2017-11-02 15:39:28 UTC
7 Prisoners Hanged in Rajai Shahr Prison
7 prisoners, mainly charged with murder, were hanged at Rajai Shahr Prison of
According to a close source, on the morning of Wednesday October 25, 7
prisoners were executed at Rajai Shahr Prison of Karaj. Iran Human Rights (IHR)
had previously reported about preparation of at least 10 prisoners of Rajai
Shahr Prison for execution. The prisoners, mainly charged with murder, were
transferred to solitary confinement in a group of 14 on Monday October 23.
The rest of the prisoners who were transferred to solitary confinement were
returned to their cells by either wining the consent of the plaintiff or asking
The executed prisoners have not been identified so far.
According to IHR 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)
Taiwan convict walks free after decade on death row
A Taiwanese man who spent more than a decade on death row walked free Thursday
after being acquitted of murder in a retrial, boosting calls for the abolition
of capital punishment.
Cheng Hsing-tse was condemned to death in 2002 after being found guilty of
shooting a police officer during a gun battle in a karaoke parlour.
The death penalty was confirmed in 2006, when he had exhausted the appeal
But he was granted a retrial last year and released on bail when new evidence
cast doubt on his conviction, suggesting he may have been tortured into
admitting the crime.
The high court in central Taichung delivered its decision Thursday, overturning
the original guilty verdict, saying Cheng's confession may have been forced and
that evidence pointed to another culprit firing the fatal shots.
"I've waited for this acquittal for 15 years," Cheng told reporters on Thursday
outside the court after the verdict.
Cheng was a follower of gangster Luo Wu-hsiung and was caught up in the gun
battle after Luo fired a pistol at the ceiling and at bottles in a karaoke room
in protest at the parlour's service.
Police stormed the venue and shots were fired by both sides, killing Luo and an
officer named Su Hsien-pi.
Earlier verdicts found that Cheng fired the bullets that killed Su.
But judges on Thursday said after considering evidence of the firing positions,
it could not be ruled out that Luo was the killer.
The high court said in a statement that Cheng's face had shown "obvious new
bruising" during interrogations, "suggesting his confession wasn't voluntary".
The Control Yuan - the government's highest watchdog - recommended the supreme
court prosecutor's office to apply for a retrial after investigating Cheng's
case in 2014.
It said police forced a confession from Cheng "by means of torture" and certain
autopsy findings were ignored.
Taiwan resumed capital punishment in 2010 after a five-year hiatus. Executions
are reserved for serious crimes including aggravated murder.
The last execution was in May last year of Cheng Chieh, a former college
student who killed 4 people in a stabbing spree on a subway in 2014.
There are currently 43 convicts on death row in Taiwan, according to campaign
group Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty.
Rights groups including Amnesty International have urged Taiwan's government to
abandon the practice, but polls show a majority of the public still support it.
Thousands sentenced, none executed: Will the Supreme Court revoke the death
The much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of the
mandatory death sentence for capital offenders will be both historic and
controversial in equal measure.
Historic because the offence of murder and the attendant death penalty have
been in existence for more than a century: 70 years of colonialism and 54 years
And controversial because of sharp divisions between those seeking to have it
abolished and those defending it.
The Supreme Court's verdict will be the final say over the matter. The ruling
was due in April but is yet to be delivered.
DEATH PENALTIES COMMUTED
The mandatory death penalty was generally bequeathed on all former British
colonies, as stated under the Common Law of England, as the "penalty of
Under those laws, there was only one sentence that could be judicially
pronounced upon a defendant convicted of murder: death sentence.
Kenya, like many others, did not review her penal code after attaining
Independence to shake off some of the laws that could be retrogressive.
Different High Court and Court of Appeal judges have issued different judgments
on various cases challenging constitutionality of the penalty. And the court at
the pinnacle of Kenya's judiciary will be ruling on death sentence, a practice
that was not widespread in the country in the pre-colonial era and that was
officially introduced in 1893.
Although the sentence has remained in the penal code, the last time a convict
was hanged was July 1987, when Kenya Air Force senior private Hezekiah Ochuka
was executed for overthrowing retired President Daniel Moi and ruling Kenya for
4 hours in the country's 1st and last successful coup.
Death row convicts still wait for the never-arriving hangman indefinitely,
until the heads of state occasionally commute their sentences to life
In October last year, President Uhuru Kenyatta commuted 2,747 of them to life
imprisonment, while retired President Mwai Kibaki commuted 4,000 in December
Unfortunately, no one in Kenya has ever raised the issue of whether the delay
in executing prisoners who have been on death row for a long time is
inconsistent with constitutional provisions. The issue is not raised even in
the case before the Supreme Court.
Several High Court and Court of Appeal judges have held different opinions over
the matter, and criminal and human rights lawyers are equally divided on the
constitutionality of the penalty.
HOW CHALLENGE AROSE
On July 30, 2010, appellate judges Onyango Otieno, Philip Waki and Rianga Omolo
dramatically escalated a case challenging death sentence to a court that did
not exist to determine appropriate action on a murder convict who had
challenged the sentence.
"In all the circumstances of this case, the order that commends itself to us is
to remit the case to the superior court with the direction that the court
records the prosecution's as well as the appellant's submissions before
deciding on the sentence that befits the appellant. It is so ordered," the
There was no Supreme Court at the time, as it was established by the August
2010 constitution, which was adopted on August 4, 2010, 5 days after the
ruling, and the Court of Appeal was the highest court before then.
