Discussion:
death penalty news----worldwide
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Rick Halperin
2016-01-13 20:44:46 UTC
Permalink
Jan. 13



GAZA----new death sentences

Gaza court sentences 4 to death for 'spying for Israel'


A military court in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip on Wednesday sentenced 4
Palestinians to death on charges of spying for Israel, a statement and court
sources said.

The court said in a brief statement that a 23-year-old man from the Zeitoun
area south of Gaza City had been sentenced to death on espionage charges. It
did not provide his name.

3 other men who "fled from justice" were also found guilty in absentia, it
said.

A court source told AFP the 4 were convicted on "charges of spying for the
occupation", including "surveillance" and providing information about cars and
homes to help Israel plan alleged assassinations.

Before these sentences, 167 people had been sentenced to death by courts in
Gaza and the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights.

Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007 after a battle with Fatah, which runs
the Palestinian Authority. 80 of the death sentences have been given in Gaza
since that date.

Islamists Hamas have previously carried out executions against those accused of
dealing with Israelis, with the killings sometimes taking place in public
squares.

Under Palestinian law, collaborators, murderers and drug traffickers can face
the death penalty.

(source: Al Arabiya News)






EGYPT:

Founder of Opposition Party Risks Death Penalty If Found Guilty By Military
Court


On 22 November 2015, the detention of Hany Mohamed Hassanin Sharaf, founder of
the Civilized Alternative Party and former Egyptian Air Force pilot, was
renewed for 45 days pending investigations.

While Hany's arrest appears to have been triggered by his political activism
and in particular his work on the creation of a new opposition party, the
military prosecution justified his detention by charging him with various
trumped-up military crimes, using the pretext of his former occupation as an
Air Force Pilot. Should Hany be found guilty before the Cairo Military Court,
which postponed his trial to 17 January 2016, he risks to be sentenced to death
without being given the possibility to fairly defend himself.

In view of these facts, Alkarama sent an urgent appeal to the UN Working Group
on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), hoping this UN Special Procedure for the
protection of human rights could help make him benefit from a fair trial, by
ending his prosecution before the Military Court of Cairo, which lacks the
necessary independence and impartiality to try civilians.

Hany was abducted by Egypt's Homeland Security on 18 November 2015 as he made
his way through Cairo International Airport to visit his daughter who studies
medicine in Astrakhan, a city in southern European Russia.

Fearing that he could be tortured in detention in retaliation for his political
affiliations, his family contacted Alkarama which sent a 1st urgent appeal to
the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
(WGEID) to clarify his whereabouts on 24 November 2015.

A week later, Hany's family was informed that he was detained in a military
facility and that he had been referred to the Military Court of Cairo under the
suspicion that he had stolen and shared documents related to his former
occupation as an Air-Force Pilot, accusations that were fully refuted by his
family. Nonetheless, several military intelligence officers let themselves into
Hany's house without any warrant in November and December 2015, confiscating
all the documents that were related to his former work as a pilot.

The military prosecution then charged him with "stealing flight maps and routes
of aircrafts" and "disclosing military information via satellite broadcasting
outside of Egypt," on the sole basis of evidence provided by the military
intelligence and without allowing Hany's lawyer to consult it.

Hence, his case was referred to a military court, even though the accusations
brought against him are related to a time where Hany was already a civilian and
not an Air-Force pilot anymore, a former occupation that gave the authorities a
pretext to prosecute him.

Under Egyptian military law, such accusations could lead Hany to be sentenced
to death by the Military Court of Cairo, which postponed his trial to 17
January 2016.

Trials of civilians before military courts are considered as "in breach of the
fundamental requirements of independence and impartiality and of guarantees for
a fair trial" by the UN WGAD, which reiterated its position in its Opinion
35/2014 regarding the detention of Khaled Hamza and others following a trial
before a military court.

"Referring civilians before military courts has been increasingly used against
political opponents in Egypt in the past year, especially since a Decree
adopted in October 2014 has greatly extended the jurisdiction of military
courts to judge civilians," declared Thomas-John Guinard, Alkarama's Legal
Officer for the Nile region.

"In a case like Hany's, given the accusations brought against him and the fact
that he was creating an opposition party, it is highly likely that he will be
found guilty and sentenced to death. That is the reality of military courts in
Egypt: to serve justice in a manner that satisfies the executive."

To remedy to Hany's situation, Alkarama solicited the UN Working Group on
Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to ask the Egyptian authorities to halt the military
prosecution of Hany Mohamed Hassanin Sharaf and to release him immediately.
Alkarama also invites the authorities to urgently repeal the decree that
extended the jurisdiction of military courts to try civilians and to amend the
2014 Egyptian Constitution accordingly to end this practice.

(source: All Africa News)






BELARUS:

EU condemns continued use of death penalty by Belarus


The EU Spokesperson made a statement today following the handing down of a
death sentence to Mr. Yakavitski by the Minsk Regional Court of the Republic of
Belarus.

The statement, published by the European Union External Action Service (EEAS),
highlights the EU's opposition to capital punishment in all cases and without
exception. This is in line with a key objective of the EU???s human rights
policy.

"We urge Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment,
to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a 1st step towards its
abolition" reiterates the EU Spokesperson.

(source: enpi-info.eu)




ZIMBABWE:

Rights Lawyers Hope to Outlaw Death Penalty in Zimbabwe


Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court began its year Wednesday with a request from 15
death row prisoners for their sentences to be commuted. Rights lawyers are
hoping the death penalty will be outlawed in Zimbabwe this year.

The lawyer for the 15 said they have been waiting for their executions for
periods ranging between 4 and 20 years.

All have been convicted of murder or treason, which carry capital sentences in
Zimbabwe.

Their lawyer, former Zimbabwe finance minister Tendai Biti, said after this
case is over he wants the death penalty completely outlawed. "When someone has
been sentenced to death, he cannot be subjected to death row for so long and
wait for so many years on death row.We are saying that is unconstitutional.

We would want to challenge the death penalty. And I believe we will do so this
year, once parliament passes amendments to Criminal and Evidence Act. We do not
believe in the death penalty," he said."You can also see that some of the
judges do not believe in it, including the minister of justice who is now vice
president who does not believe in it. They just have not had the courage to
simply say, 'Let us outlaw it.'"

The vice president Biti refers to is Emmerson Mnangagwa, who opposes the death
penalty.

In 2013, Mnangagwa said he would "rather resign than sign certificates for
executions." "We have 89 people on death row. 2 of them are women. They are
lucky, I did not sign the papers for their execution. At the end of the day, we
have commuted [their sentences] to life imprisonment," he explained.

Since those comments, the number of prisoners awaiting execution has risen to
more than 100.

Biti said a ban on the death penalty must come from the courts, instead of
depending on the benevolence of 1 politician.

On Wednesday, he argued that Zimbabwe's constitution protects everyone,
including convicted prisoners, against torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading
punishment.

He said the long periods his clients have spent in prison, never knowing when
they might be hanged, amount to such punishment. Death-row prisoners in
Zimbabwe are not told in advance of the date and time of their execution.

(source: Voice of America News)

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

117 Zim inmates on death row


The 14 inmates are seeking an order to have their cases remitted for
resentencing so that their sentences can be commuted to life sentences.

Zimbabwe has 117 inmates on death row at a time the country does not have a
hangman, a situation that has left a number of the condemned prisoners
subjected to psychological torture as a result of the delays in carrying out
the executions. This was revealed at the Constitutional Court in Harare
Wednesday where Shadreck Chawira and 14 others are challenging the
constitutionality of their continued incarceration while they await the
hangman's noose.

Harare Central Prison is the only prison designed for death row inmates but
some of the prisoners sentenced to death were now being kept at Chikurubi
Maximum Prison because of shortage of space, the court heard.

Justice Luke Malaba, leading a full bench of the Constitutional Court, reserved
judgment on the case.

The 14 inmates are seeking an order to have their cases remitted for
resentencing so that their sentences can be commuted to life sentences.

The lawyer for the inmates, Tendai Biti, told the court that his clients had
been on the death row for periods ranging from 3 to 21 years and had suffered
enough punishment that there was no need for them to be executed.

He said their continued incarceration was in violation of sections 51 and 53 of
the Constitution and infringed on their rights to life and human dignity, which
were the most important in the Bill of Rights.

Biti said he had 14 separate affidavits from the inmates explaining the
conditions in prisons and the psychological torture that they suffered as a
result of their placement on death row.

Given that his clients had served lengthy prison terms with various problems
associated with incarceration in Zimbabwean prisons, Biti submitted that the
correct remedy was to for the court to declare unconstitutional the continued
incarceration and the blanket imposition of the life sentence.

"The court can make any order which is in the interest of justice... refer back
to the High Court or resentencing taking into account the delay and what would
have taken place over the years," he said.

State Counsel Olivia Zvedi said the severity of the crimes committed by the
applicants warranted the treatment they were getting from the State, including
being kept in solitary confinement for more than 20 hours per day.

Biti later told journalists that he would soon be challenging the death penalty
as it was discriminatory and unequal.

"We would like to challenge the death penalty and we believe we will do so this
year once parliament has passed amendments to the Criminal Procedures Amendment
Act," he said.

"Some of the judges also don't believe in the death sentence. The fact of the
matter is that there are some people, like the Minister of Justice, now the
vice president, who feel that it is not right, they just don't have the courage
to say let us outlaw it .The Constitution itself is discriminatory, women
cannot be executed but men can be. Anything that is discriminatory and unequal
is unconstitutional."

(source: African News Agency)






INDONESIA:

West Jakarta Prosecutors office will continue to seek death penalty for drugs
lords


The West Jakarta Prosecutors Office will continue to seek the maximum sentence
of death for big players in the drug trafficking world.

The West Jakarta Prosecutors Office head Reda Manthovani said on Tuesday that
last year, his office handled 721 drug cases and sought the death penalty for
25 suspects, particularly for those who were involved in the trafficking of
large amounts of narcotics.

According to Reda, his office would seek the death penalty for at least 11 "big
drugs suspects," this year. "The people have sent tons of narcotics to
Indonesia. They did not merely sell narcotics here, but even established a drug
factory," Reda said during a press conference.

Many human rights activists have complained about his firmness against drugs
suspects, Reda said, adding that he believed that firm action against the drugs
traffickers should be implemented so as to protect young people from drugs.

"Just imagine if one of the members of your family became a narcotics user,"
said Reda. "China is a great country, but they were defeated because of opium.
We don't want to be like that," Reda said, citing the history of China, a
nation that was defeated by invaders during the opium war.

He said that the West Jakarta Prosecutor's Office had demanded the death
penalty for Iwan Setiawan, who is accused of possessing 450 kilograms of
marijuana, but the West Jakarta District Court chose to punish him with a life
sentence. "We will file an appeal," Reda said.

(source: The Jakarta Post)






IRAN----execution


Prisoner Executed on Moharebeh Charge----Iranian official sources report on the
execution of a prisoner in Zanjan's central prison on a Moharebeh charge
(commonly translated as "enmity against God").


The Zanjan Prosecutor, Hassan Mozaffari, has reported on the execution of a
prisoner on a Moharebeh charge at Zanjan's central prison. According to the
report, a crowd of people watched as the prisoner, only identified as "H.S.",
was hanged in the prison's vicinity on Tuesday January 12.

According to Mozaffari, the prisoner was arrested in July 2014 after he and an
accomplice, identified as A.A., allegedly committed rape, piracy, extortion,
armed robbery, and torture & physical assault. A.A. was reportedly hanged on
rape charges on the morning of Sunday April 26 2015.

(source: Iran Human Rights)

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Rick Halperin
2016-01-14 16:24:42 UTC
Permalink
Jan. 14



SAUDI ARABIA----execution

Saudi executes Yemeni for killing employer


Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed a Yemeni man for murdering and robbing his
employer, raising the number of death sentences already carried out by the
kingdom this year to 52.

Yaser Qawza broke into the home of his Saudi employer Falwa al-Jarad, tied her
up and beat her to death before robbing her money and jewellery, according to
an interior ministry statement.

Qawza was executed in the southern region of Aseer, said the statement,
published by the official SPA news agency.

Most executions in the country are carried out by beheading with a sword.

Last year Saudi Arabia executed 153 people, most of them for drug trafficking
or murder, according to an AFP tally.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia in 2015 was
the highest for 2 decades.

The kingdom practises a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug
trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

On January 2, the kingdom executed 47 men convicted of "terrorism", including
al Qaeda-linked Sunni militants and Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, whose death
sparked a diplomatic crisis with Iran.

(source: The Tribune)






SOMALILAND:

Heads of Missions of the European Union and Member States condemn executions
carried out in Mogadishu and Dararwayne and Mandera

The Heads of Missions of the European Union and Member States strongly and
unequivocally oppose the death penalty in any circumstances. It is a serious
violation of human rights and human dignity and cannot be used as an instrument
for justice.

In this context, we are deeply concerned by reports of at least 4 executions in
Somaliland on 11 January and by the authorities renewed use of the death
penalty.

We are similarly concerned with reports of an execution in Mogadishu on 3
January.

The EU and Member States' Heads of Missions call upon the respective
authorities to halt executions and to apply a moratorium of the death penalty.

We are committed to support and work with the respective authorities in
achieving a full abolition of the death penalty and in the strengthening of
institutions to provide justice to all Somali people in a fair and transparent
manner.

(source: somalilandpress.com)




PAKISTAN:

ATC sentences SHO Shehzad Warraich to death for killing Daska Bar president,
other lawyer


The Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) on Thursday sentenced former Senior House
Officer (SHO) Shehzad Warraich to death 4 times for killing Daska Bar
Association President Rana Khalid Abbas and advocate Irfan Chauhan.

The verdict was announced by a special anti-terrorism court's judge Chaudhry
Imtiaz Ahmad.

Besides the death penalty, the accused will pay Rs 4 lac to the victims'
family.

The court has also ordered 30 years imprisonment to the accused for injuring 5
lawyers.

In May 2015, 2 lawyers including Daska Bar Association President Rana Khalid
Abbas - were killed during a clash between protesting lawyers and police.

Officials of Daska Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) along with SHO of
Daska city police station Shehzad Warraich were conducting an anti-encroachment
drive in Sialkot's Daska tehsil when local residents and lawyers staged a
protest, seeking more time from authorities.

The SHO opened straight fire to disperse the protesters as a result of which a
pedestrian and three lawyers, including the Daska bar president, sustained
gunshot wounds.

Later, Rana Khalid Abbas and another lawyer succumbed to their wounds during
treatment.

(source: Daily Pakistan)






BANGLADESH:

Sayedee now to appeal for acquittal


War criminal and Jamaat-e-Islami leader Delawar Hossain Sayedee will file a
petition with the Supreme Court seeking review of its verdict that commuted his
death penalty to jail unto death.

He would seek acquittal from the charges in which he was found guilty, Masud
Sayedee, son of the convict, told The Daily Star after meeting his father at
Kashimpur Jail-1 in Gazipur yesterday.

3 lawyers accompanied Masud during the visit.

Earlier on Tuesday, the government filed a review plea seeking death penalty
fro Sayedee.

"My father has decided to file a review against the Supreme Court judgment. He
has given necessary instructions today to his lawyers in this regard," Masud
said, adding that the plea would be filed by January 21, as his father was
officially informed about the SC's full judgment on January 6, though it was
released on December 31 last year.

The review petition has to be filed within 15 days from the date when the
accused receives a certified copy of the full judgment or is officially
informed about it, according to the SC judgment on the review petition of Abdul
Quader Mollah, who was executed in December 2013.

The International Crimes Tribunal-1 on February 28, 2014 sentenced Sayedee to
death for killing Ibrahim Kutti and one Bisa Bali in 1971.

Following 2 appeals by Sayedee and the government, a 5-member bench of the apex
court on September 17 last year delivered a short order based on majority views
commuting Sayedee's death sentence to imprisonment until death.

(source: The Daily Star)






IRAN:

Iran's High Volume of Executions----Iran is likely the world's 2nd-most
prolific user of the death penalty.


Iran uses the death penalty more than any other country except China.

Iran executes people in part to punish violations of personal morality laws.

As of July 2015, 101 countries had abolished the use of capital punishment in
law for all crimes.

1. Carrying out at least 289 executions in 2014 - ranking 2nd in the world -
Iran uses the death penalty more than any other country except China.

2. Iran executes people in part to punish violations of personal morality laws,
such as rape and adultery.

3. Iran also executed people for politically motivated offenses such as
terrorism and treason.

4. Together, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia carried out almost 90% of the
confirmed executions in the Middle East North Africa region in 2014

5. The 3 countries made 72% of the 607 confirmed executions worldwide in 2014.

6. This number excludes executions that took place in countries where this
information is classified or otherwise impossible to verify.

7. China is believed to lead the world in annual executions, but government
secrecy veils the exact number. China is estimated to execute thousands of
prisoners each year.

8. Iran and the other 20 countries that executed prisoners in 2014 are an
ever-shrinking group.

9. As of July 2015, 101 countries had abolished the use of capital punishment
in law for all crimes - up from just 59 countries in 1995.

10. Another 42 countries have abolished the death penalty in practice - by
limiting its use to exceptional and rare circumstances (such as crimes under
military law) or by not having carried out an execution in the last 10 years.

(sources: Amnesty International and The Globalist Research Center)






GLOBAL:

New resource helps innocent drug mules fight cases overseas


People scammed or manipulated into becoming unwitting drug mules and facing
death penalties as a result are being offered a lifeline.

A new online portal provides documents and advice to people who may have been
unwittingly caught up in a criminal network and are facing the death penalty or
lengthy jail terms.

It was created by a group of lawyers, technology experts and media advisors,
led by the Asia Pacific Lawyers Network.

The portal's release follows a series of cases where people have been lured
over the internet to travel overseas, particularly to South-East Asian nations,
and unknowingly carrying drugs on the return trip.

New Zealand defence lawyer Craig Tuck said it was crucial those arrested for
serious crimes in foreign countries got immediate help to maximise the chances
in their legal cases.

The portal provides referrals to defence lawyers in the country of arrest who
speak English, a checklist of advice to find diplomatic support, and
educational resources from past victims.

Mr Tuck, a legal advisor to Bali death row inmate Lindsay Sandiford, said the
project was a "world first" in combating unwitting drug mules, those forced
into slavery and other victims of human trafficking.

The portal is available at www.stopmulevictims.org.

(source: The Chronicle)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-14 21:19:57 UTC
Permalink
Jan. 14



ZAMBIA:

Abolish death penalty, says prisons deputy


Zambia Prisons Service deputy commissioner-general Lloyd Chilundika says the
death penalty is inhuman and should be abolished.

Mr Chilundika told the Parliamentary committee on legal affairs, governance,
human rights, gender matters and child affairs yesterday that taking of life
can never be done humanely no matter the circumstances.

"The death penalty amounts to cruelty. It is my considered view that it be
abolished and substituted with progressive types of punishments that should
address that which death penalty has failed," he said.

Mr Chilundika, who was flanked by Zambia Prisons Service senior assistant
commissioner in charge of research, planning and information and technology
Chrispin Kaonga, said imprisonment alone is severe punishment enough.

"We are living in a dispensation of human rights and most countries in the
Southern African Development Community have abolished the death penalty," he
said.

Mr Chilundika said hanging is not done publicly contrary to views that death
penalty serves as a deterrent to would-be offenders.

"Death may be calculated as punishment but what is punishment if it does not
make one feel the pain and be remorseful to change for the better.

"Death is the end of one's life and therefore there is no lesson to the one
that is punished with death sentence," Mr Chilundika said.

He said most times, people on death row reform by the time their execution
period matures.

"The State is a rational being. We want to be a good State. We counsel these
prisoners in the condemned section and by the time they are about to be
executed, they are no longer the hardcore criminals they were," Mr Chilundika
said.

He explained that every human being has the inherent right to life and no one
should be arbitrarily deprived of life.

Meanwhile, Mr Chilundika has commended President Lungu for commuting to life
imprisonment the sentences of prisoners on death row.

He said there were over 342 offenders waiting to be executed in cells meant for
48 people.

(source: Daily Mail)






BELARUS:

Statement by the Spokesperson on a death sentence in Belarus


A death sentence was handed down last week to Mr Henadz Yakavitski by the Minsk
Regional Court of the Republic of Belarus.

Mr Henadz Yakavitski's legal right to appeal should be fully guaranteed.

Mr Yakavitski was convicted of a serious crime and we extend our deepest
sympathy to the family and friends of the victim.

Nevertheless, the European Union is opposed to capital punishment in all cases
and without exception. We urge Belarus, the only country in Europe still
applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty
as a 1st step towards its abolition. Commuting the sentences of persons
sentenced to death and launching a public debate on the death penalty with
Belarusian society would be an important move in this regard.

(source: diplomaticintelligence.eu)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Writers join worldwide action to protest Palestinian poet's death sentence in
Saudi Arabia ---- Hundreds of writers in 44 countries take part in coordinated
readings to support Ashraf Fayadh, condemned to death for allegedly promoting
atheism


Hundreds of writers including Irvine Welsh, Ruth Padel and AL Kennedy are
taking part in a worldwide reading in support of the Palestinian poet Ashraf
Fayadh, who has been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia after being accused of
renouncing Islam.

The readings of Fayadh's poetry at 122 events in 44 countries on Thursday are
part of a campaign organised by the International literature festival Berlin
calling on the UK and US governments to halt his beheading and to put pressure
on Saudi Arabia to improve its human rights record.

The action comes ahead of a panel of judges considering Fayadh's appeal next
week, where it will be contested that the poet???s conviction for apostasy is
seriously flawed and based on false and uncorroborated allegations.

Poems being read at the worldwide event include a selection from Fayadh's 2008
book, Instructions Within, which his accuser claimed promoted atheism, a charge
the poet has denied.

AL Kennedy, who is participating in a reading organised by PEN England at the
Mosaic Rooms in west London, said Fayadh's persecution was "very obviously
unjust and morally repellent".

Calling on the Saudi authorities to show mercy and wisdom, the novelist also
offered the poet her "admiration for his courage and his devotion to truth and
justice" and hoped that the international show of solidarity would "provide a
measure of comfort in what must be a horrifying situation".

Irvine Welsh, who will read at the Two Hearted Queen coffee shop in Chicago,
said he hoped the campaign would put "pressure on governments who espouse
democracy and freedom to consider their actions in dealing with [Saudi
Arabia]".

The Trainspotting author added: "I have distaste for all clerical regimes. I
believe that people should be free to practice and renounce any religion they
see fit. If you believe in human rights and are anti-fundamentalist terrorism,
then isolate the regime in Saudi Arabia. Otherwise, you are guilty by
association."

Earlier this month, organisers of the Berlin festival sent a letter, signed by
350 writers' associations and authors, including Nobel laureates Orhan Pamuk
and Mario Vargas Llosa, to Barack Obama, David Cameron and the German foreign
ministry calling on them to intervene in the imprisoned poet's case.

The letter also demanded that the United Nations suspend Saudi Arabia from its
Human Rights Council until the country's "abysmal record on upholding civil
liberties improves".

British author Priya Basil, who co-wrote the letter, said Fayadh's poem Frida
Kahlo's Moustache would be read at the Berlin event because "it's addressed to
a lost love but if you read it now ... it's an elegy to a lost life".

She added that this illustrated how "his poetry can't be condemned because it
can be read so many different ways".

Fayadh was born in Saudi Arabia to Palestinian refugee parents, and under Saudi
law is classed as a refugee himself, without Saudi citizenship. He co-curated a
Saudi art show at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and has been in prison since
January 2014 after a man accused him of making blasphemous remarks during an
argument in a cafe in the conservative city and for renouncing Islam in
Instructions Within, charges Fayadh denies. He was originally sentenced to 4
years in prison and 800 lashes for apostasy by the general court in Abha, a
city in the south-west of the ultraconservative kingdom, in May 2014.

After his appeal was dismissed, Fayadh was retried and in November 2015, a new
panel of judges ruled that he should be executed. His father died of a stroke
after hearing of his death sentence, but the poet was not allowed to attend the
funeral.

British Palestinian author Selma Dabbagh, who is also reading at the Mosaic
Rooms, said she hoped the campaign would "raise the profile of a man and his
work, who is at risk of losing his life due to what appears to be ... a
personal vendetta against him". It was remarkable that Fayadh, as a Palestinian
refugee in a small town, had achieved so much in terms of promoting Saudi art
internationally and writing his own work, she added. "If Saudi nationality laws
were different ... Fayadh would be an exemplary citizen [of Saudi Arabia]" she
said.

Last month, UN human rights experts called on the Saudi authorities to halt
Fayadh's execution, which they condemned as a grave violation of artistic
freedom of expression.

(source: The Guardian)






IRAN:

'Iran would've handed Al-Nimr death 7 times'


Despite Iran's criticism of Saudi Arabia's judiciary, its own courts would have
given Nimr Al-Nimr 7 death sentences for the same charges, according to a legal
expert.

Lawyer Ahmed Al-Jamaan Al-Malki told a local publication that Al-Nimr, 1 of the
men executed in the Kingdom recently for terrorism, would have received 2 death
sentences for 2 charges.

This would be for calling for the government's overthrow and allegiance to
Wilayat Al-Faqih (Rule of the Jurist). According to Iranian Criminal Law
endorsed in 1992 these are seen as treasonous acts.

He said that Article 504 of Iranian Civil Law regards these as acts of
aggression. For these and other charges there would be an additional 5 death
penalties. Al-Nimr had confessed to all these violations, he said.

"When he waived his rights to be prosecuted by a civil court, he would have
been referred in accordance with Articles 183, 185 and 504 of Iranian Criminal
Law to the Military Revolutionary Court established in 1979 by Ayatollah
Khomeini."

If he had done so, he would have lost many rights, including to have his case
heard in public and access to a lawyer. "According to the Iranian justice
system, Al-Nimr deserves 7 death sentences in the country's military and
revolutionary courts," he said.

(source: The Guardian)






ZIMBABWE:

Death row inmates in Zimbabwe ask for life sentences instead


Inmates who have spent years on death row in Zimbabwe's prisons approached the
country's highest court on Wednesday in a bid to have their sentences commuted
to life imprisonment.

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court heard the accounts of 15 inmates, some of whom
have been waiting to be executed for 18 years.

"Because of the torture we have been subjected to whilst waiting for a long
time on death row, it will be unconstitutional to execute us," Cuthbert
Chawira, a murder convict on death row for 15 years, said in an affidavit
submitted in court. Prison guards regularly taunt inmates about their imminent
executions, he said.

Vice President and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is in charge of
authorizing executions, refuses to sign any execution orders for Zimbabwe's
nearly 100 death row inmates due to his personal objections to the death
penalty. While Zimbabwean law allows capital punishment, no one has been
executed in the county since 2005 because there was no qualified executioner
until 2013. The death penalty is only handed down to men convicted of murder.

The inmates' lawyer, Tendai Biti, described Zimbabwe's harsh prison conditions,
saying they only added to his clients' woes.

"There are no newspapers or tissues in these toilets and sometimes prisoners
resort to using the Bible as toilet roll," Biti told the court. "The prisons
are cold and lifeless."

Rights group Amnesty International has urged the southern African country to do
away with the death penalty completely.

(source: Associated Press)

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

Abolish Death Penalty, Urges Biti's PDP As Prisoners Wait 20 Years for Hangman


The opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) has urged government to consider
an abolition of capital punishment as it breaches the country's constitution.

In a statement Wednesday, the PDP's deputy secretary general Tongai Matutu said
it is inhumane for death-row inmates to await their fate for as long as two
decades.

"The PDP calls for the immediate abolition of the death penalty in the country
as it is totally inhumane, degrading and against the international best
practices," he said.

"Capital punishment is in breach of the country's Constitution, which
guarantees and protects the right to life for every citizen.

"As PDP, our call comes when they are 117 convicted inmates on the death row in
Zimbabwe who are facing death and are reported to be being subjected to
physical and psychological torture."

He was referring to media reports that 17 death-row inmates have taken
government to court demanding that capital punishment be removed from the
country's statutes and a review of their sentences.

Zimbabwe adopted a new constitution in 2012 in which the death penalty is
qualified and can now be administered to women and people above 70 years old or
on a convict who would have committed the crime before they turned 21.

Matutu said some of these condemned prisoners have been "waiting for the
hangman for between three and 21 years living under squalor at Harare Central
Prison or Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where they are kept in solitary
confinement for 23 hours every day".

"They are living a life without hope, alienation and vilification and the
prison for them has become a prison within a prison. Some of these condemned
prisoners have gone insane or are terminally ill," the former Masvingo Urban
lawmaker said.

"As the PDP we are fully behind the constitutional challenge that has been
brought to the Constitutional Court by 17 prisoners who are on death row
seeking review of their sentences and that they are allowed to go for retrial.

"It is within their constitutional mandate to approach the Constitutional Court
as any aggrieved person has a right to approach the courts."

"However, as PDP we are aware of the heinous crimes that prisoners facing
murder charges would have committed but the act of hanging an accused person is
barbaric and outdated and Zimbabwe should follow international standards and
the solution is to abolish the death penalty."

The PDP, whose leader Tendai Biti is legal representative for two human rights
activists seeking a Constitutional Court order to compel President Robert
Mugabe to set up an independent complaints mechanism to investigate military
excesses, said it supported the challenge.

"Zimbabwe's security forces have a dark history when it comes to violations of
citizens' rights and various case have been recorded such as the Gukurahundi
massacres in southern Zimbabwe soon after independence ...

" ... the murder of student activist Batanai Hadzidzi, the slaughter of
hundreds of opposition activists like Tonderai Ndira and others, the abduction
and torture of human rights defender Jestina Mukoko and the general heavy
handedness of the police is crushing peaceful demonstrations which has become a
norm in this country," the party said.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record as saying capital punishment
will not be implemented under his watch. Mnangagwa who survived the hangman's
noose during the Rhodesian era doubles up as Justice Minister.

(source: All Africa News)
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2016-01-15 16:06:48 UTC
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Jan. 15



THAILAND:

Myanmar migrants accused of killing Thai


Just weeks after a Thai court sentenced 2 Myanmar migrants to the death penalty
for the murder of 2 British tourists in Koh Tao, a similar case involving the
killing of a young Thai woman appears to be headed to trial.

4 Myanmar migrant fishermen arrested in October 2015 stand accused of stabbing
to death a 19-year-old Thai woman in the southern town of Ranong on September
28, 2015.

Ko Moe Zin Aung, 19; Ko Zaw Lay, 25; Ko Mang Sein, 20; and Ko Kyaw Soe Win, 18,
could face the death penalty, but their families claim to have security camera
video evidence that they were working at the time of the murder.

After admitting to the act in official statements to the police, the men have
retracted their confessions and now say they were tortured during police
interrogation.

The suspects' relatives and lawyers have reported that the men were tortured
between October 20 and October 24 while in custody, alleging that they were
blindfolded, threatened at gunpoint, suffocated with plastic bags and kicked in
the genitals. They also have disputed the age of the 2 youngest suspects,
saying that Ko Moe Zin Aung and Ko Kyaw Soe Win had misrepresented their
birthdates so as to find jobs in the fishing industry and are in fact, 15 and
14 years old, respectively.

A medical examination has indicated that 3 of the 4 suspects were physically
harmed during interrogations, reported the Bangkok Post.

The case bears similarities to the Koh Tao murder trial. 2 Myanmar workers were
convicted of the murders of the UK backpackers and charged with the death
penalty, but many believe they were scapegoats. Both men in that case retracted
their confessions and said they were coerced by police.

After their convictions on December 24, angry Myanmar activists led protests
around the region. Some border crossings between the neighbouring countries
were closed due to demonstrations, and the Thai foreign ministry stated that it
would close its embassy in Yangon for three days due to the uproar.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Cherdpong Chiewpreecha, an investigator who was
involved with and testified in the Koh Tao case, is heading the Ranong
investigation.

If details emerge that the 4 men have faced unjust treatment, Ko Win Ko Ko Lat,
the chair of the Myanmar National Network, said his group might organise
protests as they did following the Koh Tao trial. "As far as I know, the case
is just an accusation at this point," he said. "We are trying to confirm the
exact details of the case, so we have not planned any demonstrations or
protests yet."

He added that his group has been trying to contact the workers' families and
their crewmates from the fisheries to find out more information.

(source: Myanmar Times)






MALAYSIA:

Altantuya killer to make plea for clemency from Pardons Board


The Federal Court had on January 13 last year found former chief inspector
Azilah Hadri and fellow cop Sirul Azhar Umar guilty of murdering Altantuya
Shaariibuu, by reversing an earlier acquittal by the Court of Appeal.

In a last throw of the dice to save his life, one of the former police
commandos on death row for the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu,
will apply for clemency from the Selangor Pardons Board.

Former chief inspector Azilah Hadri's petition for clemency will be submitted
to the board today, his lawyer Datuk Hazman Ahmad said.

"However, I am not at liberty to reveal the contents of the petition due to
solicitor-client privilege," he told The Malaysian Insider.

Hazman said copies of the petition will also be sent to the Attorney-General
Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali and Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin
Ali.

The Sultan of Selangor chairs the board and members include the A-G and the
menteri besar.

The petition for pardon will be submitted to the board in Selangor as the
offence was committed in the state.

Former attorney-general Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman said the board's secretariat
should fix the hearing of the petition as soon as possible as the condemned
person has been in prison for a year.

"It is inhumane to keep a person found guilty of capital punishment on death
row for a year without referring the case to the pardons board for a decision,"
he told The Malaysian Insider.

He said the board was the final court of clemency although it could not
substitute the finding of guilty with that of not guilty.

"Under our Federal Constitution, no death penalty can be executed without going
to a Pardons Board," he said.

He said the board could consider any relevant matter in coming to a just
decision.

He said the board could commute the death sentence to life imprisonment or in
appropriate cases, grant the convict a pardon.

Abu Talib said the lawyer for Azilah would have made a representation in the
petition why his client should not be executed.

Abu Talib, the A-G between 1980 and 1993, said the Federal Court was also
obliged to give its legal opinion whether the execution should be carried out.

Similarly, he said the A-G or his representative, the state legal adviser,
would give his advice but the board was not bound by the opinion.

He said Azilah was sentenced to death because the law had not provided the
judges with any other option after he was found guilty.

On January 13 last year, a five-man Federal Court bench chaired by Chief
Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria reversed the Court of Appeal's acquittal of Azilah
and ex-commando Sirul Azhar Umar.

However, Sirul was not present in the apex court when judgment was delivered.
It was later revealed that he had left for Australia in October 2014.

He was later arrested in Brisbane, and is currently being held at an
immigration detention centre in Sydney.

Attempts are being made to extradite Sirul to Malaysia but Australian law
dictates that a person facing the death penalty in his or her home country
cannot be extradited.

Evidence in court revealed that Altantuya, a Mongolian translator, was murdered
before her body was blown up by C4 explosives on October 18, 2006, on the
outskirts of Shah Alam, near the capital city Kuala Lumpur.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a confidant of then deputy Prime
Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, was charged with abetting Azilah and Sirul but
was acquitted by the High Court in 2008 without his defence being called.

The government did not appeal.

Despite the conviction of the 2 former police commandos, the motive for the
murder was never established.

(source: themalaysianinsider.com)






IRAN----executions

11 Prisoners Executed in Central and Northern Iran----Reports of 1 execution in
central Iran and ten prisoners in the north of the country.


Iran state run media, Ashkezar News, reports on the execution of 1 prisoner on
the morning of Thursday January 14 at Yazd's central prison (central Iran).
According to the report, the prisoner, identified as "A.B.", was a Wahhabi.

According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, 6 prisoners were hanged at
Orumiyeh's central prison (northern Iran) on murder charges. The executions
were reportedly carried out on Wednesday January 13. On Tuesday the prisoners
had been transferred from their cells to solitary confinement in preparation
for their executions. The prisoners have been identified as Aref Shahindeji,
Hossein Ezzataleb, Rahman Ranjbar, Alireza Akbari, Arsalan Badyaneh, and Abdul
Wahab Hatami.

According to the human rights group, HRANA, 4 prisoners were hanged at Karaj's
central prison (northern Iran) on drug charges. The executions were reportedly
carried out on the morning of Tuesday January 12. The prisoners have been
identified as Seyed Hamid Hajian, Hossein Toutiannoush, Mostafa Jamshidi, and
Mohsen Nasiri.

(source: Iran Human Rights)






BAHAMAS:

Chief Justice Calls For Juries To Be Scrapped In Death Penalty Cases


Jury trials should be abolished or restricted to criminal cases where the
potential for the imposition of the death penalty arises, Chief Justice Sir
Hartman Longley said yesterday.

During his remarks at the 2016 Legal Year Opening Ceremony held in the Supreme
Court, the chief justice expressed grave concern with jury candidates and the
ability to comprehend their role in the justice system.

He said a "more fundamental reform needs to occur" if stakeholders want
criminal matters heard quickly, "in addition to removing a large number of
cases through nolle or otherwise."

The present jury system, he noted, lacks accountability and proper vetting of
jurors on whether they comprehend the directions and instructions of judges
regarding the law in criminal cases.

"No one who has ever been convicted or acquitted by a jury knows the periphery
reason why he or she was convicted or acquitted. There's simply no
accountability."

"Even if the judge gets it right, we have no way of knowing if the jury truly
understood the instructions and indeed got it right. It is only an assumption,"
the chief justice added.

He also said given the country's "hush-hush level" of the national grade
average, there is cause for concern for the future of the jury system.

"I recently went to a school where it was frightening to hear teachers
complaining of having to teach Phonics and basic stuff to assist 10 and
11-year-olds that are normally taught by preschool teachers."

"These are surely to be our next level of jurors, a most frightening thought,"
the chief justice said.

In December 2011, former Chief Justice Sir Burton Hall, while speaking at a
lecture series at the Harry C Moore Library hosted by the Eugene Dupuch Law
School, recommended the Bahamas move away from a jury system, as it is
"inefficient" and "costly".

Then Chief Justice Sir Michael Barnett dissented at the 2012 Legal Year
Opening, arguing that as long as it remains a constitutional right, serving on
a jury is a fundamental right in our society.

Court of Appeal president, Justice Dame Anita Allen at the time admitted that
the jury system was not perfect but noted that bench trials were not without
flaws notwithstanding they were less costly and more efficient.

(source: tribune242.com)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Palestinians Call for Release of Poet Awaiting Saudi Execution ----
Intellectuals and writers gather in Ramallah as part of campaign for works of
Ashraf Fayadh to be read in 42 countries to press that his life be spared.


Palestinian intellectuals and writers have gathered in the West Bank to read
poems and call for the release of a Palestinian poet awaiting execution in
Saudi Arabia.

Thursday's readings in the city of Ramallah were part of a campaign launched by
the International Literature Festival in Berlin for works of Ashraf Fayadh to
be read in 42 countries to press that his life be spared.

Human Rights Watch says Fayadh was convicted and sentenced to death on charges
of blasphemy, spreading atheism and having illicit relationships with women,
based on photographs found on his mobile phone. He told the court the
photographs were of women he had met at an art gallery.

Poet Mahmoud Abu Hashhash says no poet "should be punished for his creation"
but awarded for his art.

(source: Ha'aretz)


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2016-01-15 20:52:52 UTC
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Jan. 15



AFGHANISTAN----execution

Badghis Taliban execute man in public on adultery charges


Taliban have publically executed a man on adultery charges in northwestern
Badghis province. The incident took place in Nakhjiristan area of Qadis
District earlier this week after reportedly a Taliban desert-court announced
the punishment to Abdul Ahad, the man killed.

Mirza Ali, Governor of Qadis while confirming the incident said that Abdul Ahad
was shot dead by Taliban 2 days before. He added that security agencies have
launched an investigation into the incident.

This is not the 1st time a man is being executed by the order of a Taliban
desert court but the group kills dozens of people on similar charges every
year.

(source: rawa.org)






UNITED KINGDOM/SAUDI ARABIA:

UK knew lobbying Saudi Arabia against executions was pointless


The UK left Saudi Arabia off a list of countries to lobby on abolishing the
death penalty because the government knew Riyadh was not open to reform.

Conservative MP Matthew Offord recently sent a written question to Foreign
Secretary Philip Hammond asking why the government did not include Saudi Arabia
in its report "Strategy for the Abolition of the Death Penalty 2010-2015".

Minister for Europe David Lidington replied to the question on Thursday and,
while he did not name Saudi Arabia specifically, he said the decision had been
a strategic one based on resources.

"The judgement made in 2010 was that available government resources would focus
on countries ready to engage in a dialogue about capital punishment likely to
lead to reform," he said.

The government's 5-year plan in 2010 aimed to increase the number of countries
who have abolished or suspended using the death penalty.

Lidington said that over this period many of the countries prioritised by the
government have made reforms - including Tunisia, Morocco, China, and the
United States.

As a close ally of the UK, Foreign Secretary Hammond has been criticised for
his limited response to the rising number of executions in Saudi Arabia.

When asked to respond to the mass 47 executions meted out by Riyadh on 2
January Hammond told the BBC: "Just to be clear, these people were terrorists."

Rights group Reprieve, which campaigns against the death penalty, accused
Hammond of "parroting Saudi Arabian propaganda".

Among the 47 people executed was prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr,
whose killing sparked protests inside the kingdom as well as regionally,
leading to a diplomatic fallout between Saudi and Iran.

Prisoners convicted of involvement in al-Qaeda attacks were also executed on 2
January. Among them, as revealed by Middle East Eye, were inmates arrested as
juveniles and others apparently suffering from mental illness.

Executions in Saudi Arabia have soared since King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud
came to the throne in January last year, following the death of his brother
Abdullah.

At least 157 people were put to death in 2015, which was the highest number
since 1995 when 192 people were executed.

The majority of those executed were convicted of either drugs or murder
charges.

Authorities have not explained the spike in executions, however; on a visit to
London this week Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the world must
respect sovereign decisions taken by his country.

"On this issue [of the death penalty] we have a fundamental difference," he
told Channel 4 News's Jonathan Rugman.

"In your country you do not execute people, we respect it. In our country, the
death penalty is part of our laws and you have to respect this."

(source: middleeasteye.net)

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

Britons do not respect our death penalty laws - but they SHOULD----Saudi
Arabia's foreign minister wants Britons to respect their controversial death
penalty laws.


Saudi Arabia's foreign minister wants Britons to respect their death penalty
laws.

The Saudi politician has urged people in the UK to respect his country's death
penalty as it is causing a strained diplomatic relationship and tensions
between the 2 countries.

Adel Al-Jubeir was questioned on Channel 4 News by Jonathan Rugman, who asked:
"You don't have to execute as many people as you do, do you?"

The minister responded: "We have a fundamental difference, in your country, you
do not execute people, we respect it. In our country, the death penalty is part
of our laws and you have to respect this as it is the law."

There has recently been a number of high-profile executions in Saudi Arabia,
including the death of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr earlier this month.

The execution of the top Shia cleric sparking outrage in Iran - who warned
Saudi Arabia they would pay "a heavy price" for it.

Sheikh al-Nimr was among 47 prisoners were executed in the space of one day for
alleged acts of terrorism.

In the aftermath, demonstrators in Iram broke into the Saudi embassy and
started fires.

Mr Al-Jubeir said: "With regards to the perception of Saudi Arabia among the
British public, this is a problem that we need to work on. We have not been
good at explaining ourselves.

"We have not done a good job at reaching out to the British media or the
British public or to the British institutions, academic institutions, think
tanks and so forth. We maybe not have been as communicative as we should be."

At the time of Sheikh al-Nimr's execution, Maya Foa, director of the death
penalty team at international human rights organisation Reprieve said: "2015
saw Saudi Arabia execute over 150 people, many of them for non-violent
offences. Today's appalling news, with nearly 50 executed in a single day,
suggests 2016 could be even worse.

"Alarmingly, the Saudi Government is continuing to target those who have called
for domestic reform in the kingdom, executing at least 4 of them today.

"There are now real concerns that those protesters sentenced to death as
children could be next in line to face the swordsman's blade.

"Saudi Arabia's allies - including the US and UK - must not turn a blind eye to
such atrocities and must urgently appeal to the Kingdom to change course."

(source: The Telegraph)


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2016-01-17 15:11:15 UTC
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Jan. 17




SOMALILAND----executions

State carries out Executions for the 2nd time in a month


Somaliland government has for the 2nd time in a month carried out executions
among them Ms. Muna Mohamed, 37yrs and her son and her son Mohamed Ahmed Abdi,
22yrs jointly convicted for the cold and brutal murder of the late Ruqiya Said
Ayaanle.

The family of the late Ruqiya Said Ayaanle was present at the spot to witness
the executions of Ms. Muna Mohamed and her son took place in Mandhera district
in Sahil region as confirmed by Mr. Abdirizaq Ayaanle Said the secretary
general of Somaliland House of Representatives and brother of the deceased
woman.

The late Ms. Ruqiya Said Ayaale was killed after she went to the claim
repayment debt she had lent to her assailants who murdered her after the
quarrel went sower, her remains were later found buried in a pit inside the
compound of the residence of. Ms. Muna Mohamed situated in the new hargeisa
suburb.The murder of the late Ruqiya Said Ayaanle shocked the nation.

On the other hand , a former solider convicted for the murder of a senior
officer was also executed today.

4 convicts were executed on the 11th of January after Somaliland authorities
renewed use of the death penalty.

(source: Somaliland Press)






VIETNAM:

Death penalty ends in some cases


How do you respond to a change to the 2015 Penal Code that says the death
penalty will not apply for officials who pay back at least 75 per cent of
illicitly obtained profits?

This is regulated in Point C, Clause 3 in Article 40 of the 2015 Penal Code.
Some people think this is too lenient, but in my opinion, it is not.

The most severe penalty for the crimes of embezzlement and bribery was capital
punishment under the previous Penal Code. During discussions regarding
revisions to this law, legislators agreed to keep capital punishment as
deterrent for the two crimes, but reduce it to life imprisonment if the
criminal is able to pay back at least 75 per cent of the profits they illicitly
obtained.

Can current prisoners be given amnesty if they repent and adhere to the new
law?

These cases will be treated carefully. The criteria for considering whether
they should be granted amnesty would be much stricter and tougher than for
other prisoners serving life sentences. For example, lifers could have their
sentence reduced to 20 years for good behaviour.

If a death sentence is reduced to life imprisonment, they must serve at least
30 years.

As I have mentioned above, officials convicted of corruption could be spared if
they pay back at least 75 % of the profits they illicitly obtained. In
addition, there are other requirements that these prisoners would have to meet,
including helping authorities to conduct investigations into other corruption
cases.

If an official stole VND100 billion (US$4.45 million) and received the death
sentence, they could pay back 75 % and have their sentence reduced. What would
happen to the other VND25 billon ($1.11 million)?

Under the 2015 Penal Code, any public official who illegally obtains VND1
billion upwards could receive capital punishment. Point C, Clause 3 of Article
40 of the 2015 Penal Code applies to all prisoners who receive death sentences
relating to corruption, regard less of the amount of money. However, during
their prison terms, they may enjoy clemency for good behaviour.

(source: vietnamnet.vn)






PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY:

Aide to Palestinian negotiator arrested over 'spying for Israel'


Palestinian intelligence officers have arrested an employee of top negotiator
and PLO secretary-general Saeb Erekat on accusations of "spying for Israel", a
security source said on Sunday.

The high-ranking official said on condition of anonymity that the man employed
in the negotiations department of the Palestine Liberation Organisation was
arrested around two weeks ago.

According to the official, the man, whose identity was not revealed, was an
"administrative employee without access to political files."

He was arrested "for spying on behalf of Israel," he said.

The suspect is said to have confessed after being arrested in the occupied West
Bank town of Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is based.

He had been under surveillance for a long period of time, according to the
source.

Palestinian security forces were in the process of evaluating any potential
damage caused by the suspect's activities.

Erekat, a close ally of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, has been the top
negotiator in peace efforts with Israel. Talks have been at a standstill for
nearly 2 years.

Under Palestinian law, those accused of spying for Israel risk the death
penalty.

(source: Yahoo.com)






IRAQ:

Iraq: Executing Terrorists-----Has Iraq's extensive use of the death penalty
done anything to deter terrorism?


Iraq carried out the 4th-most executions (behind China, Iran and Saudi Arabia)
in 2014.

In 2003, the United States temporarily suspended Iraq's use of executions.

The vast majority of executions in Iraq have been carried out for
terrorism-related offences.

1. Iraq carried out the fourth-most executions (behind China, Iran and Saudi
Arabia) in 2014, with at least 61 executions, according to Amnesty
International. Escalation of armed conflict in some parts of the country during
the year - including the rise of ISIS - makes the actual number difficult to
confirm.

2. Shortly after invading Iraq in 2003, the United States temporarily suspended
Iraq's use of executions.

3. The deposed Ba'ath Party had used the punishment as a means of religious and
political oppression. Existing death row inmates had to be sorted out.

Death Penalty: A "Just The Facts" Series

4. Iraq's death penalty was reinstated a year later and was used, most notably,
in the December 2006 hanging of Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity.

5. Over the past decade, the vast majority of executions in Iraq have been
carried out for terrorism-related offences.

6. A 2005 Iraqi law made death the mandatory sentence for conviction for acts
of terrorism or even support for terrorism. Many less serious offenses also
carry the death penalty, contrary to global standards.

7. The 61 confirmed Iraqi executions in 2014, however, are a dramatic reduction
from the 169 in 2013.

8. The frequent number of large-scale prison breaks in Iraq, particularly by
terrorist groups freeing their fighters, may be a factor in the reliance on the
death penalty to give more finality to the capture of major threats.

9. Iraqi officials, however, tend to claim more simply that frequent executions
are legitimately grounded in local tradition.

(sources: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and The Globalist Research
Center)


JAPAN:

Travesty of justice: legal reform unlikely despite erroneous convictions


2 elderly men fighting for decades to clear their names are poised to receive
high-profile retrials in 2016 and yet their ordeals are unlikely to trigger
wide-ranging reform to the country's justice system, experts say.

Even after being sent to prison for murder, Iwao Hakamada at first trained like
the prizefighter he was. Fellow death-row inmate Kazuo Ishikawa used to watch
him shadowbox and punch the walls of his cell till his knuckles turned bloody.

The pain seemed to mean little to him, Ishikawa recalls. "He was very strong."

Today, Hakamada, now a stooped, fleshy 79-year-old, strolls daily through the
streets of his native Shizuoka Prefecture communing with ghosts. After 48 years
in jail, the large majority of it in solitary confinement waiting for his
execution, he is temporarily free but appears to have retreated deep inside his
own head. He answers questions about his ordeal in the third person, if at all.

"The guy called Hakamada could not have committed a crime because he wasn't in
Japan," he says during an interview at an apartment he shares with his sister.
"He was born in Buckingham Palace, in Hawaii."

On his daily walks, he explains, he hears the souls of the dead from the
surrounding buildings, pleading for help.

Hakamada was arrested in August 1966 on suspicion of murdering a family of 4.
After years of appeals, Shizuoka District Court said in 2014 that police
evidence against him was probably fabricated and revoked his death sentence.
The prosecution disagrees and, as a result, Hakamada awaits retrial and the
possibility that the police will return him to a 5-square-meter cell.

Flanked by his sister, Hideko, Hamakada still believes he is 22. He gives no
clue that he entered the history books in 2011 as the world's longest-serving
death-row prisoner.

"He has built a high wall around his heart to stay strong," says Nobuhiro
Terazawa, a friend of the Hamakadas. "That's how he survived."

Where Hakamada is withdrawn and inarticulate, Ishikawa is angry and outspoken,
demanding the state overturn his conviction for murdering a Saitama schoolgirl
in 1963. His death sentence was later commuted to life. Since Ishikawa's parole
2 decades ago, he has relentlessly fought for a retrial. Justice, he believes,
is finally near.

"I am not supposed to utter a word about my innocence but the police are
withholding a mountain of evidence," he says, following a protest with his wife
and supporters - his 120th - outside Tokyo District Court. "Once they disclose
it, I will be proven innocent, no question."

Ishikawa reels off a handful of other cases where death-row inmates have had
their convictions overturned: Sakae Menda, Masao Akabori, Yukio Saito and now
Hakamada. The only reason these 4 lived and others didn't, he says, is because
they fought until the state caved in.

"The police disclosed the evidence (they were concealing). They were all
granted retrials," he says. "A prison guard once told me that I would be
executed in a couple of years even if I were innocent. 'There is only 1 way you
can be saved,' he told me. 'You need to study so that you can appeal your
innocence to the people of Japan in a letter. There is no other way you can
survive.' He (then) taught me how to read and write."

Hakamada and Ishikawa represent the country's highest-profile modern legal
miscarriages. Hakamada's release made global headlines and briefly shook public
confidence in the nation's justice system. Sometime in 2016, their cases are
finally expected to get another legal airing. Reformers, however, are
pessimistic that the system will change.

Judicial officials are fighting to protect the status quo, says Yoshihiro
Yasuda, arguably the country's most famous death-penalty opponent.

"The prosecution and judges have not accepted they did anything wrong (in the
Hakamada case)," he says. "They should be shocked that such a thing could
happen and try to do better. Instead, they always try to prove that they were
right."

Hakamada's freedom was soon followed by the release of Keiko Aoki, who had
spent 20 years in prison for lighting a fire that killed her 11-year-old
daughter in September 1995. Many now believe leaking gasoline in the family
garage started the blaze.

The murky legal process that put all 3 in prison, largely on the basis of
confessions extracted through intimidation and torture, has been under scrutiny
for decades. Ishikawa endured 30 days of interrogation and signed a confession
under psychological duress, although he was illiterate at the time.

Hakamada was interrogated for 20 days with no lawyer present, says Amnesty
International. He later retracted his confession, claiming the police had
beaten and threatened him. Still, Shizuoka District Court sentenced him to
death in September 1968.

Aoki lasted a single day in a police station, where she had gone voluntarily,
before putting her name to a statement admitting arson and murder. Detectives
played on her grief by repeatedly screaming that she was responsible for the
death of her child. She retracted the confession the next day.

Even critics of the country's justice system accept that it gets a lot right.
Rates of recidivism are comparatively low and the emphasis is on
rehabilitation. A lot of effort is made to keep young offenders out of the
prison system.

Citizens are incarcerated at a far lower rate than in most developed countries:
55 per 100,000 people compared with 149 in Britain and 716 the United States.

Nevertheless, the entire system would collapse without confessions, David
Johnson, a judicial expert on Japan at the University of Hawaii recently told
The Economist. Confessions underpinned 89 % of domestic criminal cases in 2014.

With up to 23 days to interrogate a suspect, police have the legal means to
extract confessions. Suspects are almost always convicted once indicted. And,
like anywhere, bias can affect police procedure: Aoki's partner, who was
convicted of the same crime, was ethnically Korean; Ishikawa came from the
"burakumin" underclass; and Hakamada was poor and, to the eyes of the police,
his supporters say, thuggish.

"I think there are many, many more wrongful convictions in Japan," says Kana
Sasakura, an associate professor of law at Konan University.

Sasakura leads a movement in Japan, modeled on the U.S. Innocence Project, to
right miscarriages of justice. Although nobody knows how many innocent people
are in Japanese prisons, some experts believe 1,500 convictions a year may be
flawed. More than 1/2 of the 131 people on the country's death row are
challenging their convictions.

The postwar Allied Occupation modernized the country's courts by introducing
legal protections for the criminally accused - most notably, the right to
silence and the presumption of innocence. The reforms attempted to steer courts
away from reliance on confessions and stop prosecutors appealing verdicts of
not guilty.

As with so many of the Allied reforms, some were tolerated and took root,
others tossed out or ignored. In practice, silence is deemed to be indicative
of guilt and confessions are still treated "almost like a religion," Sasakura
says. "The police believe that expression of remorse is a key part of the
system."

If, as expected, Hakamada and Ishikawa are exonerated, the legal authorities
will likely argue that the system has changed in the half century since their
convictions. Physical abuse is rarer and lawyers more likely to be present.

The Justice Ministry says bills to revise criminal procedure are making their
way through the Diet. "These include mandatory monitoring (voice recording and
videotaping) of interrogations," says a ministry spokesman, who declined to be
named in accordance with departmental policy.

Yasuda, however, is skeptical that much will change. The proposal to record
interrogations may actually make things worse by forcing these abuses off
camera, he says.

Police will still be in almost complete control. And in any case, the proposal
- agreed after a string of miscarriages and years of discussion - will affect
less than 3 % of all interviews conducted by the police.

Suspects still have very little protection from the police, says Fumito
Morikawa, a defense lawyer who represented people arrested outside the Diet
during summer protests against security legislation in 2015. Morikawa says
abuses of suspects in the form of verbal insults, sleep deprivation and
threatening behavior are "too numerous to mention."

"The key violence," he says, "lies in the length of detention."

Morikawa says miscarriages will continue until the extended use of detention
cells in police holding areas is scrapped. The system, known as daiyo kangoku
(substitute prison), is key to extracting statements from suspects because it
gives police so much control over the interview process. He says he recently
won just his 4th court victory in a legal career spanning 25 years.

"The fact is," he says, "my client would have lost had he confessed."

Critics campaigning for reform put their hopes in the country's lay judge
system, which injected some civilian input into the cloistered professional
world of prosecutors, lawyers and judges. Since 2009, more than 50,000 people
have served in trials for serious crimes. Yet, the system has done nothing to
lower the conviction rate or reliance on confessions. If anything, lay judges
appear to hand down harsher sentences in serious crimes. In October 2013, for
example, the Tokyo High Court overturned a death penalty handed down by a lay
judge panel, calling the sentence an "error." It was the 2nd time a high court
abrogated a death sentence rendered by a lay judge panel that year.

A possible reason why the introduction of lay judges has not changed the system
is that decisions cannot be reached without the agreement of professional
judges. "My view of the lay judge system is it exists to allow judges to
continue generating similar results with less criticism of them," says Colin
P.A. Jones, a professor at Doshisha Law School in Kyoto.

Public prosecutors drive the entire system and their careers sometimes take
precedence over justice. Nearly 1/3 of prosecutors believe that a verdict of
not guilty hurts their promotion prospects, according to an official survey in
2010 - 1 reason why many weaker cases are dropped. 1/4 of respondents said they
had been instructed to write confession statements bearing no relation to what
suspects actually said.

Misconduct often goes unchecked; prosecutors can block inquiries. They put
pressure on the police to extract confessions. And, despite occasional
high-profile releases from prison such as Hakamada, the media and the public
largely back them because they appear to produce low rates of crime and
recidivism. As a result, prosecutors are left secure in their self-appointed
role of maintaining social order.

Reforming this system is a mammoth task, Yasuda says. At a minimum, he says,
prosecutors should be forced to disclose all evidence to the defense - evidence
that would help exonerate suspects such as Hakamada and Ishikawa. The length of
detention should also be brought into line with international norms and Japan
should introduce a third-party body to oversee miscarriages and free the
unjustly convicted, he says.

The political motivation to push these reforms, however, has weakened. For one
thing, Supreme Court justices are appointed by the Cabinet. For another,
Sasakura says, the government is currently focused on the economy and larger
political issues. "The justice system is the least of their priorities,"
Sasakura says.

In any case, reform has come too late for Ishikawa. "If I hadn't signed a
statement, I'd never have been convicted of a crime," he says. "I was 24 at the
time; I'm 76 now. I would have never said I'd done it even if I went through
harsh interrogation because I didn't do it. However, I confessed to a crime I
never committed. For that, I must apologize to the people of Japan. For that, I
still blame myself to this day."

Death-row inmates in daily wait for execution notice

Kazuo Ishikawa was sentenced to death for the kidnap, rape and murder of
16-year-old Yoshie Nakata, whose body was found on a farm in Saitama Prefecture
in May 1963. The crime shocked Japan and put enormous pressure on police and
prosecutors.

Ishikawa confessed to the crime on June 20, 1963. He says the police told him
if he signed a statement they wrote he would get a maximum of 10 years in
prison and save his family from disgrace. Instead, he was sentenced to death
and his family members were harassed out of school and work. Each morning in
prison, he would wait for the executioner.

"In Japan, if you are not executed between 8 a.m. and noon, you are safe till
the next day," Ishikawa says. "The inmates wait, seated with their legs folded
and facing the wall. Every morning, I also waited as I sat properly with my
legs folded."

He befriended other inmates, including Iwao Hakamada. "The rules are stricter
today, but then, if you survived the morning, you were allowed to visit others
in their cells freely," he says. "Now they can't even meet family members 4
times removed. I hear their cells are also locked."

That change in policy was designed to avoid disturbing the prisoners' "peace of
mind," Justice Ministry officials say.

In fact, says Yoshihiro Yasuda, officials were worried inmates might attempt to
cheat the executioner.

"There are no handles or bars (in their cells), nothing to allow them to hang
themselves," he says.

Hakamada was monitored day and night in a 5-square-meter cell not knowing which
day might be his last. Friends say he gradually become uncommunicative, at one
point refusing all visits from his closest relatives, including his sister, for
well over a decade.

Japan is 1 of 22 nations and the only developed country apart from the U.S.
that retains capital punishment. It is one of the oddities of the system that a
stricken conscience can bring it grinding to a halt.

Several justice ministers have refused to sign execution orders; Seiken
Sugiura, a devout Buddhist, oversaw a 15-month gallows strike in 2005-06.

In 2009, Keiko Chiba, a lifelong opponent of capital punishment, became justice
minister. She was expected to begin a new moratorium. Instead, she sat ashen
faced through the hangings of Kazuo Shinozawa and Hidenori Ogata after being
"persuaded to do her duty" by Justice Ministry bureaucrats, it was later
reported. Chiba has never commented publicly about her about-face.

Moratoriums are always temporary. Despite falling crime rates, death sentences
are increasingly common: the number of inmates on death row has nearly tripled
over the past 2 decades. The government's coalition partner, the
Buddhist-backed Komeito, reportedly opposes the death penalty but does little
to stop it.

According to a rare book by Toshio Sakamoto, a former executioner, prison
guards are rotated every 3 years to prevent them developing empathy with their
charges. Like the prisoners, guards are also told on the day of an order when
an execution is to be carried out. 3 guards wait with hands on buttons to
release the bound and hooded prisoner, unaware of which one has been rigged to
open the trapdoor beneath his or her feet.

Prisoners sometimes defecate themselves in death. Faces can be contorted or
disfigured. Many bodies are not collected and are buried in the prison
graveyard or donated to hospitals for medical research.

The mental wear and tear on prison employees is one reason why some officials
reportedly want to replace hanging with lethal injection, a claim denied by the
Justice Ministry.

"There is no concrete discussion on changing the method of execution," a
Justice Ministry spokesman says.

However, Yasuda says switching methods would invite unwanted scrutiny of the
details of execution.

The Justice Ministry bureaucrats who zealously protect the system, Yasuda says,
"are absolutely opposed to starting a debate on the death penalty."

(source: Japan Times)






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Jan. 18



ZIMBABWE:

Zimbabwe Faces Hangman Crisis:


At least 117 prisoners are on death row in Zimbabwe and no executions have been
carried out for the past 12 years due to the unavailability of a hangman, the
Constitutional Court heard recently.

Zimbabweans are shunning the job.

Appearing for 14 death row prisoners who are challenging the constitutionality
of the death penalty despite spending lengthy periods in custody, Harare lawyer
Mr Tendai Biti said the number of condemned prisoners awaiting death stood at
117.

He said the automatic appeals in respect of some of the inmates had not been
exercised owing to delays in the transcription of court records and the
disappearance of some.

He said preparation of records was done on time only for those who paid the
requisite fees.

Mr Biti claimed timeframes were not being respected for condemned prisoners who
did not pay.

