death penalty news----worldwide
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Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 14


Wrong man hanged

Just on 10am on April 24, 1922, the Old Melbourne Gaol hangman pulled the
gallows lever and Colin Campbell Ross fell to his fate.

Arrested in January and then convicted of the rape and murder of
schoolgirl Alma Tirtschke the previous December, Ross was resigned to
meeting his doom and must only have hoped for an instant death.

Instead, the knot of the noose did not run freely. Authorities had decided
to experiment with a 4-stranded rope rather than the usual three-stranded
European hemp.

Ross did not die immediately because his spinal cord was fractured, not
severed. Although his windpipe was torn and obstructed by his destroyed
larynx, the condemned man continued with rasping breaths and convulsed on
the rope.

3 times Ross bent his knees and flexed his arms as he battled his killer
bonds, before succumbing. It is thought his death by asphyxiation took 8
to 20 minutes.

What makes this episode in Victoria's judicial history more harrowing is
that, according to a new book, Ross almost certainly was innocent.

Researcher Kevin Morgan's Gun Alley: Murder, Lies and Failure of Justice,
to be launched on Monday, explains how public hysteria, media criticism of
police and politicians, and the testimony of unreliable witnesses
conspired to assure Ross' hanging.

Morgan exposes serious flaws in the prosecution case and concludes that
were the case to be tried today, Ross could not be convicted.

He spent many hours over the past decade scrutinising documents, some
sealed for 75 years. He says Ross' death was an expedience to quell a
baying city spooked by the 12-year-old Alma's death.

Morgan also found that Alma's younger sister, Viola, was living in
Melbourne. In a series of conversations with her in 1996-97, Morgan was
given a glimpse of something that gives his book a potency he could not
have imagined when he first hit the detective trail - Alma's likely

The book names a man known to Alma and Viola, recounting his pedophilic
tendencies and the girls' mistrust of him. Morgan then outlines a scenario
in which the man probably murdered Alma. And it was not Colin Campbell

One is Betty, the other is Bettye. When they meet on Monday, they will
share much more than a name - they are bonded by what happened to Alma
Tirtschke some time after 3pm on December 30, 1921.

Bettye Arthur lives in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. She is Alma's niece -
Viola's daughter. Until she was about 6 or 7, Bettye Arthur believed the
aunt Alma she never met was the victim of a traffic accident. Her mother
told her the truth, but swore her to secrecy. She honoured that for

Viola, Bettye Arthur says, married a month after turning 21, and resolved
to start life afresh. "She'd had a tough life until then," she says.
"She'd lost her mother on the ship coming back to Australia, then her
grandfather, then Alma, and then her father (in a hunting accident). But
she gave us a good childhood - she's been a strong woman."

Betty Everett lives in northern NSW. Her father, Stan Ross, was the
younger brother of Colin Ross.

Now a spritely 75, Betty Everett recalls that the uncle Colin she never
knew was a family secret. When she was about 15, Betty Everett saw in a
bible the dates of birth of her father and his siblings, Lexie, Ron and
Thomas. But there was another name: Colin Campbell Ross. She and her
sister did not know about Uncle Colin and, the times being what they were,
felt unable to approach their parents about the mystery.

"The next occasion I became aware of some secret was upon a visit of Aunt
Lexie," Betty Everett says. "She was talking to my mother and I heard the
words 'Do the girls know?' This concerned me, but I did not feel I could
ask my parents the meaning of these words."

Stan Ross never mentioned his wrongly executed brother to his daughters
and, even as adults, they did not raise it with him.

Betty Everett discovered the truth in the early 1950s in a magazine
article about the murder. She nearly fell over when she saw the photo of
Colin Campbell Ross. "He looked so much like my father that I couldn't
mistake him," she says.

Apart from the shock of reading about a relative being linked to such a
crime, Betty Everett was intrigued by the article's conclusion. "The
reporter had been at Colin's hanging and his article expressed his belief
that the hanging was of an innocent man," she said.

Betty Everett had further cause to believe her uncle's innocence when her
husband, Keith, came across a pamphlet by trial barrister Thomas Brennan,
who wrote it not long after Ross was hanged.

Brennan's review of the trial, although observing the conventions of legal
dignity, could be read as a condemnation of Ross' conviction. Brennan
cites the inadequacy of the judge's summing-up to the jury, blatant
contradictions by Crown witnesses and evidence crucial to establishing
Ross' innocence not being permitted.

Now Betty Everett had 2 sources questioning the conviction. Forty years
later, when Morgan tracked down Betty Everett and said his research all
but proved Ross' innocence, she felt as though the family's soul had been
freed from taint.

She is an enthusiastic supporter of efforts to have her uncle pardoned.

The book is a critical step, "but it would be good after all this time to
have Colin Ross' name cleared legally, to have recognition that it was a
miscarriage of justice", she says.

The possibility that Colin Ross was executed for a crime he did not commit
was first revealed in The Sunday Age on March 5, 2000, when Morgan's
investigation was in its 7th year.

His conclusions took everyone back in time, confronting them with the face
of a condemned man who steadfastly proclaimed his innocence. They
explained how and why some disreputable prosecution witnesses were
swearing Ross' life away, and offered alibis for the key times of the
murder and disposal of the body.

And yet, as Morgan's book recounts, Ross' path - from the police interview
to his arrest, the trial, conviction and the botched hanging - has an
inexorability about it. Readers who believe a jury and the criminal
justice system would serve Ross well come to realise, with a growing sense
of dread and incredulity, that he is doomed.

Colin Campbell Ross was a bit of a scoundrel, but essentially harmless. He
lived with his mother and a brother in Maidstone. He loved and was
respectful to his mother, and she loved him. Ross was not uneducated, just
a bit rough around the edges.

He ran the Australian Wine Saloon in the Eastern Arcade, between Bourke
and Little Collins streets. It was not a salubrious establishment, but
neither was it a den of evil.

The saloon was at the southern end of the arcade, near Little Collins
Street. . Just a few metres away, where Alfred Place runs off Little
Collins Street, Alma Tirtschke was last seen about 3pm on December 30,

Reliable witnesses who had nothing to lose or gain by telling police what
they knew said Alma was dawdling, apprehensive and obviously afraid.

In retracing her last hours, Morgan successfully paints a picture of a
girl, on the verge of puberty but truly innocent, about to endure
something wretched. Her task that day had been to go from her
grandmother's house in Jolimont to a Swanston Street butcher's, collect a
parcel of meat, drop it at an aunt's Collins Street home and return to

It was uncharacteristic for Alma to take so many hours to complete the
task. She knew her grandmother would be worried. A witness says he saw a
man - not Colin Ross - following Alma. Other witnesses say Alma looked
over her shoulder with trepidation, and dallied in the block bounded by
Little Collins, Russell, Bourke and Exhibition streets as though she did
not know where to go.

Morgan believes Alma was afraid she was being stalked by a man she knew
and of whom she was wary. Why didn't she go to her aunt's Collins Street
home and drop the parcel as instructed? Who did she fear might be there?
Why didn't she return to Jolimont? Was there something she couldn't tell
her grandmother?

Her naked body was found early the next morning in a lane running east off
Gun Alley, not far from Alfred Place.

Morgan has been able to establish that Ross could account for his
movements at the time Alma disappeared, and later that night, when her
body was dumped in Gun Alley. With nothing to hide, Ross told detectives
who interviewed him that a girl matching Alma's description had passed his
saloon. He saw her in the arcade.

Kevin Morgan was aware that if his theories were correct, everyone
associated with the case were going to have to reassess what they knew
about it.

He decided truth would demand an absence of censorship, yet what of the
feelings of the various families involved?

In the case of Senior Detective Fred Piggott, who led the police
investigation, Morgan traced a grandson and explained that the book would
most likely raise some awkward questions about his grandfather's motives.

"That family has been tremendously supportive and understands that it
seems the wrong person has been executed," Morgan says.

It is such a long time ago, yet in deference to Colin Ross' reputation,
Morgan pushed on.

Detectives Piggott and John Brophy, he says, were good and competent men
feeling the enormous weight of public expectation of an early arrest. They
were investigating in a climate of public hysteria, intense media scrutiny
and political pressure to get a conviction.

Morgan concludes that suggestions Piggott planted evidence that condemned
Ross, are untrue.

For Viola, Bettye Arthur and her family, Morgan eliminates the suggestion
made during the trial that Alma was responsible for her fate.

For Betty Everett and her family, Colin Ross' name has been cleared to
their satisfaction, and a stigma removed.

Betty Everett was born in the Maidstone house where her Uncle Colin had
slept the night of Alma's murder. Her father - Colin's brother Stan - and
his wife moved in after Colin's execution to take care of matriarch
Elizabeth Ross.

Morgan's book, although confronting, has given her peace of mind. Perhaps
more importantly, she has come to appreciate her long-suffering parents
anew, and to understand that families comprise disparate personalities.

"Colin was portrayed as not a very nice man and considering that my father
was part of this unpleasant company and surroundings, I am proud that at
all times during my life he was a gentleman," she says.

"Not only a gentleman, but a gentle man. Truly an example of how one can
overcome adversity."

Gun Alley: Murder, Lies and Failure of Justice, $29,95, published by Simon
and Schuster, distributed by Harper Collins.

