sit-ins by supporters of
then president, Mohammed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military in 2013.

The verdict can be appealed. Prosecutors have already received a non-binding
approval for the death penalty in the case from the country's chief Islamic
legal authority.

(source: radio.gov.pk)








RUSSIA:

Europe may force Russia reinstate death penalty



Russia will consider the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights null
and void in the event the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
refuses to reinstate the Russian delegation in 2018, Valentina Matvienko, the
Speaker of the Council of the Federation said.

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe will be elected in 2018. There
is awareness that without the participation of any delegation, in particular,
the Russian one, the election of the head of this organization is not going to
be completely legitimate. This applies to the elections of the judges of the
ECHR too," Matvienko said on Monday on Rossiya 24 television channel.

When asked whether the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights are
going to be considered illegitimate on the territory of the Russian Federation,
Matvienko responded: "Naturally, of course."

In this connection, Russia may reinstate the death penalty as a form of capital
punishment for grave crimes. Will Russia make such a move?

Russia was invited to the Council of Europe in 1996. The abolition of the death
penalty was a mandatory condition for Russia to join the international European
organization. In 1997, Russia signed Protocol No. 6 to the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms concerning the abolition of
the death penalty (in peacetime). The protocol was not ratified, but Russia has
not been practicing death penalty since 1996. Russia does not resort to capital
punishment under the Vienna Convention, because a signatory state is supposed
to follow the provisions of the protocol before it is ratified.

Can Russia reinstate the death penalty and should we do it indeed? We talked
about the problem in a brief interview with first deputy chairman of the
Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, Franz Klintsevich.

According to the senator, the Council of the Federation has recently had a
heated discussion about a bill, according to which those convicted for
terrorism should be provided with conditions to communicate with their
relatives and friends. This is also part of Europe's requirements, Franz
Klintsevich noted.

"Members of the committee have expressed harsh reactions on the subject, but we
have made a decision in accordance with requirements of the international law.
We have also set up a conciliation commission to revise the document. As for
the remarks by Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, I also believe that we should
defend our interests more rigidly and look at things the way many people look,
including the Americans. I am talking about the need to take into account the
mentality of our own people, without being fixated on the things that they
impose on us from the outside," the senator said.

According to Klintsevich, for the time being, Russia is not going to abolish
the moratorium on the death penalty, but one can talk about it today.

"I am personally convinced that terrorists, pedophiles, serial killers and
corrupt officials, in case of a court verdict, should face such a form of
punishment as death penalty," said Klintsevich.

(source: pravdareport.com)








SERBIA:

"2/3 of Serbians want death penalty reintroduced"



Deputy Ombudsman Milos Jankovic says the fact that the number of Serbians who
are in favor of reintroducing the death penalty is on the rise is worrying.

According to Jankovic, who spoke on the occasion of October 10, World and
European Day Against the Death Penalty, last year a little over 1/2 of those
surveyed favored this, while now the number has reached over 2/3.

He recalled that the last time the death penalty was carried out in Serbia was
in February 1992, while the practice was formally abolished in 2002.

Jankovic, who is the ombudsman's deputy for the rights of imprisoned persons,
is convinced, however, that the death penalty will never be reintroduced in
this country, and that Serbia will never again execute a human being.

(source: b92.net)








PAKISTAN:

Intizar - an unequivocal call for abolition of death penalty



With its final performance, 'Intizar', at the Indus Valley School of Art and
Architecture, the week-long 'Bus Kar Do' campaign, calling for abolition of
death penalty, wound up on Tuesday evening.

The campaign was run by Lahore-based Justice Project Pakistan, Azad Theatre,
and Highlight Arts. The performance coincided with the World Day Against Death
Penalty falling on October 10.

Travelling all the way by special bus from Lahore to Karachi, stopping en route
at Sahiwal, Sukkur, and Hyderabad and performing at these places too, the
troupe staged its final performance in Karachi on Tuesday.

In the tradition of street theatre, the act was performed out in the open
courtyard without the theatre paraphernalia like sets and lighting. Yet the
actors managed to convey their message in a very profound way.

The message was the weaknesses of the justice dispensation system whereby
loopholes in the law often send the innocent to the gallows, as a result of
exploitation by selfish, dishonest officials or various caveats.

This particular musical skit enacted the story of a teenager, Owais, who
mysteriously disappears from among his group of friends. The whole locality is
in a frightening quandary but the political elder with his oily tongue assures
the residents that the killer would be apprehended soon and orders the police
official to arrest him by the evening.

The police officer takes a real short-cut and randomly arrests one of the
cronies of the teenager who implores to be released, with protestations of his
innocence.

However, the police officer is in no mood to listen. The denouement of the play
is that Owais, who actually is a worker from a remote part of Pakistan and has
come to a big city to eke out a living, finally goes to the gallows despite his
innocence.

Given its sombre theme, the scenes were often depressing, what with shrouded
dead bodies of convicts/victims being carried, but it drove home a very
profound message, something that would give us all real food for thought.

What made it all even more intense was the rendition of the songs by Sarfaraz
Ansari, in his deep, rich voice, complete with those cadences and voice
modulations that make a song impactful.

The Punjabi lyrics were so reflective of our treasured cultural heritage of the
province. Besides, they really reflected the tragedy the play was depicting;
Ansari really injected feeling into the songs.

Ryan Van Winkle, a US citizen presently associated with the Highlight Arts, UK,
and is based in Edinburgh, Scotland, while talking to The News, said that while
he did not advocate complete and total abolition of the death penalty right
away, he felt that the state should not meddle with the justice dispensation
system beyond a certain limit.

Before sentencing a convict to the ultimate punishment, a whole set of factors
should be considered that motivated the crime, plus the circumstances of the
perpetrator of the crime.

The pun, Bus Kar Do, is actually supposed to convey the idea of the bus that
has brought the troupe over and is an exhortation to terminate the system of
capital punishment.

(source: thenews.com.pk)

*************

'Wider public debate needed on death penalty'



Senator Farhatullah Babar said on Tuesday that a wider public debate is needed
on the death penalty that engages all sections of society in all provinces,
instead of just politician and opinion-makers.

The senator was speaking to participants at a demonstration organised by the
Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on the international day against the
death penalty.

Senator Babar said that even if it is not initially possible to abolish the
death penalty, basic legal guarantees in death penalty cases can and must be
ensured.

Regardless of one's opinion, there can be no disagreement on the presumption of
innocence until proven guilty, the right to a proper legal defence and
declaring confessions extracted through torture illegal, he said.

He added that some jurists have also proposed a time gap between conviction and
the pronouncement of the sentence, to safeguard against a hasty death penalty.

Senator Babar said there are laws with locus in religion that cannot be
changed, but while there are only 2 crimes that are punishable by death
according to the religion, there are 27 crimes that carry the death penalty,
and called for a review.

He added that in Pakistan, the death penalty was almost abolished for the rich
and privileges due to the mis-application of the Qisas and Diyat provisions.

He said the moratorium on the death penalty was lifted only in cases of
hardcore terrorists.

We ought to know how many of the hundreds executed during the past 3 years were
terrorists and how many were ordinary criminals, he said.

Any one who has taken the lives of others, how he could be spared. Since last 3
years when executions of the terrorists and murderers have restarted , there is
drastic decline in terrorism and crime.

(source: dawn.com)

******************

HRCP holds rally against death penalty



About 15 to 20 activists of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) held
a rally on Tuesday to mark the "15th World Day against Death Penalty".

The participants in the rally held outside the Lahore Press Club, and led by
HRCP Director Mona Baig and Programme Coordinator Tahira Habib, demanded the
government to abolish the death penalty and adopt a moratorium on death
penalties. The participants were carrying placards inscribed with slogans like
calling attention to miscarriages of justice and the need to honour life.

On the occasion, the HRCP activists distributed pamphlets among commuters and
media which explained the need to abolish death penalty. According to the
pamphlet, death penalty in Pakistan has become controversial. At the time of
independence, only 2 offences, murder and treason, carried death penalty while
today, 28 crimes are punishable by it. According to the pamphlet, increase in
offences which carry death penalty has been made against logic and without due
consideration.

HRCP said that execution of criminals is state killing its own citizens, adding
that the capital punishment has come to end in 140 countries and the campaign
for abolition of capital punishment is gaining momentum across the world.

HRCP Chief Coordinator Hafeez Buzdar said that the poor cannot afford expenses
of fighting cases in the courts and in most cases they are awarded capital
punishment which amounts to a discrimination in law.

According to HRCP Database Administrator Muhammad Adeel, 55 prisoners have been
executed in Pakistan in 2017 by August 31, while 175 have been convicted
between June-July 2017 alone.

(source: Pakistan Today)








SINGAPORE:

Executions continue in flawed attempt to tackle drug crime, despite limited
reforms



Singapore's continued reliance on mandatory death sentences, which violate
international law, has meant that dozens of low level drug offenders have been
sent to death row in recent years, Amnesty International said in a new report
released today.

Cooperate or Die also reveals how death penalty reforms introduced in 2013,
while reducing the number of people sentenced to death, do not go nearly far
enough and in particular have left life and death decisions in the hands of the
public prosecutor instead of judges.

"Singapore likes to paint itself as a prosperous and progressive role model,
but its use of the death penalty shows flagrant disregard for human life. The
country relies on harsh laws that overwhelmingly target drug offenders on the
lower rungs of the ladder, many of whom will come from disadvantaged
backgrounds," said Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty International's Death Penalty
Adviser.

"The reforms introduced in 2013 were a step in the right direction and have
allowed some people to escape the gallows, but in key respects they have been
flawed from the outset.

"Singapore is influential beyond its size in both Asia and the rest of the
world. The government should move forward from these reforms towards ending
capital punishment once and for all."

Amnesty International's investigation, based on extensive analysis of court
documents, shows that Singaporean courts continue to hand down mandatory
sentences in drug-trafficking cases, even though the new reforms should allow
for more leniency.

Mandatory death sentences do not allow judges to take into account the
mitigating circumstances of the crime or of the offenders. They leave courts
with no option but to condemn drug offenders to the gallows.

The majority of people sent to death row for drug offences in the last four
years have possessed relatively small amount of drugs and many say they were
driven to the drug trade by unemployment or debt.

Since the new reforms were introduced in 2013, drug carriers should be able to
avoid mandatory death sentences by co-operating sufficiently with the state
prosecutor during the investigation phase or trial. However, decisions on who
meets this criteria rests fully with the public prosecutor and not the judge,
and are taken behind closed doors in a murky and non-transparent process.

"The use of mandatory death sentences in Singapore must end immediately.
Although there has been a reduction in such sentences in the last few years,
the fact that they are still used at all is cause for deep concern," said
Chiara Sangiorgio.

A flawed tool to tackle crime

Singaporean officials have continued to justify the retention of the death
penalty by pointing to it being a supposedly effective tool to tackle crime.
Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a speech to the UN in
September 2016 said: "In our view, capital punishment for drug-related offences
and for murder has been a key element in keeping Singapore drug free and
keeping Singapore safe."

This is despite the fact that there is no evidence that the threat of execution
is more of a deterrent to crime than other penalties such as life imprisonment,
something confirmed in multiple studies, including by the UN, across the globe.

"Singapore is deluding itself if it thinks the death penalty is an effective
tool to reduce crime rates. This is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading
punishment, it does not make us safer - a fact the vast majority of the world's
countries have acknowledged," said Chiara Sangiorgio.

"Singapore should immediately put a freeze on the implementation of the death
penalty with a view to its eventual repeal. In the short term, the country must
reform its legal framework to bring it in line with international law, and
ensure that death row convicts are afforded all legal protections guaranteed
under international law and standards."

Crackdown on activists

Since the reforms were introduced, Singaporean authorities have also
increasingly cracked down on those voicing dissent against the use of the death
penalty, in particular lawyers and other activists. A new law introduced in
2016 has tightened already severe restrictions on the ability of human rights
defenders and others to criticise court decisions.

In August 2017, for example, the High Court fined one lawyer who represented a
death row convict SD6,000 (USD4,400) after he made a Facebook post critical of
the judiciary hours before his client was due to be executed.

"Singaporean authorities have never had much time for the right to freedom of
expression, and they are now increasingly seeking to silence debate on the use
of capital punishment. This deliberate pattern of harassing those advocating
for the right to life must end immediately," said Chiara Sangiorgio.

Background

Singapore has seen marked progress on its use of the death penalty since the
mid-1990s, when the city state was the world's highest executioner per capita
and implemented dozens of death sentences every year.

Over the past 3 years, a total of 10 people have been executed (4 in 2016),
while at least 17 death sentences were imposed in the same period. In all
cases, those sentenced to death have been convicted of murder or drug
trafficking.

Drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of the "most serious crimes" to
which the death penalty must be restricted under international law

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases and under any
circumstances, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of
the offender, or the method used by the state to carry out the execution. The
organization considers the death penalty a violation of the right to life as
recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ultimate cruel,
inhuman and degrading punishment.

(source: Amnesty International)



BAHRAIN:

Spotlight On 16 Bahrainis facing execution on annual world day against death
penalty



Rights groups are hoping to highlight the alarming number of Bahrainis on death
row on the occasion of the annual World Day Against the Death Penalty.

According to the UK-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), 16
Bahrainis are currently awaiting execution in the Persian Gulf kingdom.

The rights group alleges that 13 were convicted of politically motivated
charges; 9 of them this year.

On January 15, Manama executed 3 Shiite men in what marked the 1st death
sentences to be carried in decades.

Sami Mushaima, Ali Al-Singace, and Abbas Al-Samea were killed by firing squad
after being falsely accused of carrying out a bombing in 2014 that left three
state-security officers dead. They were convicted despite having their
confessions extracted under torture, a lack of evidence, and the absence of due
process.

This year is the 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty, which falls on
October 10 and seeks the abolition of the practice.

(source: AhlulBayt News Agency)








IRAQ:

The 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty



On October 10th, 2017, the World Coalition against the Death Penalty and
abolitionist organizations across the world recognize the 15th World Day
Against the Death Penalty.

Iraq remains one of few countries who still practice the death penalty
including China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United States.

Since the 1980s, there has been a global trend towards the abolition of the
death penalty. In 1977, only 16 countries were against the practice and now, in
2017, 141 countries have abolished it or no longer practice it.