"The system has abandoned them. If you do not pay the fee for the preparation
of the record, the timeframes will not be respected," said Mr Biti.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, who was part of the 9-member bench hearing the
constitutional matter, questioned why the prisoners were not being executed.

Mrs Olivia Zvedi, a law officer in the Attorney- General's Office, said
Government was still looking for a hangman. "There is no hangman at the moment.
The one who was there previously left.

"We can only get one when an appropriate advertisement for the job is done and
interviews are conducted," she said.

Asked why they were not getting a new hangman, Mrs Zvedi said the job was not
an easy one and people were shunning it.

"It is not a job that one can easily apply for. The State is also in a
predicament on how to proceed in the absence of a hangman," she said.

(source: The Herald)






IRAN----executions

5 Prisoners Including Possible Juvenile Offender Hanged in Iran


Iranian authorities have executed 4 prisoners in northern Iran and 1 prisoner
in southern Iran who may have been under the age of 18 when he allegedly
committed the murder that Iranian courts sentenced him to death for.

Gilan Judiciary's press department reports on the exeuction of 4 prisoners at
Lakan, Rasht's central prison, on the morning of Saturday January 16. According
to the report, 3 of the prisoners were sentenced to death on drug charges.
Their names have been identified as: S.Gh., 50 years old; M.F., 35 years old;
and A.A., 24 years old. The report identifies the other prisoner as: H.R., 27
years old, sentenced to death for rape.

According to the human rights group, HRANA, on Wednesday January 13, a
prisoner, identified as Houshang Zare, was hanged at Shiraz's Adelabad Prison
on murder charges. A close source who asked to be anonymous tells IHR that Zare
was under the age of 18 when he allegedly committed the murder that Iranian
courts sentenced him to death for.

(source: Iran Human Rights)






NIGERIA/SAUDI ARABIA:

Soyinka leads march against death sentence on Saudi poet


Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has led many practitioners in the creative
industry in a protest march to save Palestinian writer and artist, Ashraf
Fayadh (35), from being hanged by the Saudi authorities.

Fayadh is facing a death sentence for posting online a video showing women
being flogged by Saudi Arabia authority ostensibly for some religious
infractions. He also renounced his Islamic faith.

In Lagos, the 'Free Ashraf Fayadh Now' campaign had the Nobel laureate leading
the charge for the freedom of the Palestinian artist residing in Saudi Arabia
who faces certain death if the world sat back and merely watched.

Soyinka said the need to hold global reading for Fayadh was necessary because
"this poet is one of us." He condemned any form of religious practice that
sentences people to death for their opinion. Soyinka wondered: "Why should we
not be partisan on this? Religion is a personal affirmation. We should not
subscribe to any article of faith that says ours is superior to the other. We
do not deserve to be sentenced to death, harassed or imprisoned for practising
a different faith".

To Soyinka, perhaps the world holds too much respect for the dogmatism of
others which has continued to fuel the impunity perpetuated in the name of
religion all over the world. He said religion should simply be a matter of
followership or otherwise with no one being compelled one way or the other.

Soyinka who said humanism was his religion, added that it was time to uphold
humanism as the global ideal. He blamed its promoters for being too tepid and
not insisting on certain tenets of humanism that should be upheld. "Too bad we
have not structured what we call humanism which is perhaps the problem we are
having, which makes a minority to impose their will on the rest of us. We ought
to confront the absence of humanism. We allowed the sacred texts to overwhelm
our lives. Why should a bunch of mortals sit down and pass death on others.
What kind of arrogance is that?"

The literary giant and human rights activist also condemned what he described
as the slavery and second class status of women who are confined to wearing
hijab in the name of religion and called for its abrogation. He said ECOWAS
Heads of government argument about the hijab is a wrong, advising that instead,
the argument should be for humanism that would not enslave women the way the
hijab does.

What we should ask is: what is human dignity? Why is that a minority imposes
its own on the rest of the world? Women should be left alone to wear what they
want and not be imposed upon. It's slavery; it's subjecting women to
humiliation. We need to know what the Prophet said about it or is it an
imposition? Islam has to talk to Islam to prevent interlopers like myself from
talking about it. But we don't want the explanation to be at the expense of
human life and dignity.

"We are not doing Ashraf Fayadh a favour by this protest. We are doing
ourselves a favour. We are saying religion is a personal thing".

Executive Director, TheNews, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, read from his prison memoir,
Jailed for Life, written during the Gen. Sanni Abacha years of dictatorship,
bringing the terrible conditions of condemned persons close home to the
audience made up of writers and other members of the creative community.

(source: The Guardian)






GREAT BRITAIN:

World War 1 soldier executed for mutiny to be honoured at National Memorial
Arboretum


In the mist of an anaemic French dawn, the weak sunlight burning through leaden
skies, they placed the blindfold over Jack Braithwaite's eyes.

He stiffened against the whitewashed wall, the wisps of breath from his open
mouth quickening.

These were Jack Braithwaite's horrifying last moments.

At 6.05am on October 29, 1916, Jack was executed by firing squad, joining the
ranks of those slaughtered by his own side.

His death on that barren patch of land in Rouen came minutes after one Gunner
Lewis was shot.

Jack, aged 31, heard the rifles' crackle and the sound turned his legs to
jelly.

His crime: mutiny. But that incendiary word paints a picture that does not fit
the act that cost Jack his life.

Jack, who openly admitted at his court martial, "I am not a born soldier, just
a Bohemian journalist", was guilty of a misdemeanour, not mutiny.

On August 28, 1916, the New Zealander, who had proved truly troublesome to Army
top brass, found himself at Number 1 Prison, Blargies, a military lock-up noted
for its toughness.

The simmering ill-feeling among inmates turned into open rebellion on that day.

A tough Aussie named Private Little complained bitterly and loudly about the
lack of hot water in the showers.

The matter escalated, with Little banging on tables and demanding his meal.
Others joined the insurrection, seizing the moment to air their own grievances.

It was then Jack, known as "Bohemian Jack" because of his artistic bent, made
his fatal mistake.

In a bid to defuse a potential riot, Jack, who was on mess duty, led furious
Little to his tent and fed him.

He had, however, taken Little from the custody of a staff sergeant. And that,
in the army's book, constituted mutiny.

Now, following a lobby by New Zealand historian Geoff McMillan, together with
Richard Pursehouse and Lee Dent of Cannock-based Great War group The Chase
Project, the trooper is to be honoured at a Staffordshire war memorial.

Jack's name will be included in the 'Shot at Dawn' tribute at the National
Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas.

Created in 2000 by Birmingham artist Andy DeComyn, the area is a circle of 306
stakes, bearing the name of men posthumously pardoned after being executed by
their own side, surrounding a statue of a blindfolded soldier.

It is hoped Jack's stake will be installed before the centenary of his death.

At the court martial, Jack, who spent every day of active service wondering
what he was doing amid the mud, blood and brutality of the trenches, pleaded
for his life.

He was attempting to stem trouble, he insisted, and pointed out that in Egypt,
where he had served, such actions had been punished with 14 days imprisonment.

"I cannot understand that a simple act of peace-making could be brought to look
like deliberate mutiny," he protested.

Jack, a member of 2nd battalion Otago Regiment, also pointed out the sacrifices
his family had made for the war effort. 2 brothers had been killed in action, 2
wounded and invalided back home. 2 more were training to join the fray. The
Braithwaites had paid a heavy price.

In an attempt to win sympathy, Jack added to the mix the fact he was due to
marry "the best girl in the entire world".

He partially won over the trial's convening officer, Lieutenant-General
Clayton, who recommended that the sentence be commuted to 10 years penal
servitude, concluding the evidence bore out the defendant's version of events.

But his recommendations were not accepted by the court. Jack and 3 Australians
involved in the prison clash were sentenced to death by firing squad.

There is credence in claims made by Jack's family that he was a "sacrificial
lamb".

Despite being sentenced to death, the Army knew there was little chance that
the Australians would face a firing squad. The execution of any trooper from
Down Under needed the approval of the Australian Governor General.

And he did not share Allied chief Sir Douglas Haig's appetite for killing our
own men.

The 3 Aussies, who all played a greater role in the near jail riot than Jack,
had their sentence commuted to 2 years hard labour.

But Haig and his cronies had to make a point, had to show that flagrant
disobedience would result in death.

That factor, plus the powder keg atmosphere at the prison and Jack's poor
disciplinary record meant clemency was not an option.

He had, after all, proved more than problematic during his stint on The Front.

In May, 1916, Jack lost his stripes for going AWOL and didn't seem to give a
fig about it. He allegedly retorted: "Let duty and soldiering go to hell." His
only time in the trenches, from May 14 to 22, ended ignominiously. He again
went missing from his unit, armed with a forged "leave pass". That earned him
60 days field punishment, but by this time Jack had decided war was not for
him.

He again escaped on July 7, was caught and sentenced to 2 years hard labour.
Even then, he tried to do a runner while being transferred to the British
Army's Blargies prison.

Jack's own family seems to have been ashamed of the reluctant trooper. His own
uncle, Brigadier W. Braithwaite, urged authorities to lock up his nephew and
send him back to New Zealand as soon as possible.

Quite simply, in the British Army's eyes, Jack was a coward. In reality, the
man was a sensitive soul, intelligent enough to realise the madness he was
immersed in. The Bohemian had been flung into a meat grinder and wanted none of
it. In all, he was court martialled 4 times.

His approach to military life is best summed up by writer Mary Vidal in a
superb blog on the Western Front Association website.

She said: "Poor Jack. He seems to have been somebody who was totally unsuited
to become a soldier and perhaps left to himself, and without the patriotic
fervour sweeping Britain and the Empire in 1915, he would not have enlisted.

"He was unable to accept military discipline and acted in a foolhardy, perhaps
stupid, manner and was dealt with firmly by the authorities.

"In his final, fatal, brush with military law he found himself cast in the role
of a sacrificial victim. It would seem that he was in the wrong place at the
wrong time and his luck had run out. In his last hours how much he must have
wished he had stayed a 'Bohemian' journalist."

Great War historian Ian McGibbon wrote: "Braithwaite was foolhardy, even
stupid, in his failure to take military discipline seriously and was treated
firmly by the New Zealand divisional authorities. But in his final hearing he
was more unlucky than criminal.

"But he found himself cast in the role of sacrificial victim and paid the
supreme penalty."

In his last, poignant written missive to the court, Jack, pinning his hopes on
his prowess as a writer, stated: "Unfortunately I have made a serious mess of
things, and where I came to win honour and glory, I have won shame, dishonour,
and everlasting disgrace."
: He was wrong. Disgrace did not last forever.
His pardon was signed by British Secretary for Defence Des Browne in 2006.

Jack's tribute at the National Memorial Arboretum was secured after Geoff
McMillan, from Waikanae Beach, New Zealand, visited the site last April.

"I could only find 4 stakes for the 5 New Zealanders executed during the Great
War," he said.

"There was not one for Jack Braithwaite, who had been pardoned by the New
Zealand Government in 2000 along with the other four under the Pardon for
Soldiers of the Great War Act."

News of Jack's honour has been welcomed by Richard Pursehouse.

"I think it's great, like picking up on something that has been missed," he
said. "I feel very humbled to have been involved.

???There is no date yet, but we hope it happens before the centenary of his
death.

"What happened was the law at the time, you had to have the ultimate deterrent.
In contrast, not a single servicemen was executed in World War II."

Bohemian Jack is buried in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen.

(source: birminghammail.co.uk)






MALAYSIA:

Commute sentence of Altantuya's convicted murderer


Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet) prays that the sentence
of death on Azilah Hadri, who was convicted for the murder of Altantuya
Shaariibuu, be commuted.

It was recently reported that former special action force officer Azilah has
filed a petition to the Selangor sultan, being the ruler of the state of
Selangor, seeking a royal pardon over his conviction for the murder of the
Mongolian translator (The Star, Jan 15, 2016). In Malaysia, conviction for
murder carries the mandatory death penalty.

Article 42(1) of the Malaysian federal constitution provides that: 'The Yang
di-Pertuan Agong has power to grant pardons, reprieves and respites in respect
of all offences which have been tried by court-martial and all offences
committed in the Federal Territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan and Putrajaya; and
the Ruler or Yang di-Pertua Negeri of a State has power to grant pardons,
reprieves and respites in respect of all other offences committed in his State.

In a reply to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament M Kulasegaran
(DAP - Ipoh Barat), dated Nov 3, 2015, it was disclosed that since 1998 until
Oct 6, 2015, 127 death row prisoners have had their sentence commuted. As of
Oct 6, 2015, there still remain about 1,022 persons on death row.

In Thailand, Royal Pardons have resulted in about 90 % or more persons
sentenced to death having their sentence commuted to imprisonment.

On 18/12/2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a Resolution
to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death
penalty. This is the 5th time this resolution has been tabled since the first
in 2007. One hundred and seventeen member states voted in favour of the 2014
resolution, indicating the continuing growing global support for the abolition
of the death penalty.

As such, taking also into consideration the various arguments for the abolition
of the death penalty including that any miscarriage or failure of justice in
the implementation of the death penalty is irreversible and irreparable, Madpet
urges the HRH the sultan of Selangor to exercise his power to commute the death
sentence faced by Azilah Hadri into one of imprisonment.

Madpet reiterates its urging that Malaysia abolish the death penalty.

Madpet also urges a moratorium on all executions pending abolition.

(source: CHARLES HECTOR is a coordinator of Malaysians Against Death Penalty
and Torture (Madpet)----malaysiakini.com)






EGYPT:

Egypt's parliament endorses controversial anti-terrorism law


Egypt's parliament on Sunday overwhelmingly endorsed a controversial
anti-terrorism law that sets up special courts and shields its enforcers from
legal ramifications.

The law is one of roughly 400 that were issued by executive decree during the
more than 3 years in which Egypt was governed without a parliament after its
democratically elected chamber was dissolved in mid-2012.

It details sentences for various terrorism-related crimes ranging from 5 years
to the death penalty, and shields the military and police from legal penalties
for what it calls proportionate use of force.

The law also fines journalists for contradicting the authorities' version of
any militant attack. The original draft was amended last year following a
domestic and international outcry after it initially stipulated imprisonment
for such an offence.

The newly elected legislature is constitutionally obliged to review the
executive decrees within 15 days of its 1st session, which was on Jan. 10, and
either approve or reject them.

The anti-terrorism law passed by an overwhelming 457 votes to 24 without a
single amendment to the original decree issued by President Abdel Fattah
al-Sisi last year, parliamentary sources said.

Egypt's new parliament, which has 568 elected members plus another 28 appointed
directly by the president, is dominated by the "Support Egypt" coalition, an
alliance of over 400 MPs loyal to Sisi.

Human rights groups accuse Sisi, who as military chief deposed a freely elected
Islamist president in 2013, of rolling back freedoms won in the 2011 uprising
that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Opposition legislator Mohamed Salah Khalifa, a leader of the Islamist Nour
Party, which holds just 12 seats after controlling about a quarter of the
previous parliament, said the law employed ambiguous wording.

"I fear that it will be used broadly when it is applied," he said.

"The (anti-terrorism) law was imposed during exceptional circumstances when the
country was exposed to danger but, after these dangers subside, there should be
a balance between protecting the state and its institutions and preserving
human rights."

Parliament also approved a 2014 decree on the protection of critical government
facilities. The law increases the jurisdiction of military courts, allowing
them to try civilians accused of attacking buildings and cutting off roads.

Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, is confronted by an increasingly
violent insurgency in North Sinai, where the most active militant group has
pledged allegiance to Islamic State. Cairo and other cities have also suffered
Islamist attacks.

Sisi has presided over a no-holds-barred crackdown on Islamists. Thousands of
alleged Islamist supporters have been jailed and scores have been sentenced to
death.

(source: Reuters)

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Jan. 19



THAILAND:

David Miller's father opposes Koh Tao death sentence


The father of slain British backpacker David Miller has said he does not want
the men convicted of his murder to get the death penalty.

Ian Miller told the Jersey Evening Post that although he was sure Myanmar
migrant workers Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were guilty of killing his son, he did
not endorse the death penalty for them.

"The message we want to get across is that there has been enough death," he
told the newspaper, adding that his family had been vilified by internet users
for supporting the conviction.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were convicted of the murder of Miller and of the rape
and murder of fellow Brit Hannah Witheridge on Koh Tao in September 2014.

They received death sentences from a Koh Samui court last month.

The investigation into the case and court verdict have been widely criticised,
with many claiming the 2 Myanmar nationals had been used as scapegoats by the
Thai justice system.

Hundreds of people protested outside the Thai embassy in Yangon while hackers
attacked Thai police and court websites.

David Miller's brother Michael read a statement after the verdict, saying
"justice... has been delivered" and that the family believed "the correct
verdict has been reached".

However Hannah Witheridge's family were more circumspect immediately
afterwards, saying they needed time "to digest the outcome of the trial" and
"figure out the most appropriate way to tell our story".

Hannah's sister Laura last week posted a note on her Facebook slamming Thai
authorities over the "bungled" investigation into the murders. The note has
since been removed.

(source: coconuts.co)






SRI LANKA:

Death penalty to suspects of Mirasuvil murder


3 suspects responsible for the murder of an individual in the Jaffna, Mirisuvil
area has been sentenced to death by the Jaffna High court judge, Eelancheliyan
yesterday.

The murder was committed in 2006 December 13th where the victim was attacked
and killed after being hit with a mortar.

The 1st suspect was arrested when he was riding a motorcycle.

The other suspects were arrested later on.

The murder weapon - a mortar was found disposed in a paddy field near the
Kudameeyan Army camp.

(source: hirunews.lk)






BAHAMAS:

Bran: 'How Many Must Die Before We Carry Out Capital Punishment?'


Democratic National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney yesterday asked "how
many more must die" to violence before lawmakers do what is necessary to
protect the public and carry out capital punishment.

The question was in direct response to the recent home invasion and attack on
Pastor Rex Major. The pastor, 80, was gun-butted last Thursday after armed
intruders broke into his home and attempted to sexually assault his daughter
before fleeing the scene with electronics.

A day before the attack, Chief Justice Sir Hartman Longley suggested that
without changes to existing laws, it would take a massacre similar to the
Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris for the death penalty to be imposed in the
Bahamas.

Mr McCartney said the incident and the distressing statement of the top judge
were a glaring reminder of successive governments' "lack of political will" in
dealing with the country's existing crime woes.

So far this year, 3 people have been murdered and the country saw a record
breaking 149 homicides in 2015.

"Days into the start of a new year and already more families have had to deal
with the pain of losing a loved one," the former Bamboo Town MP said. "But the
question is: How many more must die? Have we not had enough? Has crime in this
country not already reached catastrophic proportions? Do the lives of those
already lost to us not warrant real, decisive and strong action on the part of
our lawmakers? The answer is unquestionably 'yes'."

"The comments of the chief justice, while distressing on their own, speak to an
even more important issue: a lack of political will. For years now, the
government has stood idly by and watched as the criminal element has grown
stronger and more insidious," Mr McCartney said. "This and previous
administrations have neglected to address shortfalls in the judicial system and
have interfered consistently in the work of the Royal Bahamas Police Force and
now, we are all paying the price."

Last Wednesday, opening of the new legal year, Sir Hartman suggested that
"having regard to the prevailing jurisprudence, that the death penalty is
virtually dead."

"I share the view expressed by the president of the Court of Appeal. Unless we
have the experience of a Charlie Hebdo, or San Bernardino, the chances of ever
imposing the death penalty under the present regime are virtually nil."

"The question we have to ask ourselves is do we wish to retain the death
penalty, and so if this is to become a reality, my view is that a
constitutional amendment would be necessary, and not by some omnibus clause,"
Sir Hartman added.

The last person executed in the Bahamas was David Mitchell in January 2000.

He was convicted of stabbing 2 German tourists to death.

Mitchell's execution was controversial because it was carried out while he had
an appeal pending before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

International criticism of the move was followed by a moratorium on capital
punishment, which lasted until the Privy Council's 2006 decision in the case of
Maxo Tido.

In 2011, after a ruling from the London-based Privy Council, the Ingraham
administration amended the death penalty law to specify the "worst of the
worst" murders that would warrant execution.

Under the amended law, a person who kills a police or defence force officer,
member of the Departments of Customs or Immigration, judiciary or prison
services would be eligible for a death sentence. A person would also be
eligible for death once convicted of murdering someone during a rape, robbery,
kidnapping or act of terrorism.

Mr McCartney yesterday said that Bahamians "should not be bound by senior men
in England who wish to assert their beliefs against capital punishment on a
country they have no knowledge about."

The DNA leader stressed that the chief justice's statement was "clearly a
challenge to the legislative and executive arms of government; an exhortation
and a call to action."

"For far too long, the criminal element has had the upper hand, while honest,
hardworking Bahamians have been forced to live in fear," he added. "If we are
to reverse this trend then we cannot and must not wait for a Paris-like attack
before we are compelled to protect our people."

(source: Bahamas Tribune)




ZIMBABWE:

Bring finality to constitutionality of death penalty


The matter regarding the constitutionality of the death penalty and life
sentences has been raging for some time now with cases of death row inmates
rolling before the highest court on constitutional matters in the land.The
coming into effect of the current Constitution brings to the fore contentious
legal questions vis-a-vis the constitutionality of the death penalty.

Sometime in mid-October last year 2 matters initiated by legal think- tank
Veritas were brought before the court. 2 applicants, convicted in separate
cases of murder and sentenced to death in July 2002 and May 2012 respectively,
were challenging the legality of the death penalty in light of the new
Constitution.

There was the matter of Ndhlovu versus the Minister of Justice (case CCZ50/15)
and the case of Makoni versus Commissioner-General of Prisons and Correctional
Services and Another (CCZ48/2015) which involved a prisoner convicted of
murdering his girlfriend in 1995. The two were convicted before the new
Constitution came into operation. Veritas, therefore, cited that although the 2
were lawfully sentenced to death, the sentence now had to be set aside because
of the provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) under which
the condemned were sentenced which has since become inconsistent with Section
48 of the new Constitution.

court-gavel

According to Section 48(2) of the new Constitution: "A law may permit the death
penalty to be imposed only on a person convicted of murder committed in
aggravating circumstances." It is in this regard that the CPEA is not in
conformity with the Constitution of Zimbabwe on the imposition of the death
penalty. In other words, this law, contemplated in Section 48, is not yet in
existence and therefore the death sentence cannot be passed. If this law is
passed, then the death penalty can be passed under it. Otherwise, as things
stand, this country cannot pass the death sentence and it thus remains
important that finality is reached on the matter.

The recent death penalty case challenge by Chawira and 14 others versus
Minister of Justice has the prisoners seeking an order that their death
sentences be commuted to life imprisonment as Section 53 of the Constitution
protects everyone including convicted prisoners against torture or cruel,
degrading treatment.

They want the Constitutional Court to define their fundamental rights as
enshrined in sections 51 and 53 of the national charter. They want the
Constitutional Court to commute their sentences to life imprisonment and their
plea is being facilitated by Veritas again. Convicted murderer Cuthbert
Tapuwanashe Chawira (45) and 14 other murder convicts have been languishing in
prison for periods of between four and 20 years.Chawira has been on death row
since September 2000 over a 1999 armed robbery which led to a murder in Gweru.
In their affidavit they state: "That being so because of the torture we have
been subjected to while waiting for a long time on death row, it will be
unconstitutional to execute us and therefore the sentence should now be
committed to that of life imprisonment. The anguish of being not told the day
of execution is unbearable. There is nothing as challenging to a human being as
living a life without hope. Most of us have no hope that we will live and we
are just sitting in dark waiting to be executed."

Now, the matter has stood for long and it is overwhelmingly urgent that
finality is reached. There have been 2 strong schools of thought with one group
rooting for the abolition of the death penalty while others contend that those
who don't value the lives of others ought not to be spared themselves. Without
wading into the contentious debate, it is in the nation's best interest that
this matter is conclusively dealt with as to settle the confusion surrounding
the matter. Undeniably, in view of the new Constitution, Zimbabwe cannot pass
the death sentence unless Parliament enacts a law which provides for it. The
new order leaves the decision to the legislature. In the absence of the
specific law providing for the death sentence, it cannot be passed.

Also, it is a valid argument that the death penalty, to a huge extent, violates
Section 51 of the current Constitution which unequivocally states: "Every
person has inherent dignity in their private and public life, and the right to
have that dignity respected and protected." Section 53 as well protects against
cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment. The 15 death row inmates being
represented by Tendai Biti would be right to seek the court to define their
fundamental rights as espoused in both sections 51 and 53.

It is crucial that conclusiveness is reached on the matter because, honestly,
the anguish of prisoners not being told when they would be hanged is agonising.

Finality, either way, it brings a sense of certainty as well as relieving
prisoners of the psychological torture. Let's bring finality to the death
penalty issue.

(source: Learnmore Zuze is a legal researcher, author and media analyst. He
writes here in his own capacity----Newsday)






SAUDI ARABIA:

UK's soft diplomacy approach to Saudi Arabia is not enough, say families of
juveniles still on death row----Exclusive: Families of three juveniles on Saudi
death row say nothing has changed and they still have 'the sword over their
necks', despite apparent UK intervention


Britain's soft approach to diplomacy with Saudi Arabia is not working -
according to the families of 3 juvenile offenders held up by the UK as examples
of its success.

Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawoud al-Marhoon were all children when
they were arrested by the Saudi authorities for attending protests, and yet
they were sentenced to death after a secretive court process.

When he defended the Government's meek response to the mass execution of 47
people in the kingdom on 2 January, Philip Hammond said the 3 juveniles showed
Britain could get results in Saudi Arabia when it intervened in specific cases.

But The Independent can reveal that almost exactly three months after the
Foreign Secretary told Parliament "private" UK diplomacy had secured clemency
for the child offenders, nothing has really changed.

This newspaper understands Mr al-Zaher, the youngest of the boys who was just
15 when he was arrested, has been transferred to a prison in Riyadh where a
number of the 47 executions were carried out at the start of the month.

Mr al-Nimr and Mr al-Marhoon have also been moved since the mass executions
from Riyadh to the infamous Dammam prison in the Eastern Province, a facility
known for housing death row inmates in the past.

According to Reprieve, a human rights organisation which is campaigning on
behalf of the juveniles, sudden prison transfers are often a precursor to
sentences being carried out, and the families say all three could be executed
any day.

Speaking exclusively to The Independent, the family of Mr al-Zaher was hesitant
to accuse any one government of failure to intervene on his behalf.

"Our son - who was just 15 when he was arrested and tortured - is awaiting
execution in solitary confinement and being held miles away from his home,"
they said in a statement.

"We are in agony wondering what will happen to him. Other governments keep
saying they 'do not expect' him and the other juveniles to be executed, but
where is the proof?

"We sincerely hope that the international community will demand the release of
Abdullah and the other juveniles arrested at protests."

Mohammed al-Nimr, Ali's father and the brother of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, said his
son and Mr al-Marhoon had been moved but no reason was given to explain it. He
said the pair were "on death row with the sword over their necks".

Maya Foa, head of Reprieve's death penalty team, said: "It is shocking that the
Saudi authorities are still threatening to execute 3 juveniles who were
arrested at protests, tortured into dubious 'confessions', and sentenced to
death in flagrantly unfair trials.

"The British government and others have spoken of Saudi assurances that Ali,
Dawoud and Abdullah won't be killed - but this is cold comfort to the families
who are terrified of what might happen, amid a surge in Saudi executions."

She added: "Governments that are close to Saudi Arabia - the UK included - must
firmly demand the release of the juveniles without delay."

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme on Monday, David Cameron stood by
Britain's relationship with Saudi Arabia in spite of growing concerns over
human rights abuses in the kingdom.

"First of all, our relationship with Saudi Arabia is important for our own
security. They are opponents of Daesh [Isis] and the extremism [they spread],"
the Prime Minister said.

Mr Cameron's praise for the autocracy comes days after Saudi Arabia's foreign
minister Adel al-Jubeir urged Britain to "respect" his country's use of the
death penalty.

He told Channel 4 News: "With regards to the perception of Saudi Arabia among
the British public, this is a problem we need to work on."

(source: The Independent)

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

'He knew they'd kill him in the end': Son of prominent Shia cleric al-Nimr
speaks to RT


Mohammed al-Nimr, the son of Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, executed in Saudi
Arabia in the beginning of the year, has told RT how his father fought for the
rights of "all the people" while having been allegedly tortured after his
arrest by Riyadh.

"He spoke for all the people, he didn't speak only for the Shia [community]. He
asked the [Saudi] government to release all political prisoners. They got mad
because he defended everyone who was oppressed by this government," Mohammed
al-Nimr said, adding that many people looked up to his father when he started
talking about human rights.

"That is one of the main things that they [Riyadh] didn't like about him," the
cleric's son said.

Nimr al-Nimr, described by his son as an "honest and a gentle man," was a
staunch critic of the Saudi leadership. The cleric, who called for the
self-rule of the Saudi Shia population, was among 47 people executed in Saudi
Arabia at the start of the year on terrorism charges. The execution sparked not
only a strong reaction in the Middle East, but also an international outcry.

Hundreds of activists took to the streets of New York on Sunday, gathering in
Times Square for an anti-Saudi rally. Protesters called for peace among the
different branches of Islam, while condemning what they say is Saudi oppression
of the Shias.

"Most people who know about my father will act in a human way. They are
sincere. They're seeing the truth, what is really going on," Mohammed al-Nimr
told RT, adding that while "political activists and politicians... are aware of
what is going on [in Saudi Arabia], the media here is not focusing on human
rights very much."

Riyadh acts as if it is still living in the 20th century, the son of the Shia
cleric said.

"Saudi Arabia still thinks it's 1980 and there is no internet, there is no
international news. It's like they are living in a small box, but the whole
world is watching what is going on there. They are the only ones not seeing
what is going on outside that box," he said, adding that while Riyadh's leaders
are "trying to prove themselves" to be a strong government by showing people "a
strong fist," they have no right to do so "by killing their people."

The Saudi foreign minister, when warning other countries against intervening in
the Kingdom's affairs, has said the death penalty is part of Saudi law.

Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr's son also told RT about how violently his father had been
arrested and then treated while having been captured by the Saudis.

"He told us exactly how he was arrested. He was driving his car and they
followed him, they bashed his car from behind, so the car hit a wall. Then they
went to his car and pulled him out. His seatbelt was on. The policemen pulled
him out of the car very roughly. Even the buckle of his seatbelt came out of
the car. They shot him at close range 4 times, hitting his leg. He was not
armed," Mohammed al-Nimr said.

Following the man's arrest, he wasn't given proper treatment for his injuries,
his son said, adding that because his father had been deprived of sufficient
pain medication, "he couldn???t sleep for basically 1 year" suffering from
pain.

"He was tied with 6 chains to his bed, even though he couldn't walk. They left
1 bullet in intentionally so it would stay in his thigh and bother him all the
time," Mohammed al-Nimr said. After the man's execution, his family was not
given the body for a proper burial, but it was instead hidden by the Saudis,
his son said.

"He didn't back out. He didn't change his opinion. He kept asking for justice.
My father knew that they would kill him in the end. And he said that many
times: 'Our blood is a cheap price to pay for our beliefs'," Mohammed al-Nimr
told RT.

(source: rt.com)






NIGERIA:

Reps Minority Whip canvasses death penalty, amputation for corrupt
officials----Barde said: "We live in a funny country, where people steal N1,000
and they are put in jail for years, while some other people will steal billions
of naira and use that same billions to escape justice


The Minority Whip in the House of Representatives, Danjuma Barde, on Monday
called for imposition of capital punishment on corrupt public officers in the
country.

The legislator spoke at a media forum in Kaduna organised by the Kaduna State
chapter of the Correspondent's Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.

Barde said: "We live in a funny country, where people steal N1,000 and they are
put in jail for years, while some other people will steal billions of naira and
use that same billions to escape justice. "If somebody steal from N1 million to
N100 million, they should cut his hand and those who steal from N1 billion
above should be hanged."

The lawmaker said he was discussing with other members of the House to provide
for the setting up of special courts to handle corruption cases and stiffer
penalties for those convicted.

Barde, a 3-time member of the House representing Chikun Federal Constituency,
said the special courts would speed up the prosecution of those charged with
corruption.

He said: "I am a believer of the fact that people should be punished for their
crimes, no matter how highly placed they are in the society.

"I also believe that punishment should be segregated such that it should be
commensurable to the crime and be punished according to the amount of money
they steal.

"I have started discussions with some of my colleague members of the National
Assembly on the need to set up a special and dedicated court to try these kind
of people so that justice will be dispensed off quickly."

According to Barde, stiffer punishment like cutting-off of the arm of a
convicted person or death sentence will deter other public office holders and
individuals.

He said: "If am a Judge and such case or person is brought before me, I will
make sure I confiscate his property and sentence him to death."

He noted that some corrupt public officers were exploiting the loopholes in the
nation's legal system to delay justice.

Barde said: "Some former governors have cases with the EFCC and the ICPC for
the last 8 years without appearing in court even once.

"There are other corruption cases against some public office holders still
pending in the conventional courts and justice is being delayed as some of them
even die and leave such cases pending in courts.

"But if the Government establishes a special court to specifically prosecute
those corruption cases, it would speed up justice and that would send a warning
to people with tendencies of corrupt practices to change their minds."

Barde, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party, commended President Muhammadu
Buhari for the measures taken so far in the fight against corruption in the
country.

The legislator, however, urged the administration to respect the rule of law
and allow those on bail enjoy their freedom pending the determination of cases
against them.

Barde said Nigerians must take bold steps to eradicate corruption by supporting
ongoing efforts of government to eliminate the scourge.

He said: "Corruption, hunger or poverty does not know party, tribe or religion.

"We know how Nigerians are suffering, so there should be no sympathy for such
persons who are involved in such acts."

(source: theeagleonline.com.ng)






IRAN:

52 executions in first 2 weeks of January ---- The religious fascism ruling
Iran increases hangings concurrent with the implementation of the nuclear deal
on the verge of sham elections


The antihuman Iranian regime that closed its infamous dossier for 2015 with
over 1,000 executions has begun the New Year by ramping up executions
throughout the country such that in just the first 2 weeks of this year 52
executions have been registered. The forced retreat from the nuclear bomb and
the implementation of the nuclear deal with the P5+1, the upcoming elections
for the Assembly of Experts and the parliament, and the intensification of the
power struggle within regime's factions have tightened the noose around the
regime's neck.

To confront these crises, the Iranian regime is planning to increase its death
sentences and climate of terror in the society to thwart the expansion of
popular protests and the explosion of popular wrath. Since the beginning of
January to this day, the clerical regime has executed 52 prisoners, including 1
woman, in various cities. Four of the prisoners have been hanged in public and
most prisoners were executed in groups.

On January 16, 4 prisoners were hanged in Rasht's central prison and on January
14 1 prisoner was hanged in Yazd's central prison.

On the previous day, there was a group hanging of 6 prisoners in Urmia prison
and 1 prisoner was executed in Shiraz prison.

On January 12, 4 prisoners were collectively hanged in Karaj's Central Prison
and another prisoner was executed in Zanjan.

On January 11, 3 prisoners were hanged in Sari prison and 1 was hanged in
Mashhad prison.

On January 9 and 10, 2 prisoners were hanged in Rasht's central prison, 3 were
executed in Larestan (Fars Province), and 1 prisoner was hanged in Khorramabad
prison.

On January 7, 2 young men were hanged in public in Shabestar and Khoy, 3
prisoners were sent to the gallows in Ardabil's central prison, and 1 prisoner
was executed in Hamadan's central prison.

On January 6 there were 13 executions; 5 prisoners in Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr)
Prison, 3 in Karaj Central Prison, and 5 prisoners, including a woman, in
Tabriz central prison.
From January 2 to 5, 5 prisoners were executed in prisons in Noshahr,
Khorramabad and Urmia and 1 prisoner was hanged in public in the town of Sourak
Miandoroud in Mazandaran Province.

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

Waves of executions in Iran condemned in the Netherlands


Supporters of the Iranian Resistance staged 2 rallies on Saturday, January 16
in downtown Amsterdam and outside the Dutch Parliament in The Hague condemning
gross human rights violations in Iran, especially mass executions by the
Iranian regime.

Participants in these rallies also called on the major world powers to set
aside the appeasement policy vis-???-vis the "godfather of terrorism" in Iran.
These protesters also called for practical measures by the international
community in condemning the practice of executions and torture in Iran, and
placing senior Iranian regime officials before international tribunals.

The placards raised by the protesters read in part that the mullahs' president
Hassan Rouhani is the president of 2,000 executions and any rapprochement with
the Iranian regime must be contingent upon on the termination of executions in
Iran.

In the first 16 days of January, the mullahs' inhumane regime in Iran has sent
53 prisoners, including 1 woman, to the gallows in various towns. 4 of these
prisoners were hanged in public and most of the prisoners were executed in
groups.

The human rights situation has been deteriorating rapidly in Iran. More than
2,000 individuals have been executed during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as
President of the regime. This is the highest rate of executions in the past 25
years, and it reflects an increase over figures that had already secured Iran's
place as the nation with the most executions per capita.

On December 17, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution strongly
condemning the brutal and systematic violation of human rights in Iran, in
particular the mass and arbitrary executions, increasing violence and
discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities.

Following the adoption of the 62nd UN resolution censuring human rights abuses
in Iran, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect Maryam Rajavi called on the
UN Security Council to hold the leaders of the clerical regime accountable and
prosecute them for crimes against humanity. She underlined that this is a
necessary step towards respecting the international community's vote that
condemned the systematic and flagrant violations of human rights in Iran.

(source for all: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

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

"No to Execution" and "No to Rouhani" rallies in Canada


Freedom-loving Iranian-Canadians and Iranian Resistance supporters in Ottawa
and Toronto held rallies on Saturday, January 16 protesting the upcoming visit
by the Iranian regime's president Hassan Rouhani to Europe. These protesters
demonstrated in downtown Toronto and outside the Federal Parliament in Ottawa
against gross human rights violations in Iran, especially horrific executions
in Iran.

In the first 16 days of January, the mullahs' inhumane regime in Iran has sent
53 prisoners, including 1 woman, to the gallows in various towns. 4 of these
prisoners were hanged in public and most of the prisoners were executed in
groups.

The inhumane mullahs' regime, unable to contain its domestic and international
crises and finding itself incapable before the waves of popular protests by
people in cities across Iran, especially those in poverty-stricken areas, sees
the only solution to its in escalating crackdown measures.

The human rights situation has been deteriorating rapidly in Iran. More than
2,000 individuals have been executed during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as
President of the regime. This is the highest rate of executions in the past 25
years, and it reflects an increase over figures that had already secured Iran's
place as the nation with the most executions per capita.

On December 17, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution strongly
condemning the brutal and systematic violation of human rights in Iran, in
particular the mass and arbitrary executions, increasing violence and
discrimination against women and ethnic and religious minorities.

Following the adoption of the 62nd UN resolution censuring human rights abuses
in Iran, the Iranian Resistance's President-elect Maryam Rajavi called on the
UN Security Council to hold the leaders of the clerical regime accountable and
prosecute them for crimes against humanity. She underlined that this is a
necessary step towards respecting the international community's vote that
condemned the systematic and flagrant violations of human rights in Iran.

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

EU aid cash linked to death penalty in Iran----Campaigners call for suspension
of EU funding to drug program operating in Iran as executions increase


British aid money may be indirectly facilitating Iran's use of the death
penalty, campaigners have warned.

Reprieve, the anti-death penalty campaign, says it has established a paper
trail that links British aid contributions via the EU to an Iranian police
force responsible for hundreds of hangings last year.

The charity has called for a suspension of payments to the training program,
amid a sharp rise in executions by Tehran.

The disclosure risks embarrassment for the European Union, given its public
opposition to the death penalty, and comes amid a furious row between Saudi
Arabia and Iran over the execution of a cleric by Riyadh.

It will also raise concerns about Britain's inability to control how the EU
spends its aid budget, which is funded by UK taxpayers.

The concern centres on a programme run by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and neighbouring countries.

The $10 million project has provided training in forensics, communications and
intelligence to police forces in the region in order to tackle smuggling gangs.

An internal progress report on the scheme lists a series of arrests that the UN
said were evidence that the scheme was bearing fruit.

They include the arrest of 10 people, in 2 separate raids, by the Iranian
anti-narcotics police for suspected trafficking of opium and hashish. Based on
the quantities said to have been recovered, they will "inevitably" have been
sentenced to death under the Iranian penal code, Reprieve said.

The concern is compounded by widespread corruption in the Iranian justice
system. According to the Foreign Office's own assessment, Iranian judges are
accused of handing down convictions "almost exclusively" on the testimony of
the police and "rarely considered evidence offered by the defence".

The project's funding has included $2.4m from the EU's foreign aid fund, while
in total EU has $171m committed in total to the agency's funding.

Britain counts a share of spending by the EU - around 800 million pounds a year
- towards its foreign aid target of spending 0.7 % of GDP on aid per year.

Executions in Iran markedly increased last year to more than 830 up to
November, the highest per capita rate in the world, with the vast majority for
drug offences. Blasphemy, adultery and homosexuality are also capital offences.

President Rouhani has justified the dramatic increase. "If we abolished the
death penalty we would enhance their drug trafficking up to the European
countries and that would be dangerous for you," he told an Italian newspaper.

Dan Dolan, of Reprieve, said the UN had shown a "complete disregard" for human
rights by assisting the Iranians, and called for a full review of the EU's
support for the programme.

"Iran's execution rate has skyrocketed, with hundreds sent to the gallows on
drugs charges following trials that make a mockery of justice. The EU has no
legitimate defence for supporting this, and it should reject the absurd claim
by Iran's President Rouhani that these executions are somehow in Europe's
interests.

"If the EU is to maintain any credibility in opposing the death penalty it
should end this grievous misuse of taxpayers' money."

The UNODC did not comment on Reprieve's warnings, but said it "opposes the
death penalty in all circumstances".

"Under international law, if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should
only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional
killing, and only with appropriate safeguards. Drug-related offences generally
are not considered to fall under the category of 'most serious crimes.'"

An EU spokesman said the focus of the programme was stopping drugs from
Afghanistan reaching Europe. They denied there was a risk of aiding the Iranian
regime carry out executions.

"The ultimate objective is to keep dangerous illegal drugs off our streets and
it does so in a way that respects human rights, as any EU projects do. All EU
projects are prepared against a risk assessment methodology ensuring that EU
funding do not facilitate death sentences in countries where it is enforced.
This has obviously been the case with this project.

"The EU is opposed to the death penalty the world over and consistently calls
on all states which apply capital punishment to halt all pending executions and
introduce a moratorium on the death penalty."

(source: The Telegraph)

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2016-01-19 19:26:52 UTC
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Jan. 19




INDIA:

SC Allows Revival of Dismissed Petition of a Death Row Convict


Mohd Arif, a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) terrorist and lone death row convict in the
sensational Red Fort attack case, today got another opportunity to assail the
award of capital punishment, as the Supreme Court allowed revival of his
already dismissed review plea by agreeing to accord it a fresh hearing.

A 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur modified its
September 2, 2014 verdict by which the benefit of open court hearing in a
review petition was available to those convicts whose petitions were pending
and also whose executions were not given effect.

The apex court, by a majority verdict, had then said that an outer limit of 30
minutes be provided for oral hearing in such cases and made it clear that a
condemned convict, whose review plea has been dismissed and sentence is still
to be executed, can approach the apex court to re-open his case.

"It will also apply where a review petition is already dismissed but the death
sentence is not executed so far. In such cases, the petitioners can apply for
the reopening of their review petition within one month from the date of this
judgement. However, in those cases where even a curative petition is dismissed,
it would not be proper to reopen such matters," it had said.

Mohd Arif alias Ashfaq, a Pakistani who has already exhausted his review and
curative remedies, today sought another chance to argue in open court his
review plea saying that those pleas were dismissed before the historic verdict.

His counsel said that Arif's was the case falling in a solitary category and he
will be the only person who will be deprived of the benefit of the judgement
that the review plea of a death row convicts should be heard in open court by a
bench having corum of 3 judges.

Allowing his plea, the bench also comprising Justices J S Khehar, J
Chelameswar, A K Sikri and R F Nariman said, "the petitioner is entitled for
re-opening of the review petition which is already dismissed".

The bench said that Arif's counsel can supplement the grounds taken in the
review petition.

The apex court took on record the submission of Additional Solicitor General
Tushar Mehta that there has been departure from ordinary course in hearing
review petitions in death penalty cases and he does not dispute that some of
the grounds can be supplemented by the convict.

"Such being the case that even the curative petition filed by the convict has
been dismissed by circulation without giving him oral hearing in open court,"
it said, adding that the petitioner cannot be deprived.

Before the September 2014 verdict, the review and curative petitions of death
row convicts were not heard in open courts but decided in chamber proceedings
by circulation.

Arif's review petition was dismissed on September 2, 2014.

The apex court on April 28, 2014 had stayed Arif's execution in the case. 3
people, including 2 Army jawans, were killed in the December 22, 2000 Red Fort
attack.

On August 10, 2011, the Supreme Court had upheld Arif's death sentence and
dismissed his appeal challenging the capital punishment awarded to him by a
sessions court, which was affirmed by the Delhi High Court.

(source: outlookindia.com)

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

A death-row convict gets a fresh lease of life ; SC to re-hear ?Red Fort attack
convict Mohd.


On 2 September 2014, a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had deprived a
death-row prisoner of the opportunity of open hearing of his review petition by
3 Judges of the Supreme Court, even while extending this right to other
death-row convicts, whose earlier review petitions might have been dismissed by
Judges in chambers. The reason which the bench offered then was that the
prisoner, whose review as well as curative petitions were dismissed earlier,
was not eligible to be considered for a 2nd hearing of his review petition in
the open court.

The opportunity of open hearing of a review petition in the open court by three
Judges (rather than by just2) means much for a death-row convict, who clings to
whatever hope that a legal system would offer till his last breath. The 2014
verdict appeared unjust because it deprived the opportunity of open hearing of
review petition of the convict only on the ground that his curative petition
was dismissed, although the same verdict upheld his challenge to the Rule which
deprived such a hearing.

The prisoner, Mohd Arif is a Pakistan national, and had been convicted and
sentenced to death for conspiracy in the Delhi Redfort attack case. The Supreme
Court's 2-Judge bench had confirmed his death sentence in 2011. The bench
comprised of Justice V Sirpurkar and Justice T S Thakur, presently the CJI.

The Supreme Court subsequently dismissed his review and curative petitions. In
2014, he challenged constitutionality of the Supreme Court Order XL, Rule 3,
according to which, review petitions were heard in circulation in the chambers
of the Judges. He contended that the Rule denied the death-row prisoners an
opportunity of open hearing of their review petitions, and therefore, was
violative of Article 21. The Constitution bench upheld his contention through a
majority judgment (Justice J Chelameswar was the sole dissenter), but found him
ineligible for the remedy which he won for other death-row convicts solely on
the ground that he had also exhausted the curative remedy.

The majority judgment then was authored by Justice Rohinton Nariman.

On 19 January, another Constitution bench corrected its error, by accepting his
petition seeking a review of the 2014 verdict. This bench comprised of all the
four Judges who were part of the 2014 bench, and as Justice RM Lodha who had
presided over that bench had retired, CJI Thakur, who incidentally confirmed
his death sentence in 2011, was the 5th Judge to hear and decide his 2015
review petition.

In the order issued today, the Court accepted the contention that dismissal of
the curative petition should not have deprived the opportunity of open hearing
of the review petition of the death-row convict.

As in the case of other death-row convicts, Arif will now get one month time to
get his review petition reopened, and get it listed for hearing in an open
court by 3 Judges of the Supreme Court. He will also get another opportunity of
filing a second curative petition, in case the 3-Judge bench dismisses his
second review petition.

The 2014 bench had made it clear that the right of a limited oral hearing in
review petitions where death sentence was given, would be applicable only in
pending review petitions and such petitions filed after the judgment. The bench
extended the remedy to cases where a review petition was already dismissed but
the death sentence was not executed. In such cases, the petitioners could apply
for the reopening of their review petition within 1 month from the date of that
judgment, it was held by the bench. The bench added without justification:
"However, in those cases where even a curative petition is dismissed, it would
not be proper to reopen such matters".

Today's bench has now corrected this erroneous addition.Arguing for the
petitioner, Senior Advocate R Basant stated that the case had come to him
through the Centre on the Death Penalty at National Law University, Delhi. He
said the Advocate-on-Record in the case had approached the Centre on the Death
Penalty expressing his inability to find a Senior Advocate for the oral
hearing. When the Centre on the Death Penalty briefed him on the matter, he
submitted that he felt that the case raised issues that deserved the attention
of the Bench. It was also submitted to the court that the Centre on the Death
Penalty had supplied him with research that Mohd Arif would be the only person
amongst current death row prisoners in India who would be adversely affected by
the exception carved out in the 2014 judgment.

(source: livelaw.in)






PAKISTAN----executions

3 death row convicts hanged in various cities


3 death row prisoners were hanged on early Tuesday morning in the jails of
Attock, Mianwali and Jhang, Dunya News reported. The dead bodies of the
prisoners were handed over to their families.

According to details, death row convict Sultan was executed in the District
Jail Attock. Sultan had killed his wife in 2007 over a family dispute. Death
row prisoner Ghulam Gilani was hanged in the District Jail Mianwali in a double
murder case. Ghulam Gilani had killed 2 of his nephews over a family dispute in
2004.

Another death row convict was executed in the District Jail Jhang. Prisoner
Allah Ditta was hanged for murdering his friend over a small dispute in 1999.
(source: Dunya News)






ITALY:

Italian teenagers would bring back the death penalty


1/2 of all Italian 16-year-olds would like to bring back the death penalty.
They think it should be exemplary and feared by all. 2/5 of them even think it
should apply to minors, while 43% think it should also apply to those with
diminished responsibility. They would apply corporal punishment not just to
murderers but also to those convicted of particularly serious offences, such as
paedophiles and rapists. They also take a hard line with immigrants, who 51% of
young Italians see as just a problem, with 19% saying Italy should not accept
them and 30% saying that those with the proper papers should be allowed in -
but only temporarily. They are more open to soft drugs, with 41% in favour of
legalisation, and civil unions accepted by 74% of the total, for both
heterosexual and homosexuals. These figures come from analysis by Skuola.net,
based on some recent web surveys for teenagers.

(source: west-info.eu)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-20 18:00:30 UTC
Permalink
Jan. 20



ZAMBIA:

Scrap death sentence - UNZA don


A lecturer in the School of Law at the University of Zambia, Landilani Banda,
says death sentence is "state-sanctioned murder" and must thus be abolished.

Mr Banda says there is no legal, political or religious justification for
maintaining the death penalty in the laws of the country.

Mr Banda said yesterday when he appeared before the Parliamentary Committee on
Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs, that
has been receiving views on whether the death penalty should be abolished or
not.

"There is no valid reason to maintain death sentence in the statutes of Zambia.
Being on death row alone causes so much anguish and suffering to the convict
that most of them actually die on death row," Mr Banda said.

He contended that death sentence has not acted as a deterrent to would-be
offenders and it is, therefore, only logical that it is scraped.

"Death penalty is retrogression to the right of life. It is the state violating
the right to life. Which citizen deserves to be killed by the state? Death
penalty is not defence of life of the state," Mr Banda said.

Mpika member of Parliament Mwansa Kapeya asked Mr Banda on whether he thinks
Zambians will be convinced to abolish death penalty through a referendum.

Mr Banda said: "Zambians have a conscience. And Government needs to sensitise
citizens on their rights, which includes the right to life".

Committee chairperson Cornelius Mweetwa asked Mr Banda on what the best
deterrent should be in an event that the death penalty is abolished.

Mr Banda said life imprisonment would be ideal to replace death penalty.

Last week, the Human Rights Commission said Amnesty International described
death penalty as a "premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by
the State", and should therefore, be abolished because it is a violation of
fundamental human rights.

And Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) has called on MPs to help promote
transparency and accountability in the country by expediting the enactment of
the Access to Information (ATI) Bill into law, which media practitioners have
been fighting for since 1991, TEDDY KUYELA reports.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Information and Broadcasting
Services at the National Assembly last week, PSAf programme manager for media
development and information communication technology, Elias Banda, said access
to information is a basic human right for all citizens.

Mr Banda urged Parliamentarians to support the enactment of the ATI into law to
help promote accountability and reduce corruption.

This is according to a statement issued by Panos yesterday.

"Access to Information is a basic human right supported by Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international statutes of good
governance and open societies," Mr Banda said.

Among other benefits, Mr Banda informed the committee that the ATI will enable
the state or public bodies to positively seek information through research and
development in all spheres of life.

Mr Banda said the enactment of the ATI Bill into law will also help to improve
the knowledge base of an economy and help discover creative new ways of
developing the country and its people.

(source: Zambia Daily Mail)






PAKISTAN----execution

Death penalty: Murder convict hanged


A murder convict was hanged at the Jhang District Jail on Tuesday morning. A
Prisons Department spokesperson said Allah Ditta, a resident of Chak 161-JB,
was sentenced to death by a trial court. He said Allah Ditta had killed a rival
in 1996. The apex court had upheld the decision of the lower court and the
president had turned down his mercy petition. A district and sessions judge had
issued black warrants for Allah Ditta to be hanged on January 19.

(source: The Express Tribune)

*********

Qadri appeals for state's mercy


Mumtaz Qadri, whose death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of Pakistan
for shooting to death Punjab governor Salman Taseer, has appealed the President
of Pakistan for mercy.

According to sources at Interior Ministry, Mumtaz Qadri's appeal for mercy will
be forwarded to the President's House.

Mumtaz Qadri, who was part of the security detail of Salman Taseer, had shot
the former Punjab governor multiple times in Islamabad on January 4, 2011 for
allegedly committing a blasphemy.

Qadri has, in his appeal addressed to President Mamnoon Hussain, stated that he
is the only breadwinner in his family, and thus, deserves the state's mercy.

President Mamnoon Hussain will decide whether or not to condone the death
penalty of Mumtaz Qadri, who had confessed to murdering Salman Taseer.

(source: thenews.com.pk)






INDIA:

SC to rehear death row convict's plea


The Supreme Court today agreed to re-hear the plea of Pakistani terrorist
Mohammad Arif, alias Ashfaq, seeking review of the death sentence awarded to
him for his role in the attack on an Army battalion at Red Fort here in 2000.

A 5-member Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur said the review
plea would be heard in open court by a Bench of 3 judges in the light of
another Constitution Bench ruling in September 2014 acknowledging the need for
transparency in such hearings.

Ashfaq's counsel pleaded that his client had been convicted only for conspiracy
and was not part of the terror team that had mounted the attack, killing 3
jawans. Further, Ashfaq was the only death-row convict who could not take
advantage of the 2014 SC verdict as his curative petition had been dismissed
ahead of that, he contended and pleaded for open court hearing by relaxing the
norm.

Confirming the death sentence awarded to Ashfaq, the SC had ruled on August 10,
2011 that he did not deserve anything less as he was part of both the
conspiracy to wage a war against India and its execution. During the hearing of
the appeal, Ashfaq could not cite a single mitigating circumstance warranting
commutation of the death penalty, the apex court had pointed out.

In all, 6 militants had sneaked into the fort on December 22, 2000, and opened
indiscriminate fire, killing 3. After the attack, all of them escaped by
scaling the rear boundary wall of the 17th century monument.

(source: tribuneindia.com)






BANGLADESH:

2 get death for murder in Ctg


A Chittagong court yesterday gave death penalty to 2 persons in a case filed
for killing a man at Chandanaish upazila more than 5 years ago.

The convicts -- Md Shahid and Hesham Uddin of Bainjuri in the upazila -- are on
the run, said public prosecutor Ayub Khan. The court, however, acquitted 6
persons as the charges brought against them were not proved, said the PP.

On March 7 in 2010, Md Shahid and Hesham hacked one Masur Ahmed Khan on the
premises of his Madhyam Bainjuri village house in Chandanaish over land
dispute, according to the prosecution. Mansur was declared dead at Chandanaish
Upazila Health Complex.

(source: The Daily Star)

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

Split verdict over death penalty of 6 in 2006 RAB, Coastguard personnel murder
case


Court has given a split verdict on the death penalty for 6 people in a case
over the murders of one RAB member and 2 Coastguard personnel in Bagerhat in
2006.

The bench of justices Md Nizamul Huq and M Faruque delivered it on Tuesday
after hearings on death reference and an appeal by one of the death-row
convicts.

A Bagerhat court on Aug 19, 2014, ordered the death penalty for 6 and life
imprisonment for 7 others for killing the 3 security personnel.

Apart from the appeal, the case came to High Court later that year for death
reference hearings for the other convicts.

The court started the hearings from Jan 12 this year.

In his verdict delivered 2 days later, Justice Huq had acquitted all 13
convicts as the charges against them 'could not be proved beyond doubt'.

But disagreeing with his judgment, Justice Faruque on Tuesday reduced the death
sentences for 6 to life imprisonment and retained the 7 others' life in jail
verdict.

State counsel Deputy Attorney General Md Moniruzzaman Rubel told bdnews24.com:
"We had argued in favour of upholding the death penalty. But none of the
verdicts have retained it. We will decide later whether we will appeal after
evaluating the verdicts."

The case will now go to the chief justice following the rules. The chief
justice will then assign a new bench to settle it.

According to the case details, RAB and Coastguard had conducted a joint
operation on Dec 1, 2006, on Pashur River in Bagerhat to nab a gang of robbers.

Following a shootout between the 2 parties, the security personnel managed to
corner the robbers' vessel and board it.

Some of the robbers dived into the river with Coastguard personnel MH Kabir and
MA Islam and RAB personnel PC Kanchan after a scuffle broke out on the boat.

The bodies of the 3 men were recovered from the river over the next few days.

RAB later filed the murder case against several unknown people. Mongla police
submitted the chargesheet in May 2007 accusing 15 people.

The Bagerhat court then in August 2014 delivered the verdict based on
statements from 11 state witnesses.

Those awarded death sentences were Rafiqul Sheikh, Quddus Sheikh, Idris Sheikh,
Babul Sheikh, Alkas Fakir and Elias Sheikh.

Those awarded life sentences were Akram Sheikh, Alam Sheikh, Badshah Sheikh,
Jamal Sheikh, Kamal alias Suman Sheikh, Reazul Sheikh and Aslam Sheikh.

Of them, Elias was the one who appealed against the maximum punishment. He is
also the only one convict behind bars. The rest are still on the run, said
Deputy Attorney General Moniruzzaman Rubel.

(source: bdnews24.com)

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

Hefazat leaders sign fatwa against militancy


Several top leaders of radical Islamist platform Hefazat-e-Islam and teachers
of its Hathazari Madrasa in Chittagong have signed on to an initiative of
100,000 clerics issuing a fatwa against militancy.

Fatwa committee chief Maulana Md Fariduddin Masud, also the Imam of Sholakia
Mosque, said that they had already collected around 15,000 signatures since
January 2. He said that they would also collect signatures of scholars engaged
with various political parties.

12 Hefazat leaders including its Secretary General Junaid Babunagari and some
teachers including chief mufti Abdus Salam of Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum
Moinul Islam, also known as Hathazari Madrasa, signed the fatwa recently,
sources said.

The platform's organising secretary, however, alleged that Maulana Masud had
collected their signatures tactfully. Maulana Azizul Huq Islamabadi said that
Hefazat had always been vocal against militancy.

"Maulana Masud tactfully collected signatures from the Hefazat leaders during
the Ijtema. He did not make it clear that it was part of his campaign," he
alleged.

Qawmi madrasa-based Hefazat came to limelight in 2013 by placing their 13-point
demands that include the formulation of anti-blasphemy law after youths
launched an unprecedented movement at Shahbagh demanding death penalty for all
war criminals, most of who are from Jamaat-e-Islami. Hefazat leaders also
termed the incumbent government a patroniser of atheists.

Since the Hefazat movement, over a dozen secular activists, writers, publishers
and teachers were attacked - many of them killed - by religious extremists and
militant groups.

At a recent Islamic conference in Chittagong, Hefazat chief Shah Ahmed Shafi
said they were also against militancy and violence, but that their fight
against the atheists would continue.

The anti-militancy fatwa involving 11 questions explains the relevant verses of
the Qur'an and the Hadiths to discourage extremism and militant activities in
the country.

Some 500 scholars present at Jamia Ikra of Khilgaon signed the fatwa on the
inaugural day. The organisers will take signatures from female scholars too.

Maulana Masud hoped that they would be able to complete collecting the
signatures by February. They had sent letters to all mosques, madrasas and
religion-based political parties urging them sign the fatwa, which would be
sent to the president of the state, the prime minister, the chief justice, the
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the United Nations among others.

Maulana Masud alleged that Jamaat-Shibir had instigated militancy in the
country. A 7-member committee is working to collect the signatures.

The initiative was taken after the police chief held series of meetings with
Islamic scholars in December where they discussed ways to combat militant
activities. A similar fatwa was issued by 1,000 Islamic scholars of India which
says Islam is against terrorism, but Islamic State militant group is inciting
terrorism.

Also the secretary general of Jamaat-e-Ulema, Maulana Masud said they were
trying to collect signatures from all Muslim scholars including Shia, Sunni or
Ahle Hadith followers.

"Islam does not support terrorism and militancy. Provoked by an international
group, a certain quarter in the country is trying to encourage the youths in
militant activities. If we can collect the signatures of 1,00,000 scholars, the
world will know that Islam has nothing to do with militancy. It will also
improve the image of the country," he said.

(source: dhakatribune.com)



INDONESIA:

Coalition of human right groups ask Indonesian government to end unjust use of
the death penalty


The Indonesian government's decision to execute eight individuals for
drug-related crimes last April led to condemnation of our country from
governments and human rights advocates from around the world. Despite insisting
at the time that the executions were essential to fighting a growing "drug
crisis" in the country, government officials later said they would be focusing
on improving the country's economy before moving forward with more executions.

Recently, however, government officials have backtracked once again, indicating
that they would continue to carry out executions this year.

In an open letter released on Monday and addressed to Minister for Politics,
Law and Security Affairs Lahut Panjaitan, numerous human rights and justice
advocacy groups - including Amnesty International, the Community Legal Aid
Institute (LBH) and KontraS (the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of
Violence) - criticise the government's decision to backtrack once again on
their death penalty policy. They refer specifically to Attorney General M
Prasetyo's statements in December that executions will resume in 2016.

The letter asks that the government put an end to executions, arguing that
there are "systemic flaws in the administration of justice in Indonesia" and
"violations of fair trial" that amount to government-endorsed human rights
violations.

Many such violations of justice are noted in the letter, include not providing
proper legal assistance to death row prisoners and the improper application of
the death penalty to individuals who may have mental illnesses or be underage.
It also notes that drug offenses do not rise to the threshold of serious crimes
deserving of the death penalty as defined by the 1976 International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, in which Indonesia is a signatory.

The letter's cosigners argue that only remedy to these injustices would be for
Indonesia to place a moratorium on further executions and to establish an
independent body to monitor the human rights of prisoners and ensure they
receive a fair trial.

You can read the full text of the open letter below or on the website of the
LBH Masyarakarat (Community Legal Aid Institute):

Mr. Luhut Panjaitan,

Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Affairs

Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security Affairs

Jl. Merdeka Barat No. 15,

Jakarta Pusat 10110

Indonesia

18 January 2016

Dear Minister,

Indonesia's authorities must end executions and abolish the death penalty

We are writing to you on the issue of the application of the death penalty in
Indonesia. It has been a year since your administration resumed executions in
Indonesia on 18 January 2015, after a 4 year hiatus, despite strong protests
from human rights organizations and the international community.