Godfrey Mutiso wanted the court to declare that imposition of a mandatory death
sentence upon him was arbitrary and unconstitutional, and the execution of the
same would amount to an inhuman and degrading punishment and arbitrary
deprivation of life in breach of the constitution.
"The appellant may well be deserving of the death penalty or life imprisonment
in view of the gravity of the offence committed and the circumstances of the
deceased's death, or a lesser penalty, but then again, making such findings
would be arbitrary," the judges said.
Mutiso was handed a death sentence in 2008 by Justice Joseph Sergon for murder
of Patrick Gachuki in 2004. He is among 4,000 death row convicts whose
sentences were commuted to life imprisonment by retired President Mwai Kibaki
in December 2009, and he wants the Supreme Court to declare the capital
The judges, however, said human society is constantly evolving and so the law,
which all civilised societies must live under, must evolve in tandem.
"A law that is caught up in a time-warp would soon find itself irrelevant and
would be swept into the dustbins of history," they stated.
Although the death penalty was initially only a reserve for the convicts of
murder offence, today, 4 offences result in the maximum penalty: murder and
attempted murder, treason, oathing for crimes by proscribed criminal outfits,
robbery with violence and attempted robbery with violence.
The case before the apex court is the most serious challenge made on the
penalty that has left legal minds divided in the middle.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
The offence of murder and the mandatory death sentence as the punishment for it
are provided for in the Penal Code under sections 203 and 204.
Section 203 says any person who, with malicious aforethought, causes death of
another person by unlawful act or omission, is guilty of murder.
Consequently, section 204 says any person convicted of murder shall be
sentenced to death.
2 of the Supreme Court judges, Chief Justice David Maraga and Justice JB
Ojwang, will be revisiting a matter they have ruled over in the past.
On October 18, 2013, while a Court of Appeal judge, Maraga and justices John
Mwera and Roselyne Nambuye dismissed an appeal challenging the same sentence.
2 death row convicts both jailed for robbery with violence had filed the
Lawyer Timothy Bryant argued that the death sentence handed down to each
appellant contravened Article Six of the International Convention on Civil and
The Article says in countries that have not abolished the death penalty, death
sentence may be imposed only for the most serious crimes - genocide - in
accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime.
"Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be
protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life," the
But the judges cited Article 26 [ 3 ] of the constitution.
It says a person shall not be deprived of life intentionally, except to the
extent authorised by this constitution or other written law.
"And the written law is Section 296  of the Penal Code. So all in all, a
death sentence is not unconstitutional. Kenya has not abolished the death
sentence and so the death sentence meted out here to the appellants is not
contrary to the cited Convention," the judges ruled.
18-MONTH REFORM DEADLINE
A 3-judge bench, chaired by Justice Jessie Lesiit, principal judge in the High
Court's Criminal Division, was faced with the same legal conundrum on September
15 last year, in determining a petition by 12 capital offenders challenging the
The petitioners wanted the penalty declared cruel and inhumane.
The judges, including Justice Luka Kimaru and justice Stella Mutuku, held that
the death sentence is not a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
But they said sections of the Penal Code that define robbery with violence are
so "imprecise, broad and vague in scope" that they do not muster the
constitutional threshold of sufficient precision to enable an accused person
adequately prepare and defend themselves if charged under them.
"Article 26 [ 3 ] of the constitution specifically provides that where the
death sentence is provided under any other law, it shall not amount to the
deprivation of the right to life," they said.
"However, we hold that a person convicted of a capital offence cannot be
sentenced to serve a death sentence as a matter of course without the court
considering the mitigating circumstances and other statutory pre-sentencing
They said it will amount to a violation of accused persons' right to fair trial
if the court does not receive and consider mitigating factors and other
statutory and pre-sentencing requirements.
The bench directed the office of Attorney General and other state departments
to make changes to the said sections of Penal Code in 18 months. The period
elapses in March next year. But AG Githu Muigai moved to the highest court to
seek guidance on compliance with the order.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:
Indian businessman saves 5 more from the gallows----S.P. Singh Oberoi assisted
88 other convicts in bootlegging murder cases earlier
5 Indians convicted of murdering a fellow Indian have escaped the gallows in
Sharjah after the non-profit Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust paid blood money
to the victim's family and secured their pardon.
Trust founder and Dubai-based businessman S.P. Singh Oberoi told XPRESS, "On
October 23, the Sharjah Court waived off the death penalty awarded to the 5
Indians and sentenced them to 3 years imprisonment after we paid blood money to
the family of the victim Virender Chauhan in 2011."
He said Chauhan, a 38-year-old from Shekapuria village in Azamgarh district of
Uttar Pradesh in India, was killed in a bootlegging brawl on November 4, 2011
in Sharjah. The accused included Sucha Singh, Ravinder Singh, Ranjit Ram,
Dalwinder Singh, all from Punjab and Dharmendra from Bihar. He said the 5 were
in jail after the Sharjah court found them guilty of the murder and put them on
Oberoi, who has paid blood money and helped 88 others in similar situations,
said, "The 5 boys' families contacted me and appealed for help to pay blood
money to the victim's family. I met the victim's family in their native village
and secured a pardon letter from them after paying the blood money. I presented
the letter to the Sharjah Court on September 27." He said the 5 boys had
already spent 6 years in jail and efforts will now be made to fly them to India
subject to approvals.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
DeathPenalty mailing list