There are currently an estimated 1816 individuals under sentence of death in
Iraq. There were 101 executions recorded in Iraq in 2016 but so far, in 2017,
no executions have been carried out or recorded by the formal government,
though executions of suspected ISIS militants by local forces and militia, are
reported to occur regularly, with impunity.

Why should the death penalty be abolished? Research of executions around the
globe have shown it to be discriminatory and biased against the mentally
unwell, poor and uneducated, it is ineffective in curbing crime, has
historically been used in error against innocent persons, and it is inhumane.

This year's world campaign against the death penalty highlights the social and
economic inequalities that affect unequal access to justice. Defendants who
lack the social, economic and political resources to engage in the system
effectively, cannot defend themselves.

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), The Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and many
international bodies remain deeply concerned about the use of the death penalty
in Iraq at a time when its justice system is already overloaded and
under-resourced. The Secretary General of the United Nations, his successive
representatives in Iraq and the High Commissioner for Human Rights have
consistently called on the Government of Iraq to become party to the Second
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
aiming at the abolition of the death penalty and, in the meantime, to comply
with United Nations General Assembly resolutions.

(source: nrttv.com)








IRAN:

Afghan girl's murderer to receive death penalty soon



The 17-year-old Iranian boy who had prosecuted for the abduction, sexual
assault, and murder of the 6-year-old Afghan girl, Setayesh Qoreishi, has been
handed down death penalty.

The boy who brutally killed the girl after raping her on April 10, 2016, has
been in custody for more than a year now.

The horrific and tragic crime aroused great anger among the public and many
officials called for severe punishment for the murderer. The Iranian deputy
secretary general of High Council for Human Rights and Judicial Cooperation
Kazem Gharibabbadi has explained Afghans are too entitled to equal protection
of the law in Iran without any discrimination.

Now after more than a year the underage murderer who will soon come of age will
face punishment by the end of the current Iranian calendar month of Mehr
(October 22).

According to Mehr news agency the execution will be carried out on October
17-19 depending on the court order.

(source: Tehran Times)

******************

World Day Against the Death Penalty: 435 Executions in Iran



Since January 2017, at least 435 people, including 5 juvenile offenders, have
been executed according to Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) Death Penalty
Research Section. At least 219 people have been executed for drug offences so
far in 2017.

We celebrate this year's "World Day Against the Death Penalty", October 10, as
the bill for the amendment to Iran's Anti-drug law is about to come to a
conclusion. The bill has been approved by the Iranian Parliament, however, it
still needs to be approved by the Guardian Council in order to be legislated.
According to this bill, it is predicted that more than 80 % of nearly 4000
prisoners who are sentenced to death on drug related charges will be saved from
execution. Considering the fact that 50 to 60 % of death sentences in Iran are
issued for drug related crimes, it seems that this bill will play an important
role in decreasing the number of executions if it is approved. Earlier in 2017,
members of the Iranian Parliament's Justice Cimmittee called on the Judiciary
to halt the drug related executions until the fait of the new bill is clear.
However, the drug related executions in Iran continue as before. So far in 2017
at least 219 have been executed for drug offences.

In 2002, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP) established 10
October as the date of the annual World Day Against the Death Penalty. WCADP
has 140 members from 5 continents. 20 organizations, including Iran Human
Rights (IHR), constitute the Steering Committee of this coalition. The role of
this committee is to establish general policies and introduce the annual topics
of this coalition.

Since in all the countries around the world poor and marginalized people are
the main victims of the death penalty, the Steering Committee of WCADP has
selected "Poverty" as the topic for this year's World Day Against the Death
Penalty. There has not been a thorough research on the relationship between
poverty and the death penalty in Iran. Although, as Iran Human Rights annual
report on the death penalty suggests, most victims of executions are poor and
belong to the marginalized parts of the Iranian society, including ethnic
regions and Afghan citizens. Even Iranian officials have admitted that most of
those executed for drug offences are not the real drug dealers but poor and
marginalized people who are used as carriers for a small amount of money. In
February 2016, the Iranian Vice-President Shahindokht Molaverdi said in a press
conference that "We have a village in Baluchestan Province where every single
man has been executed (for drug offences)". Baluchistan is Iran's poorest
province.

The reasons why death penalty mainly targets poor people in Iran may include:

First, many people turn to drug trafficking as a result of poverty.

Second, many of these people belong to the lower strata of society, have a low
level of education, and are unaware of their legal rights.

Third, most of these people do not afford to have a lawyer of their own choice
and other legal and illegal facilities which require affluence in Iran's
judicial system in order for them to be saved from execution.

It seems that poverty and being marginalized rather than the extent of the
crime, are the common denominators for most victims of the death penalty in the
world. In the few countries where such research has been conducted, researches
have shown that if a poor and a wealthy person both commit a similar crime, the
probability of the poor being sentenced to death is much higher. Thus, the
death penalty is not only inhumane, but also unfair and discriminatory as it
does not depend on the intensity of the crime, but on the socio-economic
factors.

(source: Iran Human Rights)

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Oct. 11



MALAYSIA:

Scrap death penalty on drugs to start ball rolling, Amnesty tells Putrajaya



Malaysia should abolish the mandatory death penalty for drug cases at the next
Parliament sitting as a pledge to improve human rights here, Amnesty
International (AI) said today after the government announced its plans to allow
judges a choice in sentencing.

AI Malaysia acting executive director Gwen Lee said many drug cases involve
people from lower income groups and that it would be unfair if they had to pay
with their lives for such crimes. She added that it would be a good first step
towards abolishing the draconian punishment.

She cited the case of one Hoo Yew Wah, a poor Johorean currently on death row
for drug possession charges in 2005, as an example of such cases.

"The situation is no different in Malaysia, where it is often those who come
from disadvantaged backgrounds who end up paying the price of the death
penalty.

"The mandatory death penalty on drug is very important to be reviewed," Lee
said in a press conference today.

She also urged Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said to ensure the law gets tabled in
Parliament this month.

The minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of law previously
said in August that the Cabinet agreed to amend the colonial-era Dangerous
Drugs Act of 1952 to give courts a choice in sentencing.

"We want total abolition, but we see this as a good step forward. We are hoping
that it will be tabled and it is on the list of suggested amendments," Lee
stressed.

She said this would also help in Malaysia's bid to be reappointed into the
United Nation's Human Rights Council.

Capital punishment is mandatory in Malaysia for murder and drug trafficking,
among other crimes.

According to Azalina, a total of 651 Malaysians have been sentenced to death
since 1992, most of them for drug offences.

(source: The Malay Mail Online)

**********************

Abolition of the mandatory death penalty: No more delays - Malaysian
Bar-----The World Day against the Death Penalty is commemorated on 10 October
each year.



In Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for persons convicted of murder,
trafficking in narcotics of various amounts, and discharging a firearm in the
commission of various crimes (even where no one is hurt).

The Malaysian Bar has been, and remains, in the frontline of the battle to
uphold and preserve the rule of law, fundamental constitutional rights, the
administration of justice, and law and order. In this regard, we have
consistently called for the abolition of the death penalty. The Malaysian Bar
at its Annual or Extraordinary General Meetings in 1985, 2006, 2012 and 2015
passed resolutions condemning the death penalty and/or calling for its
abolition.

The campaign to abolish the death penalty is not meant to confer licence to
commit serious crimes with impunity. Persons convicted of serious crimes must
receive proportionate punishment. But this does not mean that they therefore
ought to die.

The Malaysian Bar has always taken the view that there is no empirical evidence
or data that confirms that the death penalty serves as an effective deterrent
to the commission of crimes. There has been no significant reduction in the
incidence of crimes for which the death penalty is currently mandatory. This is
particularly true of drug-related offences.

In short, the death penalty does not work as a deterrent.

The Malaysian Bar's primary opposition to the death penalty is because life is
sacred, and every person has an inherent right to life. This is vouchsafed in
Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, which eschews the
arbitrary deprivation of life. The right to life is a fundamental right that
must be absolute, inalienable and universal, irrespective of the crime
committed by the accused person.

Recently, Minister Dato' Sri Azalina Othman Said stated on 7 August 2017 that
the Cabinet had approved the abolition of the mandatory death penalty for
drug-related offences. However, there has been no announcement of any timeline,
or any release of draft legislation to this effect. The Malaysian Bar calls
upon the Government of Malaysia to introduce the amending legislation without
further delay. Any delay will mean more people being sentenced to die.

The Malaysian Bar further calls upon the Government to act swiftly to abolish
the death penalty for all crimes, stop executions, and commute each death
sentence to one of imprisonment.

(source: This statement is issued by George Varughese, president of the
Malaysian Bar Council. This is the personal opinion of the writer or
organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail
Online----themalaymailonline.com)








JAPAN:

Death penalty sought for alleged 'black widow' serial killer



Prosecutors on Tuesday sought the death penalty for a 70-year-old woman, dubbed
the "black widow," charged with the murders of her husband and 2 common-law
partners and the attempted murder of an acquaintance between 2007 and 2013.

Describing Chisako Kakehi's alleged crimes as "heinous and serious incidents
that are rarely seen," the prosecutors said in their closing arguments at the
Kyoto District Court that the victims - all elderly men - were given drinks
laced with cyanide by Kakehi. She was heavily indebted and had been planning to
inherit their assets.

The court is scheduled to hand down a ruling on Nov. 7, with the defense making
its closing statements on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Kakehi is mentally competent and can be held responsible for
her crimes, which "were premeditated." Her "cognitive function has not
significantly deteriorated as shown in her psychiatric evaluation," and she had
no mental disorders at the time of the crimes, they said.

Kakehi denied the charges and pleaded not guilty. Her defense argued that she
cannot be held responsible or stand trial due to the onset of dementia. They
cited her incoherent statements which they said even led to her admission at
one point during proceedings to committing murder.

According to prosecutors, Kakehi murdered her 75-year-old husband Isao as well
as common-law partners Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, and tried to
kill her acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, by poisoning them with cyanide.

In the trial held under the country's lay judge system, which involves citizen
judges, the prosecutors built their case against Kakehi based on circumstantial
evidence amid a dearth of physical evidence.

Kakehi was first arrested in November 2014 and indicted the following month on
a charge of killing Isao, who died at the couple's home in Muko, Kyoto
Prefecture, in December 2013. They married the previous month. She was later
indicted in connection with the deaths of the 2 other men.

Kakehi, a native of Fukuoka Prefecture, married 1st at the age of 24 and
started her own fabric printing factory in Osaka Prefecture with her 1st
husband. But following his death in around 1994, the factory went bankrupt and
her house was put up for auction, forcing her to ask neighbors for a loan.

She later registered with a matchmaking service, specifically asking to meet
wealthy men with an annual income of more than Y10 million.

She was romantically involved with or associated with more than 10 men,
enabling her to inherit an estimated Y1 billion ($8.8 million) but later fell
into debt following her attempts to speculate in stocks and futures trading.

(source: The Japan Times)








INDONESIA:

Narcotic Agency Head Budi Waseso says death penalty critics may be part of drug
syndicates



Tuesday was World Day Against the Death Penalty, and human rights activists in
Indonesia used the occasion to highlight an alarming increase in death penalty
prosecutions over the last year and to renew call for a moratorium on the
practice until the procedures regulating it can be thoroughly reviewed to
prevent human rights violations.

But the head of the National Narcotics Agency (BNN), Commissioner-General Budi
Waseso, shot back at critics of the death penalty, saying that it was an
essential deterrent in the country's war on drugs and implying that those who
oppose capital punishment might be criminals themselves.

"Why do these 'sontoloyo' (lit. duck herders; colloquially, people who hold up
progress with unimportant issues) keep defending (drug dealers) continuously?
What if they are part of the drug mafia syndicate?" Budi said at a press
conference Tuesday as quoted by CNN Indonesia.

He specifically took aim at Amnesty International, the activist NGO that
defends human rights around the world and has asked the Indonesian government
numerous times to place a moratorium on the death penalty in light of the
numerous human rights violations related to its use in Indonesia in the past.

"What has Amnesty International ever done for this nation? Did they ever build
up Indonesia? Have they ever struggled positively for the nation? Never,
right?" Budi said.

Not only did the BNN chief defend the death penalty as a necessary, he
suggested the government increase it???s deterrent value by having them be
dicincang (chopped up) instead of shot.

"If we just chopped them up, there would be no need for them to be shot.
Showing that would be a real deterrent," said Budi (who, by the way, was indeed
the same guy who said he wanted to build a prison exclusively for drug dealers
guarded by angry crocodiles).

Budi said that sentencing drug dealers to death could save 212,000 people's
lives in Indonesia (not sure where he pulled that number from) and, pulling a
card from Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte's playbook, said human rights
activists should focus on protecting the rights of victims rather than the
rights of drug dealers.

Besides Amnesty, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), also
recently asked that Indonesia declare a moratorium on the death penalty while
the process in which criminals can be convicted and appeal the sentence be
reviewed for violations of human rights, noting that one of the last people
executed by the government, Humphrey Jefferson "Jeff" Ejike, had been denied
the ability to exercise all of his appeal options before he was killed.

(source: coconuts.co)




PHILIPPINES:

France opposes restoration of death penalty in PHL



France on Wednesday voiced its concern on a plan by the Philippine government
to restore death penalty, which it called an "unjust, inhumane and ineffective"
punishment.

The French government made the statement on the occasion of the 15th World Day
Against the Death Penalty and the 40th anniversary of the last execution in
France.

"France is...concerned about the determination of Philippine authorities to
reintroduce the death penalty, following its abolition in 2006," it said in a
statement sent by its embassy in Manila.

It also expressed concern on the continued use of the death penalty, notably in
China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iraq and the United States.

France also took note of the resumption of executions in Nigeria, Bahrain,
Kuwait, and Jordan, but praised efforts of other countries, such as Mongolia,
Gambia, Benin, Nauru and Guinea to abolish death penalty.

"France is opposed to the death penalty everywhere and under all
circumstances," the European Union-member nation said as it called on states
that still impose the death penalty to establish a moratorium toward its
definitive abolition.

President Rodrigo Duterte has severely criticized the EU for opposing his
policy to reintroduce capital punishment for drug dealers and heinous crimes.

Duterte, known for using strong language against his critics, earlier
threatened to hang EU officials for their opposition to death penalty and
lambasted them for intervening in the country's domestic policies.