Our organizations are concerned despite your public announcement in November
2015 that Indonesia government would suspend any executions in near future the
Attorney General has recently announced that further executions will be carried
out in 2016. As there continues to be serious concerns about violations of fair
trial and other human rights in the use of the death penalty in Indonesia we
ask for your immediate intervention to address these issues. In particular, we
urge you to ensure all death sentences are reviewed by an independent and
impartial body, with a view to their commutation.

Research findings by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional
Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM)[3] and additional independent research carried
out by Amnesty International, ICJR (Institute for Criminal Justice Reform), and
other human rights organizations, point to systemic flaws in the administration
of justice in Indonesia and violation of fair trial and other international
safeguards that must be strictly observed in all death penalty cases:

Defendants in the cases under analysis did not have access to legal counsel
from the time of arrest and at different stages of their trial and appeals;
they were subjected to ill-treatment while in police custody to make them
"confess" to their alleged crimes or sign police investigation reports.

Prisoners were brought before a judge for the first time when their trials
began, months after their arrest.

In several cases involving foreign nationals, particularly those convicted of
drug-related offences, the authorities failed to correctly identify or verify
the identity of the prisoner and notify relevant country representations of the
arrest. The authorities also failed to provide translation and interpretation
to those prisoners who could not understand Bahasa, whether they were
foreigners or Indonesian nationals.

The death penalty continued to be used extensively for drug-related offences,
even though these offences do not meet the threshold of the "most serious
crimes", the only category of crimes for which the death penalty can be imposed
under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which
Indonesia is a state party, pending its abolition.

In addition, despite the clear prohibition under international law concerning
the use of the death penalty against persons who were below 18 years of age or
have a mental or intellectual disability, credible claims put forward by
prisoners in relation to their age and mental illness were not adequately
investigated by the authorities and have resulted in the unlawful imposition of
the death penalty and, in at least 1 case, execution. While Indonesian law
requires that all births be registered, in practice many people do not undergo
this process, making the determination of one's age particularly challenging.
This, coupled with a lack of legal assistance, increases the risk that persons
who were below 18 when the crime was committed are exposed to the death
penalty. Additionally, defendants and prisoners are not regularly and
independently assessed, which can result in mental disabilities remaining
undiagnosed and prisoners not being afforded the care and treatment they might
need.

Research findings also show that in some cases prisoners did not receive legal
assistance when appealing against their conviction or sentence, or did not even
submit an appeal application because they were not informed by their lawyers of
their right to do so. Furthermore, the execution of some death row prisoners
went ahead even though the Indonesian courts had accepted to hear their
appeals. The announcement by President Joko Widodo in December 2014 and
February 2015 that he would not grant clemency to any individuals convicted of
and sentenced to death for drug-related crimes and information relating to some
clemency rejections cast doubts on the meaningful exercise of the President's
constitutional power to grant clemency and the country's compliance with the
ICCPR.

As of today, 140 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. 3 more
countries - Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname- became abolitionist for all crimes
in 2015 alone and the Parliament of Mongolia adopted a new Criminal Code at the
end of last year, removing the death penalty as possible form of punishment
under the laws of the country. The resumption of executions in Indonesia have
not only set the country against its international obligations, but also
against the global trend towards abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and
degrading punishment.

Our organizations reiterate our calls on the government of Indonesia to
establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the
death penalty. Pending full abolition, we urge you to immediately establish an
independent and impartial body, or mandate an existing one, to review all cases
where people have been sentenced to death, with a view to commuting the death
sentences or, in cases where the procedures were seriously flawed, offer a
retrial that fully complies with international fair trial standards and which
does not resort to the death penalty.

This letter is co-signed by the following organizations:

Amnesty International

Elsam (Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy)

HRWG (Human Rights Working Group)

ICJR (Institute for Criminal Justice Reform)

Imparsial (the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor)

KontraS (the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence)

LBH Masyarakarat (Community Legal Aid Institute)

Migrant Care

PKNI (Indonesian Drug User Network)

YLBHI (Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation)

(source: coconuts.co)






ZIMBABWE:

Traditional leaders call for abolition of death penalty


Traditional Chiefs from Mashonaland Central and East Monday endorsed the
abolition of the death pnealty in Zimbabwe, arguing that their ancestors never
practiced the "cruel and inhumane practice."

The development ciomes at a time when prisones on death row, some for up to 20
yeasrs, never approached the Constitutional Court seeking to have their
sentences commuted to life.

The inmates are being represented by top Harare lawyer and opposition
politician Tendai Biti.

Speaking during the workshop hosted by Zimbabwe Association for Crime
Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) in Harare, Chiefs Council
President Fortune Charumbira said cultural perspectives were crucial in
considering the abolition of the death penalty.

Out of the 45 Chiefs who attended the workshop, 34 voted for the abolition of
the death penalty, 7 voting for it to stay, while 4 abstained in the 1st round
of voting.

The 2nd round of voting produced new results with 42 Chiefs saying 'yes' whilst
only 2 said "no".1 Chief was still undecided.

Chief Bepura said Zimbabwean traditional culture has never allowed the death
penalty, arguing that the issue of avenging spirit (Ngozi) has used so that the
aggrieved family can be appeased.

Goromonzi's Chief Chikwaka weighed in saying the death penalty was brought in
by the whites.

Chief Musarurwa added: "You can kill the murderer but you cannot kill murder,"
adding killing of an offender is the result of ignorance as there are other
means of solving the issue.

Currently, 117 persons are on death row but the government has failed to employ
a hangman.

Amnesty International Roseline Muzerengi said the death penalty is not in line
with Zimbabwean culture.

"An eye for an eye makes the world blind and killing a murder convict is
irreversible if mistakes are incurred during trial," Muzerengi lamented.

Moerecountries are moving towards abolishing capital punishment and Zimbabwe's
civic organisations, supported by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa have been
lobbying the government for the abolition of the capital punishment.

(source: New Zimbabwe)






NIGERIA:

Legislator advocates death penalty, amputation for treasury looters


Irked by the high level of corruption in the country, the Minority Leader and
member, House of Representatives, Chikun/Kajuru federal constituency of Kaduna
State, Umar Yakubu Barde, has advocated for capital punishment for those found
guilty of looting the treasury.

In the interim, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislator urged the Federal
Government to immediately sponsor a law to be included in the country's legal
statute for the amputation of the hands of those who looted public funds.

He said those who stole in millions of naira should have their hands amputated,
while those who looted billions of naira should be hanged until certified dead.

Speaking yesterday at a press conference with Kaduna State chapter of
correspondents chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Barde said that
some members of the lower chamber who agree with his view are already looking
at the prospect of implementing such law.

The lawmaker called for special courts rather than the conventional court to
try and sentence looters of public money.

Barde said: "I am a believer of the fact that people should be punished for
whatever offence they commit. And I am also of the belief that punishment
should also be segregated according to the offence. At least, your punishment
should be commensurate with what you have done."

"For me, if you ask me, if someone steals from N1 million to N100 million, they
should cut his hand. Yes, there is nothing wrong with that, so that when we see
him, we will know yes, he stole. And those who steal from billions upward
should be hanged and their property confiscated.

"You can imagine this issue of arms deal. If you know this money is meant for
the procurement of arms, weapons, my brothers and sisters here, if you have a
brother in the army, he is sent to the war front and because his weapons are
archaic and he is killed.

Do you now want to have sympathy for someone who knows that the money was meant
for arms and he pocketed it? It is so painful, we have lost loved ones." The
legislator continued: "If I am a judge and such a person is brought before me,
I will seize his property and make sure he is also killed. Because he is
responsible the blood of the people killed in the war front.

(soruce: The Guardian)


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2016-01-20 20:50:21 UTC
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Jan. 20



BAHAMAS:

Tough Call: Time To Face Reality Over Death Penalty


Last November, a regional conference in Guyana focused on abolishing the death
penalty, which many Caribbean territories - including The Bahamas - want to
keep on the books.

Sponsored by the European Union (EU), the conference went completely unnoticed
here. The main conclusion was that, although capital punishment did not deter
crime, public support for it was closely linked to fear.

As our murder rate rises to ever more "frightening" levels - which the
authorities seem helpless to deal with - it is easy to see why ordinary
citizens want to strike back. There is a strong sense that criminals are
undermining our society.

Former cabinet minister Leslie Miller recently excoriated the Chief Justice for
pointing out that - under current law - it would take a massacre before the
death penalty could be carried out here. Miller is one of a growing number of
Bahamians who have had close relatives or friends murdered in recent years. He
dismissed the judge's comment as "ridiculous and stupid" because it sent the
wrong message to criminals.

"It's sad that the courts are upholding the view that you have to have a
massacre to consider you to be eligible for the death penalty. We must fight
fire with fire. We have to wipe them out. It's either them or us," Miller said
in typical bombastic style.

Another politician who has lost a close relative to crime is Democratic
National Alliance chief Branville McCartney. And he has been equally insistent
on the need for executions. "How many more must die," he said recently, "before
lawmakers do what is necessary to protect the public?"

Fundamentalist preachers are even more unyielding. Consider this comment from
Bishop Walter Hanchell: "As we can see from scriptures, the penalty for murder
is death ... state killings should and must be resumed in order to rid the
community of wicked persons, who have lost their right to live in our society."

But all of these comments amount to spitting in the wind. There is a global
trend towards abolition of the death penalty.

Today, nearly 2/3 of all the countries in the world no longer execute people.

Many CARICOM nations retain capital punishment on the books, but judges -
whether at the Privy Council in London or the Caribbean Court in Trinidad -
have gradually made the penalty almost impossible to carry out.

The last executions in the region were carried out in St Kitts and Nevis
(2008), the Bahamas (2000) and Trinidad and Tobago (1999). In St Kitts, the
number of murders increased in the year following the 2008 execution. In
Trinidad, after an appeals court determination limiting executions, the murder
rate fell.

Multiple studies have shown that while capital punishment does not deter crime,
it does run the risk of executing innocent people. And abolitionists argue that
the death penalty is often used in a disproportional manner against the poor
and minority groups.

As lawyer Dion Hanna has pointed out: "It's very easy to convict someone under
our legal system who may be innocent, and there is no redress, unless you have
public campaigns to overturn a decision, and we don't have that kind of culture
in the Bahamas. So the death penalty really is a dangerous weapon in the hands
of the legal system."

According to a 2007 study by the United Nations and the World Bank, the causes
of high crime rates in our region include the easy availability of guns, urban
chaos, income inequality, and the prevalence of gangs, organised crime and drug
trafficking.

As the South African court which abolished the death penalty in 1995 said: "We
would be deluding ourselves if we were to believe that the execution of ... a
comparatively few people each year ... will provide the solution to the
unacceptably high rate of crime ... The greatest deterrent to crime is the
likelihood that offenders will be apprehended, convicted and punished. It is
that which is presently lacking in our criminal justice system."

Delegates at the Guyana conference called on Caribbean countries to formalise
the unofficial moratorium on the death penalty that currently exists and
respect international human rights laws. They argued that public opinion in
favour of executions was not a major obstacle to achieving this.

"Public support for the death penalty does not necessarily mean that (it) is
right," an EU statement said, pointing to historical precedents where gross
human rights violations had the support of a majority of the people, but were
condemned vigorously later on. In dealing with crime, it was seen as far more
important to strengthen the judicial system, while advancing public education
on the issue of punishment.

One of the top speakers at the Guyana conference was Navnit Dholakia, who was
born in Africa and educated in India before emigrating to Britain in the 1950s.
He is a member of the UK All Party Parliamentary Committee on Abolition of the
Death Penalty. "Do we follow public opinion or do we lead?" Dholakia said in
Guyana. "What do we mean when we talk about public opinion? Do politicians go
around asking for a referendum on every issue ... the answer is no." Change, he
said, can only happen if governments take the lead.

The last time this issue was officially addressed in the Bahamas was in 2011,
when the Ingraham administration amended the law to define just what crimes
would be eligible for the death penalty. They include killing a uniformed
officer or judge, and killing during a rape, robbery, kidnapping or act of
terrorism.

But the consensus among judges and legislators is that hanging is over here.

We have a current de facto abolition of the death penalty, and it would be much
better if politicos and religious leaders restrained themselves from pandering
to public fears and talking nonsense. Common sense should tell us that a
handful of executions following years of delay (from a handful of convictions)
will have no meaningful effect, particularly on those we would most like to be
deterred - like gangsters.

Fixing the justice system is much more important than imposing the death
penalty.

(source: Bahamas Tribune)


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2016-01-21 21:29:17 UTC
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Jan. 21





NIGERIA:

Ondo High Court Sentences Prof. Ilemobade's Killer Aides To Death By Hanging


An Ondo State High Court in Akure has sentenced 2 domestic staff members of
late Prof. Albert Ilemobade a former Vice-Chancellor of the University of
Technology (FUTA) to death by hanging for killing the professor.

The 2 killers, Olayemi Bamitale, a former driver, and Ita Enang, a night guard,
confessed to killing the former university don in cold-blood at his private
residence in Ijapo Estate, Akure, the Ondo State capital.

A SaharaReporters correspondent who was at the trial venue reports that Justice
Olamide Williams sentenced the 2 staff members to death after finding them
guilty of murdering their boss.

(source: Sahara Reporters)






INDONESIA:

Indonesia's death penalty lying in wait


Indonesia's attorney-general has the funds and the will to wield the death
penalty again, even though last year's record 14 executions failed to dent drug
crimes as promised.

On January 18 last year, 6 drugs prisoners were sent to firing squads; all but
one of them was a foreigner.

There would be more international condemnation when another 8 people were
executed in April, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Despite the diplomatic blowback, Indonesia is yet to retreat from the death
penalty.

No plans are in place and officially, Jakarta says its focus is on improving
economic conditions.

But the attorney-general's office has the budget to execute 14 prisoners in
2016.

HM Prasetyo on Wednesday told lawmakers there's no connection between
executions and the economy.

According to reports, he admitted drug crime was still rising, and that was
reason to push ahead with the "shock therapy" approach.

"I'm confident that the death penalty is a kind of therapy," he said, as
reported by The Jakarta Post. "It is an unpleasant action, but we must do it."

Haris Azhar of rights group KontraS says it's clear there has been no deterrent
effect.

President Joko Widodo, he says, is saddled with a failed policy that remains
popular with constituents.

"In 2015 we saw a period where the new government was laying down its
authority," he said.

"This year, and into the future, there's no guarantee that when the
government's popularity is down again, it wouldn't be used for grabbing public
support."

Migrant Care's Anis Hidayah says Indonesia will need a long road map towards
abolishing the death penalty, with a moratorium as the 1st step.

The organisation that assists Indonesian workers in trouble abroad argues
Indonesia lacks "moral legitimacy" to save their lives when it practises the
same policy.

"Our demand is the same, whether it's to Saudi Arabia or to our own
government," she said.

News of Jakarta's preparations have horrified prisoners on death row, who
include Mary Jane Veloso.

The Filipino single mum was prepared for the firing squad alongside Sukumaran
and Chan, but was given a last-minute reprieve pending the trial of the couple
accused of setting her up as an unwitting drug mule.

Veloso's family last week visited her in prison for the 1st time since that
emotional night.

Lawyer Edre Olalia trusts the Indonesian authorities will wait for the legal
process, saying, "an honourable government will fulfil an honourable
commitment".

While publicity around Veloso's case may yet save her from the death penalty,
the misfortune and corruption that lands others on death row never comes to
light.

The Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR) raises the case of Zainal
Abidin, an Indonesian executed with Sukumaran and Chan.

His chance for appeal vanished - literally - when the paperwork went missing
for 10 years.

The ICJR points out also that groups are still challenging the president's
ability to reject clemency without actually reviewing the individual's case.

None of this seems to impress those who still see capital punishment as the
solution to a "drugs emergency".

National Narcotics Board (BNN) spokesman Slamet Pribadi says in his opinion,
the next 14 prisoners should be executed "as soon as possible".

He says 33 Indonesians die every day as a result of illicit drugs - a revision
of the 40-50 figure used by the president to justify the policy.

"Human rights, this is for those western people to know, for those who are
against death penalty, human rights does not only apply to the criminal
perpetrators," he said.

"What about the human rights of victims?"

(source: NT News)

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

Death penalty still needed: Attorney General


Indonesia's attorney general insists that death penalties must be maintained in
the country's judicial system as a shock therapy against serious crime.

"I'm confident that the death penalty is a kind of therapy. It is an unpleasant
action, but we must do it," said Attorney General HM Prasetyo in a working
meeting with the House Commission III overseeing law and human rights, on
Wednesday evening.

The statement came in response to a question raised by a Commission III member
from the Democratic Party, Ruhut Sitompul, who asked about the spirit behind
the death penalty in Indonesia.

In November 2015, the government suspended executions of death row convicts
amid an economic slowdown. At that time, the government wanted to focus on
improving the economy, which was expanding at a slow pace of 4.73 % in the 3rd
quarter of 2015.

"The death penalty has no connection with the economy," Prasetyo said, adding
that the reactions of foreign countries about the issue are excessive.

Foreign countries and human rights groups have slammed Indonesia for
implementing capital punishment against convicts, as stipulated in the Criminal
Code (KUHP). President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had 2 groups of convicts, totaling
14 people, executed in January and April 2015.

2 of the convicts were Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran
Sukumaran, who were executed in April 2015, causing bilateral tension and
leading to Australia recalling its ambassador from Indonesia.

"We need a similar policy to fight drug crimes," Prasetyo said, adding that
Commission III should issue a statement to put to death some convicts who
already on death row.

(source: thejakartapost.com)






THAILAND:

Defence gets extension to appeal Koh Tao death penalties


2 Myanmar men sentenced to death in Thailand for murder have been given a
momentary reprieve: The court yesterday allotted an extra month for their
appeal. The defence team applied for and was granted the extension just four
days before the initial court deadline.

The lawyers said they have assembled over 100 points to contest in the appeal,
which will seek to overturn the death penalty verdict handed down to Ko Zaw Lin
and Ko Wai Phyo. On December 24, Thai courts found the Rakhine State natives
guilty of murdering 2 British backpackers last year on the resort island Koh
Tao.

Much of the case rests on hotly contested DNA evidence. The defence team has
been working with Australian DNA expert Jane Taupin to question the
prosecutors' claim that forensic samples lead to a 100 % match with the
defendants. In their ruling, the judges cite the claim as creditable, and added
that the methods used to analyse the DNA evidence met international standards.

Ms Taupin told the Bangkok Post earlier this month that the DNA testing was
fraught with serious doubts. She said the 100pc guarantee boasted by the
prosecutors cannot technically be made, especially since DNA matches are not
about certainty but a sliding probability scale. DNA profiling alone should not
form the basis of a criminal conviction, she said.

According to the Migrant Worker Rights Network, which has been assisting the
defence, the team has pored over nearly 4000 pages of court records, and has
assembled an extensive list of appeal points. The extra time will be used to
coordinate with Ms Taupin about the DNA evidence, U Sein Htay, chair of the
MWRN, said.

"The trial and sentence revolved around these DNA results which were not
handled according to international norms," he said. "Additionally, police
reported at the trial that not all DNA results were tested. We have to appeal
these points."

During the trial, which began last July, defence lawyers sought to draw
attention to inconsistencies in the police work, including not sealing off the
crime scene, and not following all potential leads. The defence maintains the 2
Myanmar men were tortured into making false confessions.

The death sentence sparked outrage in Myanmar, where even Commander-in-Chief
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing weighed in, suggesting his Thai counterparts
should "take another look". Protests led by nationalist monks have been
scheduled every Sunday, with the demonstrators vowing to continue until the
verdict is overturned.

At the beginning of the month, President U Thein Sein assigned a cast of
Myanmar lawyers to observe the case and report to the embassy. The delegation,
made up of members of the Myanmar's Lawyers Council, met with Ko Zaw Lin and Ko
Wai Phyo in prison.

"The group will try their best to assist the appeal and report observations
about the forensic data collection process," said a senior official from the
President's Office.

(source: Myanmar Times)






MALDIVES:

Maldives minor on death row asks court to recall witnesses


1 of the 2 minors sentenced to death over the murder of Abdul Muheeth in 2012
has asked the High Court to recall witnesses.

Muheeth was murdered at an alley in front of the Finance Ministry in February,
2012.

The State had charged 3 minors with 1st degree murder which had been denied by
the accused. The 3rd minor was acquitted of the charges over a lack of
evidence.

The 2 were convicted based on witness statements, phone call recordings and
CCTV footage.

All 26 heirs of the victim had asked the court for the death penalty.

The death sentence for the 2 is the 1st in the history of the Juvenile Court.

Both the minors had appealed the sentence and the High Court had held a hearing
of one of them.

During the hearing on Thursday, the defence lawyer Husnu Suood argued that
there were not enough evidence to prove that his client had stabbed Muheeth in
the chest.

Suood insisted that there were irregularities in the statements of prosecution
witnesses.

The court asked the defence to submit the questions for the witnesses for
review.

In response, the state insisted that the irregularities in the testimonies were
not enough to affect the lower court verdict.

Meanwhile, the State has also filed charges at the criminal court against Ali
Mushahfau of Sultan Villa Seenu Atoll Maradhoo, Muhujath Ahmed Naasih of
Abulagee Ge, Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Gahdhoo and Mohamed Maimoon of Zaithoonige,
Lhaviyani Naifaru, for the murder of Muheeth.

The trial at the Criminal Court is still ongoing.

(source: Haveeru Online)



SAUDI ARABIA:

Return Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr's Body to his Family (UA 271/14) | Amnesty
International USA

http://www.amnestyusa.org/get-involved/take-action-now/saudi-arabia-return-sheikh-nimr-al-nimr-s-body-to-his-family-ua-27114

(source: Amnesty International USA)






KUWAIT:

Death Penalty in Flawed Trials----Reverse Sentences, Investigate Ill-treatment
Allegations


Kuwait's 1st instance criminal court sentenced 2 men to death on January 12,
2016, after a flawed trial. The authorities should drop the death penalty
charges on appeal.

The court convicted Hassan Hajiya, a Kuwaiti national, and Abdulreda Dhaqany,
an Iranian national, of spying for Iran and Hezbollah, in both cases without
adequate legal representation.

"Issuing a death penalty sentence, especially after flawed proceedings, is a
terrible way for the Kuwaiti authorities to begin 2016," said Joe Stork, deputy
Middle East director. "The authorities should commute the executions
immediately and reinstate the moratorium that had been in place from 2007 to
2013."

Hajiya's lawyer, Khaled al-Shatti, said that his client was held and
interrogated on an almost daily basis from August 13 to September 1, 2015, by
Homeland Security, the Interior Ministry body focused on internal terrorist
threats, and the state's prosecution authorities, without any access to legal
representation. His lawyer sought access to the interrogations but, al-Shatti
said, the attorney general denied him and all of the other lawyers of the 24
other defendants who faced similar charges access to their clients.

Al-Shatti finally was able to represent his client before a judge in a "renewal
hearing" on September 2, when the prosecution requested an extension of a
10-day pretrial detention period to continue investigations, which the judge
granted. Substantive trial proceedings began on September 15, with lawyers
present, and the court held 11 hearings before sentencing Hajiya to death.

Dhaqany was not arrested, nor was he represented by a lawyer before 3 judges in
Kuwait's 1st instance criminal court sentenced him to death in absentia on
January 12. He is currently outside the country.

International law does not prohibit trial in absentia, but holds that it is an
inadequate substitute for the normal trial process, where an accused is present
to face his accusers. Courts trying defendants in absentia should institute
procedural safeguards to ensure the defendants' basic rights, such as notifying
them in advance of the proceedings, their right to representation in their
absence, and affirming their right to a retrial on the merits of the conviction
following their return to the jurisdiction.

State prosecutors brought charges of espionage and possession of arms without a
license against 26 people in all, many of whom alleged abuse during the
interrogation period. Judges found 24 people guilty of possessing arms without
a license and 18 among them for spying.

One of those sentenced, Zuhair al-Mahmeed, in a note to one of the first
instance judges during proceedings, alleged that during interrogations,
officers from Homeland Security had beaten him in his head, neck, back, and
face; kicked his legs; gave him electric shocks; made him stand for hours; and
deprived him of sleep for 6 days. He also alleged that they threatened to strip
off his clothes, hang him by his feet, mistreat other members of his family,
and confiscate his and their citizenship.

A forensics report issued on August 23, reviewed by Human Rights Watch, found
that three suspects, not including Hajiya and Dhaqany, had abrasions to their
wrists caused by metal shackles and had varying degrees of bruising and
abrasions to different parts of their bodies caused by a solid object. A 4th
suspect had bruising to the base and back of his right-hand index finger.

Another forensics report issued on September 20, about 45 days after suspects
alleged they were abused, found that five suspects showed signs of abrasions
from shackles applied at various times to their wrists, and 3 showed signs that
their ankles had been shackled earlier during their detention. The judge did
not open investigations into any of the torture allegations.

Judges cleared al-Mahmeed of all spying charges and sentenced him to 5 years in
prison for the possession of weapons without a license.

After a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since 2007, Kuwaiti
authorities executed 5 people in 2013. In September 2015, a court sentenced 7
people to death in relation to the Shia Imam Sadiq Mosque bombing in June. On
December 13, the appeals court upheld the death penalty for 1 of them and
commuted the other sentences. Al-Shatti hopes to appeal Hajiya's death sentence
within the next 3 weeks.

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as an
inherently irreversible, inhumane punishment. A majority of countries in the
world have abolished the practice. On December 18, 2007, the United Nations
General Assembly passed a resolution by a wide margin calling for a worldwide
moratorium on executions. The UN Human Rights Committee has said that,"In cases
of trials leading to the imposition of the death penalty scrupulous respect of
the guarantees of fair trial is particularly important."

(source: Human Rights Watch)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-22 15:58:43 UTC
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Jan. 22



SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi executions for 2015 set 20-year record


Just 24 hours into 2016, Saudi Arabia made world headlines with the execution
of a dissident Shi'ite cleric - sparking violent protests in Iran, and a
breaking off of diplomatic relations. But this just punctuated a very busy year
for the Saudi execution state, with most of the victims receiving little
international attention, and many sent to the chopping block for victimless
crimes - prominently including drug possession.

Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings
reaching their highest level in the kingdom in 20 years, according to a Jan. 1
Associated Press report. Coinciding with the rise in executions is the number
of people executed for non-lethal offenses that judges have wide discretion to
rule on - particularly for drug-related crimes. Amnesty International found in
November that at least 63 people had been executed in Saudi Arabia since the
start of the year for drug-related offenses. That figure amounted to at least
40% of the total number of executions in 2015, compared to less than four
percent in 2010. Amnesty said Saudi Arabia had exceeded its highest level of
executions since 1995, when 192 executions were recorded.

Saudi law allows for execution in cases of murder, drug offenses and rape.
Though less often carried out, the death penalty also applies to adultery,
apostasy and witchcraft. But while most of these charges carry fixed
punishments under Saudi Arabia's interpretation of Islamic law, drug-related
offenses are considered ta'zir, meaning neither the crime nor the punishment is
defined in Islam. This leaves it up to the discretion of jurists.

A 2005 Saudi royal decree issued to combat narcotics further codified the right
of judges to issue death sentences "as a discretionary penalty" against any
individual found guilty of smuggling, receiving or manufacturing drugs. (SMH)

There's certainly some irony to the protests in Iran. According to the
Norway-based International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, at least 648
people were executed in the Islamic Republic in the first 6 months of 2015 -
more than 2/3 for drug offenses.

(source: ww4report.com)






ZIMBABWE:

Death penalty befitting sadistic murderers


"If we are to abolish the death penalty, I should like to see the 1st step
taken by my friends the murderers," said 19th Century French critic, journalist
and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

One of the most complex moral issues - death sentence - is on the table again
with Harare lawyer Tendai Biti representing 15 death row inmates in a case in
which they want the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) to commute their sentences
to life imprisonment, citing, among other issues, that capital punishment is
not only unconstitutional, but cruel.

This week, Biti also won a landmark case in which the ConCourt ruled that -
with immediate effect - no child under the age of 18 should enter a valid
marriage.

Traditional leaders have also come out guns blazing against the death penalty
on the grounds that "capital punishment (is) not cultural, but a relic of the
colonial era". Yes, culture is not transient - here today, gone tomorrow - but
is it that static and unchanging? And are we not using "colonial relics" like
Roman-Dutch Law, police, judges and prisons to deal with crime? So, it's not
really about "colonial relics", but efficacy, effectiveness, usefulness.
Traditional remedies as they were constituted cannot work in the fast-paced,
modern-day Zimbabwe. During those long-gone days, communities were small and
sparse. Today the demographics have totally changed, communities are much
bigger and complex. So new rules and methods have to apply.

Said Chief Bepura: "... people compensated the victim's family with cattle and
a wife to appease the grieving family." Well, it's unacceptable in this day and
age to treat females - and invariably young girls - as commodities in a
transaction. The perpetrator himself must be made to solely pay for his crimes,
not to throw young girls into the deal as if women are mere objects.
Thankfully, the ConCourt did away with this traditional relic when Biti
skilfully and incisively argued against the obnoxious forced child marriages.
Biti is back in his element: Law, not politics. I digress.

The death sentence, if carried out, is irreversible. So are the murders
committed by those sentenced to death not reversible - their victims' lives are
gone forever. Nothing can bring them back. So, where do we draw the line in the
interests of serving justice for both sides?

On the one hand, we have abolitionists who are totally against the death
sentence under any circumstances, who are of the view that execution is
tantamount to legalised murder. No matter how wicked and vicious the crime, no
matter how vile and degenerate the criminal, these death penalty opponents are
adamant that nobody can ever deserve to die - even if that person burned
children alive.

Ironically, when it comes to another highly complex moral issue - that of
abortion - those totally against the death sentence on the grounds that it is
equally murder, are pro-choice. They say it is every woman's right to choose to
have an abortion, itself an act of taking away innocent life. But when it comes
to murderers, they are pro-life; they say lives that have deliberately taken
other innocent lives must not be terminated under any circumstances. I find
this illogical, unconscionable and outrageous.

There are opportunistic low-lives among us who have no guilt over doing rotten
or heinous things to other people. It's all in a day's work for them to hurt
the innocent and defenceless. We are talking about people who are guilty as
sin. Let's not go too far with this 'rights thing'. After all, the average
person is not a murderer. It's the tiniest minority who kill gratuitously.

Should we take up any and all causes? Let's not be voguish or politically
correct about the death penalty.

Yes, it is the ultimate punishment, but then it should be applied for the most
hideous crimes. It's not like death row inmates are being executed every day.
When people go beyond the pale - that is, throw away all the rules and wilfully
and totally disregard all institutions of society that are synonymous with
civilisation itself - then they fully deserve the ultimate punishment. If you
deliberately choose to be outside of civilisation, then you should have no
expectation at all to be treated in a civilised manner.

Let's not be like incurable do-gooders who think they are helping society by
championing oppressed minority groups' rights, when in fact they are ruining
society and endangering the innocent.

Let's not be nice about everything. Let's avoid misplaced pity. Do-gooder
methods do not always create the positive outcomes intended; the complete,
tragic opposite can occur. One such do-gooder in the United States befriended a
serving prisoner and accommodated him in his own home after his release. Guess
what? The convict went on to rob and kill him.

A do-gooder is an earnest, but often naive person (typically educated) who
wants reform through philanthropic or egalitarian means - such as prison
welfare. Do-gooders always mean well, but may misinterpret opposing preferences
- like not supporting a blanket ban of the death penalty - to be "Zanuist",
cold, cruel or intolerant.

As American Professor Robert Flecker rightly observed, we should guard against
the prevailing academic assumptions about the evils of capital punishment. At
Harvard Law School, where he won the prize for the best graduating thesis,
Blecker was 1 of only 2 students to publicly defend the death penalty. He went
on to prosecute corrupt lawyers, police, and judges and saw at close range how
the rich and powerful were given breaks denied to poor and powerless offenders.

So there is no contradiction in supporting the death penalty for deserving
cases and advocating prison reform. The 2 should not be mixed - they are
separate.

Like criticising the despotic and corrupt Zanu PF regime should not stop us
from pointing out the same tendencies in the private sector and elsewhere.

Those few among us who go all out to distinguish themselves as most sadistic
murderers - the worst of the worst - certainly deserve to be hanged.

(source: Conway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist----NewsDay)






UNITED KINGDOM/ETHIOPIA:

UK urged to use Ethiopia summit to free death row Briton


The government must use the African Union summit which runs from 21-26 January
in Addis Ababa to urge the release of a British man kidnapped to Ethiopia
nearly 2 years ago, says the human rights organisation Reprieve.

Foreign Office minister James Duddridge is expected to attend the AU's annual
summit in the Ethiopian capital. The AU recently named 2016 the 'Year of Human
Rights in Africa.'

Reprieve has written to Mr Duddridge asking him to use the forum to secure the
release of Andargachew 'Andy' Tsege, a British father of 3 and political
activist who is held in Ethiopia under sentence of death. Andy has been in
incommunicado detention since his illegal kidnap and rendition to the country
by Ethiopian forces in June 2014. A prominent critic of Ethiopia's ruling
party, Andy Tsege was sentenced to death in absentia in 2009, and since his
rendition, Ethiopian authorities have refused to allow him to see a lawyer or
his partner and children. Torture is common in Ethiopian prisons, and there are
fears that he has suffered mistreatment whilst detained.

The UK government has so far refused to ask for Tsege's release
(http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/21578), instead limiting itself to calling for
regular consular access - which has been denied - and 'due process'. Ahead of
last year's African Union summit, Foreign Office officials indicated to Tsege's
partner that they planned to raise the case - however, an email later sent to
her from a UK official said that the summit had been "unbelievably busy" and
that "it wasn't possible to have a bilateral meeting."

The summit comes amid concerns for Andy Tsege's mental state in detention. In
an expert report published this week, Dr Ben Robinson of the South London and
Maudsley NHS Trust concluded that: "Mr Tsege's mental health has declined
precipitously since being detained in Ethiopia", and that there is an "urgent
need" to remove him from his current conditions.

The event also comes amid criticism of the Foreign Office for a recent decision
to abandon its anti-death penalty strategy in countries including Ethiopia.

Commenting, Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, said:
"The UK government must use this summit to make a concerted push for Andy
Tsege's release. It is shocking that no progress has been made since last
year's event - when British diplomats were 'too busy' to raise the case. Now
that the African Union has made 2016 the 'year of human rights', the Foreign
Office must tell Ethiopian officials to honour that pledge and urgently free
Andy."

(source: ekklesia.co.uk)



IRAN:

More child offenders executed under Hassan Rouhani


The Iranian regime has executed more child offenders in 2014-2015 compared to
any time during the past 5 years.

Dr Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapportuer on the Situation of
Human Rights in Iran, wrote in a piece published on his website on Wednesday:
"Iran is 1 of a handful of countries that still executes child offenders, or
boys and girls under 18 years of age at the time they commit a crime."

"In 2015 human rights groups documented at least three executions of child
offenders, with at least 160 others awaiting the same fate on death row."

Mr. Shaheed said: "The number of child offenders executed in 2014-15 are
actually higher than at any time during the past 5 years," adding "piecemeal"
measures are not enough.

"Today Iranian judges can, and have, sentenced girls as young as 9 lunar years
and boys as young as 15 lunar years to death by hanging, in plain violation one
of the most fundamental and sacrosanct rights recognized under international
law," he said.

On January 12, 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child concluded its
review of Iran's 3rd and 4th periodic reports on the implementation of the
provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The UN investigator has joined the members of the committee in calling on the
Iranian regime to take more drastic and immediate measures to ensure that from
this day on no child offenders are executed in Iran, regardless of the nature
of their crime.

There have been over 2,000 executions in Iran in the 2 years that Hassan
Rouhani has been in office, more than in any similar period in the past 25
years.

On April 20, 2014, Hassan Rouhani described these executions as "God's
commandments" and "laws of the parliament that belongs to the people."

(source: NCR-Iran)






AUSTRALIA:

Victoria's Nomination for 'Australian of the Year'


Barrister Julian McMahon tried his best to save the lives of Bali 9 duo Andrew
Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, becoming Victoria's strong contender for Australian
of the Year award.

As a critic of death penalty system and a defender of human rights, McMahon
tried hard to save the lives of Australians facing death penalty in foreign
nations for the past 13 years for free. He acquired his law degree in Melbourne
and he decided to become a lawyer when he was in his secondary level of
education in Sydney.

McMahon told AAP that his interest in law grew when he was a teen as he watched
Rumpole of the Bailey. His 1st case against death penalty was of Van Tuong
Nguyen in Singapore. He fought the case in 2002 when he was just a "relatively
new and raw barrister," having an experience of a mere 4 years. Despite efforts
from McMahon, his team and also pleas for clemency by the Aussie government,
the victim was executed over drug trafficking charges.

Since then, the barrister has handled a number of cases to save Australians
staying overseas from death penalty charges. The cases included George Forbes
in Sudan who returned to Sydney and the Bali 9 duo cases. In April 2015, the
Bali 9 pair was executed in spite of McMahon's severe trials. Since then, he
has presented his views and work on death penalty at the Asian Regional
Congress in Malaysia and he continues to oppose it throughout the globe.

The barrister advocates continuing his trials to ensure the eradication of the
death penalty system someday. "I would say that lots of people have difficult
or demanding jobs and lives, but what I do is nothing compared to lifetime
carers of people suffering serious disabilities," he told AAP. "I just feel
embarrassed when people say 'you're so amazing,' when the fact is I'm doing my
work the best I can and it's not as hard as what a lot of people have to do."

McMahon stated that even if he has received a nomination for such a prestigious
award such as Australian of the Year, he will be using it to aid people
belonging to the marginalised sector of the society. The Sunshine Coast Daily
reported that qualified former nurse, Anne Carey, who helped fight Ebola in
Sierra Leone, has also been nominated for the Australian of the Year award.

(source: Australian Network News)






PHILIPPINES:

Death penalty sought for local 'El Chapos,' protectors


The local "El Chapos" and their protectors, such as military and police
officials, must be sentenced to death, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto
said Friday.

"El Chapo" is the moniker of the dreaded Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman,
leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel, who was recaptured on January 8 after 6
months on the run following his escape from a Mexican prison.

"Death penalty must be imposed for those involved in large-scale drug
trafficking, including military and police officials who coddle and conspire
with them," Recto said in a statement.

The senator made the statement a day after a ranking military official and a
former official of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (Pdea) was arrested
along with a Chinese national in a drug bust operation.

On Thursday, Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinand Marcelino, former director of the
Special Enforcement Services of Pdea, was arrested in a raid in a house in Sta.
Cruz, Manila. The operation yielded P320 million worth of shabu.

Recto said he was against the capital punishment but involvement of military
and police in drug trafficking had pushed him to support the restoration of
death penalty in the country.

"Although I am fundamentally against capital punishment, the impunity by which
men in uniform coddle and align themselves with dangerous criminals they are
supposed to stop, has led me to be open to the restoration of death penalty if
attended by aggravating circumstances like the one I cited above," he said.

Recto expressed alarm over the proliferation of illegal drug trade in the
country, saying "wholesale drug operation does wholesale damage."

He thus said those responsible for manufacturing and sale of illegal drugs,
which he dubbed as "weapon of mass destruction," deserved a punishment "greater
than a cushy taxpayer-paid stay in a Bilibid cell with spa and air
conditioning."

"A sack of shabu victimizes not just one person but many. There are millions of
granules in a sack, and each can potentially fuel another crime by a user who
steals money or snatches a phone to feed his habit, to cases of domestic
violence," the senator said.

"If the retail trade of shabu is booming, it is because the source is left
untouched. The best way to stop water from flowing is not to close each and
every faucet, but to shut down the main," he added.

Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe, chair of Senate committee on public order and
dangerous drugs, has called on the Pdea to investigate the possible involvement
of a ranking military officer in the illegal trade.

"I urge the police and the government prosecutors to investigate the matter
thoroughly and with full transparency to get to the bottom of this. This should
send a strong message that no one is above the law," Poe said in a statement on
Thursday afternoon.

"I also urged the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to look into the matter
seriously to ensure that no one from its ranks is involved this illegal trade,"
she added.

(source: Sun Star)






INDIA:

Lifer not punishment enough: Jamanthi ---- Victim's close relatives upset
Nisham has been spared death penalty.


For an immensely rich and influential person like the convict Mohammed Nisham,
the life in prison will not be a punishment, according to Jamanthi, wife of
Chandrabose, the slain office assistant of Sobha City.

"For us the sentence was not on the expected lines and we are not satisfied
with his getting life term," she said reacting to the court order. The close
relatives of the victim were upset over the court not awarding death sentence
to Nisham.

"For the gruesome way in which he murdered my son, he deserves the noose and we
are concerned about his getting a VIP treatment throughout his term in the
prison and his coming out on parole using his influence," said Ambujakshi,
mother of Chandrabose.

The family members, however, said that the prosecution team led by C.P.
Udayabhanu along with lawyers C.S. Hrithwik, T.S. Rajan and K.A. Salil
Narayanan along with their assistant C.R. Johnson had tried their best to send
Nisham to the gallows.

Kunnamkulam MLA Babu M. Palissery who was present at the court said that the
compensation awarded to the family was meagre considering the Rs 5,000 -crore
assets of the convicted beedi tycoon.

"It is even less than the cost of tyres of the Hummer car that Nisham used to
hit Chandrabose," he said.

Special Public Prosecutor in the case C.P. Udayabhanu said that it was up to
the state government to move the High Court seeking death penalty for Nisham.

Meanwhile, former deputy director of prosecution, M. Mohammed, who was a part
of the defence team of lawyers, was heard telling the close relatives of Nisham
that even though life imprisonment means spending one's whole life in prison,
most such convicts were released by the government after 14 years through
special orders.

"If a person is given life imprisonment, there is no point in the claims of
prosecution lawyers that first the convict will serve 24 years' rigorous
imprisonment for related crimes and then the lifer for murder," he said.

(source: Deccan Chronicle)

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

Compassion on death row cases


Death row convict Mohammed Arif alias Ashfaq, a Pakistani national found guilty
of conspiring to organise the attack on the Red Fort complex in Delhi in 2000,
in which 2 Army soldiers and a sentry were killed, has been given 1 more
opportunity of an oral hearing. His lawyers have been allowed by the Supreme
Court to file a fresh petition seeking a review of the death sentence confirmed
by the court in August 2011 so that the matter can be heard once again in open
court. The court has once again demonstrated its inexhaustible capacity to deal
with death penalty cases in a spirit of compassion. A September 2014
Constitution Bench judgment ruling that a 30-minute oral hearing in open court
for every review petition involving the penalty is a constitutional requirement
was not applicable to Ashfaq, one of the petitioners before it. This was
because the limited oral hearing in death row cases was just an exception to
the general rule that review petitions be decided by circulation of the papers
among judges. The exception was limited to those cases in which both a review
petition and a subsequent curative plea had already been rejected. In Ashfaq's
case, the court declined to review his sentence in August 2012 and the curative
petition was rejected in January 2014. Chief Justice T.S. Thakur has, however,
decided that he deserves a concession in order that even the slightest
possibility of error may be eliminated, for he was the sole convict who did not
get the benefit of the earlier verdict.

After upholding Ashfaq's death sentence and declining to review it, obviously
because there was no apparent error, is it not mere moral tokenism to afford
him another oral hearing? Howsoever one may answer this question, it cannot be
disputed that the Supreme Court has been dealing with cases culminating in the
death penalty in a liberal spirit in recent years. It has delivered a series of
judgments widening the scope of the clemency jurisdiction. Even when
constrained by an earlier judgment by another five-member Constitution Bench
allowing the disposal of review petitions without an oral hearing, the Bench,
in 2014, carved out an exception for death row cases alone by making oral
hearing an integral part of 'reasonable procedure'. By extending the benefit to
Ashaq, a Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist found guilty of plotting and facilitating an
audacious attack , the court is enhancing the value of due process. Some
critics may question the wisdom of being magnanimous towards such offenders and
not taking a stern stand against all forms of terrorism. This apparent conflict
between the thirst for condign punishment and the twinge of conscience about
sending one to the gallows will persist as long as the death penalty remains on
the statute book. Until it is well and truly abolished, it is only the court
that can humanise the law and procedure relating to death and mercy.

(source: Editorial, The Hindu)






PAKISTAN:

Death sentences : LHC admits petitions against 3 military court verdicts


The Lahore High Court Rawalpindi bench on Thursday admitted petitions filed by
3 persons against death sentences handed down by military courts.

Justice Abdul Sami Khan admitted the petitions filed by Javaid Iqbal Ghuari,
Kalsoom Bibi, and Said Zaman after their lawyer Advocate Colonel (retired)
Inam-ur-Rahim maintained before the court that due course of law was not
followed when they were tried in military courts.

The office of the LHC registrar had raised an objection against the petitions,
saying that writ petitions could not be filed in the high court against
military court verdicts. After hearing the arguments of Advocate Rahim,
however, Justice Khan admitted the petitions and set January 25 for the next
hearing.

According to available information, Javiad Iqbal Ghauri, a former employee of
the Federal Ministry of Information, informed the court that his son Muhammad
Ghauri was a student in Islamabad. He said his son went missing a few years ago
and he had no clue of his whereabouts.

Ghauri said that in 2014, he was informed that his son was in the custody of
intelligence agencies. He said that he was also informed that a military court
had tried, convicted, and sentenced his son to death.

The petitioner said that a meeting was arranged with his son 2 years ago. He
noted that his son had become disabled. He said that he had not seen his son
for the last 2 years.

Separately, Justice Khan issued notices to the Adiala jail superintendent,
asking for a response to the petition filed by Said Zaman.

Advocate Rahim, representing the petitioner, said he approached the jail
superintendent to get legal documents signed by Zaman, but the official did not
allow him to see his client. The lawyer said that the jail authorities told him
that Zaman's appeals against his death penalty had already been cancelled.

Kalsoom Bibi, a resident of Jacobabad, stated in her petition that her son
Abdul Qayyum had been given the death penalty by a military court. She said
that she had no access to her son and did not know why he had been given a
death sentence.

Meanwhile, Justice Khan disposed off a petition filed by Musarat Bibi, a
resident of Okara. The court asked her to file an appeal against the death
penalty awarded to her son by a military court before the concerned
authorities.

In her petition, Musarat Bibi had maintained that her son Aqson Mahboob went
missing from Lahore on July 14, 2014. Later, she learnt that Raiwind police had
killed her son in an encounter. However, she was against informed that her son
was alive and was given death sentence on January 1, 2016.

(source: The Express Tribune)


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Jan. 22




INDIA:

HC upholds death sentence to man who raped and murdered a minor girl


The Aurangabad bench of the Bomaby high court yesterday upheld the ruling of
the Jalna district session court giving capital punishment to the accused in
connection with rape and murder of a 2-year-old girl in 2012. The accused, Ravi
Ashok Gumare of (25), a resident of Indiranagar of Jalna was arrested by Kadim
Jalna police in 2012 in connection with rape and murder of a 2 1/2-year-old
girl.

On March 6, 2012 the accused Gumare lured the girl, when she was playing in
front of his house, he then raped and murdered her. After the incident, irate
people protested the incident and demanded a stern action against the rapist.
Police registered a case and arrested him. Later filed a charge sheet in
session court. On Septemebr 18, 2015 the district session court awarded him
capital punishment after finding him guilty of kidnapping, sexual abuse and
murdering the girl. A case was then transferred to the Aurangbad division bench
of the Bombay high court for confirmationof the death penalty.

(source: webindia123.com)


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Jan. 23



IRAN:

The Artist Making Dolls of the Women Executed in Iran


Women living in Iran have been executed for "crimes" like not wearing their
hijab correctly or defending themselves from rape. While the country's
government uses the death penalty as a silencing tactic, Iranian-American
artist Sheida Soleimani is bringing attention to the women who were supposed to
disappear.

Iranian-American artist Sheida Soleimani has never been to Iran, and she most
likely never will. After her 2014 photo series, National Anthem, which
displayed chaotic iconography from the country's even more chaotic political
history, appeared in the press, Soleimani started receiving threatening letters
from members of the Iranian government. Now, she's pretty sure she's on their
watch-list. However, her work provides such an incisive lens on the country
that it wouldn't be completely accurate to call her an outsider looking in. As
the daughter of 2 political refugees who were targeted by the government during
the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the country's war-torn discourse has always been a
part of Soleimani's life and her art.

Her latest, untitled photo series aims to bring attention to women in Iran who
have been executed by their government for "crimes" such as not wearing their
headscarf correctly or defending themselves from rape. According to Iran Human
Rights, 3,344 people have been executed in Iran since 2011 for minor offenses.
The total number of women executed in the country per year is unknown; the
government will report a certain amount of executions - sometimes adding false
charges - but many go completely unacknowledged. Even without this context,
it's clear that the women resurrected in Soleimani's surreal photographs -
bloated and pixelated - have gone through something grotesque.

Ahead of her solo exhibition in Cologne later this year, I talked to Soleimani
about the emotional, and multi-media, process behind her photos, identity in
art, and her deep connection to a place she'll never see.

Broadly: A lot of the work you made is very much tied to Iran. As a woman of
color, I'm always curious about how and why people choose to represent their
racial and gender identity through art. There seems to be two different camps
of artists of color: those who want to avoid the label and those who embrace
it. Did you always know that you wanted to explore your Iranian heritage?

Sheida Soleimani: Yeah, ever since I was young. I was raised in the United
States, but I didn't learn how to speak English until I was 6. My parents were
very specific about me learning my native tongue because they knew that I would
learn how to speak English when I went to school and met other kids. So I was
always really eager to share what was going with me when I learned how to speak
English. I was really excited to be able to communicate with other kids and,
once I started doing that, I felt like everything I had to say to them was so
foreign.

As I got older, that started to make me think about what people in the West are
exposed to and how they are exposed to different things, specifically through
the news and popular media. What's shown about Iran on the news is very
specifically framed. My parents being political refugees really made me want to
start talking about [what's happening in Iran] more.

Were your parents open with you about their experience as refugees?

They were always really candid with me. Sometimes I wonder if it was too much,
but I don't think so. When I was five, my mom would put me to bed and tell me
stories about when she was in prison and what the prison guards did to her.
[She was arrested and tortured by members of the Iranian government.] I think
part of that was because she didn't have anyone else to talk to about it. I
kind of became my parent's psychologist. My dad, over dinner discussion, would
talk about how his friends were executed and hanged and how he had to witness
public hangings. As a child, it was definitely a lot to hear about, but I
learned about the truth at a very young age. I'm thankful for that.

My parents are always my go-to. Even when I'm making this work now, I'll call
my parents and ask them what they think. The rest of my family still lives in
Iran, and they're my news source for getting news that's not filtered by
Western media. Anything that I can't find on the dark web comes from them,
especially during times of revolution and protest. There were a lot of things
that weren't talked about on Western TV when the Green Revolution started
happening in 2008, for example. Family members were telling me, "It's bad here.
There's sweepers cleaning up blood from the streets at night."

What do your parents think of your work?

It took them a little while, but my mom has always been really helpful. When I
started taking self-portraits she would help me set up photos even though I
was, like, half-naked. My dad is really interested in the activism of it. He
was a political activist in Iran, and that's actually why my mom got arrested.
He's definitely into displaying opinions - he thinks that's really important -
and my mom is more interested in the artistic process of it.

It seems like both of their philosophies influenced you in the way that your
work is visual, but it's not just "retinal" art. What are your thoughts on art
as activism?

I would consider myself an activist in some means, but my work is just to raise
questions. Everyone is going to take away something different from it, but at
least they'll get to see it. That's my biggest concern.

When did you start making work about Iranian women, specifically?

This work is pretty new. I started this in November, but I've really been
running with it because I have a few shows coming up. It's become really
important to me, so I'm going to try to make a whole show's worth by April.

I remember I was sitting in the car, having a conversation with my partner, and
I was just coming down from finishing National Anthem. Those images addressed a
lot of torture victims, whether they were male of female, and people who have
been victimized for speaking out. But then I started thinking about it more,
and I realized it was important for me, having a mother who went through what
she did, to highlight the women who have been executed. No one is representing
them or protecting them in the country of Iran, and they are killed if they try
to have a voice. I started thinking about what would happen if I started
forcing [people to look at] these images of these women on trial. And this just
after I had learned about Reyhaneh Jabbari, a woman who was executed for
killing her rapist. I was just thinking, "Wow, a woman can't even protect
herself from someone who is trying to rape her. He walks free, and she gets
killed. How can I start a conversation about this?"

The resulting images look 3-dimensional or like they're from 3D forms. What's
the process behind these compositions?

The 1st thing I do is look at the numbers online. I'm on Iran Human Rights
Watch, Amnesty International - which doesn't even cover 1/4 of the executions -
and on the dark web, where there are forums that people can confirm casualties
in Iran. If one of your family members has been jailed, no one in the
government will tell you if they have been executed or what has happened to
them. That's where these forums come in. The Humans Rights Watch put out a
report in 2013 that said that over 200 executions were not even claimed, and
last year saw the highest number of executions in 15 years. There are public
executions as well, and that's how the government tries to instill fear in its
citizens. They execute women in this way to send a message: don't do this or
you'll be killed, too. Reyhaneh Jabbari was one of those women.

The next thing I do is try to find images of these women. Very rarely are women
even allowed to have trials - it's really just a matter of formality - but when
they do have trials, sometimes images will be posted online. In the image I
made of the woman crying, that's from her trial, but other source pictures come
from mugshots. Since they're usually for web, the images are small and I need
to upsize them. That's why they appear pixelated - I leave them that way as a
nod to their online source. Then I print them on fabric and stuff them to make
them plush. The next thing I think about are objects that can tell the story of
the woman's execution. Most recently, I had an image of a woman who was
handcuffed and led to her death. I sourced and cut-up images of her hands and
placed handcuffs around her form. It's really all about playing with that
language and thinking about what an image can contribute to another image. Then
I set it all up in a corner of a room and photograph it.

Oh, wow. So these are all photographs of physical installations. They're not
digitally collaged at all?

No, not at all. I'm really bad at Photoshop.

Knowing that makes these images even more horrifying to me. The mangled doll
aspect... You're quite literally making these invisible women visible, in a way
that's fittingly disturbing.

I knew I wanted to print the women's faces on some sort of fabric to make them
plush, but I started playing around with things and then realized that when I
created my 1st sculptural form it really resembled the form of a Bobo doll,
which are those clown-looking dolls that are weighted at the bottom. The end
result of the doll really does look like a punching bag.

I mentioned this to a friend who is a psychologist, and she brought up Albert
Banduras' social learning experiment. The experiment was done in 1961 using 2
control groups of children. One group gets to go into a room with various toys
and they get to play without any direction. The second group of children,
before they get to go into this room of toys, watches a video of a person
displaying aggression toward a Bobo doll. After that group of children watches
the video, every single one of those kids decided to play with the Bobo Doll
aggressively. The first group didn't do that all. When started thinking about
these forms I was making out of pictures of executed women, I couldn't help but
see the link there. In a lot of villages in Iran, you are forced to go to the
city square and witness a woman get killed. People take their kids - it's so
normalized that it's like taking your kids to the circus.

I was actually horrified myself the other night when I was photographing one
them. I was positioning the dolls and touching them, and then I realized I was
thinking about not touching the dolls too roughly. They're inanimate objects,
but when I work with them I feel a connection and I feel like I have to treat
them a specific way because of what's happened to the women behind them. It's
like, I'm touching the face of this dead woman. It's strange. I get really sad.

(source: broadly.vice.com)






KUWAIT:

Kuwait urged to commute death sentences in spying case


Kuwait has been urged to drop plans to execute 2 men convicted of spying for
Iran and Hezbollah, with an international rights group claiming their trial was
"flawed".

Kuwait's first instance criminal court sentenced Hassan Hajiya, a Kuwaiti
national, and Abdulreda Dhaqany, an Iranian national, to death on January 12.

In both cases, Human Rights Watch said they were convicted "without adequate
legal representation".

"Issuing a death penalty sentence, especially after flawed proceedings, is a
terrible way for the Kuwaiti authorities to begin 2016," said Joe Stork, deputy
Middle East director.

"The authorities should commute the executions immediately and reinstate the
moratorium that had been in place from 2007 to 2013."

Hajiya's lawyer, Khaled al-Shatti, said that his client was held and
interrogated on an almost daily basis from August 13 to September 1, 2015, by
Homeland Security without any access to legal representation, the rights group
said in a statement.

It added that his lawyer sought access to the interrogations but the attorney
general denied him and all of the other lawyers of the 24 other defendants who
faced similar charges access to their clients.

Al-Shatti hopes to appeal Hajiya's death sentence within the next 3 weeks.

Human Rights Watch also said Dhaqany was not arrested, nor was he represented
by a lawyer before 3 judges in Kuwait's first instance criminal court sentenced
him to death in absentia. He is currently outside the country.

State prosecutors brought charges of espionage and possession of arms without a
licence against 26 people in all. Judges found 24 people guilty of possessing
arms without a licence and 18 among them for spying.

After a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since 2007, Kuwaiti
authorities executed 5 people in 2013. In September 2015, a court sentenced
seven people to death in relation to the Shia Imam Sadiq Mosque bombing in
June. On December 13, the appeals court upheld the death penalty for one of
them and commuted the other sentences.

(source: arabianbusiness.com)






THAILAND:

Senior cop gets death penalty for murdering official


A former senior police officer has been sentenced to death for his involvement
in the murder of a chief administrator of the provincial administration
organisation (PAO) in 2013.

The decision by the Region 4 Appeals Court overturns a lower court sentence of
life in prison against Pol Lt Col Somjit Kaewphrom. The former deputy chief of
Nong Rua district police station was convicted in the shooting death of Suchart
Khotthum in front of his house in Muang district on May 3, 2013. The family of
the slain official later appealed the lower court ruling.

Pol Lt Col Somjit was 1 of 5 defendants in the case. The other 4 - Pol Snr Sgt
Maj Veerasak Chamnanpol, Praphan Sripilai, Boonchuay Chungklang and Piyapong
Meekambang - were given life imprisonment for colluding in the murder.

Suthep Khotthum, head of the legal affairs unit of the Khon Kaen PAO, said on
Friday that the family of the late PAO deputy chief was satisfied with the new
ruling, given on Jan 19. Reporters were not allowed to attend.

"The family members of the slain official are satisfied with the appeal court's
decision. Justice has prevailed for all sides. Wrongdoers must be punished. As
for the convicts, they have the right to appeal the ruling," said Mr Suthep.

Pol Lt Gen Boonlert Jaipradit, chief of Provincial Police Region 4, said the
alleged mastermind of the murder had recently contacted police to fight the
case. However, police investigators had obtained solid evidence to link him
with the murder, said the regional police chief.

The investigation team has already submitted its report to prosecutors to
indict the alleged mastermind, he added.

Police earlier focused on adultery as the motive behind the killing. They
believed the defendants had acted under orders of a superior whom they called
"the boss" who was upset with the slain official's close relations with the
woman he was courting.

Daily News Online said the lower court had earlier sentenced Pol Lt Col Somjit
to life in prison and Mr Praphan to 37 years in jail and acquitted the three
other defendants of the murder charges. This prompted the family of the slain
official to appeal.

(source: Bangkok Post)






UNITED KINGDOM/ETHIOPIA:

Foreign Office 'has betrayed Briton on death row in Ethiopia' ---- Claims
government has failed 'ghost prisoner' denied access to a lawyer or his family


The partner of a British man sentenced to death in Ethiopia has accused the UK
government of wilfuly ignoring his plight.

Andargachew Tsege was given the death penalty at a trial held in his absence
six years ago, in contravention of international law. A prominent figure in an
Ethiopian opposition party, he disappeared in June 2014 during a stopover in
Yemen while travelling from Dubai to Eritrea, in what campaigners regard as a
politically motivated kidnapping. He was then illegally rendered to Ethiopia on
the command of the Ethiopian government, as part of a crackdown on dissidents
and civil rights activists.

Speaking ahead of Foreign Office minister James Duddridge's arrival on
Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for the annual African Union
summit, Tsege's partner, Yemi Hailemariam, from north London, said she felt
betrayed by the UK government's apparent indifference.

Foreign Office officials, however, have yet to learn whether they will even be
granted a meeting with Ethiopia to raise Tsege's case.

"Since Andy disappeared in June 2014 our family has been living a nightmare,"
said Hailemariam. "My children are desperate to see their father again. Andy
believed in democracy above all - that's what he respected about Britain, and
it's what he hoped for in Ethiopia. He was sentenced to death for holding these
very British values - we simply can't understand why the government he believed
in isn't standing up for him."

It is now 18 months since Tsege was put in jail and UK ministers have yet to
request the 60-year-old's release. Letters to the Tsege's lawyers indicate that
Duddridge believes the father of three from Islington should appeal his
conviction through the Ethiopian courts, a stance his family fear reveals that
the UK government has accepted the validity of Tsege's conviction. Despite
being pressed last week on whether its position had changed, the Foreign Office
remains unmoved.

By contrast, the European Parliament cranked up the pressure on Ethiopia last
Thursday, passing a resolution demanding the country release Tsege
"immediately".

Tsege, who fled the country in the 1970s and sought asylum in the UK in 1979,
has been unable to contact a lawyer since his arrest, and his family have
similarly been blocked from seeing him.

A redacted transcript from a 30-minute meeting on December 26 last year between
Tsege and a British official allowed to visit him apperared to confirm he is
effectively a "ghost prisoner".

The transcript states: "He [Tsege] had been told there was a problem in that he
'wasn't in the system and hadn't been given a prisoner number'. He was also
denied other rights that other prisoners enjoyed such as watching TV, listening
to the radio and reading newspapers."

It added: "He didn't even know who was really responsible for him - he'd
written to ask but hadn't received a response yet."

Maya Foa, the head of Reprieve's death penalty team, said the time had come for
the Foreign Office to abandon soft diplmacy and call for the Briton's release.
She said: "Tsege has been subjected to an outrageous, unlawful ordeal, and if
the Foreign Office disagrees, it must explain why.

???It is unacceptable that a British citizen was sentenced to death in a
political show trial - where he wasn't present, and didn't even know about the
court proceedings - and then kidnapped into indefinite detention by the same
brutal regime. It's clear that there is no hope of 'due process' in Ethiopia's
courts, and that Andy's very wellbeing is at stake."

A psychological analysis of Tsege, based on the transcript from the prison
visit suggest his mental state has deteriorated significantly. Dr Ben Robinson,
of South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, said the transcipt suggests Tsege may
have become suicidal.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "The foreign secretary has raised Tsege's
case with the Ethiopian government on 20 separate occasions, making it clear
the way he has been treated is unacceptable. We welcome the improvement in
access to Tsege, following the British Government's intervention, but it must
be more regular and it must include access to a lawyer.

The statement added: "Tsege has still not been given an ability to challenge
his detention through a legal process. The foreign secretary has written
formally to the Ethiopians requesting a timetable for that legal process."

(source: The Guardian)



JAMAICA:

Waste of time - Death penalty won't make a difference, says UWI professor


Given perennially low conviction rates by local courts of law in Jamaica, Alcan
Professor of Caribbean Sustainable Development at the University of the West
Indies (UWI) Anthony Clayton is suggesting that application of capital
punishment will hardly serve as a deterrent to murder.

"There are those who believe that if (Jamaica) re-introduces capital
punishment, (it) will solve crime," asserted Clayton at a Gleaner forum
yesterday. "But it won't because the chances of being convicted are only 5 %."

