Discussion:
death penalty news----worldwide----RUSS., ALGER., PAKIS., IRAN, ZIMBAB.
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Rick Halperin
2017-10-16 13:01:39 UTC
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Oct. 16




RUSSIA:

It is up to people to decide whether to cancel it or not - Bastrykin on
moratorium on death penalty



The moratorium on the death penalty can only be canceled in Russia following a
referendum, Russian Investigative Committee Head Alexander Bastrykin stated.

Such a decision can only be made following a referendum, Alexander Bastrykin
said during his lecture in the Kutafin Moscow State Law University when
answering a student???s question.

Bastrykin said death penalty can only be applied in exceptional cases,
according to Committee official spokesperson Svetlana Petrenko. This includes
those who committed major crimes and threaten the society.

Bastrykin favors humane actions and does not want to intimidate the public,
Petrenko emphasized.

Bastrykin's lecture was on origin and development of investigative practices in
Russia and Committee's current goals.

May we remind you that the moratorium on the death penalty has been in place in
Russia since it joined the Council of Europe in 1996. Life in prison has been
the maximum sentence in Russia since then.?

(source: crimerussia.com)








ALGERIA:

Senior terrorist sentenced to death in absentia in Algeria



An Algerian court on Sunday sentenced in absentia running away senior
terrorist, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, alias Belaouar, to death penalty, APS news
agency reported.

The sentence has been pronounced by the prosecutor of the Criminal Court of
Oran, western Algeria, as Belmokhtar, leader of the terrorist group of Al-Qaeda
in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was charged by the creation and management of a
terrorist organization, abduction as well as arm detention and trafficking.

The case dates back to April 2011. Detectives concluded that there was a
terrorist plot to kidnap foreign nationals, specifically workers in charge of
the construction of Oran tramway.

Mokhtar Belmokhtar, was the mastermind of this plot, as he was first tried in
absentia in 2012. By then 8 other defendants were also tried, including three
in absentia, and 5 others were present at the court.

Among these 5 defendants, 4 were sentenced to life prison, while the 5th
defendant was set free due to lack of evidence.

The prosecutor of the Criminal Court of Oran has reopened the case and
sentenced in absentia Belmokhtar and his 3 companions to death penalty.

It worth to recall that Mokhtar Belmokhtar, alias Belaouer (the 1 eyed) claimed
responsibility for the terrorist attack that targeted a gas field in the
Algerian desert in January 16th 2013.

Al-Qaida linked militants attacked the gas field of Tiguentourine, in Illizi
province, 1700 km southeast of Algiers and took some 800 workers as hostages,
forcing the Algerian special forces to storm the field and release the
hostages.

This rescue operation left more than 37 dead, including 36 foreigners. As many
as 29 assailants were killed, while 3 others were captured alive, according to
an official report.

(source: xinhuanet.com)








PAKISTAN:

Pakistan moves to narrow down death penalty scope----27 crimes being reviewed
in the wake of 'scathing criticism on excessive use of capital punishment' by
UN, Western countries



Pakistan has initiated the process to review punishment in 27 crimes carrying
death sentence to narrow down the scope of death penalty, The Nation has
learnt.

The decision has been taken in the wake of the 'scathing criticism on the
excessive use of this penalty' by UN Human Rights Mechanisms, Western
countries, particularly EU member states as well as NGOs with global outreach,
suggest documents exclusively available with The Nation.

In a communication forwarded by Pakistan's Permanent Representative to UN in
Geneva to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in November 2016, the concerns of the
international community (UN Human Rights Mechanisms, EU member states, and
NGOs) with regard to the death penalty in Pakistan were highlighted.

Keeping in view Pakistan's review of reports on human rights conventions at the
UN level and concerns of the international community, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs moved a summary to the prime minister wherein some recommendations were
made with regard to imposition of death penalty in Pakistan which compelled the
authorities to review punishment for the crimes carrying death penalty.

It is to mention here that National Action Plan for human rights, approved by
the prime minister, has also proposed a review of existing legal framework in
line with the national and international commitments related to human rights.