The status of the proposed revival of the capital punishment law, however,
remains unclear as the House of Representatives, which approved its version of
the death penalty bill last March, and the Senate excluded it from the list of
priority measures for the 17th Congress.

(source: GMA News)








GLOBAL:

The death penalty has no place in the 21st century' - UN chief Guterres



The death penalty does little to deter crimes or serve victims, United Nations
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday, calling on all countries
which have not forbidden the extreme practice to urgently stop executions.

"The death penalty has no place in the 21st century," underscored Mr. Guterres,
speaking alongside Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary-General for Human
Rights, at an event at the UN Headquarters, in New York.

Welcoming that some 170 States around the world have either abolished the death
penalty and put a moratorium on its use - most recently, Gambia and Madagascar
- and that executions in 2016 were down 37 % compared in 2015, the UN chief,
however, added that at present just 4 countries accounted for 87 % of all
recorded executions.

He also expressed concern that the countries that countries that continue
executions are also failing to meet their international obligations, particular
in relation to transparency and compliance with international human rights
standards.

"Some governments conceal executions and enforce an elaborate system of secrecy
to hide who is on death row, and why," noted Mr. Guterres, underscoring that
lack of transparency showed a lack of respect for the human rights of those
sentenced to death and to their families, as well as damaging administration of
justice more generally.

Concluding his remarks, the Secretary-General urged all those States that have
abolished the death penalty to lend their voice to the call on the leaders of
those countries that retain it, "to establish an official moratorium, with a
view to abolition as soon as possible."

Also today, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
also called on all countries to strengthen efforts to abolish the death
penalty.

"We [...] call on all States to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," said Rupert Colville, a
spokesperson for OHCHR, told journalists at a regular news briefing in Geneva.

The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR), now ratified by 85 States around the globe, requires
its parties to abolish death penalty. It is the only universal international
legal instrument that aims to end the practice.

"[OHCHR] stands ready to continue to support all efforts in this direction," he
added.

(source: un.org)

******************

World Day Against Death Penalty: 5 Countries That Ditched Capital Punishment



October 10 marks World Day Against the Death Penalty, a time where human rights
activist come together to advocate against capital punishment.

In the United States, executions occur so frequently that I bet a lot of
Americans don't even realize how atypical this form of punishment is,
particularly amongst other developed nations. As Amnesty International points
out, with fewer than 200 countries in the world, 141 of them don???t use the
death penalty, with 104 countries explicitly banning it.

In honor of World Day Against the Death Penalty, let's look at how just a few
of those nations from various parts of the world officially got rid of the
death penalty:

1. Australia

Originally settled as a penal colony, Australia has strong roots tied to
punishment - and that included capital punishment. Gradually over a period of
decades, however, Australian states and territories opted to get rid of the
death penalty on their own accord, starting with Queensland in 1922 and
wrapping up with New South Wales in 1985.

Not that there was a lot of clamor to bring the death penalty back, but in
2010, the Australian federal parliament decided to follow all of its states'
lead and pass a law forbidding any part of Australia from reintroducing capital
punishment down the road. It served as a recommitment to the idea that he death
penalty is wrong.

2. Rwanda

After 800,000 people were killed in acts of genocide in the country, many of
those responsible for these atrocities fled Rwanda to avoid punishment. Other
countries kept tabs on these criminals on Rwanda's behalf, but refused to
extradite them because of their own laws, which forbid them from turning over
someone who would likely be charged with the death penalty.

If Rwanda wanted to get these murderers back, realistically, the country would
have to choose to get rid of the death penalty.

It wasn't necessarily an easy decision for Rwandans since many survivors of
genocide wanted to see the perpetrators of violence killed for their crimes.
Ultimately, however, political leaders decided that achieving some sort of
justice was preferable to letting these people go free and they voted
overwhelmingly to end the death penalty.

3. Argentina

Argentina is an interesting case because its Constitution outlawed the death
penalty at the time of its founding, only to see it reemerge a handful of times
anyway. 5 times over the span of decades, Argentina decided to reinstate
capital punishment, generally for just a couple years before opting to get rid
of it again.

By 1984, his fickleness settled down and Argentina settled on only applying the
death penalty for certain military-related matters. Then in 2008, Argentina
decided even military personnel should be spared this fate. Like most of Latin
America, it definitively eliminated the death penalty for everybody once and
for all.

4. Vatican City

In 1929, Vatican City decided to follow Italy's lead and allow the death
penalty. That said, the tiny Catholic country was only prepared to use capital
punishment for one crime and one crime only - the attempted assassination of
the pope. (To be fair, that does seem like a pretty big one.)

Luckily for the popes, the death penalty was never necessary. 40 years later,
it hadn't been used at all, and by then Catholic leaders decided it wouldn't
want to use it even if there were an attempt on the pope's life.

To this day, the Vatican City has been outspoken on the issue of the death
penalty. Pope Francis has urged all countries in the world to get rid of this
form of punishment permanently.

5. Mongolia

Only a decade ago, Mongolia was one of the Asian countries called out by human
rights groups for conducting executions in secret, leaving it impossible to
know how many people the government was killing.

All that changed in 2009, though, when Tsakhia Elbegdorj was elected president
of Mongolia. A passionate death penalty abolitionist, he managed to
singlehandedly change the course of the country by pledging to pardon all
prisoners awaiting capital punishment in Mongolia. The following year, he put a
moratorium on executions altogether.

At the time, pundits thought the moratorium was not likely to last past
Elbegdorj's time in office, but that no longer seems to be the case. By 2015,
the country's lawmakers came to see the president's point of view and
officially abolished the death penalty.

(source: care2.com)

*********************

The death penalty: what's changed since 1977?



It's 40 years since we created the world's 1st international manifesto to end
the death penalty. Since 1977, we have seen huge amounts of progress in the
campaign to end the use of the death penalty around the world. We're so much
closer to seeing the end of this horrific punishment - which we consider the
ultimate denial of human rights. But we're not quite there yet.

Do something now

Stop the executions in the Maldives

The Maldives is set to start using the death penalty again after 60 years of
not executing anyone. 3 men now face execution by hanging.

Stop 14 men being executed in Saudi Arabia

14 men are due to be beheaded for allegedly being involved in anti-government
protests, after they were tortured into confessing.

40 years of campaigning to end the death penalty

"When the state uses its power to end the life of a human being, it is likely
that no other right is inviolate. The state cannot give life, it should not
presume to take it away."---- Amnesty International's Declaration of Stockholm

In 1977, we drafted the Declaration of Stockholm - a declaration calling on
every government around the world to stop using the death penalty.

Why did we decide to campaign to stop the death penalty?

The death penalty the ultimate denial of a basic human right - the right to
life. The state shouldn't be able to take that away from you as a punishment
within a criminal justice system. The death penalty also denies someone the
right to be free from torture. It is a violent irreversible punishment.

We oppose the use of the death penalty in every single case. No matter what the
crime, who the alleged criminal is, or the method proposed to execute them - we
always stand against it.

The death penalty is irreversible and mistakes happen. Execution is the
ultimate, irrevocable punishment: the risk of executing an innocent person can
never be eliminated. Since 1973, for example, 150 US prisoners sent to death
row have later been exonerated (cleared of the crime/s they were, or were due
to be, executed for). Many people have been executed despite serious doubts
about their guilt.

It doesn't deter crime. Countries that execute commonly cite the death penalty
as a way to deter people from committing crime. This claim has been repeatedly
discredited, and there is no evidence that the death penalty is any more
effective in reducing crime than imprisonment.

It's often used within skewed justice systems. Some of the countries executing
the most people have deeply unfair legal systems. The 'top' 3 executing
countries - China, Iran and Iraq - have issued death sentences after unfair
trials. Many death sentences are issued after 'confessions' that have been
obtained through torture.

It's discriminatory. You are more likely to be sentenced to death if you are
poor or belong to a racial, ethnic or religious minority because of
discrimination in the justice system. Also, poor and marginalized groups have
less access to the legal resources needed to defend themselves.

It's used as a political tool. The authorities in some countries, for example
Iran and Sudan, use the death penalty to punish political opponents.

Documenting executions

One of the ways we protect human rights is by reporting when governments abuse
them. Our research is used to help hold abusers to account in courts around the
world.

Under international law, the death penalty is banned from use - except during
times of war - under:

The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights

Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights

The Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death
Penalty.

The European Convention on Human Rights (Protocol No. 13) bans use of the death
penalty at all times, even during war.

Although international law says that the death penalty can be used for the most
serious crimes, like murder, we believe that the death penalty is never the
answer.

In 1979 we started publishing statistics showing which countries were
executing, how and why. We have reported on this every year ever since, and
have become a key global authority on monitoring and reporting on death
sentences and executions carried out by governments worldwide.

40 years on...fewer states are executing

Back in 1977, the death penalty was legal in most of the world, with the
exception of 16 countries who had outlawed it.

Now, in 2017, the death penalty is illegal in 105 countries. A further 36
countries have either repealed the death penalty for 'ordinary crimes' such as
murder, or effectively stopped using the death penalty although it remains
legal.

Last year, only 23 countries actually executed people. The majority of
executions took place in a small group of countries - China, Iran, Saudi
Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.

We are calling on all countries that still have the death penalty in their laws
to make it illegal. Where it is still illegal, we call on states to stop using
the punishment and establish an official moratorium as a step towards making it
illegal.

With your help, we won't need another 40 years to reach our goal of ending the
death penalty for good.

Do something today

Call on the Maldives to stop its plans to resume executions

Demand that Saudi Arabia doesn't execute 14 men who have been tortured

(source: amnesty.org.uk)








ST. LUCIA:

Francis issues statement to mark World Day Against Death Penalty



Tuesday 10th October 2017 is observed as the World Day Against the Death
Penalty. First observed in 2003 by the World Coalition Against the Death
Penalty (WCADP), this year marks the 15th observance with focus on the theme
"Poverty and Justice a deadly mix."

The purpose of this theme is to raise awareness about the reasons why people
living in poverty are at a greater risk of being sentenced to death and
executed. The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty is an alliance of
N.G.O's, Bar Associations, local authorities and Unions.

The overall objective of the WCA against the Death Penalty is to strengthen the
international dimension of the fight against the Death Penalty with the goal to
achieve universal abolition of the death penalty.

The Caribbean is also part of the international campaign, through the work of
the Greater Caribbean For Life (GCL) which is a Non-Profit, Civil Society
Organisation established in Trinidad on October 2nd 2013 to unite the Caribbean
abolitionist organizations and individuals.

GCL believes in stopping crime not lives and strives to create a culture of
respect for the right to live and for the dignity of all human beings.

The Greater Caribbean consists of 25 countries/states including 13 Caricom
countries which retain the Death Penalty.

As a member of the Greater Caribbean For Life I take this opportunity to raise
awareness of the international campaign to abolish the Death Penalty. Although
there has been no execution in St. Lucia since 1994, St. Lucia remains a
retentionist country. Against the strong statements made 2 weeks ago by the
Minister of Justice, to visit the gallows, it is necessary to state
categorically that despite the rise in youth violent crime and murder, this is
a backward stance, as hanging is no deterrent to crime.

In keeping with this year's theme "Poverty and Justice a deadly mix" I call on
the Government to stop crime and not lives. Rather to focus on the issue of
poverty and its related ills. Prevention is the key. By focusing on the social
and economic origin of crime, such as the poverty which engenders violence and
disregard for Law and Order. In this regard St. Lucia must adopt the
recommendations contained in the U.N.D.P 2012 Report "Human Development and the
shift to better citizen security."

The U.N.D.P urges Governments in the region to strive to achieve ???a better
balance between legitimate law enforcement and preventive measures, with a
stronger focus on prevention and to invest more, for example in youth
development, job creation and reducing poverty and socio-economic inequality,
inequity. These strategies can contribute to a safer and more democratic just
society in the region.

This is the strategy for St. Lucia in preventing crime/murder instead of
applying the Death Penalty. At the domestic level we must try to eradicate the
drug culture, which breeds the gun culture, side by side introduce family
support measures and rehabilitate delinquent youth. The criminal justice system
must be strengthened, by removing the delays, ensuring prosecutions and
improving forensic investigation.

Above all St. Lucia must live up to its international responsibility by
adhering to the 2014 recommendations of United Nations Human Rights Commission,
which at the Universal Periodic Review Meeting for St. Lucia in 2015 urged St.
Lucia to take steps to abolish the Death Penalty by signing and ratifying the
2nd Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights which abolishes the Death Penalty. St. Lucia should also consider stop
voting against the U.N Resolutions regarding the call for a moratorium on the
death penalty, which the Caribbean States as retentionist always vote against.

As World Day against the Death Penalty is observed, the victims of violent
crime must not be forgotten, however, injustice cannot be fought with injustice
and our Court of Appeal has already declared the mandatory death penalty
(hanging) to be inhuman and degrading treatment and therefore unconstitutional.
For after all the RIGHT TO LIFE is the most fundamental human right and must be
upheld by the citizens but more importantly upheld by the State. It is wrong
for the State to carry out capital punishment in the name of justice. This is
simply state killing, which most times involve the poorer marginalized in St.
Lucia.

There must be a better way, there is nothing to fear but fear itself. As
Christians and citizens let us educate ourselves, let us become part of the
International Campaign to abolish the Death Penalty and save lives.

Without the right to life, there simply would be no human rights, because human
rights are indivisible, are interrelated and interdependent. The abolition of
the death penalty is in keeping with evolving standards of decency/practised by
modern democratic societies which have implemented alternative punishment for
murder so as to keep society safe. St. Lucia can do the same.

Mary M. Francis

Coordinator,

National Centre For Legal Aid and Human Rights Inc.

Member,

Greater Caribbean For Life (G.C.L)

(source: St. Lucia Times)
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Oct. 13



GLOBAL:

UN: 170 Countries Abandoned the Death Penalty



The countries that abolished the death penalty have reached 170. 87% of the
death sentences are carried out in 4 countries. They are Iraq, Iran, Pakistan
and Saudi Arabia. These figures were released on Tuesday by the United Nations
on the World Day against the Death Penalty - Oct. 10.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres says there is "no room for the death
penalty in the 21st century", quoted by news.bg. Some of the 170 countries have
abolished it or ceased to practice it last month. 2 African States. Gambia and
Madagascar - have taken important steps to end the death penalty, - said the UN
chief.