Clayton brought empirical data to substantiate his claims: "It doesn't matter
what the severity of the punishment is if the chances of being convicted are so
small," he argued.

The last incident of capital punishment in Jamaica took place in 1988. With the
murder rate ballooning out of control over the last 40 years, debate has been
raging in the public space about the effect of the death penalty.

COMMON POSITION

The debate on its retention reconvened in the House of Representatives in 2008,
with strong views emanating from both sides, although the arguments for
outnumbered those that were against.

The common position was that steps should be urgently taken to advance the
complete overhaul of the justice system to ensure that the process was fair and
that the method of death should include the electric chair or death by
injection, and should not be restricted to hanging.

But Clayton, who has conducted a comprehensive study of criminal behaviour
globally, is not convinced. "If the chance of convictions is very low, the
severity of the punishment doesn't matter," he argued.

He disclosed that the studies have found that a significantly higher number of
the perpetrators of murders are themselves killed while on the run than are
convicted by the courts of law for the crimes that they committed.

Clayton noted that between 2004 and 2010, some 61 % of the homicide levels
remained unsolved, while 39 per cent were 'cleared', which denotes that the
alleged murderers were merely identified.

CONVICTION RATES

Clayton revealed as well that 1/3 of this category was eventually acquitted.
"So only 12 of the 39 % survived long enough to get to court and were
sentenced," he said.

According to him, this means that the conviction rate overall was less than 5 %
per year.

"If you are a murderer, you are 3 times more likely to be killed and about 5
times more likely to be acquitted than you are to be sentenced," he said.

This, he added, has a lot of consequences for crime solving. "Many believe that
if capital punishment is re-introduced, it will solve the problem, but it
won't," he stressed. "Because the chance of being convicted is only 5 %.

Clayton noted that murder cases take up to 5 years to be concluded. He said
that witnesses in some of the protracted murder cases are themselves killed,
thereby affecting the outcomes of the trials.

(source: Jamaica Gleaner)

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Jan. 24




IRAN----executions

4 Prisoners Hanged In The Central Prison Of Karaj


4 prisoners were executed in Karaj prison.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), 4
prisoners with the names of Seyed Hamid Hajian, Hossain Tootian Noosh, Mostafa
Jamshidi and Mohsen Nasiri were executed by hanging in Karaj prison on Tuesday,
January 19.

All of the prisoners were charged with drug related crimes and were transferred
to solitary confinements on Sunday, January 10th. Authorities and judicial
offices have not publicized any information in this regard yet.

(source: HRANA)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi Arabia executions: Son of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr calls on David Cameron to
save his cousin from death sentence----The UK has an option either to stay with
this regime or go to a better place and condemn these barbaric acts'


The son of a senior Shia cleric executed by Saudi Arabia has challenged David
Cameron to speak out about what he called the murder of his father, Sheikh Nimr
al-Nimr, and the death sentence that hangs over his cousin, Ali al-Nimr.

Sheikh Nimr was beheaded on 2 January along with 46 others. Nearly all were
alleged to be members of al-Qaeda. The cleric was 1 of 4 Shia men from the
country's restive Eastern Province who were executed for allegedly plotting the
overthrow of the government. Ali al-Nimr, a juvenile when he was arrested, and
2 other young Shia, also juveniles, face being beheaded at any time.

Mohammed al-Nimr, 29, spoke to The Independent on Sunday from Indianapolis
where he moved 5 years ago to study mechanical engineering at the University of
Indiana. "The UK," he said "has an option either to stay with this regime or go
to a better place and condemn these barbaric acts."

He urged the Prime Minister to intervene with the Saudis to save his cousin. "I
say to you, Mr Cameron, that if you as a British citizen value freedom and if
you value human life, then please imagine Ali as your son and ask yourself what
would you do?"

Fearing for his own safety, Mr Nimr has not returned to Saudi Arabia for nearly
two years. His uncle, the sheikh's brother, was detained on the day the death
sentence was handed down in 2014 for tweeting about it. Mr Nimr said that the
execution of his father and the continuing threat to his cousin have had a
devastating impact on the family.

In 2013, 1 year into his father's incarceration, his mother died while
receiving treatment at a hospital in New York. "It is not easy at all. We are
doing our best to save Ali and we live in hope that one day he will be free,"
he said.

Exacerbating their grief is the fact the Nimr al-Nimr's body has not been
returned to the family for burial. The Saudi authorities have said that all
those executed were buried together in an unknown place according to Muslim
practice. "There is no doctrine in Islam that would say do not return the
body," his son said. "We have the right to a proper burial."

The family does not know what was done to his father before he was executed. In
the harsh Wahhabist version of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, the condemned
can have hands or feet cut off before beheading. "The world should know what a
brutal and barbaric regime this is."

He described his father as an advocate of non-violent change. "He was a man who
would not accept oppression or tolerate any tyrant, but he always spoke about
the peaceful way to demand rights."

In a memo released by the Saudi embassy in London shortly after the executions,
Nimr al-Nimr was described as having direct involvement in terrorist
activities. The memo claimed the cleric was "involved in incitement, planning
terrorist attacks, arming militants, and was apprehended following a gunfight
with security officials".

Mohammed al-Nimr rejects all those charges. He says there is not a single piece
of evidence to prove the allegations. "Bring 1 proof, 1 piece of evidence to
show that he was armed or that he was violent, just 1. They cannot."

Sheikh Nimr had been a long-time critic of the ruling House of Saud. He had
repeatedly called for elections and an end to discrimination against the Shia.
His popularity soared during the Arab Spring, and he condemned the Saudi-led
invasion of neighbouring Bahrain that helped crush a largely Shia-led protest
calling for democratic reform there.

The cleric's arrest in 2012 led to massive street protests as thousands came
out in the Eastern Province to demand his release. Ignoring the protests, the
Saudi Specialised Criminal Court, which was established in 2008 to deal with
terror suspects and human rights activists, sentenced him to death in October
2014.

It was a decision that Amnesty International described as "part of a campaign
by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those
[activists] defending the rights of the Kingdom's Shia Muslim community".

Mohammed al-Nimr says his father's only crime was to call for freedom and
humanity. "He told the people that 'the government wants you to be violent so
they can have a legitimate cause to kill you, but the loud roar of words is
mightier than the sound of bullets'."

An only son, he remembers his father as one who took him for morning prayers
just before sunrise and how after prayers they would walk through the palm
groves in their hometown of Qatif. "He would put aside politics and his role as
a cleric and we would discuss matters related to me and things I needed advice
on. He was a father to me."

Mr Nimr is fearful that if he returns to Saudi Arabia he will be arrested, but
he is determined to carry on fighting for the sake of his father and to save
his cousin's life.

"It is a crime and one day I will prove it in a court of law - and before the
whole world - that whoever was involved will get the justice they deserve for
the crimes they have committed."

(source: independent.co.uk)






ZIMBABWE:

Death penalty raises stink...Hangman holding the aces


"The death sentence is a barbaric act . . . It is a reflection of the animal
instinct still in human beings," once remarked former South African president
and Nobel Prize Laureate, the late Nelson Mandela.

He could not make head or tail of why the world was still holding on to capital
punishment when humanity tells us that killing, for whatever reason, is wrong.

The veteran human rights campaigner likened punishment by way of killing to a
medieval way of instilling discipline in people.

In more condensed terms, what Mandela was promulgating was that the death
sentence is inhuman, wild and should, therefore, be abolished.

In the same spirit last week, Zimbabwe's traditional leaders petitioned the
Government to abolish the death penalty. They argued that the death penalty is
alien to Zimbabwean culture and is a legacy of the colonial regime.

About 45 chiefs from Mashonaland East and Central provinces unanimously agreed
that the capital punishment should go.

The decision was made at a workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Association for
Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (ZACRO) in Harare last
week.

Explaining some of the reasons behind the decision, president of the Chiefs'
Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira, said killing someone because they killed
another creates a cycle of violence which can only go on and on.

"We, as chiefs, have concluded that killing is an unacceptable form of
punishment. When you kill, you kill only the person and you leave behind the
spirit that made him to kill," he said.

"In our culture, we used to order compensation. The murderer was made to pay
several cattle or else an avenging spirit would torment the person."

Chief Nechombo shared the same sentiments, arguing: "You can kill a murderer
but you cannot kill murder."

So adamant were the chiefs such that in a secret vote carried out at the
workshop, 42 chiefs voted for the abolition of the death penalty while only 2
supported the law and 1 was undecided.

Chief Charumbira went on to point that Zimbabwe has failed to do any executions
during the past decade since Government has not found a suitable person for the
job, a testimony that no sane person wants to be associated with the practice.
ZACRO chief executive officer, Mr Edson Chiota, was impressed by the spirit
displayed by the traditional leaders in condemning the law.

"The discussion was so mature to the point that almost all the chiefs agreed
that capital punishment must be abolished. They believe in appeasement. Chiefs
said the act of punishing by killing will not in any way solve the problems of
murder in Zimbabwe, hence other forms of punishment must be found," he said.

Zimbabwe has for the past decade grappled with the death penalty dilemma as it
has been failing to carry out any executions.

Resultantly, 117 people are waiting to be hanged with some of them having been
on death row for over 20 years.

The development has been widely condemned by civic groups as they are of the
view that the long wait has put those given death sentences grave emotional
stress. Roselina Muzerengi from Amnesty International gave some of the reasons
why civic organisations are advocating for the abolishment of the capital
punishment. She said capital punishment is irreversible and could claim lives
of innocent people as has often been proved that errors can be made in handing
out of judgments. Roselina used an example of a Chinese man who was executed
for murdering his wife, only for his wife to resurface about 5 years later.

"It's not in line with our culture because an eye for an eye makes the world
blind. We have discovered that there are some instances where the judiciary
makes wrong judgements and wrongly sentences people to death," she said.

"After these people are hanged, evidence may show they were wrongly accused but
it will be too late since death is irreversible."

In as much as the issue of abolishing the death penalty continues to command
support the world over, it still remains a relatively fluid situation in
Zimbabwe. Officials have on record indicated their intentions to put an end to
the law but not much progress has been made in doing so. Experts point out that
the fact that Government has failed to act quickly on the matter shows how
complicated the process is. Research shows that prior to 1991, crimes such as
attempted murder, rape, and a variety of offences relating to political
violence were punishable by the death penalty.

According to Cornell Law School, in the 1990s there was a period of restriction
of the death penalty as Zimbabwe reduced death-eligible offences to murder,
treason, and certain military crimes when it passed the Criminal Law Amendment
Act. Research further shows that in 2000, the Genocide Act provided that the
death penalty could be imposed for the crime of genocide resulting in death,
and in 2004, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act expanded the
application of the death penalty to attempted murder, incitement or conspiracy
to commit murder and terrorism-related crimes that result in death.

Zimbabwe's Parliament has, nonetheless, interfered with the Supreme Court's
jurisprudence limiting application of the death penalty, enacting
constitutional amendments to negate court rulings that have questioned the
constitutionality of hanging or held that long stays on death row constitute
cruel and unusual punishment.

Section 48 (1) of the new constitution abolished mandatory death sentence as
every person has the right to life. However, in Article 2, it says a law may
permit the death penalty to be imposed only on a person convicted of murder
committed in aggravating circumstances.

The new constitution also bars death sentences for women and men under the age
of 21 and those over 70 years.

Law expert Rutendo Mudarikwa said: "The exclusion of certain categories of
persons from the death sentence were in line with Zimbabwe's obligations as
member of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and the
African Charter on Human and People's Rights. These excluded individuals below
18, pregnant women, intellectually disabled, mentally ill and the elderly," she
said.

"The Con Court has amended this to include all women and has changed the age
from 18 to 21. Most of the exclusion can be justified. The exclusion of the
mentally ill and those below 21 speak towards the mental capacity and one's
ability to take full cognisant of their actions. A problem comes with the total
exclusion of women from execution. The differentiation promotes gender
imbalance within the criminal justice system."

Of the inmates who have been on death row, 15 of them have sought to have the
Constitutional Court commute their sentences to life imprisonment.

However, some people who are still mindful of the terrorising trails of Edmund
Masendeke, Elias Chau ke and Stephen Chidhumo, want the death sentence to stay.
After a series of crimes as well as their supposed supernatural ability to
escape the maximum prison, Chidhumo and Masendeke became the last people to be
hanged in 2004.

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

Hangman holding the aces


Convicted of armed robbery and murdering a Fairmile Motel Manager in Gweru in
2000, Cuthbert Tapuwanashe Chawira (45) is on death row at the Chikurubi
Maximum Prison.

Only 1 thing is keeping him from the gallows - there is no hangman.

No executions have been carried out for the past 12 years due to the
unavailability of a hangman.

Were it not for the unavailability of the hangman, some of the 117 prisoners on
death row in Zimbabwe might have been executed by now.

Chawira has since appealed to the Constitutional Court to reverse his and 14
other prisoners' death sentences.

With the hangman's job far from being a glamorous profession, it seems few
people have risen to take up the post. Zimbabweans are reportedly shunning the
job. The selection and recruitment process for a hangman has, however, been
shrouded in mystery, raising questions on Government's commitment to finding
one.

For years now, this publication has been scouting the local media with the hope
of coming across an advertisement for the job so as to understand its
requirements but that has not happened. There hasn't been any word on any
interviews either.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record stating that no-one will be
executed in Zimbabwe.

The VP has been at the forefront advocating for the removal of the death
penalty from the country's statutes.

Given the country's high unemployment rate, and even the number of murders
taking place (which indicate that there are many who could kill for a living),
many people are baffled by the Government's claim that it is failing to find
someone for the job.

Mrs Olivia Zvedi, a law officer in the Attorney-General's Office was quoted in
The Herald saying Government is still looking for a hangman.

She said the hangman's job is not an easy one and people were shunning it.

"This is not a job that one can easily apply for. The State is also in a
predicament on how to proceed in the absence of a hangman," Mrs Zvedi was
quoted saying.

Questions sent to Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Permanent Secretary
Mrs Virginia Mabhiza, regarding the perks and recruitment process for the
hangman had not been responded to by the time of going to print.

Sekuru Friday Chisanyu, the president of the Zimbabwe National Practitioners
Association (ZINPA) says Zimbabweans are not keen to take the job for cultural
reasons.

He said the indigenous African tradition is against the shedding of blood.

"In the indigenous African tradition, the death penalty is forbidden. The
hangman will surely attract the wrath of the avenging spirits of those that he
would have executed. It is for the simple reason that Zimbabweans are shunning
this post," Sekuru Chisanyu said.

Sekuru Chisanyu called for the scrapping of the death sentence, arguing that
those that are convicted of serious crimes must be sentenced to life in prison.

"In my opinion, it is better to sentence one to life that to kill the person.
If a person is in jail, that person can be made productive. Having the death
sentence does not mean that murder cases will cease to exist," Sekuru Chisanyu
said.

Pastor Emmerson Fundira of the Jehovah Sharma Ministries said the death penalty
should be scrapped.

"The Bible is clear on this one - it instructs us not to kill. There is no
reason why a human being should take the life of another being," Pastor Fundira
said.

Over the years, finding a hangman has often proved to be a tall order for many
countries.

According to a BBC report, a newly recruited hangman in Sri Lanka resigned in
shock after being shown the gallows for the first time. Sri Lanka has not
carried out a judicial execution since 1976 but has over 400 prisoners on death
row.

The report states that last year alone, 3 recruits abandoned the job within a
year after the previous hangman was promoted to become a prison guard.

Sri Lankans had responded well to the job advertisement with 176 applicants.

The BBC also reported that a former United States executioner is now leading a
campaign for the scrapping of the death sentence saying doing so eases his
"tremendous guilt".

Allen Ault, who oversaw deaths via the electric chair in the late 1990s,
claimed his campaign to prevent further executions was a way of finding
forgiveness".

"When you realise ... that you just murdered another human being and you were
the one that gave the order, you feel totally responsible."

(source for both: The Zimbabwe Daily)






PAKISTAN:

Justice: Death penalty awarded to 2 brothers


Additional Sessions Judge Amjad Nazeer Chaudhary on Saturday sentenced two
brothers he convicted of murder to death. Prosecution said Azam and his brother
Arif had shot dead Ajmal Amir over a property dispute in Khurarianwala. After
examining the evidence and hearing the witnesses, judge sentenced them to death
and ordered them to pay Rs100,000 compensation to heirs of the deceased.

In Bahawalpur, Additional Sessions Judge Muhammad Yaqoob on Saturday awarded
death sentence to a man he convicted of murder.

Prosecution said Umar Farooq, a resident of Chak 208-RB, and his father
Muhammad Arshad and uncle Abdul Ghaffar had shot dead Gulzar, a resident of the
same neighbourhood, after an argument.

After examining the evidence and hearing the witnesses, the judge sentenced
Farooq to death under Section 302-B of the Pakistan Penal Code. The convict was
also directed to pay Rs100,000 compensation to heirs of the deceased.

The court acquitted Arshad and Abdul Ghaffar, giving them the benefit of doubt.

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

Pakistan Death penalty: EU urges moratorium revival


The European Union continues to engage with Pakistan in an effort to convince
it to reinstitute its moratorium on the death penalty. EU Ambassador to
Pakistan Jean Francois Cautain has said that the EU is of the view that the
death penalty is not a deterrent and may conversely be a factor which increases
hatred for the state. He was speaking to The Express Tribune at the Dean of
European Diplomatic Corps Emilian Ion, Ambassador of Romania's farewell to
outgoing ambassadors of Argentina, the UK, Sweden, Bangladesh and Japan. He
said that despite terrorist incidents in Europe there was no possibility that
death penalty may be considered in Europe referring to the recent terrorist
incidents in France.

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

Rule Of Law: 'Facilitators to get death penalty'


Senior lawyer Salim Shah Hoti on Saturday said that 'facilitators' found aiding
terrorists in terror attacks, are liable to be punished with the death penalty
according to the law of the land. He added that those arrested by security
forces for their involvement in the Bacha Khan University carnage will be dealt
with accordingly. The interior ministry, he said, would send their cases to
military courts for trial as the same law was applicable to them. He stated
that military courts were set up after the passage of the 21st Amendment in
January 2015 to adjudicate upon terror-related cases. PM Nawaz had abolished
the moratorium on death penalty in terrorism-related cases soon after assuming
office.

(source for all: Express Tribune)

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

'Facilitators' to get death penalty as per law: legal expert


'Facilitators', found involved in helping out terrorists in terror attacks, are
liable to death penalty according to law of the land, and those arrested by
security forces for Bacha Khan University carnage will be dealt accordingly.
Salim Shah Hoti, a senior lawyer, on Saturday said that military courts were
set up after the passage of 21st Amendment in January 2015 to proceed terror
related cases.

(source: Associated Press of Pakistan)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-25 15:28:47 UTC
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Jan. 25



SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi Executions: Rhetoric Versus Reality

Since 2011, when the Arab Spring erupted in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the
ruling family has faced a host of challenges to its legitimacy. Some of this
opposition has manifested in the form of peaceful protests, calling for
democracy and greater freedoms. The monarchy, which has been in power for
almost 9 decades, sees these protests as an existential threat to its rule.

It is important to take stock of the political calculations which drove the
Saudis to carry out 158 executions in 2015 - the highest figure since 1995,
which equated to roughly one execution every other day. Furthermore, the
January 2, 2016 execution of the internationally revered Shi'ite cleric Nimr
Baqir al-Nimr, along with 3 other Shi'ite activists, sheds light on Riyadh???s
handling of political dissent in the Eastern Province (EP), where most of the
nation's Shi'ites reside.

The Koran and the Sunnah of the Prophet guide Saudi Arabia's political, social,
and religious institutions. The Basic Laws (1992), which appear in the form of
a constitution, confirm this religious-based set of institutions.

Though the Basic Laws are legally binding, they can never take precedence over
the Koran or the Sunna. They simply reaffirm or complement what is written in
these 2 sources. In particular, several articles in the Basic Laws highlight
this reality.

In relation to the legal system, all laws governing Saudi Arabia are derived
from the Koran and the Sunnah, in the form of Sharia (Islamic) law. Article 38
of the Basic Laws states that "there shall be no crime or penalty except in
accordance with the Sharia." In turn, all courts at all levels within the Saudi
state can only render rulings derived directly from Sharia law.

Crime and Punishment under Saudi Arabian Law

Although Saudi Arabia's legal system derives purely from the Koran and the
Sunnah, there are a number of supplementary legal principles and procedures
which have come into existence. These reaffirm and complement whatever is laid
out in the Sharia, but also help bring the kingdom's legal system into the
modern era. Before engaging in the crux of the discussion, it is vital to first
define the criminal law process in Saudi Arabia and highlight the rights
attributed to defendants under Sharia law.

In 2001, Saudi Arabia passed The Regulation on Criminal Procedure, which
stipulates that "no punishment may be inflicted except for crimes prohibited by
Shariaa principles and Saudi national regulations." It is comprised of 3
categories, which are all derived from Islamic law.

The 1st category is hadd (pl. haddud), a crime for which there are fixed
Koranic punishments. The haddud entail crimes "that threaten Islam," and
punishment for these crimes are fixed because they are "the right of Allah."
Examples of these crimes include Koranic Verses 5:33 and 5:38, which define the
punishments for robbery and civil disturbance and for theft, respectively.

Robbery and civil disturbance are punishable by death, including by
crucifixion, or by the amputation of limbs (5:33). Theft is punishable by
amputation. There are also numerous hadith from the Prophet Muhammad, which are
used to derive what defines a crime and what the punishment is for that crime.
A clear example is the hadith from the Prophet, in which he declared the
punishment for apostasy. He said "Whoever changes his religion, kill him."

For one to be convicted and punished for hadd crimes, the strictest and
strongest form of proof is required. Critically, there must be 2 to 4
witnesses, depending on the crime. For the majority of haddud crimes, 2 direct
witness are required. However, for the crime of adultery or rape, Sharia law
requires 4 witnesses. 2nd, the accused must confess. The different schools
within Islamic law (Hanbali, Hanafi, Shafi'i, and Maliki) diverge on how many
times a confession must be spoken. However, they all agree that a confession is
legally required for the death penalty to be legally binding. This confession
must come freely from the accused. If the accused were to revoke his confession
(for example if it was coerced or forced), a judge cannot invoke the hadd
punishment. Insistence on the highest standards of certainty of guilt for hadd
crimes is an unquestionable premise of Islamic law.

The 2nd category is Qisas (retaliation). This is an 'eye for an eye' situation,
typically related to cases involving murder. It refers to the ability of the
relatives of the murdered to forgive the murderer, seek financial compensation
from them, or demand the murderer's death. The Koran refers to Qisas in verse
2:138. There are also several hadith on the subject of Qisas, most prominently
coming from al-Bukhari. He is a revered historian, who formulated the first
thorough compilation of scholarly work on hadith, deciding which actions and
sayings could genuinely be attributed to the Prophet.

Finally, there is the category of ta'zir (literally chastisement or
castigation). The stringent conditions of proof required to convict a person of
a hadd crime means that the vast majority of crimes brought before Islamic
courts in the wider world are ta'zir cases. These cases are brought before a
judge and all decisions on punishment are at the judge's discretion. It is
important to note that that a judge can impose any punishment in a ta'zir case,
except the death penalty. According to the Saudi legal system, the death
penalty can only be imposed if one is accused and found guilty of committing a
hadd crime.

The Rights of the Accused Under the Saudi Legal System

Numerous additional legal principles and procedures that protect the rights of
the accused from the moment of arrest to the trial exemplify the stringent
requirement of proof necessary to convict a person of a hadd crime in Saudi
Arabia. Among these are 3 statutes in particular.

The 1st is The Statute of Principles of Arrest, Temporary Confinement and
Preventive Detention (issued on November 11, 1983). This prohibits arbitrary
arrest and authorities are not allowed to detain suspects for longer than 3
days before formally charging them. 2nd is The Law of Procedure before Shari'a
Courts (issued in September, 2001), which grants defendants the right to legal
representation. 3rd is The Law of Criminal Procedure (issued in May, 2002),
which protects a defendant's rights with regard to interrogation,
investigation, and incarceration. Further, it outlines a series of regulations
that justice and law enforcement authorities must follow during all stages
throughout the judicial process, from arrest and the investigation process in
particular, to the trial. This law prohibits torture and again protects the
right of all suspects to obtain legal representation.

The language of this last law was recently updated in 2013, and the language
became more comprehensive in relation to arresting an individual or group. It
states that "no person shall be arrested, searched, detained, or imprisoned
except in cases provided by law, and any accused person shall have the right to
seek the assistance of a lawyer or a representative to defend him during the
investigation and trial stages."

A Divergence between Rhetoric and Reality

Having mapped out the kingdom's legal system, this author believes that
political, not Islamic, considerations motivated many of the 158 executions
which Saudi Arabia carried out in 2015. Moreover, these executions showed a
disregard for Sharia law and broke the supplementary laws, which the Saudis
established.

Although on paper the system is in place to ensure that justice prevails, in
practice the opposite appears true. Many of these cases which led to execution
failed to meet the high standards set by Sharia law. (This is true with respect
to the pre-trial processes, the actual trials, and the decision making for each
punishment). It is not a coincidence that the executed individuals belonged to
groups which challenged the ruling Saudi monarchy's legitimacy.

(source: internationalpolicydigest.org)

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

Beyond the Numbers


"Every nation that proclaims the rule of law at home must respect it abroad and
every nation that insists on it abroad must enforce it at home." - Kofi Annan

On 2 January 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 individuals accused of terrorism,
in what Human Rights Watch (HRW) called a "shameful start to 2016." Among the
47 men was a prominent Shi'a cleric who was convicted, according to both
Amnesty International and HRW, for his non-violent opposition to the Saudi
regime.

HRW had indicated in 2014 that "Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was convicted on a host of
vague charges, based largely on his peaceful criticism of Saudi officials,"
while Amnesty International described it as "a political and grossly unfair
trial at the Specialised Criminal Court." In addition, today MiddleEastEye
reported that "prisoners arrested when they were children and others suffering
from mental illness" were also among those executed.

There are 2 issues here. First, the opposition to the use of the death penalty
as a matter of principle in criminal sentencing, i.e. a blanket opposition to
its use in all circumstances, regardless of whether the accused is guilty or
innocent, and regardless of the nature and severity of the crime.

2nd, even if one supports capital punishment, a key question remains in
relation to Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights on 2 levels: (1), whether the offence meets the threshold of the "most
serious crimes" as interpreted by the Human Rights Committee in its General
Comment No. 6 on the "right to life". And (2), whether the conditions were met
for a "fair hearing by an independent tribunal" and for the respect of the
accused's rights during the investigative and criminal proceedings, according
to international norms and standards.

In dealing with the repercussions of the executions, Saudi Arabia and its
supporters preferred to focus on the death penalty. It became clear that the
pro-Saudi press was either unwilling or unable to condemn the executions. Thus,
many observers were quick - and correct - to draw attention to the fact that
Iran executes more people on an annual basis, as documented by Amnesty's annual
review of the death penalty worldwide.

Hence, the tu quoque argument was put to good political use. It is usually
enough in political polemics to point out the opponent's double standards or
hypocrisy to weather the storm of criticism in relation to controversial
affairs or in dealing with 'bad press' - in this case, the executions and the
counter-claim that Iran lacks the moral standing to point the accusing finger
at Saudi Arabia.

For Iran and its proponents, the focus was more on the unjust nature of the
accusations against Sheikh al-Nimr specifically, rather than an outcry against
the execution of 47 individuals. This is partly due to the fact that Iran has
no objection to the use of the death penalty in the criminal justice system -
but also because al-Nimr is Shi'a. The main issue became that of the unjust
killing of a religious figure whose only fault was to call for a greater voice
for the disenfranchised Shi'a minority in the Kingdom. Also, his reported
principled defence (transcending the Sunni-Shi'a divide) of any victim or
oppressed group - including in Syria - was further evidence for some that he
was a prisoner and martyr of conscience and not a terrorist.

On both issues - the death penalty and unjust criminal proceedings for
political dissidents - the 2 regional rivals have a dismal record. Suffice it
here to point the reader to reports conducted over the years by human rights
organisations and United Nations committees and special rapporteurs on various
aspects of these 2 countries' respect for the rule of law and their adherence
to international human rights norms and standards.

This comment does not seek to get into the "who is better or worst" argument -
an argument that is conducted on a daily basis by both countries' officials, as
well as by the 'more of a royalist than the king/ruler' pundits who present
their reasons as to why either Saudi Arabia or Iran is the true backer of
moderation and people's concerns in the region.

Rather, the interest here is in exposing the danger to the culture of the 'rule
of law,' which is undermined ever more deeply by the recent Saudi executions,
as well as by the reactions we have seen from both sides of the conflict.

The 'rule of law' is an all-encapsulating term for the values of freedom,
democracy, equality and non-discrimination. It is a concept that is part and
parcel of all United Nations and development agencies' work in the Middle East
and beyond. It can be defined, as we see in UN documents, reports and
resolutions, as follows:

"The rule of law involves adherence to a principle of governance whereby all
persons... including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are
publicly promulgated, equally enforced... and which are consistent with
international human rights norms and standards. It requires...equality before
the law, accountability to the law, fairness in the application of the
law...avoidance of arbitrariness, and procedural and legal transparency."

In judging a state, regime, or any public policy and ruling, the benchmark
should be the extent to which the 'rule of law' is upheld and the extent to
which our states' institutions and practices measure up in terms of adhering to
the above-mentioned definition, especially in terms of the laws being
"consistent with international human rights norms and standards." This emphasis
is important to avoid any confusion between the 'rule of law' and 'national
laws,' which may or may not be consistent with international human rights norms
and standards.

For proponents of a secular Middle East where the rule of law and human rights
are respected, the executions should be an issue that goes far beyond the 'tit
for tat' arguments we have seen thus far in the press. If indeed the purpose of
the Arab uprisings was/is to express popular dissatisfaction with autocratic
regimes and to call for greater freedoms and participation in public life, the
inability to recognise an affront to the rule of law reveals our region's dire
state of affairs, politically, morally, and intellectually.

It is an unfortunate reminder of our region's devotional partisanship to either
Iran or Saudi Arabia that we do not have a wide condemnation of abuses,
wherever they occur, and whoever the alleged perpetrator is. Political
researcher Ziad Majed piercingly noted in the aftermath of the executions that
"we have a public that increasingly only cares about the confessional identity
of the killer and the victims whenever it is confronted with killings,
repression, and aggression." I had similarly noted in an earlier piece
regarding selective grief and solidarity that people in the Arab region.

"could care less about the plight of victims from other sects or from opposing
political parties...each side seems to only care about the crimes committed by
the opposing parties domestically, and regionally. In Syria, media and
individual solidarity is dependent on whether one supports Saudi Arabia or
Iran, and in turn Assad or his opponents."

The ability to maintain a critical eye and the ability to criticise the ruler -
even if one has voted for him/her - is a hallmark of democratic societies. The
rule of law is the antidote to the culture of partisanship based on tribal,
familial, or religious affiliations. It is the ability to call for
accountability for a wrongdoing, even if the perpetrator is the head of the
state him/herself. That is the point of elections and a free press. A
democratic leader is in principle a leader attuned to the needs of his/her
electorate precisely because his/her re-election or approval rates depend on
his/her performance and not simply on his/her authority.

One commentator had insightfully argued in 2012 that Arab spring nations do not
yet grasp freedom of dissent and that "Freedom is not only about majority rule,
but ensuring that women, religious minorities and intellectual dissenters are
able to flourish without fear." In other words, freedom is not just about
elections. And it is not just about removing a dictator.

Freedom is the ability to speak out, including against the ruler, according to
one's opinions and beliefs, even - and especially - if those opinions and
beliefs run counter to the ruling class or majority opinion.

This is a crucial point for our societies. Let us not get lost in an argument
about who executes more or fewer individuals every year, as if a lower ranking
signals an achievement of sorts for us to take pride in.

Instead, our concern should be whether the vision and struggle for a free
pluralist democratic Middle Eastern region, where human rights are respected,
is strengthened or undermined by the execution of 47 individuals in 1 day, and
by the execution of a political dissident.

And until we are able to assess such situations without a near-automatic resort
to the tu quoque argument, i.e. that the other side also kills individuals, or
that the other side kills more individuals every year, we remain completely
disconnected from the people's rightful chants for dignity, life, social
justice, freedom, and an end to autocratic political regimes who rule with no
regard for human lives and individual freedoms.

(source: Halim Shebaya, openDemocracy; Op-Ed----truth-out.org)






EGYPT:

Muslim Brotherhood conspired against state: Egypt's judiciary


Egypt's judicial committee said Sunday that leading figures from the Muslim
Brotherhood group had schemed against state affairs during former Islamist
President Mohamed Morsi's one-year rule.

"The Brotherhood's guidance office, the presidency, the government and the
group's Freedom and Justice Party ran the state's affairs at that time," said
Ezzat Khamis, chief of the judicial committee that is tasked with appraising
the Muslim Brotherhood's funds and assets.

The 4 entities were 4 faces of the same coin with no separation of powers
between the presidency, the party, the guidance office nor the government,
Khamis added.

The accusations come a day before the 5th anniversary of the 2011 protests
which ended former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

"The documents also indicate that confidential papers related to national
security were leaked from the presidency," Khamis added.

The committee revealed a number of proposals discovered at the Freedom and
Justice Party premises, including one concerning the Brotherhood's hostile
stance towards the Supreme Constitutional Court and the judiciary in general.

The groups drafted several laws to amend a number of articles in the judicial
authority, including a proposal to appoint the prosecutor general via a
presidential decree and to reduce judges' retirement age to 60, according to
Khamis.

He also referred to a document which included a Brotherhood plan to control the
state's judicial system, and cancel the Supreme Constitutional Court and
relocate its tasks to the Court of Cassation.

Morsi, the Brotherhood's group member who became Egypt's 1st elected president,
was deposed in 2013 by the army as a response to mass protests against his
rule. The Muslim Brotherhood was later designated a terrorist organization in
2013 by Egyptian authorities.

A number of its members and leaders, including the group's supreme guide,
Mohammed Badie, were sentenced to death, but the sentences have not yet been
carried out and may still be appealed.

Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi, are imprisoned awaiting to be tried for
charges related to inciting violence, conspiring with foreign powers to
undermine Egypt, and the killing of protestors. Some charges carry the death
penalty.

(source: ghanaweb.com)






UNITED KINGDOM/PAKISTAN:

2 Pakistani hitmen confess to killing of Imran Farooq in London ---- Exclusive:
2 alleged assassins have revealed details of murder of exiled politician as
they testified that they travelled from Pakistan to carry out the killing


2 alleged assassins of a Pakistani politician knifed to death on a London
street have testified that they travelled from Pakistan to commit the killing
on the orders of rival British-based leaders of his party.

The confessions are the latest twist in the grisly killing of Imran Farooq, an
exiled leader of a controversial Pakistan political party who was stabbed
outside his north London home in 2010.

The murder brought Pakistan's violent gangster politics to suburban Edgware,
where Mr Farooq lived an apparently low-key life with his wife and young sons
in a quiet side street lined with apple trees.

Unbeknown to his neighbours, Mr Farooq was also a leader of the the Muttahida
Qaumi Movement (MQM), a party with a long association with violence in his
homeland. He was granted asylum in Britain and later gained British
citizenship, but he was believed to be planning to form a breakaway faction
when he was murdered.

Details of their confessions to a closed court hearing in Pakistan have now
been leaked to The Sunday Telegraph by an official close to the investigation.
They reveal how the killers allegedly bought a five-inch knife from a high
street "pound store" and then struck at their victim as he arrived home from
work.

It was later recovered at the scene, along with a brick used to bludgeon their
victim.

The crude means of dispatching their target could not have been more different
than the polonium used in the murder of former Russian spy Alexander
Litvinenko, which a public inquiry last week week blamed on the Kremlin.

But it has demonstrated once again the relative ease with which foreign hitmen
could fly into Britain to settle political scores on the streets of London.

The 2 alleged Pakistani hit-men, Khalid Shahim and Syed Mohsin Ali, revealed
details of the killings in "confessional statements", recorded and sworn before
a presiding magistrate, that are considered court evidence under Pakistani law.

Mr Mohsin Ali said that he grabbed Mr Farooq as he arrived outside his home,
while another MQM operative slashed his neck with the knife

He added that both had been monitoring his movements so that they knew his
routine. The killers struck at 5.30pm on a September afternoon and then headed
straight to the airport to flee back to Pakistan that night.

They had travelled to Britain on student visas obtained by another alleged
conspirator in Pakistan and stayed at an unidentified college hostel while they
planned the attack, he added.

A 3rd arrested man, Moazzam Ali, is alleged to have provided them with the
logistics for their trip to Britain. The use of student visas will raise fresh
concerns in Britain about the potential for abuse of that system.

The 2 men were arrested last year as they tried to slip into Pakistan from
Afghanistan and appeared before a special terrorism court last Thursday.

They said that the murder plot was ordered because Mr Farooq was deemed a
"potent threat" to the MQM leadership.

Mr Khalid said that they operated under the direction of Mohammad Anwar, a
senior lieutenant of Altaf Hussein, the London-based head of the MQM. The funds
to execute the mission were also provided from London, he added.

Scotland Yard detectives are understood to have travelled to Pakistan to
interview the men in September. Although the 2 countries do not have an
extradition treaty, proceedings are believed to have been underway and Pakistan
has indicated that it would be willing to hand the men over.

Since the arrests, Islamabad has attempted to intensify pressure on Britain to
bring charges over the murder against Mr Hussein and other exiled party leaders
in London.

Mr Hussein has consistently denied any involvement in the murder of Mr Farooq.
His supporters claim that the allegations against him are part of a
long-running political smear campaign by political foes in Pakistan.

But Pakistan's federal investigation agency (FIA) has now filed a court report
naming Mr Hussein and several allies as co-conspirators in the murder for the
1st time.

In the filing, seen by The Telegraph, the FIA's counter-terrorism wing states:
"The assassination of Imran Farooq was the result of a conspiracy hatched in UK
and Pakistan, by among others, Altaf Hussain, Mohammad Anwar [another senior
member] and Iftikhar Hussain [the leader's nephew]."

It claims that the Mr Farooq was murdered "to remove the threat to the
leadership of the MQM of Altaf Hussain and to intimidate/overawe public in
general and workers/members of MQM in particular by creating a sense of fear
and insecurity in the community".

The case, known as a "1st information report", covers charges of conspiracy,
assistance, abetment and ultimate assassination and murder under sections of
the Pakistan Penal Code and Anti-Terrorism Act. The crimes carry the death
penalty.

The Telegraph has learned that Pakistani officials have become frustrated that
Scotland Yard has not launched any proceedings against MQM leaders in London.
Mr Hussain has previously been questioned in Britain as part of a
money-laundering investigation.

Pakistan has now indicated that it might use the new testimony to apply for the
extradition of Mr Hussain and his cohorts via Interpol. The request would go
nowhere as Britain will not extradite to a country for a death penalty offence,
but Islamabad may make a request as an attempt to try to exert further pressure
on Britain.

After the accused assassins gave their statements, the MQM issues a statement
denying that any member of the party was involved in the murder.

"We categorically state that no party personnel have had anything whatever to
do with the tragic death of Dr Farooq. We mourn the loss of a man who was our
friend and colleague for many years.

"MQM welcomes any assistance that may be provided to the British Metropolitan
Police Service, who continue to investigate the death of Dr Farooq."

(source: The Telegraph)

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Rick Halperin
2016-01-25 21:28:58 UTC
Permalink
Jan. 25



INDONESIA:

Labourer to be hanged after death penalty appeal dismissed


The Court of Appeal yesterday affirmed the death penalty of a former estate
labourer for the murder of a man in a Sandakan oil palm estate squatter.

Hasyim Rahman, 42, will now be sent to the gallows following the unanimous
decision of the Appellate Court judges, Justices Dato' Setia Mohd Zawawi
Salleh, Datuk Dr Prasad Sandosham Abraham and Dato' Zaleha Yusof.

In affirming the lower court's conviction and sentence, the justices held that
there was sufficient evidence to support the charge under Section 302 of the
Penal Code for murder, hence dismissing Hasyim's appeal.

Earlier, counsel Sharatah Lincoln, for the appellant, submitted on the issue of
whether or not her client had any intention to murder the deceased. In her
submission, Sharatah implored the court to consider the fact that her client
had acted in self-defence, as the deceased was the one who had trespassed into
the appellant's premises with threats of slapping and killing him.

The appellant had only brandished a machete with the intention of deterring the
deceased from approaching him because he felt threatened, said Sharatah. She
also pointed out that the deceased had only sustained a slash wound across his
cheek in addition to the fatal wound to the back of his neck.

If the appellant did really intend to murder the deceased, said Sharatah, there
would not have been a 2nd injury as the appellant would have used full force
instead of swinging the machete around with his eyes closed.

Sharatah also submitted on the fact that the prosecution did not establish a
motive for her client's crime, therefore making it unsafe to convict him. There
was also no history of hostility between the appellant and the deceased as the
former had only arrived at the estate 10 days prior to the incident, said
Sharatah.

In reply, deputy public prosecutor, Hamdan Hamzah, for the respondent, urged
the court to dismiss the appeal as the appellant had failed to raise reasonable
doubt. The appellant also did not say anything about motive in his defence
during trial, therefore making it an invalid ingredient to be considered, said
Hamdan.

Hasyim was convicted of murdering one Baharuddin Amir by hacking the back of
the victim's neck with a machete on September 25, 2011 at around 9 pm. He had
appealed unsuccessfully to the Sandakan High Court to have his sentence
reduced.

(source: theborneopost.com)






BELARUS:

see:
http://www.amnestyusa.org/get-involved/take-action-now/belarus-commute-gennadii-yakovitskii-s-death-sentence-ua-1816

(source: Amnesty International USA)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Juvenile Protester among Saudi Mass-Execution Victims, New Information Shows


A protester who was under 18 at the time of the alleged offenses for which he
was convicted was among the 47 people executed in a single day in Saudi Arabia
earlier this year, research by international human rights organization Repriev
reported on Monday.

Ali al Ribh was arrested while at school on February 12th, 2012 due to his
involvement in activities calling for reform between February and October 2011
- when he was just 17 years old.

Ali - whose date of birth was December 2nd, 1993 - should therefore have been
treated as a juvenile by the Saudi legal system. His execution on January 2nd
this year was a breach of the absolute prohibition on the execution of juvenile
offenders, and illegal under international law. The Saudi authorities did not
inform his family of the execution and are keeping the location of his burial
secret. Ali's execution will raise concerns about the position of other
juveniles convicted for protest-related offences in the Kingdom. Dawoud al
Mahroon, Ali al Nimr and Abdullah al Zaher remain under sentence of death for
alleged offences which took place when they were aged 17, 17 and 15,
respectively.

The British Government has said that it has raised their cases with the Saudi
authorities and does not expect them to be executed.

However, Reprieve is calling for renewed action in light of the fact that the
Saudi authorities have executed at least one juvenile protester already this
year.

Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve said: "Ali al Ribh's
tragic case shows that the Saudi authorities are quite happy to execute
juvenile protesters if they think no one is looking. Ali was seized by police
at his school and subsequently executed, even though he was a child when the
alleged protest offences were committed.

"Abdullah al Zaher, Ali al Nimr and Dawoud al Marhoon - all of whom were
sentenced to death as children - remain imprisoned and could be executed at any
time, without warning.

"Until the Saudi Government officially commutes their sentences, the sword will
continue to hang over their heads. Britain must redouble its efforts to
convince the Saudi Government to commute Abdullah, Ali and Dawoud's sentences -
and those of any other juveniles facing execution - before it is too late."

(source: Tasnim News Agency)






BANGLADESH:

Bill with death penalty provision for mutiny in Coast Guard placed


A bill, titled 'Bangladesh Coast Guard Bill, 2016', is placed in parliament
having a provision of maximum punishment of death sentence for involvement in
mutiny in the force. Photo grabbed from Coast Guard website A bill, titled
'Bangladesh Coast Guard Bill, 2016', was placed in parliament having a
provision of maximum punishment of death sentence for involvement in mutiny in
the force.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan placed the Bill in the House which was sent to
the respective parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny. The
committee was asked to submit its report within 20 days.

The proposed law aims to make the Coast Guard a disciplined, skilled and
effective one through updating the existing 1994 act.

The proposed law defined various mutiny-related offences, trial procedure,
capital punishment for mutiny apart from other offences.

There will be 21 posts in the Coast Guard, including 1 director general, while
there will be 3 courts in the Coast Guard, these are Special Coast Guard Court,
Special Summery Coast Guard Court and Summery Coast Guard Court.

(source: The Daily Star)


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2016-01-26 16:11:31 UTC
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Jan. 26


INDONESIA/MALAYSIA:

Indonesian Migrant Worker Faces Death Penalty in Malaysia


Rita Krinsnawati, a 27-years old Indonesian migrant worker from Ponorogo, East
Java, was charged with capital punishment after Malaysian authorities found her
carrying four kilograms of crystal meth back in 2013.

"Rita is a victim of an international drug trafficking ring," said Lily Jatmiko
Kusnadi, Coordinator for Migrant Care to Tempo on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Lily said that she will continue to attempt to relieve Rita, who originated
from Gabel village, Kauman District from a death sentence by coordinating with
the Foreign Ministry, Manpower and Transmigration Ministry, and the Indonesian
Embassy in Malaysia. "We urged the government to carry out diplomatic efforts,"
Lily said.

Lily said that Migrant Care will took Rita's family to meet with government
officials, including Poniyati, Rita's mother who continue to request for
support from the Ponorogo Regency Government and the Ponorogo Regional
Representatives Council to safe her daughter from capital punishment.

Sumani, Chief of the Ponorogo Social, Manpower, and Transmigration Agency said
that her institution has coordinated with the central government and Migrant
Care to discuss Rita's case. "The government will not stay put and will
continue to provide counsel so that Rita is not executed and can be trialed in
Indonesia," Sumani said.

(source: tempo.co)






PAKISTAN:

Qadri's supporters 'occupy' Lahore's Mall Road


The Mall Road of Lahore remained blocked for several hours on Monday as
hundreds of supporters of convicted murderer Mumtaz Qadri staged a sit-in at
Faisal Chowk demanding the removal of the death penalty served on the
self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer.

Around 1,000 protesters stayed on the Mall Road late into the cold Lahore night
reciting Na'ats and chanting slogans which mostly ranged from mild defiance to
open threats and abuses. The protesters had erected barbed wires and did not
let any traffic move causing a massive gridlock on adjacent roads.

Mumtaz Qadri was awarded death sentence after he killed former Punjab governor
Salman Taseer, while he was performing duties as his guard. Qadri exhausted his
appeals options after the Supreme Court upheld his death penalty saying in its
ruling that objections to blasphemy law did not constitute blasphemy and at any
rate, Qadri had no authority to kill the governor. Qadri recently filed a mercy
petition to the president to avoid the death penalty.

Qadri's followers and sympathisers have since held a number of protest
demonstrations against his conviction.

On Monday, protesters caused a huge traffic deadlock on the Mall Road as they
occupied the square in front of the Punjab Assembly causing nuisance to a
number of commuters.

A number of ambulances were seen stuck in the massive traffic jams. Several
patients, lawyers, students, teachers and government employees were also held
up in the traffic, some of them for hours. Many of them demanded stern action
against the protesters.

Arslan Maqsood, a student who is preparing for his CSS exam and was stuck in
traffic, told Pakistan Today that it was unfair to block such an important road
as it increased the misery of the commuters significantly. He said that the
protesters had torn into pieces the National Action Plan (NAP) by showing open
defiance and delivering provocative speeches against the government even as
police and other law enforcement agencies kept their distance and let them do
whatever they wanted. He said that it would be a defeat of the State if Mumtaz
Qadri is released due to the pressure of these protesters.

"The use of loudspeakers at a public place and inciting the participants to
violence must be a crime keeping in view the critical security situation of the
country," he maintained.

The protesters were carrying placards to show support for Mumtaz Qadri and
demand his release. The religious leaders hailing from the Sunni sect were
taking promises from the participants that they would not allow the government
to function if Qadri is not released. Some media persons were also asked to
shout slogans in favour of Qadri if they wanted to cover the protest.

Syed Tajammal Hussain, a government employee who works in Punjab Civil
Secretariat told Pakistan Today that it took 3 hours to reach Ganga Ram
Hospital from his office because of the traffic jam. He was of the view that
government must not allow the protesters to block the Mall Road and should
allot a permanent place of protest to them like Nasir Bagh or Race Course Park.

"The traffic problems have significantly increased since the start of
construction work on Orange Line Train and whenever a protest happens,
commuters suffer badly," he concluded.

Rana Abdul Rehman, a practicing lawyer, said that some of his clients could not
reach his office due to the traffic gridlock on the Mall. He was critical of
the protesters as he said that Qadri had been offered due process of law, which
was a lot more than he offered to a representative of the State before he
brutally gunned him down. He said that the State must not allow the protesters
to make a joke of the constitution and judicial process of the country.

(source: Pakistan Today)






KENYA:

Judiciary's New Policy Spells Doom for Death Row Convicts


New guidelines on the sentencing of criminals have proposed a mandatory death
sentence to capital offenders, dealing a blow to several death row inmates who
wanted life imprisonment.

The guidelines, however, bring relief to disabled, elderly and terminally ill
convicts, who will now receive special treatment while in custody or have their
jail terms reduced.

"Since the death penalty has not been abolished, judges must impose the death
sentence with respect to capital offences. To curb their stay in prison, the
court should recommend to the president to have a fixed time for a review of
the cases, after which they should face death," say the guidelines.

The new policy further makes it possible for a convict to be sentenced to death
in more than one case, although the individual will be hanged as per the first
sentence, with the others being held in abeyance.

In reviewing the sentencing for the disabled, the elderly and the terminally
ill, it was discovered that prisons do not have special facilities to cater for
their interests, which exposes them to inhuman treatment.

As a result, the guidelines propose that the courts must ensure the sentencing
does not amount to excessive punishment.

(source: All Africa News)






ZAMBIA:

Prisons NGO calls for abolition of death penalty


The Prisons Care and Counselling Association (PRISCCA) says the death penalty
should be abolished because it goes against the declaration of Zambia as a
Christian nation.

PRISCCA executive director Godfrey Malembeka has told the Parliamentary
Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child
Affairs that the revenge mentality which goes with the death penalty should
have no place in a Christian nation like Zambia.

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, death sentences do not deter
other people from committing murders or other felonies. Emphasis should be on
rehabilitation instead of retribution," Dr Malembeka said.

He also said the Zambian justice system has lapses which could lead to the
arrest of a wrong person.

Dr Malembeka said mistrials and discriminatory application of the law on
various grounds could lead to wrong persons being hanged.

He contends that most people on death row are from low-income groups.

Dr Malembeka said it is important for Zambians to realise that even prisoners
have the right to life because the country is party to many regional and
international instruments which promote human rights and respect the sanctity
of life.

He said retaining the death penalty in Zambian statutes is a crime against
humanity.

Dr Malembeka said prisons are originally a product of the church and were
established for the purpose of realising remorse when one is locked up under
heavy doors alone.

He said it is better to give offenders long sentences because they become
productive while in prison. Death row where they only fill up space in prisons
in that no death penalties have not been executed from 1997.

Dr Malembeka said PRISCCA appreciates the position taken by Presidents not to
sign death warrants.

(source: Zambia Daily Mail)




SAUDI ARABIA:

Report: Islamic Saudi Arabia Passes Law That May Impose Death Penalty on Bible
Smugglers


Recent reports state that officials in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia have
passed a law that may impose the death penalty on Bible smugglers and any
others distributing religious materials that are not of the Muslim religion.

"[T]he new law extends to the importing of all illegal drugs and 'all
publications that have a prejudice to any other religious beliefs other than
Islam,'" Paul Washer's HeartCry Missionary Society outlines in a post on their
website. "In other words, anyone who attempts to bring Bibles or gospel
literature into the country will have all materials confiscated and be
imprisoned and sentenced to death."

It points to an article on the Copts Today website, which notes that "indecent
materials and publications" are also included in the customs prohibition.

Reporters have attempted to obtain confirmation of the report from Saudi
Arabia's U.S. Embassy press officer in Washington, but the information has
neither been confirmed or denied.

(source: Voice Observer)

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

The truth about the Saudi executions


Saudi Arabia's execution of 47 accused terrorists on Jan. 2 drew extensive
condemnation in the United States. Further, because four of the men executed
were Shiites, including in particular Shiite religious leader Sheikh Nimr
al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia's embassy in Tehran and consulate general in Mashhad were
stormed the same day and set ablaze by rioting Iranian Basij and others. In
response to these incidents, Saudi Arabia and many of its Arab allies severed
diplomatic relations with Iran. Yet, in the face of criticism by US officials
and pundits trying to twist the executions into an example of the
state-sanctioned killing of innocent people, or a case of Sunni sectarian
actions against a Shiite minority, the truth needs to be told: The 47 men
executed were proven terrorists and criminals, all of whom had committed or
inspired murder, and many of whom had direct links to al-Qaeda or the terrorist
Shiite group Hezbollah al-Hejaz (Saudi Hezbollah).

The al-Qaeda links were established legal fact. Indeed, 43 of those executed
were tied to the men who carried out 9/11. They had been fighters, recruiters,
senior commanders and theologians in the terrorist group behind the horrors of
the attacks on the World Trade Center, United Flight 93 and the Pentagon.
Furthermore, they had been part of the local Saudi branch of al-Qaeda that
carried out a series of terrorist attacks between 2003 and 2006 in the kingdom
in an attempt to foment mass murder on a scale equal to or beyond 9/11.
Although these attempts ultimately failed, they nevertheless led to the deaths
of numerous civilians, including many Americans.

As noted, some critics have characterized the Saudi executions as an act of
Sunni sectarian violence against members of a Shiite minority primarily because
one of those executed, Nimr, was a renowned cleric in the Shiite enclave of
Qatif. Leaving aside that only 4 of the 47 men killed were Shiites, thus
totally debunking the accusations of sectarian violence, a closer look at Nimr
suggests that he was nothing like the peaceful activist campaigning against an
authoritarian monarchy and discrimination depicted in the press by certain
White House officials. He was in fact a political extremist linked to a known
terrorist group and numerous killings. In the words of Tawfiq al-Sayf, a
prominent Shiite activist in Saudi Arabia, Nimr was fomenting a "Shi'a
equivalent of ISIS."

In his public life, Nimr had been closely tied to Hezbollah al-Hejaz, the
armed, avowedly Khomeinist group established in Qatif and active in Saudi
Arabia's Eastern Province, Kuwait and Bahrain. As a leadership figure in the
organization, Nimr consistently preached that the Sunni ruling dynasties in the
three countries were illegitimate and called for armed struggle against the
Saudi government. Hezbollah al-Hejaz carried out the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing
that killed 20 US service personnel and injured 498 people of various
nationalities. The 4 senior members who led the attack, and who are on the
FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list, subsequently fled to Iran and continue to
live there in hiding with the support of the mullahs in Tehran. The plot
recently thickened.

On Aug. 26, 2015, it was announced that Saudi intelligence officers had
apprehended Ahmed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, leader of the Hezbollah al-Hejaz cell
that carried out the Khobar Towers bombing, in a sting operation in Beirut.
Since being whisked away under the eyes of Lebanese Hezbollah, Mughassil has
been in Saudi custody divulging details about who carried out the Khobar
bombings and how they did it. According to a Saudi security official who spoke
on condition of anonymity, Mughassil has provided information on the structure
of the organization, its funders, its members and its covert links to the
current Iranian leadership. Mughassil fingered Nimr as a leading fundraiser,
recruiter and facilitator for Hezbollah al-Hejaz in Qatif and Bahrain.

Prior to his execution, Nimr had been directly implicated in the shooting
deaths of several Saudi police officers in late 2011, early 2012. 3 of his
young followers admitted that they had been inspired by Nimr's teachings and
directly encouraged by him when they attended a "diwaniya" (gathering) in his
home village of Awamiya, in Qatif. Nimr and the 3 accused killers were
subsequently arrested. Convicted of several acts of murder by Saudi courts,
they are the 4 Shiites the kingdom executed.

Perhaps Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan best summed up the mood in Saudi
Arabia and most of the Muslim world when he said, "The same people who keep
silent during mass killings are now trying to stir up the world over the
execution of 1 person. 4000,000 [Syrian] people have been killed ... You can
never justify yourselves." Executions like those carried out Jan. 2 will
continue as Saudi Arabia attempts to defend itself against terrorists.
Mughassil, whose horrific crimes will eventually be made public, will most
likely be among those executed. In time, such revelations may come as an
embarrassment to the Barack Obama administration, which given the Iranian
nuclear deal, seems much more concerned about legacy building than prosecuting
Tehran-backed terrorists who have taken countless American lives.

(source: al-monitor.com)






IRAN----executions

2 Unidentified Prisoners Hanged


2 unidentified prisoners have been hanged by Iranian authorities.

According to state run news agency Khabar Online, a prisoner was hanged at
Yasuj's central prison on Sunday January 24. The prisoner, who has not been
identified, was reportedly executed on murder charges. The unidentified
prisoner was reportedly arrested 5 months ago. Yasuj is located in the Iranian
Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad province (southwestern Iran).

In another official report by Khabar Online, the execution of a prisoner in
Kermanshah (western Iran) for the alleged murder of the Friday Prayer Imam of
Savojbolagh (a county in the province of Alborz, northern Iran) was confirmed
by the Iranian Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohsen Eje'i. According to
Eje'i, the prisoner was also charged with other offenses. Information about the
date and location of the execution, the other offenses, or about the prisoner's
identity were not mentioned in the report.

(source: Iran Human Rights)

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

Growing Up on Death Row: The Death Penalty and Juvenile Offenders in Iran


Scores of youths in Iran are languishing on death row for crimes committed
under the age of 18, said Amnesty International in a new report published
today. The report debunks recent attempts by Iran's authorities to whitewash
their continuing violations of children's rights and deflect criticism of their
appalling record as one of the world's last executioners of juvenile offenders.

Growing Up on Death Row: The Death Penalty and Juvenile Offenders in Iran
reveals that Iran has continued to consign juvenile offenders to the gallows,
while trumpeting as major advances, piecemeal reforms that fail to abolish the
death penalty against juvenile offenders.

"This report sheds light on Iran's shameful disregard for the rights of
children. Iran is one of the few countries that continues to execute juvenile
offenders in blatant violation of the absolute legal prohibition on the use of
the death penalty against people under the age of 18 years at the time of the
crime," said Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle
East and North Africa Program.

"Despite some juvenile justice reforms, Iran continues to lag behind the rest
of the world, maintaining laws that permit girls as young as 9 and boys as
young as 15 to be sentenced to death."

In recent years the Iranian authorities have celebrated changes to the
country's 2013 Islamic Penal Code that allow judges to replace the death
penalty with an alternative punishment based on a discretionary assessment of
juvenile offenders' mental growth and maturity at the time of the crime.
However, these measures are far from a cause for celebration. In fact, they lay
bare Iran's ongoing failure to respect a pledge that it undertook over 2
decades ago, when it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),
to abolish the use of death penalty against juvenile offenders completely.

As a state party to the CRC Iran is legally obliged to treat everyone under the
age of 18 as a child and ensure that they are never subject to the death
penalty nor to life imprisonment without possibility of release.

However, Amnesty International's report lists 73 executions of juvenile
offenders which took place between 2005 and 2015. According to the UN at least
160 juvenile offenders are currently on death row. The true numbers are likely
to be much higher as information about the use of the death penalty in Iran is
often shrouded in secrecy.

Amnesty International has been able to identify the names and location of 49
juvenile offenders at risk of the death penalty in the report. Many were found
to have spent, on average, about 7 years on death row. In a few cases
documented by Amnesty International, the time that juvenile offenders spent on
death row exceeded a decade.

"The report paints a deeply distressing picture of juvenile offenders
languishing on death row, robbed of valuable years of their lives - often after
being sentenced to death following unfair trials, including those based on
forced confessions extracted through torture and other ill-treatment," said
Boumedouha.

In a number of cases the authorities have scheduled the executions of juvenile
offenders and then postponed them at the last minute, adding to the severe
anguish of being on death row. Such treatment is at the very least cruel,
inhuman and degrading.

'Piecemeal' reforms failing to deliver justice

Iran's new Islamic Penal Code adopted in May 2013 had sparked guarded hopes
that the situation of juvenile offenders under a death sentence would finally
improve, at least in practice. The code allows judges to assess a juvenile
offender's mental maturity at the time of the offence, and potentially, to
impose an alternative punishment to the death penalty on the basis of the
outcome. In 2014, Iran's Supreme Court confirmed that all juvenile offenders on
death row could apply for retrial.

Yet almost 3 years after the changes to the Penal Code, the authorities have
continued to carry out executions of juvenile offenders, and in some cases,
they even often fail to informed the juvenile offenders of their right to apply
for a retrial.

Tragically, the report also points to a growing trend where juvenile offenders
retried under recent reforms are judged to have attained "mental maturity" at
the time of the crime and resentenced to death, in blatant evidence of how
little has changed.

"Retrial proceedings and other piecemeal reforms had been hailed as possible
steps forward for juvenile justice in Iran but increasingly they are being
exposed as whimsical procedures leading to cruel outcomes," said Boumedouha.

In some cases, judges have concluded that a juvenile offender was "mature"
based on a handful of simple questions such as whether he or she understood
that it is wrong to kill a human being. They have also repeatedly confused the
issue of lack of maturity of children due to their age with the diminished
responsibility of individuals with mental illness, concluding that a juvenile
offender was not "afflicted with insanity" and therefore deserved the death
penalty.

Fatemeh Salbehi was executed in October 2015 for murdering her husband whom she
was forced to marry at 16. She was resentenced to death after a retrial session
lasting only a few hours in which the psychological assessment was limited to a
few basic questions such as whether or not she prayed or studied religious
textbooks. In 5 other cases Hamid Ahmadi, Amir Amrollahi, Siavash Mahmoudi,
Sajad Sanjari, and Salar Shadizadi were resentenced to death after courts
presiding over their retrials concluded that they understood the nature of the
crime and were not insane.

"The persisting flaws in Iran's treatment of juvenile offenders highlight the
continuing and urgent need for laws that categorically prohibit the use of the
death penalty against juvenile offenders," said Boumedouha. "The life or death
of a juvenile offender must not be left at the whim of judges. Instead of
introducing half-hearted reforms that fall woefully short, Iran's authorities
must accept that what they really need to do is commute the death sentences of
all juvenile offenders, and end the use of the death penalty against juvenile
offenders in Iran once and for all."

As Iran re-enters the world of international diplomacy it is also crucial that
world leaders use such new channels to raise the cases identified in this
report with the Iranian authorities and to urge them to immediately commute all
death sentences for juvenile offenders.

In June 2015 Iran introduced reforms specifying that juveniles accused of a
crime must be dealt with by specialized juvenile courts. Previously juvenile
offenders accused of capital crimes were generally prosecuted by adult courts.

Although the introduction of specialized juvenile courts is a welcome step, it
remains to be seen whether this will prevent further use of the death penalty
against juvenile offenders in practice.

Over the past decade, interdisciplinary social science studies on the
relationship between adolescence and crime, including neuroscientific findings
on brain maturity of teenagers, have been cited in support of arguments for
considering juveniles less culpable than adults. Such findings were invoked
during arguments which ultimately persuaded the US Supreme Court to abolish the
death penalty against individuals convicted of committing a crime while under
18 years of age in 2005.