(source: The Age, July 9)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 15


High number of death sentences raises concern in Bangladesh

Judge Shahed Nooruddin is perhaps the most feared man in Bangladeshs
criminal justice system: he has sentenced 114 people to death in under 3
years, according to official figures.

The judge, whose record is defended by officials, presides over 1 of 9
fast-track courts introduced in November 2002 as part of a government
initiative to crack down on crime, a major political issue here. The
courts, created to curb what is seen as growing lawlessness, are dedicated
to hearing serious crimes such as murder, rape and acid attacks, which
disfigure hundreds of Bangladeshis each year, many of them women and young
girls attacked by spurned suitors.

Together the courts have sentenced 326 people to death since they began
work. In his latest case, Nooruddin sentenced 15 convicts to hang, nine in
absentia, on Tuesday for the murder of five people including a local
council chairman in 2001.

Nine more were sentenced to life, 12 to shorter terms and 72 were
acquitted. Earlier this year, he handed down a record 22 death sentences
in a single case to men convicted of killing opposition lawmaker
Ahsanullah Master. The politician was gunned down at a political rally
last May.

The fast-track courts, known as "speedy crime tribunals." were set up by
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, whose 4-party alliance government came to
power in 2001 on a platform of maintaining law and order. But critics are
concerned at the "unprecedented" number of people being sentenced to death
and the speed at which the sentences are being handed down, which they say
only further increases the risk of miscarriages of justice in a country
where police and court officials are often corrupt.

"We have several times raised our concerns about the speedy crime
tribunals because we are not sure whether the defendants are getting
justice or not," said Sultana Kamal, president of Ain-O-Salishi Kendro
(Law and Justice Centre).

"These death sentences have been awarded too easily. They are being handed
down by ignoring the basics of jurisprudence," added Mizanur Rahman, a
professor of law of Dhaka University.

"In the dispensation of justice, nothing should be done hurriedly. In the
name of law and administration of criminal justice, we are virtually
administering injustice," he said. Officials, however, have dismissed the
concerns, saying the sentences are in keeping with the law.

Although the High Court recently commuted one of Nooruddins death
sentences to life imprisonment, another 3 in the same case were upheld,
special public prosecutor Abdul Latif Talukdar told AFP. "The cases his
court hears are all sensational cases. They are mostly cases of
pre-planned murder for which the death sentence is the only punishment
according to the Bangladesh penal code," he said.

The 326 death sentences imposed by the fast-track courts have taken the
number of death row prisoners in Bangladesh to 675. Although 19 death
sentences have been carried out in the past 2 1/2 years, none was handed
down by a speedy crime tribunal, as appeals in most of those cases are
still pending, law ministry officials said.

(source: The (Pakistan) Daily Times)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 18


Blood on the hands -- As 2 Cambodian sisters hope for a pardon, how deep
does Thailand's support for the death penalty run?

In the visiting area of the Klong Prem women's prison, Cambodians Montha
Khuon, 27, and her sister, Srey, a 35-year-old mother of four, stand
behind several layers of Perspex and strain to make themselves heard.
Everyone shouts here: Family and friends crowd into the booths, leaning
close to scratchy speakers. When guards cut the microphones at the end of
the strictly enforced, 20-minute visiting period, Montha is left mouthing
words in mid-sentence, trying to explain how she and her sister came to be
on death row.

While government and police tactics during the "war on drugs" _ including
an alleged 2,500 extrajudicial killings and disappearances _ have received
much attention in the local and international press over the past few
years, the legal administration of the death penalty in Thailand has
largely been absent from national discussion. However, when a Thai
delegation appears before the United Nations Human Rights Committee in
Geneva tomorrow and on Wednesday to answer 26 human-rights queries,
several will relate directly to the way that the death penalty has been
applied here in hundreds of cases like the Khuons.

During the mid-1990s, Montha Khuon ran a small shop in the market near the
Cambodian border in Had Lek, Trat. In interviews conducted during prison
visits by the Bangkok Post and Forum-Asia, a regional human-rights
organisation based in Bangkok, the Khuon sisters said that in 1997 Montha
was approached by a soldier who asked her to contact a drug dealer on his
behalf. Montha agreed, she said, because another soldier had run up a
100,000-baht debt at her shop, and she was hoping to recoup some of her

On October 7, 1997, the soldier who had contacted Montha carried five
plastic bags full of pills into the bedroom of Srey's house with the help
of 2 men, the sisters say. The men promptly placed the women under arrest.

"I wasn't afraid then, because I knew those bags weren't mine," recalls
Srey. "I became very angry as the process went on and I realised the
severity of the charge." It was the sisters' first offence. Their
14-year-old brother and Srey's husband, Thai national Bunchu Kesee, were
also arrested, but the brother was later released.

A document obtained by Forum-Asia, that draws on court records, says that
according to the police, the soldier who approached the Khuon sisters was
a "spy", or informant, who organised the drugs bust. Police claim they
came to the house as undercover agents and saw Montha, Srey and Bunchu
exchange 3 million baht in cash for 100kg of amphetamine pills.

The defendants were sentenced to death on April 3, 2001. Last August they
lost their final appeal to the Supreme Court. Their only remaining chance
to avoid execution is a royal pardon.
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 17


Outgoing FM Condemns Death Penalty

Bulgaria's stand is against death penalty, wherever in the world it is
being implemented, outgoing Foreign Minster Solomon Passy said on Sunday.

He commented the case with the Turkish nationals, executed by Libyan
authorities 2 days ago, before departing on a work visit to Brussels.

In Passy's words Bulgaria's stand on this matter coincides with Europe's

Turkey has stressed on the bilateral negotiations with Libya, while
Bulgaria has tried to involve EU and US in solving the case with the
Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death, Passy said.

He also expressed his condolences to the Turkish side over the executions.

Before Passy and the outgoing European Minister Meglena Kuneva had left
for Brussels, they presented the EU Accession Treaty, which Bulgarian side
signed on April 25. The document is about 20,000 pages long and weights
over 82 kg.

In Brussels Passy and Kuneva will attend a session of the EU Commission
for Commonwealth Affairs and External Relations.

(source: Sofia News Agency)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 19


More Nigerian Gays on Death Row

2 more men have been sentenced to death by stoning under Islamic law in
Nigeria for sodomy; less than a week after the United Nations criticized
the African nation for putting a gay man to death under the same process.

Police say the two men in the latest case were arrested while having sex
in a public washroom. Prosecutors were unable to provide any witnesses in
court, so the judge ruled that they had until August 3 to come up with
some corroborating evidence of the crime. Until then the men remain in
prison. Under western legal process the failure to provide evidence would
have prompted the court to dismiss the case.

12 of Nigerias northern states use Sharia codes for their courtrooms.
Under Islamic law, gay sex is punishable by death. Press reports say that
more than a dozen people sit on death row for the crime of sodomy in

(source: GayNZ)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 20


High court upholds death sentence for double murderer

The Tokyo High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling, which
sentenced a 44-year-old man to death for murdering a woman and her
daughter and stealing their money.

Toshiaki Kaga killed the 44-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter,
with whom he lived in Isehara, Kangawa Prefecture, in August 2001 and
stole 850,000 yen, according to the ruling.

(source: Kyodo News)


No case for death penalty for Hicks

The US military legal adviser overseeing the possible trials of up to 12
terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, including Australian David Hicks, says
no evidence from any of the cases warrant him seeking the death penalty.

4 suspects have been charged, and charges are being prepared against 8
other suspects held at the Cuba military prison.

First to have their trials resumed will be Hicks, accused of fighting
alongside the Taliban against US forces in Afghanistan, and Salim Ahmed
Hamdan, a Yemeni whose challenge to the legality of the trial system was
initially upheld but was overturned on Friday by a 3-judge panel.

Air Force Brigadier General Thomas Hemingway, the military adviser to the
trial, told reporters that the evidence he has seen against all of the 12
suspects does not merit a capital case against any of them.

The Defence Department said it will move forward quickly with the trials
after a federal court gave the process a green light last week.

Hemingway said the trials could resume within 30 to 45 days of the
issuance of some necessary court orders.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the ruling by the 3-judge federal
appeals court panel was a vindication of the Bush administration's
approach to prosecuting suspected terrorists using military tribunals.

"Proceedings will resume as soon as possible against 2 detainees,"
Rumsfeld said without identifying them by name.

The Pentagon said later in a statement that the men whose trials would be
resumed first were Hicks and Hamdan.

Gordon England, the acting deputy secretary of defence and overseer of the
military trial process, said in the statement that the Hicks and Hamdan
trials will be reconvened "as soon as any necessary court orders are

Trial proceedings were begun last summer against Hicks, Hamdan and two
other suspects, but they were halted after a district court ruled in
November that Hamdan could not be tried by a US military commission unless
a "competent tribunal" determined first that he was not a prisoner of war
under the 1949 Geneva Convention.

Critics argue the approach is flawed by inadequate legal protections. A
key issue raised by human rights organisations is that the suspects will
not be able to see classified evidence against them during trial.

In Friday's ruling, the 3 judges said the commission itself is such a
competent tribunal, and that Hamdan could assert his claim to prisoner of
war status at the time of his trial before a military commission.