In 2016, the number of convicted persons decreased by 37% compared to the
previous year.

The UN also believes that there are a large number of executions in China, but
there is "no accurate data" on this issue.

It should not be forgotten that several states in the United States still have
the heaviest punishment.

(source: novinite.com)






********************

Pope Francis: The death penalty is contrary to the Gospel



Pope Francis declared Wednesday that the death penalty is "contrary to the
Gospel." He said that "however grave the crime that may be committed, the death
penalty is inadmissible because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of
the person."

He did so in a major talk on Oct. 11 to an audience of cardinals, bishops,
priests, nuns, catechists, and ambassadors from many countries on the 25th
anniversary of the promulgation of the catechism, affirming that there has been
a development of doctrine in the church and a change in the consciousness of
the Christian people on the question of the death penalty. The pope's comments
and the timing of them suggest that a revision of the Catechism of the Catholic
Church may be forthcoming to reflect this new development in the church's
understanding.

"One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an
inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form it is
carried out. And [it] is, of itself, contrary to the Gospel, because it is
freely decided to suppress a human life that is always sacred in the eyes of
the Creator, and of which, in the final analysis, God alone is the true judge
and guarantor," Pope Francis said.

"One has to strongly affirm that condemnation to the death penalty is an
inhuman measure that humiliates personal dignity, in whatever form it is
carried out."

Reiterating an observation in his Letter to the President of the International
Commission against the Death Penalty, March 20, 2015, Francis said that "No man
ever, not even the murderer, loses his personal dignity, because God is a
Father who always awaits the return of the son who, knowing that he has done
wrong, asks pardon and begins a new life." For this reason, he said, "life
cannot be taken away from anyone" and there must always be "the possibility of
a moral and existential redemption that will be to the favor of the community."

His statement is sure to be welcomed by bishops' conferences and the
overwhelming majority of the Christian faithful around the world, many of whom
have long called for the church to take this stance. His predecessors have been
slowly moving towards the position taken today by Francis. Every pope since St.
John XXIII has appealed to governments worldwide on behalf of persons condemned
to death, asking for clemency.

When St. John Paul II published the catechism in 1992 it still admitted the use
of the death penalty (No. 2266). But strong reaction from bishops and the
faithful in many countries led him to revise the text in 1997, with the help of
then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The revised text (No. 2267), however, still did
not exclude the death penalty on moral grounds as Pope Francis did today; it
said that given the possibilities the modern state has of rendering the
criminal incapable of doing harm again, then "the cases in which the execution
of the offender is an absolute necessity 'are very rare, if not practically
non-existent.'"

When St. John Paul II published the catechism in 1992 it still admitted the use
of the death penalty.

Several times since becoming pope, Francis has made clear his total opposition
to the death penalty, including in his speech to the U.S. Congress and to the
United Nations in September 2015. But today he took a much greater step than
any of his predecessors by declaring publicly on a solemn occasion, directly
related to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that the death penalty is
"contrary to the Gospel" and "inadmissible," making clear that the catechism
must address the question in this more complete way.

The Jesuit pope began his talk by recalling that at the opening of the Second
Vatican Council on Oct. 11, 1962, John XXIII said, "It is necessary first of
all that the church should never depart from the sacred patrimony of truth
received from the Fathers. But at the same time, she must ever look to the
present, to the new conditions and new forms of life introduced into the modern
world which have opened up new avenues to the Catholic apostolate." Moreover,
Pope John added, "our duty is not only to guard this treasure, as if we were
concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will
and without fear to that work which our era demands of us, pursuing thus the
path which the church has followed for 20 centuries."

Drawing on this, Francis said the church's "task and mission" is "to announce
in a new and more complete way the everlasting Gospel to our contemporaries"
with "the joy that comes from Christian hope, fortified by the medicine of
mercy."

He recalled, too, that John Paul II, in his presentation of the catechism 25
years ago, said "it should take into account the doctrinal statements which
down the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to his Church" and "it should
also help to illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems
which had not yet emerged in the past."

He described the catechism as "an important instrument" for presenting and
helping the faithful understand better the faith and for coming close to our
contemporaries by presenting the faith as "a significant response for human
existence in this particular historical moment."

In a highly significant statement, Pope Francis emphasized that "it's not
sufficient to find a new language to announce the faith of always; it is
necessary and urgent that, faced with the new challenges and new horizons that
are opening for humanity, the church can express the new things of the Gospel
of Christ that, while enclosed in the Word of God, have not yet come to light."

He sought to contextualize the Catechism in the life of the church by
explaining that "to know God" is not first and foremost "a theoretical exercise
of human reasoning but an unquenchable desire impressed in the heart of every
person. It's the knowledge that comes from love, because we have met the Son of
God on our path. The catechism is to be seen in this light of love, as an
experience of knowledge, trust and abandonment to the mystery."

The "should find a more adequate and coherent space in the Catechism of the
Catholic Church."

In this context, he turned to the question of the death penalty, which he said,
"should find a more adequate and coherent space in the Catechism of the
Catholic Church."

Speaking of the way the church's teaching on the death penalty in presented,
Francis declared that "this problem cannot be merely reduced to a mere memory
of historical teaching without bringing to the fore not only the progress in
the teaching by the work of the last pontiffs but also the changed awareness
consciousness of the Christian people, that rejects an attitude which consents
to a punishment that heavily harms human dignity."

Aware that some will question this radical change in the light of what happened
in the Papal States and church in the past, Francis explained that "in past
centuries, when faced with a poverty of instruments of defense and social
maturity had not yet reached a positive development, recourse to the death
penalty appeared as the logical consequence of the application of justice which
had to be adhered to."

"Sadly, too," he said, "also in the Papal State there was recourse to the
extreme and inhuman remedy, ignoring the primacy of mercy over justice."
Speaking as the Successor of St. Peter, he said, "We assume responsibility for
the past, and we recognize that those means were dictated more by a legalistic
than a Christian mentality. The concern to fully preserve the powers and the
material riches led to an overestimation of the value of the law, preventing a
going in depth into the understanding of the Gospel."

Turning to the present time, Francis said, "Today, however, to remain neutral
[on this question] in the face of new demands for the reaffirmation of personal
dignity, would render us guiltier."

Clearly anticipating objections of a theological nature from some quarters,
Francis explained, "Here we are not in the presence of any contradiction with
past teaching, because the dignity of human life from the first instant of
conception to natural death has always found in the church it coherent and
authoritative voice." Indeed, he said, "the harmonious development of doctrine
requires putting aside positions in defense of arguments that already appear
decidedly against the new understanding of Christian truth."

In this light, he declared, "It is necessary therefore to restate that, however
grave the crime that may be committed, the death penalty is inadmissible
because it attacks the inviolability and the dignity of the person."

Pope Francis concluded by saying: "Tradition is a living reality and only a
partial vision can think of 'the deposit of faith' as something static. The
Word of God cannot be conserved in mothballs as if it were an old blanket to be
preserved from parasites. No. The Word of God is a dynamic reality, always
alive, that progresses and grows because it tends towards a fulfillment that
men cannot stop."

This "law of progress," he said, "appertains to the peculiar condition of the
truth revealed in its being transmitted by the church, and does not at all
signify a change of doctrine. One cannot conserve the doctrine without making
it progress, nor can one bind it to a rigid and immutable reading without
humiliating the Holy Spirit."

(source: americanmagazine.org)








UGANDA:

Uganda Can Abolish Death Penalty - EU Envoy



The European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda, Mr Attilio Pacifici has urged
Uganda to abolish the death penalty because it is "the global trend."

"It's not a strong correlation between the poverty and capital punishment,
there's such a strong link; people living in poverty are at a greater risk of
suffering the death sentence because they have no access to credible defence,"
Mr Pacifici said.

He was speaking at the International Day Against the Death Penalty at the
Foundation for Human Rights Initiative in Nsambya, Kampala, on Wednesday.

The 15th anniversary was attended by death row survivors, human rights
defenders, officials from the Uganda Prison Services, the French Ambassador to
Uganda, Ms Stephanie Rivoal, politicians, among others.

The envoy said the death penalty is an inhuman and degrading form of punishment
that does not deter crime.

He hailed the Prison Services for allowing his delegation to conduct a survey
at Luzira Prisons last week where they discovered that most of inmates on death
row are poor and could not afford justice. "Not every country allows foreigners
into their prisons," he said.

He stressed the importance of giving people a 2nd chance.

He decried several flaws in the criminal justice system.

"Judges are human beings, like police officers, they make mistakes. Good legal
aid is not available to the vast majority of defendants," he said. "They
[suspects] cannot afford it, some case files go missing; miscarriage of justice
is inevitable in every justice system and is irreversible. How then can someone
in an error-prone and imperfect system pass an irreversible sentence?"

He cited the cases of Mr Edmary Mpagi and Mr Patrick Zzizinga, who were
sentenced to death for murders they never committed.

Alicia Vikander won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2016, but what are some
things you might not have known about this stunning starlet?

Mr Mpagi and his cousin, Mr Fred Masembe (who died in prison) were sentenced to
death in 1982 for murdering George William Wandyaka, their neighbour in Masaka
District.

However, Mr Wandyaka was found alive even after Mr Mpagi's release after 18
years on death row. Mr Zzizinga on his part, was convicted and sentenced to
death for "killing" his wife with whom they still live.

Even after the famous Suzan Kigula, in which the Supreme Court annulled the
mandatory death sentence, and ordered a review of all cases for resentencing,
many death row inmates still suffer inordinate delays in the appellate process,
because they cannot afford timely justice or their files went missing.

"The death penalty is not prevention, not reparation, it's just revenge," Ms
Rivoal, the French ambassador said, adding that abolition is a sign of respect
for human life. "It's a moral choice. A political choice and here in Uganda,
it's your choice."

Status

Currently, Uganda has 160 death row inmates, 6 women. Uganda has 28 offenses
that attract the death--the highest number in East Africa--however, with
exemptions to juveniles, pregnant women and the mentally ill.

The last executions happened in 1999 and 2005 for the civilian and military
systems, respectively.

Public support for the death penalty in Uganda has tremendously reduced, with
64 per cent reportedly backing abolition.

The ambassador said, the EU (which funded the Kigula petition) has no intention
to interfere with Uganda's courts, but it will support strengthen the judiciary
and entire justice system.

He thus urged government to: pass the Law Revision Law (Revision Penalties in
Criminal Matters) Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2015 to give effect to the
Supreme Court ruling in Kigula and limit the application of the death penalty
to the most serious crimes as defined by international standards; require that
all competent authorities consider the economic status of the defendants in
deciding whether to impose or uphold a death sentence; ensure full respect for
the right to a fair trial and the right to effective counsel and work to reduce
poverty and inequality in the country.

(source: allafrica.com)

**********************

Tears as death row inmates beg for mercy



The request was made in a song presented to the EU head of delegation Atilio
Pacifici and other heads of missions accredited to Uganda who were on a fact
finding mission ahead of the commemoration of the 15th World Day against Death
Penalty.

A somber mood engulfed the female wing of Luzira Prison as inmates on death row
wept while begging for mercy and asking Government to give them a 2nd chance to
life.

The request was made in a song presented to the EU head of delegation Atilio
Pacifici and other heads of missions accredited to Uganda who were on a fact
finding mission ahead of the commemoration of the 15th World Day against Death
Penalty.

With tears flowing down their faces, they admitted to have committed crimes but
they have realized their mistakes and apologize to the public, they have
reformed and promise to live a responsive life if given a 2nd chance to live,
the inmates sung.

"It's true we have accepted we made a mistake, we seek for your forgiveness in
repentance. Death penalty should be abolished, we won't do it again, we are
broken please don't kill us we are so sorry, the inmates cried as they begged
for mercy.

"We apologize to our country; we apologize to fellow Uganda citizens. We
apologize to the people we offended. We are remorseful because our acts for
that reason reformed, the inmates sung as they asked for forgiveness.

"The European Union strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances,
and works towards the universal abolition of the death penalty, if necessary by
lobbying for the immediate establishment of a moratorium which paves the way
for its abolition," Pacifici informed inmates.

For the last 12 years, on October 10 of every year, nations have commemorated
World Day against the Death Penalty. But Uganda still retains the death penalty
although no execution has been carried out since 1999, when Haji Mustapha
Sebirumbi was sent to the gallows.

Currently, 155 out of 195 independent states have abolished the death penalty
in law or practice. 105 states have fully abolished the death penalty including
19 from Africa, 6 have abolished for ordinary crimes, 48 states have abolished
in practice while 36 are executing.

Although Uganda last carried out executions in 1999, courts still sentence
people to suffer death. Uganda's Prisons currently accommodate 198 death row
inmates of these, 11 are female while 187 are male. For an execution to be
carried out, the President has to sign a warrant first.

Annet Nakafeero, a former death row prisoner in an interview with the New
Vision says she collapsed the moment court pronounced that she was sentenced to
suffer death.

"I fainted and collapsed in the dock but gained cautiousness while in the
condemn section of Luzira Women's prison. Being a single parent, I kept
thinking of what would befall my children in case I died in prison," Nakafeero
narrates.

Although her penalty was reduced, she did not regain freedom since High Court
sentenced her to 45 years after mitigation hearing. She said she was surprised
when the High Court gave her a long sentence despite her pleadings and appeals
by her children and prison authorities.

Nakafeero said she had an abusive marriage which resulted into the murder of
her husband.

"It is true I committed a crime but I apologized and given a chance, I am a
reformed person and ready to go back to my community and sensitize people
against wrong doing. I have learnt a lot and I feel changed," narrated
Nakafeero.

Despite the High Court ruling, Nakafeero is still waiting for her final verdict
after 13 years.

Jamilah Zubedah, the youngest death row inmate who was imprisoned at the age of
14 for murdering a man she claimed to have abducted her and forced her into
marriage with his 5 wives says she did not intend to kill him.

"I was abducted and forced into marriage, while in abduction, I decided to mix
sleeping tablets into the man's food so that I could take advantage of his
sleep to escape, unfortunately his children ate the food and died," Zubedah
confessed.

"I apologize for that I did and pray that Government gives me a 2nd chance
because I was young but now I have grown up and I have learnt how to resolve
problems," Zubedah cried as she begged for mercy.

Foundation for Human Right???s Initiative and other partners who were in the
campaign for the abolition of the death penalty carried out various activities
including a solidarity visit to death row inmates at the Women's prison and the
condemn section of Luzira.