(source: Amnesty International USA)

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

Dozens of young offenders face death penalty in Iran for crimes when they were
teens


Dozens of young offenders arrested in Iran for crimes committed before they
turned 18 are at risk of the death penalty. A new report by Amnesty
International identifies the names and locations of 49 juvenile offenders who
face the death penalty despite recent reforms.

But the group fears the official numbers could be higher after a UN report in
2014 claimed the number of juvenile offenders at risk of execution at more than
160.

The London-based group also found that Iran has executed at least 73 juvenile
offenders between 2005 and 2015.

At least 4 were put to death last year alone. The majority of them were
convicted of murder, according to the 110-page document.

Others were executed for crimes including rape, drug-related crimes and
national security offences such as "enmity??? against God.

It comes as Tehran tries to rebuild relations with the West following last
year's landmark nuclear deal.

The agreement came into force this month after Iran took steps to curb its
nuclear programme, which lead to international sanctions being lifted.

Amnesty noted that reforms introduced in 2013 give judges more discretion to
take into account young offenders' mental maturity and potentially impose
softer punishments.

"Iran continues to lag behind the rest of the world, maintaining laws that
permit girls as young as nine and boys as young as 15 to be sentenced to death"
----Amnesty International

The Supreme Court has since said juvenile offenders facing execution could have
their cases retried.

Additional reforms introduced last year also require cases involving juveniles
to be heard in special juvenile courts.

However the group called for more to be done.

It said in a statement: "Despite some juvenile justice reforms, Iran continues
to lag behind the rest of the world, maintaining laws that permit girls as
young as 9 and boys as young as 15 to be sentenced to death."

Last October, the UN's special investigator on the human rights situation in
Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, warned that executions in Iran have risen at an
"exponential rate" since 2005 and could top 1,000 in 2015.

He said Iran puts more people to death per capita than any other country,
adding that the majority of executions do not conform to international laws
banning the death penalty for juveniles and non-violent offenders.

But head of Iran's Human Rights Council, Mohammad Javad Larijani, dismissed the
UN report as "a collection of baseless accusations".

Iran is one of the world's largest users of the death penalty, ranking second
behind China in 2014, according to the most recent figures from Amnesty.

Most executions overall in Iran are carried out for drug smuggling.

The country straddles a major narcotics trafficking route linking
opium-producing fields in Afghanistan to Europe.

(source: Sri Lanka Daily Star)






JAPAN:

Death penalty sought for man over 1998 murder of Aichi couple


Prosecutors on Monday demanded the death penalty for a man indicted over the
1998 murder and robbery of a couple in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan.

The death penalty was sought for Hiroshi Sato, 39, in a lay judge trial at the
Nagoya District Court over the murder of company executive Ichio Magoori, 45,
and his wife Satomi, 36, in the city of Hekinan.

Prosecutors said Sato "committed a cruel and evil crime, taking the lives of a
couple who had done nothing wrong just to get money." The court is expected to
hand down a ruling on Feb 5.

Sato's accomplice, Yoshitomo Hori, 40, who was sentenced to death in December,
has appealed the ruling.

According to the indictment, Sato conspired with Hori and Teruo Hayama to kill
the couple at their home and stole approximately 60,000 yen in June 1998. The 3
men were co-workers at the time.

Sato's defense counsel urged the court not to sentence him to death, saying he
"just helped his accomplices and has reflected on what he did, praying for the
repose of the couple's souls."

Sato offered an apology to the relatives of the victims in the trial.

Separately, Sato and Hori have been indicted for attempting to kill a woman in
her 70s by strangling her at her home in Nagoya and robbing her of around
25,000 yen in 2006.

(source: Japan Today)




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2016-01-26 20:24:15 UTC
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Jan. 26




IRAN:

"THE SMILING FACE OF THE MULLAHS": HOC report on the Death Penalty in Iran


In view of the visit to Italy by President Hassan Rouhani, scheduled for the
25th and 26th of January, Hands Off Cain presented the Report on the Death
Penalty in Iran entitled "The Smiling Face of the Mullahs".

The Report lists the executions carried out in Iran in 2015 and in first 2
weeks of 2016 and provides a comprehensive view of capital punishment under
Hassan Rouhani's Presidency.

The report also represents a "reminder" for the Italian State's highest
authorities to bring the question of the death penalty and the respect of human
rights to the center of every meeting and understanding with the
representatives of the regime in Tehran.

According to the report, in 2015 the regime in Tehran carried out at least 980
executions, a 22.5% increase compared to 800 in 2014 and a 42.6% increase
compared to 687 in 2013.

This is the number of executions among the highest in the recent history of
Iran, which classifies it as the top "Executioner-Country" in the world in
relation to population. At least 370 execution cases (37.7%) were reported by
official Iranian sources (websites of the Iranian Judiciary, national Iranian
broadcasting network, and official or state-run news agencies and newspapers);
610 cases (62.3%) included in the annual numbers were reported by unofficial
sources (other human rights NGOs or sources inside Iran).

The actual number of executions is probably much higher than the figures
included in the Report of Hands Off Cain.

(source: NCR-Iran)






KENYA:

Judiciary wants convicts on death row hanged


The Judiciary now wants the Executive to hire a hang-man and allow him to deal
with thousands of convicted Kenyans awaiting death sentence.

High Court Judge Fred Ochieng says the Judiciary wants the death penalty
imposed upon offenders as outlined in the new policy guidelines launched on
Monday by Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga.

The new policy guidelines were prepared by a team of Judges at the Judicial
Training Institute led by Justice Msagha Mbogholi.

Former President Mwai Kibaki commuted the death sentences to life imprisonment
in 2009 as human rights activists pushed Kenya towards eliminating the death
penalty.

His action reduced by 1/5 the 20,000 prisoners facing execution around the
world.

Kibaki signaled intentions to abolish the death penalty altogether but first
called for a study to determine whether Kenya???s mandatory death sentence for
murder, armed robbery or treason actually deters crime.

His move reflected a trend beyond Europe and elsewhere to abolish capital
punishment.

Since 2008, Argentina, Burundi and Uzbekistan have abolished the death penalty.

Kenya is one of the Sub-Saharan countries that have made steps toward reducing
executions or doing away with them. The others include; Uganda, Tanzania, Mali
and Nigeria.

Only 25 countries actually carried out executions in 2008. In sub-Saharan
Africa, only 2 countries - Botswana and Sudan - carried out executions 2008.

China has the most executions, at least 5,000 in 2008, according to a July
report by the anti-death-penalty group Hands-Off-Cain.

China's highest court, which reviews all executions, recently called for the
death penalty to be used less often. In the USA, about 35 people are executed
per year.

By Kenyan law, armed robbery carries a mandatory death sentence - for bank
robbers with sub-machine guns or someone using a stick to snatch a chicken.

Even though the death penalty has not been carried out since 1983, the
population on death row kept expanding.

Even, as the former President signaled an intention to push for abolition of
the death the fact the new constitution retains provisions for the death
penalty [The Penal Code] is an impediment.

Kenya's Court of Appeal sitting in Nairobi on July 30th, 2010 declared
unconstitutional the application of a mandatory death sentence on all prisoners
convicted of murder.

In their unanimous judgment, the Court of Appeal ruled that the automatic
nature of the death penalty in Kenya for murder violates the right to life and
amounts to inhuman punishment, as it does not provide the individuals concerned
with an opportunity to mitigate their death sentences.

As a result, hundreds of prisoners currently on death row in Kenya, including
the Appellant, Godfrey Mutiso, were given a reprieve.

The Court of Appeal said that the same reasoning given in the judgment would
apply to other offences having a mandatory death sentence, such as treason and
robbery with violence (Section 296/2 of the Penal Code).

(source: citizentv.co.ke)

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2016-01-27 18:07:32 UTC
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Jan. 27



SAUDI ARABIA----execution

Saudi Arabia beheads Egyptian national


Saudi Arabia has beheaded an Egyptian national after sentencing him to death on
charges related to robbery and murder.

The convicted Egyptian man, identified as Mahmud Jumaa Morsi, was beheaded in
the capital Riyadh on Wednesday, the Saudi Interior Ministry said in a
statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The man was found guilty of fatally strangling and robbing a Saudi citizen, the
ministry added.

According to AFP tallies, the latest execution brings to 54 the number of
locals and foreigners put to death this year.

In the most stunning case, Saudi Arabia executed on January 2 Sheikh Nimr
al-Nimr along 46 other people in defiance of international calls for the
release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political dissidents in
the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia carried out 153 executions, including 71 foreign nationals, in
2015. This number of executions in terms of annual basis in Saudi Arabia has
been unseen since 1995.

Beheading with a sword is the most common form of execution in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh has been under fire for having one of the world's highest execution
rates.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the Saudi regime to
abolish its "ghastly" beheadings.

Under the Saudi law, apostasy, armed robbery, drug trafficking, rape and murder
carry the death penalty. Most Saudi executions are carried out by beheading
with a sword.

(source: presstv.ir)






UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

Man demands death of brother for murder----Brother, wife charged with killing
second wife


A man demanded the execution of his brother and his brother's wife in court in
Abu Dhabi, on charges of murdering his 2nd wife, insisting that he would not
pardon them.

The court asked the man to make a statement on the grounds he is the legal
custodian of the victim's 2 children, who are too young to decide whether to
accept diya (blood money) for the death of their mother.

The defendant had confessed to locking up the 2nd wife and using a stick to
beat her up for nearly 8 years on the grounds she was disobeying him.

"The brother rejected blood money and insisted on the death penalty for his
brother and his brother's wife for complicity in the murder," Al Bayan' daily
said.

(source: emirates247.com)






MALAYSIA:

7 men plead not guilty to murdering Kevin Morais


7 men, including a military doctor, pleaded not guilty in the Kuala Lumpur High
Court today for murdering and abetting in the murder of deputy public
prosecutor Anthony Kevin Morais, whose body was found in a cemented drum.

They made their plea before Judge Azman Abdullah after the charge was read to
them, and the court fixed Feb 25 for mention of the case.

6 men - G Gunasekaran, 43; R Dinishwaran, 23; A Thinesh Kumar, 22; M
Vishwanath, 25; S Nimalan, 22; and S Ravichandaran, 34 - pleaded not guilty to
murdering Kevin, 55, between 7am and 8pm on Sept 4, 2015 while Kevin was on his
way from Jalan Dutamas Raya Sentul to No 1 Jalan USJ1/6D, Subang Jaya.

They face the mandatory death penalty if convicted under Section 302 of the
Penal Code.

The charge against them was read in Tamil.

Meanwhile pathologist Col Dr R Kunaseegaran, 52, pleaded not guilty to abetting
with the six men in the murder of Kevin at the same place, date and time.

The charge against him was read in Malay.

Kunaseegaran was charged under Section 109 of the Penal Code, read together
with Section 302 of the same act.

Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Abdul Razak Musa applied for the court to fix
the mention's date in three weeks' time to enable the prosecution to transfer a
case involving another accused, A Murugan from the Shah Alam High Court, to be
jointly on trial with the seven accused.

Murugan was charged with abetting the 6 men in Kevin's murder at Desa Mentari,
Kuala Lumpur between 9.30am and 8pm last Sept 4.

Counsel M Manoharan and V Rajehgopal represented the 6 men, while N Sivananthan
represented Kunaseegaran, and Simon Sabapathy was the watching brief for the
deceased's youngest brother, Richard Dilaan Morais, who was also present today.

Kevin's remains were found in a cemented drum at Persiaran Subang Mewah, Subang
Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur on Sept 16 last year.

Kevin was reported missing on Sept 4. He was last seen leaving his apartment at
Menara Duta, Kuala Lumpur for Putrajaya in a Proton Perdana car bearing
registration number WA6264Q.

(source: malaysiakini.com)



VIETNAM:

Teacher arrested for raping 8-year-old student in southern Vietnam


Police in Tay Ninh Province in southern Vietnam have arrested a teacher for
allegedly raping a 2nd-grade student in their school.

Investigators said that on January 22 Bui Khanh Hoang, 32, a gymnastics
teacher, asked the 8-year-old girl to stay after class and raped her in a
classroom.

Her grandmother found scratches and blood while giving her a bath that day, and
made the girl describe what had happened to her.

Police arrested Hoang the next day and keeping him for questioning.

The mother of the girl said her daughter is shocked and eats little.

"She wakes up at night many times and screams," she said.

The crime can be punished by jail terms of at least 12 years or even a death
penalty.

(source: Thanh Nien News)






INDIA:

Delhi HC commutes death sentence of serial killer, awards life term


The Delhi High Court on Wednesday commuted to life capital punishment awarded
to serial killer Chandrakant Jha in 2 identical cases of murder and upheld
imprisonment of life till death awarded to him in a 3rd similar case by a trial
court here.

A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and R K Gauba upheld Jha's conviction in all
the 3 cases but modified the death sentence awarded to him in 2 of the cases to
life imprisonment till death.

"We uphold the conviction in all the 3 cases. He is sentenced to life term
without remission for rest of his life," the bench said.

While commuting death to life term in 2 cases, the court said, "there was no
eye witnesses" to these incidents.

In 1 of the 3 cases of murder, the trial court on February 4, 2013 had awarded
life term till death to Jha for decapitating his victim and dumping the body
near the Tihar Jail daring the police to nab him.

Jha, a native of Madhepura in Bihar, was sentenced to life term till death in a
case relating to killing of one Dilip, whose headless body was dumped near
Tihar Jail in 2007.

On February 5, 2013, Jha was sentenced to death in the second case of identical
crime by the same trial court, saying his offence fell under the "rarest of
rare case" as the brutality committed by him showed he "cannot be reformed".

The court awarded death sentence to Jha for taking away the life of 19-year-old
Upender and dumping his headless body also near Tihar jail in 2007.

On February 6, 2013, Jha was awarded death penalty in yet another crime of
beheading and chopping the body parts of a victim by the trial court which said
he committed the murder in an "extremely brutal, diabolical and revolting
manner".

In this case, Jha had murdered one Anil Mandal in 2006 and dumped his body
outside the jail after chopping off the head and limbs.

Jha was arrested by the Delhi Police in May 25, 2007 in Mianwali Nagar here. He
was earlier arrested in 1998 in a murder case but was acquitted for want of
evidence.

In December 2007, a Delhi court had acquitted him in a case after the police
failed to file charge sheet against him in another murder case.

After committing the murders, Jha had even dared the police by writing several
letters to them to nab him, saying he would send similar "gifts" after every 15
days.

(source: Deccan Chronicle)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-27 18:56:25 UTC
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Jan. 27



IRAN:

Christian pastor released by Iran vividly describes Tehran's executions of
political prisoners


One of the Americans recently freed from an Iranian prison has described the
experience of being held in the Islamic theocracy for years on charges of
setting up churches.

Saeed Abedini, who was one of four Americans released in a prisoner swap with
Iran earlier this month, talked to Fox News about how he was treated in prison
and what he saw while he was there.

Abedini said he and other prisoners were beaten and threatened. But he said the
worst thing he saw were the executions.

"Most of them are Sunnis, some of them are political prisoners, and I can say
most of them are there for their faith," Abedini told Fox News' Greta van
Susteren.

When soldiers came to take prisoners for execution, Abedini said, they'd "take
their hands, their feet, grab them, like when they take a lamb for
slaughtering."

"And they were yelling, some of them they were crying, and some of them they
wet themselves, and so it was a very graphic things that I saw," Abedini said.

In July, Amnesty International released a report on Iran's "staggering"
execution spree in which the country reportedly killed 694 people in six
months. Amnesty referred to it as an "unprecedented spike" in executions.

Iran is also known to torture prisoners. Abedini described some of the brutal
treatment to which he was subjected during his time in captivity.

"When I was interrogated with my interrogator, he told me that, 'I'm going to
do 3 things to you,'" Abedini said.

The interrogator threatened to have other prisoners beat Abedini, told him that
he would be sent to the worst prison in the country, and said they would be
watching him if he ever returned to the US.

"They said, 'When you finish your sentence and you go to the US, we'll always
follow you, and if you continue the things that you did, we're going to kill
you,'" Abedini said.

Abedini was imprisoned in 2012 and is now back in the US recovering from the
ordeal at a retreat on the East Coast, according to US News & World Report.

(source: Yahoo News)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-27 21:40:34 UTC
Permalink
Jan. 27




GRENADA:

Grenada man charged with murder in death of US tourist


A man accused of killing a tourist from Georgia in a machete attack on an
isolated beach in Grenada made his 1st appearance Wednesday before a judge on
the Caribbean island to face a charge of capital murder.

Dave Martin Benjamin did not enter a plea and was not given an opportunity to
speak in the brief hearing. A lawyer has not yet been appointed to represent
him. The 27-year-old could get the death penalty if convicted. Grenada has not
carried out an execution since 1978.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the courthouse to get a glimpse of Benjamin
as he was led into court in jeans and a checkered shirt.

The suspect surrendered to authorities Monday, a day after the body of Jessica
Colker, a 39-year-old physician's assistant from Atlanta, was found in a wooded
area near an isolated beach where she had been walking with her husband.

Benjamin became the chief suspect because people had seen him begging on the
beach before the incident, Acting Police Commissioner Winston James said after
the court hearing. He did not disclose what other evidence investigators had
collected and said that Benjamin had not confessed to the crime.

Police say Benjamin waylaid Colker and Brian Melito around noon on Sunday as
they walked along the shore. The husband fled to get help and his wife was
missing when he returned. Her body was found later that day in a wooded area.
An autopsy found that she died from extensive skull fracture and asphyxia.
James said there were signs of sexual assault.

Colker worked as a physician's assistant at a children's hospital in metro
Atlanta. Van Melito is a physician. The couple, who met at a dance workshop in
Costa Rica, married in November 2014, according to an online wedding album.

"Jessica could fill the room with laughter in a second," Kristin McManus, a
friend from her hometown of Yorktown, Virginia told WAVY-TV. "And her smile
just glowed, and she was such a caring person, an open person."

Police said earlier that Benjamin was convicted of robbery and burglary in 2009
and of a rape in 2013. He was released early from prison in November because of
good behavior.

Benjamin's next scheduled court appearance is Friday.

(source: Associated Press)






IRAN----execution

Political prisoner hanged on verge of Rouhani'd visit to Europe


The Iranian Resistance calls on the international community and human rights
defenders to condemn the criminal execution of dervish, political prisoner
Fardin Hosseini. His secret execution in Kermanshah's prison on January 21 as
Rouhani, the demagogue president of the Iranian regime, was about to travel to
Italy, Vatican and France makes Rouhani's visit all the more illegitimate and
makes holding Rouhani accountable for the severe violation of human rights
2fold necessary. The execution of over 2200 prisoners, including followers of
various religions and faiths, is part of the infamous dossier of Rouhani's 2
1/2 years presidency. Rouhani, along with other leaders of this regime, should
face justice for all their crimes, particularly for crime against humanity for
the execution of 120,000 political prisoners.

Mr. Fardin Hosseini was constantly under torture and interrogations in
intelligence ministry cells and medieval prisons in Qom, Dieselabad of
Kermanshah, and Gohardasht (Rajai Shahr). The henchmen also arrested his family
and harassed them to extract forced confession from him.

He wrote In a letter to Amnesty International and the Special Rapporteur on the
situation of human rights in Iran in June 2015: I was numerously pressured by
my torturers that if I accept the charges brought against me during my
interrogation and if I confess and accept the fictitious charges in the courts,
they would pay a large sum of money to me and my children and they can relocate
me to any place in the world that I want and that I will be protected ... all
this calamity was solely for my beliefs.

Time and again he asked for an open court with the participation of the media,
but the Iranian regime never accepted his request.

Iranian regime's judiciary had accused Mr. Fardin Hosseini of killing Mullah
Sabaei, the former Friday prayer imam of Savejbolaq, in mid June 2007 but he
repeatedly denied the allegations. Sabaei working under Mullah Mohammadi
Gilani's supervision was involved in issuing death verdicts and massacring
prisoners in executions of political prisoners in 1981.

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






LIBYA:

Whipped for drinking alcohol and executed for stealing: The horrific moment 3
men are shot dead in front of a mob by ISIS barbarians in Libya


ISIS militants in the Libyan town of Sirte have executed at least 3 men and
whipped another for drinking alcohol, according to a 'photo report', published
by the terror group.

Published on an anonymous content sharing website, it shows the deaths of 3 men
and the whipping of 4 others.

In 1 photo a man in a grey t-shirt, his face blurred, is led to his death - the
caption says he was executed for the sin of 'banditry'.

According to the 'report', the other men were executed for converting from
Islam, for cursing god and for belonging to a militia loyal to Khalifa Haftar,
the UN-backed government general deeply hostile to Islamist forces - both the
self-appointed government in Tripoli and ISIS.

The post is entitled 'Implementing punishment in the city of Sirte' and links
to ISIS-related hashtags in Arabic.

In the 7 photos, each is captioned with the sin the men are accused of
committing and their punishment.

A crowd of masked men stand to watch as the punishments are carried out - a
mixture of executions and whipping.

One photo shows a group of 4 of the accused on their knees in front of a crowd
of masked men, as their 'sentence' is read out - the caption declares flogging
is the punishment for drinking wine.

ISIS reportedly has 3,000 fighters in Sirte and has imposed the strict rules
familiar with residents in their defacto capital in Raqqa, Syria.

Beheadings and crucifixions plague the town, which has been deserted by
citizens by the thousands.

It comes as analysts warn that the terror-group is rallying more and more
groups under their banner, despite losing ground in its strongholds of Iraq and
Syria.

'From the start, Islamic State has vowed to take its fight globally, but until
recently it has been focused on managing its caliphate in Iraq and Syria,' said
Michael Kugelman, of the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington.

With the Iraqi army re-taking some of the territory the group had taken, IS
'has re-dedicated attention to focusing on a more global approach', he said.

'The big question, after the Jakarta attacks and all of these attacks around
the world in recent months that have been claimed by ISIS is - are these
militants only inspired by ISIS or have they been directly managed by ISIS?' he
said, using another name for the group.

Kugelman believes that IS is for now content to take credit for the attacks,
using the 'brand recognition' of its name that has spread across the world,
partly through social media, without necessarily dedicating resources or
manpower to these groups.

'What you have here are disillusioned, alienated militants, who have been
fighting with a different organisation, who are interested in identifying
themselves with a more dynamic cause. And they see ISIS as a very dynamic cause
- they are in the media all the time and commit spectacularly brutal attacks.'

(source: Daily Mail)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-28 15:41:20 UTC
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Jan. 28



BANGLADESH:

3 get death penalty, 1 life for murdering peasant in Rangpur


3 people have been awarded the death sentence and another person life term for
killing a farmer in Rangpur over 2 decades ago.

Rangpur Additional District and Sessions Judge Abu Jafar Mohammad Kamruzzaman
delivered the verdict on Thursday noon.

The death-row convicts are Farhad Hossain, 40, Nur Mohammad, 41, and Md Abdul,
40, all hailing from Chhoto Kalyani village under Pirgachha Upazila.

Abdus Sattar, 70, has been awarded life term and fined Tk 10,000, in default of
which he will have to suffer 6 more months in prison.

Abu Siddique was killed on Oct 2, 1993 over a land dispute.

The Criminal Investigation Department of police pressed charges against the 4
in October, 2003 in the case over the murder.

The 4 accused were present in court during the delivery of the verdict, a
public prosecutor said.

(source: bdnews24.com)






INDIA:

6 found guilty of gang rape, murder in India


An Indian court convicted 6 men Thursday of gang-raping and murdering a student
as she walked home after an exam in 2013, in a case that sparked outrage over
women's safety.

Security was tight outside the court in the eastern city of Kolkata for the
verdict, with chanting protesters demanding justice and scuffling with police.

Senior public prosecutor Dipak Ghosh told AFP that 6 accused were convicted of
gang-raping the 21-year-old woman, as well as murder, interfering with evidence
and other charges.

Judge Sanchita Sarkar told the packed court that 2 others "are acquitted due to
lack of evidence".

"The... punishment will be announced after hearing the convicts on Friday," she
said.

The 6 face punishments ranging from 20 years in jail to the death penalty.

The gang attacked the university student as she returned home to her village,
50 kilometres (30 miles) northeast of Kolkata, in June 2013.

The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was grabbed after getting
off the bus before being dragged to a nearby abandoned farm.

She was found gagged and laying in a pool of blood in a field the next morning.
Evidence showed she had been repeatedly raped.

The attack triggered anger in West Bengal state and came just months after the
fatal gang rape of a student in Delhi in December 2012 that shone a global
spotlight on violence against women in India.

The 2012 incident led to an overhaul of India's rape laws including speeding up
of trials and tougher penalties for offenders, but high numbers of assaults
persist.

About 200 protesters gathered outside the court for Thursday's verdict
demanding justice, an AFP reporter said.

1 policeman was injured in scuffles as protesters tried to enter the court
complex, police said.

(source: Express Tribune)

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

VHP demands amendment of Foreign National Act with provision of death
penalty----VHP demands law to push back infiltrators


Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Praveen Togadia has asked the Centre to
enact a law and formulate a time-bound action plan to push back Bangladeshi
Muslim infiltrators.

"A time-bound action plan to evict all Bangladeshi Muslims, for that the 1952
electoral roll should be based, for verification whether Indian or Bangladeshi
paternity test should be done and centre should be established. Foreign
Security Act should be amended especially for Bangladeshi Muslims. If any
Bangladeshi Muslim is found, because they come to capture India they should be
sentenced to death and with first trial court should be established," Togadia
told reporters here.

Togadia, currently on a 3-day visit to Tripura, claimed that over 15 million
Bangladeshis were living illegally in the northeastern states and equal number
was residing in other parts of India.

The VHP leader demanded that the 1951 electoral rolls must be the base for
identifying infiltrators.

He urged the Centre to set up paternity test centers in all northeastern states
to identify the infiltrators.

"The BJP-led government must enact a 'foreign national act' to evict
infiltrators, especially Muslims, to Bangladesh or their own country," he
added.

He said that India would set up health and educational centres across the
country to provide free health service, education and employment to Hindu
Bangladeshi those are persecuted to come to India.

He further added that the VHP wants Hindus in India to be "protected,
prosperous and honoured".

Togadia added that if time bound initiatives are not take by the state
government and the union government to protect Northeast, Assam and Bengal for
infiltrated Bangladeshi Muslims then very soon these areas will turn into
territory of greater Bangladesh.

(source: Business Standard)





CHINA----execution

China Executes Tajik For Drug Trafficking


Chinese authorities have executed a Tajik national convicted of drug
trafficking.

Tajik Foreign Ministry officials told RFE/RL that Hasan Yusufov, 51, was
executed early in the morning on January 28.

Tajik Embassy representatives were allowed to meet with Yusufov before his
execution, the officials said.

Yusufov was arrested in Urumqi, the capital of China's northwestern region of
Xinjiang, in 2011 and was charged with drug trafficking.

He was later found guilty and sentenced to death.

All attempts by the Tajik Embassy to overturn the death sentence were
fruitless, the Foreign Ministry officials said, adding that talks were under
way to bring Yusufov's body home to Tajikistan.

Tajik officials said earlier that 16 Tajik citizens were currently in China's
prison system, 4 of whom are on death row while 5 are serving life terms.

(source: Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)






IRAN:

Death Row Iran: Inside the women's prison where inmates await execution, bring
up their babies and struggle to survive against the odds; Sadegh Souri shot the
collection of powerful images, which are titled 'Waiting for Capital
Punishment'


Sleeping in squalid conditions, queuing for hours on end for food and
struggling to care for a newborn baby are just some of the horrifying
challenges girls in Iran's grim prison's face.

Dozens of juvenile offenders - some of whom are just 9 years old - are
languishing on death row for crimes such as murder, drug trafficking and armed
robbery.

In Iran, the 2nd-biggest user of capital punishment in the world, young women
can be hanged for crimes, following unfair trials, including those based on
forced confessions extracted through torture and other ill-treatment.

The frightened girls are imprisoned in a Juvenile Delinquents Correction Centre
after their sentence verdict and a large number of the inmates are then killed
when they reach 18.

Last year there was a disturbing escalation in the use of the death penalty in
Iran, with at least 830 people executed between 1 January and 1 November 2015.
There were reports that at least 4 of these were juvenile offenders.

Award-winning photographer Sadegh Souri, who lives in Tehran, has given an
insight to the harsh conditions young people face in these grimy institutions
as they anticipate their fate.

Mr Souri, documentary winner at the 2015 Lens Culture visual storytelling
awards, shot 17-year-old Mahsa.

She was imprisoned after killing her father with a kitchen knife in a dispute
over her future husband.

(source: Daily Mail)

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

The List Of 100 Death Row Prisoners In Sanandaj Prison

https://hra-news.org/en/list-100-death-row-prisoners-sanandaj-prison

(source: Human Rights Activists News Agency)


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Rick Halperin
2016-01-29 16:42:20 UTC
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Jan. 29



TURKEY:

Reinstituting death penalty but for whom?


Turkey's "high society" of beauty parlor blondes was shocked over reports in
social media that a 19-year-old female university student was raped in the
backyard of a Bagdad Caddesi apartment by a "married man with 2 kids." Would it
make any difference if the despicable crime was committed somewhere else and
not at Bagdad Caddesi of Istanbul? Would it make much difference if the dastard
who committed that crime was nor married or did not have any kids?

Unfortunately, while this country has been boasting about "equality of all in
front of the law" as George Orwell wrote in his famous "Animal Farm," some
animals have always been more equal than others, particularly if they are
clever enough to appear in the court room with a shaved face, behave well and
tell the presiding judge how sorry he was of undertaking such a horrible crime.
And, irrespective how many times he might have stabbed his wife with the
intention to kill or raped a young woman and condemned her to a life-long
psychological problem if nothing else, the judge rules for reduced penalty on
grounds of "good behavior."

If the woman raped was wearing a mini skirt (worse if she was earning her
living through selling her body), rape becomes all the more excusable. If
society could turn a blind eye, judges would probably let the culprits free
because of the "provocative actions" of the raped women... Sheer insanity.
Don't the judges who make such verdicts have mothers, sisters or a bit of
respect for the other half of man?

Now a campaign is underway for the reintroduction of the death penalty so that
such a horrible man could face the gallows. Sorry to say but that's total
nonsense. As if anyone was ever executed because of such crimes those
artificial blondes of the country's artificial high society are crying about
and for which they are demanding the reintroduction of the death penalty. Do
they know what the death penalty is? Do they have any idea what a great
struggle was waged in this country to lift the death penalty at a time when its
number one public enemy, a notorious chieftain of the separatist gang, was on
death row?

It is as if should the country reintroduce the death penalty, rapists would be
sentenced to death and such sentences would be carried out. Come on, be
serious! In this country, people still remember the executions of the 1980
military era. How many of these people demanding the reinstitution of the death
penalty remember the name of 17-year-old Erdal Eren who was hanged by a
ruthless regime to establish a balance of executed leftists and rightists?

Turkey is becoming a ghastly totalitarian autocracy. The constitution is not
yet there but de facto, the country has moved to a presidential system with the
tenant of the exuberant palace dictating everything about the government,
civilian and military bureaucracy. The situation of the Turkish media and the
climate of freedoms in the country are awful. Many cities and towns have been
under curfew and there has been constant confrontation between the military and
separatist terrorists since the November 2015 elections. Citizens are leaving
their homes and seeking refugee elsewhere while images of towns and cities
resemble those of war-ravaged Syria. It's as if the government and the
president are living in another country with no such problems; they appear to
be bothered with writing a new constitution and giving all powers to the
presidency in a system without checks and balances.

Irrespective of what penalties this country might have in its penal code,
rather than reintroducing the death sentence or introducing tougher penalties
in hopes of providing domestic security, the mentality must change. The Turkish
justice system must be reformed and become independent from politics. Would it
mean much if under all that reform touting of the past decade, a prosecutor can
still demand 2 aggravated lifetime jail terms plus 30 years of imprisonment
(odd and incomprehensible, I know, but that was the demand of the prosecutor)
against Editor-In-Chief Can Dundar and Ankara Bureau Chief Erdem Gul of daily
Cumhuriyet just because they wrote 2 stories on National Intelligence Agency
(MIT) TIRs carrying some nasty material to some people in Syria?

Reading the indictment against these 2 colleagues, I could not stop myself from
saying, "Thank God, the death penalty was lifted." Why? Because in this country
people stealing, raping, siphoning public funds, constructing buildings without
any permits, occupying public land... (You continue the list with all the petty
crimes that culprits can get away with but talking about these crimes now means
years in prison or worse.)...Remember, this week Turkish intellectuals are
commemorating the anniversary of the Jan. 24, 1993, murder of Ugur Mumcu in
Ankara. Mumcu, an investigative journalist, was last writing about the arms
trafficking and finances of the separatist gang.

Reinstitution of death penalty... For what? To hang the journalists?

(source: Column, Yusuf Kanli, Hurriyet Daily News)






FRANCE/IRAN:

Almost naked Femen protester 'hangs' from Paris bridge during Iran president
visit----Sarah Constantin, the Femen activist who hung from the bridge, said
her protest was a call for attention to those executed for political reasons


A near-naked woman hung from a noose-like rope from a Paris bridge to
demonstrate against Iran's record on executions during president Hassan
Rouhani's visit.

"Welcome Rouhani, Executioner of Freedom" read a huge banner across the
pedestrian bridge over the Seine River near the Eiffel Tower. The protest on
Thursday by feminist group Femen was calling attention to the large number of
executions in Iran.

Iran is one of the world's largest users of the death penalty, ranking 2nd
behind China in 2014, according to Amnesty International. Most Iranian
executions are linked to drug smuggling.

Sarah Constantin, the Femen activist who hung from the bridge, said they
organised the "public hanging" to call attention to those executed for
political reasons and put pressure on Fran???ois Hollande, French president, to
bring up human rights in his meeting with Mr Rouhani.

Mr Rouhani is reaching out to European businesses on the 1st visit by an
Iranian president to Europe since 1999.

(source: The Telegraph)






UNITED KINGDOM//TEXAS:

Corpus Christi case could influence death penalty in Britain----Daniel Lopez
was executed in August 2015 for the killing of Lt. Stuart Alexander.Daniel
Lopez was executed in August 2015 for the killing of Lt. Stuart Alexander.


A local capital murder case could play a role in bringing the death penalty
back to Great Britain.


The British government is considering bringing back capital punishment. So, a
news crew from the BBC was in Corpus Christi this past summer doing a report on
the Daniel Lopez case. He was executed in August for the death of Lt. Stuart
Alexander. The officer was run over by Lopez during a police chase in March
2009.

During their visit here, a BBC crew interviewed all of the officers involved in
the pursuit. They also interviewed Lt. Stuart Alexander's widow, Vicki.

The piece will air on BBC overseas on February 16th. There's no word on when it
will be shown in the U.S.

(source: KRIS TV news)



PAKISTAN----execution

Death row convict sent to gallows in Mianwali


A death row convict was hanged in Mianwali Central Jail on Thursday.

According to details, Mumrez had been convicted in a double murder case. He had
killed one Fateh Khan and his son Amir in 2005 over a marriage feud. His
execution was carried out early in the morning.

Pakistan has carried out over 330 executions of criminals and militants since
lifting a moratorium on the death penalty in 2014. The National Action Plan
(NAP) was unveiled to curb militancy after Taliban assailants gunned down more
than 150 people, most of them children, at Peshawar's Army Public School on
December 16, 2014.

In accordance with the NAP, the 6-year moratorium on the country's death
penalty was lifted and the constitution amended to allow military courts to try
those accused of carrying out attacks.

The army has launched the Operation Zarb-e-Azb in a bid to wipe out militant
bases in North Waziristan tribal area and bring an end to the bloody
decade-long insurgency that has cost Pakistan thousands of lives.

(source: Pakistan Today)

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

LHC dismisses pleas against military courts' decisions


The Lahore High Court here yesterday dismissed 3 petitions filed against death
sentence in terrorism cases by military courts, saying the high court had no
jurisdiction to hear pleas against decisions of the military courts.

A division bench comprising Justice Abdul Sami Khan and Justice Shahid Mahmood
dismissed the petitions without issuing notices to the respondents. The
petitions were filed against death penalty of M Ghauri, Abdul Qayyum and Said
Zaman. The bench while dismissing the petitions observed that the high court
could not hear the pleas under article 199 (3) of the Constitution of Pakistan.
Advocate Inam-ur-Rahim had filed the petitions against the death penalty,
saying proper procedure had not been followed while trying and convicting 3 men
by the military courts. Momina Bibi, mother of Said Zaman, had petitioned
before the high court that her son had been given death sentence by a military
court. She said that the military authorities did not inform her about the
charges levelled against her son. She said that proper legal procedure was not
followed before conviction of her son. In an identical petition, Javaid Iqbal
Ghauri pleaded to the high court that his son Md Ghauri, a student, went
missing from Islamabad in 2010.

He said that in 2012, he was informed that his son was in custody of
intelligence agencies and was being kept in an internment centre. He noted that
in 2012 he met his son who had become crippled at the time. He informed the
court that on January 1, 2016, he was informed about death penalty handed down
to his son. The petitioner said that he was not aware of whereabouts of his
son.

In her petition Kalsoom Bibi, wife of Qayyum, said that her husband went
missing in 2010. She said that in 2012, she learnt that her husband was in
custody of the intelligence agencies. She said that a military court had handed
down death sentence to her husband and she was not aware of the charges
levelled against her husband. Advocate Rahim said that the petitioners on
January 4, 2016 wrote letters to military authorities asking for copies of
charge sheets against the death convicts. Commenting on the decision of the
LHC, Advocate Rahim said that the court had observed that the petitioners had
failed to point out legal or procedural shortcomings in the trials carried out
by military courts. The lawyer said that the petitioners actually had no
information about any kind of trial or charges against the 3 men. Advocate
Rahim said that he would challenge the decision of the LHC in the Supreme
Court.

(source: The Nation)

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

Execution: Death warrants issued


A district and sessions judge on Thursday issued death warrants for a prisoner
on death row. The judge ordered the execution of Zulifqar on February 3 at Kot
Lakhpat Jail. The court passed the order while accepting an application moved
by the Kot Lakhpat Jail superintendent. The superintendent had requested the
court to issue death warrants for Zulifqar as his appeals had been rejected by
the president. A sessions court had awarded death penalty to Zulifqar for
killing Pervaiz in 1995 in Vehari.

(source: Express Tribune)






BANGLADESH:

3 to die for killing man in Rangpur ---- Another gets life term


A Rangpur court yesterday sentenced 3 persons to death and another to life term
imprisonment for killing a man at Chhoto Kalyani in the district's Pirgachha
upazila over 2 decades ago.

The court delivered the verdict in the presence of the 4, court sources
said.Farhad Hossain, 40, Nur Mohammad, 41, and Md Abdul, 40, of the village,
got death penalty. Lifer Abdus Sattar, 70, was also fined Tk 10,000, in default
to suffer 6 more months in prison.

According to the prosecution, 1 of the 4 used to stalk wife of the man, who was
a vegetable vendor, and the trader protested against it. Following this, they
killed him in October, 1993. The victim's body was found in a paddy field on
October 3, 1993.His father filed a murder case with Pirgachha Police Station
the same day.

(source: The Daily Star)






INDONESIA:

Couple held at motel for drug trafficking


A couple may face the death penalty after they were caught with 74.50 grams of
Ketamin and 0.62 gram of Eramin 5 during a raid at a motel at Sadong Jaya
Commercial Centre here on Wednesday.

Both suspects, who are locals and aged 21, were caught by police from the
narcotic division around 4.30am on January 27.

City police chief ACP M. Chandra said the police had earlier stopped the man on
suspicion of drug activities at a parking lot at Sadong Jaya Commercial Centre.

The suspect then led police to a motel room where they found the woman inside.

Investigation at the scene found a box containing 22 plastic packets with
substance believed to be Ketamin weighing 74.50 grams, and 2 pills believed to
be Eramin 5 weighing 0.62 gram, he said, adding that police also seized 10
empty plastic bags and an electronic weighing scale.

The drugs, said Chandra, were believed to have a street price of RM5,000.

Further investigation also revealed that the man was jobless while the woman
worked in a beauty salon, he said.

Preliminary urine tests on both suspects came back positive of drug abuse for
the man while the woman was negative, said Chandra.

Both suspects have been detained for further investigation and the case will be
investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for drug
trafficking which carries the death penalty, and Section 12 (2) of the same act
for drug possession which carries a jail term of up to 5 years and a fine upon
conviction.

(source: theborneopost.com)

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Jan. 30




SAUDI ARABIA----execution

Saudi Arabia executes another prisoner, bringing to 55 number of convicts put
to death this year


Saudi Arabia on Thursday executed one of its citizens for murder, bringing to
55 the number of convicts put to death this year.

Authorities in the southwestern region of Aseer carried out the death sentence
against Owaidhah al-Saadi, the interior ministry said in a statement.

A court found him guilty of shooting dead another Saudi following a dispute, it
said.

Most executions in Saudi Arabia are done by beheading with a sword.

The kingdom on January 2 executed 47 people in a single day for "terrorism".

According to an AFP tally, Saadi is among 8 other locals and foreigners put to
death this year.

New York-based Human Rights Watch on Wednesday urged the country to abolish its
"ghastly" beheadings.

"Saudi Arabia made positive changes for women and foreign workers in 2015, but
these steps were overshadowed by its continued use of cruel punishments such as
flogging and beheading," HRW's Sarah Leah Whitson said as the watchdog released
its 2016 world report.

"Saudi Arabia should reform its justice system and halt these ghastly
punishments."

Last year the kingdom executed 153 people, mostly for drug trafficking or
murder, according to an AFP tally.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia in 2015 was
the highest in 2 decades.

The kingdom practices a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug
trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

(source: therakyatpost.com)

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

Artists to Saudi authorities: Free Ashraf Fayadh


note: Ashraf Fayadh is a Palestinan poet and artist living in Saudi Arabia who
has been sentenced to death on a charge of apostasy, or renouncing Islam. Saudi
authorities claim his poetry has undermined Islam and spread atheism. In the
following article, his friend, Halifax musician and filmmaker Fateh Ahmed,
pleads for his innocence and calls for his release. There is an Amnesty
International petition supporting Ashraf Fayadh at
https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/free-ashraf-fayadh-saudi-arabia-palestinian-poetry-apostasy-execution

Abha, where I met Ashraf Fayadh, is a small city in southwestern Saudi Arabia.
It's rich in historical landmarks and breathtaking landscapes and is an
artistic hub for poets, composers and painters.

Saudi Arabia sponsors arts and culture by establishing innovative programs to
match intermediate and professional artists. Its scholarships to European and
North American countries have also brought to light talented artists such as
Ahmed Mater and Ashraf, whose works have been acknowledged by British and New
York museums.

In early 2002, I met Ashraf, an artist and poet, through a very good friend,
Ahmed Mater. Since then, we've introduced each other's art and discussed many
thoughts and ideas on helping younger generations pursue their art.

Ashraf was very welcoming and very open. You would always find him humble,
patient and willing to exchange new artistic information. During those times, I
demonstrated my 3rd symphony and a few additional concertos to Ashraf, who was
delighted and made interesting remarks that related to his own work. He said
the music sometimes reminded him of his own home in Palestine.

For the next couple of years we would usually meet at local coffee shops in
downtown Abha and discuss the latest in arts and technology. This is how I met
Shaheen bin Ali Abu Mismar, who was a very quiet person and shared little
information, mostly observing rather than taking an active role in any
discussion. He seemed a bit controversial, neither an artist nor a contributor
in any shape or form.

Later we came to know he had strong ties with Saudi secret police as well as
with the local court system. He started to attend most of our gatherings and
discussions.

Ashraf's book, Instructions Within, is a collection of thoughts and ideas,
written philosophically, touching on matters that deal with purification of the
soul, looking into the inner core of ourselves and the values we represent and
how can we transform what we've learned into meaningful experiences.

The book is an easy read and organized mostly in a diary format relating to
Ashraf's background and personal life, including the adaptation process of a
Palestinian refugee in an unwelcoming world and looking into the soul in search
of equality and equal opportunities.

Contrary to the state accusations against Ashraf, of insulting the belief and
of apostasy, the book (which I have read cover to cover) is about reflecting on
oneself and doesn???t address Islam or Muslims.

Heated discussions took place in 2013 at a local coffee shop between Ashraf and
Shaheen and were then taken to another level. Ashraf was targeted not for his
art, but attacked on his character. Consequently he was sentenced to death on
the claim that he renounced Islam.

It's inhumane and degrading to have been given the maximum penalty for apostasy
in a case that was very weak even based on Saudi Sharia Law.

Many approached Shaheen to change his opinion and withdraw the case against
Ashraf, but he would not change his mind.

Islam is a religion that promotes peace, unity and understanding. It's a
religion of mercy, not punishment.

Ashraf Fayadh sought refuge in Saudi Arabia from the conflict in Gaza and it is
another tragedy to see him suffering once again. Both Ashraf and the Saudi
judicial system are victims in this case.

This is not a regular everyday case. It is a demonstration of trying to use the
judicial system to resolve personal conflicts by pulling strings and distorting
information.

Today we call for Ashraf's freedom. Many Saudi artists and the international
artistic community stand by him and have called for his immediate release. You
can sign the petition on Amnesty International to help support us with calls
for his release.

(source: Fateh Ahmed is a musician, documentary filmmaker and department head
of digital filmmaking at daVinci College in Halifax----The Chronicle Herald)






PHILIPPINES:

What's your stand on the death penalty? ---- VACC asks presidentiables


The country's leading anti-crime and corruption group has dared all
presidential aspirants to formally declare their support for the restoration of
the death penalty and the extent to which it can be imposed.

Arsenio "Boy" Evangelista, a board member of the Volunteers Against Crime and
Corruption (VACC), said among the leading presidential aspirants, only Davao
City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for the restoration of the death penalty.

Evangelista said presidential bets seeking support of anti-crime advocates in
the country may win their backing if they can present an acceptable death
penalty option in their platform of government.

"Presidential candidates should present a program of government that will
include strong measures at addressing the country's rising crime incidence.
Restoration of the death penalty for uniformed personnel involved in drug
manufacturing or other heinous crimes is 1 death penalty option," he said.

Evangelista, whose son, Benson was kidnapped and murdered in 2011 also
challenged presidential bets to make public their program of government against
drug abuse, particularly the involvement of politicians in drug trade.

"Narco-politics in our country has obviously become a major serious crime
threat," he said.

Earlier, VACC officers, including Evangelista have aired support for Duterte
whose platform of government is focused on anti-crime and corruption program.

The administration bet, Mar Roxas has chided Duterte's anti-crime record saying
Davao City remains plagued with high incidence of drug abuse.

Another presidentiable, OFW Family Party-list Rep. Roy Seneres has rejected the
revival of the death penalty.

Evangelista lamented that the current drug abuse situation in the country
remains high, thus posing a big challenge to the next administration.

"This is why we want our presidential aspirants to present their respective
peace and order and anti-corruption platform," Evangelista said.

(source: manila Bulletin)






BELARUS:

Samoseiko: PACE wants to see Belarus Parliament in European family


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) wants to see the
Parliament of Belarus in the European family, Nikolai Samoseiko, the head of
the delegation of Belarus' National Assembly for contacts with PACE, a member
of the House of Representatives, said during a videoconference on the website
of the Sovetskaya Belorussiya newspaper, BelTA has learned.

"Some positive changes have taken in PACE towards Belarus. They were primarily
due to the thaw in the relations in recent years. We will not credit
exclusively ourselves for this. With regard to PACE, in many ways the credit
goes to newly appointed rapporteur Andrea Rigoni who works with us," the MP
added. Nikolai Samoseiko explained that Andrea Rigoni criticizes the Belarusian
side as mush as the previous special rapporteurs but the rhetoric is no longer
directed at confrontation but at dialogue. It gets a response from the
Belarusian MPs.

Nikolai Samoseiko recalled that it was Andrea Rigoni who raised the issue of
reinstating the special guest status at PACE for Belarus in 2009 which the
country was stripped of in 1997. Nikolai Samoseiko noted that it was done on
the far-fetched grounds. "Perhaps now Europe regrets this," he said. After the
statements of Special Rapporteur Andrea Rigoni in 2009, a resolution was
adopted to reinstate the special guest status. But in return they wanted
Belarus to impose a moratorium on the death penalty, or abolish it. Also in
2009 the Belarusian Parliament established a working group to study the death
penalty issues.

The MP added that the requirement to abolish the death penalty does not seem
tough for Europe. But for Belarus this is a very big issue which needs to be
widely discussed.

"As Belarus pursues a multi-vector foreign policy, it is important for us to
have a presence in all international platforms," Nikolai Samoseiko said when
speaking about the possible reinstatement of the special guest status.

The MP attended a session of the commission for political affairs and democracy
at the PACE winter session in late January. "I met with many PACE members. The
most important meetings were with PACE President Pedro Agramunt, Andrea Rigoni
who is already recognizable in our country," the MP noted. He said he also had
meetings with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Wojciech Sawicki.

"The issues were about the implementation of the European values in Belarus, in
the Belarusian society," said the MP. We also discussed the programs to combat
trafficking in human beings, against corruption, the reform of electoral
legislation, etc. "We do not hide the fact that we are ready to ask for advice
in these issues from the PACE and those who, let's say, have already gone this
way," Nikolai Samoseiko said.

(source: belta.by)






CHINA----execution

Serial human trafficker executed in China after abducting 22 children


A man has been executed in China for the abduction and trafficking of 22
children over the space of 5 years.

China's top court, The Supreme's People's Court, announced today that Tan
Yongzhi had been 'condemned to death' in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, reports the
People's Daily Online.

Tan kidnapped the children between February 2008 and April 2013 from areas that
stretched across south-west China's Yunnan Province to the central area of
Henan.

According to the report, the court said Tan's actions and the large number of
children he abducted seriously damaged children's rights, which is why he was
executed.

The authorities have been unable to locate the birth parents of all the
abducted children.

The exact date of the sentencing or execution has not been released.

There has always been a heavy penalty for those convicted of abducting a child
in China, and the death penalty is still prominent.

The country has intensified its crackdown on trafficking of women and children
in recent years.

In 2012, 1,918 abduction cases involving women and children were solved.

The Supreme People's Court said that number declined massively to 858 cases
last year - a drop of almost 50 %.

The amount of people punished for abduction related charges in China declined
by more than 1/2, from 2,801 in 2012, to 1,362 in 2015.

Child abduction is a major problem in the country, and finding accurate figures
is extremely difficult.

A recent BBC report said that an illegal market in children has developed in
the country, and it is estimated that 200,000 children are taken from their
parents each year.

In some cases of extreme poverty parents are forced to choose between selling
their children and paying fines for having too many, which could explain why
some of the birth parents of the children abducted by Tan could never be found.

(source: Daily Mail)






BAHAMAS:

Bahamas called on to abandon Privy Council


Retired Justice Neville Smith QC, said on Thursday the country should not allow
itself to become a "hostage" to the Privy Council and recommended that The
Bahamas set up its own final court of appeal rather than continue to "perch" on
the British government's doorstep.

"Who knows when the British government, bent on the restructuring of its courts
... will do away with the Privy Council that it created by an 1844 English
act," said Smith at a special sitting at the Court of Appeal to mark the
opening of the legal year.

"Should we not set up our own final court in our own deliberate time rather
that to continue to perch on the doorstep of the foreign office in London or
wait to be embarrassed by the British government doing away with the Privy
Council and cause us here to run ... to make up a replacement court?

"We should not allow ourselves to become a hostage."

He said the Court of Appeal is suited to fill the role of becoming the final
court of appeal in The Bahamas.

Smith noted that before the establishment of the Court of Appeal, The Bahamas
operated on a 2-tiered court system, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council.

"It therefore should not be earth shattering if we revert to a 2-tiered system
minus the Privy Council with this court at the top, sometimes sitting with a
3-judge panel and for the more complex appeals with a 5-judge panel.

"I am aware that there would be considerable criticism and disapproval of the
idea of giving up the... Privy Council as the final decider of what is or
should be."

Smith said the country must come to the realization and acceptance that The
Bahamas cannot indefinitely rely on the good graces of the British government
to provide this service.

"A well managed colony has to sooner or later, preferably sooner, take
responsibility of choosing the court which will carry its cases," he said.

Over the years, several observers, including MP Leslie Miller, have repeatedly
called for the abandonment of the Privy Council.

Miller said he can't understand why The Bahamas as an independent country
continues to "rely on 10 or 12 old men in London" to decide who lives and who
dies.

The calls intensified following the March 2006 Privy Council ruling that the
mandatory death sentence in The Bahamas was unconstitutional.

Many condemned men at Her Majesty's Prisons escaped the death penalty because
the Privy Council ruled in 1993 in the Jamaican case of Earl Pratt and Ivan
Morgan that it would be cruel and inhumane for prisoners to wait more than 5
years on death row.

Since the 2006 decision, the Privy Council has made it increasingly difficult
for The Bahamas to carry out capital punishment.

In a presentation before the Constitutional Commission in 2013, Justice Anita
Allen, president of the Court of Appeal, suggested that the time had come to
bring finality to the death penalty issue in The Bahamas, "and to give our
citizens the opportunity to decide whether the death penalty should be retained
as a mandatory, or as a discretionary punishment, or whether it should be
abolished".

"I encourage you to include the appropriate question on any referendum you may
recommend," she said.

She pointed to the Maxo Tido murder case and the decision rendered by Lord Kerr
on behalf of the Board (of the Privy Council).

Lord Kerr opined that even though Tido's crime was "dreadful" and "appalling,"
it was "not one that warranted the punishment of death" as it did not satisfy
the criterion of "worst of the worst" and "rarest of the rare" even though the
school girl who Tido lured from her home was so tortured and bludgeoned that
"her brain tissue was spewed outside of her body."

(source: caribbeannewsnow.com)



INDIA:

Kamduni gang rape: Sentence for accused to be announced by court on Saturday


With the arguments on the quantum of punishment not concluded, a city court on
Saturday will decide the sentence to the six people convicted in the brutal
gang rape and murder of a college student in West Bengal's Kamduni village.

The court of Additional District and Sessions Judge Sanchita Sarkar on Thursday
convicted Saiful Ali, Ansar Ali and Amin Ali of gang rape and murder. The trio
face a maximum punishment of death penalty.

3 other accused-- Sheikh Emanul Islam, Aminur Islam and Bhola Naskar have been
convicted of gang rape, criminal conspiracy and causing disappearance of
evidence and face a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

Amid tight security arrangements, the proceedings of the day began with the
defence counsel pleading that the case did not warrant awarding death penalty.

With the counsel yet to conclude their arguments, the court announced it will
pronounce the sentencing on Saturday upon conclusion of the arguments.

The 20-year-old girl was attacked while she was returning home from college on
June 7, 2013. The 2nd-year BA student was forcibly taken inside a factory where
she was gang-raped and then savagely murdered, sparking widespread outrage
across the country.

9 people were arrested and charged for the crime, with the court on Thursday
acquitting Rafiqul Islam and Nur Ali while the 9th accused Gopal Naskar died
while the trial was on.

The residents of Kamduni led by Tumpa Koyal and Moushumi Koyal continue to
press with their demand for death penalty for the convicts and also opposed the
acquittal of the 2 accused.

Led by the 2 Koyals and several eminent personalities from the city, many of
the friends and relatives of the victim, had floated a platform 'Kamduni
Pratibadi Mancha' seeking speedy justice and capital punishment to the guilty.

They knocked on the doors of top political and constitutional authorities
including the president, demanding the trial be expedited.

(source: newsx.com)






PAKISTAN:

Death penalty to killers of Justice Javed Iqbal's parents


A sessions court yesterday awarded death sentence on two counts to three men
accused of murdering the parents of Justice (r) Javed Iqbal.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs550, 000 each on Naveed Iqbal, Abbas Shakir
and Ameen Ali. Malik Abdul Hameed, 80, and Zarina, 70, were found murdered in
their house on Jan 11, 2011. A case was registered against unknown robbers on
the complaint of Saeed Iqbal, brother of Justice Javed. According to the
prosecution, Naveed Iqbal, step brother of Justice Iqbal, in connivance with
other 2 suspects had murdered the judge's parents.

(source: The Nation)






IRAN:

Concerns over Iran executions as Rouhani visits Europe


Concerns have been raised that new cooperation agreements between Europe and
Iran could contribute to a surge in drug-related executions - including those
of juvenile offenders.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has been in Italy for talks, before travelling
to France on (27 Janusary, in the 1st European state visit by an Iranian
President for more than 16 years. Iranian media have reported that "Iranian
officials accompanying the president will sign agreements for the expansion of
relations in different fields."

The EU recently helped negotiate a $20 million UN funding deal for
counter-narcotics efforts in Iran that will increase the international funding
available to the country's Anti-Narcotics Police. The Hhman rights organisation
Reprieve has previously raised concerns that similar UN programmes in Iran have
led to arrests and executions, including those of juveniles. They include
Jannat Mir, who was arrested by Iranian drug police at the age of 15 and
subsequently hanged for narcotics offences.

Iran's authorities have recently executed large numbers of people convicted of
drugs offences; 600 of 947 hangings in Iran in 2015 were drug-related, as were
31 of 47 executions carried out so far in 2016.

Rouhani's visit is taking place as an Amnesty International report showed that
Iran has continued to convict and execute juveniles since 2005, in violation of
its international obligations. The report notes that at least one juvenile
offender, Mohammed Ali Zehi, is currently awaiting execution for narcotics
offences.

The visit also follows the news that British Prime Minister David Cameron
recently held a phone call with President Rouhani, as a step towards
normalising ties with Iran. Britain's government, while not a funder of Iran
programmes, is a donor to UNODC.

Maya Foa, head of the death penalty team at human rights organisation Reprieve,
said: "Iran's government is overseeing a horrifying surge in executions, the
vast majority for drugs offences. Against this backdrop, it is deeply worrying
to see European countries like France lining up to support a vast package of
support for Iran's drug police. It is vital that European countries use their
growing ties with President Rouhani???s government - including these donations
- to urge an end to the use of the death penalty for drugs offences."

(source: ekklesia.co.uk)

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

Iran's 'moderate' hangman


The appalling human rights situation in Iran has not improved since Hassan
Rouhani - touted in some circles in the West as a "moderate" and a "reformer" -
became president of the Islamic Republic in 2013.

Since taking office, more than 2,000 people have been hung under Rouhani's
watch, the biggest scale of executions in the past 25 years, adding to the
black pages of the regime's history of human rights violations since the
Iranian revolution in 1979.

The execution spree in the first half of 2015 was not missed by the human
rights group Amnesty International, which noted that "death sentences in Iran
are particularly disturbing because they are invariably imposed by courts that
are completely lacking in independence and impartiality".

The rights group added:

"They are imposed either for vaguely worded or overly broad offences, or acts
that should not be criminalized at all, let alone attract the death penalty.
Trials in Iran are deeply flawed, detainees are often denied access to lawyers
in the investigative stage, and there are inadequate procedures for appeal,
pardon and commutation."

As a result, Iran became the top country committing executions per capita -
again under Rouhani's watch.

Any use of the term "moderate" in connection with Rouhani's administration is
ludicrous hyperbole; he is simply the president elected from the list of
candidates chosen for the position by the Guardian Council, consisting of 12
Islamic theologians and jurists, in accordance with the Iranian constitution.

Secular or non-Shia candidates have little chance of securing an approval from
the vetting Guardian Council, nor are presidential hopefuls whose loyalty to
the ideology of the revolution is not impeccable.

The odds of being "elected" to parliament are relatively better, but the Majlis
has little power over the regime's religious courts to stop or even slow down
the rate of executions, with the courts routinely issuing verdicts without even
hearing evidence or investigating the charges against accused individuals.

One example of the Iranian regime's legal system is the common charge of
"muharebeh" or "enmity to God," routinely used against human rights activists
and dissidents and which invariably receives the death penalty, sometimes
administered in public by mass hangings by cranes (although even stoning is not
ruled out legally). Many of those hanged take up to 20 minutes to die slowly
and painfully of strangulation. The victims' bodies are left for some time
before being removed as a way of intimidating the public into silence.

A lot of those who are executed come from minority communities such as the
Ahwazi Arabs - who are predominately Shia - as well as Kurdish and Baluchi
Sunnis. The targeting of minorities has not changed since the coming of Rouhani
to office.

Over the past decade, many Ahwazi Arab political prisoners, ranging from poets
and teachers to bloggers and human rights activists, have been executed on
trumped-up charges in kangaroo courts. Again, nothing has improved under
Rouhani.

Rather than finding reasonable evidence for the commission of a crime, judges
generally rely on confessions, which have been drawn out from the accused
through physical torture and psychological duress. Meanwhile, friends and
relatives of the accused are kept in the dark, often not informed of where
their loved ones have been imprisoned, or even buried.

As I've previously argued, the rush to a nuclear deal with Iran has left human
rights issues sidelined.

Never mind that Iran is one of the few countries that continue to execute
juvenile offenders, where according to the UN at least 160 are languishing on
death row for crimes committed under the age of 18. The number of child
offenders executed in 2014-15 - ie under Rouhani's watch - is higher than at
any time during the past 5 years.

According to an Amnesty International report released a few days ago, Iran's
authorities have sought to "whitewash their continuing violations of children's
rights and deflect criticism of their appalling record as 1 of the world's last
executioners of juvenile offenders".

These youths are "robbed of valuable years of their lives - often after being
sentenced to death following unfair trials, including those based on forced
confessions extracted through torture and other ill-treatment," according to
Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International's Middle East and
North Africa Programme.

The report has not stopped Rouhani receiving a warm welcome on his Europe tour,
as he met with top politicians as well as the Pope. Much of the world wants do
business with Iran, and they don't want a fuss over trivial things like the
human rights of the people of Iran - not even prominent opposition voices in
the West, who often complain about their governments' disregard of rights
violations committed by their valuable trade partners. When it comes to Iran,
those hypocrites would happily sacrifice Iranian blood - not for wealth or the
wellbeing of Western citizens but for mere ideological reasons.

(source: Rahim Hamid is a freelance journalist and human rights advocate who
writes about the plight of his community - the Ahwazi Arabs - and other ethnic
groups in Iran----Middle East Eye---The views expressed in this article belong
to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle
East Eye)





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Rick Halperin
2016-01-31 16:57:27 UTC
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Jan. 31




PAKISTAN:

It's been 2 years since an Edinburgh businessman was sentenced to death in
Pakistan ---- The family of Mohammad Asghar, who is mentally ill and becoming
more frail in bad prison conditions, want him brought back to Scotland.


The family of a pensioner condemned to hang in Pakistan have told how they fear
he's become a forgotten prisoner 2 years after being sent to death row.

Languishing in a secure Pakistan hospital, sentenced to death for blasphemy,
Edinburgh businessman Mohammad Asghar can no longer read the newspapers that
used to keep him occupied.

Cataracts have robbed the 71-year-old of his vision, removing one of the last
remaining links to the outside world from which he was removed 6 years ago.

Mentally ill, frail and alone, the grandfather is confined to one windowless
room except for the half an hour each day when he's allowed to walk in the
corridor outside.

He has suffered with vitamin D deficiency through lack of exposure to sunlight
and muscles in his legs have wasted through lack of exercise.

At home in Scotland, his heartbroken daughter Jasmine Rana is renewing her call
to the governments of Britain and Pakistan to finally allow her father to come
home.

The mum-of-4 said: "I honestly thought that the Government would take action
and get him back.

"David Cameron said he would intervene. The Foreign Office send me emails on
how he is, with messages from him. He always tells us not to worry, just to get
on with our lives. But that???s him trying to protect us.

"We are still no further forward in getting dad back where he belongs.