Hamdan's lawyers, who have said they will appeal Friday's ruling, said
Bush violated the separation of powers in the US Constitution when he
established military commissions.

The appeals court disagreed, saying President George W Bush relied on
Congress's joint resolution authorising the use of force after the
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as well as two congressionally
enacted laws.

The other two suspects whose trials were started and then suspended are
Ibrahim Ahmed Mahmoud al-Qosi, a Sudanese citizen accused of conspiracy to
commit terrorism, and Ali Hamza Ahmed Sulayman al-Bahlul, a Yemeni accused
of conspiring to commit war crimes.

Officials said these cases would not be resumed as quickly as the Hamdan
and Hicks cases because there are procedural issues to be settled.

Bush will be asked to declare additional detainees there eligible for
military trials, Rumsfeld said.

(source: AAP)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 20


Jordan prisoners protest death penalty

16 prisoners in Jordan observed a hunger strike for the 9th day Wednesday
to protest the death penalty

A spokesman for the general security department told UPI the number of
strikers has increased since 5 inmates first began it July 12.

He said the strikers are in good health and are being examined by doctors
regularly while the prison administration is trying to convince them to
end the protest.

The strike was started by 5 prisoners accused of belonging to al-Qaida,
including 2 who were sentenced to death.

The strikers are protesting the death sentences served against Khaled
Maghamess and Khoder Abu Hoshar, convicted of terrorist action and of
being al-Qaida operatives.

(source: United Press International)


Iran hangs under-18 adolescent in public

A young man and a minor were hanged in public on Tuesday in Irans 2nd
largest city, a government-funded news agency reported.

The 2, only identified by their initials M.A and A.M., were convicted of
sexual assault on a 13-year-old boy by the Islamic Tribunal of Mashad,
accordin2 ISNA news agency.

Ruhollah Rezazadeh, the lawyer for 1 of the 2 hanged men, said that his
client was under the age of 18.

Each of the men was lashed 228 times before being hanged at 10 am (local
time) in Edalat (Justice) Square in downtown Mashad.

Under the penal code, girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 can
be executed.

(photos at: http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2901

) ***********************

Iran Majlis deputies endorse execution of minor

Members of Irans parliament from the north-eastern city of Mashad, where a
minor and an 18-year-old man were publicly hanged yesterday, vented their
anger on Wednesday on foreign and domestic news outlets for reporting the
ages of hanged prisoners.

Ultra-conservative deputy Ali Asgari said that the two deserved to be
hanged in public, adding, "Whatever sentence is decreed by an Islamic
penal system must be approved, unless proven otherwise."

Asgari complained of foreign and domestic reporting that the two were mere
boys. "Instead of paying tribute to the action of the judiciary, the media
are mentioning the age of the hanged criminals and creating a commotion
that harms the interests of the state," the member of the Majlis Legal
Affairs Committee said.

"Even if certain websites made a reference to their age, journalists
should not pursue this. These individuals were corrupt. Their sentence was
carried out with the approval of the judiciary and it served them right."

Effat Shariati, another Majlis deputy from Mashad, told a state-run news
agency on Wednesday, "The issue of the age of the convicts is created by
those who are causing problems for our country."

The 2 young men were lashed 228 times before being hanged at 10 am (local
time) on Tuesday in Edalat (Justice) Square in downtown Mashad.

(source for both: Iran Focus)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC


21 July 2005

Further Information on UA 189/04 (3 June 2004) and
follow-up (14 June 2005) - Fear of torture or ill-
treatment/ fear of death sentence/ fear of safety

Diwan Hashmat Hayat
Naheed Hashmat Hayat (f), his wife, UK national
Their five children
Naheed Hashmat Hayat's relatives

Diwan Hashmat Hayat has been attacked by three other
prisoners at Jhelum District Central Jail, Punjab in connection
with the charges of blasphemy he is facing. There are
increased concerns for his safety.

At 10am on 13 July, Diwan Hashmat Hayat was reportedly
attacked by three fellow prisoners with a knife or blade, but
other detainees stopped the attackers before they injured him.
The three assailants reportedly belong to a recognized Islamic
organization called Sipa-e-Sahaba. They have allegedly not
been punished for the attack and remain in the same jail.
There have been a number of previous incidents in Pakistan
in which alleged blasphemers have been killed by inmates and
prison guards.

Diwan Hashmat Hayat has been detained since June 2004
and has been charged with blasphemy after asking a mosque
near his home to make less noise late at night. Under section
295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, the charge of blasphemy
carries the death penalty. Despite several witnesses, including
the imam or religious leader of the mosque, submitting sworn
statements that no blasphemy took place, the charges against
Diwan Hashmat Hayat have not been dropped.

The wife of Diwan Hashmat Hayat, Naheed Hashmat Hayat,
their five children and Naheed Hashmat Hayat's relatives
have also been threatened because of their relationship to
him. As far as Amnesty International is aware, no measures
have yet been taken to guarantee their safety.

The Pakistani Penal Code holds a sentence of death for the
criminal offence of defiling the Prophet Mohammed, stating,
"Whoever by words, either spoken or written or by visible
representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or
insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of
the Holy Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) shall be
punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also
be liable to a fine".

However, Pakistan's blasphemy laws are used for reasons
which include religious oppression, professional jealousy,
economic rivalry, political opposition or personal hostility.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to
arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing concern for the safety of Diwan Hashmat Hayat,
after he was attacked by fellow prisoners at Jhelum District
Central Jail, Punjab on 13 July;
- expressing concern that the attackers have allegedly not
been punished and remain in the same prison, thus increasing
fears of further attacks;
- calling on the authorities to take immediate steps to
guarantee the safety of Diwan Hashmat Hayat in detention;
- calling for a prompt and impartial investigation into the
attack on Diwan Hashmat Hayat on 13 July, with the results
made public and those responsible brought to justice;
- urging the authorities to review the charges of blasphemy
against Diwan Hashmat Hayat immediately, in the light of
witness statements which disprove allegations of blasphemy;
- calling on the authorities to investigate promptly all
allegations of threats, harassment and intimidation against
Naheed Hashmat Hayat, her children and her relatives;
- calling on the authorities to ensure the safety of Naheed
Hashmat Hayat, her children and relatives, and all witnesses
in the case of Diwan Hashmat Hayat, in accordance with
their wishes.

Minister for the Interior:
Mr. Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao
Room 404, 4th Floor
Block R, Federal Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: 011 92 51 9202624
E-mail: ***@interior.gov.pk,
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights:
Mr. Muhammad Wasi Zafar
S Block, Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: 011 92 51 9202628
E Mail : ***@molaw.gov.pk
Salutation: Dear Minister

Chief Minister of Punjab:
Chaudary Pervez Elahi
Chief Minister of Punjab
7 Club Road, G.O.R.I, Lahore, Pakistan
Email: ***@punjab.gov.pk
Salutation: Dear Chief Minister

Punjab Inspector General of Prisons:
Khawja Khalid Farooq
Inspectorate of Prisons, Jail Road, Lahore, Pakistan
Fax: 011 92 42 920 0570 (ask in English to switch on the
Salutation: Dear Inspector General

Pakistan High Commissioner in London:
High Commission for Pakistan
35-36 Lowndes Square, London SW1X 9JN, UK
Fax: 011 44 207 6649224

Ambassador Jehangir Karamat
Embassy of Pakistan
2315 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 686 1544

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the
Colorado office between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain
Time, weekdays only, if sending appeals after 31 August 2005.

Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that
promotes and defends human rights.

This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including
contact information and stop action date (if applicable). Thank
you for your help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Email: ***@aiusa.org
Phone: 303 258 1170
Fax: 303 258 7881

Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC


22 July 2005
UA 193/05 Imminent Execution

D.D. Ranjith de Silva (m), Sri Lankan national
E.J. Victor Corea (m), Sri Lankan national
Sanath Pushpakumara (m), Sri Lankan national

The three Sri Lankan men named above have reportedly had
their death sentences referred to the King, which is the final
appeal stage of Saudi Arabia's secretive judicial system. The
King may grant clemency, but if he chooses to ratify their
sentences, they could be executed at any time.

The three were reportedly arrested in March 2004, in the
capital, Riyadh. They were reportedly sentenced to death in
October, in connection with a series of armed robberies.
Their sentences were reportedly upheld in March 2005. They
are held in al-Ha'ir prison, in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty for a wide range of
offences. Court proceedings fall far short of international
standards for fair trial, and take place behind closed doors.

Defendants do not have the right to formal representation by
a lawyer, and in many cases are not informed of the progress
of legal proceedings against them. They may be convicted
solely on the basis of confessions obtained under duress,
torture or deception.

At least 55 people are known to have been executed in Saudi
Arabia so far this year. Two thirds have been foreign
nationals. The true figure may be much higher.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to
arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing concern that D.D Ranjith de Silva, E.J Victor
Corea and Sanath Kumara are at risk of imminent execution,
and calling on the King to commute their death sentences;
- seeking assurances that the three men are being treated
humanely, and that they have regular access to consular
assistance, their families, their lawyers and any medical
treatment they may require.