Other Diplomats present included; Stephanie Rivoal the French Ambassador, Hugo
Verbist the Belgian Ambassador, Henk Jan Bakker Netherlands Ambassador,
Domenico Fornara the Italian Ambassador, Finbar Obrien Irish Ambassador, Petra
Kochendoerfer Charge d'Affaires- German Embassy and Mogens Pedersen the Danish
Ambassador.

(source: New Vision)








KENYA:

Lift death row penalty, says ICJ



The International Court of Justice (ICJ) wants the government to lift the death
sentence arguing that it violates a person's right to life.

During a meeting with death row inmates and prison heads held at the Kamiti
Maximum Prison, ICJ argued that hanging is not the best way to rehabilitate
prisoners.

"Death row does not in any way rehabilitate someone who has made a mistake in
his or her past," said Silas Kamanza, Programs Officer at ICJ. "It just
tortures them, both psychologically and physically. In addiction to this, it
violates their right to life which is against the Kenyan constitution."

Peter Kehia Mwaniki, who has been waiting for the hangman for the past 16 years
at Kamiti prison said that he has trouble sleeping as he knows not the day or
the time.

"I have been here since 2001 when I was sentenced to death. When you know you
are going to die, you can't even sleep at night, all you think about is your
death and the anxiety of not knowing when it will happen," he said.

Mr. Mwaniki, currently a law student at the prison university was found guilty
of robbery with violence and murder.

If the death penalty was raised, he feels that it would give him a 2nd chance
to make Kenya better.

David Munyui is another inmate who has been at Kamiti for the last 2 years. He
was sentenced to death after being "framed for murder."

"I was framed for murder simply because I was the last person to be seen with
the deceased. I was sentenced to death and right now, I have left my fate to
God. There's little more I can do," Munyui said.

Kamanza said that most of the inmates on death row either don't have the money
to hire a competent lawyer to allow them to access a fair hearing in court or
they never make it to trial due to the rampant corruption in the country.

(soruce: citizentv.co.ke)








IRAN:

Iran Among Top 3 Death Penalty Countries -- New Persecutions



As human rights groups marked the World Day against Death Penalty on October
10, Amnesty International, AI, announced that China, Iran, and Iraq were the
top three countries carrying out executions.

Courts in these countries have issued death sentences after unfair trials often
based on confessions obtained through torture. Amnesty International also said,
Iran is one of the few countries in the world that uses the death penalty to
punish political opponents.

The organization does not have accurate information about the number of
executions in China, however, it estimates that more than 567 people were
executed in Iran in 2016.

"At least 1/2 of the death penalties in Iran are due to drug related offenses
which are globally not considered serious crimes," Raha Bahreini from Amnesty
International said in an interview with Radio Farda.

Currently, up to 5,000 mostly young people are on death row because of drug
trafficking.

For many years, experts and lawmakers discuss the possibility of abolishing the
death penalty for drug related offenses.

In August, parliament passed an amendment that would raise the threshold for
imposing the death penalty in drug trafficking cases to 50 kg of opium, and 2
kg of heroin, morphine, cocaine, or their chemical derivatives. The amendment
requires a second approval by the parliament and a final approval by the
Guardian Council.

The council, controlled by ultra-conservative clerics has been responsible for
some modifications of the original bill. After the modifications, the positive
aspects of the bill have been weakened significantly, Tara Sepehrifar from
Human Rights Watch told Radio Farda.

Iran also has been criticized by human rights organizations for executing
minors. Based on their estimates, at least 90 young convicts are awaiting their
death in Iranian prisons.

Continuing persecution of minorities and activists

The Islamic Republic continues the persecution of members of religious
minorities and political and human rights activists. In recent years, several
members of a Sufi order have received long prison sentences or sent to exile in
a remote area.

Early this month, a revolutionary court in Shiraz convicted Mohammad Ali
Shamshirzan, a member of a Gonabadi order, to life imprisonment for "waging war
against God".

Last week, a court in Tehran convicted 7 reformists, including the brother of
former president Mohammad Khatami to up to 2 years in prison and a ban from
political and journalistic activities due to "propaganda against the regime".

They are all members of the banned reformist party, Participation Front who
recently wrote an open letter to parliament criticizing the Revolutionary Guard
for interfering in court cases related to political activists.

The members of Baha'i community are still treated harshly by security and
judicial institutions in Iran. In recent days, Baha'i sources reported that 8
new members of their community had received jail sentences. They had been
charged with "propaganda against the regime" and "promoting Baha'i faith".

In an interview with Radio Farda, Simin Fahandej from Baha'i International
Community condemned the sentences and said their only crime was that they were
Baha'i and nothing else.

(source: radiofarda.com)

*******************

Death Penalty: Oral Statement 36th session of the Human Rights Council



Amnesty International is concerned about the way in which the death penalty is
used in the minority of states that still resorts to it, and in particular
wishes to draw the attention of the Council to the states that disregard their
international obligations and impose death sentences for offences that took
place when the sentenced persons were below 18 years of age.

(soruce: iran-hrm.com)








THAILAND:

Ministry says lifting of death penalty needs public hearing



The Ministry of Justice says the call by Amnesty International for Thailand to
lift death penalty and execution needs a public hearing to hear views from all
relevant individuals and agencies.

The statement by the ministry's permanent-secretary Visit Visitsora-at came
after the Amnesty International resubmitted its call citing that the country
now has a new constitution in place.

He said Article 77 of the Constitution states clearly of a public hearing in
case of making any change in the law.

Therefore the lifting of the death sentence and execution needs amendment of
the law and the holding of the public hearing, he said.

The result of the public hearing will then be submitted to the cabinet for
approval.

(source: thaipbs.or.th)



JAPAN:

Death penalty sought for 'black widow' serial killer



Prosecutors requested Tuesday the death penalty for a 70-year-old woman, dubbed
Japan's "black widow," charged with the murders of her husband and 2 common-law
partners and the attempted murder of an acquaintance between 2007 and 2013.

Describing Chisako Kakehi's alleged crimes as "heinous and serious incidents
that are rarely seen," the prosecutors said in their closing arguments at the
Kyoto District Court that the victims -- all elderly men -- inadvertently
drank cyanide given to them by a debt-ridden Kakehi who was endeavoring to
inherit their assets.

The court is scheduled to hand down a ruling on Nov 7, with the defense making
its closing statements on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Kakehi is mentally competent and can be held responsible for
her crimes, which "were premeditated." Her "cognitive function has not
significantly deteriorated as shown in her psychiatric evaluation," and that
she had no mental disorders at the time of the crimes, they said.

Kakehi denied the charges and pleaded not guilty. Her defense argued that she
cannot be held responsible or stand trial due to her suffering dementia, citing
her incoherent statements which they said even led to her once admitting during
proceedings to committing murder.

According to prosecutors, Kakehi murdered her 75-year-old husband Isao as well
as common-law partners Masanori Honda, 71, and Minoru Hioki, 75, and tried to
kill her acquaintance Toshiaki Suehiro, 79, by having them drink cyanide
between 2007 and 2013.

In the trial held under Japan's lay judge system, which involves citizen
judges, the prosecutors had to use circumstantial evidence to argue Kakehi's
guilt amid a dearth of physical evidence.

Kakehi was first arrested in November 2014 and indicted the following month on
a charge of killing Isao, who died at the couple's home in Muko, Kyoto
Prefecture, in December 2013. They married the previous month. She was later
indicted in connection with the deaths of the 2 other men.

Kakehi, a native of Fukuoka Prefecture, married first at the age of 24 and
launched a fabric printing factory in Osaka Prefecture with her 1st husband.
But following his death in around 1994, the factory went bankrupt and her house
was put up for auction, forcing her to ask neighbors for a loan.

She later registered with a matchmaking service, specifically asking to meet
wealthy men with an annual income of more than 10 million yen.

She was romantically involved with or associated with more than 10 men,
enabling her to inherit an estimated 1 billion yen but later fell into debt
following her attempts to speculate in stocks and futures trading.

(source: japantoday.com)








SOUTH KOREA:

South Korean church pushes for abolition of death penalty----While no one has
been executed there since 1997, capital punishment remains in the codes of
criminal law



Catholic Church leaders in South Korea have asked the country's parliament to
legally abolish capital punishment as part of commemorations for World Day
Against the Death Penalty.

Such sentiments were put forward at an event attended by religious leaders,
rights activists and politicians at the National Assembly Oct. 10.

Co-organized by Korean bishops' Committee for Justice and Peace and lawmaker
Fidelis Lee Sang-min of the ruling Minjoo Party, the event commemorated the
World Day Against the Death Penalty and the 20 years of moratorium on death
penalty executions in South Korea.

Among those attending the event were Bishop Lazzaro You Heung-sik of Daejeon,
president of the CBCK committee.

"Today's event is a stepping stone for South Korea to make its journey from
moratorium of death sentence to its legal abolition," said Bishop You. "Only
when the value of human life is respected, the cruelty of humanity can be
cured," he said.

"Now it's time for the National Assembly to answer our calls by presenting a
bill to abolish it and passing it."

At the event, National Assembly speaker Chung Sye-kyun said: "Some say we
should maintain the capital punishment to counterpart the ever-ferocious crimes
in our society."

He said that the National Assembly will try its best to abolish it in the
process of constitution revision and bill deliberation.

South Korea has not carried out an execution since Dec. 30, 1997. South Korea
is considered a de facto abolitionist country, but it still has capital
punishment in codes of criminal law.

There are 61 people currently on death row in the country.

(source: ucanews.com)
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Oct. 13




PAKISTAN:

Executions must not violate rights obligations: HRCP



The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has urged the government to
urgently institute safeguards to ensure that a generalised resumption of
executions does not violate Pakistan's human rights obligations.

According to Justice Project Pakistan, 8,200 people are on death row in
Pakistan and 477 people have been executed since December 2014. As many as
2,393 Pakistanis were executed in Saudi Arabian jails.

According to the World Coalition against Death Penalty, 104 countries have
abolished the death penalty for all crimes, 7 countries have abolished the
death penalty for ordinary crimes and 30 countries are abolitionists in
practice. According to statistics, 23 countries carried out executions in 2016.
In 2016, top 5 executioners were China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

According to Amnesty International, it is believed that thousands of executions
took place in 2016.

In Pakistan, executions decreased by 239 in 2016. Indonesia executed 4 people,
Taiwan 1, Singapore 4, Japan 3 and Malaysia 9. Amnesty has not given any
estimates for North Korea and Vietnam.

South Eastern countries like Maldives and the Philippines took steps in the
wrong direction, towards resumptions of executions, after more than 6 decades,
according to Amnesty International.

In a statement on World Day against the Death Penalty, HRCP said: "As we
observe the 15th World Day against the Death Penalty, HRCP calls upon the
government to take stock of the pressing issues that have arisen ever since it
terminated the moratorium in December 2014.

"In addition to various and well-documented challenges that a generalised
recourse to capital punishment presents, there is an urgent need to introduce
safeguards in instances where age of the convict or his or her mental or
physical ability is in question." Furthermore, the socio-economic status of a
convict tends to be directly proportional to their risk of being sentenced to
death and execution. This year the World Day against Death Penalty is bringing
into focus the link between poverty and capital punishment.

"While HRCP calls upon the government to suspend the death penalty in the
country as a 1st step towards abolition, it demands that these new issues
should be urgently addressed through a conscious policy and not merely through
last minute action in response to pleas from civil society in individual
cases." HRCP also staged a demo outside the Lahore Press Club.

(source: The Nation)

****************

527 prisoners on death row in Sindh jails



The death warrants of 7 condemned prisoners in Sindh can be issued any time as
the President of Pakistan has rejected their mercy petitions.

The total number of prisoners currently on death row in Sindh is 527, out of
which 13 have been awarded capital punishment from military courts, said
personal staff officer to prisons IG, Shunail Hussain Shah.

Shah added, "The appeals of many prisoners on death row are either pending with
the high court, Supreme Court or with the President of Pakistan after they have
been awarded the death penalty by trial courts."

Among such prisoners, 122 have been incarcerated at the Central Jail, Karachi,
227 in Hyderabad, 135 in Sukkur while 38 are detained in Larkana, Shah
informed. 4 women on death row are in Karachi jail while 1 other woman is in
Hyderabad.

According to the prisons department, 18 prisoners have been executed in
Hyderabad, Sukkur and Karachi since the moratorium on executions was lifted.
The move came in the wake of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan's attack at the Army
Public School (APS) in Peshawar in December, 2014.

Prominent prisoners on death row in the prisons of Sindh include the murderer
of American journalist Daniel Pearl, Omer Saeed Sheikh, Jundullah militant
Mohammad Qasim Toori who carried out an attack on the convoy of the Karachi
corps commander in June, 2004, and Azhar Ishrat, who was involved in the
Safoora bus carnage.

Opposition to death penalty

"Capital punishment is a murder committed by the state and we need to abolish
it," remarked Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) Vice-Chairperson Asad
Iqbal Butt, while talking to The Express Tribune.

According to Butt, human life needs to be respected and for this we need to
reconsider our ways to treat criminals. "The government needs to construct
healthy society to curb crimes."

Army chief confirms death sentences of 4 'hardcore' terrorists

"The death sentence could only be awarded for 2 felonies, murder and treason,
before the partition. However, this has swelled to 28 in Pakistan," he
maintained.

The 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty was observed on Tuesday. Opponents
of the death penalty organised demonstrations, arguing for its abolishment.

The crime rate cannot be lowered through extreme punishments, Butt opined. The
40 counties which have abolished death penalty have lower crime rate than those
which still execute criminals, he asserted.

There has been a tenure of around 6 years in the history of Pakistan when the
state had stopped executing the criminals on death row. Former president Asif
Ali Zardari had imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2008 which was
lifted after the attack on APS, Peshawar in 2014.

(source: The Express Tribune)








ZIMBABWE:

Amnesty International Leads Mugabe Petition To Scrap Death Penalty



Amnesty International has joined forces with the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum to petition President Robert Mugabe to scrap the death penalty from the
country's statutes.

The rights based organisations are currently soliciting for signatures to
galvanise national support around the initiative.

The petition launch also coincided with the World Day Against the Death Penalty
commemorations on Tuesday.