"I'm terrified for him. I can't sleep, I wake up crying. My children forget
what he looks like. 2 of his brothers have died since he's been in jail.
Someone has to help him now."

Mohammad, who ran several grocery shops in Edinburgh, was diagnosed with
paranoid schizophrenia.

The father-of-5 had suffered seizures and depression since having a stroke.

In 2010, he left Edinburgh for Pakistan - where he owned property - shortly
after being discharged from hospital, where he had been sectioned under the
Mental Health Act. Within weeks, he had been arrested in Punjab, accused of
writing letters in which he claimed to be the prophet.

In January 2014, he was sentenced to hang, despite his legal team insisting he
was too sick even to stand trial.

Blasphemy is such a highly charged crime in Pakistan that he is constantly at
risk of vigilante attacks. He was only moved to hospital from jail after being
shot in the back by a prison guard who was supposed to be protecting him.

Human rights group Reprieve lobbied the British government for Mohammad's
release and a 70,000- signature petition was delivered to Downing Street in
October 2014.

In 2014, Jasmine took a petition to Downing Street.

But despite assurances of top-level intervention, he has remained locked up far
from home.

Jasmine said: "Now he's on his own, apart from the guards and the doctors who
are allowed in to treat him.

"We had to argue for him to get a radio and, even then, he's only allowed
certain stations.

"I send pictures of my children so he can see how they're growing. But I can't
explain how terrible it feels. Whenever I'm ill, I find myself thinking it's
nothing to how bad things must be for him."

In December 2014, Pakistan lifted a 7-year moratorium on the death penalty.
Amnesty International say 300 people have been executed since then.

Jasmine added: "Every time I hear someone has been executed, I can't bear it. I
would love to go out and see him but I'm told it's not safe for me.

"I would plead with anyone who will listen - please let him come home."

The family's lawyer, Aamer Anwar, said they had been told not to speak about
the ordeal for fear of jeopardising their father's case.

But they've become deeply frustrated by the government's failure to act.

He said: "The Prime Minister said he was taking this case seriously but, 2
years on, the Asghars are no longer willing to wait for the call telling them
their father is dead because of illness, a hangman's noose or a fanatic's
bullet."

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office insist Mohammad's case remains a high
priority.

They said: "We continue to raise it at senior levels in Pakistan to ensure he
is receiving the best possible support."

(source: dailyrecord.co.uk)






INDONESIA----female may face death penalty

Jessica Charged With Premeditated Murder, Could Face Death


Police in Jakarta have charged Jessica Kumala Wongso, a suspect in the
high-profile murder of her friend, Wayan Mirna Salihin, with premeditated
murder, which means she could face the death penalty, an official said on
Saturday.

The 27-year-old was named a suspect at 11 p.m. on Friday, and investigators
subsequently arrested her at 7.30 a.m. the next day at Hotel Neo, Mangga Dua
Square, Central Jakarta.

"She has been charged with Article 340 of the Criminal Code on premeditated
murder," said Sr. Comr. Krishna Murti, general crimes director of the Jakarta
Police.

The article carries a minimum jail sentence of 20 years and a maximum penalty
of life in prison or death.

"[As this is a case] with a sentence [prospect] of more than 5 years, we could
detain her," Krishna said. "We have 24 hours to question her before deciding
[whether to extend] the detention."

Jessica was brought in to the Jakarta Police headquarters at 10. p.m. for
questioning, but as of 4 p.m., investigators were still waiting for the arrival
of her legal defense team.

"If her lawyers don't show up, the state will provide her with legal
assistance," Krishna said.

Contacted separately, one of Jessica's lawyers, Andi Yoesoef, said that his
team would accompany her, but he also called Saturday's arrest deplorable,
claiming his team was not informed of it beforehand.

"It is the right of police, but at the very least, they should have provided
prior notice," he said.

"Yudi will attend today's questioning," Andi said, referring to another lawyer
for Jessica, Yudi Wibowo Sukinto.

Jessica has been at the center of police investigations into Mirna's case in
recent weeks.

Mirna, also 27, suffered convulsions on Jan. 6 at Olivier cafe in Grand
Indonesia shopping mall shortly after taking a sip of her Vietnamese iced
coffee. She was then taken to a nearby hospital, where she died.

Lab tests confirmed there were traces of highly toxic cyanide inside her
stomach, as well as in the drink she consumed.

Police said the drink was ordered by Jessica, who arrived at the cafe almost an
hour earlier.

Investigators have questioned Jessica as a witness at least five times and
searched her home, while at the request of police, the immigration office had
also imposed a travel ban.

(source: Jakarta Globe)






IRAQ----executions

ISIS Executes 18 Civilians in Mosul, Iraq


The ISIS has recently executed a number of civilians across its territories in
Northern Iraq, including a young Kurdish man in Mosul for allegedly cooperating
with Kurdish Peshmerga forces against the terrorist group.

ISIS militants executed a 17-years-old Kurdish man in a military base in their
Northern Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.

Sources revealed that the victim was from the predominantly Shabak village of
Bajrbog near Bashiq district, and he was abducted by ISIS some 20 days ago.

Since the northern province of Nineveh has fallen into the hands of ISIS in
June 2014, the extremist group is conducting mass killings and arbitrary
punishments against locals to spread fear in the area and, as a result, leave
the civilians with no choice but obedience.

Elsewhere in Salahaddin province, nearly 17 youths received the death penalty
by ISIS as they had killed an ISIS member, raised an Iraqi flag on a
telecommunication tower in Shirqat district and cooperated with the Iraqi
government against ISIS.

Local sources told to the Iraqi media that the insurgents hung the corpses from
lamp posts after the executions.

(source: AhlulBayt News Agency)






CHINA:

China Sentences 2 Men to Death in Slaying of Tibetan Monk


A Chinese court sentenced two men to death in the 2013 killing of Akong
Rinpoche, a well-known religious figure who founded the 1st Tibetan Buddhist
monastery in the West and built an international network of spiritual retreats.

Thubten Kunsal, a Tibetan man who had worked at Akong's monastery in the United
Kingdom as an artist for 9 years, fatally stabbed Akong, his nephew and his
driver after confronting him at his home in the city of Chengdu over $415,000
in wages he believed he was owed, according to a statement Sunday by the
Chengdu People's Intermediate Court.

Thubten and another man, Ciren Banyue, were given the death penalty while a 3rd
man was sentenced to 3 years' prison for hiding daggers used in the killings.
Thubten and Ciren said they planned to appeal, according to the court
statement.

Akong's monastery Kagyu Samye Ling, which is based in southwest Scotland with
branches in Europe and Africa, has denied it owed Thubten pay. It did not
immediately have comment on the sentences.

Born in 1939, Akong was recognized at age 2 by a search party as a lama
incarnate and entered the Dolma Lhakhang monastery before fleeing to India as
Chinese forces moved in to stamp out the 1959 Tibetan uprising. He moved to
Britain several years later, studied at Oxford University and founded his
Buddhist center in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, in 1967.

The monk, who became a British citizen, maintained friendly relations with the
Chinese government and frequently visited the country to look after charity
projects. Akong was on a fundraising trip when he was stabbed.

(source: Associated Press)






INDIA:

Court holds 2 guilty of Yug Chandak's brutal killing


A year after trial commenced in the sensational kidnap and murder case of
8-year-old Yug Chandak, the sessions court here found both accused - Rajesh
Dhanalal Daware (19) and his friend Arvind Abhilash Singh (23) - guilty of
diabolic killing on Saturday.

The perpetrators, both BCom first year students of from PWS College, Kamptee
Road, were convicted under Sections 302 (murder), 364A (kidnapping for ransom),
201 (destruction of evidence), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy). Principal judge
KK Sonawane will pronounce the full verdict on February 3 after hearing
arguments from both sides on quantum of punishment. Daware's 17-year-old
younger brother, who assisted accused in conspiracy, was already referred to
Juvenile Remand Home. About 26 injuries, including those on the neck, were
found on the Yug's body.

None of the 50 witness examined by the prosecution turned hostile, which is
perhaps rare in such high-profile murder cases, as per additional public
prosecutor Jyoti Vajani, Chandak family's counsel Rajendra Daga and
investigation officer (IO) from Lakadganj Police Station Satyanarayan Jaiswal.
According to them, they brought to fore as many as 20 circumstances to prove
complicity of the accused in the crime.

With a view to extract revenge from Dr Mukesh Chandak for what Daware claimed
as humiliation meted out to him by the doctor and extract ransom, Daware
hatched the conspiracy to kidnap and kill Yug, a second standard student of
Centre Point School, Wardhaman Nagar branch. The duo executed their plan and
brutally killed the child by strangulating him on September 1, 2014.

They later buried his body in sand under pipes near a culvert on the desolate
Gumthi-Gumthala Road near Patansawangi village, 27 kms from Nagpur.

The duo had planned their escape after receiving money, but were arrested on
the next day after Chandak family raised suspicion on Daware. During intense
interrogation, both the accused confessed to killing the boy and led the
investigators to the spot where they had buried the child's body.

The incident shook the conscience of Nagpurians and most joined hands to
condole Yug's death. Candle marches were taken out in support of the Chandak
family and demanded death for the perpetrators of innocent child's killing.

The court relied on a number of factors apart from strong testimony of 50
witnesses to nail the culprits. It included CCTV footage at a petrol pump where
the accused filled up their bike's tank after kidnapping the child, last seen
theory of many witnesses, recovery of child's clothes from the spot shown by
accused and Yug's earring which was traced to Arvind Singh's home. Even the
call details records and more importantly, the testimony of Daware's
girlfriend, went against them.

2 school students from Patansawangi village, who saw the duo taking Yug on
their bikes, were also made witnesses by the prosecution after requesting their
parents.

According to police, Daware was familiar with the place where body was buried
as he often used to take his girlfriend to Adasa and take a break at the spot
while returning.

The prosecution lawyers had already cited three landmark Supreme Court verdicts
including that of Bacchan Singh of 1983, to press for death penalty to the
accused while terming the case as "rarest of rare" with no signs of reformation
of the 2 accused.

It was the second such diabolic killing in the city in three years after
another 8-year-old boy Kush Katariya was similarly killed by Ayush Pugalia on
October 11, 2011, to extracting Rs2 crore ransom from his parents. Fittingly,
he was awarded a rare double lifer by the court, which was enhanced to triple
lifer by the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court.

(source: The Times of India)

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

Rapist father awarded death penalty


A local court today awarded death penalty to 1 person on the charge of raping
and strangulating his minor daughter.

According to prosecution, Mehatlal Sanodiya (42) sexually assaulted and
strangled his 13-year-old daughter when she was alone on the night of January
25, 2013. His wife had gone to her maternal home with her younger daughter. On
the next day, the accused closed the door and went to farm. Police were
informed about the crime by neighbours.

Deputy Director (Prosecution) Narendra Singh Uike said as there were no
eyewitnesses in the case, Sessions Judge Devendra Singh delivered the verdict
on the basis of DNA test and other evidence.

(source: webindia123.com)

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

No illusions about keeping hangman busy but anything else will hurt community


A city sessions court today handed death to 3 men found guilty of gang-raping
and murdering a college girl in Kamduni in 2013, rejecting the argument of
their lawyers that the crime didn't fall in the category of "rarest of rare".

Judge Sanchita Sarkar, who sentenced three others to imprisonment till death,
said if the rising trend of such crimes wasn't "nipped" in the bud, the
"poison" could spread like wildfire.

The sentences were handed down 2 days after the court had convicted Ansar Ali,
Amin Ali and Saiful Ali - the trio sentenced to death - along with Emanul
Islam, Bhola Naskar and Aminur Islam, jailed for life for gang-rape as their
role in the murder couldn't be proved.

The judge had acquitted 2 men, Rafikul Islam Gazi and Noor Ali. A ninth
accused, Gopal Naskar, died in custody last year.

The lawyers for Ansar, Amin and Saiful, the death-row trio, said they had
decided to move the high court. Should the 3 - they have the option of taking
the matter right up to the President if the high court and the Supreme Court
uphold the judgment - fail to get clemency, they would be the 1st to be hanged
in Calcutta since the August 14, 2004, execution of Dhananjoy Chatterjee.

Chatterjee had raped and murdered a schoolgirl, a crime that was deemed rarest
of rare.

In her judgment today, additional district and sessions judge Sanchita Sarkar
said a "strong message" needed to be sent.

"It is true that it cannot be predicated that a crime-free society will dawn if
the hangman is kept feverishly busy, but it is equally true that barbaric rapes
and murders have become the order of the day and inadequate punishment may lead
to the sufferings of the community at large," she said in her 113-page
judgment.

"I conclude by stating the obvious that a strong message needs to be sent to
the perpetrators of such a ghastly crime against women that such crimes shall
not be countenanced. I also feel that if the rising trend towards such crime is
not nipped in the bud and arrested at its inception the poison is likely to
spread like wildfire through the social order, rendering it hapless and
defunct," the judge added.

"To put the record straight, these persons have not been convicted only on
account of conspiracy but also for their overt acts. The offence of gang rape
in the instant case at hand compounded with murder has shocked the collective
conscience of the society at large."

On June 7, 2013, the 21-year-old second-year BA student was walking back to her
home in Kamduni, a North 24-Parganas village 50km from the city, after a
college exam when she was dragged into the caretaker's room of a compound with
a boundary wall and gang-raped repeatedly. She died during the assault. Her
body was found the next morning.

"The acts of the convicts were committed with a deliberate pre-planned design
to gain control over the victim. The antisocial or socially abhorrent nature of
the crime is reflected from the fact that the said crime was committed not for
personal reasons but to terrorise the people of the locality and to frighten
them," the judge noted.

There have been instances when a death sentence handed down by a lower court
has been changed by an upper court. Aftab Ansari and Jamiluddin Nasir - both
sentenced to death for their role in the 2002 attack on Calcutta's American
Centre - escaped the gallows after the Supreme Court commuted their sentences.

The top court ruled that Ansari would remain in jail throughout his life while
Nasirwould have to serve a minimum of 30 years.

Last year alone, Calcutta High Court sources said, 21 verdicts of capital
punishment were converted to life imprisonment.

This morning, the judge first heard the arguments of the defence counsel and
the prosecution before she gave the convicts a chance to appeal individually.
Senior lawyers said the practice of a judge hearing out the convicts one last
time before handing down the verdict, when they face death penalty or life
imprisonment, was common.

Ansar's counsel Firoz Edulji argued that the crime didn't fall in the category
of "rarest of the rare" and underscored the importance of the court to assess
how harmful the convicts could be to society if they are released.

Then public prosecutor Dipak Ranjan Ghosh said the crime was "heinous" and
"brutal", before going on to describe how the victim's body had been subjected
to "grievous, fatal injury".

"Consider this. Saiful Ali, while giving his statement under Section 164,
aggressively and enthusiastically re-enacted how the rape and murder was
committed. I have not seen anything like this in my 33 years (in the
profession). If that does not make it rarest of the rare, I do not know what
does," Ghosh submitted.

In an apparent endorsement of Ghosh's argument, the judge noted: "Exemplary
punishment is, therefore, the need of the hour, for if this is not (among) the
rarest of rare crimes, there is likely to be none."

None of the 6 convicts betrayed any emotion as the judge pronounced the
verdict. Ansar, who beckoned 1 of his lawyers, asked him to "get a copy of the
judgment quickly".

The ruling establishment claimed the judgment was a "victory". Urban
development minister Firhad Hakim, who had joined his party's chorus in the
past to ridicule a section of Kamduni residents for their campaign for justice,
said: "We are happy with the judgment. The administration performed its duty by
arresting the culprits and bringing them to justice."

The family of the victim, according to her elder brother, said they would move
the high court against the acquittal of Rafikul and Noor. "We will figure out
our course of action after meeting chief minister Mamata Banerjee," he said
while leaving the court premises.

(source: The Calcutta Telegraph)

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2016-02-01 16:02:46 UTC
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Feb. 1



QATAR:

Qatar court vacates guilty verdict for Patterson murder; retrial planned


Qatar's highest court has thrown out a guilty verdict and death penalty
sentence for a local man convicted of killing a British teacher in 2013.

This morning, the Court of Cassation accepted an appeal filed by Badr Hashim
Khamis Abdallah Al-Jabar, who was convicted of stabbing and killing Lauren
Patterson, and burning her remains in the desert 2 1/2 years ago.

Al-Jaber will remain in custody, but be given a new trial at the Court of
Appeal.

Also today, the Court of Cassation denied an appeal request from Mohamed
Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz, who was found guilty of helping Al-Jabar dispose of
Patterson's body, as well as damaging and erasing evidence.

That means he has exhausted all chances to appeal his 3-year prison term.

Reacting to the development, Patterson's mother Alison told Doha News that she
was "disgusted and devastated" by the court's decision:

"I am totally dumbfounded how anyone could think that someone who acted so
callously deserves another chance and is given a retrial. The only ones who
suffer because of this are the innocent ones.

Lauren who did nothing wrong but was brutally murdered for trusting someone and
myself and family and friends, we are the ones being sentenced. We have to live
with what they did to Lauren everyday and now we have to suffer further."

What's next

Both Al-Jaber and Abdul Aziz were convicted by a lower criminal court in March
2014 on charges related to Patterson's death.

A year later, the Court of Appeal upheld those court sentences.

At the time, a judge said that there was consensus for the verdict to remain.

However, now a new panel of judges will hear the case against Al-Jabar, whose
lawyer argued that the Court of Appeals' decision was "erroneous and not based
on a sound legal foundation."

This doesn't mean new evidence will necessarily be introduced, but the panel
will evaluate what was previously entered into the record to see if any errors
were made, legal sources told Doha News.

The case

The 2 Qatari men had been the last to see Patterson alive after she had briefly
gone missing in October 2014.

According to the prosecutor, the 24-year-old was taken to a home that Al-Jaber
used for sexual trysts with women. He then "conquered her body" and killed her
by stabbing her twice.

The defense had maintained that Patterson's death had been an accident, and
said confessions obtained from the 2 men on trial were coerced.

Al-Jaber faced the death penalty either hanging or shooting.

However, while the death penalty is still being handed out in courts, this
sentence has not been carried out in Qatar for over a decade.

According to court clerks, the paperwork for the new case will be filed within
the next few weeks. A new court date has yet to be set.

(source: Doha News)






TAIWAN/INDONESIA:

Taiwan respects Indonesia's death sentences for 3 Taiwanese


The Ministry of Justice said Monday that it respects the Indonesian judiciary's
death sentences on 3 Taiwanese drug traffickers, but will see if there are any
steps that can be taken to ensure that their rights and interests are
protected.

Vice Justice Minister Chen Ming-tang made the remarks after the Supreme Court
of Indonesia last week sentenced Luo Chih-chen, Chen Jia-wei and Wang An-kang
to death for attempting to bring in more than 2 kilograms of amphetamine
through Jakarta International Airport in 2014, the 1st overseas capital
sentences for Taiwanese in recent years.

The court's spokesman, Suhadi, told CNA that the sentences are a legal issue
that is not related in any way to bilateral relations.

In November 2015, the Attorney General Office of Indonesia demanded the death
penalty for 50 drug traffickers, including the three Taiwanese, a request that
was granted by the local court but commuted to life imprisonment by the high
court.

Chang Liang-jen, Taiwan's top representative in Indonesia, said his staff had
informed the family members of the fate of the three convicts, promising to
render any assistance to them.

Indonesia has stepped up its crackdown on criminal rings involved in drug
trafficking and cross-border telecom fraud, Chang said, advising Taiwanese
nationals not to try their luck when attempting to break Indonesian law.

Currently, more than 30 Taiwanese involved in drug trafficking are incarcerated
in Indonesia. The longest-serving three were given life sentences in 2013.

(source: focustaiwan.tw)

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

Australian student arrested for the murder of her study partner after she
dropped dead from drinking iced coffee laced with CYANIDE 'arrived at the cafe
an hour before her friends and ordered 3 drinks' ----Wayan Mirna Salihin died
after drinking cyanide-spiked coffee in Jakarta

A former Australian university student who is accused of lacing a friend's iced
coffee with the deadly substance cyanide has been charged with premeditated
murder and could face the death penalty.

Indonesian police arrested Jessica Kumala Wongso on Saturday over the murder of
her friend Wayan Mirna Salihin, who died in Olivier restaurant in Central
Jakarta on January 6.

Police said the 27-year-old arrived at the cafe around an hour before her 2
friends and ordered 3 drinks, including the Vietnamese iced coffee that is
believed to have killed Ms Salihin.

Jakarta Commissioner Edi Hasibuan said the accused was seen on CCTV footage
sliding the drink towards the young newlywed before she fell to the ground,
started foaming at the mouth and convulsing.

He alleges that security footage captured her looking back and forth to see if
anyone was around while she handled the coffee before the encounter, Indonesian
media reported.

Mr Hasibuan said the camera's vision was obstructed when Ms Wongso placed a
paper bag on the table.

Yudi Wibowo, Ms Wongso's lawyer and uncle, challenged police to released the
footage to the public as he believes it will clear his niece's name but
authorities declined as it is evidence in an ongoing investigation.

He also denied that cyanide was involved in the murder and questioned an
autopsy that allegedly confirmed that Ms Sahlihin had the poison in her system.

Head of the Jakarta Police forensic laboratory Brigadier General Alex Mandalika
said results indicated that more than a deadly dose of cyanide was found in her
stomach.

'Based on our investigation results, the concentration reached 15 grams per
litre. Just imagine, 90 milligrams alone is already lethal,' he told the
Jakarta Globe.

Ms Wongso has maintained her innocence since her former study partner's death,
telling reporters that she 'does not know where the cyanide came from'.

'I just want to help police and Mirna's family reveal who was behind all of
this,' she told the Jakarta Globe.

The 27-year-old has been charged under Article 340 of the Criminal Code on
premeditated murder, which carries a jail sentence of 20 years to life or death
by firing squad.

POLICE TIMELINE

The 3 young women agreed to meet at a coffee shop in the city on January 6.

Jessica was the 1st to arrive and ordered a cocktail for herself and a cold
Vietnamese coffee.

Minutes later, Mirna and Hani arrived and Mirna proceeded to drink the coffee.

'It's awful - it's bad,' Mirna cried.

Shortly afterwards she collapsed with convulsions and began to foam at the
mouth. She died as she was being rushed to hospital.

Indonesian authorities have searched Ms Kumala's home for the pants she was
wearing that day to to test them for trace evidence but according to local
media outlets she said her maid had discarded them.

She said she ripped the pants as she attempted to help carry Ms Sahlihin after
she had fallen to the ground.

Chief Detective Krishna Murti said officers have collected about 20 witness
statements, spoken to six experts and have conducted a re-enactment of the
events.

He said Ms Wongso's recollection of events is 'highly inconsistent' with the
information they have received.

Ms Kumala was named a suspect on Friday and arrested at a hotel at around 7am
on Saturday.

Local authorities made inquires with the Australian Federal Police about the
relationship between the 2 friends, who had studied together in Sydney and
Melbourne before moving to Indonesia.

'We have contacted the Australian Federal Police because we need some
information,' the head of Jakarta Police general crime division, Senior
Commander Khrisna Murti, told the Jakarta Post.

According to the Jakarta Post, the pair had studied together at the Billy Blue
College of Design in Sydney before moving on to the Swinburne University of
Technology in Melbourne.

The paper said that Ms Wongso continued to work in Australia following her
graduation in 2008 before finding a job in Indonesia last month.

(source: Daily Mail)






KENYA:

Death row inmates criticize new policy guidelines that recommend hanging


Prisoners on death row across the country have criticized Chief Justice Willy
Mutunga over the new policy guidelines that recommend among other things
hanging prisoners on death row.

Inmates at the Naivasha Prison noted that the move was ill informed saying that
it would affect the ongoing reforms in all penal institutions and interrupt
ordinary life in prisons across the country.

Jackson Wafula, an inmate on death row, told Citizen Digital that Naivasha
Prison officials had given inmates serving long sentences a chance to reform by
engaging them in activities that develop their skills in various areas.

"Some of us are in school while others are in the workshop learning carpentry
and other related courses," he said.

The 50-year-old inmate who was convicted in 2009 says he has since learnt the
skill of artistry and has been drawing images of popular figures in the
country.

Wafula opined that if fellow inmates on death row were to face the hangman's
noose, most of them would not see the need to reform.

"We have made numerous strides under the reforms that are currently being
implemented and we do not know who advised these new measures," he added.

Peter Mwangi, a prisoner serving a life sentence at the institution, said he
has learned skills that could help him if he is pardoned, adding that the
implementation of the directive by the CJ would affect prisoners
psychologically.

Mwangi was sentenced to death in 1991 but the sentence was commuted to life
imprisonment by President Mwai Kibaki.

"Some of these prisoners never committed the crimes they have been jailed for
and others have their appeals pending in court," Mwangi said.

"You can imagine working with a prisoner who is waiting to be hanged, it
demoralises others and this could take back the gains made in reforming
prisons," he opined.

Another inmate, Samuel Kagiri, urged CJ Mutunga to allow prisoners to continue
with normal programmes regardless of their sentences.

He noted that more than 1,000 inmates at Naivasha Prison have been convicted to
hang but they have since mingled with others and are working together.

"We were given an opportunity to go to school and learn several courses that
have impacted positively in our lives while our families are also given a
chance to visit us," he said.

On Monday last week, Mutunga launched the new policy guidelines that recommends
among other things hanging inmates sentenced to death.

The policy was prepared by a team of Judges at the Judicial Training Institute
led by Justice Msagha Mbogholi.

"Since the death penalty has not been abolished, judges must impose the death
sentence with respect to capital offences. To curb their stay in prison, the
court should recommend to the president to have a fixed time for a review of
the cases, after which they should face death," say the guidelines.

The new policy further makes it possible for a convict to be sentenced to death
in more than 1 case, although the individual will be hanged as per the 1st
sentence, with the others being held in abeyance.

(source: citizentv.co.ke)

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

Death penalty a barbaric sentence


Inmates at the Naivasha Prison have criticised a proposal by the judiciary that
death row prisoners should be hanged.

In July 2010, the Court of Appeal found the mandatory death sentence to be
unconstitutional and Kenyan judges have been imposing custodial sentences for
death penalty offences.

In 2013, the Court of Appeal held that the courts have no discretion in respect
to offences that attract a mandatory death sentence.

These conflicting signals on matters of life and death are cruel and inhuman.

The dangers of fatal miscarriages of justice are real and totally unacceptable.

In the countries where the death penalty is still law, the state kills human
beings with premeditation and elaborate ritual - but not in Kenya.

In this country, the death penalty is still in the books but it has not been
implemented for 26 years now.

Kenya's last hangman, Kamiti Maximum Security Prison's Michael Wanjuki, was
succeeded by an electric chair that has never been used.

And therefore to a brutal and barbaric law is added the bizarre prospect of
condemned prisoners rotting on Death Row in large numbers for life.

It is high time the death penalty law was reformed.

(source: Editorial, The Star)






CHINA:

Chinese man jailed for 23 years freed after verdict overturned


A Chinese man walked free on Monday having spent the last 23 years in jail
after a court overturned a murder and arson conviction, state media said, the
latest wrongful verdict to be overturned in the country.

Chen Man was arrested in 1992, accused of burning down a house in which a man
died. He was later given a suspended death penalty.

But after numerous appeals, a court found there was insufficient evidence to
sustain the verdict and ordered him freed, the official China Daily reported on
its website.

The government has tried to improve the way courts handle cases of miscarriages
of justice under efforts by President Xi Jinping to bolster the rule of law and
increase public confidence in the legal system.

Wrongful executions have stirred particular outrage, though the death penalty
itself remains widely popular.

In 2014, a court posthumously acquitted an ethnic Mongol called Huugjilt who
had been executed for raping and killing a woman in a public restroom. Another
man was later sentenced to death for the crime.

State news agency Xinhua said late on Sunday that 27 people had been penalised
over Huugjilt's wrongful conviction, mostly being given administrative
punishments.

But one of them, a former deputy police chief, may face criminal charges, it
said.

(source: Khaleej Times)

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

China to execute pair for stabbing British monk to death, state media says


China has sentenced 2 men to death for killing a British monk, who founded
Europe's 1st Tibetan monastery, over a financial dispute, state media said.

Akong Tulku Rinpoche, co-founder of Scotland's Samye Ling monastery, was found
dead with multiple stab wounds at his home in the southwestern city of Chengdu
in 2013.

A court in the city sentenced 2 men, named in Chinese as Tudeng Gusang and
Tsering Banjue, to death for the murders of Mr Akong and 2 other men, while an
accomplice was sentenced to 3 years in jail, the state-run China News Service
reported Sunday.

It cited authorities as saying that Mr Gusang, who had worked at the Scottish
monastery, and Mr Banjue had stabbed Mr Akong, his nephew and a driver to death
in a dispute over a 2.7 million yuan (Dh1.5 million) payment.

The verdict, posted by the court on social media, said the murders were
"brutal" and that the suspects would be "treated severely in accordance with
the law".

Britain said in a statement that it communicated its opposition to the death
penalty to Beijing.

Mr Akong, who was in his early 70s, took British citizenship after fleeing
Tibet in 1959, and founded the facility in Scotland in 1967.

He had the title of Rinpoche, an honorific given to the most respected teachers
in Tibetan Buddhism, and his monastery said at the time of his killing that he
had been "assassinated".

The institution was a pilgrimage site for artists and musicians, including
Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, as well as senior Tibetan monks, including the
Dalai Lama.

Despite fleeing China, Mr Akong had maintained a relationship with authorities
in Beijing, regularly returning to Tibetan regions.

Many Tibetans say China represses their religious freedom and culture. Beijing
says it has brought massive investment to the relatively undeveloped region.

Rights groups say China executes more people than the rest of the world
combined, though the annual number has declined significantly over the past
decade. Beijing regards the figure as a state secret and does not release it.

The British embassy in Beijing said it was aware of the trial, adding: "The
British government maintains its long-standing opposition to the death penalty,
and has formally communicated this to the Chinese government."

(source: Agence France-Presse)






SYRIA:

ISIS executed 2,114 civilians in 19 months, human rights group says


ISIS has executed 3,895 people, more than half of them civilians, since
announcing the establishment of a "caliphate state" in June 2014, the UK-based
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.

Of the 2,114 civilians killed, 78 were children and 116 were women, the SORH
said in a press release. Civilians were killed by firing squad, beheaded,
stoned, thrown off high buildings or burned, SOHR said.

The other people executed included fighters for the Syrian regime, militiamen
loyal to the regime and rebel groups like al-Qaeda in Levant, SOHR said.

CNN could not independently verify the information from SOHR. Its website says
SOHR is a nonprofit group not connected to any political body or nation.

ISIS even executed 422 of its own members for offenses such as trying to
defect, spying for foreign counties and acts of "extremism" against Islam, such
as ascribing divine characteristics to Islamic figures or another person, SOHR
said.

SOHR said people were killed for apostasy, cursing Allah, adultery, espionage,
being a member of the national defense, contacting the Al-Nusra Front and
homosexuality. A woman was killed for escaping from her husband.

Civilians were massacred in several places: 939 Arab Sunni civilians were
killed in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor; 223 Kurdish civilians were
killed in Kobani and the nearby village of Barkh Botan; and 46 were killed in
the village of Al-Mab'oujeh.

During the period of December 29 to January 29, ISIS killed 188 people,
including 113 civilians, the release said. 64 were Syrian regime forces or
militiamen loyal to the regime, the release said.

The extremist group announced the establishment of a "caliphate," an Islamic
state stretching across the western and northern Iraq, in June 2014.

The leader of the caliphate is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al Samarrai,
more commonly known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

(source: CNN)


GLOBAL:

No one should be executed for drug offenses----Even as some countries
liberalize their drug laws, others like Indonesia are brutally cracking down


The use of society's ultimate sanction, the death penalty, has been declining
around the world for decades. In 1977, only 16 countries had abolished the
death penalty; by 2015, 140 had either abolished it or for all practical
purposes abandoned it. 19 American states and the District of Columbia have no
death penalty, and in 2014, executions were carried out in only 7 states.

However, over the same period, the number of countries applying the death
penalty for drugs offenses has increased. In 1979 there were 10 countries that
executed drug offenders. By 1985, that number had increased to 22; by 2000, to
36 (although it declined to 33 in 2012). Some years have seen as many as 1,000
drug-related executions, many of them in Iran, Singapore and China, where
precise figures are unavailable. Thousands of individuals are on death row in
Asia, the Middle East and parts of Africa for drug offenses.

Indonesia offers a particularly gruesome example. In 2015, 14 prisoners there,
mostly foreign nationals, were killed by firing squad.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo took office in October 2014. He immediately
declared that the country was facing a "drug emergency situation," thus
justifying the decision to carry out the executions in the face of concerted
international pressure - notably from Australia, 2 of whose citizens were
executed last year. He zealously pursued the death sentences, saying he would
reject any appeal for clemency. According to Amnesty International, Indonesia
held at least 121 people on death row in 2015, 54 of them for drug offenses.

As part of its intensified war on drugs, Indonesia has targeted drug users. The
National Narcotics Agency recently revived compulsory treatment, pledging to
place 100,000 drug users in treatment or rehabilitation centers last year. This
month the new narcotics board chief, Budi Waseso, created an international
furor by calling for a prison island for drug smugglers, surrounded by
crocodiles and piranhas. He also called for the reinstatement of the late
Indonesian dictator Suharto's infamous program in which elite military
personnel were authorized to conduct extrajudicial public killings of anyone
the regime considered criminal. A week ago, police raids on drug-use hotspots
in Jakarta and Medan left at least 4 people dead - 2 of them police officers.

One person executed in Indonesia last year was Brazilian citizen Rodrigo
Gularte, who was caught with 2 friends trying to take cocaine hidden in
surfboards into the country in 2004. He took responsibility for the seized
drugs, allowing his companions to be released. He accepted a state-appointed
lawyer and never received competent legal representation at trial. His first
lawyer acknowledged that he used drugs. Today that might be accepted as a
mitigating factor, but at the time, it merely helped the prosecution make its
case and secure the death sentence.

"In Malaysia in 2010, the majority of those sentenced to death for drug-related
crimes were convicted of marijuana or hashish offenses."

The mitigating factor that should have protected him from the firing squad is
that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as a teenager. He was often
impulsive, which likely explains how he came to be smuggling drugs. In prison,
his condition worsened, and he attempted suicide. Eventually he was further
diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia accompanied by delusions and
hallucinations. It was widely reported that he understood he was going to be
killed only as he was being led to the site of the execution.

After Indonesia denied requests for Gularte to be transferred to a mental
health facility in 2014, his cousin Angelita Muxfedlt went to Jakarta and
appointed my office as his legal representative, together with other prominent
legal and human rights groups. He was convicted despite the suspicious release
of his co-defendants, despite his incompetent counsel and despite international
outrage, especially from Brazil, where the last state execution took place in
1876. Even the diagnosis of his severe mental illness was not enough to earn
him a reprieve.

Indonesia clearly violated international law by executing a prisoner with
mental health issues. He should have received treatment for his multiple
illnesses. Instead, in a stunning act of retribution, the state put him to
death.

He can be considered a victim of the global war on drugs. But the punitive drug
control regime that was built on international agreements like the 1961 Single
Convention on Narcotic Drugs is coming under increasing pressure. In 2014, for
example, the International Narcotics Control Board urged governments to abolish
the death penalty.

There is growing recognition that sentencing someone to death for a drug
offense is a violation of basic human rights. Around the world, the vast
majority of death row prisoners are poor and often poorly educated or incapable
of comprehending what they were getting involved in, like Gularte. They are
often badly advised, living or dying on the whim of a capricious legal system.

As some countries relax their regulations against the recreational use of drugs
like marijuana, the inconsistency across international jurisdictions is thrown
into sharp focus. In at least 12 countries, some offenses related to marijuana
and hashish are punishable by death. In Malaysia in 2010, the majority of those
sentenced to death for drug-related crimes were convicted of marijuana or
hashish offenses. While some countries look to alternative methods of managing
drugs, including decriminalization, others continue to punish similar
activities by execution.

There is no evidence that the death penalty works as a deterrent, which is the
reason most often cited for its continued use. People are still taking drugs
into Indonesia, and heroin seizures have not stopped in Iran.

This year's United Nations special session on drugs should include discussion
of the death penalty. The world must consign the death penalty to history,
where it belongs.

(source: Ricky Gunawan is a human rights lawyer in Indonesia. He is the
director of LBH Masyarakat (Community Legal Aid Institute), which is based in
Jakarta and provides free legal services for poor people, marginalized groups
and victims of human rights abuses, including people who use drugs and people
facing the death penalty; Claudia Stoicescu is a doctoral researcher at the
University of Oxford's department of social policy and
intervention----Aljazeera)






BANGLADESH:

2 to die for killing schoolgirl after rape


A tribunal here yesterday sentenced 2 youths to death for killing a schoolgirl
after rape in Mathbaria upazila of the district in 2014.

The death penalty awardees are Mehedi Hasan Swapan, 23, and Sumon Jamadder, 19,
of Bandhabpara-Bukhaitala village in the upazila.

Judge Md Golam Kibria of Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribual-1
delivered the verdict around 12.30pm.

The court also fined the duo Tk 1 lakh each. The money will be given to the
victim's family, court sources said.

According to the prosecution, Fatima Akhter, 9, a Class III student at Hatem
Ali Government Primary School, and daughter of Ful Miah Hawlader of Jhatibunia
village in the upazila, used to live at her maternal grandfather's house at
Bandhabpara-Bukhaitala village.

When the girl went to nearby school field to bring a cow back home on October
5, 2014, Swapan and Sumon forcibly took her to an orchard and raped her. As she
cried for help, the rapists strangled her. Relatives found Fatima's body from
the orchard the following day.

Following a case filed by Fatima's father with Mathbaria Police Station, police
arrested Swapan, a cousin of Fatima, and Sumon, After interrogation, they
confessed to killing Fatima after rape.

After examining the witnesses and case record, the judge handed down the
verdict.

(sorue: The Daily Star)

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

Mir Quasem appeal hearing in SC cause list


Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali's appeal hearing has been enlisted in
Tuesday's cause list of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court.

A 4-member bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha of the Appellate
Division is set to begin the hearing of death row Jamaat-e-Islami's key
financier Mir Quasem Ali for committing crimes against humanity during the 1971
Liberation War, according to the SC website.

On the 3rd November of 2014, a commander of para militia force al-Badr during
the war, Mir Quasem was awarded capital punishment by the International Crimes
Tribunal 2.

The tribunal handed down death penalty in 2 charges for killing 7 people,
including one Jasim Uddin, after abduction. He was awarded a total of 72-year
imprisonment on other charges of abduction, conspiracy and planning. 4 charges
were not proved.

On November 30, 2014, Quasem Ali appealed to the Supreme Court against the
death sentence.

Mir Quasem joined Islami Chhatra Sangha, then student wing of Jamaat, in 1967
while studying at Chittagong Collegiate School. He later became its Chittagong
City unit general secretary.

He played an important role in forming al-Badr Bahini that orchestrated
systematic killing of freedom fighters and intellectuals.

(source: Dhaka Tribune)






PHILIPPINES:

Zapanta's parents: 'Where's the P23-M blood money'


The parents of Joselito Zapanta, the overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who was
executed in Saudi Arabia in December, are looking for the P23-million bloody
money the government raised to save him from death penalty.

"Where did the blood money go? If they (the government) really collected the
money for my son, I hope they could give that to me so we could start all over
again," Ramona Zapanta, mother of the OFW, said in an interview with Senate
reporters on Monday.

Zapanta, 35, was executed in Saudi Arabia on December 29, 2015 for the murder
of his Sudanese landlord over a rental dispute after to the P23-million blood
money was rejected by the Sudanese widow.

The victim's family was asking P43 million blood money to save Zapanta from the
death row.

Jesus Zapanta, the OFW's father, said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
has yet to update them about the status of the bloody money.

He added that they have yet to receive any assistance from the DFA.

The government earlier said that the money was kept in a bank account being
managed by the Philippine embassy in Saudi Arabia.

Senator Cynthia Villar, who granted some livelihood assistance to Zapanta's
kin, said that many OFWs experience misfortune abroad.

"It is a sad reality that many of our OFWs experience misfortune abroad. When
subjected to abuse, there are those who chose to suffer in silence. Some OFWs
chose to fight back and ended up in jail," Villar said.

"We hope this livelihood assistance will go a long way in helping the family
cope with the loss of their breadwinner," she added.

The senator said she hoped that Zapanta's execution would serve as reminder to
Filipino migrant workers that foreign lands have harsher penalties for crimes
and to always follow the laws of their host countries.

Several groups earlier appealed to the government to donate a portion of the
P23 million to Zapanta's grieving family and to help other OFWs on the death
row.

(source: Sun Star)






IRAQ:

Iraqi president signs execution orders for convicted terrorists


Iraqi President Fouad Massoum on Sunday execution orders for offenders
convicted of terrorist offenses, his spokesman announced.

Khalid Shwani, the official spokesman of Iraqi president, explained that this
was the 3rd batch of executions that Massoum had signed for terrorist offenses,
but did not disclose how many were endorsed.

"Fouad Massoum, President of Iraq, signed the 3rd waves of capital punishment,"
Shwani said.

He added that the orders are for "all offenders who have been convicted of
terror-related offenses."

Shwani said that signing the orders mean that the death sentences imposed on
the offenders now moves into the implementation stage.

He assured the Iraqi nation that the decisions came after a special committee
had investigated the cases.

Last year, Shwani told Rudaw that from 2006 to 2015, Iraqi courts issued
execution orders for 667 individuals, of whom 170 were convicted of
terror-related offenses.

(source: Rudaw.net)


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2016-02-01 22:28:34 UTC
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Feb. 1



TURKEY:

Crime boss says death penalty should be revived for jailed journalist Dundar


Sedat Peker, a notorious figure convicted on charges of organized crime,
threatened jailed journalist Can Dundar with reviving the death penalty on
Monday after Dundar referred to him in one of his columns.

The Cumhuriyet daily's Dundar was arrested on Nov. 26, 2015, on charges of
espionage and revealing confidential documents after publishing a report with
photos of weapons it said were being transferred to Syria in trucks operated by
the National Intelligence Organization (MIT).

Dundar recently referred to Peker in 1 of his columns and wrote: "I wish we
were murderers. We are arrested just because we took a pen in our hands and
wrote, because we wrote news reports and they demand 2 lifetimes in jail (plus
30 years) for us. I was wondering [the kind of] people who are released pending
trial."

Releasing a statement on his website, Peker responded to Dundar by saying he
should be grateful to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "If one of the millions
who think the way I do became the president, their 1st job would be to revive
the death penalty and the 2nd would be to hang you [everyone who had anything
to do with the MIT trucks]."

Peker also said that he can abide having his name linked with someone who is
involved in a criminal activity, but he cannot stand for it to be compared with
"traitors" like Dundar. Accusing Dundar of betraying national values, Peker
also accused media outlets of being unfair to him and said he would establish a
media group if he has to.

Peker drew strong criticism after threatening academics who signed a statement
calling for an end to the ongoing clashes in southeastern Turkey to "spill
their blood" and "bathe in it." Also in an anti-terrorism rally he organized on
Oct. 9 last year, he threatened those who criticized Erdogan and the Justice
and Development Party (AK Party) government by saying they will pay the price
for their critical stance.

Dundar wrote in his column that even after making those threats Peker was
released pending trial and argued that he himself is in jail just for doing his
job.

(source: todayszaman.com)






SAUDI ARABIA----execution

Saudi Arabia sentences man to death


Saudi authorities executed a Saudi national on Monday for the murder of a
compatriot, bringing the number of executions by capital punishment to 56 in
the kingdom this year.

Ahmed al-Harbi was found guilty of stabbing and shooting Fahed al-Balawi during
a quarrel, according to a statement by the interior ministry published by state
news agency SPA.

Harbi was executed in the northern city of Tabuk. Most executions in Saudi
Arabia are beheadings carried out by sword.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia ordered the execution of 153 people, the majority of
which were death penalty sentences given for drug trafficking or murder,
according to an AFP tally.

On a single day last month it put 47 people to death for "terrorism", including
influential Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Amnesty International reports that the total number of executions in the
kingdom in 2015 was the highest for 2 decades.

Saudia Arabia enforces a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug
trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

(source: albawaba.com)


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Feb. 2



IRAN:

http://www.iranhrdc.org/english/publications/human-rights-data/chart-of-executions/1000000620-ihrdc-chart-of-executions-by-the-islamic-republic-of-iran-2016.html

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

The Execution Of 12 Prisoners In Rajai Shahr Prison Postponed For The 2nd Time


For the 2nd time in 2 weeks, the execution of 12 prisoners of Rajai Shahr
Prison was halted, and the prisoners were sent from solitary confinement back
to the ward.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists in Iran (HRANA), these
prisoners, who have been charged with murder and sentenced to death
(retaliation in kind), were transferred to solitary confinement for the
implementation of the sentences.

This group of 12 prisoners had been transferred to solitary confinement
previously on the 13th of January, but were taken back as the executions were
postponed.

Hossein Moini, Naser Karim-Nejhad, Mehdi Kahe, Reza Teymouri, Javad Sadeghi,
Ebad Mohammadi, Mostafa Ejlali, Sajjad Nemati, Javad Mozafari, Mohammadreza
Abbasi and an inmate with the 1st name Anoush, are among the announced
prisoners who were sent to solitary confinements.

The authorities and judiciary organs have not announced anything about the
dossiers and the reason for the repeated dispatch of these prisoners to the
solitary confinements.

(source: Human Rights Activists News Agency)






JAPAN----film

Criterion Tackles the Death Penalty with Nagisa Oshima's DEATH BY HANGING


The Criterion Collection has been good to Japanese provocateur Nagisa Oshima.
His celebrated, explicit-sex shocker In The Realm of the Senses (along with its
sorta-sequel, Empire of Passion) have seen disc from the company, and Criterion
has also released a shotgun blast of his 1960s films via their lower-fi Eclipse
series.

Now Oshima's 1968 film, Death By Hanging, joins the collection as spine #798.
It's not a title I was familiar with prior to now, but I had a great time
familiarizing myself with it in this format, and am surprised there isn't more
conversation about this film and its seemingly inexhaustible formal daring. (As
the liner notes themselves point out: with Death By Hanging alongside 2001,
If..., Once Upon a Time in the West and Rosemary's Baby among others, 1968 was
one hell of a year for filmmaking, wasn't it?)

Shot in high-contrast black and white almost entirely in a single, deceptively
elaborate set, Death By Hanging pops off the screen on Criterion's blu-ray, as
Oshima charts a strange, spiral-shaped course through his story.

The setup is nicely high concept. Tasked with executing a convicted criminal
named R, a group of prison officials go about their grisly business right up
until the moment when R sort of, uh, fails to die. "R'S BODY REFUSES TO BE
EXECUTED," the first of a series of cheekily metaphysical intertitles asserts.

This kicks off an all-points legal quandary, as the prison officials, lawyers,
magistrates and witnesses attempt to determine the precise logistics around
re-executing someone who has, technically, already been executed. The scenario
opens up an odd theological point as well, as the Catholic chaplain asserts
that having already received last rites, R's soul has been forgiven and is on
its way to heaven - and that from a certain point of view, therefore, R's body
is exempt responsibility for the crimes for which R was being put to death in
the first place.

As a point of satire, this would be more than enough to make a meal of, but
Oshima has barely gotten started. The prison officials begin attempting to
revive R's memory of the crimes he has committed (he has post-strangulation
amnesia) through increasingly elaborate - and, by necessity, appalling -
pantomime and role-play. We learn that R raped and murdered two women; and then
watch in gruesome fascination as the other men (lead by an unhinged Education
Chief) reenact the details of both rapes, first with reluctance, and then with
greater and greater diabolical gusto.

As all this unfolds, we delve into a further layer: R is of Korean descent, a
minority culture in Japan. The conversation becomes racially charged and
inherently bigoted (instructed to "act more Korean," one of the players
immediately mimes whipping out his penis and urinating all over the rest of the
group). As the common consensus among the men begins to fracture, we watch this
ad-hoc society strenuously attempt to maintain the institutional othering that
people like R have had to face in Japanese society. Poverty and crime are
linked, as are R's displacement from "proper" society" and his dissociative
fantasies of achieving something like a normal life.

It's an uncommonly rich broth of ideas. By the third act, furthermore, the
rules of what you or I would call "reality" have been firmly... well, if not
thrown out altogether, at least thoroughly questioned.

The film clips along as questions of class, race, gender and citizenship double
back on themselves over and over again. State-sanctioned murder - capital
punishment and war - are consciously linked, monetized, and gendered.

It's an eerily relatable piece of filmmaking in 2016, revolving as it does
around how wealth disparity and criminalization work together to enforce social
rules, all set against a painfully contemporary question of immigration and
assimilation whose argument has, sadly, only strengthened with time.

While Criterion's audio-visual presentation of Death By Hanging is excellent, I
have to point out that the supplemental content is surprisingly thin this time
around. The most interesting extra on the disc is a 25-minute documentary film
by Oshima called Diary of Yunbogi, which also deals with the Korean immigration
question, through 1st-person narration and a series of still photographs taken
by the director himself.

There's also a half-hour interview with Asian cinema critic Tony Rayns, who
does a good job of positioning Death By Hanging amidst the haphazard
independent entries in the director's 1960s output. You'll be digging out your
Eclipse box set of Oshima's Outlaw Sixties as soon as you put Death By Hanging
on the shelf, to follow his inquiry into anti-Korean racism into Three
Resurrected Drunkards and Sing a Song of Sex.

Additionally, at this point I think it's time to say farewell to the Criterion
Collection's printed insert booklet. They seem to have moved permanently to
single-page fold-outs, which still puts them ahead of every other DVD racket in
the market, who have abandoned liner notes altogether; but still feels a bit
cheap and awkward, even if you're only likely to read the essays once.
Nonetheless, Howard Hampton's piece here - along with Oshima's own director's
statement from 1968 - is well worth a look.

(source: twitchfilm.com)






BANGLADESH:

Bangladesh hands death penalty to 2 war criminals


A special tribunal court in Dhaka has sentenced two war crimes convicts to
death over crimes against humanity during the Liberation War in 1971.

4 out of 6 charges pressed against Obaidul Haque Taher and Ataur Rahman Nani
razakars of Netrakona, The Daily Star reported.

According to the 2 charges that earned Taher, 66, and Nani, 62, death penalty,
they were accompanied by other razakars and the Pakistan army attacked Laufa
village under Barhatta Police Station on October 19, 1971, and detained 10
people.

7 of the detainees were later shot dead while one survived with bullet injuries
and 2 were freed. The razakars also raped women there.

Between November 15 and 16, the duo along with other razakars detained 7
people.

(source: Free Press Journal)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-02 19:14:16 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 2



BAHAMAS:

Attorney General: Removing Privy Council A Major Task


ATTORNEY General Allyson Maynard-Gibson yesterday said while The Bahamas is
"obliged" to enforce the death penalty in accordance to law, the removal of the
London-based Privy Council would require "serious consideration" and "extensive
consultation" with the Bahamian people.

Mrs Maynard-Gibson, speaking with students at the Eugene Dupuch Law School,
suggested that while the country has an unfettered obligation to execute
capital punishment as per the laws "on the books", the abandonment of the Privy
Council - whose views have made it harder for hangings to be carried out in
this country, is a decision that "no politician, no member of parliament should
take on their own".

She also said it is "challenging" to define "the worst of the worst" as related
to criminal matters, citing the Privy Council's previous stance on whether
convicted persons should receive the death penalty.

The enforcement of capital punishment and the abandonment of the Privy Council
as this country's highest court would seemingly go hand in hand, as it is the
Privy Council that has served as an obstacle to The Bahamas carrying out the
death penalty after declaring in 2006 that the country's mandatory death
penalty upon a murder conviction was unconstitutional.

In June 2011, the high court overturned Maxo Tido's death sentence in
connection with the killing of 16-year-old Donnell Connover, whose body was
found off Cowpen Road, battered and bruised and her skull crushed. There was
additional evidence that parts of her body were burned after her death.

But the Privy Council concluded that the murder was not an example of the
"worst of the worst".

Last week, retired Justice Neville Smith, QC called for the country to abandon
the London-based Privy Council and establish its own final court of appeal.

Justice Smith said the country should not allow itself to become a "hostage" to
the Privy Council, arguing that the country would be much better served
utilising a 2-tiered court system minus the Privy Council, with the Court of
Appeal serving in its place. Justice Smith suggested that a 5-judge panel could
be utilised for "more complex appeals".

"I think that is something that cannot be done lightly; it's something that
requires serious consideration and most importantly extensive consultation with
the Bahamian people," Mrs Maynard-Gibson said yesterday. "The system of justice
is here to serve our people, and that's a decision that no politician, no
member of parliament, should take on their own."

"Regarding capital punishment, Chief Justice Sir Hartman Longley said last
month it would take a massacre similar to the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris for
the death penalty to be imposed in The Bahamas. The attacks Sir Hartman
referred to, which took place a year ago, resulted in the death of 12 people at
the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo when gunmen burst in and
opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles.

That prompted some, like Tall Pines MP Leslie Miller, to label Sir Hartman's
line of thinking as "utterly ridiculous and stupid"; the firebrand MP also
questioned "what world" Sir Hartman lives in. Democratic National Alliance
leader Branville McCartney also asked "how many more must die" through violence
before lawmakers do what is necessary to protect the public and carry out
capital punishment.

"Undoubtedly this is a real challenge," Mrs Maynard-Gibson said. "What I want
to say is capital punishment is on the books of our country; it is a law of the
land. When I had to go and defend our human rights record in Geneva in 2012,
and I was under severe attack for us still having capital punishment on our
books, I pointed out to those countries that were attacking the Bahamas, that
every single one of those countries, bar none, has capital punishment on their
books.

"Think about the United States of America. Acts of terrorism, what's the
punishment? Do I need to go on? It's on our books. Now it is challenging to
define the worst of the worst. What we have to do, in my view, is keep pushing,
keep pushing. Because it's easy for things to collapse when after a conviction
or an appeal has been filed, it gets thrown back some place."

She added: "We define law by making sure it gets before the courts and we give
the courts an opportunity to make decisions and we respond to those decisions."

In November 2011, parliament passed legislation to define the types of murder
constituting the "worst of the worst" guidelines set out by the High Court.

Despite this, Sean McWeeney, QC, chairman of the Constitutional Reform
Commission, doubted whether the changes will matter to the Privy Council.

Speaking on the matter in April 2013 in response to a question raised at the
commission's 1st town hall meeting, Mr McWeeney said that "as long as the Privy
Council remains your final court of appeal, it is extremely doubtful that you
will ever be able to hang anyone".

The last person executed in The Bahamas was David Mitchell in January 2000.

(source: tribune242.com)






ZIMBABWE:

Zimbabwe top prosecutor charged with obstruction of justice in Mugabe bomb plot

+++++++++++

Zimbabwe's Prosecutor General was on Tuesday charged with abuse of office and
obstructing justice after he dropped a case against two men accused of plotting
to bomb President Robert Mugabe's dairy farm, only for the 2 to turn state
witness.

Johannes Tomana, an avowed supporter of Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF party, is
unpopular with the opposition for his zealous prosecution of anti-Mugabe
activists when he was Attorney General from 2008 to 2013.

Tomana, who was not asked to plead, faces up to 15 years in prison if
convicted. He was freed on $1,000 bail and ordered to surrender his passport.

State prosecutor Timothy Makoni told a magistrates court that 1 army corporals,
a retired soldier and a 4th man were arrested on Jan. 22 outside Mugabe's dairy
farm north of the capital Harare and were found carrying ammonia and petrol
bombs.

The men were initially charged with possession of weaponry for sabotage and
with money laundering for terrorism purposes.

But Tomana freed 2 of them, who then turned state witnesses, in a decision the
state said amounted to criminal abuse of office.

On Tuesday, new treason charges were levelled against the 4. Makoni said the
accused, who face the death penalty or life in prison, hatched a plan to set up
a militia base to the west of Harare from where they planned to unseat Mugabe's
government.

Lawyer Thabani Mpofu said the new constitution passed in 2013, which created
the post of prosecutor general, gave Tomana power over whom to prosecute. He
said the court had no authority to try Tomana.

Several political activists, including the main opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, have in the past been tried for terrorism and treason but have been
acquitted.

(source: The Star)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh's death sentence quashed by Saudi court----Panel
of judges downgrades punishment for apostasy conviction to 8 years in prison
and 800 lashes


A Saudi court has overturned the death sentence of a Palestinian poet accused
of renouncing Islam, imposing an 8-year prison term and 800 lashes instead. He
must also repent through an announcement in official media.

The decision by a panel of judges came after Ashraf Fayadh's lawyer argued his
conviction was seriously flawed because he was denied a fair trial. In a
briefing on the verdict, Abdulrahman al-Lahem said the judgment revoked the
death sentence but upheld that the poet was guilty of apostasy.

In a memo posted on Twitter, Lahem details Fayadh's new punishment. He is
sentenced to 8 years in prison and 800 lashes, to be carried out on 16
occasions, and must renounce his poetry on Saudi state media.

Lahem welcomed the overturning of the death sentence but reaffirmed Fayadh's
innocence and announced they would launch an appeal and ask for bail.

Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch, said: "Instead of
beheading Ashraf Fayadh, a Saudi court has ordered a lengthy imprisonment and
flogging. No one should face arrest for peacefully expressing opinions, much
less corporal punishment and prison. Saudi justice officials must urgently
intervene to vacate this unjust sentence."

The author Irvine Welsh said: "When this twisted barbarism is thought of as a
compromise, it's way past time western governments stopped dealing with this
pervert regime."

The death sentence imposed in November provoked a worldwide outcry.

Hundreds of leading authors, artists and actors, including the director of Tate
Modern, Chris Dercon, the British poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, and actor
Helen Mirren, have appealed for his release. More than 60 international arts
and human rights groups, including Amnesty International and the writers'
association PEN International, have launched a campaign calling on the Saudi
authorities and western governments to save him. Readings of his poetry in
support of his case took place in 44 countries last week.

Jo Glanville, the director of English PEN, which appealed for Fayadh's release,
said: "It is a relief that Ashraf Fayadh no longer faces execution, but this is
a wholly disproportionate and shocking sentence. It will cause dismay around
the world for all Ashraf's many supporters. The charges against him should have
been dropped and he should be a free man today. We will continue to campaign
for his release."

Fayadh, who has mental health problems, has spent almost 2 years in prison in
Abha, a city in the south-west of the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The 35-year-old Palestinian refugee rose to prominence as an artist and curator
for the British-Saudi art group Edge of Arabia. He went on to curate shows in
Jeddah and at the 2013 Venice Biennale, which showcased an emerging generation
of Saudi artists.

But in August 2013, he was detained by the mutaween (religious police)
following a complaint that he was cursing against Allah and the prophet
Muhammad, insulting Saudi Arabia and distributing a book of his poems that
promoted atheism. Fayadh said the complaint arose from a personal dispute
during a discussion in a cafe in Abha.

Although he was released after one day he was arrested again on 1 January 2014
and detained at a police station before being transferred to the local prison
27 days later. At his trial in May 2014, he was sentenced to 4 years in prison
and 800 lashes by the general court in Abha.

He was also found guilty of storing images of women on his phone, which friends
and colleagues said were artists appearing in his show at the Jeddah art fair.

After his appeal was dismissed Fayadh was retried on 17 November 2015 and
sentenced to death by a new panel of judges, who ruled that his repentance did
not prevent his execution.

But appeal documents submitted by his lawyer last month argued that Fayadh's
conviction was based on uncorroborated allegations and ignored evidence that he
had a mental illness.

Fayadh's father had a stroke after hearing his son was to be beheaded. Fayadh
was unable to visit him before he died last month, nor was he allowed to attend
his funeral.

In documents considered by the panel of judges on Tuesday, Lahem argued that
Fayadh's initial arrest in 2013 was unlawful as it was not ordered by the state
prosecution service. The allegation of apostasy made by Shaheen bin Ali Abu
Mismar, who is alleged to have had a personal dispute with the poet, was not
corroborated by other evidence, which goes against the principles of sharia
law, he argued.

The appeal document also stated that the November ruling ignored testimony by
defence witnesses in Fayadh's 2014 trial who said Abu Mismar was lying, and
from the accuser's uncle, who indicated he was not truthful. It contended that
the "judiciary cannot rely on [his evidence] due to the possibility that it is
malicious".

(source: The Guardian)

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

Saudi overturns Palestinian poet's death sentence


Saudi Arabia overturned the death sentence of Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh on
Tuesday, although he will still face 8 years in jail and 800 lashes.

A panel of judges came to the decision after Fayadh's lawyer argued that his
client had been denied a fair trial.

Fayadh's lawyer posted a document on Twitter on Tuesday showing the new
sentence reached by the judges:

Though campaigners welcomed the decision, many protested the still harsh
punishment, despite the fact that Fayadh's lawyer maintains his client's
innocence.

"No one should face arrest for peacefully expressing opinions, much less
corporal punishment and prison. Saudi justice officials must urgently intervene
to vacate this unjust sentence."

Fayadh had been sentenced to be executed on the charge of apostasy and
"spreading atheism" in 2014 by Saudi Arabia's General Court after the court of
appeal overturned an initial dismissal of the case.

He was also charged with violating the country's Anti-Cyber Crime Law for
allegedly taking and storing photos of women on his phone.

However, some of his supporters have argued that he was punished for posting a
video online showing police in the south-western city of Abha lashing a man in
public.

Campaigners had long protested that Fayadh had not received a fair hearing
under the Saudi justice system.

"For 1 1/2 years, they promised him an appeal and kept intimidating him that
there's new evidence," said Mona Kareem, a migrant rights activist from Kuwait.

"He was unable to assign a lawyer because his ID was confiscated when he was
arrested. Then they said you must have a retrial and we'll change the
prosecutor and the judges. The new judge didn't even talk to him, he just made
the verdict."

As a poet and artist, Fayadh - who was born in Saudi Arabia - has played a
major role in bringing Saudi art to a wider audience, including as part of the
Saudi-British collaborative project Edge of Arabia.

(source: middleeasteye.net)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-03 15:34:23 UTC
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Feb. 3




EGYPT:

Death sentence for 149 suspected Islamists quashed


The death penalty of 149 suspected Islamists accused of killing 13 Policemen in
2013 has been quashed by Egypt's Court of Cassation.

Justice officials said the constitutional court ordered that the accused be
retried by a court other than that which convicted them a year ago.

The 149 were sentenced to death on February 3 2015 in a speedy trial.

The United Nations has criticised the hasty and arbitrary trials meted out to
suspected supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood including deposed President
Mohamed Morsi.

Since Mr. Morsi's ouster on July 3 2013, the courts have sentenced hundreds of
Islamists to death including the former president.

International rights organisations have accused incumbent President Abdel
Fattah el-Sisi of eliminating dissent and instituting a more repressive regime
than former president Hosni Mubarak.

(source: africanews.com)






BANGLADESH:

Mir Quasem's appeal hearing deferred till February 9


The Supreme Court has deferred until February 9 the hearing on an appeal by
Jamaat-e-Islami's key financier Mir Quasem Ali, seeking review of his death
penalty for war crimes.

A 4-member bench of the Appellate Division led by Chief Justice SK Sinha fixed
the date yesterday, responding to a time plea filed by the defence lawyers.

Earlier, the apex court set February 2 for commencing the appeal hearing.

On November 3, 2014, Mir Quasem, a commander of al-Badr during the war, was
awarded capital punishment by the International Crimes Tribunal 2.