King and Prime Minister:
The Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines
His Majesty King Fahd bin 'Abdul 'Aziz Al-Saud
Office of His Majesty The King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister of the Interior:
His Royal Highness Prince Naif bin 'Abdul 'Aziz
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
P.O. Box 2933, Airport Road
Riyadh 11134, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: 011 966 1 403 1185 (it may be difficult to get
through, please keep trying)
Salutation: Your Royal Highness

Minister of Foreign Affairs:
His Royal Highness Prince Saud al-Faisal bin 'Abdul 'Aziz Al-
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Nasseriya Street
Riyadh 11124, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: 011 966 1 403 0159 (it may be difficult to
get through, please keep trying)
Salutation: Your Royal Highness

Ambassador Prince Bandar Bin Sultan
Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington DC 20037
Fax: 1 202 944 3113
Email: ***@saudiembassy.net

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the
Colorado office between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm, Mountain
Time, weekdays only, if sending appeals after 2
September 2005.

Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that
promotes and defends human rights.

This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including
contact information and stop action date (if applicable). Thank
you for your help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Email: ***@aiusa.org
Phone: 303 258 1170
Fax: 303 258 7881

Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 23


LHC stops execution scheduled for Tuesday

The Lahore High Court (LHC) has accepted a revision petition by a death
convict Muhammad Basharat, who was going to be executed on July 26
(Tuesday), and halted his execution. The court directed the Jhelum
district and sessions judge to determine the age of the convict at the
time he had committed the murder by a medical examination.

The LHC Rawalpindi Bench said that the determination of the age of the
accused was a condition precedent under the Juvenile Justice System
Ordinance of 2000.

Arshad Mehmood, an official of the Democratic Commission for Human
Development (DCHD), a non-government organisation, said that Basharats
case would be a test as there were so many death convicts who were
juveniles at the time they had committed an offence and presidential
remission under the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance of 2000 was
extendable to them if they could establish that they were minor at that

The Legal Aid Cell of the DCHD persuaded a death convict Sikandar Hayat to
apply to the trial court for determination of his age. The trial court
refused to interfere as the Supreme Court had finally decided the matter,
confirming the death conviction. Hayat then moved the LHC, which remanded
the case to the trial court in February 2004 for determination of the age
of the accused at the time of the commission of the offence.

Basharat made an application to the Jhelum sessions judge, which was
dismissed without a medical examination. Basharat then filed a revision
petition with the LHC, which declared that age determination through
medical examination was a must.

(source: Daily Times)



The Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Council,
an Egyptian human rights group, said on July 18 that Libyan authorities
had recently executed 4 Egyptians on criminal charges. The trial of the 4
Egyptians lacked guarantee for fair trial, they added. The centre pleaded
with the Egyptian government, the Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi and his
son, Seif el-Islam Gaddafi to intervene to save the lives of another 15
Egyptians reported to be on death row in Libya.

The centre did not mention the names of the Egyptians sentenced to death
or give any details regarding the cases for which they were sentenced.

On July 14 2 Turkish citizens were executed in Libya, the Turkish Foreign
Ministry said.

"Selim Aslan and Yunus Ozkan were sentenced to death in Libya as they were
accused of committing murder in 1995. We express condolences to their
families," the Ministry said in a written statement.

Turkey had made great efforts at all levels both in Tripoli and in Ankara
to prevent the execution of Aslan and Ozkan due to humanitarian
considerations, the Ministry noted. "Despite all the efforts --of the
Foreign Ministry, the Justice Ministry, the Prime Minister and the Justice
Minister-- the execution of the two Turkish citizens doesn't befit the
existing relations between Turkey and Libya," the Ministry indicated.

The last recorded executions were those of 8 men out to death in January
1997. Colonel Miftah Qarrum al-Wirfalli, 5 other senior army officers and
two civilians were put to death. They had been arrested in relation to an
army uprising in 1993 and accused of espionage in favour of the United
States and of belonging to the National Front for the Salvation of Libya,
an opposition group in exile.

(source: Hands Off Cain)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 23


Laureate Condemns Hanging of Iranian Boys

Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi on Saturday condemned the hanging of 2
teenagers accused of raping younger boys in northeastern Iran, a
punishment that also prompted protests by the international community and
rights groups.

Last week's hangings of an 18-year-old and 16-year-old on charges of
involvement in homosexual acts violated Iran's obligations under the
International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which bans such
executions, Ebadi said.

Ebadi said her Center for the Protection of Human Rights will intensify
its fight against Iran's executions of minors.

"My calls for a law clearly banning execution of under-18s has fallen on
deaf ears so far but I will not give up the fight," Ebadi told The
Associated Press.

Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, were hanged publicly July 19 in
the city of Mashhad on charges of raping younger boys. They said before
their executions that they were not aware that homosexual acts were
punishable by death.

Asgari had been accused of raping a 13-year-old boy. His lawyer, Rohollah
Razaz Zadeh, said Iranian courts are supposed to commute death sentences
handed to children to 5 years in jail.

"The judiciary has trampled its own laws," Razaz Zadeh told the AP.

But the lawyer said Iran's Supreme Court upheld the verdict and allowed
the execution despite his objections.

Gay rights groups, such as the London-based Outrage!, and Iranian
opposition groups suggested the rape allegations were trumped-up charges
aimed to undermine public sympathy for the teenagers.

In Sweden, Foreign Ministry spokesman Per Saland said the government was
"looking very seriously" at the hangings.

"We are against the death penalty and we particularly react when it comes
to the execution of minors, pregnant women and the mentally disabled,"
Saland said.

The Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay and Transgender Rights posted a
photo on its Web site showing hooded executioners tightening ropes around
the suspects' necks.

The group's chairman, Soren Andersson, called on Sweden's government not
to deport gay and lesbian asylum seekers back to Iran.

"Sweden has turned gay and lesbian refugees back to Iran and they should
know that these people could be killed," he said.

Being gay or lesbian should be enough for refugees to remain in Sweden and
not be returned to Iran, he added.

Ebadi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, has campaigned to protect
the rights of children and improve human rights in Iran but has met stiff
resistance from the judiciary, which is controlled by hard-liners.

The Iranian government last year refused to give Ebadi permission to stage
a rally to protest children's executions.

Under Iranian law, girls older than 9 and boys older than 15 face
execution if they commit crimes such as murder and rape. Under certain
conditions, capital punishment is imposed for those engaging in illegal
sexual relations.

In 2003, a 16-year-old girl said to be suffering from a psychological
disorder was executed in Neka, a town in northern Iran, on charges of
having an illegal sexual relationship.

While there are no official figures on death sentences given to minors,
human rights activists say about a dozen were executed in Iran last year.

On the Net: Swedish gay rights group: http://www.rfsl.se/?p324&aid2369

(source: Associated Press)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 25


Death penalty legal concern

Cleric Yahia al-Dailami was sentenced to death on 29 May. It has recently
become clear that his trial fell short of international standards of

Amnesty International believes he may be a prisoner of conscience,
detained solely because of his criticism of the government.

Yahia al-Dailami is a member of the Shia Zaidi community. In his sermons
he is reported to have called for peaceful protests against the mass
arrests of Zaidis that have taken place since the invasion of Iraq.

Yahia al-Dailami was reportedly arrested on 9 September 2004 and was
detained incommunicado for at least a month. In November he was reportedly
charged with vaguely worded offences including "communicating with Iran,"
"conspiring to overthrow the republican system" and "supporting Hussain
Badr al-Din al-Huthi" (a Zaidi cleric who was an outspoken critic of the
US invasion of Iraq). Yahia al-Dailami is reported to have claimed that he
only met al-Huthi once.

His lawyers were reportedly prevented from reading relevant documents, and
obtaining a copy of the court file containing the charge sheet and details
of the evidence against him. On 30 January they resigned in protest at
procedural irregularities in his arrest and detention, stating that the he
could not receive a fair trial.


Amnesty International has longstanding concerns about the application of
the death penalty in Yemen, particularly as death sentences are often
passed after proceedings which fall short of international standards for
fair trial.

Cleric Hussain Badr al-Din al-Huthi was a strident critic of the US-led
2003 invasion of Iraq. Hundreds of his followers were detained every week
for shouting anti-American and anti-Israeli slogans after Friday prayers.
Clashes between government forces and armed followers of al-Huthi began in
June 2004, after al-Huthi refused a government request to hand himself
over to the security forces. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, were killed.
Al-Huthi himself was killed in September.

The security forces are reported to have carried out mass arrests in Sa'da
and other parts of the country, particularly the capital, Sana'a, where
there are large Zaidi communities. Those arrested include suspected
followers of Hussain Badr al-Din al-Huthi as well as religious people who
expressed their opposition to the security forces' continuing arrests and
other actions against the Zaidi community. Some are said to have been
released after at most a month in custody, but those still held are
reported to be detained incommunicado and may be at risk of torture.

(source: Yemen Times)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 25


Following Gay Executions, Putin Asked to Stop Diplomatic and Trade
Relations With Iran

Russian gay leaders have sent a letter to the President of Russia,
Vladimir Putin, asking him to condemn executions of teenage gays in Iran
on July 19.

