2017-04-29 13:14:43 UTC
Kerala's curative plea seeking death penalty in Soumya murder case rejected by
An apex court Bench comprising of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, PC Pant and UU Lalit
commuted the death sentence of the man, Govindachamy.
The Supreme Court rejected Kerala's curative petition that sought the death
penalty for a convict Govindachamy, in the Soumya murder case.
"Having gone through the Curative Petitions and the relevant documents, in our
considered opinion, no case is made out within the parameters indicated in the
decision of this Court in Rupa Ashok Hurra Vs. Ashok Hurra & Anr., reported in
2002 (4) SCC 388. The Curative Petitions are, accordingly, dismissed," a
6-judge bench looking into this matter ruled.
The Kerala state government had filed the petition after the Supreme Court in
its 2016 order had set aside the Kerala High Court judgment awarding the
assailant Govindachamy the death penalty.
An apex court Bench comprising of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, PC Pant and UU Lalit
had, in September last year, found Govindachamy guilty of rape. However, the
bench had overturned the high court order sentencing him to death and instead
awarded him a life sentence.
Interestingly, in November, the Supreme Court had initiated contempt
proceedings against Justice Markandey Katju after the former SC judge had made
personal remarks in 2 posts - on September 17 and 18 - on a social networking
site against judges who had pronounced a ruling on the Soumya rape-murder case.
A bench led by the same justices who had presided over the matter had claimed
that the posts were, "a serious assault on judges, not on judgments."
Justice Katju had been invited by the Justice Gogoi-led bench to debate on the
several "fundamental flaws" that it had allegedly committed in its September 15
judgement on the well publicised Soumya murder and rape case in 2011. The bench
commuted the death sentence of the man, Govindachamy, who had been convicted of
Katju had commented in his posts that the SC had seriously "erred in law" in
its judgment. His post had said, "This was a grave error in the judgment, not
expected of judges who had been in the legal world for decades. Even a student
of law in a law college knows this elementary principle that hearsay evidence
However, In January 2017, the contempt proceedings were withdrawn, after
Justice Katju tendered an unconditional apology to the judges in this matter.
Pakistan top in death penalty executions in Asia----Bangladesh 2nd
At least 130 executions were carried out in 11 Asian countries in 2016. The
vast majority of them were executed in Pakistan. However there is no data
available about executions in China, still believed to be by far the world's
Overall the number of executions has decreased in the Asia pacific region due
to a significant reduction in Pakistan. The total number of executions in the
region fell from 367 in 2015 to 239 in 2016.
Although the number of executions in Pakistan has decreased from 326 in 2015 to
87 in 2016, it still tops the list of the countries with highest number of
executions in the Asian region. The range of those executed varied from
prisoners tried by military courts to those suspected of undertaking terrorist
Bangladesh executed 10 people in 2016. 8 out of the 10 were convicted of murder
while 2 were tried by International Crimes Tribunal (Bangladesh) for the war
crimes committed in 1971.
With secrecy around death penalties slightly lifted, Malaysia has seen an
increase in the executions with 9 in 2016, compared to 6 in 2014 and 1 in 2015.
In Afghanistan where almost 600 people were under sentence of death by the end
of the year, in 2016, 8 people were executed related to terrorist activities.
Indonesia executed 4 people in the year 2016, 3 of them foreigners and 1
Indonesian. All 4 men were convicted of drug related offenses.
2 men who were executed had their clemency applications pending for a review
when the executions were undertaken.
Singapore carried 4 executions in 2016 for murder and drug trafficking. 2 of
the 4 executed were Malaysian nationals and 1 was Nigerian. The country has
also issued new restrictive guidelines for reviewing the death sentences of
Japan executed 3 people in 2016, 2 men and 1 woman. The country's Federation of
Bar Association has called on the authorities to abolish the death penalty by
the year 2020.
Taiwan executed 1 person within 3 weeks after his sentence was finalised.
(source: The Daily Star)
To the gallows: Court awards death penalty, life term to 2 in murder case
A court awarded death sentence and life term to 2 accused for their involvement
in a murder case in Sargodha on Friday.
The judgment was announced by Additional District and Sessions Judge Saadat
The prosecution told the court that accused Saqi Javed, resident of Buland
village, Tehsil Johrabad, and his accomplices Ghulam Qadir, Muhammad Ijaz and
Mariam Bibi had gunned down Sana Bibi over a dispute on July 11, 2015.
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 Saqi Javed and awarded life imprisonment to Ghulam Qadir.
However, the court acquitted Ijaz and Mariam Bibi due to lack of evidence.
Earlier in February 2017, Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad
Abubakkar Saddique awarded 25 years imprisonment to 2 murder convicts in a
murder case within Cantonment police station.
The prosecution told the court on November 27, 2012, accused Iftikhar and Yar
Maseeh, residents of PWD Colony, Sargodha gunned down a citizen Sher Ali over
The police registered case against the accused and sent challan to the court.
After hearing the arguments the court awarded 25 years imprisonment each to
Iftikhar and Yar Maseeh and imposed a fine of Rs4 millionas compensation money.
(source: The Express Tribune)
Nigerian govt blasts Amnesty International, defends death penalty
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has frowned on calls by Amnesty International, AI,
on the federal government to halt the planned execution of some inmates on
death row in Lagos State.
The ministry made the remark in a statement issued by Olushola Enikanolaiye,
its Permanent Secretary, on Friday in Abuja.
Mr. Enikanolaye stated that the AI had on April 21, urged the federal
government to establish an official moratorium, with a view to abolishing the
The permanent secretary, however, said that the Lagos State Government had yet
to officially confirm its intention to carry out executions at the Kirikiri
According to him, the federal government acknowledges the growing global
preference for the abolition of death penalty.