The tribunal handed down death penalty in 2 charges for killing 7 people,
including one Jasim Uddin, after abduction. He was awarded a total of 72-year
imprisonment on other charges of abduction, conspiracy and planning. 4 charges
were not proved.

On November 30, 2014, Quasem Ali appealed to the Supreme Court against the
death sentence.

Mir Quasem joined Islami Chhatra Sangha, then student wing of Jamaat, in 1967
while studying at Chittagong Collegiate School. He later became its Chittagong
City unit general secretary.

He played an important role in forming al-Badr Bahini that orchestrated
systematic killing of freedom fighters and intellectuals.

(source: Dhaka Tribune)






PAKISTAN:

Top court seeks report on death row convicts


The top court directed the federal government on Tuesday to submit a report on
the status of thousands of death row prisoners languishing in jails for years.

A 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, took
up a petition filed by Barrister Zafarullah, who requested the court to convert
the sentences of death row convicts into life imprisonment.

The petitioner also asked the SC to decide the fate of the condemned prisoners
in view of the terms they have served and the various changes occurred since
the Law Reforms Ordinance 1972.

Capital punishment is legal in Pakistan. There had been a moratorium on
executions since 2008, but it was lifted for terrorism cases as of December 16,
2014, following the massacre of nearly 150 people, mostly pupils, at the Army
Public School in Peshawar.

It has been reported that there are more than 6,000 death row prisoners in
Pakistan - more than anywhere in the world. Pakistan has executed 239 death row
convicts since the APS tragedy.

The bench directed Deputy Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti to file a report
on the status of death row prisoners within 15 days.

Last year the SC - while dismissing a plea of the same petitioner against
abolition of the death penalty in Pakistan - had observed that the right to
life and liberty is not absolute in nature; such a right is, however,
circumscribed and subject to law.

Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, while authoring the judgment, observed that the
petitioner had referred to Article 9 of the Constitution, which says no person
shall be deprived of life or liberty. But the court clarified that the right to
life and liberty is not absolute in nature and a person cannot be bereft of his
life and liberty except in accordance with the law.

Referring to Article 4(2)(a), the court said a person could be deprived of his
life and liberty if it is provided and prescribed by any law.

The judgment also said the petitioner had failed to show the court that on the
basis of 2 constitutional clauses, the top court could direct the abolition of
the death penalty in Pakistan and annul any law.

Regarding the petitioner's argument that Article 9 was not properly worded, the
parliament should make necessary amendment, said the judgment. "As regards the
argument that the criminal justice system is unfair, unreasonable and convicts
and death punishments lack due process, suffice it to say that this by itself
is not a threshold or touchstone for striking down any law, rather if there is
deficiency in the relevant law, it is the duty of parliament to provide it or
correct the law by amendment."

Referring to Article 10-A, the court said that if any person is aggrieved on
account of lack of fair trial or due process of law, he has the remedy of
approaching the appropriate forum to challenge such a trial and conviction.

(source: The Express Tribune)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-03 20:58:21 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 3


MYANMAR:

Chinese National, Accused of Murder, Allegedly Executed in Mong La


Accounts surfaced this week that authorities in Mong La, a special
administrative region known as a hub for illicit activity on the Sino-Burmese
border, may have executed a Chinese national after he was found guilty of
homicide and arson.

A statement bearing the official Mong La government stamp, published in the
media outlet of an ethnic Kokang rebel group, announced that a 42-year-old man
from Hunan Province had "murdered, made arson, bomb attacks and so on," and was
to be executed by gunfire on Jan. 30.

A "court investigation" found him guilty of illegal arms possession and
carrying out an arson attack resulting in the deaths of 7 people and the injury
of 4 others, according to the statement, which appeared to have been issued by
a regional court.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy on condition of anonymity, a Mong La resident said
that last week a man was paraded through the town on the back of a truck and
brought to the local football stadium, where hundreds of people had gathered.

"They did not execute him at the football stadium, they killed him on top of a
mountain," said the woman, who attended the public spectacle on the sporting
grounds. She said armed guards explained that the condemned man was a criminal
and would be shot to death, before they drove him out of view.

Photographs of the procession and the packed football field were uploaded on a
Facebook community page called "Ethnic Region Military Information," which has
more than 27,000 followers. The post was shared almost 1,000 times as of
Wednesday morning. The account regularly posts updates about armed ethnic
groups, but the identity of its administrators is unknown and its content has
not been verified by any official rebel-affiliated sources.

When contacted by The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, Mong La Governor Sai Mauk said he
was unaware of the incident as he was in Kunming, China, at the time it was
said to have occurred. Mong La, also known as Shan State Special Region 4, is
controlled by a non-state armed group called the National Democratic Alliance
Army (NDAA), and enjoys a high degree of autonomy from the central government.

The region, which borders China's Yunan Province, has a reputation as a nexus
of illegal activity; Mong La's eponymous main town is home to sprawling casinos
and brothels, and is a known destination for wildlife traffickers. Local
authorities have estimated that about 800 vehicles enter Mong La from China
every day for purposes of sex, gambling and trade. Despite its debauchery, Mong
La is also reputed for strict and selective law enforcement, dealing
heavy-handed punishments without due process.

While district-level courts in autonomous zones are authorized to issue the
death penalty, the ruling would be subject to appeal at a national court,
according to Sam Zarifi, regional director of the International Commission of
Jurists (ICJ).

"If this is in fact an Autonomous zone district court, there should have been
an appeal process," Zarifi told The Irrawaddy via email. "So, if the report is
true, it's a major problem for the rule of law in the country."

Overextending the zone's judicial authority would be particularly problematic
with regard to capital punishment, as Burma is considered a de facto
abolitionist state and has not openly carried out an execution in decades.
Further complicating matters is that the prisoner was a foreign national, and
it is unclear whether he had access to consular support.

Zarifi said Burma "should not be even considering bringing back the death
penalty in practice now, and especially not for a foreign national, based on an
opaque judicial process that faces serious questions about its fairness and
credibility and sits essentially outside the national legal system."

(source: The Irrawaddy)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-04 18:00:36 UTC
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Feb. 4




EGYPT:

Why an Egyptian appeals court overturned 149 death sentences ---- The grounds
for the appeals court ruling are still unclear, but the new trial will be held
in a criminal court.


Egypt's Court of Cassation, the country's highest appeals court, on Wednesday
ordered a retrial for 149 activists of the banned Muslim Brotherhood sentenced
to death.

The activists were handed capital sentences for allegedly storming a police
station in 2013 and killing 11 policemen and 2 civilians in a mob attack, a
judicial source said.

The grounds for the appeals court ruling are still unclear, but the new trial
will be held in a criminal court, and the defendants will have the right to
appeal the verdict at the high court.

The initial ruling took place in February 2015, amid a series of death
sentences and mass trials that were criticized internationally, as the
government cracked down on Muslim Brotherhood activists and supporters of
ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Mr. Morsi became Egypt's 1st democratically elected president after the
downfall of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but was himself overthrown by
the army in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. The overthrow of Morsi
ushered in the worst domestic bloodshed in the country's modern history,
according to human rights observers.

The Egyptian government has long drawn criticism from Western governments and
human rights organizations for cracking down on Morsi supporters. Since the
Egyptian leader was ousted from power in July 2013, hundreds of Morsi's
Islamist supporters have been killed, thousands jailed, and dozens sentenced to
death.

The United Nations has continually condemned the crackdowns and mass trials
that have left thousands of Brotherhood members and supporters jailed, calling
them "unprecedented in recent history."

Despite the outcry from rights advocates, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi vowed
to speed up the legal process to allow for quicker enforcement of death
sentences last June after the assassination of Egypt???s public prosecutor,
Hisham Barakat.

"The hand of justice is shackled by the law. We're not going to wait for this,"
Mr. Sisi said. "We're going to amend the law to allow us to implement justice
as soon as possible."

But since then, things have changed with the court overturning several death
penalties, a move that has been widely welcome by many rights advocates.

Last December, the same court overturned death sentences against Muslim
Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie and 36 others who were accused of "setting up
an '"operations room'" for the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in organized by Brotherhood
supporters after the military toppled then-President Morsi, according to Al
Jazeera.

Mr. Badie is, however, facing other trials, and has been sentenced to death in
a separate case along with Mr. Morsi for plotting prison breaks and attacks on
police during the 2011 uprising. Last month, the Egyptian Justice Minister
vowed to make sure that Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood members convicted to death
sentence will be executed if the appeal court upholds the sentences, the Middle
East Eye reported.

Under Egyptian law, death sentences are referred to the mufti, the government's
interpreter of Islamic law, who plays an advisory role. If he approves,
convictions are still subject to a lengthy appeals process.

(source: Christian Science Monitor)






NIGERIA:

DPC Supports Death Penalty For Corrupt Officials


The Democratic People's Congress (DPC) has thrown its weight behind the clamour
for death penalty for looters of public treasury.

Speaking in Abuja, yesterday, the national chairman of DPC, Rev. Olusegun
Peters said any public official who stole from the public should not be allowed
to serve only prison time but should face the death penalty. He said this would
serve as deterrent to potential looters of public treasury.

He urged the National Assembly to see how this measure can be incorporated into
the nation's laws.

Peters while hailing President Muhammadu Buhari over his campaign and war
against corruption, said that all patriotic Nigerians should rally round the
president to ensure that the war is not a one man war, but a war supported and
encouraged by all Nigerians.

He said that in the last 8 months President Buhari had succeeded in
repositioning the country for the much needed development . He warned that it
is too early to assess the current government given the enormity of the rot
inherited from the last administration.

He also expressed support for the reforms in the judiciary which he noted was
in order to give the needed impetus to the war against corruption. He added
that the party supports the president in his lamentation that the judiciary
needed to be encouraged more in order to eradicate corruption from the nation's
polity.

He called on the authorities to resuscitate the giving of grants to political
parties which the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led administration stopped,
insisting that such grants will ensure a level playing ground at the political
field which is presently dominated by well financed parties.

(source: lealdership.ng)






PAKISTAN:

Awaiting The Gallows


Pakistan has carried out more than 332 executions since lifting the moratorium
in December 2014. Recently, amidst another terror attack on the country, the
Supreme Court has asked the federal government to respond to a petition
requesting that the appeals of the many thousand prisoners on Pakistan's death
row be 'fast tracked'. These proceedings only serve to highlight the chaotic
state of Pakistan's criminal justice system, in particular the handling of
capital cases - arbitrarily and senselessly.

The petition noted that there were '7,124' inmates on Pakistan's death, who
were at various stages of the appeal process and requested the early disposal
of these appeals. The figure also included 532 mercy petitions before the
president, where a number of these have been pending for 19 years while
executions in 78 cases have been stayed on his orders.

Pakistan has the largest death row population in the world, and yet, there are
no credible statistics on the exact number of prisoners sentenced to death in
the country. Whilst it was reported here that there were 7,124 inmates on
Pakistan's death row, recent figures given in a report to the Senate put the
figure at 6,016 - both starkly different from the figure of 8,261 that was
provided by the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human rights in December 2014. But
simply fast tracking the petition does nothing to answer the question of who we
are actually executing, for what reason and who are waiting their turn.

In January 2015, the Minister of Interior, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, told the
House that 332 convicted 'terrorists' were executed since December 2014.
However, less than 1 in 6 of those being executed is connected to terrorism. A
further analysis of those executed conducted by the Justice Project Pakistan
has found that the vast majority of those being executed are not the
hard-bitten terrorists that the government would like us to believe. Rather,
the majority are people convicted of ordinary crimes, often in extremely unfair
trials, relying on evidence extracted through torture, and some of them
convicted as children.

As advocated by many activists, the application of the death penalty must be
reconsidered unless the judicial system is overhauled to ensure that those
awaiting the gallows are indeed guilty of the crimes they are charged with.
Fighting the war on terror must not be used as an excuse to forget procedural
safeguards and the entire purpose of the justice system, which is to ensure
that only those that are actually guilty pay the price. The judicial process
desperately needs to be transparent and accountable - in order to correctly use
capital punishment to deter crime and terrorism in the country. Until then, the
appeals of those on death row must be considered with the utmost care.

(source: Editorial, The Nation)






INDIA:

West Bengal: Death sentence to 11 for killing woman in a 2014 case----Among
those who were sentenced to death today is former Krishnaganj Trinamool
Congress leader Lankeswar Ghosh, but the ruling party has said that he was not
its member.


11 people including a former Trinamool Congress leader were awarded death
sentence by Nadia district court in West Bengal on Thursday for killing a woman
to grab government land about 14 months ago.

Judge Partha Sarathi Mukhopadhyay slapped death penalty on the 11 accused for
shooting to death Aparna Bag on November 23, 2014. One accused, Manabesh Biswas
is still absconding.

The 11 were convicted on Wednesday and the punishment was pronounced by the
court on Thursday.

They were charged under sections 9B of Explosive, 27/35 of Arms Act, IPC 307
(attempt to murder) and 302 (murder).

Among those who were sentenced to death today is former Krishnaganj Trinamool
Congress leader Lankeswar Ghosh, but the ruling party has said that he was not
its member.

The woman was killed when Ghosh along with his gang tried to seize land at
Ghungragachhi under Krishnaganj block, which belongs to Refugee and Refugee
Rehabilitation Department of West Bengal Government.

The land was being tilled by 55 families for long and they claimed to have its
possession. Some had even sold portions they claimed were theirs.

On November 23, 2014, Ghosh along with his men appeared on the field on a
tractor and tried to take over the land by force and was faced with resistance
by the tillers.

In the clash that ensued there was firing and 3 women received bullet injuries.
Aparna Bag was hit on her chest and died. 2 other women - Shyamali Tarafdar was
hit on her jaw and Latika Tarafdar on her head. A student Rajiv Mondal too was
hit by a bullet on his leg. The 3, however, recovered later.

A complaint was lodged with the police by Dipankar Biswas of Ghungragachhi and
a case was initiated and 11 out of the 12 accused were arrested and kept in
jail.

Aparna's 2 daughters Devika and Nilima were the main witnesses.

The 11 sentenced to death were Ghosh, Palash Ghosh, Sanat Ghosh, Shyamal Ghosh,
Jhantu Ghosh, Goutam Ghosh, Paresh Ghosh, Joydeb Ghosh, Nepal Ghosh, Rajkumar
Ghosh and Basu Ghosh.

(source: indianexpress.com)

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

Men convicted for raping, killing BPO staffer in Pune seek mercy


2 men who raped and murdered a BPO employee in Pune in 2007 have moved a mercy
plea before the Maharashtra Governor. The convicts - cab driver Purushottam
Dasharath Borate and his wall-painter friend Pradeep Yashwant Kokade - were
sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in May 2015 for raping and killing
22-year-old Jyotikumari Chaudhary. The apex court had said the 2 were a threat
to the society and deserved no leniency.

Highly placed sources in the home department confirmed that the duo has sought
mercy from the Governor. The department, however, has recommended no mercy plea
for them.

Awarding the punishment, a bench of chief justice H L Dattu and justices S A
Bobde and Arun Mishra had said the manner in which an innocent and helpless
woman was raped and murdered shocked and repulsed the collective conscience of
the community and the court, warranting award of death penalty to deter other
potential offenders from committing such crimes.

"This court has no hesitation in holding that this case falls within the
category of rarest of rare, which merits death penalty and none else. The
collective conscience of the community is so shocked by this crime that
imposing an alternate sentence, ie a sentence of life imprisonment, on the
accused persons would not meet the ends of justice," it had said.

Jyotikumari had boarded the regular cab contracted by the company to report for
night shift on November 1, 2007. Driver Borate and his friend Kokade changed
the route, took her to a remote place and raped her. After sexually assaulting
her, the duo strangled her to death and disfigured her face, inflicting
injuries with a sharp weapon to hide her identity.

The court had expressed concern that such crimes against women were increasing
and particularly against those working in night shifts. It had said there were
a "shockingly" large number of cases where the sentence of punishment awarded
to the accused was not in proportion to the gravity of the offence, thereby
encouraging criminals and making justice suffer by weakening the system's
credibility.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Dattu had said, "Society today has
been infected with a lawlessness that has gravely undermined social order.
Protection of society and stamping out criminal proclivity must be the object
of law, which may be achieved by imposing appropriate sentence."

Borate had pleaded for leniency, saying he was the sole breadwinner for his
family of a young wife, minor children and old parents. The bench had replied,
"With the gruesome act of raping a victim who had reposed her trust in the
accused followed by a cold-blooded and brutal murder coupled with the
calculated and remorseless conduct of the accused after the commission of the
offence, we cannot resist from concluding that depravity of the appellants'
offence would attract no lesser sentence than the death penalty."

(source: dnaindia.com)

***********

2 youths awarded death sentence for brutally killing child


2 youths were today sentenced to death by a local court for kidnapping and
brutally murdering an eight-year-old boy in 2014.

Principal District and Sessions Judge Kishore Sonowane awarded the punishment
to Rajesh Dhanalal Daware (21) and his friend Arvind Abhilash Singh (25) for
killing Yug Chandak.

Convicting them under IPC sections 364 (a) (kidnapping for ransom) and 302
(murder), the judge said it was an act of vengeance and stemmed from their
dream of minting money.

In a packed courtroom where both the convicts and the child's father were
present, Judge Sonowane observed that though the accused were young, they
deserve no leniency or mercy, and found them guilty of the brutal killing of
the Class II student in September 2014.

The judge observed that as per High Court and Supreme Court guidelines to deal
with kidnapping and killing of children, the court was satisfied with the
evidences and motive of both the accused for killing the child.

The judge then ordered them to be hanged till death.

He also awarded life imprisonment to the 2 youths and imposed a penalty of Rs
10,000 for conspiracy, and also sentenced them to another 7 years' imprisonment
along with Rs 5,000 fine for destroying evidences.

The judge observed that both the youths had kidnapped Yug as they wanted to
become rich by demanding ransom, and in the process killed the innocent child
in a brutal manner and hit his face with stones to destroy evidence, and also
buried the body. The perpetrators, both B Com students from a college at
Kamptee Road, were convicted under sections 302 (murder), 364-A (kidnapping for
ransom), 201 (destruction of evidence), and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

Daware's 17-year-old younger brother, who assisted them in the conspiracy, has
already been referred to a juvenile remand home.

About 26 injuries were found on Yug's body, including those on the neck.

None of the 50 witnesses examined by the prosecution turned hostile, as per
Additional Public Prosecutor Jyoti Vajani, Chandak family's counsel Rajendra
Daga and Investigation Officer (IO) from Lakadganj Police Station, Satyanarayan
Jaiswal.

According to them, they brought to fore as many as 20 circumstances to prove
complicity of the accused in the crime.

With a view to take revenge from Dr Mukesh Chandak, who runs a nursing home in
eastern part of city, for what Daware claimed as humiliation meted out to him
by the doctor and extract ransom, the accused hatched the conspiracy to kidnap
and kill Yug.

The duo executed their plan and brutally killed the child by strangulating him
on September 1, 2014.

They later buried the body in sand under pipes near a culvert on the desolate
Gumthi-Gumthala Road near Patansawangi village, about 27 kms from Nagpur.

The duo had planned their escape after receiving money, but were arrested the
next day after Chandak's family raised suspicion on Daware.

During interrogation, both the accused confessed to have killed the boy and led
the investigators to the spot where they had buried the child's body.

The incident rattled Nagpur residents and many of them joined hands to condole
Yug's death. Candle marches were taken out in support of the Chandak family and
demand was raised for death sentence to the perpetrators of the innocent
child's killing.

The court relied on a number of factors, apart from strong testimony of 50
witnesses to nail the culprits.

It included CCTV footage at a petrol pump where the accused filled up their
bike tank after kidnapping the child, last seen theory of many witnesses,
recovery of child's clothes from the spot shown by accused and Yug's earring
which was traced to Arvind Singh's home.

Even the call details records and, more importantly, the testimony of Daware's
girlfriend went against them.

2 school students from Patansawangi village, who saw the duo taking Yug on
their bikes, were also made witnesses by the prosecution after requesting their
parents.

According to police, Daware was familiar with the place where the body was
buried as often used to take a break at the spot with his girlfriend while
returning from a religious place.

The prosecution lawyers had earlier cited 3 landmark Supreme Court verdicts to
press for death penalty to the accused, while terming the case as "rarest of
rare" with no signs of reformation of the 2 accused.

(source: Press Trust of India)






THAILAND:

Murder and Rape Reignites Death Penalty Campaign


A horrific murder and rape in southern Thailand has sparked a campaign to
prevent death sentences from being overturned for those convicted of deadly
sexual assaults.

Spearheaded by actress-turned-activist Panadda Wongphudee, its supporters call
for an end to the right of convicted murderer-rapists to seek sentence
reductions or pardons, which campaigners said allow the perpetrators to leave
prison too soon and go on to repeat their crimes.

The petition comes in reaction to a group of men accused of holding a young
woman in a jungle hut in Phatthalung province for 3 days before sexually
assaulting her in front of her boyfriend, who they then killed, and leaving her
for dead.

Although none of the four suspects arrested Monday is known to have been
convicted of such acts or received early release from prison, the horror of the
crime has again tapped into a well of anger over violence against women and the
perception that the law does not take it seriously.

"They confessed and they are minors, so they will certainly get a reduced
sentence, but they don't look repentant [on TV] at all," Panadda said. "So what
can we do to make sure that they will really change their way?"

2 of the 4 suspects at police news conference on Feb. 2 in Phatthalung province

Panadda and her supporters, who are working on obtaining 100,000 signatures in
a petition to forward to the military government, would also like to see minors
given harsher sentences and remove the right to appeal for pardons in such
cases.

But some rights activists urge caution, saying that tougher sentences,
including executions, would not solve the problem of serious crime.

For Jaded Chouwilai, the director of the Women and Men Progressives Foundation,
the most important thing is for prisons to reform sex offenders instead of just
heaping lengthy jail terms on them as a punishment.

"I want society to look at the problem: how to make rapists in prison change
themselves, how to make them acknowledge that they did wrong," Jaded said. "If
we tell them that they are [inherently] bad people, they will just stay the
same in prison. They will stay the same when they are released, because they
are already branded as bad people."

His view is shared by Chamnan Chanruang, chairman of Amnesty International's
chapter in Thailand, which has been campaigning for abolition of the death
sentence in the Kingdom for years.

"They should focus more on the criminology system and society and see what
factors drove people to commit crimes," Chamnan said.

According to Chamnan, tougher sentences would only affect poor and marginalized
people such as migrant workers. As an example, he cited the disproportionately
high rate of incarceration of black Americans in the United States.

"Only poor and marginalized people get the blunt-end of tough punishment. All
the rich and wealthy people manage to get away," Chamnan said.

Voices Against Injustice

This is the 2nd time in as many years a horrific crime has ignited such a
campaign. In July 2014, in the wake of the rape and murder of a 13-year-old
girl on a train in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, Panadda was the most public
face of outrage calling for convicted rapists to be eligible for the death
penalty without possibility of pardon.

Although the death penalty is enshrined under the law for serious offenses -
including deadly sexual assault - Thailand has not executed any prisoner since
2009.

Those behind the current campaign however are pushing to remove opportunities
for convicted offenders to get off the hook and face the full punishment handed
down by judges.

One practical reason, Pannada said, is that many rape victims live in the same
communities as their attackers, and often have to move away if their attackers
are released and return.

"How much fear do victims have to live with? Why do victims have to move their
homes? How long do they have to run? Is it fair for the victims?" she said.

She also wants to take away the legal rights of adult convicts in deadly sexual
assault cases to seek a Royal Pardon from His Majesty the King.

"Rape and murder deserves execution," she said.

Misplaced Anger

Foundation director Jaded said anger over injustice in cases involving violence
against women is understandable.

However the present campaign for tougher sentencing is "misplaced," he said,
because he's unaware of any cases where someone convicted of sexual assault and
murder won an early release and then repeated the crime.

Instead, he said, the society should focus on "real injustices," such as rape
being classified a personal matter which can be settled out of court under the
law, which allows perpetrators to buy their way out of justice, especially when
their victims are from poor backgrounds.

"I am not accusing police of anything, but it's true that many victims were
forced to settle. So many of them. And these cases don't get to the news. The
society should pay more attention to this kind of issues." Jaded said, adding,
"There are so many real injustices that don't make it to the press."

(source: khaosodenglish.com)



PHILIPPINES/MALAYSIA:

Pinoy facing drug charges in Malaysia offered chance to escape death penalty


A Filipino facing possible death sentence in Malaysia for drug trafficking has
been offered the lesser charge of drug possession, an online report said
Wednesday.

If convicted on the lesser charge, Hamid Ali, 34, will likely be sentenced to
life imprisonment or not less than 5 years and a minimum of 10 strokes of the
cane, according to a report on the Daily Express.

Drug trafficking, meanwhile, is punishable by death in Malaysia under Section
39B(1)(a) of its Dangerous Drugs Act, the report said. Ali was charged with
drug trafficking on August 14, 2014 after he was found with 63.06 grams of
shabu or methamphetamine hydrochloride in front of a budget hotel in Ranau.

The report said the prosecution offered the alternative charge on Tuesday when
Ali's case was brought for mention before High Court Deputy Registrar Mohd
Zairi Zainal Abidin.

Abidin has set February 18 for Ali's hearing should the suspect pleads guilty
to drug possession.

Ali currently serves a 5-year jail term and was ordered caned twice for taking
drugs .

(source: gmanetwork.com)


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Feb. 4




IRAN----juvenile executions

2 Baluchi Juvenile Offenders Executed in Iran


According to close sources, 2 Baluchi prisoners were hanged to death at Yazd
Central Prison on drug related charges.

The executions were reportedly carried out on Monday February 1. According to
the Baloch Activists Campaign, the names of the prisoners are Khaled Kordi and
Moslem Abarian. A relative of Khaled Kordi confirms to Iran Human Rights that
both prisoners were under the age of 18 at the time of their arrests. Iranian
authorities carried out the executions without informing the family members of
the prisoners.

The 2 prisoners were reportedly riding a bus to work when they were arrested by
Iranian authorities for drug offenses. The relative tells IHR that he believes
Khaled and Moslem were innocent and the drugs were planted on them by someone
else on the bus.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran is a signatory of,
bans death sentences for offenses committed under the age of 18.

(source: Iran Human Rights)

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

U.N. panel rebukes Iran for allowing sex, execution at 9 years old


Iran must reform its laws that allows girls as young as nine to be executed for
crimes or forced into sexual relations with older husbands, a United Nations
watchdog said on Thursday.

Iran continues to execute children and youth who committed a crime while under
18 years of age, in violation of international standards, the U.N. Committee on
the Rights of the Child said, after its 18 independent experts reviewed Iran
and 13 other countries.

"The age of criminal responsibility in Iran is discriminatory, it is lower and
lower for girls, that is to say 9 lunar years while for boys it is 15. At 9 a
girl can marry, even if the law sets the age at 13," said Hynd Ayoubi Idrissi,
a panel member.

9 lunar years in the Iranian calendar is equivalent to 8 years and 9 months, a
U.N. spokeswoman said.

The age for boys having criminal responsibility is 15, but the age for girls at
9 is "extremely low", Idrissi said.

The experts deplored that Iran "allows sexual intercourse with girls as young
as 9 lunar years and that other forms of sexual abuse of even young children is
not criminalised". They called for the age of sexual consent to be raised to
16.

"The Committee is seriously concerned about the reports of increasing numbers
of girls at the age of 10 years or younger who are subjected to child and
forced marriages to much older men."Girls suffered discrimination in the
family, in the criminal justice system, in property rights, and elsewhere,
while a legal obligation for girls to be subject to male guard6ianship is
"incompatible" Tehran's treaty obligations, the panel said.

Iran made "positive progress" last year with a new Criminal Procedure Code that
introduced juvenile courts, but nevertheless there were very serious concerns,
the panel's chairman Benyam Mezmur told a news briefing.

"The age of criminal responsibility is very low and there are instances where
the death penalty can apply for persons below the age of 18 or for offences
they committed while below the age of 18," Mezmur said.

There were no figures for the number of executions of children or juvenile
offenders, nor those imprisoned, due to secrecy surrounding the cases, he
added.

(source: Reuters)






BAHRAIN:

European Parliament condemns death penalty, torture in Bahrain


The European Parliament has condemned the use of torture and the death penalty
in Bahrain, demanding the release of a man sentenced to death after allegedly
confessing under torture.

In a resolution passed on Thursday, the body called on Bahraini ruler Sheikh
Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa to pardon 32-year-old airport guard Mohammed Ramadan.

Ramadan was arrested on 18 February 2014 - allegedly without a warrant - on
suspicion of involvement in a bombing that killed a member of the security
forces 4 days earlier.

Ramadan and Husain Ali Mossa, who had been arrested previously, reported that
they were tortured into confessing to the crime, and later retracted their
confessions and complained of having been coerced.

Despite this, no investigation was launched and the pair were sentenced to
death in December 2014.

The case has already been highlighted by five UN human rights experts, who in
August 2014 expressed their concerns over the fairness of the trial to the
Bahraini government.

A resolution was co-authored by Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, who called it "a
strong message to our friends in Bahrain that we are confident Bahrain can move
in the right direction.

"Today, the Parliament firmly condemned the continuing use of torture by the
security forces against prisoners and the use of Bahrain's anti-terrorism laws
to punish citizens for their political beliefs."

The resolution has been welcomed by Bahraini human rights organisations, who
warned on Thursday that Ramadan had exhausted all legal avenues of appeal and
stands at risk of imminent execution.

(source: middleeasteye.net)


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Feb. 5




INDONESIA:

Australian resident facing possible death penalty in Indonesia denies poisoning
murder


The woman accused of being the 'coffee killer' is a permanent Australian
resident who is facing the possibility of the death penalty after allegedly
lacing her friend's iced coffee with cyanide on a holiday in Indonesia.

Jessica Kumala Wongso, 27, was charged with premeditated murder earlier this
week over the death of her friend Wayan Mirna Salihin, 27, on January 6.

If found guilty, the charge carries a minimum jail sentence of 20 years and a
maximum penalty of life in prison or death.

Mirna died in Jakarta, Indonesia after having an iced coffee with Jessica and
another friend, Hani, at the Olivier cafe in Grand Indonesia shopping mall
earlier this month.

Police have accused Jessica of lacing Mirna's drink with cyanide after the
newlywed reportedly sipped the iced coffee then started convulsing. She was
rushed to hospital and died that day.

Jessica, who denies involvement in Mirna's death, was the one who ordered the
drink that killed Mirna, according to police.

News.com.au can exclusively reveal that Jessica, her parents and 2 siblings
have been permanent residents of Australia since emigrating from Indonesia
about 8 years ago.

The family resides in Sydney.

A source close to the family told news.com.au that Jessica was on holidays in
Indonesia with her parents and was due to return to work as a graphic designer
in Sydney just weeks after her arrest.

"She's innocent," the source, who is in contact with Jessica, said. "She's just
a common Australian; a 27-year-old young lady who was having a coffee then got
into trouble for something she didn't do.

"She was in the wrong place at the wrong time and (now) she could die."

NSW Ambulance confirmed Jessica was employed with the service until just a few
months ago.

"Jessica Wongso was employed as a temporary agency contractor in an
administrative position within NSW Ambulance from July 2014 until her
resignation in November 2015," a statement issued to news.com.au from NSW
Ambulance read.

"As this is a matter under police investigation, NSW Ambulance is unable to
comment further."

The Jakarta Post reported the Australian Federal Police was contacted by
Jakarta Police "to look into the relationship between Mirna and the friends
during their time studying together", reportedly at Sydney's Billy Blue College
of Design and Swinburne University of Technology.

Wayan Mirna Salihin died from suspected cyanide poisoning. Her friend Jessica
Kumala Wongso has been arrested in relation to Mirna's death.

The AFP confirmed "it has been approached by the Indonesian National Police
(INP) in relation to this matter".

"The AFP is currently considering this request in accordance with normal
police-to-police assistance processes and policies," an AFP spokesman said.

"It is not appropriate for the AFP to comment on an INP investigation.

"As this is a matter for Indonesian authorities, further questions should be
directed to the Indonesian authorities."

Indonesian chief detective Krishna Murti said police have gathered about 20
witness statements, including evidence from experts, and conducted a
re-enactment.

"Jessica's statement is highly inconsistent with the facts we have gathered,"
Mr Murti told reporters. "We will confirm whether her statement as a suspect is
still consistent with her one as a witness or if she will give another
statement."

Indonesia National Police Commission member Edi Saputra Hasibuan said the
cafe's CCTV footage allegedly shows Jessica moving "the coffee drink ...
twice".

Jessica's lawyer Yudi Wibowo said the evidence was "legally insufficient" and
fails to show "her physically pouring poison into the coffee".

Yudi said Jessica was innocent.

"She is not afraid. She is tough because she has done nothing wrong in relation
to the case," he said earlier this month.

Yudi has questioned the autopsy process undertaken on Mirna's body, saying he
did not believe she died from cyanide poisoning, as her friend Hani had sipped
coffee from the same cup.

Police confirmed they found cyanide in Mirna's stomach and in the coffee she
drank before her death.

Yudi has called for a 2nd autopsy to be conducted in another hospital, after it
was first completed in Kramat Jati Police Hospital on January 10.

Mirna recently married her partner, Arief Soemarko.

Yudi also denied rumours there was a love triangle between his client and
Mirna's husband.

"There is nothing like that. Jessica has a boyfriend overseas," he said,
according to local media reports.

(source: The Cairns Post)






MALAYSIA:

Hundreds of Indonesian Workers Face Death Penalty in Malaysia


A total 126 Indonesian Migrant Workers are facing the death penalty in
Malaysia, according to Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, director for the protection of
Indonesian nationals and legal aid at the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

"The government is looking for solutions to address the issue," Iqbal said at
the Ponorogo Legislative Council (DPRD) on Thursday, February 4, 2016.

Iqbal suggested that issues with Indonesian migrant workers could be addressed
by consultation, legal and diplomatic efforts. Institutions involved in
conducting the efforts include the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Manpower
Ministry and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

Over the last few years, the institutions had been cooperating to save migrant
workers from the capital sentence. Iqbal revealed that a total of 282 migrant
workers in Malaysia had been saved from the death penalty in the period of
2013-2015.

Migrant Institute Executive Director Adi Candra Utama said that drugs cases
entangling migrant workers were caused by domestic issues. Based on
investigations, Adi added, age manipulation cases were commonly found. "The
[data] manipulation occurs starting from the lowest level (from the village),"
Adi said.

The internal factor had resulted in 80 % of migrant workers' issues. Meanwhile,
the external factors accounted for 20 % of migrant worker cases.

"We need to reform the system from the top to provide better protection for
migrant workers," Adi suggested.

(source: tempo.co)






THAILAND:

Murder and rape reignites death penalty campaign


A horrific murder and rape in southern Thailand has sparked a campaign to
prevent death sentences from being overturned for those convicted of deadly
sexual assaults.

Spearheaded by actress-turned-activist Panadda Wongphudee, its supporters call
for an end to the right of convicted murderer-rapists to seek sentence
reductions or pardons, which campaigners said allow the perpetrators to leave
prison too soon and go on to repeat their crimes.

The petition comes in reaction to a group of men accused of holding a young
woman in a jungle hut in Phatthalung province for 3 days before sexually
assaulting her in front of her boyfriend, who they then killed, and leaving her
for dead.

Although none of the 4 suspects arrested Monday is known to have been convicted
of such acts or received early release from prison, the horror of the crime has
again tapped into a well of anger over violence against women and the
perception that the law does not take it seriously.

"They confessed and they are minors, so they will certainly get a reduced
sentence, but they don't look repentant [on TV]at all," Panadda said. "So what
can we do to make sure that they will really change their way?"

(source: thaivisa.com)






PAKISTAN:

Death penalty: Convict to be executed on Feb 9


On 9th February 2016 death sentence of a criminal will be carried out in
Central Jail Bahawalpur.Superintendent Central Jail Bahawalpur District and
Session Judge Bahawalpur Rana Masood Akhtar issued a letter setting the date of
the execution of Haider Shahzad. Shahzad was involved in a murder case
registered in Hasilpur police station.

(source: The Express Tribune)






INDIA:

Death penalty: 'Rarest of rare' cases are not so rare in India now


A West Bengal court's verdict awarding death penalty to 11 convicts, including
a Trinamool Congress leader, for the murder of a woman has raised questions
over the doctrine of 'rarest of rare' propounded by the Supreme Court.

Aparna Bag, a resident of Ghughurgachi of Nadia district of West Bengal, was
murdered by a group of people on November 13, 2014 over a land dispute. On
Thursday, a court in Krishnanagar handed death sentence to the 11 accused.

Death penalty in India

In India, death penalty is prescribed for murder, gang robbery with murder,
abetting the suicide of a child or insane person, waging war against the
government and abetting mutiny by a member of the armed forces. Capital
punishment is also awarded under some anti-terror laws for those convicted of
terrorist activities.

Murder convicts get life imprisonment

Generally, courts award life imprisonment to convicts in a murder case. Only in
"rarest of rare" cases, murder convicts are given death penalty.

Death sentence is imposed on the convict only when the court comes to the
conclusion that life imprisonment is inadequate having regard to the facts and
circumstances of the case.

Section 354(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which was added to the
Code in 1973, requires a judge to give "special reasons" for awarding death
sentences. Capital punishment can be inflicted only in gravest cases of extreme
culpability and in choosing the sentence the condition of the convict is also
to be taken into account.

What is "rarest of rare"?

In 1980, in the Bachan Singh case, the Supreme Court propounded the "rarest of
rare" doctrine and since then, life sentence is the rule and the death sentence
the exception.

There is no statutory definition of "rarest of rare". It depends upon facts and
circumstances of a particular case, brutality of the crime, conduct of the
offender, previous history of his involvement in crime, chances of reforming
and integrating him into the society etc.

Test for "rarest of rare"

The generally applied test while sentencing a convict to death is whether the
survival of an orderly society demands extinction of life of the person who has
committed the offence and whether failure to impose death sentence on him would
bring to naught the sentence of death provided under Section 302 of IPC.

Pre-planned, brutal, cold-blooded and sordid nature of a crime, without giving
any chance to the victim, are generally taken into account to decide whether a
particular case falls within the parameters of "rarest of rare".

What does Supreme Court say?

"Death penalty should be imposed when collective conscience of the society is
so shocked that it will expect the holders of the judicial power centre to
inflict death penalty irrespective of their personal opinion as regards
desirability of otherwise of retaining death penalty," said the Supreme Court
in Bachan Singh Vs. State of Punjab.

The crime has to be viewed from various angles - manner of commission of
murder, motive for commission of murder, anti-social or socially abhorrent
nature of crime and magnitude and personality of victim of murder.

Are trial courts following "rarest of rare" doctrine"?

But the manner in which death penalty is being given in a large number of cases
raises a serious question. Are trial courts in India giving a go by to the
'rarest of rare' doctrine?

The question becomes all the more relevant because not all convicts awarded
death penalty are executed in India.

The number of death sentences pronounced has been very high despite the "rarest
of rare" doctrine that limits the scope of awarding capital punishment.

According to an Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) report - The State of
Death Penalty in India 2013 - Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 370 death
sentences, followed by Bihar (132). But sentences for 4,321 convicts were
commuted from death penalty to life imprisonment during this period. This, of
course, included many convicts who were given death penalty before 2001.

The highest number of commutation - 2,462 - happened in Delhi, followed by
Uttar Pradesh (458). But thousands of convicts still remain on the death row.

Huge gap between death sentence and actual execution

Data show there is a huge gap between death sentences pronounced and actual
executions. According to an ACHR report based on National Crime Records Bureau
(NCRB) data, there have been several death sentences between 2001 and 2011, but
only a few of these have actually been carried out.

Indian courts awarded death penalty to 1,455 convicts from 2001-11, an average
of around 132 convicts per year. But an overwhelming number of death sentences
were commuted to life imprisonment during this period.

The only convict to be executed during this period was Dhananjoy Chatterjee
(2004) who was hanged for the murder and rape of a 14-year old girl in Kolkata.
This was the country's 1st execution since April 27, 1995, when Auto Shankar, a
serial killer, was executed in Salem, Tamil Nadu.

Thereafter, there have been only 3 executions - Mumbai terror attack case
convict Ajmal Kasab in 2012, Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru in 2013
and Mumbai serial blasts case convict Yakub Memon in 2015.

Is SC becoming averse to death penalty?

The president and governors are exercising the power "to grant pardons, etc.,
and to suspend, remit or commute sentences in certain cases", given to them,
under Articles 72 and 161, to save a fairly large number of convicts from the
gallows.

While the executive have been refusing mercy pleas of only terror convicts,
judiciary is not following the same.

Of late, the Supreme Court has refused to impose capital punishment in cases in
which one would have expected it to send the convicts to the gallows. Many were
surprised when the SC declined to award death sentence to the convicts in the
Graham Staines, Jessica Lall and Priyadarshini Mattoo murder cases on the
ground that these did not fall within the category of "rarest of rare".

It commuted the death penalty of Rajiv Gandhi's killers to life imprisonment in
February 2014 on the ground of inordinate delay in deciding their mercy pleas.
A month later, it also commuted the death sentence of 1993 Delhi terror convict
Devender Pal Singh Bhullar to life imprisonment on the grounds of delay in
deciding his mercy petition and that he suffered from a mental illness.

Punishment is natural response to crime

This principle is almost universally accepted and that letting off criminals
can result in vigilante justice. Also, the punishment has to be proportionate
to the degree of wrongdoing and mitigating circumstances have to be considered
while deciding the quantum of punishment.

Should India abolish death penalty?

India has been voting against a UN resolution calling for a moratorium on the
death penalty. But in effect, there has been a near moratorium on the death
penalty in India.

According to Amnesty International, in India, at least 100 people in 2007, 40
in 2006, 77 in 2005, 23 in 2002, and 33 in 2001 were sentenced, but not
executed, to death.

India's figure is minuscule compared to China which executed thousands, Iran
(1,663), Saudi Arabia (423), the US (220) and Pakistan (171) during 2007-12.

ACHR director and coordinator of the National Campaign for Abolition of Death
Penalty in India, Suhas Chakma, says: "The sanctity of the rarest of rare
doctrine has been eroded considerably and awarding death penalty has become
routine for courts in India.

"India should abolish death penalty altogether and join the comity of civilised
nations that have done away with this extreme form of punishment," says Chakma.

(source: Hindustan Times)


_______________________________________________
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Rick Halperin
2016-02-06 15:36:49 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 6




CHINA:

Investigative Report: A Hospital Built for Murder----Tens of thousands may have
been killed so the Tianjin First Central Hospital in China could transplant
organs for profit


By 2006, from his base at the Tianjin First Central Hospital, Dr. Shen
Zhongyang had performed over 1,600 liver transplantations, boastful Chinese
media reports say. Tianjin First, a hospital whose transplant ward he led, was
just getting a new, well-funded building courtesy of the local government. Shen
had patented his own surgical technique for rapid liver perfusion and
extraction, and official transplantation websites were calling him China's
"great transplant pioneer."

With all the celebration in the Chinese press of the doctor's life-saving
operations, little attention was paid to the sources of the organs he
transplanted. Dr. Shen's career was being built on a pile of corpses - that
much was apparent - but the real question was: where did they come from?

The official explanation, that only formally executed prisoners are used,
relies for its credibility on the number of transplants corresponding roughly
with the number of executions. In Tianjin, that would be about 40 executions a
year - a number derived from calculating the city's population against the
national death row total.

Official numbers from the hospital are scarce, but penetrating that secrecy
makes clear that Tianjin First Central Hospital, one of the busiest and most
acclaimed in the country, for years having enjoyed extensive official backing,
transplanted many times more organs than a supply of executed prisoners could
support. Moreover, it appears to have transplanted many times more organs than
it says it did.

In a detailed study of its activities based on publicly available documents,
Epoch Times found sufficient evidence to throw into great doubt, if not
demolish entirely, the official narrative of organ sourcing in China. This is
simply due to the number of transplants: they are far too high.

That's a problem for China.

It means that the vast majority of organs transplanted at the Tianjin First
Central Hospital - and by extension, other major hospitals around the country -
could not have come from executed prisoners. Nor did they come from volunteers
in any significant numbers, given that it is only very recently that a
voluntary organ donation system has been attempted in China, and it is still in
its fledgling stages.

This inevitably raises another question, which the Chinese authorities have
found particularly vexing but have never addressed: where did the organs
actually come from? What is the secret organ source that in the year 2000
suddenly became the basis for a nationwide expansion of organ transplant
capacity, for which the Tianjin First Central Hospital stands as an exemplar?

For years human rights researchers have alleged that the captive population of
Falun Gong adherents, a persecuted Chinese spiritual practice, is the likely
source. The gaping disparity in the Tianjin case, along with a variety of other
circumstantial evidence, adds ammunition and urgency to their claims.

This issue has largely been dodged by luminaries in the international medical
community. But the circumstantial evidence bolstering the alternative
explanation - organized mass murder of prisoners of conscience, using the tools
of medicine, in the service of profit, by the world's most populous nation -
continues to grow, and with it frustration among doctors that nothing is being
done.

A Surgeon Starting

In the late 1990s, Shen Zhongyang, a liver transplant surgeon, was at a
definite ebb in his career: the organ transplantation industry in China was
little developed, operations were risky, so willing recipients were few, and
organ supplies were limited.

In May of 1994, he rendered Tianjin its first liver transplant after persuading
a 37-year-old migrant worker suffering from cirrhosis to undergo a transplant.
At the time, transplants were done free of charge for the recipients, largely
due to the low success rate.

Years passed with no notable developments, and in 1998 Shen returned from Japan
where he had obtained his M.D. Upon return, he spent his own money (100,000
yuan, or $15,000) to set up a small transplant unit at the Tianjin First
Central Hospital.

Progress was slow at first: by the end of 1998 his transplant unit performed
just seven liver transplants. In 1999, they performed 24.

In 2000, things quickly turned around as a new organ supply abruptly came
online. Over the next decade Shen Zhongyang did some of the briskest organ
transplantation business in China.

In Tianjin, numbers kept going up: 209 liver transplants by January 2002; and
then a cumulative total of 1,000 by the end of 2003, according to a report in
Enorth Netnews, the mouthpiece of the Tianjin municipal government.

Tianjin First Central Hospital's successes are a microcosm of the Chinese organ
transplantation system: its operations are opaque; paramilitary ties lurk in
the background; organ procurement remains unexplained and rapid, suggestive of
a pool of donors waiting to be selected from; and the surgical techniques are
consistent with live or close-to-live harvesting from donors.

Doing the Build-Out

The most significant moment for the expansion of Tianjin First, an apparent
sign of confidence of continued abundant organ supply, was the 130 million yuan
($20 million) investment in December 2003 by the Tianjin Municipal Bureau of
Health to construct a 17-story (including a ground and 2 basement levels)
transplant building.

Named the Orient Organ Transplant Center, with a 500 bed capacity and floor
space of 36,000 square-meters, it was to become a "comprehensive transplant
center capable of liver, kidney, pancreas, bone, skin, hair, stem cell, heart,
lung, cornea, and throat transplants," according to Enorth Netnews. The entire
Tianjin First Central Hospital then consisted of an emergency ward, an
outpatient center, and the transplant building towering above them both.

By 2004, while the Oriental Organ building was under construction, in order to
accommodate demand, Shen???s transplant empire expanded to 5 branches sprinkled
across Tianjin, Beijing, and Shandong Province. In their official materials,
the group claimed to perform the highest number of liver transplants in the
world, and the highest number of kidney transplants in China.

The Beijing branch was located in the General Hospital of the People's Armed
Police, the Communist Party's 1-million strong paramilitary force, where Shen
Zhongyang served as director of the transplant department.

If one transplant center in China had to be chosen for its notoriety, it would
probably be the Orient. The facility became a major headache for Chinese
authorities, Western apologists, and the official story behind China???s
transplant industry.

Hospital With a History

Ethan Gutmann, a researcher whose 2014 book, "The Slaughter," documents what he
says is the mass killing of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience for their
organs, described the website as his "favorite party trick."

"I would speak to a college audience and ask anyone who had any doubts to visit
the website on their smartphones," he said in an interview with Epoch Times
shortly after the website advertising the services of the hospital was shut
down in June 2014.

It was precisely this center that inspired an exasperated letter in early 2014
from the normally deferential international transplantation establishment,
rebuking China for flouting recent promises to no longer use organs from
executed prisoners.

"The Tianjin website continues to recruit international patients who are
seeking organ transplants," the letter co-signed by The Transplantation Society
says. "The underlying abuse by these medical professionals and widespread
collusion for profit are unacceptable."

It was a high-profile operation targeting wealthy customers with a premium,
very rare product: fresh human organs available at a rapid turnaround, no
questions asked.

That a center so large and sophisticated would be built, staffed, equipped, and
operated at high capacity for nearly a decade, when China had practically no
voluntary donations, has chilling implications, researchers say.

"It means there's an absolute conviction that you're going to find donors to
supply those organs," said Maria Fiatarone Singh, a professor of health
medicine at the University of Sydney, in a telephone interview.

"In the context of no voluntary donation system, it implies a complete belief
that this unethical supply will be huge and continuous, and that there's a huge
profit to make from it." Singh is a board member of Doctors Against Forced
Organ Harvesting, a medical advocacy group that raises awareness about
transplant abuse in China.

But how many transplants did Tianjin First actually conduct?

The Trouble With Numbers

It is extremely difficult to get an accurate handle on the actual number of
organ transplants conducted in China over the years, either in aggregate, or
even at a single hospital. In a closed society, information of this sort is
highly politically sensitive.

China did not even have a national organ transplantation system until recently.
It was a Wild West of hospitals competing for business, doing deals with organ
brokers, and getting their hands on human supply however they could.
Statistical integrity, or any kind of reliable statistics at all, are the least
of the victims.

In the United States, finding out the number of organ transplants that take
place is simple. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, affiliated
with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, maintains a database
that can be queried by dozens of criteria. The total number of transplants
performed in the United States from January to September in 2015, for example,
was 23,134.

Other datasets provide specific hospital information. The Scientific Registry
of Transplant Recipients is able to spit out a report showing detailed
transplant information at any given transplant center. The most active in New
York state, for example, is the NY Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia Univ. Medical
Center. A report with data current as of April 2015 shows that it performed 110
liver transplants in 2013 and 142 in 2014. The 60 page report provides an
abundance of information about those on the waiting list, donor types,
transplant rates, and more.

Nothing like this information is available on Chinese hospitals - and for good
reason: it's a state secret.

Dr. Huang Jiefu, the Chinese official who interfaces with the rest of the world
on organ transplantation policy, was remarkably frank about why numbers are so
hard to pin down, in a rare interview with Chinese journalists last year. The
interview was part of an intense run of publicity as Huang sought to get out
the message (later debunked) that China was no longer using organs from
executed prisoners.

"The death penalty is a state secret," Huang said. "Organs were sourced from
executed prisoners. If you know the number of transplantations performed, then
you would know the state secret."

The reporter pressed further, and Huang countered again: "The issue you are
talking about is too sensitive. That's why I cannot tell you that clearly. If
you think about it, you will understand. Because the country has no
transparency, you don't know how the organs were obtained; the number of
performed transplantations was also a secret."

But numbers inevitably seem to trickle out from the holes in even the Chinese
Communist Party's formidable propaganda machine.

In the case of Tianjin First Central Hospital, there are several ways of
getting them. While the procedure may have a certain monotony about it, let us
consider each in turn.

The Official Graph

The 1st datapoint is simply a graph from a now defunct but archived page
belonging to the Orient Organ Transplant Center, showing the cumulative liver
transplants from 1998 to 2004. The yearly numbers grow almost geometrically: 9,
24, 78, 129, 272, 289, and 800. These figures, however, are contradicted by
figures in other official sources.

The same page advertises the waiting time for a liver transplant as 2 weeks -
unheard of in countries with voluntary donation systems.

Livers are a useful organ for calculating how many executions must have been
carried out for transplants, given that they are a vital organ, and a
transplantation of a full liver requires a death. Given that executions in
China have traditionally been the sole source of transplant organs - whether
that has changed is another matter - the question of number becomes
significant.

The problem with the graph is that it stops at 2004.

The Pastiche

Another method is to simply look at media reports that provide numbers. In this
case, beginning in 2000, the number is 78 - same as above. The source is a puff
piece about Shen Zhongyang in Science and Technology Daily titled "He brought
liver transplant technique to the pinnacle of world medicine." A later source
in 2000 gives a cumulative total of 100.

In 2001 there is no cumulative figure, but the annual total is 109 liver and 80
kidney transplants, the sources being a Chinese medical encyclopedia and news
reports.

In 2002 there is no annual figure, but the cumulative is 300, according to a
profile of Shen Zhongyang.

In 2003 the cumulative total in Tianjin is 645 (though up to 400 other
transplants were performed by the Tianjin First team in other hospitals around
China, according to an official news report) and the annual 253.

This is when a budget is approved at the end of the year for the construction
of the 17-story Oriental Organ Transplant Center.

In 2004, no specific yearly total was published - but the cumulative total
stood at 1,000, according to a report on Medical Education Net, a large Chinese
online medical encyclopedia.

In 2005, no cumulative total was published, but the yearly total sat at 647
(according to an official, laudatory profile of Shen published in 2014.)

In 2006, 655 transplants were recorded, according to an official profile of
Shen and a medical paper he authored. In that paper, he said that his center
had surpassed the world record of liver transplants maintained by the
University of Pittsburgh for 10 years.

And then ... radio silence.

Tianjin's Orient Organ Transplant Center officially opened on Sept. 1, 2006. It
remains unclear why, right when the numbers would be expected to jump, annual
data dries up.

Incidentally - or not - in March of 2006 allegations began emerging that Falun
Gong prisoners were the major source of China's booming organ trade. Chinese
officials dismissed the reports as nefarious propaganda, though never seriously
refuted either their argument or inference.

In all available sources, only 2 numbers appear post-2006, both from the same
source: a glowing profile of Shen Zhongyang by the Tianjin propaganda
authorities.

The Official Profile

The official profile of Shen Zhongyang is published on ttwj.gov.cn. The website
is run by the Office of the Tianjin Municipal Government Human Resources
Leading Small Group, and serves as the mouthpiece for the Tianjin leadership.
"The Tianjin Party Committee and government pays a great deal of attention to
human resource work," the About Us section on the website notes.

The profile discusses the incredible success of Shen Zhongyang, his
enterprising spirit helping the construction of the Chinese transplant
industry, and provides a few transplant numbers.

The early figures are roughly the same as those above, and while after 2006 no
precise numbers are given, the profile declares that "for the next 2 years it
became the foremost liver transplant center by volume, and made the Orient
Transplant Center the largest scale transplant center in Asia." It adds that as
of the end of 2013, the Center had performed the most surgeries in China for 16
years straight. Some of its techniques had become the "most advanced" in the
world.

And, crucially, it provides two more numbers: A cumulative total of 5,000 liver
transplants in 2010, and a cumulative total of "nearly 10,000" by the end of
2014, supposedly a quarter of the national total.

Graphed, the series now looks like this:

Tianjin_First_Central_Hospital_cumulative_transplant_numbers__chartbuilder

Those numbers are already disturbingly high, and extremely difficult to fit
into the official narrative of executed-prisoners-as-organ-source.

It is still unclear why annual numbers ceased after the major new transplant
center was built, which calls into question whether the neat, rounded numbers
can be trusted.

The real number of transplants, according to other records, may have in fact
been much, much higher.

There are 3 indicators of this probability: anecdotes of a booming business in
providing organs to Korean tourists; significant transplant figures by Shen
Zhongyang's colleagues; and a guerrilla analysis derived from Tianjin First
Central's own renovation records, dredged from an obscure Chinese database.

Korean Connection

Korean patients began streaming into China, and in particular Tianjin - just a
90 minute flight from Seoul - in 2002, according to Li Lianjin, head nurse at
Tianjin First Central Hospital. The hospital had provided organ transplants to
over 500 Korean patients between 2002 and 2006, Li said.

Li spoke to Phoenix Weekly, a magazine run by the Hong Kong-based, pro-Beijing
Phoenix television station. The article was titled "An investigation of tens of
thousands of foreigners coming to China for organ transplants."

All this activity took place before the Oriental Organ Transplant Center came
online in September of 2006.

So doctors improvised. One third of their original 12-story building was
converted to house transplant patients; the 8th floor of another hospital (the
International Cardiovascular Hospital) was also used for Korean recipients; and
the 24th and 25th floors of a nearby hotel were also reserved for those
waiting. 2 nurses were assigned to that location. "Even so, we're still short
of beds," Li said.

Tianjin was an agreeable destination for Korean organ tourists because in Korea
they could typically only receive partial liver transplants from living donors.
But in China, they could get whole livers, "and the donor livers are of
excellent quality," the report says.

Procedures were also expedited: foreign patients would simply fax their medical
records then fly in. Waiting times were extremely short by international
standards. "Originally, patients had to wait about a week. But now, because
more and more people have joined the queue, the waiting times are longer. The
longest time now is a bit over 3 months," the report says.

3 months is still a remarkably short waiting time to guarantee a liver.

The Chosun Ilbo, a large Korean daily newspaper, reported that Tianjin First
Central performed 44 liver transplants in 1 week in December 2004, including 24
in a day (including kidney transplants), according to the Phoenix report.

Patients from other countries were also there: from Japan, Malaysia, Egypt,
Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. The cafe in
the ward on the 4th floor became an "international club," where patients of
different ethnicities met to exchange their experiences, reported Chosun Ilbo.

The report includes this anecdote: "Surgeons at the hospital are busy every
day, shuttling between wards and operating rooms. They have no time to greet
each other. Every day they mumble the same thing: 'Today I'm so busy, ten
surgeries a day.' Some doctors spend the entire night in surgery."

No numbers are given in the report, but it at least confirms that the staff at
Tianjin First had been extremely busy leading up to the completion of the new
transplant building.

Staffing

The Oriental Organ Transplant Center has 110 doctors participating in liver and
kidney transplants, among whom 46 are chief surgeons and physicians, and 13
attending physicians, according to the World Organization to Investigate the
Persecution of Falun Gong, a network of researchers who performed the
monumental task of cataloging the staff of hundreds of hospitals around China.

Media reports, speeches by a select number of Shen Zhongyang's colleagues, as
well as information on the hospital's own website and other records, indicate
many of them had each completed a large number of transplants themselves.

For instance, by 2011, Vice President of the hospital Zhu Zhijun had completed
at least 1,400 liver transplants, 100 of which were partial liver donations
from living relatives, according to his profile on the website "We Doctors
Group," a directory for Chinese doctors.

As of July 2006, associate chief surgeon Pan Cheng had personally performed
over 1,000 liver transplants, and 1,600 liver graft procurements.

Chief surgeon Gao Wei completed over 800 liver transplants after ten years of
practice, according to his undated profile on "Good Doctors Online," another
well-known Chinese doctors database.

Associate chief surgeon Song Wenli from the renal transplant department
performed around 2,000 kidney transplants; associate chief surgeon Mo Chunbo
over 1,500, both according to undated profiles on the same site.

Some of those operations did not result in the killing of a donor - hundreds of
donations were from living relatives, for instance (if they were indeed from
relatives) - but many of them must have.

If the average total transplant volume of these surgeons was simply
extrapolated to the rest of the staff - not necessarily a reliable methodology
- the total transplant volume, as of 2014, would immediately be several times
greater than the official number of 10,000. It is clear from just a few doctor
profiles, however, that the figures are beginning to approach the totals
announced by the hospital.

Of course, the doctors whose profiles are available may simply be outliers. Or
they may be inflating their records, or have participated in joint operations -
all distinct possibilities. In any case, even given drastic discounts, the
surgeons' own organ numbers seem to far outstrip the official ones.

But building records indicate that the transplant volume could be much higher
than even that.

Renovating a Transplant Center

Given that the municipal government spent about $20 million (130 million yuan)
in building the Orient Organ Transplant Center, common sense dictates that
there would be an intended use for it.

But this is China. Huge amounts of infrastructure spending is wasteful, often
used to prop up local economic figures rather than create productive
businesses. Thus, the mere fact of construction and renovation cannot tell us
everything.

There is compelling evidence, however, that the new building was put into
immediate and extensive use. This comes from the hospital's own building and
renovation records in the China Construction and Remodeling Database, a public
resource maintained by a variety of officially-affiliated agencies, providing
details of construction and renovation work from across China.

These documents show what seems to have been deliberately hidden in every other
available Chinese source: that it was full speed ahead at Tianjin First after
the new transplant center came online in 2006.

The key evidence is a 22 page PDF file, available for download after creating a
username and password on the site, which discusses the further renovations to
the new building, completed in 2008.

The renovation described in the document is primarily to the main building, the
outpatient building, and the emergency ward (the transplant building is left
untouched), and included the addition of insulation to the facade "in order to
save energy and increase the comfort of patients." Another floor would be also
be added to the outpatient building, taking it from 3 to 4 stories.

The key line, though, is this: "There is a daily average of 2,000 outpatient
services conducted per day; the bed utilization rate is 86 %; kidney and liver
transplantation beds are at 90 % utilization."

The total number of beds devoted to transplantation at Tianjin First during
this period was 500, at the Oriental Organ Transplant Center. Total bed count
at the hospital sat at 1,226, with 726 originally available. Total floor space
was 46,558 square meters, the document states.

Thus, according to these documents, 450 beds were used for transplants, whether
livers, kidneys, or other organs.

According to Tianjin's advertising materials for foreign patients, the total
time an organ tourist would expect to stay in the hospital could be between one
and 2 months, depending on the wait time for an organ, and how long it takes to
convalesce.

If an average patient stay was 30 days per transplant, then 5,400 transplants
per year would have taken place at the Oriental Organ Transplant Center from
late 2006 until the end of 2008. If the stay was two months, the total would be
2,700.

It is impossible to know the actual average length of stay at Tianjin First,
but transplant surgeons who reviewed this report considered that either of
those scenarios would be plausible.

But was this high level of utilization a mere blip in the 2 years following the
opening of the new center? No, according to other renovation reports. It soon
became the norm.

The next available datapoint on transplant-relevant bed usage rates at Tianjin
First comes from a profile of the hospital on Enorth Netnews, the official
Tianjin government mouthpiece, on June 25, 2014.

It says that it had "made progress" across various departments in 2013, and
achieved a bed usage rate of 131.1 %, an increase of 5.7 % from 2012. (The
report does not make clear how a utilization rate of over 100 % is possible,
but it is common in Chinese hospitals to see extra beds wedged between
established bedding places.)

By 2013 it had also added 300 beds, bringing its total number now to 1,500. The
hospital had also adjusted the number of beds allocated to different
departments, including the organ transplant center, though it did not specify
how many beds were allocated to each area.

It is difficult to know how many of the 1,500 total beds, or 500 Orient Organ
Transplant Center beds, were used for organ transplants in 2012 and 2013.

But there is a consistency in the reported utilization rates: 90 % utilization
reported in 2009, and 130 % for 2013.

Whether that ratio plummeted for four years before soaring - or slowly grew, as
the trend of official transplant numbers (though clearly manipulated) indicate
- is impossible to tell, though a steady increase seems most intuitive and
internally consistent.

Yet more construction took place in 2015 at a newly opened site, including an
outpatient service able to process between 6,000 to 7,000 people per day, an
emergency center able to process 1,200 daily, an underground carpark able to
hold 2,000 vehicles, and a helipad.

The new construction, which began in July 2015 and was scheduled for completion
at the end of 2017, will have a total of 2,000 beds. It is unclear how many of
them will be devoted to transplants.