The summary for the prime minister, a copy of which is exclusively available
with The Nation, said that the 27 crimes which carry the death sentence in
Pakistan may be reviewed to narrow down the scope of the death penalty.

"Like other countries, a longer life sentence may be introduced for some of
these crimes. A high-level committee may be constituted to look into the
recommendations," the summary suggested to the prime minister.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the summary, told the prime minister that
after lifting a moratorium on execution of death penalty in December 2014, the
country was facing severe criticism on the "excessive use" of death penalty by
the UN Human Rights Mechanisms, Western countries as well as NGOs. The summary
proposed that under the international humanitarian conventions ratified by
Pakistan, the death penalty where permitted should apply to very serious cases.

"There is a need to review the existing provisions of CrPC and PPC to determine
if the scope of the death penalty can be narrowed and the duration of a life
sentence in certain cases increased," the summary proposed. It further said
that there was a need to clear the doubts of the international community
particularly with regard to cases of persons with disabilities (physical or
mental) or juveniles.

"At present, there is no provision in our domestic laws regarding prevention of
execution or clemency for a disabled person on death row," reads the summary.
It further said that it needs to be ensured that no person below the age of 18
is awarded death sentence and death sentence may be converted to life
imprisonment or pardon may be considered. The summary recommended that persons
with disabilities, including persons suffering from mental and psychological
disabilities, may not be awarded death sentence and their death sentence may be
converted to life imprisonment or they may be pardoned. "Provisions for this
may be incorporated in national laws as required," the summary says.

In view of the above, the Ministry of Human Rights has proposed a consultative
meeting to discuss a possible review of the 27 crimes. According to sources, a
high-level meeting was held on 15 September, 2017, at the Ministry of Law and
Justice to discuss the possible review of the 27 crimes. The crimes include
'causing death to a person other than the person whose death was intended'
(Section 301 of PPC), 'Qatal-e-Amad' (Section 302 of PPC), 'dacoity resulting
in death' (Section 396 of PPC), 'terrorism' (Section 7 of Anti-Terrorism Act),
'airplane hijacking or assisting in hijacking' (Section 402-B of PPC),
harbouring hijacker (Section 402-C of PPC), 'Zina' (Section 5 of offences of
Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979), 'rape' (Section 376 of PPC),
'Zina-bil-Jabr' (Section 6 of offences of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood)
Ordinance, 1979), 'Zina or Zina-bil-Jabr liable to Tazir' (Section 10 (4) of
offences of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979, 'kidnapping for
ransom' (Section 365-A of PPC), 'drug trafficking-exceeding 1kg' (Section 9 of
Control of Narcotics Substance Act, 1997), 'high treason' (Section 2 of The
High Treason (Punishment) Act, 1973), 'successful mutiny' (Section 132 of PPC),
'waging or abetting war against Pakistan' (Section 121 of PPC), 'blasphemy'
(Section 295-C of PPC), 'hurting persons travelling by railways and damaging
property of railways' (Section 127 of Railways Act, 1890), 'false evidence
resulting death penalty' (Section 194 of PPC), 'stripping off women in public'
(Section 354-A of PPC), 'kidnapping for unnatural lust' (Section 367-A),
'kidnapping or abducting in order to subject to unnatural lust' (Section 12 of
The offences of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1979), 'kidnapping
child under age of 14' (Section 364-A of PPC), "punishment of ???Haraabah'"
(Section 17 (4) of the offences against property (Enforcement of Hudood)
Ordinance), 'offences in relation to enemy' (Section 24 of The Pakistan Army
Act, 1952), 'disclosure of parole or watchword' (Section 26 of The Pakistan
Army Act, 1952), 'mutiny and insubordination' (Section 31 of The Pakistan Army
Act, 1952) and 'importing, exporting into and from Pakistan dangerous drugs',
(Section 13 of the Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930).

According to the sources, the ministry of human rights has supported the
recommendations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on death penalty keeping in
view Pakistan's international commitments. It, however, suggested that the
matter be referred to the Law Reforms Committee instead of constituting a new
committee as proposed by the foreign office, to review the existing legislation
in consultation with stakeholders.

The matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the stakeholders. In 2008,
the government had placed a 5-year moratorium on executing prisoners on death
row which expired in 2013.

(source: The Nation)

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

3 Ahmadi Men Sentenced to Death in Pakistan on Blasphemy Charges



A court in Pakistan's Punjab province has sentenced 3 men of a minority
religious group to death on charges of violating the country's controversial
blasphemy law.

Mubasher Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmed and Ehsan Ahmed were found guilty and convicted by
the trial court Wednesday for insulting the prophet of Islam.

The men were tried under Section 295-B of Pakistan's penal code, commonly
referred to as the blasphemy law, which recommends either life imprisonment or
the death penalty for anyone found guilty of deliberately insulting Islam.

The men were arrested in May 2014 in a remote village in Punjab province after
residents filed a complaint with the police and accused the defendants of
tearing down a religious poster.

4 men were arrested at the time. The 4th man, Khalil Ahmad, was shot dead by an
angry man while in police custody just a few days after the incident.

Saleemuddin, a spokesperson for the Ahmadi community, told VOA that the charges
against the defendants and the court's verdict were unfair.

"The convicted men were trying to take down a poster, which had anti-Ahmadi
slogans and text that urged the community to socially boycott the already
persecuted Ahmadi community," Saleemuddin said.

"We will challenge the trial court's decision in high court," he added.

Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims, but Pakistan's state does not recognize
them as such and labels them heretics. There are more than a half-million
Ahmadis living in Pakistan under the constant threat of persecution.

The Ahmadi community "is one of the most mistreated communities in the country.
They have had been a target of blasphemous charges, sectarian violence and
target killings," said Mehdi Hasan, a prominent human rights activist in
Pakistan.

Ahmadis 'a threat'

The death sentence for the three individuals came just a few days after
Muhammad Safdar, a prominent member of the ruling party and son-in-law of
ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, publicly denounced Ahmadi community members
as a threat to Pakistan and urged the country's institutions not to hire them
in the military or the civil service.

Safdar's remarks stirred a debate in the country on the issue of minorities and
their rights.

Pakistan Minister of the Interior Ahsan Iqbal, without mentioning Safdar by
name, denounced the anti-minority rhetoric coming from politicians.

"It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We
believe in inclusive Pakistan. Pakistan respects all minorities," Iqbal said in
a tweet.

Abuse of law

"Blasphemy is a very sensitive issue in Pakistan. We've seen several incidents
where angry mobs killed those accused of committing blasphemy without giving
them a right to face the trial," human rights activist Hasan told VOA.

Rights groups say the controversial blasphemy law has often been abused to
settle personal vendettas and disputes. Due process is often ceremonial, the
rights activists add, and decisions are often informed by the growing religious
intolerance in the country.

Even if courts do drop charges against defendants, mobs and local residents
attack them, and law enforcement authorities look the other way in most cases,
the activists charge.

?Social media posts

Nadeem James, a Christian, was sentenced to death last month in Punjab after
the court established that he sent a blasphemous poem to a friend via WhatsApp,
an instant message application.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a recent report said 15 people were
arrested on charges of blasphemy in 2016, including 10 Muslims and five members
of religious minorities.

In April 2017, Mashaal Khan, a journalism student, was accused of posting
blasphemous content online and was beaten to death by fellow students at Abdul
Wali Khan University in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Pakistan's government is being criticized for strictly enforcing the blasphemy
laws.

In April 2017, the government used newspapers and mobile phone services to warn
its citizens not to post or upload any blasphemous materials on social media.

The government has also reportedly encouraged people to report those who
violate the blasphemy law.

(source: voanews.com)








IRAN----execution

Man Executed at Kerman Prison



A prisoner was executed on Moharebeh charges at Kerman Prison.

According to ISNA and the Deputy of Public and Revolutionary Prosecutor's
office of Kerman, Mokhtar Shamsuddini, on the morning of Thursday October 12, a
prisoner was hanged at Kerman Prison.