He said that the federal government was aware that total abolition of the
capital punishment was yet to be established as a globally acceptable human
Mr. Enikanolaye said the claim by the AI that death penalty was an outdated and
cruel punishment which violated the right to life was just propaganda by the
He said that AI by its claim ignored the rights of the traumatised family
members of victims of violent crimes and rather threw its weight behind those
who committed heinous crimes against Nigerians.
Mr. Enikanolaye explained that death penalty, as contained in Article 6 of the
International Convention on Civil and Political Rights was an exception to the
right to life as long as it was not arbitrarily imposed.
"Furthermore, it is reaffirmed that Nigeria, incontrovertibly possesses the
sovereign right to determine its laws and operate a criminal justice system
within the rule of law.
"The imposition of death penalty is a constitutional matter in Nigeria clearly
spelt out under Sections 33(1) and 34(1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as
"As AI is probably aware, in every democracy, sovereignty belongs to the
people," he said.
According to him, it is therefore repugnant and imprudent for AI to continue
condemning Nigeria's criminal justice system on the basis of AI's randomly
conducted experiment on the use of the death penalty.
"AI should refocus attention on defending the rights of the traumatised family
members of victims of violent crimes, rather than the veiled support for those
who have committed heinous crimes against the Nigerian people.
"The Federal Government of Nigeria remains committed to complying with its
international human rights obligations while upholding the Constitution and the
demonstrated will of the Nigerian people.
"The Federal Government has not deviated from its stated position of a
self-imposed de facto moratorium on execution of the death penalty on federal
cases following the restoration of democracy in 1999," he said.
He, however, noted that the federalist nature of democracy equally makes death
penalty the prerogative of the state governments to impose and execute in
accordance with the Constitution.
According to him, the federal government duly recognises that there is no right
more sacred than the right to life.
"Hence, the precondition for imposing the ultimate penalty in Nigeria is
conducted with impeccable fairness and propriety, as the Nigerian Judiciary
follows an exacting standard and a heightened level of due process in the
prosecution of death penalty cases.
"Thus, the well established safeguards for the prevention of wrongful
conviction and execution of the death penalty are fully operational in these
cases," he said.
Halt execution spree of children in Puntland
The authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland region must immediately
halt plans to execute 2 boys sentenced to death by a military tribunal in
February for their alleged role in the armed group Al-Shabaab's killing of 3
senior administration officials, said Amnesty International.
The organization has learnt that Muhamed Yasin Abdi, 17, and Daud Saied Sahal,
15, could be put to death at any moment after 5 other boys - all aged between
14 and 17 - were executed on 8 April for the killings.
"These 5 boys were executed following a fundamentally flawed process during
which they were tortured to confess, denied access to a lawyer and additional
protections accorded to juveniles, and tried in a military tribunal. The lives
of the remaining 2 boys must be spared" said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty
International's Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the
"The Puntland authorities must not allow more blood on their hands. They should
halt the executions and retry the boys in fair proceedings in a juvenile
civilian court without recourse to the death penalty. Those responsible for
killing the 3 administration officials need to be identified and brought to
justice - torturing juveniles to confess, subjecting them to an unfair trial
and then executing them does not ensure this."
Family members told Amnesty International that the boys, who they deny were
members of the Al-Shabaab militant group, were subjected to electric shock,
burnt with cigarettes on their genitals, beaten and raped into confessing to
"These horrific allegations of torture must be fully and independently
investigated and those found responsible held to account. Puntland must also
stop the practice of trying civilians in military courts," said Michelle
Amnesty International believes the death penalty is cruel, inhuman and
degrading, and opposes it at all times - regardless of who is accused, the
crime, guilt or innocence or method of execution.
(source: Amnesty International)
Unidentified Prisoner Executed
An unidentified prisoner was reportedly hanged at Birjand Central Prison (South
Khorasan province) on rape charges.
According to a report by the Iranian state run news agency Khavarestan, the
prisoner was 27 years old at the time of execution. The report does not mention
the prisoner's name nor the date of execution.
With 2 executions of minors looming, UN rights experts urge Iran to halt death
At least 90 people on death row in Iran are under the age of 18, United Nations
human rights experts today said, urging authorities to abide with international
law and immediately stop these executions.
The call comes as 2 people - one 17 at the time of sentencing, and one 15 -
were given dates for the sentencing.
"These executions must be halted immediately and the death sentences quashed.
We also call on Iran to commute without delay all such sentences imposed on
children," said Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and Benyam Dawit Mezmur,
Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
Mehdi Bohlouli, who was 17 at the time of his sentencing in 2001, was due to be
executed on 19 April. His execution was halted a few hours earlier but the
status of his sentencing is unclear.
Meanwhile, Peyman Barandah, who was sentenced in 2012 at the age of 15, is
scheduled to be executed on 10 May.
"These 2 cases bring the total of juvenile offenders scheduled for execution
that we have become aware of in Iran since January to 6. They include the cases
of 2 young persons whose executions was carried out," the experts noted.
In 2013, Iran amended its Islamic Penal Code and opened the possibility of
juveniles sentenced to death to be allowed retrials. Later, assurances were
given in 2016 by Iran to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child that this
amendment would apply systematically for all juveniles who are currently on
In addition, the experts pointed out that by ratifying both the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, Iran has committed itself to protecting and respecting children's right
to life as well as to outlaw the death penalty for all those under the age of
"These promises have not been fulfilled: Some of the young men executed
recently were not even aware of the possibility of retrials, and the requests
made by Mehdi Bohlouli and Peyman Barandah for retrial were simply rejected by
the Supreme Court," said the experts, adding that in numerous other cases, the
courts had simply sentenced juvenile offenders to death again after retrials.
Special Rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based
UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights
theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are
not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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