In the petition, the organisations implore the head of state to consider that
capital punishment was being scrapped throughout the world.

African countries, likewise, have legally abolished the death penalty or
applied a de facto moratorium on capital punishment; only a minority of 17
States have retained the death penalty.

In their petition, the rights based groups also argue that the death penalty
violated African systems of dealing with offenders.

"The death penalty is not a traditional penalty but a colonial relic," reads
the petition.

"Traditional customary law relied on restorative justice rather than
retribution. For this reason the Council of Chiefs, in January 2016, urged that
the death penalty be abolished. By abolishing the death penalty Zimbabwe would
be making a clear break with its colonial past."

The groups further implore the President to be guided by his party, Zanu PF's
1980 election pledges to abolish the contentious method of punishment.

"The death penalty is not an effective deterrent against serious crime; this
has been shown by research in many parts of the world. Without deterrence it
becomes merely cruel and inhumane," the petition further reads.

Amnesty International and its collaborating group also want Mugabe to appeal to
his conscience as an African statesman to scrape the death penalty and curve
himself a legacy of tolerance towards perpetrators of heinous crimes.

"In April 2015," says the global rights group, "at its 56th Ordinary Session,
the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights adopted a draft regional
treaty (the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the
Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa) to help African Union member states
move away from capital punishment and towards systems emphasising restorative
justice rather than retributive justice.

"Your Excellency was Chair of the African Union when the draft was adopted, and
Zimbabwe can seize the opportunity to lead other African States by example,
progressively transforming our Continent's penal procedures.

"By abolishing the death penalty you will leave an immortal legacy of your
Presidency and leadership, not only in Zimbabwe but in Africa and the
developing countries of the world.

"We therefore respectfully urge you in your clemency to grant this our
petition."

(source: radiovop.com)








MOROCCO:

Rights groups in Morocco demand end to death penalty



The Moroccan Coalition against the Death Penalty organised a sit-in this week
outside the parliament building in Rabat and renewed calls to abolish the death
penalty.

In a statement the Moroccan Coalition reminded people on World Day against the
Death Penalty yesterday to reiterate the importance of raising public awareness
on the abolition of the death penalty.

"Inhuman and savage punishment" represents "a serious violation of the sacred
right to life," the statement said.During the sit-in the group called on the
government for the "abrogation of the death penalty in the Criminal Code".
Suspended since 1993, the death penalty remains in the penal code though has
not been used.

The Moroccan Coalition also called on the government to adopt the 2nd optional
protocol on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aimed at
abolishing the death penalty. The latter was adopted and proclaimed by the
General Assembly of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
(HCDR) in its resolution 44/128 on 15 December 1989.

This year the World Coalition against the Death Penalty (WCADP) draws attention
to the "discriminatory" aspect of the death penalty and believes that "people
living in poverty are more likely to be punished with the death penalty".

On their website the group explained how "social and economic inequalities
hinder access to justice for those sentenced to death," explaining that "the
accused in such a situation of inequality often lacks resources (social,
economic, cultural and also power) to defend themselves and will be
marginalised mostly because of their social status".

The last execution in Morocco took place in 1993 with the kingdom considered a
de facto abolitionist country. Despite this, 92 prisoners in Morocco have been
sentenced to death since 2015, though 35 of those have been given a
royalpardon.

(source: Middle East Monitor)








INDONESIA:

Indonesia's Contradictory Death Penalty Rhetoric



Indonesia's government yesterday marked World Day Against the Death Penalty by
issuing a self-serving and contradictory statement on its death penalty policy.

Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly reaffirmed the government won't
seek to abolish the death penalty, but would pursue a "win-win solution"
designed to appease both death penalty supporters and opponents. That might
include mandatory judicial reviews of death penalty judgments and possible
sentence commutation for death row prisoners.

Indonesia ended a 4-year unofficial moratorium on the death penalty in March
2013, and President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has made the execution of convicted
drug traffickers a signature policy issue. Since Jokowi took office in 2014, 18
convicted drug traffickers were executed in 2015 and 2016 - the majority
citizens of other countries. Jokowi has routinely rejected their governments'
calls for clemency, citing national sovereignty. The government's apparent
new-found flexibility on its death penalty policy, including a temporary
suspension of executions in 2017, was linked by the attorney general to its
ambitions to secure United Nations member support to become a non-permanent
member of the UN Security Council.

Recent evidence uncovered by the ombudsman of "maladministration" by the
Indonesian government in denying the legal rights of a Nigerian citizen
executed for drug trafficking in July 2016 underscore the need for the death
penalty's abolition. But Laoly's claims of a more flexible death penalty policy
are contradicted by Indonesia's performance last month during the UN Universal
Periodic Review of Indonesia's rights record. Jakarta rejected recommendations
by UN member countries that the government enhance safeguards on the use of the
death penalty, including adequate and early legal representation for defendants
and not executing people with mental illness. It also rejected a recommendation
to review all cases with a view to commuting death sentences or at least
ensuring "fair trials that fully comply with international standards."

Jokowi's government should stop its cynical efforts to use the cruel and
irreversible punishment of the death penalty as a bargaining chip for a
Security Council seat. Instead it should publicly recognize that the death
penalty has no place in a right-respecting country and immediately move toward
abolition.

(source: Human Rights Watch)








SINGAPORE:

Singapore's death penalty reform flawed: Amnesty



Singapore's reforms to its use of the death penalty are flawed, with some
low-level drug offenders still being denied leniency and sent to the gallows,
Amnesty International said yesterday.

After years of criticism from rights groups, the city-state in 2013 eased the
requirement for mandatory death sentences in some drug trafficking and murder
cases. The changes gave judges discretion to impose life imprisonment instead
of the death penalty in certain cases.

In a new report, Amnesty acknowledged the number of people sent to the gallows
had fallen but added that courts still impose death sentences when more
leniency could be shown.

"The reforms introduced in 2013 were a step in the right direction and have
allowed some people to escape the gallows, but in key respects they have been
flawed from the outset," said Chiara Sangiorgio, Amnesty's death penalty
adviser.

After the changes, judges can impose life imprisonment on drug couriers who
give "substantive" cooperation to the authorities during investigations.

However Amnesty said decisions on who meets the criteria rest with the public
prosecutor and not the judge, and are taken "behind closed doors in a murky and
non-transparent process".

The group said the majority of people sentenced to death for drug offences in
the past 4 years possessed relatively small amounts of narcotics. Many said
they were driven by unemployment or debt.

"Singapore likes to paint itself as a prosperous and progressive role model,
but its use of the death penalty shows flagrant disregard for human life," Ms
Sangiorgio said, urging the government to end capital punishment once and for
all.

Amnesty said 17 death sentences were handed down over the past 3 years for
murder and drugs offences and 10 convicts were hanged.

(source: khmertimes.com)

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Oct. 13



GLOBAL:

Why Pope Francis' rejection of the death penalty is so important



In a major speech on Wednesday Oct. 11 Pope Francis said in blunt terms that
the death penalty is contrary to Gospel teaching. Given the setting and context
of the talk - a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the Catechism of
the Catholic Church - Vatican observers speculated that a change in the
Catechism may be forthcoming. The passage in question (No. 2267) allows for the
death penalty in very rare cases. But now even that small window may be closed.

America reached out to Sister Helen Prejean, the author of Dead Man Walking and
longtime opponent of the death penalty, for her response to the news.

At last, a clear, uncompromising stance of moral opposition to the death
penalty by the highest authority of the church.

Words in official teachings matter. At death penalty trials, in state
legislatures and before pardon boards I have witnessed as pro-death penalty
district attorneys passed over the words of Jesus calling for forgiveness of
enemies to quote instead church teachings that they felt justified the
premeditated killing of criminals.

In New Orleans, I watched priests sent by the archbishop to the death penalty
trial of Willie Watson, an indigent African man, to assure Catholic jurors that
in good conscience they could vote for the state to kill Willie. Which, in
fact, the state did on July 24, 1987, electrocuting Mr. Watson to death in
Louisiana's (very busy) killing chamber.

This torture and killing in states continues today, terrible and mostly unseen,
and Pope Francis' words or a change in church teaching are not enough to change
that. Only we, the people, freshly awakened to the call of the Gospel can make
that transformation happen. First, we must meditate on and ingest the pope's
message so that the Gospel call in his words may set us on fire to act boldly,
pouring into death rows, legislative halls and stations of public dialogue to
persuade our citizens to truly become people of life.

May the Holy Spirit enliven our hearts and guide us all. Thank you, Pope
Francis. Again and again, you renew my hope.

(source: Sister Helen Prejean, americanmagazine.org)

*********************

UN: Death penalty has no place in 21st century



U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an end to the death penalty
on Oct. 10, insisting it has "no place in the 21st century."

He urged member states that still execute convicts to join the 170 countries
that have halted or abolished the practice, warning that the risk of a
miscarriage of justice is an "unacceptably high price" to pay.

"I want to make a plea to all states that continue this barbaric practice:
please stop the executions," Guterres said at an event marking the 15th World
Day Against the Death Penalty.

Capital punishment "does little to serve victims or deter crime," Guterres
said, adding that most of the U.N.'s 193 members do not carry out executions.

"Just last month, 2 African states - The Gambia and Madagascar - took major
steps towards irreversible abolition of the death penalty," he said.

"In 2016, executions worldwide were down 37 % from 2015. Today just four
countries are responsible for 87 % of all recorded executions," he added.

Guterres also called for transparency from states where the death penalty is
legal, asking them to let lawyers do their job.

"Some governments conceal executions and enforce an elaborate system of secrecy
to hide who is on death row, and why," Guterres said.

(source: Hurriyet Daily news)








PAKISTAN:

3 Ahmadis sentenced to death for blasphemy



3 members of Pakistan's persecuted Ahmadi sect have been sentenced to death for
blasphemy by a court in the central town of Sheikhupura, a community
spokesperson said.

Mubasher Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmed and Ehsan Ahmed were convicted by the court on
Wednesday for insulting Prophet Mohammad under the country's strict blasphemy
laws, Ahmadi community spokesperson Saleemuddin told Al Jazeera.

The 3 men were arrested in May 2014 after they tore down religious posters in
Bhoiwal, a village about 22km southwest of the city of Lahore.

Khalil Ahmed, a 4th accused, was shot and killed in police custody just days
after the incident took place.

While the accused claimed the posters carried anti-Ahmadi slogans, the
prosecution said they carried religious significance and that tearing them down
was tantamount to insulting the prophet.

Saleemuddin said that the Ahmadi community would challenge the trial court's
decision in the high court.

Ahmadis are a sect that consider themselves Muslim but whose faith is rejected
by the Pakistani state. There are around 600,000 Ahmadis in the country and
several million around the world.

Members of the sect face 3 years in prison for referring to themselves as
Muslim, to their places of worship as mosques or to their call to prayer as
"azaan" under Pakistani law.

Last year, at least 6 Ahmadis were killed in planned attacks, according to
local media reports.

Since 1984, when the blasphemy laws were amended to include several
Ahmadi-specific clauses, more than 250 Ahmadis have been killed, according to
data collected by the community.

'Atmosphere of fear'

Pakistan's strict blasphemy laws prescribe a mandatory death penalty for anyone
found guilty of insulting Prophet Muhammad, and life imprisonment for those
found to defile the Quran.

Those accused often face the threat of murder, even if they are acquitted by
the courts.

Since 1990, at least 74 people have been murdered over blasphemy allegations,
according to a tally maintained by Al Jazeera.

Those killed include people accused of blasphemy, their lawyers, family members
and judges adjudicating blasphemy cases.

On Tuesday, Muhammad Safdar, a member of parliament and son-in-law of recently
dismissed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, launched a scathing attack against
Ahmadis in the parliament.

"These people [Ahmadis] are a threat to this country, its constitution and
ideology. This situation is heading towards a dangerous point," he said while
calling for them to be barred from serving in the military or judiciary.

Safdar was not challenged by any other member of parliament at the time,
although some political leaders have distanced themselves from his remarks
since then.

"These statements create an atmosphere of fear," said Saleemuddin. "If these
things are being said on the floor of the house, then what do you think will
happen in the streets?"

(source: Al Jazeera)








THAILAND:

8 Years Since Last Thai Execution, Future of Death Penalty Uncertain



Those campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty may take solace in the
fact that no one has been executed for eight years. There have been no actual
executions, but a senior government official said it's simply impossible to
predict when capital punishment will be abolished in Thailand.

Pitikan Sitthidej, Director General of the Department of Rights and Liberties
said it???s impossible to pin down when Thailand will do away with death
penalty despite having observed a de facto moratorium since 2009.

"I can't say when it will end but in practice it will soon be 10 years since no
execution has taken place," Pitikan said. "We don't know when death penalty
will be abolished."

Pitikan was vague on whether it would be.

At present there are 63 crimes that merit death sentence under Thai law,
ranging from people found guilty of the rape and murder of girls under 15 or
their parents to big time drug dealers and extremists. Pitikan pointed out that
under the Thai penal code, any criminal sentenced to death will automatically
be required to apply for a royal pardon to the king in hope of having the
sentence commuted to life imprisonment.

According to a document of the justice ministry, there were 444 inmates
sentenced to death at various stages of the judiciary system as of April 2017.
The document also states that during the 65th UN General Assembly in 2010,
Thailand no longer voted to oppose a move to end the death penalty but had
decided to abstain from voting.

However, according to the same paper, the ministry conducted a survey on the
possible abolition of the death penalty on 1,073 people in all the four regions
of the country as well as in Bangkok and discovered that 73 percent of
respondents still supported death penalty.

Campaign groups such as Amnesty International Thailand took the opportunity on
the World Day Against the Death Penalty on Tuesday to renew its call for the
abolition of capital punishment in Thailand.

Knowing that it is still far from being realized, the organization???s director
Piyanut Kotsan said she wanted to see the Thai government announce a formal
moratorium on capital punishment and decrease the number of crimes punishable
by death.

"We're quietly lobbying and maintain the trend for the end of death penalty,"
said Piyanut on Tuesday.

Pitikan said there will be no formal announcement of moratorium as in reality
Thailand is also a de facto moratorium state on the matter.

"What announcement? I am confused. How do we make such announcement?" said
Pitakan, adding that the Third National Human Rights Plan, covering 2014 to
2018, clearly stated that the state shall conduct studies on the possible
abolition of the death penalty. When asked about a campaign to educate the
public about the negative repercussion of death penalty such as the violation
of the right to life, Pitikan said the department lacks funding to engage in
such campaign as it has only 300 million baht budget per annum.