In their letter signed by Head of GayRussia.ru, Nikolai Alekseev; Head of
Gayly.ru, Valeri Kamov; lesbian leader Evgeniaya Debryanskaya and
journalist Nikolai Baev, they asked the Russian President to use all the
possible diplomatic ways of pressure in order to stop criminal
prosecutions for homosexuality in Iran.

They asked President Putin to stop diplomatic and trade relations with
what they called the "barbarian regime of Islamic extremists."

Russia is still one of the biggest economic partners of Iran and
consequently has may ways to pressure the regime.

Russian gay leaders also send a letter to the Ambassador of Iran in Russia
asking him to take measures so that such executions are not repeated as
the right to life is universal and is guaranteed to all human beings.

The letter to the Russian President V. Putin in full:

Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,

We would like to pay your attention to the event that happened in the
Islamic Republic of Iran on 19 July 2005, the execution via hanging of 2
young boys for the only fact of entering into homosexual relations. One of
the boys was 18 while the other even did not reach that age.

Projects GayRussia.Ru and Gayly.Ru join the international condemnation of
this barbarian act and ask you to use all the pressure with the aim to
stop executions and criminal prosecutions of the persons of homosexual
orientation in Iran. Homosexual relations are not a crime in the developed
democratic countries, moreover more countries pass laws legalizing
same-sex marriages and unions.

International gay community is outraged and appeals to the authorities of
all democratic states to stop diplomatic and trade relations with the
regime that executes guilty people, including children. We address the
same request to you. Russian Federation can not close the eyes to the
middle aged barbarity and huge human rights violations.

We hope for your understanding and assistance!

Faithfully yours,

N. Alekseev, Head GayRussia.Ru

V. Kamov, Head Gayly.Ru

E. Debryanskaya, Leader of the Russian lesbian movement

N. Baev, Journalist

(source: UK Gay News)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 26


Slovaks favor capital punishment

Tough penalties for criminals are popular in Slovakia. A poll carried out
by the MVK agency for the SME daily showed that 61.7 % of respondents were
in favor of reintroducing capital punishment. Roughly 80 % said they
welcomed last year's introduction of the "3 strikes you're out" system,
which puts serious repeat offenders behind bars for life.

The death penalty in Slovakia was cancelled in 1990. Richard Fides, a
spokesperson for the Justice Ministry, said that Slovakias membership in
the Council of Europe prohibits the state from reintroducing capital
punishment into its laws.

The last criminal executed in Slovakia was Stefan Svitek, whom
psychologists classified a psychopath. The repeat offender was put to
death on June 8, 1989, for the brutal rape and murder of his 2 daughters
and pregnant wife.

(source: The Slovak Spectator)


Support for Capital Punishment High in Russia

Many Russian adults support the death penalty, according to a poll by the
Yury Levada Analytical Center. 65 & of respondents support capital

Both the Soviet Union and Russia contemplated the death penalty as
punishment for several crimes. Executions were usually carried out by
firing squad. Russian president Boris Yeltsin introduced a decree to enact
a "gradual cessation" of the practice. In 1997, Yeltsin signed a
moratorium on capital punishment, which remains in place today.

In March 2002, Russian president Vladimir Putin said calls for the
restoration of the death penalty were "foolish" and "meant to boost some
peoples political ratings." Any changes on the legislation could lead to
Russias expulsion from the Council of Europe.

Recent terrorist attacks in Russia - including the October 2002 four-day
standoff at a Moscow theatre and the September 2004 3-day siege in a
Beslan school - have prompted some public officers to request the
restoration of capital punishment, including deputy prosecutor general
Vladimir Kolesnikov

Polling Data

Do you support or oppose capital punishment?

Jun. 2005 May 2002

Support 65% 79%

Oppose 25% 17%

Hard to answer

10% 4%

Source: Yury Levada Analytical Center

Methodology: Interviews to 1,600 Russian adults, conducted from Jun. 16 to
Jun. 21, 2005. No margin of error was provided.

(source: Angus Reid Consultants)


Sri Lanka President urged to implement capital punishment

The Attorney General's Department has recommended that President Chandrika
Kumaratunga implement capital punishment against those already sentenced
to death.

Under the instructions by Attorney General K.C. Kamalasabeysan, a top team
of lawyers led by Solicitor-General C.R. de Silva are finalising the

The department said the President should carry out the sentences against
those who have been found guilty of the murder of Indian national Ms. Rita
John and the Hokandara mass murder, in which 6 members of 1 family were

Local and international human rights activists including Amnesty
International are protesting the governments decision to re-implement
capital punishment.

(source: Colombo Page)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 26


Courts likely to 'kill fewer, kill carefully'

Courts at all levels have been ordered to set tougher procedural standards
for trials involving the death penalty - a step legal experts have hailed
as a sign that China will reduce its use of capital punishment.

"Every procedure of the 1st trial, 2nd trial and retrial, as well as the
reviewing of the death penalty, must be rigidly executed," Cao Jianming,
vice-president of the Supreme People's Court, said at a recent seminar for
senior justice officials.

Courts are now also being urged to examine evidence more carefully to
avoid incorrect death sentences.

"Cao's speech indicates that the nation plans to decrease the number of
capital punishment sentences in order to follow the policy to 'kill fewer,
kill carefully'," said Chen Xingliang, a law professor at Peking

Recent examples such as the case of She Xianglin, who was wrongly
convicted and served 11 years in prison for murder, and the unjust murder
case of Nie Shubin have widened debate over the possibility of abolishing
the death penalty.

But there also exist some vague articles in the Criminal Code that have
led to chaotic standards among the lower courts in doling out the death
penalty, Chen said.

For example, the code stipulates that the death penalty is to be imposed
for the most serious crimes, "but there is no detailed regulation on how
serious 'the most serious' has to be," he said.

(source: Malaysia Star)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 27


Barbados to bring 1st death penalty case to new Caribbean court

Barbados will take the 1st death penalty case to the Caribbean court that
replaced the colonial-era Privy Council as the country's highest court of
appeal, an official said yesterday.

Barbados will ask the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice to restore
death sentences against Lennox Boyce, 28, and Jeffrey Joseph, 29, Barbados
Attorney- General Mia Mottley said during a conference in Trinidad. The
pair was convicted and sentenced to hang in 2002 in the murder of a
22-year-old woman. The Barbados High Court commuted their sentences to
life imprisonment in June, ruling they would likely be on death row for an
inhumanely long time while they wait for their cases to be heard in the
Inter-American Commission of Human Rights. Several Caribbean governments,
faced with rising crime, have welcomed the new regional court as an
opportunity to resume executions, something the London-Based Privy Council
has blocked in recent years. Barbados has not executed anyone since 1984.

Mottley said the government would ask the Barbados High Court for leave to
appeal to the Caribbean court.

"We have decided that we will appeal and as we speak today, the formal
process of applying for leave ... is going ahead," she said.

Although the Caribbean court was inaugurated in April, Barbados and Guyana
are the only 2 countries that have formally adopted it as their highest
appellate court. Other countries are struggling to overcome legal and
political obstacles to shedding their dependence on the 170-year-old Privy
Council, the highest appellate body for most former British colonies in
the Caribbean.

(source: Jamaica Observer)


EU reminds Iran of moratorium on executions

European Union on Tuesday expressed concern over reports of executions of
2 youths in Mashhad on July 19.

EU said in statement faxed to IRNA by British Embassy in Tehran that one
of the youths, Mahmoud Asgari, was aged under 18 at both the time of the
crime and the execution.

"The EU recalls its long held position that capital punishment may not, in
any circumstances, be imposed on persons below 18 years of age at the time
of the commission of the crime. Such punishment is in direct contravention
of Iran's obligations under International Convention of Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR) and also the Convention of the Rights of the
Child," it said.

"EU calls on Iran to clarify its position urgently. In October 2004,
Iranian government assured the EU that a moratorium was in place on all
lashing and executions for crimes committed by those under the age of 18.

"The EU hopes that a law to abolish such punishments will be adopted soon
and implemented and until that time, calls for Iranian government to
respect the moratorium," said the statement.

(source: Payvand)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 27


6 get death penalty for drug offences in Vietnam

A court in northern Vietnam has handed the death penalty to 6 people for
trafficking nearly one tonne of heroin, a judicial official said

8 other accomplices were sentenced to life imprisonment while another 8
were handed prison terms of up to 30 years following a 10-day court trial
in Phu Tho province, the official said.

They were charged with trafficking 954 kilograms (about 2,100 pounds) of
heroin and more than 300 kilograms of opium from neighbouring Laos to
Vietnam between 1999 and 2004.

Officials said it was the largest amount of heroin detected in a case so

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Possession of 300
grams (10.5 ounces) or more of heroin or more than 10 kilograms of opium
carries a penalty of execution by firing squad.

So far this year at least 24 people have been executed and 77 have been
sentenced to death in Vietnam.

(source: Agence France Presse)


Jayakrishnan murder: HC confirms death penalty for 5 CPM workeala High
Court today confirmed the verdict of Sessions Court's death penalty of 5
culprits in the murder of Yuvamorcha leader Jayakrishnan.

The Division Bench consisting of Justice K. Padmanabhan Nair and V.
Ramkumar rejected the appeal of the culprits over the lower court verdict.

High Court also rejected the Government appeal to give punishment to the
acquitted 5th culprit in the case by the lower court.