The prisoner identified as P.D. was charged with Moharebeh for blocking the
road, kidnapping some Afghans, and extorting them.

At least 530 prisoners were executed Last year, 44 of whom were sentenced to
death on the charge of Moharebeh and "Spreading corruption on earth".

Due to the ambiguity of the notions of Moharebeh (waging war against God) and
"Spreading corruption on earth", these 2 charges are commonly used for a large
number of offences.

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

Prisoner Hanged on Murder Charges



A prisoner was executed on murder charges at Rasht Central Prison (Lakan).

According to a close source, on the morning of Saturday October 14, a prisoner
was executed at Rasht Central Prison. The prisoner, Hamidreza Khoshbakht, was
sentenced to death on murder charges.

Close sources told Iran Human Rights (IHR) that Hamidreza was born on 1993.
Four years ago, when he was 20, he was arrested for murder.

The execution of this prisoner 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 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 for both: Iran Human Rights)








ZIMBABWE:

Renewed efforts to abolish death penalty



Human rights groups have re-launched their bid to have the death penalty
abolished in Zimbabwe.

The country is 1 of 3 southern African nations still upholding the harsh
penalty.

As Zimbabwe commemorated the World Day Against the Death Penalty last week,
Veritas, Amnesty International and the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
canvassed for signatures to petition President Robert Mugabe to direct
government to take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty.

This comes as Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has openly declared that he is
against capital punishment, having escaped the guillotine himself during the
liberation struggle.

Earlier this year, Mnangagwa blocked recruitment of the country's hangman,
although at least five people had applied for the post, which fell vacant more
than a decade ago.

According to official figures as at December 2016, there were 97 inmates on
death roll, with Zimbabwe's last execution having been in 2005.

The rights groups argued that "throughout the world, and particularly in the
continent of Africa, the death penalty is being abolished. The majority of
African Union member states have legally abolished the death penalty or applied
a de facto moratorium on capital punishment; only a minority of 17 States has
retained the death penalty".

"Only three Sadc states continue to carry out the death penalty: Botswana, the
DRC and Lesotho. The other Sadc States have either abolished it in law or do
not carry it out in practice. In Zimbabwe there has been no execution since
2005, but persons are still sentenced to death and there are over a hundred
prisoners languishing on "death row", some for nearly 20 years."

"The death penalty is not a traditional penalty but a colonial relic.
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. In the Zanu election manifesto
in 1980 your Party pledged to abolish hanging."

Harare lawyer, Tendai Biti, who is fighting a legal battle to get the death
penalty abolished through litigation, yesterday reiterated that capital
punishment is not an effective deterrent against serious crime. Under the new
Constitution, the death sentence can be handed down only to male offenders
between the ages of 21 and 70 and only in cases of aggravated murder.

"There is unequal treatment of men and women in the death penalty sentence
because only men are subjected to capital punishment and the same does not
apply to women," he said during the Women's Comfort Corner Foundation award
ceremony in recognition of Constitutional Court's abolishment of child
marriages.

There has been widespread condemnation of the death penalty among world rights
groups, with former United Nations (UN) secretary-general Ban Ki-moon's
famously remarking that "the death penalty has no place in the 21st century".

More than 160 member states of the UN, with a variety of legal systems,
traditions, cultures and religious backgrounds, have either abolished the
penalty or do not practice it.

"In some countries information about death penalty is a State secret," UN Human
Rights said in a statement.

"Capital trials can be carried out behind closed doors. And in some cases
families of those executed may not even have access to their remains. The death
penalty has no place in the 21st century, but countries should at least
increase transparency and allow for informed public debate."

Calls for the abolition of the death penalty have been made from different
sections of the society.

Last year, several local artistes used the 2016 next week's World Day Against
the Death Penalty commemorations to push for the abolition of the death penalty
in Zimbabwe.

The event, held in the capital's Harare Gardens, was graced by artistes,
including musician Tehn Diamond, poet Chirikure Chirikure, actors Everson
Ndlovu, Stewart Sakarombe and Getrude Munhamo.

(source: bulawayo24.com)
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