In the end, said the director general, whether Thailand will abolish capital
punishment or not depends not on international organizations such as Amnesty
International or the government but on the society's consensus itself.

"We must consider the direction of our society as well," Pitikan said.

While it's still common for some Thais on social media to keep calling for some
criminals - particularly those who have committed rape and murder - to be
executed, the anti-death penalty argument is slowly becoming known.

Pitikan for example stressed that a wrongful death penalty means those executed
can no longer be brought back to life.

"It's against the basic human rights principle of the right to life. Most of
those [sentenced] tend to be poor and underprivileged."

Chamnan Chanruang, a prominent campaigner for the end of death penalty said
ending the death penalty is not about not punishing the wrongdoers while death
penalty is vindictive and about revenge.

"What should be done is not to eliminate these people but to find out the root
cause and eliminate it. If we hate what they did we shouldn???t commit the same
things which is to become criminals by allowing acting as executioners on our
behalf," said Chamnan.

(source: khaosodenglish.com)








INDIA:

Prosecution seeks death for Sanghvi----Girgaum diamond merchant's son's murder
case



The prosecution has sought death penalty for Vijesh Sanghvi, the sole convict
of 2013 Adit Ranka murder case. It said that Sanghvi is beyond reformation
because of the kind of thought he put into planning and executing the murder
and in disposing off the body outside Mumbai's city limits. The defence sought
leniency and prayed for life imprisonment instead.

Special Public Prosecutor Kalpana Chavan, making her submissions on Wednesday
before Principal sessions judge SB Aggarwal, said that more than a dozen
mothers were present in the court on the day of the conviction, and that they
are now afraid that a similar thing could happen to their child as well.

"This has had an impact on society and a message has to go across. The
punishment should be such that it can act as a deterrent," she submitted before
the court. She added that Sanghvi knew the child well and was supposed to
protect him. Instead, he killed him for money.

According to Chavan, the murder was not only gruesome in itself, but it also
affected the entire family, cutting short Adit's father, Jitendra???s life as
well. She submitted that though his father had ailments, his death got
expedited because of the shock he suffered due to Adit's killing. The fact that
Adit had undergone a heart procedure as an infant was also pointed out.

Chavan added that the convict was a well-educated person, and it could not be
accepted that he was not aware of the consequences of what he was doing. Chavan
said that in case the court was not convinced about capital punishment, Sanghvi
should be sentenced to 'life imprisonment till death.'

Defence lawyer BP Singh pleaded for leniency, citing Sanghvi's family as one of
the reasons. He submitted that Sanghvi had been married for barely a year when
he was arrested, and that he was the breadwinner of his family. Singh said that
the conviction was based mainly on circumstantial evidence, and, thus, it
merited life imprisonment and not the death sentence. The sentence will be
pronounced today.

Adit was kidnapped on May 13, 2008, by Sanghvi, a steel merchant, and the
former's cousin, Himanshu Ranka. On Monday, Himanshu was acquitted by a
sessions court.

(source: Mumbai Mirror)

**********************

Karnataka High Court reduces serial killer 'cyanide' Mohan's death penalty to
life



The Karnataka High Court on Thursday reduced serial killer 'Cyanide' Mohan
Kumar's death penalty to life imprisonment in the rape and murder case of one
Anita of Kolimane in Bantwal taluk.

The division bench of judges Ravi Malimath and John Michael Cunha modified the
death penalty judgement passed by the trial court. They directed the prison
authorities to not release Mohan Kumar until his death and also said that he
would not be entitled to remission.

In 2009, Mohan Kumar, promising to marry Anita, took her to Hassan city from
Bantwal, where he allegedly raped her. He then, reportedly, took her to a bus
stand in Hassan asked her to take a birth control pill. Not knowing that the
pill was laced with cyanide, Anita consumed it and she was found dead in a
toilet at the bus stand.

Out of 20 such similar crimes perpetrated by Mohan between 2003 and 2009, the
alleged serial killer has been sentenced to life imprisonment in 4 cases,
including the death penalty in 3 cases.

In Anita's case, he had filed an appeal in the High Court against the death
penalty and pleaded for a life sentence. However, prosecution pressed for a
death penalty. However, the court absolved Mohan from the rape and abduction
charges framed against him.

(source: The New Indian Express)



CHINA:

China launches legal assistance pilot program for all defendants



China has launched a pilot program to ensure every criminal defendant has
access to a defense lawyer for their trial.

The Supreme People's Court and the Ministry of Justice jointly released a
document Wednesday which stipulates that if a defendant has not retained a
lawyer himself/herself, the court should inform legal assistance agencies to
appoint a defence counsel for the defendant.

At present, a defense lawyer is only mandatory for juveniles and defendants
with certain physical or mental disabilities, or in cases where the defendants
face life imprisonment or death penalty sentences.

According to the document, if the appellate court finds that a defendant has
not been allocated a defense lawyer due to the court's failure to correctly
inform legal assistance agencies, the original ruling should be revoked and the
case should be sent back for a retrial.

The document also guaranteed financial assistance for the services.

It required lawyers to be diligent in their work and improve the quality of
their defense services.

The pilot program, which will run for 1 year, was launched in 8
provincial-level regions -- Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Anhui, Henan,
Guangdong, Sichuan and Shaanxi.

(source: xinhuanet.com)








MALAYSIA:

Death Row Convict Files Stay Of Execution Application



An Iranian, who is facing the death penalty, filed an application for a stay of
execution in the Federal Court pending an amendment to Section 39B of Dangerous
Drugs Act 1952, to include provisions on sentences other than the death
sentence.

Hamidreza Farahmand Hassan, who was charged with 2 other Iranians, was
convicted on a charge under Section 39B for drug trafficking and sentenced to
death on May 15, 2014, by the Shah Alam High Court.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, who represents Hamidreza, said he had posed a question
in Parliament on whether the government is proposing to introduce a
"moratorium" for cases under Section 39B, on Aug 1.

He said the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina
Othman Said, in her reply, said a study was presented to the Cabinet on March 1
and agreed to make amendments to the section by including provisions to allow
the courts to use discretion to impose a sentence other than death.

Hamidreza, in his application, said the government has not stated clearly on
whether the amendments will be enforced retrospectively in nature.

He said he would be prejudiced if his execution takes place before the
amendment is approved by Parliament.

He said there are special circumstances to justify the stay of the death
penalty on him.

Ram Karpal told the media that he intends to raise questions on whether or not
it would be in retrospective in nature in the coming Parliament sessions, which
will begin on Oct 23.

"This application is the first of its kind in asking the court for a stay of
execution," said Ramkarpal.

"We are of the view that the judicial avenues had been exhausted. In light of
this latest development, we believe judicial relief is warranted in the
circumstances, in this case, a stay of execution of death penalty," he said.

***********************

Don't hang me yet, wait for law amendments, Iranian tells court



An Iranian on death row has filed an application to stay his death by hanging
pending an amendment to a law that gives judges discretion on sentencing.

Hamidreza Farahmand Hassan, in his application filed in the Federal Court
today, said the Malaysian government was scheduled to amend the Dangerous Drugs
Act 1952 to do away with the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers.

The former professional kick-boxing coach said judges would then be given the
discretion to impose the capital punishment or a jail term under Section 39B of
the law.

However, Hamidreza said the government had been unclear on whether its decision
to amend the law had retrospective effect or otherwise.

Lawyer Ramkarpal Singh, who filed the application, said the Iranian would be
prejudiced if the sentence were to be carried out before any changes in the
legislation, as the penalty was irreversible.

"Hamidreza wants the court to allow the application as he will lose an
opportunity to substitute the death sentence if Parliament approves amendments
to the law," the lawyer said.

Ramkarpal, who is also Bukit Gelugor MP, said there were special circumstances
as to why his client's application should be allowed.

Hamidreza, 36, and 2 others were found guilty of trafficking 1.4kg of
methamphetamine at KLIA in Sepang on Feb 2, 2010.

The Shah Alam High Court sentenced them on May 15, 2014, and the conviction was
affirmed by the Federal Court last year.

Last week, Hamidreza filed an application for clemency to the Selangor Pardons
Board.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said said in a
written parliamentary response on Aug 1 that the cabinet had unanimously agreed
to do away with the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers, but that the
decision still had to be approved by Parliament.

She said the cabinet had agreed to amend the colonial-era law to give the
courts a choice in sentencing.

Capital punishment is mandatory in Malaysia for murder and drug trafficking,
among other crimes.

Azalina said a total of 651 Malaysians had been sentenced to death since 1992,
most of them for drug-related offences.

In March, human rights group Amnesty International ranked Malaysia 10th in the
use of the death penalty among the 23 countries that carried out capital
punishment last year.

2 days ago, in conjunction with World Day Against the Death Penalty, Malaysian
Bar president George Varughese said the Bar would remain steadfast in wanting
to abolish the death penalty for all forms of crime.

'There is no empirical evidence that confirms that the death penalty serves as
an effective deterrent to the commission of crimes," he had said.

He added that the Bar's primary opposition to the death penalty was because
life was sacred, and every person had an inherent right to life as guaranteed
under Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution.

(source: freemalaysiatoday.com)








ZAMBIA:

Death penalty 'moratorium' impresses EU



The European Union (EU) has commended Government for not implementing the death
penalty for 20 years and has welcomed the global trend towards abolition of the
practice.

And Minister of Justice Given Lubinda says Zambia will continue to be a de
facto death penalty abolitionist despite it being enshrined in the
Constitution. EU head of delegation Alessandro Mariani said Zambia is among 30
countries that do not practise the death penalty.

Mr Mariani was speaking during a joint press briefing with Government to
commemorate World Day Against Death Penalty.

(source: epaper.daily-mail.co.zm/)








EGYPT:

917 Egyptians sentenced to death since 2013 coup



An Egyptian Court sentenced 8 people to death on Tuesday and 50 others to life
in prison for their role in a case known as the storming of Helwan Police
Station.

According to prosecution, on 14 August 2013 protesters stormed Helwan Police
Station, which led to the killing of 3 police officers and 2 civilians. The
police station and 20 police cars were destroyed.

The same court issued a 10-year prison term against 7 defendants and 5 years in
prison against 3 others. The defendants are accused of several charges
including terrorism, premeditated murder, the attempted sabotage of public
buildings and the destruction of police cars.

The Giza Criminal Court referred earlier this week 13 people's cases to the
country's Grand Mufti in preparation for their execution.

Former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and co-founder of the Nahdha party,
Ibrahim Al-Zaafarani, said that the number of Egyptians sentenced to death
since the July 2013 coup has reached 917 cases.

In July 2013 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi overthrew the government
of elected President Mohammad Morsi with the blessing of the United States.
Since then General Al-Sisi has assumed the title of Field Marshal.

Al-Zaafarani said in a press statement that 16 Egyptians are waiting to be hung
whilst 8 people have already been executed.

According to Al-Zaafarani nearly 640 Egyptians have died in prison as a result
of torture and medical negligence while the number of those who have been
extra-judicially executed has reached nearly 300 people.

A report by the UK based Arab Organization for Human Rights on human rights
violations in Egypt during the third quarter of 2017 said that Egyptian courts
have issued death sentences against 74 people.

In the aftermath of the 2013 coup, Egypt's judiciary gave 237 death sentences
in 2016, more than any other country in the region. That same year, 44 people -
including 8 women - were executed, a figure that doubled since the previous
year and has risen sharply since the coup. In 2013 no executions were recorded.

As well as facing military tribunals, defendants are often sentenced to the
death penalty in mass trials in which there is no time for individual evidence
to be considered properly. In March 2014 a court in Egypt's southern city of
Minya passed down 529 execution orders in one go, then just weeks later
sentenced 683 to the same fate.

Those who are sentenced to death in Egypt face hanging, an ancient, barbaric
form of execution that snaps the neck and breaks the spinal cord or cuts off
the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain and eventually results in death.

In a 2015 reportReprieve revealed that of the 588 people who had been sentenced
to death since 2014 72 % of sentences were administered for attending
pro-democracy protests.

Egypt's highest criminal court has also sentenced 5 men to death for killing a
policeman in the northern city of Mansoura in 2014 in what became known as the
Mansoura 6 case. The policeman was part of Hussein Qandil's protection unit,
one of the judges who presided over Mohammed Morsi's trial.

Theirs is a familiar story - confessions were tortured out of them, they were
denied access to lawyers, verdicts formed on the evidence of secret sources as
well as there being major holes in the case as video evidence did not match up
with witness statements.

Despite this, the Mansoura 6 were convicted of premeditated murder, arms
possession and forming a terrorist cell with the view to target security
forces. Prior to the trial they were forcibly disappeared and then denied
medical treatment once in detention. As of June their sentence cannot be
appealed.

There are some 60,000 political prisoners in the country. Human rights
activists are persecuted by the government and their organizations subject to
severe limitations. In May, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi passed the
NGO law which will severely restrict the operational capacity of some 47,000
non-governmental organizations.

(source: Abdus Sattar Ghazali is the Chief Editor of the Journal of
America----The Milli Gazette)



AUSTRALIA:

Aus urged to take charge in abolishing death penalty worldwide



The Law Society of South Australia has called for the country to take a lead in
global efforts to abolish the death penalty.

In marking the 15th World Day Against the Death Penalty this week and the 50th
anniversary of the last Australian execution this year, the SA legal body is
encouraging citizens to join in the fight to abolish the death penalty
worldwide.

"The abolition of the death penalty in Australia has been an important
milestone for human rights in this country," said Tony Rossi, president of the
SA Law Society.

"As more Australians travel regularly overseas, including to countries where
the death penalty remains, Australia must continue to push for the abolition of
the death penalty globally. No country should consider itself as having the
right to take a human life as a sentencing option."

Research from the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty shows that 104
countries have abolished the death penalty for all crimes, and an additional 7
have abolished the death penalty for all crimes except extraordinary crimes
(such as those committed in times of war).

However, Mr Rossi explained that the death penalty is still used as a form of
punishment in 57 countries and territories. In some countries the death penalty
continues to exist as sentencing option in respect of juvenile offenders, he
noted.