High Court in its verdict clears the culprits can undergo the death
penalty and punishment in the same time span.

(source: Kerala Online)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 27


Palestinian Authority executes convicted murderer

The Palestinian Authority executed a convicted murderer on Wednesday,
defying international calls to halt capital punishment as part of reforms
considered key to securing future Palestinian statehood.

An official statement said Raed al-Mughrabi, 32, was hanged in Gaza City's
central prison.

Mughrabi was convicted of murder and robbery in 2001 and the execution was
approved by President Mahmoud Abbas, the statement said.

Last month, 3 men were hanged and a 4th was killed by a firing squad after
they confessed in a Gaza City court to murder. They were the 1st
executions carried out in Palestinian-ruled areas since 2001.

Abbas is under domestic pressure to curb crime that has run rampant in the
Gaza Strip and West Bank during 4-1/2 years of conflict with Israel.

The capital punishment issue is especially acute when it comes to dozens
of Palestinians jailed on charges of spying for Israel, a major crime in
tight-knit Arab society.

Palestinian officials said in April that planned executions of 15
convicted informers were suspended after complaints by the European Union,
the biggest aid donor to the Palestinians.

Human rights groups have complained of a lack of due process of law in the
judicial proceedings that have led to executions.

In its statement on Wednesday's hanging, the Palestinian Authority said
Mughrabi's case had gone through "all legal procedures" and he was tried
and executed "in accordance with criminal law and Islamic law".

(source: Reuters)


Iran: End Juvenile Executions

Iran's execution of a juvenile offender last week violated international
law, Human Rights Watch said today in letters to the president and head of
the judiciary.

2 youths, aged 18 and 19, were put to death on July 19 after they were
found guilty of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy some 14 months
earlier. One of the youths was 17 at the time of the offense.

"Death is an inhumane punishment, particularly for someone under 18 at the
time of his crimes," said Hadi Ghaemi, Iran researcher for Human Rights
Watch. "All but a handful of countries forbid such executions. Iran should
as well."

Before the 2 youths were put to death, each also received 228 lashes for
theft, disturbing public order, and consuming alcohol.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights prohibit the imposition of the death penalty
for crimes committed before the age of 18.

These treaties also prohibit the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, or
degrading punishments. Iran has ratified both treaties.

Iran is thought to have executed at least 4 other juvenile offenders in
2004, and at least 30 juvenile offenders are on the country's death row.
Human Rights Watch has confirmed the names and ages at the time of offense
of five juvenile offenders under sentence of death in Iran: Milad
Bakhtiari, 17 years old; Hussein Haghi, 16 years old; Hussein Taranj, 17
years old; Farshad Saeedi, 17 years old; Saeed Khorrami, 16 years old.

Elsewhere in the world, only China, the Democratic Republic of Congo,
Pakistan, and the United States are known to have put juvenile offenders
to death in the past 5 years. The United States executed 9 juvenile
offenders during this period; the other countries are each known to have
put one juvenile offender to death. The U.S. Supreme Court declared the
juvenile death penalty unconstitutional in March 2005.

Iran's Majlis has for 4 years considered legislation that would amend the
civil code to prohibit executions for crimes committed under the age of
eighteen. Human Rights Watch, which opposes capital punishment in all
circumstances, urged Irans leadership to support the change and to
prohibit the imposition of amputation, flogging, and stoning as criminal

To view this document on the Human Rights Watch web site, please visit:

(source: Human Rights Watch)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 29


St Lucia to resume executions

St Lucia is set to resume executions of prisoners on death row, for the
first time in more than a decade.

The move comes as the government grapples with a significant rise in
violent crime.

Attorney General Victor La Corbiniere told Caribbean Net News on Thursday
that procedures for hanging are being activated in the case of one
individual whose appeals have been exhausted.

The gallows at the recently built Bordelais Correctional Facility are yet
to be tested; and this would be St Lucias 1st execution since Solomon
Vitalis was hung, more than ten years ago, for the murder of a Dominican

La Corbiniere said, "Constitutionally, there is a framework for the death
penalty (in St Lucia)."

As for the impact of capital punishment on crime, the Attorney General
believes "in a small country... there will be a stronger deterrent

The news has been met with opposition from local human rights lawyer, Mary
Francis, who called the governments moves "premature."

"Government has a duty to do the right thing regardless of if it is
unpopular" try to sensitize and change public opinion in St Lucia, to the
point or the thinking that having the death penalty is not the right way
to solve violent crime," Francis said.

There are currently 4 men at Bordelais Prison who have been handed the
death penalty.

They include Kim John and Francis Phillip, who were convicted of the
brutal New Year's Day attack on worshippers at a Catholic Church in the
capital, Castries.

The unrelenting wave of violent attacks which is sweeping through the
country is showing no sign of easing.

Recorded homicides on the island, so far for this year, are more than
double the number for the same period last year.

The Government has refused to provide a firm date when the first execution
will be carried out.

Attorney General La Corbiniere believes that once the procedures for
hanging get underway, there will be detractors who will try to stall the

(source: Caribbean Net News)


UN urges Syria to stop torture and free activists

The news agency Reuters reported from Geneva today that the United Nations
has called on Syria to stop torturing prisoners and free jailed human
rights activists.

Furthermore, the UN's human rights committee has also stated that it was
deeply concerned about Syria's use of the death penalty, saying it was
inconsistent with international norms, Reuters informed.

Syria was also urged by the UN to immediately release political prisoners
and human rights activists and that Syria's state of emergency should not
be used as a pretext to suppress rights supporters.

According to Reuters, the UN report also said that Syria must protect
freedom of expression and assembly, abolish forced military conscription
and protect the countrys Kurdish minority.

(source: Reuters)


Death Row: Kill Me Now, Man Begs Judge

JUSTICE A. O. Ukachukwu of the Owerri High Court, Imo State, was yesterday
jolted by the demand of a condemned criminal, Vincent Ogueri, that he
prefers immediate execution to being remanded on death row in Owerri

Ogueri who is also standing trial in another murder case was answering to
charges of killing a former commissioner for finance in the state, Chief
Ogbonna Uche (popularly called OGB), who was gunned down before the 2003
National Assembly elections.

The late Uche was flagbearer of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) for Orlu
Senatorial zone.

The convict had earlier been sentenced to death by hanging by an Owerri
High Court, having been found guilty of killing a police officer. He was
soon after the verdict, transferred to Port Harcourt prison which has
facilities for hanging condemned people.

But on his return to Owerri yesterday, in continuation of the OGB murder
trial, Ogueri urged the judge to order his immediate execution or allow
him return to Port Harcourt prison.

He told the judge that he preferred the prison in Port Harcourt to the one
at Owerri because he feels safe in Port Harcourt.

Said he: "My enemies are threatening my life at Owerri prison."

Ogueri, whose lawyer was absent at the resumed hearing, raised his hand to
lodge a complaint as he was ushered into the dock.

When granted permission to speak by the judge, he said: "My lord, I want
to report that my life is not safe in Imo. My enemies and detractors are
trailing me and threatening my life.

"My enemies have penetrated into the police and prison. I am not safe in
Imo custody. They are now using the security operatives. They traced me to
Port Harcourt Prisons last April. Thank God they could not penetrate Port
Harcourt Prisons. They now want to kill me in Owerri.

"Let them service the gallows and take my life. Already, I am a condemned
prisoner. The court is the last hope of the common man. If you want to try
me in this court, take me out of Owerri or they should service the gallows
and take my life. I have not eaten since yesterday and will not eat until
they send me to Port Harcourt.

"Azuama, the prosecutor is here. He can make case for them to service the
gallows and take my life. Akaolisa, the lawyer who wrote anonymous
petition that made them to arrest me, is here. He wrote a petition that
Imo government gave me money to kill OGB. Look at me and Imo government,"
he added.

When Justice Ukachukwu asked him for evidence to prove that his life was
under threat, Ogueri said a local newspaper report had exposed the plot,
adding that his enemies are on his trial to Owerri.

But Assistant Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. L. C. Aguama told the
court that the authorities want Ogueri to be at the Owerri Prison to
enable him face trial in the case, pointing out that he is safe in the

"I cannot imagine any person who would want to kill him who did not do so
for many years he was in Owerri before he was sentenced to death. My lord,
I cannot imagine anyone trying to kill him when he is already condemned,
though he has his right of appeal," he said.

Ruling on the matter, Justice Ukachukwu declined request for an order
sending Ogueri to Port Harcourt Prison, saying such will disturb the

"If I make the order, the case may never be heard. I will end up
frustrating the trial myself. However you are assured of accelerated trial
in this case," he said.

Justice Ukachukwu also directed Ogueri to report any threat to his life to
his lawyer for appropriate action.

Before adjourning the case to September 27, the judge advised Ogueri to
always eat from the same plate with other prisoners.

He also advised him to ascertain the name of any visitor who come to see
him in prison before allowing such person access.

(source: Daily Champion)


Iraqi Leader Vows to Block Purges on Hussein Tribunal

The president of Iraq said Thursday that he would personally ensure the
preservation of the Iraqi tribunal preparing the trials of Saddam Hussein
and his aides.

The tribunal has been threatened with a purge of its judges, prosecutors
and officials.