In addition, Mr Rossi said the death penalty continues to feature as a
sentencing option for countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Unfortunately, Australians only too well know of the continued use of the
death penalty in the Asia-Pacific. Most Australians would be familiar with the
deaths of several Australian citizens, caught up in the legal systems of our
neighbours while travelling abroad. These tragic examples have made Australians
well aware that the death penalty robs people of the opportunity to
rehabilitate, reform, and contribute to society," he said.

"The death penalty is an affront to human worth and dignity. It's absolute, and
offers no opportunity for rehabilitation. As such, its continued use inflicts
universal injustice, and therefore demands Australia's response.

"We call on the Australian government to make the global abolition of the death
penalty a focal point of Australian foreign policy."

(source: Lawyers Weekly)
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TANZANIA:

Abolish Death Sentence to Protect Rights, Govt Urged



Pressure is mounting for Tanzania to abolish the death penalty.

That follows President John Magufuli's remarks that he would not sign any death
warrant during his term in office.

Legal and Human Rights Centre official Fulgence Massawe said during an event to
mark International Day Against Death Penalty here that Tanzania should end
capital punishment.

During a ceremony to swear in Prof Ibrahim Juma as chief justice, President
Magufuli said last month that he would not sign any death warrant under his
presidency.

"It's high time Tanzania repealed the law on capital punishment because it is
against human rights," Mr Massawe emphasised.

Former Prisons commissioner John Nyoka urged Tanzania to join other
Commonwealth countries to abolish the death penalty as its execution had not
proved successful in ending murders.

"We can change the punishment to life sentence but not hanging them to death,"
said Mr Nyoka, who also worked in Namibia for 17 years to restructure that
country's former apartheid correctional system.

Earlier, French ambassador Malika Berak said the country abolished death
penalty in 1981 after realising that it was contrary to principles of human
rights.

"The decision did not come overnight. Since the French Revolution in 1789,
people debated the matter. In fact it took us 2 centuries to reach to
conclusion that that type of punishment should end it," she said.

She is happy that Tanzania has not carried out capital punishment since 1994
and hopes that the country will join the long list of countries which have
voluntarily adhered to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and to fully
implement its article 3 on the right to life.

(source: The Citizen)








NIGERIA:

Freed from hangman's noose after 13 years, 2 ex-prisoners start afresh



As a teenager, his dream was to play professional football. Williams Owodo,
then 16, knew he had the skills and therefore needed to maintain his training
routine daily to acutalise his passion. Little did he know that fate had a
different plan for him.

On February 1, 1995, in one of his usual evening trainings in Ajegunle area of
Lagos, a fight broke out around the neighbourhood where the football field he
trains is located. And someone died in the fracas and the Police apprehended
him on his way home from football training.

That was the beginning of his travails that culminated in a death sentence. He
waited 18 years of harrowing experience for the hangman before he was freed
through the providential intervention of the Legal Defence Assistance Project
(LEDAP).

Accused of murder, Owodo was tortured, tried, convicted and sentenced to death
by hanging. But LEDAP launched an appeal against his conviction, which
exonerated the condemned 'criminal' and validated his innocence.

He reminisced: "I spent 9 years in Ikoyi Prison and was later transferred to
Kirikiri Maximum-Security Prison, where I spent another 9 years. In total, I
spent 18 years in prison for an offence I didn't commit.

"Before the incident happened, my daily routine was to play football every
evening in the field with my friends. While playing, a fight occurred and
someone got killed. The Police arrested me and asked me to come and make
statement at their station.

"I got there and made a statement, but the Police tore it and forced me to sign
an already written confessional statement that I conspired to murder the man.
"When the torture became unbearable, without even reading the content of the
statement, I signed it."

It was on account of that statement that the Judge convicted him. Following the
nullification of his conviction, Owodo was finally discharged from prison on
November 13, 2013 after wasting 18 years of his youthful and productive life in
wrongful incarceration.

Owodo is not alone. Ganiyu Wahab, 53, then a businessman, was 40 when he had
similar experience. He told The Guardian that he spent 13 years in condemned
prisoners cell for an offence of murder he did not commit.

He said: "I sell drinks, like beer and others, in cartons. Every year, I
organised a party as a carnival for the people that patronised my business in
that area. I had done that for about 5 or 6 years before then.

"In that particular year, a musician came to perform. Area boys and girls, as
well as my customers also came to enjoy themselves, because it held every
December.

"There was this girl in my area that had an issue with her boyfriends.
Suddenly, 2 guys began to fight over her and I was inside my shop when someone
informed me that people were fighting outside.

"Before I got outside, 1 of the girl's boyfriends had stabbed the another one
with a small knife. I wasn't even at the scene. "When the injured guy was
shouting for help, I decided to take him to the hospital for treatment. I just
helped him. I don't know him because he was not from my neighbourhood.

"After I took him to the hospital, some hours, they treated him and the next
day, the guy died. So, the doctor said I was the one who brought the boy to the
hospital and took me to the Police station."

Wahab said he was offered bail, but because he could not afford the amount of
money demanded from him, he was later tortured and made to sign a confessional
statement upon which the court convicted and condemned him to death.

He said regarding the day he was condemned to death: "I ran mad! For about 2 to
3 months, I wasn't myself. My children will come to the prison to plead and
preach to me, so I could get myself back.

"We didn't have influential people. Assuming I came from a wealthy family, it
would not have been like that. The law of this country deals with poor people."

The issue of the poor being victims of Nigeria's death penalty laws formed the
fulcrum of the statement issued by the National Coordinator of LEDAP, Mr.
Chinonye Obiagwu, as the world marked the World Day Against the use of the
Death Penalty, with the theme, 'Poverty and the death penalty.'

LEDAP used the opportunity to reaffirm its position that the abolition of death
penalty in law and practice should be the firm desire of the Nigerian
government, describing death penalty as cruel and inhumane treatment, which has
no place in modern society.

"The application of death penalty is discriminatory in Nigeria, as it has
become a punishment exclusive to the poor in society," Obiagwu stated, adding
that LEDAP was continually in legal battles with the federal and state
governments in its quest to ensure that fundamental rights of citizens are
safe-guarded and death penalty is abolished.

He stated further: "Currently, LEDAP has at least 3 actions in court
challenging the imposition of death sentences and the proposal of the federal
and state governments to execute death row inmates.

"LEDAP urges state governors not to sign any death warrant, as it constitutes
state murder. With high number of criminal convictions overturned on appeal,
continued execution is risky, as innocent people may be wrongfully killed.

"LEDAP strongly believes that in its practical application, death penalty is
discriminatory, as there is hardly any rich or influential person in society
who is sentenced to death, because the rich have the resources to settle the
Police or afford the best lawyers to ensure they are not convicted."

(source: nigeriatoday.ng)








BAHAMAS:

Ag: Caribbean Court Has Not Departed From Privy Council On Death Penalty



Anyone who thinks adopting the Caribbean Court of Justice as the Bahamas' final
court of appeal in order to circumvent the Privy Council's "disciplines" on the
death penalty will be "sorely disappointed", according to Attorney General Carl
Bethel.

In an interview with the press, Mr Bethel said to date the CCJ has not departed
from "anything said by the Privy Council in respect to capital punishment."

Last year while in opposition, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pledged that if
elected, he would hold a referendum on capital punishment "as soon as
possible".

At the time, Dr Minnis said he would immediately seek to amend the Constitution
to remove the UK-based Privy Council as the highest court of appeal for murder
convicts.

Dr Minnis said in the case of murder convictions, if the trial judge thinks the
nature and circumstances of the killing merit the imposition of a death
sentence and the Court of Appeal agrees, the sentence should not be appealed to
any other court anywhere else in the world.

Last week, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said he does not know if the Minnis
administration has made progress in its plans to allow capital punishment to be
resumed in the Bahamas.

After demanding in opposition that the law on capital punishment be enforced,
the Minnis administration has, since its election victory in May, done nothing
to suggest it has begun movement on the issue.

On Thursday, Mr Bethel said he would not say whether or not the government is
working towards removing the Privy Council as the final court of appeal, but
said his office is focused on creating an "effective justice system" that will
be a deterrent to would be criminals.

"Let me say this, courts are courts and anyone who thought that the Caribbean
Court of Justice would become a short cut or a way around the disciplines being
imposed by the Privy Council in matters dealing with capital punishment have
been somewhat disappointed, in fact sorely disappointed," Mr Bethel said.

"The learned Justices of the Caribbean Court of Justice have not found any
reason thus far to justify departure from anything said by the Privy Council in
respect to these matters. The real question is though how do we secure a system
of justice that is effective and through its effectiveness a source of
deterrence to the would be criminal and also a source of comfort to a society.
Right now we have a society that is living on the edge because of the fear of
crime. Efforts are constantly being made to try and find a way to improve the
operations of the system and the administration of justice which continues to
be plagued by human and technological problems, but each day we get better."

Mr Bethel said the government is in the process of securing a location for a
new court to focus on sexual offences and domestic violence.

"We are looking at a court to address the backlog of cases and old cases that
have not yet been brought to trial but also to focus on sexual offences and
domestic violence cases," he said.

"So that requires a criminal court, a court capable of accommodating a judge,
the registrars and a 12 person jury and possibly a seat for alternates. So with
that in mind we do have a very broad timeline that we are hoping to have
something in place by the start of the new year but I need to confirm with the
Chief Justice with how far along he has gone with that. There are 2 sites we
are looking at. The 1st one is the eastern lower level court but I don't think
work has begun on that and it is too small for a criminal court, so we would
have to do a switch and move a larger courtroom occupied by civil justice over
if it comes to that. The other site being looked at that is a site the Saffery
Square building, but it as to be reconfigured."

Although the law allows for capital punishment, the death penalty has not been
carried out since January 2000. That year, David Mitchell was executed for
stabbing two German tourists to death.

In 2006, the London-based Privy Council ruled that the Bahamas' mandatory death
sentence for convicted murderers was unconstitutional.

In 2011, after a ruling from the Privy Council, the Ingraham administration
amended the death penalty law to specify the "worst of the worst" murders that
would warrant execution.

Under the amended law, a person who kills a police or defence force officer,
member of the Departments of Customs or Immigration, judiciary or prison
services would be eligible for a death sentence. A person would also be
eligible for death once convicted of murdering someone during a rape, robbery,
kidnapping or act of terrorism.

(source: tribune242.com)








INDIA:

High Court commutes 'Cyanide' Mohan death sentence to life in prison





The Karnataka High Court on Thursday commuted the death penalty awarded to
alleged serial killer 'Cyanide' Mohan Kumar to life until death in a murder
case. Observing that he is a menace to society and threat to women, the court
sentenced him to life until his death with no remission. The case relates to
the rape and murder case of one Anita (22) of Kolimane in Bantwal taluk of
Dakshina Kannada district. While modifying the trial court's order, a division
bench of Justice Ravi Malimath and Justice John Michael Cunha also directed the
prison authorities to not release him until his death.

"The circumstances and the cogent evidence calls for simple imprisonment till
the end of his life. Hence, it is proper, just and appropriate to sentence him
to imprisonment for life and he shall not be released for rest of his life with
no scope for remission," the bench said. The court also acquitted him of the
charges of rape and abduction. "The accused had lured the victim on the pretext
of marriage. The doctor who conducted the autopsy did not give any opinion on
whether rape was committed before the murder. Therefore, there is absolutely no
material to prove the rape and abduction charges," the court said. The court
also noted that the doctor did not send vicera samples and stomach contents of
the victim for chemical analysis despite directives from SC. Initially the
doctor felt that the death was due to organo-phosphorous poison. Later, after
examining cyanide traces in the finger nails and the condition of the
victim???s body, he stated that cyanide was also a cause for the death. It is a
clear case of murder for gain, the court said.

When judges sought his opinion on quantum of punishment, Mohan, who argued the
case on his own, pleaded for life imprisonment whereas the Additional State
Public Prosecutor Vijay Kumar Majage pressed for death penalty. Convicting him
of all other charges, including murder, the court observed: "The school teacher
opted for voluantary retirement in 2002 to pursue criminal activities. 20
similiar cases have been lodged against him between 2003 and 2009. Hence, this
case was treated differently," the bench said while declining to accept the
trial court's finding that it was among the rarest of rare cases warranting
death penalty. One of Mohan's victims, who is lucky to be alive, is the prime
witness in the Anita murder case. Mohan had taken her to Madikeri and the 2
stayed in a lodge where he raped her.

The next day, he took her to the bus stand and tried the same trick. But the
woman said he had worn a condom and hence there was no need for her to take
birth control pills. Then he scared her saying that the condom had torn. She
went into the toilet but did not take the pills. She tasted it and lost
consciousness. After she was found, she was hospitalised but did not complain
to the police fearing her family's reputation. But after Mohan's arrest in the
case, she deposed against him.

Case history

On June 17, 2009, Mohan Kumar took Anita from Bantwal to Hassan promising to
marry her. He allegedly raped her in a lodge near the bus stand. The next day,
he took her to the bus stand and asked her to take a contraceptive pill. Anita
consumed the pill laced with cyanide and was found dead in a toilet. The IV
Additional City Civil and Sessions Court of Dakshina Kannada district imposed
death penalty on him on December 21, 2013.

(source: newindianexpress.com)








IRAN:

17-year-old boy at risk of imminent execution



The Iranian authorities must urgently stop the execution of a 17-year-old boy
who was convicted of murder and rape, and commute his death sentence to
imprisonment, said Amnesty International.

Amirhossein Pourjafar is scheduled to be executed in a prison in Tehran on 19
October 2017. He was detained in April 2016 and sentenced to death 6 months
later after being convicted of the rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl,
Setayesh Ghoreyshi, from Iran's marginalized Afghan community.

"There is no question that this was a horrific crime and the perpetrator should
be held accountable. Amnesty International supports the demands for justice
voiced by Setayesh's bereaved family and the wider Afghan community in Iran,
but executing a 17-year-old boy is not justice," said Magdalena Mughrabi,
Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

"The use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed
while they were under 18 is absolutely prohibited by international human rights
law. If Iran goes ahead with the execution next week it will be another
appalling breach of its international obligations."

In its final verdict the court said that the death sentence against Amirhossein
Pourjafar was issued after taking into account "societal expectations and
public opinion".

"The authorities' rush to send a child to the gallows in order to placate
public anger is short-sighted and misguided. The death penalty is a cruel,
inhu