The president, Jalal Talabani, made his comments at a televised news
conference alongside Raid Juhi, a young judge investigating Mr. Hussein's
crimes and the most prominent of 19 tribunal members facing dismissal for
having been members of the Baath Party, which governed Iraq under Mr.

On Tuesday, a senior official on the commission created to purge former
Baath officials said it intended to rid the tribunal of 19 former

That statement ignited concern among American officials and senior members
of the Iraqi government that the cases against Mr. Hussein might be
impaired, and apparently prompted Mr. Talabani's remarks in defense of the

"I will do my best to ensure that they are respected by other government
parties, especially the de-Baathification commission," Mr. Talabani said
of the tribunal members.

Mr. Talabani is the 1st senior Iraqi official to publicly defend the
tribunal during the attempted purge, and his remarks pose a direct
challenge to Ahmad Chalabi, a deputy prime minister and former Pentagon
ally who runs the commission purging former Baathists.

Though the 2 worked together for years to oust Mr. Hussein, they have a
complicated relationship because Mr. Chalabi has fallen out with some of
Mr. Talabani's fellow Kurdish officials.

Mr. Juhi, who is 34, appeared before television cameras on Thursday in his
crisp black robes and tried to quell talk that he would be dismissed
anytime soon from the tribunal. "We are still continuing our work," he

The political developments came on a day when reports emerged of further
violence across Iraq.

The American military said 2 soldiers died and a 3rd was injured in a
roadside bomb explosion in Baghdad on Wednesday.

On Thursday morning, a roadside bomb exploded next to a train carrying
fuel in southern Baghdad, setting the area ablaze and killing at least one
Iraqi guard and wounding at least 4 other people, an Interior Ministry
official said.

Civic groups and Shiite leaders held separate meetings in Baghdad hotels
to discuss the future constitution. The civic groups released results of
an unscientific survey showing that more than 60 % of respondents wanted
strong autonomous powers for regions or provinces and 35 % supported Islam
as "the main source" of legislation in Iraq, 2 major issues in the
drafting of the constitution.

Nearly 1/5 said they did not want Islam to play any role in the law, and
29 % said they wanted Islam and other religions to be the basis for

In Washington, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it clear that the
United States was making its views known to Iraqi leaders on the writing
of an Iraqi constitution, not only to ensure that it is completed by Aug.
15 but also to guarantee that the charter protects women's rights.

"Obviously the United States stands for equality for women worldwide," Ms.
Rice said in an interview on "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer." "I think I've
been out there even in some places where equality for women seems quite
far away, saying that the United States believes that you cannot be half a

Officials on the tribunal handling the crimes of Mr. Hussein and his aides
have said Mr. Chalabi is trying to purge Mr. Juhi as a show of support for
Moktada al-Sadr, the popular firebrand cleric who has led 2 uprisings
against the Americans.

Mr. Juhi issued an arrest warrant against Mr. Sadr in 2003 for Mr. Sadr's
connection to the killing of an American-backed Shiite cleric. That
warrant was later suspended because of a cease-fire agreement the
Americans and the Iraqi government reached with Mr. Sadr.

Mr. Chalabi, one of the most canny and ambitious politicians in Iraq, has
formed an unlikely alliance with Mr. Sadr, presumably to forge a political
base out of Mr. Sadr's many supporters. Mr. Chalabi, though, adamantly
denies that the actions of the anti-Baath commission have anything to do
with a personal agenda.

Entifadh K. Qanbar, a spokesman for Mr. Chalabi, issued a statement late
Wednesday saying the accusations "are false and unfounded and
unsubstantiated." He added, "Dr. Ahmad Chalabi is a committed supporter of
a strong and independent judicial system in Iraq."

The anti-Baath commission has already dismissed nine administrators from
the tribunal, and American officials have been fearful that further
purging would cripple the tribunal shortly before the 1st trial of Mr.
Hussein is expected to begin.

Mr. Juhi has been the lead investigator on cases involving Mr. Hussein,
and it was his research that led the tribunal to bring charges against Mr.
Hussein and 3 associates related to a massacre in the Shiite town of

Mr. Juhi is now investigating the Anfal campaign of the late 1980's in
which tens of thousands of Kurds were killed, and the suppression of a
Shiite rebellion in 1991 that resulted in as many as 150,000 victims being
shot dead and bulldozed into graves.

Concern over the disruption Mr. Juhi's dismissal might cause the tribunal
has been heightened by the rapid leadership turnover at the Regime Crimes
Liaison Office, the American Embassy agency that plays a powerful
behind-the-scenes role in aiding the tribunal's work.

Gregg R. Nivala, the Justice Department lawyer who directs the liaison
office, is leaving the post four months after he took over from Gregory W.
Kehoe, a former prosecutor from Florida who guided much of the tribunal's
work in its 1st year. Mr. Nivala will be replaced by his deputy, Chris
Reid, a former assistant to New Hampshire's attorney general.

(source: New York Times)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
July 30

Death for Rapist Teacher in China

A teacher in western China who raped 23 4th- and 5th-grade girls in his
office has been sentenced to death, according to an account this week in a
Chinese newspaper.

Parents and students in Xinji village in Gansu Province said in interviews
this year with The New York Times that the teacher, Li Guang, had sent
girls to buy him cigarettes and, when they returned, raped them in his
office while the rest of the students held a study hall in the classroom.

The attacks occurred last year from September through November, and
parents say the girls never spoke out because of their deference toward
Mr. Li as a teacher.

The death sentence was reported in The Western Business Daily, the same
newspaper that carried a short article earlier this year about Mr. Li's
arrest. Although some sensational incidents are widely reported across the
country, this case received scant attention, perhaps because government
officials deemed the alarming number of attacks too controversial to
escape censorship.

Still, accounts about other rapist teachers have recently trickled into
the news media. Last month, The Beijing News reported on a primary-school
teacher who had raped 2 girls, ages 10 and 11, and was caught molesting a
girl he had blindfolded.

Experts say such rapes are still rare in Chinese schools, and while no
official statistics are known to exist, in 2003 the Education Ministry
published a list of 10 cases in which teachers had raped students.

Mr. Li's lawyers argued that he was mentally ill, The Western Business
Daily reported. But the court instead relied on an assessment from a
university expert who concluded that the teacher was competent.

Mr. Li was ordered to pay $170 to 2 of the victims for medical costs,
while his school was ordered to pay those girls $42.51. But the court
ruled that none of the girls were eligible for broader compensation from
the country school district.

(source: New York Times)



Chinese police lead a condemned man into a special execution van, where he
will be put to death immediately following his sentencing by a court, in
Xian, central Chinas Shaanxi province. An anti-capital punishment group
reported at least 5,000 of the 5,476 known executions worldwide in 2004
were held in China. While the actual number of executions in China remains
a closely guarded state secret, the Beijing government insists it needs to
maintain a tough line on crimes.

(source: Gulf Times)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
August 1


Uzbekistan to end death penalty in 2008

Uzbek President Islam Karimov signed a decree on Monday to end the death
penalty from 2008 and replace it with life imprisonment for very serious
crimes, state television reported.

It was unclear what the timing of the long-awaited move signified, as
earlier this year Kamirov called for an end to the death penalty within 2

Karimov is facing strained relations with the United States and harsh
criticism from human rights groups after authorities crushed an uprising
in the city of Andizhan on May 13, killing hundreds.

Uzbekistan has also angrilyUnited Natis airlift of refugees who fled from
their Central Asian country to neighbouring Kyrgystan after the events in

International human rights watchdog Amnesty International last year called
Uzbekistan and Belarus the "last executioners" in Europe and Central Asia.

(source: Reuters)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
August 1


Members Of Congress Protest Nigeria Gay Death Sentences

22 Democratic members of Congress have protested death sentences handed
out to men convicted of "sodomy" in Nigeria.

At least 3 men have been sentenced over the past month to death by stoning
in Nigeria which also follows Sharia law in several provinces.

The letter to Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo focused on one of the
sentences, that of a 50-year-old man accused of having sex with another
man, arrested and brought before a Sharia or Islamic court.

After being acquitted of the charge for lack of evidence, the man admitted
to the judge, when asked, that he had had sex in the past with men. On
that basis, he was convicted and is now on death row awaiting execution by

As reported by 365Gay.com on July 10, the case came to the attention of
the United Nations by accident.

Philip Alston, the United Nations special rapporteur on arbitrary
executions happened to be making a tour of Nigerian prisons when he came
across the man.

The letter was organized by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), the senior Democrat
on the House Financial Services Committee; and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA),
the senior Democratic woman on the House Committee on International
Relations and the Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Rep.Tom Lantos (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Committee on
International Relations; and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ), the senior Democrat
on the International Relations Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights
and International Operations, were among the members signing the letter.

"We strongly urge you to intervene in this case to assure that this man's
legal and human rights are respected and defended," the letter states. "We
share the view of the special rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human
Rights who recently ended a visit to Nigeria with a call for the death
penalty to be dropped in cases of homosexuality and for "immediate
measures to review the entire proceedings" of this man's case in

The letter goes on to note: "We have been very supportive of your efforts
to transform Nigeria from military to civilian rule, and we applaud in
particular the role your country is playing to help foster stability in
West Africa. We also continue to be supportive of U.S. aid to Nigeria, but
we must tell you that Americans are also entitled to expect that countries
that benefit from our humanitarian and economic assistance will not
tolerate practices that are so clearly in violation of basic human

The State Department's 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
describes Nigeria's human rights record as "poor," and claims that the
Government "continued to commit serious abuses." It also describes
Nigeria's judicial system as often "incapable of providing criminal
suspects with fair trials."

In July two teens were executed in Iran under Sharia law, reportedly
because they were gay. Supporters of the government say the pair had
threatened and abused a 13 year old but rights groups dispute the

In March a gay couple was beheaded in a public execution in Saudi Arabia.
The pair had been convicted of killing a blackmailer who had threatened to
expose them to authorities. Hundreds of other gays have been rounded up by
Saudi authorities in recent months.

(source: 365Gay.com)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
August 2


Family pleads Arroyo to help save OFW in death row

Relatives of a convicted overseas Filipino worker from Sibuco, Zamboanga
del Norte, have pleaded President Gloria Arroyo to make urgent legal
representation with the Judicial Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
and to His Royal Highness, the King of Saudi Arabia to save the life of
their daughter.

In a letter dated July 30, 2005, the Sakilan family, through the
assistance of Councilor Asbi Edding, also asked Arroyo to grant the family
the necessary assistance to have the opportunity to see their daughter
Marjana Andal Sakilan the soonest possible time.

Edding said Marjana, who has been working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, will
face imminent execution of final judgment of death sentence for murder,

Marjana, together with a certain Idan Tejano, has been sentenced to death
for the alleged murder of a female Egyptian employer of co-accused Tejano
on May 2001. The death sentence imposed by the Lower Court of Saudi Arabia
was recently affirmed by the Saudi Arabia High Royal Court.

The OFW, according to Edding, has been working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
since 1999 and has not returned to her hometown in Cawit-cawit, Sibuco,
Zamboanga del Norte, since then.

Quoting Marjana's relatives, Edding said the victim was the wife of an
Arabian citizen. However, Marjana was not an employee of the victim but
was merely working in the same building as Tejano at the time of the
commission of the crime.

"We really don't know more about the facts of the case and the
circumstances surrounding its commission. We learned the co-accused
(Tejano) was also convicted with death penalty," the Sakilans said in the
letter to the president.

The letter was signed by Haridja Andal Sakilan, Maijana's mother; Al-Hakim
Andal Maijana's uncle, Nur-aina Sakilan, sister, and Edding

Last May 18, Edding requested the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
regional office, here, to help verify on the whereabouts as well as status
of Marjana in Saudi Arabia.

Marjana, accordingly, left for Jeddah in 1999 for the second time, using
the passport of her friend Nor-Aisa Usop Mabanding of Sirawn, Toril, Davao
City. Years before, Marjana was issued a passport with Serial No. F-148240
that enabled her to leave for Jeddah for job replacement.

However, after the passport's expiration, Marjana returned to Jeddah
through a borrowed passport.

Maijana's relatives knew about her detention and case in Jeddah through
her friend, Edding added.

(source: Sun Star)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC
August 2


Courts issue numerous death sentences; President has yet to approve

Iraqi courts have sentences many convicted criminals to death but none has
been executed so far.

The death penalty, which the U.S. had suspended shortly after its
invasion, was reintroduced as a measure to stem the tide of rising crime
and violence.

Madhat al-Mahmoud, the head of the Judicial Council, or the countrys
highest court, said several death sentences had been issued but they
cannot be carried out without President Jalal Talabanis approval.

Talabani is reported to against the death penalty and has publicly said
that he would suspend such a sentence even it was taken by the tribunal
currently trying former leader Saddam Hussein.

Mahmoud did not say how many death sentences Iraqi courts have passed
since the death penalty was revived nearly 18 months ago.

Mahmoud made the remarks following reports that Iraqi courts were
reluctant to pass the death penalty.

"The court of appeal and the court of cassation have issued such sentences
and they have been approved by the cabinet. But to be implemented they
will need to be signed by the president," he said.

Talabani had met Mahmoud to review conditions at Iraqi jails and the long
periods Iraqi inmates spend in both U.S. and Iraqi jails without trial.

Mahmoud did not say whether Talabani had told him he would sign any of the
death sentences Iraqi courts have issued recently.

He said the meeting with the president instructed the courts to finish the
backlog of cases they are dealing with and set free all the detainees not
found guilty immediately.

He said in response to Talabanis instructions, Iraqi judges will visit
jails to inspect conditions and order the release of those detained
without proof.

Iraqi courts have still to extend their jurisdiction over jails run by
U.S. occupation troops.

Iraqi sources say at least 15,000 Iraqis languish in jails run by foreing
troops in the county and Mahmoud said the Judicial Council ha asked "the
multi-national troops to deliver comprehensive lists of the detainees and
prisoners in their custody and the type of charges leveled against them."

(source: Azzaman.com)


Lawmaker supports death penalty

A legislator threw his weight on Monday behind an idea to impose the death
penalty for corruption convicts, saying the crime was as extraordinary as
acts of terrorism.

Deputy House of Representatives Speaker Zaenal Ma'arif said the death
sentence would be effective to deter people from committing embezzlement,
which has been rampant in the country.

Under the prevailing anticorruption law, a convict faces a maximum life
sentence, which Zaenal said had failed to stop corruption.

"Even a defendant who is found guilty of stealing Rp 10 billion in state
money deserves the death penalty. We are not talking about the amount of
state losses, but an effective deterrent," Zaenal said on the sidelines of
a congress organized by Reform Star Party members who challenge the
leadership of chairman Zainuddin MZ.

On Sunday, People's Consultative Assembly Speaker Hidayat Nur Wahid called
for the death sentence for convicted state money thieves.

(source: Jakarta Post)
Rick Halperin
1970-01-01 00:00:00 UTC


2 August 2005

UA 202/05 Fear of imminent execution

IRAQ: 48 people

According to local press reports 48 people have had their
appeals against their death sentences rejected, and are
therefore at risk of imminent execution. The sentences have
now been referred to the Presidential Council for
ratification, which is the final step before executions can
proceed. The Presidential Council is made up of President
Jalal Talababi and his two deputies, 'Adil 'Abdul Mahdi
and Shaikh Ghazi al-Yawar.

Amnesty International does not have the names of the 48,
or the charges of which they were convicted or any details
of their trials. Since the new Iraqi government was formed
in early May 2005 no executions are known to have been
carried out.

Executions were frequent during the government of
Saddam Hussein, which was overthrown by the invasion of
the US-led coalition in March 2003. After the invasion the
country was first run by the Coalition Provisional Authority
(CPA), which suspended the death penalty in June 2003.
On 28 June 2004 power was transferred to an Iraqi interim

On 8 August 2004, the interim government reinstated the
death penalty for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking
and kidnapping. The authorities justified the reintroduction
of the death penalty as a measure to deal with the
deteriorating security situation. Amnesty International
deplored the re-imposition of the death penalty in Iraq, and
has repeatedly raised its concerns with the Iraqi authorities,
making submissions to the Minister of Human Rights and
Minister of Justice. A new government was formed in early
May 2005, under Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja'afari, a
former Shi'a Muslim exile.

In November 2004, 10 people were sentenced to death for
"criminal activities" and a number of others have since
been sentenced to death for "terrorist activities", rape of
women and killing of officials and policemen.

Before the new government was formed, Jalal Talabani
declared his opposition to the use of the death penalty, in
interviews with national and international media.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to
arrive as quickly as possible:
- expressing concern at reports that 48 people are facing
imminent execution;
- asking to be told the full names of the 48, the charges of
which they were convicted, and the dates of their trials;
- acknowledging the seriousness of the security situation in
Iraq, but pointing out that the death penalty has never
proved to be an effective deterrent to crime;
- condemning all abuses by armed groups and others,
including kidnapping, rape and killing of civilians, and
urging that those responsible for these abuses be brought to
justice in trials that meet international standards for fair
trial and that do not impose the death penalty;
- calling on the authorities to commute all death sentences,
and to abolish the death penalty in law and practice.

APPEALS TO: Fax numbers and e-mail addresses for
the Iraqi authorities are not available. Please send
appeals via the Iraqi embassy, asking them to forward
your appeals to:

President of the Republic of Iraq
Jalal Talabani
Salutation: Your Excellency

Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
Dr. Ibrahim al-Ja'afari
Salutation: Your Excellency

Ask for the Iraqi to send copies to the Acting Human Rights
Minister, Nasreen Barwari.

Ambassador Ms. Rend Al-Rahim
Embassy of the Republic of Iraq
1801 P St. NW
Washington DC 20036
Fax: 1 202 462 5066
Email: ***@iraqiembassy.org

Please send appeals immediately. Check with the
Colorado office between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm,
Mountain Time, weekdays only, if sending appeals after
September 13, 2005.

Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that
promotes and defends human rights.

This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including
contact information and stop action date (if applicable). Thank
you for your help with this appeal.

Urgent Action Network
Amnesty International USA
PO Box 1270
Nederland CO 80466-1270
Email: ***@aiusa.org
Phone: 303 258 1170
Fax: 303 258 7881