Guerrilla Numbers

What numbers emerge from this kaleidoscope of activity?

The hospital would have us believe that when their new transplant center came
online, giving them hundreds of additional beds and much more sophisticated
facilities, there was no increase in the transplant rate.

The only official data for the post-2006 period is a figure of 5,000 cumulative
transplants in 2010, and 14,000 in 2014 - a neat, linear increase.

But the facts paint a different picture: anecdotal reports from Korean organ
recipients say that occupancy was far more than the hospital could handle;
building records showing the need for continued expansion after 2006; and
impressive staff resumes showing thousands of transplants from a few of the
over 100 doctors.

With utilization of the 500 beds at Oriental Organ Transplant Center near or
above capacity from 2007 to end of 2013, the total number of transplants could
range anywhere from around 20,000 to around 60,000, depending on the length of
stay of patients. Only very rough estimates are possible given the many
unknowns.

This is far higher than the claimed cumulative total of 10,000 liver
transplants over 15 years reported in official sources. That number already
presents an awkward dilemma to explain away - but the numbers based simply on
bed utilization rates are far higher than any known source of organs is able to
explain.

Of course, there is no way to know whether in its building renovation documents
hospital staff are simply lying. But it's unclear what incentive the hospital
would have for fabricating the data on its renovation plans, submitted to a
national database years after the funds had been committed, and the
construction completed, by municipal authorities. Floor space or numbers of
beds are tangible infrastructure that cannot easily be falsified, and bed
occupancy ratios, from 2 separate official sources, show the same upward
trajectory of high-usage from late 2006 until end 2013.

There are many caveats to these estimates, however, including the fact that the
number of executions implied by the bed occupancy rates is not clear. The ratio
is likely not 1:1, given that the donation of a single kidney, to a relative,
for instance, is neither fatal nor unethical. Tianjin First certainly engaged
in this form of transplant activity. Further, one death can yield multiple
transplant organs.

At the same time, Chinese media reports contain anecdotes of Shen Zhongyang
going through several livers - each bringing death even as it carried potential
life - for a single patient.

Given the multiple variables and vast unknowns, it would be foolhardy to
suggest a firm estimate for the number of executions that may have taken place
to fuel the business of Tianjin First. But whatever the figure, the
implications are the same: the need for a mysterious, unknown organ source.

So, where did the organs come from?

Prisoners Can't Explain It

China's only serious source of organs through these years is, according to the
official explanation, executed prisoners.

In an interview with China Health News in January 2015, Huang Jiefu, the
official who serves as the voice of China's transplant policy, says: "For a
long time China has not been able to establish a national donation system ...
from the 1980s until 2009, there were only 120 cases of citizen donations.
China is the country with the lowest donation rate in the world."

The number of executions in China is a state secret and no numbers are
provided, but estimates have long been made by third party organizations. Those
vary from 12,000 to 2,400 per year during the period in question, according to
Duihua, a U.S.-based human rights organization focused on China.

If the nationwide death penalty was 6,000, for the purpose of our analysis, the
number of executions taking place in Tianjin would be about 42 (given a
population of about 7 million and a proportional distribution of executions.)
If the number of executions nationwide was 5,000, there would only be 35
executions in Tianjin.

But many prisoners are not eligible organ donors because of blood diseases,
drug addiction, age, and other disqualifying maladies. Procedures around
executions involve the local courts and prisons, which have their own
relationships with hospitals and doctors, as indicated by abundant testimony
from Chinese officials and defectors. The fief-like nature of the Chinese
bureaucracy means it???s not as though Tianjin First could have its pick from
any execution taking place anywhere in China.

In particular, Tianjin First's build-up was not an isolated phenomenon: dozens,
if not hundreds of other transplant hospitals in China were establishing
training programs for surgeons, building new facilities, and promoting their
ability to deliver fresh organs to recipients in short order - weeks or months
at most.

In 2014 Xinhua, the state mouthpiece, reported that in past years there were
600 hospitals in China, vying and contending for organ sources. All of those
transplant centers needed organs, too.

And then there are the unnerving advertisements on the hospital's website,
which have since been taken down.

"It is true that the source of organ supply are fairly abundant in China
compared with that in western countries," an archived page on the site says
blithely in 2008, in English, obviously targeting foreign transplant tourists.

In the guide for prospective recipients, it outlines the few steps necessary to
get a new organ. There's no waiting list. One simply emails the paperwork, pays
$500, and gets on a plane. Step nine is "Staying in hospital to be carefully
checked-up, to be well treated while waiting for a matching donor (1 month ???
)."

The website's landing page in Chinese, on the other hand, advertised a waiting
time of 2 weeks.

In another section, the question is posed: "What are the initial procedures
while arriving?" The answer: "Once your data are set, the hospital will start
to search all over China for an organ that matches."

"Just that 1 line is so shocking," said Maria Singh, the University of Sydney
professor who sits on the board of Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, in
a phone interview. "We'll search the country far and wide for your organ,!" she
continued. "Searching for your organ? To search the country for a donor when
there is no registry for donors. What does that mean? It means that absolutely
they're looking for the guy they can kill for your surgery. It's just
outrageous. It's pretty hard to believe."

In a recent documentary with this very title - "Hard to Believe" - Arthur
Caplan, the founding director of the division of medical ethics at New York
University Medical Center, explains the contrast in starker terms: "In the
U.S., in Europe, you have to be dead first in order to be an organ donor. In
China, they make you dead."

This rapid matching from what appears to be a pool of prematched donors is
consistent with both death row prisoner use and harvesting from prisoners of
conscience.

But when it comes to volume, death row prisoners simply could not sustain the
kind of supply Tianjin needed. Of course, by itself this is positive proof of
nothing - except that the organs had to come from somewhere else.

Recognizing this is the critical first step in any further exploration of the
problem: if the organs aren't from volunteer donors or executed criminals, then
they must be coming from somewhere else.

"Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the trends of organ donations
worldwide cannot accept the claims of miraculously replacing a huge and well
established organ source from executed prisoners within a single year by
voluntarily donated organs," said Dr. Jacob Lavee, the president of the Israel
Transplantation Society and director of the heart transplantation unit at Tel
Aviv University???s medical center, in an email.

Lavee continued: "If indeed the use of organs from formally executed prisoners
has dwindled, the large number of organ transplants which, apparently, continue
to be performed in Tianjin and elsewhere in China, must have an alternative
organ source, which needs to be explained."

Into that breach come researchers who have raised allegations of a hidden and
largely overlooked mass murder. Coupled with volumes of other evidence, they
describe a crime against humanity in which the doctors stand alongside the
murderers; the cause of death is the surgery itself, as organs are drained of
blood and pumped with cold preservative chemicals.

David Matas, the co-author of a seminal report on organ harvesting from Falun
Gong, said in a telephone interview: "What this research does is pose the
question; it doesn't answer the question. But it does put into doubt the
established answers that have been given."

The Forbidden Question

There's a potential clue about the organ source in one of the many hats that
Dr. Shen Zhongyang is found wearing: he appears on the website of the Beijing
Armed Police Forces General Hospital, where he serves as director of the organ
transplantation department, in full paramilitary regalia. The People's Armed
Police are a domestic standing army of 1.2 million, deployed around the country
and mobilized to suppress riots.

The most fundamental obstacle in performing large numbers of organ transplants
is a donor source. Given that China had no voluntary, open transplant system,
political connections, often mediated through brokers, have been the only way
to get bodies.

As Huang Jiefu himself remarked in an interview in early 2015: "Our country is
very big. This source of using prisoner organs, this kind of situation
naturally would come to have all kinds of murky and difficult problems in it.
You know what I'm trying to say? It became filthy. It became murky and
intractable. It became an extremely sensitive, extremely complicated area,
basically a forbidden area." He then went on to blame the abuse of organ
transplantation in China on Zhou Yongkang, the deposed former security czar.
Prisoners of conscience, of course, never came up.

Theories about how Tianjin First Central turned on the organ spigot thus
revolve around its political ties, including that of Shen Zhongyang, who became
a member of the Communist Party's faux advisory body, the Chinese People's
Political and Consultative Conference, in 2013. Shen is also a member of the
standing committee of the Chinese Peasants' and Workers' Democratic Party, 1 of
the 8 legal political parties in China that give a window dressing of democracy
while stiffly following the Party line.

But it's his paramilitary title that is most significant for organ sourcing,
given that military and paramilitary hospitals are plugged into the security
apparatus that hold hundreds of thousands of political prisoners, and are
believed to be involved in much of the illegal trafficking in human organs.

A handful of investigators have been tracking the military-organ nexus for
years. In his 2014 book "The Slaughter: Mass Killings, Organ Harvesting, and
China's Secret Solution to Its Dissident Problem," American journalist Ethan
Gutmann marshals a mass of evidence, collected over nearly a decade, to show
that practitioners of Falun Gong, a traditional spiritual discipline, have been
primary targets for organ harvesting.

Falun Gong, a practice of self-cultivation which involves exercises and moral
teachings, has been persecuted in China since 1999, after the Party leader at
the time, Jiang Zemin, declared it a challenge to Party rule. By the late
1990s, the number of people practicing it seemed to exceed the membership of
the Communist Party.

Hundreds of hospitals around China, like Tianjin First, all saw a dramatic
spike in organ transplants in 2000, the year after the persecution began in
July 1999.

"There's no national organ distribution at this point. There's no organ
donation system. The official answer is the death penalty," says David Matas.
"But then you've got organ size and blood type compatibility issues, hepatitis
in prison, very short waiting times, all of that."

With no official explanation for the battery of unanswered questions,
suspicions, and mounting circumstantial evidence, "you're pushed back into what
myself, David Kilgour, and Ethan Gutmann have been saying," says Matas. "That
it's prisoners of conscience." He continued: "The bigger the scale, the bigger
the requirement for an explanation, and that explanation is not forthcoming.
There's no obvious other source."

Gutmann, asked what he thought the likely source of Tianjin's organs was in a
telephone interview, said: "I think the majority of these organs are being
sourced from Falun Gong." He added: "There has been a large resident population
of Falun Gong, of between 1/2 a million to a million at any given time within
the laogai system through this entire period," using the Chinese term that
refers to the system of labor camps.

"This is the only potential source, numerically, which they could be pulling
from. There may be some Uyghur Muslims and Tibetans in there too, though the
rates of disappearance are not as high for those communities."

Gutmann's interviews of hundreds of refugees found that 1 in 5, and sometimes 2
in 5, Falun Gong detainees were subject to blood testing while in captivity.
Those released from labor camps also describe disappearances of those tested.
In covertly recorded telephone calls with overseas investigators since 2006,
doctors and nurses in China, believing they are speaking to a fellow doctor or
the relative of an individual in urgent need of a new liver, have acknowledged
that they source their organs from Falun Gong prisoners.

In his book, Gutmann describes the exams, which his interviewee, a Falun Gong
refugee, thought little of. "What she described was terrifying and inexplicable
- rather than the doctor administering a normal physical examination, it was
more like he was already picking over a fresh corpse ... I remember feeling an
unfamiliar chill as my safe, hedging cloak of skepticism fell away for a
moment."

Tianjin Blood Exams

As in prisons and labor camps around the country, there are anecdotal reports
of prisoners of conscience in Tianjin being singled out for blood and urine
tests during the period in which Tianjin First Central was at its peak of
operations.

These accounts are drawn from Minghui.org, a clearinghouse of first-hand
information about Falun Gong in China. Articles on the site are typically
submitted by practitioners of Falun Gong, friends, or family members, often
documenting their experiences under persecution. The site is widely used by by
academics and human rights researchers studying the practice or its repression,
and is considered a reliable source for insight into the Falun Gong community
in China.

A simple search across Minghui.org for the terms "blood test" and "Tianjin"
reveals 9,720 results. Many of these are likely duplicates or do not refer to
personal experiences of blood test at Tianjin, but a large number appear to do
so.

A typical case, submitted on Nov. 9, 2007, is titled "The persecution I
witnessed and experienced at the Tianjin Women???s Prison." Like many
submissions on Minghui, the report is anonymous, for obvious reasons. It says:
"The Third Squadron in the prison specifically targeted Falun Gong ... the
squadron leader of every Third Squadron in each section of the jail called out
the Falun Gong practitioners 1 by 1, and gave them blood and urine tests. They
didn't call out criminal prisoners. The squadron leader said it was because
they wanted to look after the Falun Gong prisoners." The prison is a little
over 30 minutes away from the hospital.

The author, reflecting back on the experience, writes "I still wonder where
those practitioners who disappeared ended up."

Other cases of blood tests are reported at the Qingbowa Re-education Through
Labor camp. Qingbowa is a 23 minute drive from Tianjin First. The Shuangkou
Re-education Through Labor is another camp in which, according to reports on
Minghui, Falun Gong practitioners report having their blood tested while in
detention. Shuangkou is also about a 30 minute drive from Tianjin First. Falun
Gong practitioner Hua Lianyou reports having her blood taken in June 2013 in
the Binhai Prison, which is about 45 minutes from Tianjin First. Xu Haitang, a
practitioner of Falun Gong, reports having her blood drawn in June 2006 at the
Banqiao Women's Labor Camp, which is about 90 minutes away.

Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting, the Washington, D.C.-based medical
advocacy group, conducted its own preliminary analysis on these reports of
blood tests on Minghui, writing: "In screening of the survivor reports it was
noted that medical exams were not unique occurrences. While single cases as
outliers might lack significance, this data reveals a large number of victim
accounts that are not isolated instances, and suggests a systematic use of
various medical exams imposed upon detained Falun Gong practitioners."

Of course, none of this is proof that the blood tests were for the purpose of
blood matching for organ transplant.

But it is also true that the actual reason for blood and urine tests is
unclear, and even confusing: the incarcerated individuals are, after all, in
prison due to a campaign, led from the highest levels of the Communist Party,
to eradicate their belief system. They are typically subject to torture,
electric shocks, and beatings in detention, in an attempt to have them renounce
their beliefs. Falun Gong had been slandered in the state press, and adherents
to it incited against, dehumanized, mocked, and declared to be enemies of the
state. Thousands of deaths from torture have been reported, and no
investigation or punishment takes place because of the state-sanctioned nature
of the campaign. So why would prison officials be extracting blood for the
benefit of the captives?

It's this context that has led analysts to believe that the blood tests and
disappearances in captivity of Falun Gong, along with the transplant boom that
took place soon after the persecution began, are most likely explained by mass
organ harvesting.

The Awkward Silence

Even if the international medical community wished to refrain from concluding
preemptively on a massive crime against humanity, one might expect at least a
demand for further attention and investigation into just where the organs are
coming from, and the extent to which prisoners of conscience have been
targeted. It would, after all, constitute one of the most disturbing mass
crimes of the 21st century.

Indeed, a number of respected organizations and individuals have made clear
that they see a serious problem, and that the idea of mass harvesting from
Falun Gong is not to be relegated to the realm of science-fiction conspiracy
theories. The United Nations Committee Against torture in 2008 said: "The State
party should immediately conduct or commission an independent investigation of
the claims that some Falun Gong practitioners have been ... used for organ
transplants and take measures, as appropriate, to ensure that those responsible
for such abuses are prosecuted and punished."

Arthur Caplan, the ethicist at New York University's Medical Center, lent his
name to a 2012 petition calling on the White House to "Investigate and publicly
condemn organ harvesting from Falun Gong believers in China." In an interview
at the time, he said: "I think you can't stay quiet about killing for organs.
It's too heinous. It's just too wrong. It violates all ideas of human rights."

The recent documentary film "Human Harvest," which directly addresses the
question of harvesting from Falun Gong, won a prestigious Peabody Award in
2014, the broadcast equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize. The awarding of a Peabody
requires the unanimous support of the 17 board members, who in their summary of
the documentary described a "highly profitable, monstrous system of forced
organ donation."

Some countries, including Israel and Taiwan, have adopted legislation aimed at
preventing their citizens traveling to China to receive organs, after the
reports of harvesting from Falun Gong emerged.

All this makes the reaction of some of the key players in the international
transplant scene - the kind of individuals whose imprimatur would lend
sufficient public heft to the allegations as to prompt broader international
censure and calls for investigation - all the more jarring. They have been
uncurious about the question of crimes against humanity, adopting instead a
complaisant stance, part of Kissingerian-styled bid to help the project of
China???s organ transplant reform.

Dr. Francis Delmonico, the former head of The Transplantation Society and
previously the key international liaison with China on transplant issues, wrote
in an email: "My only comment is to encourage the assessment of the Tianjin
First Central Hospital to report verifiable data." The word "only" had been put
in bold.

Doctors like Jeremy Chapman, the Sydney-based former head of The
Transplantation Society, and Dr. Michael Millis, a liver surgeon at the
University of Chicago medical school who has worked closely with Chinese
officials, have also evinced little interest in pursuing the tough questions.
When pressed about potential Falun Gong organ sourcing, Millis remarked in an
interview with Martina Keller, a journalist with the German magazine Die ZEIT,
"That is not my sphere of influence. There are many things in the world that
are not my focus or interest."

The current head of the The Transplantation Society, Dr. Philip O'Connell, and
the World Health Organization's liaison to China on organ transplant issues,
Dr. Jose Nu???ez, did not respond to emails. The WHO's Guiding Principles on
organ transplantation require that the entire organ transplantation process be
transparent and open to scrutiny - yet WHO officials have done little to make
such public demands on China.

Responding to the relative dearth of attention afforded the question of the
missing organs by doctors, Kirk Allison, a professor of ethics at the
University of Minnesota, wrote in an email: "This kind of curiosity matters.
First, because truth matters; moral hazard matters; human rights matter; and
the lives of the exploited, even if dead, matter. They have a moral claim on
us."

Dr. Lavee, the respected Israeli heart surgeon, wrote in an email: "I feel
embarrassed that my colleagues worldwide do not feel, like me, the moral duty
to request China to open its gates for an independent, thorough inspection of
its current transplant system by the international transplant community."

He added: "As a son of a Holocaust survivor, I feel obliged to not repeat the
dreadful mistake made by the International Red Cross visit to the
Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp in 1944, in which it was reported to be
a pleasant recreation camp."

(source: The Epoch Times)


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2016-02-06 15:37:48 UTC
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Feb. 6



MALAYSIA:

Malaysian court drops charges against 11 Filipinos accused of waging discord


The charges against 11 of the 27 Filipinos accused of waging conflict against
the Malaysian King and being a member of a terrorist group in connection with
the Lahad Datu incident that took place in February 2013 were ordered dropped
by the High Court of Kota Kinabalu on Friday, February 5, the Philippine
Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported.

In a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Philippine embassy
said Judge Stephen Chung found no prima facie evidence against the Filipinos.
The prosecution was given 14 days to file an appeal for the dismissal of the
charges. If no appeal is filed, 10 of the 11 acquitted will be released and
eventually sent home.

One of the 11, Totoh bin Hismullah may remain in Malaysia as he had been found
by the Court to be a Malaysian citizen and no longer a Filipino.

The remaining 16 Filipinos, however, have been ordered by the Court to present,
through their legal counsel, evidence in their defense after prima facie
evidence were found against them. This will give the Defense side an
opportunity to rebut the Prosecution's evidence.

The determination made by the Court is only preliminary and was based on the
evidence presented by the Prosecution. A verdict on the culpability, if any, of
the 16 remaining accused will not be rendered only after the Defense has
completed the presentation of its evidence, which is expected to begin later
this month.

Majority of those accused were supposedly members the Sulu Sultanate's Royal
Security Force (RSF). One of those allegedly charged is the nephew of Sulu
Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, Datu Amir Bahar, who was captured not in Lahad Datu
but in Sandakan.

The accused Filipinos were charged for violating 2 articles of Malaysia???s
Penal Code: Section 122 (waging war against the King); and Section 130 KA
(terrorism).

While Section 130 KA (terrorism) calls for a jail term of up to 30 years,
Section 121 (waging war against the King) can fetch the death penalty.

The Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has hired the services of Malaysian
lawyer Datuk N. Sivananthan, one of the few Asian legal practitioners
accredited by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and 6
Sabah-based counsels to represent the accused.

Their services were paid for by the Philippine government.

The Lahad Datu incident began when a group, all followers of Sultan Kiram,
landed in Tanduo village on February 9, 2013 drove out the residents, and
occupied it to signify a presence that stood for ownership of the land that
belonged to the Sulu Sultanate but passed on by Britain to Malaysia in 1957
after granting independence to its colony once known as Malaya.

It ended with at least 3 people dead, a still undetermined number of wounded,
and several members of the Sultanate of Sulu arrested.

(source: mb.com.ph)






EUROPEAN UNION/IRAQ:

Statement by the spokesperson on the application of death penalty in Iraq


Executive orders for the execution of 80 persons have recently been announced
in Iraq, with further possible execution orders to follow. This is a
regrettable development as, following the formation of a new Government in Iraq
in 2014, a review of all pending cases was undertaken. This review and a
possible permanent suspension of all executions had been seen as a positive
signal by the EU, in line with its principled opposition to the use of the
death penalty.

Capital punishment is counter-productive as a crime deterrent. The EU strongly
encourages Iraq to reinstate a de facto moratorium on the death penalty.

(source: europa.eu)






AUSTRALIA/INDONESIA:

Justice Minister Michael Keenan's approval required for AFP to assist with
possible death penalty case in Indonesia


Justice Minister Michael Keenan would have to personally sign off on the
Australian Federal Police assisting an Indonesian police investigation into a
woman who could face the death penalty.

In a case that has gripped Indonesia, 27-year-old woman Jessica Kumala Wongso,
who studied in Australia, has been charged with the premeditated murder of her
friend, Wayan Mirna Salihin.

The AFP confirmed it had been approached by the Indonesian National Police for
assistance but would seek ministerial approval before releasing any
information.

Under the AFP guidelines on international police assistance in death penalty
situations, ministerial approval is required if a person has been detained,
arrested, charged or convicted of an offence that carries the death penalty.

Ms Wongso and Ms Salihin reportedly studied together at Billy Blue College of
Design in Sydney and Swinburne University of Technology.

Ms Wongso worked for NSW Ambulance until late last year.

"The AFP has been advised by the Indonesian National Police of the arrest of Ms
Wongso for murder, which attracts the death penalty," a spokesman said. "The
AFP can confirm that they have not released any information to the Indonesian
National Police in relation to this request and will seek ministerial approval
for any such release."

The AFP faced criticism for handing over information to Indonesian authorities
about the Bali 9, which led to their arrests for heroin smuggling in 2005. The
coordinators of the Bali 9, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were executed in
Indonesia last year.

New guidelines for the AFP's role in cases involving the death penalty were
introduced in 2009 after a federal court exonerated the AFP from acting
unlawfully in the Bali nine case but argued new protocols were needed.

The guidelines require senior AFP officials to take into account a series of
factors before providing assistance in potential death penalty scenarios. These
include whether the information is favourable to the defendant, the nationality
of the person involved, the person's age and personal circumstances, the
seriousness of the suspected criminal activity and the likelihood the death
penalty will be imposed.

Australia's interest in promoting and securing cooperation from overseas
agencies in combating crime is also a consideration.

This information would all be provided to Mr Keenan by the AFP to assist him
make a decision.

A spokeswoman for Mr Keenan said the minister was yet to receive a formal
request for approval of assistance from the AFP under the death penalty
guidelines.

Ms Wongso and Ms Salihin met at Olivier Cafe in Grand Indonesia Shopping Mall
on January 6.

Ms Salihin took a sip of the Vietnamese iced coffee, which Ms Wongso had
reportedly ordered for her. She began to suffer convulsions and foam at the
mouth and died on the way to the hospital.

Jakarta Police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal said Ms Wongso had been arrested last
Saturday. "She is being detained under article 340 (of the criminal code) for
premeditated murder," he said.

Mr Iqbal said Ms Wongso and the victim had a connection with Australia which is
why police had sought assistance from the AFP.

Ms Wongso's lawyer, Yudi Wibowo, said police had no proof of his client's
involvement.

"What can the AFP provide? Criminal records, she has none. She and Mirna were
just friends, nothing else. What's being reported (in the media) are all lies,
not true."

He said Ms Wongso was doing fine, considering the circumstances. "Right now, we
are just going along with the police investigation."

(source: smh.com.au)






JAPAN:

'Death Penalty Movie Week' to be held in Tokyo


8 films from home and abroad on the theme of capital punishment will screen at
a Tokyo theater from Feb 13 to 19, providing Japanese viewers with an
opportunity to contemplate the death penalty while their country maintains the
policy in the face of a global trend towards its abolishment.

Films to be presented during the 5th "Death Penalty Movie Week" include
"Freedom Moon" which depicts the struggle for exoneration by a death-row inmate
Iwao Hakamada and his sister, as well as "Death by Hanging," directed by the
legendary Nagisa Oshima in 1968.

Hakamada, a former professional boxer convicted of a 1966 quadruple murder, was
released in March 2014 after a court decided to reopen the high-profile case.
But despite his release, he remains on death row as prosecutors have appealed
the court's ruling.

A movie on another death row inmate, Masaru Okunishi, who was convicted for the
1961 murder of 5 women, will also be shown.

Okunishi had once been acquitted over the murder known as "the Nabari wine
poisoning case," but the verdict was overturned. While on death row for more
than 40 years, he sought exoneration through retrial, but died of pneumonia
last October at the age of 89.
From abroad, "The Sleeping Voice," a 2011 Spanish film set in 1940s Spain under
the authoritarian rule of leader Gen. Francisco Franco, and 2 other European
movies will also be screened.

"We need to give consideration through the screening to the fact that innocent
people are sometimes killed in the name of the state," the organizer, Forum 90,
said.

"At the same time we expect viewers to think about and discuss how a person who
actually killed someone should be punished," the anti-death penalty group noted
in its leaflet.

During the 7-day event at the Eurospace movie theater in Tokyo's Shibuya
district, 4 movies will be shown per day, accompanied by sessions with guest
speakers, including a lawmaker, scholars as well as Kim Sung Woong, director of
"Freedom Moon," and Hakamada's sister Hideko.

Attracting around 4,500 viewers in total to the annual event during the past
four years, Masakuni Ota, a Forum 90 member, said, "We have provided
diversified standpoints in thinking about the death penalty by screening
various movies."

"We welcome not only death penalty abolitionists but also those ardently
supporting it" so the issue of capital punishment can be discussed from
multiple points of view, he added.

Japan hanged 2 death row inmates in December, bringing the total number of
executions under the second Shinzo Abe administration which began in December
2012 to 14. Around 70% of nations have abolished the death penalty by law or in
practice.

Tokyo was urged by the U.N. Human Rights Committee in 2014 to "give due
consideration to the abolition of the death penalty," but has legitimized its
continuance by citing the outcome of a survey, which indicated more than 80 %
of people in Japan support the death penalty.

(source: Japan Today)

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2016-02-07 15:59:49 UTC
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Feb. 7



NIGERIA:

NBA Chair Advocates Death Penalty For Corrupt Public Officers


The chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) Ilorin branch ,Barrister
Mansuma Issa has advocated capital punishment for any public officer found
guilty of corruption.

He noted that countries like Singapore, China ,Taiwan ,Vietnam and South Korea
which had adopted death penalty have succeeded in the fight against corruption.

Mansuma made the suggestion during an interview with newsmen in Ilorin, Kwara
state.

The NBA chairman said the association is in support of the anti- corruption war
of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration. He lamented that funds that
should ordinarily be spent on the health,education,agricultural sectors and
terrorism were diverted to individuals pockets, stating that offenders either
caught for capital or simple offenses should be treated in accordance with the
law.

He said that the Nigerian judiciary was still operating in the pre-independence
era and in colonial courts where judges still write in long hands. Mansuma
appealed to the federal and state governments to provide the judiciary with
verbatim recording machines to ease their assignments.

He bemoaned the deteriorating condition of the Nigerian prisons and called on
the government to improve the condition of the prisons which he said,
ordinarily, should serve as reformatory homes.

(source: lealdership.ng)






MALAWI:

Ritual murders of people with albinism must end


The killing of a woman with albinism in Malawi highlights the government's
shocking failure to protect the right to life and personal security of this
vulnerable minority, said Amnesty International.

The mutilated body of Eunice Phiri, a 53-year-old woman with albinism, was
found on 28 January in the Kasungu National Park. Her arms had been cut off - a
practice common with ritual murders where people with albinism are killed for
their body parts which are sold for use in witchcraft.

"It is deeply worrying that there's poor security for people with albinism in
Malawi despite an increasing number of attacks against them," said Deprose
Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for Southern Africa.

"The government's human rights obligations require them to protect everyone's
right to life. They must ensure that the police have the resources to protect
those at risk of attacks."

These crimes must be investigated and those suspected of responsibility brought
to justice without recourse to the death penalty.

In 2015 alone, 45 incidents including killings and attempted killings, and
abductions and attempted abductions, as well as opening of the graves of people
with albinism were reported by activists in Malawi. Some of those who were
abducted have never been seen again.

Attacks against people with albinism by individuals and gangs increased sharply
in 2015. Children were withdrawn from schools by their families fearing
attacks.

In November 2015, Amnesty International researchers met people with albinism
and their families who described how they live in constant fear of attacks and
abuses. Some had to move from rural to urban areas for their own safety.

"The government must take urgent action to protect people with albinism and to
address the root cause of the violence and discrimination they suffer," said
Deprose Muchena.

"They must also take steps to ensure that superstitions and harmful cultural
beliefs which fuel the attacks are tackled."

Background

According to police information, Eunice Phiri was tricked by three men,
including her brother, into accompanying them on a trip to Zambia through the
Kasungu National Park where she was killed and her body dismembered on 23
January 2016.

Erroneous beliefs and superstition have put the safety and lives of people with
albinism at risk, including from killings, abductions, and mutilations.

On 19 March 2015, Malawian President Peter Mutharika issued a statement
condemning attacks on people with albinism, and called on police to arrest
perpetrators and provide protection to people at risk of attack.

Although some arrests were made, concerns remain about the inadequacy of police
investigations and some perpetrators getting sentences which were not in line
with the gravity of the crime.

(source: Editorial, Maravi Post)






TANZANIA:

19 face death penalty over albino killings in Tanzania


19 people have been sentenced to death after being convicted of killing
albinos, the Tanzanian government has confirmed.

Home Affairs Deputy Minister, Hamad Yusuf Masauni told Anadolu Agency on
Saturday that the convicted are among 133 people arrested and charged with
killing people with albinism from 2006 to 2015.

"Other albino attacks and killings cases are in different stages in different
courts countrywide," the minister said in a telephone interview from Dodoma,
Tanzania's administrative capital.

Masauni said at least 75 people with albinism have been killed in Tanzania
since 2006, while more than 100 people have been attacked and mutilated.

Such attacks are due in large part to widespread superstition in East Africa
that body parts of people with albinism carry magical powers that witch doctors
claim to harness, or other beliefs that view albinos as cursed or causing bad
luck.

Commenting on the plea from people with albinism asking the government to
implement death penalties for those convicted of the killings, the minister
said the government is keen on exercising the court's ruling.

"Death penalties have long procedures and processes to be followed before
implementation. Once we are done with the process, those found guilty will be
executed," Masauni said.

Last year, the government formed a tripartite committee involving government
officials, people with albinism, witch doctors who are believed to have a hand
on albino killings and other stakeholders, as a strategy to combat attacks and
killings of people with albinism.

The Tanzanian government has also targeted witch doctors, arresting more than
200 of them in different parts of the country, as part of the fight against
albino killings.

The government, civil society and various groups including those with albinism
have also joined hands to prevent attacks through special concerts, radio and
TV programs in both public and privately owned media outlets.

Apart from Tanzania, albino attacks and killings have also been reported in
other East African countries, including Burundi and Kenya.

(source: newsfultoncountry.com)






EGYPT:

Egypt court reduces death sentences for 8 convicted in 'Suez Cell' case----The
case goes back to 2010, when 27 people were charged with planning attacks on
the Suez Canal but were released due to lack of evidence. They were referred to
court in November 2013


Cairo Criminal Court reduced Saturday death sentences on 8 convicted of
terrorist charges to 10 years in prison in the retrial of the "Suez terrorist
cell" case.

In March 2014, the court sentenced 26 people to death and one to 15 years in
prison on charges that include planning attacks on ships passing through the
Suez Canal, manufacturing missiles and explosives to carry out attacks,
monitoring and planning to attack security targets, and illegal possession of
guns, automatic rifles, explosives and ammunition.

The case goes back to 2010 when 27 people were charged with planning attacks on
the Suez Canal. They were released due to lack of evidence. They were referred
back to court in November 2013.

Since the March 2014 verdict, 6 defendants appealed and 2 others, tried in
absentia, were arrested. The verdict can be further appealed.

Most of the convicted were tried in absentia, and thus given the maximum
penalty for their crime - the death sentence.

If the rest of the defendants hand themselves in to the authorities, they can
also appeal their initial death sentences.

(source: ahramonline.com)


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2016-02-08 15:20:13 UTC
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Feb. 8



JAPAN:

Death By Hanging: Criterion Collection (Blu-ray)

List Price: $39.95

Review by Randy Miller III

During his wildly unpredictable career, director Nagisa Oshima (1932-2013)
refused to make the same movie twice. Frequently changing aspect ratios,
filming techniques, subject matter, and even color palettes, Oshima's most
recent film perpetually stood in stark contrast to what he'd just
completed...or what was lurking right around the corner. His 12th
feature-length production, 1968's Death by Hanging, was released right in the
middle of the director's most prolific period: Oshima helmed more than a dozen
productions between 1965 and 1972, each one more than a little different than
the last. Though it wasn't his most controversial film, Death by Hanging
definitely ruffled a few feathers upon its original release and still manages
to challenge audiences almost 50 years later.

The story sounds simple on paper...but whatever first-time viewers might expect
out of Death by Hanging, they'll get something different. Our central figure is
known as "R", and he's been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 2
young women; his story is based on the fate of Korean-born Japanese man Ri
Chin'u, who was imprisoned as a minor and executed in 1962 for similar crimes).
In Oshima's alternate universe, "R" survives the hanging: he's got a pulse 21
minutes after the failed execution but no memory of his crime or identity, and
the bureaucrats in charge have no idea how to proceed. Known only by their
titles---"Education Officer", "Priest", "Doctor", "Warden", etc.---they
reluctantly agree to recreate the crimes to jog his memory and justify a second
execution. This isn't exactly where Death by Hanging takes a sharp left turn:
if we're being honest, the entire film is a series of sharp left turns. Yet
from here onward, it moves further and further into the realm of pitch-black
farce, never to return.

At once a scathing critique of the death penalty and an examination of the
treatment of Korean-born Japanese citizens in the wake of World War II, Death
by Hanging is an extremely tough film to process the first (or even second)
time through. The film's wily, unpredictable nature runs the risk of alienating
those who need to hear its message the most; as a result, only those sharp
enough to connect all the dots might discover that Death by Hanging's finer
points seem a little dulled by all the chaos. Luckily the terrific performances
by almost everyone involved---none more than Do-yun Yu as "R", which was his
only credited acting role---make the faces and characters almost impossible to
forget, and the film's messy but efficient visuals complement many of its
unspoken words and themes. As a whole, Oshima's film is a passionate and
challenging production, which makes it easier to appreciate than enjoy.

Criterion's new Blu-ray edition of Death by Hanging actually marks the film's
Region 1 debut, and this is a fairly well-rounded release that does it justice.
The film's recent restoration looks great in high definition, and a handful of
brief but appropriate supplements (including a terrific interview with Japanese
film critic and historian Tony Rayns, who also discusses other segments of
Oshima's career as a whole) that add another level of texture and background
information for those intrigued by its interesting, unpredictable structure.
Death by Hanging isn't exactly "blind buy" material for those new to Oshima's
unique brand of filmmaking, but seasoned fans should enjoy this one.

(source: dvdtalk.com)

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

Words about sentences: the Japanese vocab of crime and punishment


When reporting on Japanese trials, Western journalists occasionally describe a
defendant as being sentenced to "life in prison." Technically, Japanese law
does not have shushinkei, literally "punishment until the body is finished").
Instead, there is muki choeki, imprisonment with labor for an undefined term),
the 2nd harshest punishment after shikei, the death penalty, also sometimes
colloquially referred to as kyokkei, the "ultimate punishment".

Indefinite imprisonment may sound much like a life sentence (or what happens at
Gitmo), and officially, it is. Sort of. But there is an important difference:
hope. Even murderers sentenced to indefinite terms can aspire to kari shakuho,
parole, if they can be repentant model prisoners for 2 or 3 decades.

There may be a trend toward kei no genbatsuka, harsher punishments, sometimes
attributed to more severe sentences being meted out in trials before saiban'in,
lay judge panels since that system started in 2009. Still, accounts by
keimusho, prison insiders suggest kyosei shisetsu, correctional facilities full
of criminals without hope would be much harder to manage. America could learn
something here.

Japanese keibatsu, punishment, sometimes also rendered keijibatsu has a very
different history from in the West, with a prominent theme being leniency.
Ancient Japan adopted imperial China's baroque, highly relational system of
ritsu, rules of punishment, but toned down their severity, never adopting, for
example, the infamous ryochikei, death by a thousand cuts.

Astonishingly, in 818 Emperor Saga actually abolished the death penalty, a
moratorium that lasted over 3 centuries, during which period politically
important offenders, at least, were instead sentenced to ryukei, exile to
remote islands like Sado or Oki. That ancient Japan went so long without a
death penalty is a remarkable historical fact, one that seems inconsistent with
the state's continued use of koshukei, death by hanging in the 21st century.

Currently Japan's keiho, penal code provides for 6 types of punishment. First,
the rarely imposed and more rarely carried-out death penalty. Then there is
choeki, imprisonment with labor, usually imposed for a defined term of up to 20
years, though multiple offenses can lead to longer terms. Muki choeki,
discussed earlier, is rare - only 23 such sentences were meted out in the 2014
government year. There is also kinko, sometimes imprisonment without labor.

Choeki seems to be reserved for morally culpable or harenchizai, "infamous"
crimes) like murder or theft, while kinko is more likely for negligent or
political offenses. The difference may be largely theoretical, though, since
most people sentenced to kinko reportedly volunteer for labor anyway.

Labor as punishment reflects the Japanese emphasis on kyosei, corrections,
kosei hogo, rehabilitation and protection - particularly of juvenile offenders
and shakai fukki, returning to society. Part of the exercise is thus for
jukeisha - inmates, or literally, "people receiving punishment" to acquire
skills and discipline, the lack of which may have gotten them into prison in
the first place.

Choeki means many things are made at Japanese prisons: traditional and modern
furniture, household items and car accessories, for example.

Most sentences of imprisonment are for just a few years, and those of 3 years
or less may be suspended. If the convict does not re-offend during the
suspension period, the original sentence is vacated. Suspended sentences may
also be combined with hogokansatsu, probation.

Another form of punishment is koryu, short-term detention for a period of a
month or less. Confusingly, it is a homophone for another koryu, which refers
to pretrial detention, which is technically not a form of punishment.

Punishments that don't take your freedom take your money or stuff. A
supplementary sanction in some cases is bosshu, confiscation of assets or
property related to the commission of the underlying crime. Bakkin) are penal
fines of 10,000 yen or more, while karyo are for lesser amounts. Here another
homophone rears its head: karyo refers to the myriad nonpenal fines imposed by
laws outside the criminal sphere. To distinguish the 2, penal karyo are
sometimes referred to as togaryo, while nonpenal fines are referred to as
ayamachiryo. What's the difference? Nonpenal fines do not result in zenka,
criminal records. Moreover, you don't have to work them off in prison as you
would if sentenced to a penal fine while broke. Drivers may be hit with
hansokukin, a special administrative fine imposed for minor traffic violations;
special because if you don't pay, you can end up in criminal court. Finally,
there are tsuichokin, financial penalties that are most common in the world of
tax and imposed when you fail to pay a tax or other public duty.

(source: Colin P.A. Jones is a professor at Doshisha Law School in
Kyoto)----Japan Times)






SRI LANKA:

Prisoners On Death Row To Get Life Imprisonment


Following a set of recommendations made by a committee appointed to look into
the death sentence issued on several convicts, it has been decided to convert
the death sentence imposed on 34 of those convicts into life imprisonment.
President Maithripala Sirisena had taken the decision after considering the
reports on the 34 convicts submitted by the committee which was appointed by
the former President.

The committee has also finalized reports on another 60 convicts on death row
and these reports will also be handed over to the President for his
consideration, a committee member told The Sunday Leader.

Since the death sentence is not implemented in Sri Lanka an issue has arisen on
the convicts who are on death row.

Human rights groups have urged the Sri Lankan government not to implement the
death sentence despite pressure from some groups and individuals following a
spate of gruesome murders in the country.

(source: The Sunday Leader)






NIGERIA:

NBA Ilorin Chairman suggests Death Penalty for corrupt public officers


NANMansuma Issa, Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin branch, has
advocated capital punishment for corrupt public servants in the country.

Issa, who made the suggestion in llorin, Kwara, on Sunday while speaking with
newsmen, also said that the punishment should be extended to other African
countries.

He decried the level of corruption in Africa, especially in Nigeria, and said
that capital punishment would stem graft and brazen looting of public funds.

According to him, countries like Singapore, China, Taiwan, Vietnam and South
Korea which adopted death penalty to curb corruption had succeeded in fight
against corruption.

The NBA chairman said that corruption had become endemic in Africa and had
necessitated the association's support for the corruption war being fought by
the President Muhammadu Buhari's administration.

He lamented that funds which would have been spent on the health, education and
agriculture as well as for the fight against terrorism were diverted to
individual pockets.

He called for the strengthening of the judiciary so that offenders could face
trial in accordance with the law.

Issa said that the Nigerian judiciary was still operating pre-independence
pattern and in colonial courts where judges still wrote in long hands,
describing the act as "very stressful and retrogressive".

He appealed to the federal and state governments to provide the judiciary with
verbatim recording machines to ease their assignments.

He assured that judges in the country could still be trusted, especially in the
fight against corruption.

Issa, however, admitted that there might be few cases of corruption in the
judiciary and urged the disciplinary committee of NBA not to take the issue of
corruption in the judiciary lightly.

He said that any judge found guilty should be dealt with accordingly.

On Constitution amendment, he said that the 1979 Constitution was well crafted
except for the variation in the laws of the principles of federalism and the
control of resources.

He called for the modification of those areas of the Constitution, noting that
there was no "perfect constitution" anywhere in the world but a "workable
constitution".

Issa disclosed that the greatest challenge facing NBA in Kwara was allegations
of diversion of clients' funds by some of its members.

He warned that anyone found wanting in such allegation would be forwarded to
the national disciplinary committee of the association for necessary action.

He urged the government to improve the condition of the prisons, saying that it
was also part of the challenges the association faced while fighting for the
right of its clients.

He described the condition of Nigerian prisons as embarrassing and dehumanising
and said that inmates should not be treated as enemies of the people.

(source: bellanakja.com)






EGYPT:

Egypt sentences more Muslim Brotherhood members to death


A court in Egypt has handed more death penalties to supporters of the Muslim
Brotherhood. The military court in Alexandria gave the death penalty to 8
people. The defendants were charged with organizing a terrorist group tasked
with targeting the military. Egypt has cracked down on dissent since former
president Morsi was ousted.

(source: presstv.ir)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Anonymous Calls For Saudi Arabia Ban from 2016 Olympics


Online activist collective Anonymous and @OperationNimr - a voice campaigning
to nullify the death sentence handed to Saudi Arabian youth are both calling
for the exclusion of Saudi Arabia from this year's Rio Olympics.

With a nod to Saudi Arabia's controversial human rights record, Anonymous and
@OperationNimr are calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to keep
out Saudi Arabia from the summer Olympic games, @OperationNimr revealed to
Hacked.

Despite an outcry from activists and human rights groups, Saudi Arabia recently
executed and crucified 47 people on January 2, 2016. A majority of those
executed included prominent Arab Spring activists and pro-democracy supporters.

Anonymous has previously endeavored to shed light on the death sentences handed
out by the Saudi Arabian government toward its youth. Known for its hacktivism,
Anonymous took down several government websites in early September 2016. The
targeted hacking run brought focus to a 2012 death sentence handed to the
then-17-year-old teenager, Mohammed al-Nimr.

A Saudi court judgement noted that Nimr had "encouraged pro-democracy protests
[using] a Blackberry."

In response, websites such as Saudi Airlines, the Ministry and Justice and more
were taken offline.

"Hundreds of innocent people die each year because of the Saudi Government, and
they (the Saudi Government) will now be punished for their actions," Anonymous
said at the time.

In a report by Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is revealed as "one of the
most prolific executioners in the world." Executions are known to be carried
out for "crimes" such as witchcraft, sorcery and adultery.

The latest call to ban Saudi Arabia is yet another attempt to bring the kingdom
state's death penalty practices under the world's scanner. Between January 1986
and June 2015, at least 2,200 known people were executed in Saudi Arabia, 1/2
of whom were foreign nationals. Significantly, over 1/3 of these executions
took place for offences that did not figure within the threshold of "most
serious crimes." Under international law, "most serious crimes" is a category
for which the death penalty can be imposed.

(source: hacked.com)






GAZA:

Hamas armed wing executes member 'for spying for Israel'


The armed wing of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said Sunday it had
executed 1 of its members, with sources familiar with the case calling him a
senior official accused of spying for Israel.

"The Al-Qassam Brigades announce that the death penalty pronounced against its
member Mahmud Eshtawi has been applied today at 1600 hours," Hamas's armed
branch said in a statement.

Executions have previously been carried out in the Gaza Strip, including in
public squares in the Palestinian territory, but it appeared to be the first
time Al-Qassam itself had sentenced one of its own through a court martial and
executed him.

The statement did not provide details on the accusations against him other than
to say that "the Brigades' military and Islamic judicial committee issued the
sentence because he violated rules and ethics."

Eshtawi's duties included overseeing tunnels that have previously been used to
store weapons and carry out attacks against Israel, the sources said.

According to the sources, he was in charge of a large unit and was previously a
close associate of Mohammed Deif, the Al-Qassam chief who has been a frequent
target of Israeli assassination attempts.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said in late December that 9 death
sentences had been issued in the Gaza Strip in 2015 and 2 in the occupied West
Bank.

Since the start of 2016, 4 Gazans have been handed death sentences after being
accused of spying for Israel.

The Gaza Strip has seen 3 wars with Israel since 2008.

(source: Agence France-Presse)






INDONESIA:

Family of Murdered 7-Year-Old Boy Demands Death Penalty for Perpetrator


The family of the 7-year-old boy who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered on
Sunday (07/02) has demanded the death penalty for the perpetrator.

Jamaludin - a 1st grade student at the SDN Beji 3 in Depok, West Java - was
abducted by 35-year-old Januar Arifin, also known as Begeng, who was regularly
seen in front of the boy's school. The 2 often used to hang out together and
played video games at a rental store near the school.

The boy was last seen alive at 12 p.m. on Saturday while leaving the school in
Januar's company. Januar allegedly gave the boy Rp 2,000 (15 cents) to convince
him to go with him to his home in the Lubang Buaya area of East Jakarta.

The boy's parents reported that their son had been abducted after receiving a
text message from the suspect. Police raided Januar's home in the early hours
of Sunday. Jamaludin's body was found in the bathroom, with bruises and what
appeared to be signs of strangulation on his neck.

The Depok District Police said Januar had apparently planned the abduction 3
days in advance, while Tribunnews.com reported that the suspect allegedly
sexually assaulted Jamaludin before killing him.

"He must be sentenced to death. Don't let him live, because there will be more
victims. Begeng is a psychopath. We don't want him to serve a light sentence,"
one of the deceased boy's relatives, Tuti Ningsih, said at the victim's home in
Depok on Sunday.

The Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) has meanwhile renewed a call
for the chemical castration of sexual offenders.

"We really appreciate what the police have done, but [other than] finding the
motives behind [the abduction and] the murder, the government still has to
create laws to legally punish child abusers," KPAI commissioner Erlinda said in
Depok on Sunday.

Januar is currently being detained at the Beji Subdistrict Police Station for
further questioning. An autopsy has already been completed on Jamaludin's body
and the result was handed to the police, who will now complete their
investigation. However, the KPAI has demand that the perpetrator should also be
examined by a psychiatrist.

Jamaludin's parents buried their son in their hometown in Garut, West Java, on
Monday.

(source: Jakarta Globe)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-09 15:04:14 UTC
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Feb. 9




BANGLADESH:

Supreme Court starts hearing Mir Quasem Ali's appeal against war crimes verdict


The Supreme Court has started hearing the appeal by Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir
Quasem Ali against the war crimes tribunal's verdict.

The 5-member Appellate Division bench led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha
started the proceedings on Tuesday.

The hearing began with defence counsel SM Sajahan reading out the charges
against his client. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the State during
the hearing.

The Jamaat leader has been given the death penalty by the International Crimes
Tribunal for crimes against humanity on Nov 2, 2014.

A top financier of the party, he filed an appeal seeking acquittal on Nov 30
that year.

Mir Quasem is said to have been the 3rd man in vigilante militia Al-Badr's
command structure during the 1971 Liberation War.

Under his command local collaborators of Pakistan Army let loose a reign of
terror to suppress the Bengali freedom struggle in Chittagong.

An executive council member of Jamaat, he was arrested on June 17, 2012 from
the office of newspaper Naya Diganta less than 2 hours after the tribunal
issued a warrant for his arrest.

(source: benews24.com)






GAZA:

Palestinian human rights defenders condemn execution by Hamas


Palestinian human rights defenders are condemning the killing by Hamas of one
of the resistance organization's own members in Gaza.

On Sunday, the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, announced it had
executed Mahmoud Rushdi Ishteiwi.

In a brief statement on its website, Qassam said that the slaying of Ishteiwi
implemented a death sentence issued by "the military and Sharia judiciaries of
Qassam Brigades for behavioral and moral excesses that he confessed."

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), which gave Ishteiwi's age as
35, condemned the slaying and called on the "attorney general to investigate it
and take all necessary legal measures to ensure justice."

"Killing Ishteiwi in such a way constitutes an assault on the rule of law and
might institutionalize a serious case of extrajudicial execution," PCHR added.

According to its investigation and information given to PCHR by Ishteiwi's
sister Buthaina last July, her brother was arrested in January 2015 on
suspicion of "collaboration with the Israeli forces, misappropriation of funds
and behavioral excesses."

"Prosecuting collaborators with the Israeli forces is necessary, and the
Palestinian armed groups play an important role in such prosecution," PCHR
stated. "However, only official authorities should open investigations and hold
the perpetrators to account."

Following news of Mahmoud Ishteiwi's execution, Buthaina Ishteiwi told the
Wattan news outlet that she believed her brother had been killed due to a
dispute with his superiors.

While PCHR's statement on Ishteiwi suggests that collaboration may have been
one of the accusations against him, the Qassam Brigades statement announcing
the execution does not make that claim.

Typically, when Hamas has announced killings of alleged collaborators, it has
not published their names, supposedly to spare their families the public
ostracism that comes with such a grave accusation.

Split authority

Under the laws of the Palestinian Authority, death sentences issued by courts
can only be carried out after ratification by the PA president.

The West Bank-based PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has not ratified any death
sentences in a decade.

Hamas has however continued the use of the death penalty in Gaza.

The surprise victor in legislative elections in 2006, Hamas took control of the
internal governance of Gaza in 2007 after fierce battles with Abbas' rival
Fatah party, which refused to hand over power.

This has meant in practice that most areas of governance, including the
judicial system, have been split.

According to PCHR, a total of 172 death sentences have been issued since the PA
was established in 1994, of which 30 were in the West Bank and 142 in Gaza.

84 death sentences were issued since Hamas took over in Gaza in 2007.

Up to 2010, according to PCHR, about 1/2 the death sentences were for homicides
and about half for collaboration with Israel.

Earlier this month, a military court in Gaza, ostensibly operating under the
Palestine Liberation Organization's Revolutionary Penal Code of 1979, sentenced
four individuals to death by hanging on accusations of collaboration with
Israel, according to the Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights.

And last week, Hamas reportedly arrested a woman on suspicion of spying. The
woman allegedly used a condolence visit to the families of Hamas fighters
recently killed in tunnel collapses to try to glean sensitive information.

Rule of law

Collaboration is seen by Palestinians, as it has historically been seen among
all occupied populations, as a serious threat to life and safety as well as to
the operational security of resistance organizations.

Israel makes intensive efforts to recruit informants, preying on the misery
that its nearly 9-year siege of Gaza and repeated devastating assaults have
generated.

"Everything starts and ends with money," an agent from Israel's domestic
intelligence agency, Shin Bet, which recruits Palestinian informants, told the
Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz in 2014.

But Israel also tries to coerce collaboration in other ways, including
blackmailing patients who require difficult to obtain permits to travel to
Israel for life-saving medical treatment.

Israel has also periodically dropped leaflets over Gaza with telephone numbers
for would-be Palestinian informants to contact its agents.

Hamas, for its part, has used a number of means to try to combat the
phenomenon, from public information campaigns to executions, occasionally
carried out gruesomely in public, as happened during Israel's summer 2014
assault.

It has not been rare for revolutionary and resistance groups in different
countries to resort to such brutality against alleged collaborators.

But however serious the threat from informants, Palestinian human rights
defenders have been adamant that even wartime collaboration must be dealt with
according to the rule of law.

Both PCHR and Al Mezan have moreover long advocated the total abolition of the
death penalty in all cases.

In the short film at the top of this article, titled "Against the Death
Penalty" and released in December, PCHR highlights its campaign to end the
practice once and for all.

(source: theelectronicintifada.net)






PAKISTAN:

92% of Pakistanis support hanging terrorists: survey


According to a Gilani Research Foundation Survey carried out by Gallup
Pakistan, sweeping majority of Pakistanis (92%) support the rule of hanging
terrorists.

A nationally representative sample of men and women from across the four
provinces was asked, "Some people support the rule of hanging terrorists while
others are against this. Please tell, to what extent do you support or oppose
this rule?"

In response, 64% said that they support it a lot, 28% said that they support it
to some extent and 6% said that they oppose it to some extent. 2% said that
they oppose it a lot.

The study was released by Gilani Research Foundation and carried out by Gallup
Pakistan, the Pakistani affiliate of Gallup International.

The recent survey was carried out among a sample of 1826 men and women in rural
and urban areas of all 4 provinces of the country, during December 21 -
December 28, 2015.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lifted a 6-year moratorium on executions on
December 17, 2014, a day after Tehreek-e-Taliban militants massacred more than
150 people -- mostly children -- at Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar.

Since that time Pakistan has executed more than 300 death row convicts.

Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on
death row, most of whom have exhausted the appeals process.

Supporters argue that the death penalty is the only effective way to deal with
the scourge of militancy in the country. But critics say the legal system is
unjust, with rampant police torture, poor representation for victims and unfair
trials.

(source: Dunya News)






ENGLAND:

Andy Warhol artwork made of 14 ELECTRIC CHAIRS expected to fetch 6m pounds at
auction


A giant Andy Warhol canvas made up of 14 small electric chairs is expected to
sell for 6 million pounds at auction.

The American pop artist worked on a Death and Disaster Series which included
images of electric chairs used to deliver the death penalty in the 1960s.

And in 1980 he revisited the theme as part of his Reversals series, which was a
postmodern reworking of his best-known compositions.

The monumental piece is 2-metres high and features 14 electric chairs, which
Warhol viewed alongside the dollar bill, Coca-Cola sign and Marilyn Monroe's
face as all-American emblems.

It is regarded as Warhol's most hard-hitting "visual shorthand" for American
national identity and also one of the most internationally renowned.

His electric chair paintings are in collections at the Guggenheim in New York
and the Menil Collection in Houston.

This piece, which has been in private ownership for 20 years, is the star lot
at Bonhams' Contemporary Art sale which takes place in London on February 11.

It has been given a guide price of 4 to 6 million pounds.

Ralph Taylor, Bonhams senior director of Post-War and Contemporary Art, said:
"It is incredible to stand in front of this piece.

"Warhol's transformation of the electric chair motif into a striking abstract
pattern encrypts the implications of the original image.

"The longer you look at it, the more its significance slowly dawns, gaining
force from its very discretion.

"For me, this ironic twist is closely tied to an intense impression of Warhol's
personal self-reflection as an artist. It is so rare to come across such a
historic icon of post-war and contemporary art outside museums."

(source: The Mirror)






THAILAND:

Cambodia arrests man wanted for Spaniard killing in Bangkok


The prime suspect in the grisly murder and dismemberment of a Spanish national
in Bangkok was returned to Thailand yesterday after his arrest in Cambodia,
police said.

Multiple body parts belonging to businessman David Bernat were found floating
in Bangkok's Chao Praya river last month.

Police believe he was kidnapped and murdered for financial reasons, with
investigators saying they have traced more than $1mn moved from the victim's
bank account after his death.

Last week they named their chief suspect as Artur Segarra, 36, also a Spanish
national, saying they were confident he remained inside Thailand because he had
recently withdrawn money from a cash machine inside the country.

But Cambodian police said Segarra was apprehended in a restaurant on Sunday in
the town of Sihanoukville.

"We arrested him yesterday late afternoon," Chuon Narin, police chief of
Kampong Som province, said yesterday.

He was later handed over to Thai police in the eastern province of Trat.
General Panya Maman, the officer leading the murder investigation, said Segurra
would be sent to Bangkok for interrogation.

"A criminal court has issued an arrest warrant against Artur for premeditated
murder and illegal disposal of a body," he told reporters.

If charged and convicted, Segurra could face the death penalty.

The gruesome case has dominated Thai media coverage in recent days with
television networks airing grim footage of officers hauling Bernat's remains
out of the river. Police questioned a Thai woman over the weekend who was
allegedly seen with Segarra in recent days.

Investigators initially struggled to identify the victim. Last week police said
they believed the man was of Asian origin and suggested that Chinese triads
might have been involved because of the method chosen to dispose of the body.

The wide Chao Praya winds its way through Bangkok, which boasts a large network
of canals, and it is not unusual for bodies to be dumped in the city's
waterways. But it is rare for a foreigner to meet such a grisly fate.

Cambodian police have returned a number of high profile criminal suspects to
Thailand in recent months, including 1 of the alleged perpetrators of last
summer's Bangkok bombing and an Australian wanted for his alleged involvement
in the murder of a fellow national and former Hells Angels member in Pattaya.

(source: Gulf Times)


TURKEY/EGYPT:

Erdogan rules out meeting Egypt's Sisi over death sentences for Brotherhood


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will not meet with Egyptian
President Abdul Fatah Sisi until Egypt lifts the death sentences of Mohammed
Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

"My stance on that issue is clear; in the first place, I will not meet Sisi
until the decisions of death penalty for Morsi and his friends are reviewed and
lifted. Our ministers may meet with their counterparts," Erdogan said according
to a Feb. 7 report by the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper.

Erdogan, a strong supporter of the Brotherhood, blasted Morsi's ouster in 2013
and later referred to Sisi as a "tyrant." Cairo responded by expelling the
Turkish ambassador and Ankara did the same.

Following Moris's ouster, the Muslim Brotherhood was officially branded a
terrorist group and outlawed in Egypt. Sisi's government continues to crack
down on the Brotherhood and its supporters in the country.

Erdogan added that a meeting between Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his
Egyptian counterpart would be acceptable as "Turkey and Egypt are 2 peoples, 2
countries which are from the same culture and believe in the same standards of
judgments. Of course, we shouldn't break away."

(source: WorldTribune.com)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr: Saudi Arabia on verge of beheading protester 'tortured as
a child into confessing'


A young protester who was reportedly forced to admit to crimes after being
tortured when he was a teenager could be beheaded in the coming days.

Ali Mohammed al-Nimr was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012, along with 2 others
who were also minors at the time, following anti-government protests in 2011.

In 2013, aged just 17, he was sentenced to death by beheading and crucifixion.

He is the nephew of the outspoken Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was
executed on 2 January without warning, along with 46 other prisoners.

His mother, Umm Bakr, told The Times she fears her son was used "as a card
against his uncle", and says after he was arrested he was tortured into signing
confessions for a number of false charges including carrying a weapon.

Mohammed al-Nimr, his father and the brother of Sheikh Nimr, believes his son
was "just like any other youth," he said: "When the movement started, he
joined, believing he would take on the burden for the people."

However, he claims police knocked Mr al-Nimr off his motorcycle and arrested
him, informing his family he would only be released if "his uncle stops
talking".

The mass execution sparked widespread protests around the world and lead to a
sharp decline in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Following the mass killing of 46 prisoners earlier this year, the largest mass
execution in Saudi Arabia since 1980, the British government maintains it
doesn't expect the Mr al-Nimr's sentence to go ahead.

But his father doubts he will be released: "Perhaps before 2 January, I might
have believed that. Now unless I see him back home again, none of these
assurances can give me any comfort."

(source: The Independent)






AFGHANISTAN:

Taliban Reportedly Execute Afghan Woman For Adultery----The Afghanistan
Independent Human Rights Commission says Ghor is among the provinces with the
highest number of so-called Taliban "desert courts."


Afghan officials say a woman has been executed after being accused of adultery
in a remote Taliban-controlled village in the western province of Ghor.

Abdul Hai Khatibi, a provincial government spokesman, said on February 8 that
the execution was carried out in the remote Taliban-controlled village of Zanu
on February 5.

The woman was identified by her 1st name, Zahra, but her age was unknown.

Khatibi said Zahra was detained by the Taliban along with a man, identified as
Ayub. Ayub was shot while trying to flee and is currently in Taliban captivity,
the spokesman said.

However, district Governor Muhammad Hussein Daneshyar told RFE/RL's Radio Free
Afghanistan that the woman was shot dead by her husband, who accused her of
having an extramarital affair.

Afghan official say the area has been under militant control for more than a
year.

There was no comment from the Taliban.

The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says Ghor is among the
provinces with the highest number of so-called Taliban "desert courts."

(source: rawa.org)


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2016-02-10 20:40:18 UTC
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Feb. 10



NORTH KOREA:

North Korea executes army chief of staff: South Korean media


North Korea has executed its army chief of staff, Ri Yong Gil, South Korea's
Yonhap news agency reported on Wednesday, which, if true, would be the latest
in a series of executions, purges and disappearances under its young leader.

The news comes amid heightened tension surrounding isolated North Korea after
its Sunday launch of a long-range rocket, which came about a month after it
drew international condemnation for conducting its 4th nuclear test.

A source familiar with North Korean affairs also told Reuters that Ri had been
executed. The source declined to be identified, given the sensitivity of the
matter.

Ri, who was chief of the Korean People's Army (KPA) General Staff, was executed
this month for corruption and factional conspiracy, Yonhap and other South
Korean media reported.

Yonhap did not identify its sources. The source who told Reuters the news
declined to comment on how the information about the execution had been
obtained.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service declined to comment and it was not
possible to independently verify the report.

The North rarely issues public announcement related to purges or executions of
high-level officials.

A rare official confirmation of a high-profile execution came after Jang Song
Thaek, leader Kim Jong Un's uncle and the man who was once considered the 2nd
most powerful figure in the country, was executed for corruption in 2013.

In May last year, the North executed its defense chief by anti-aircraft gun at
a firing range, the South's spy agency said in a report to members of
parliament.

The North's military leadership has been in a state of perpetual reshuffle
since Kim Jong Un took power after the death of his father in 2011. He has
changed his armed forces chief several times since then.

Some other high-ranking officials in the North have been absent from public
view for extended periods, fuelling speculation they may have been purged or
removed, only to resurface.

(source: Reuters)






MALAYSIA:

Perak police nab 3 family members, seize drugs worth RM228,000


Perak police seized 4.57 kilogrammes (kg) of heroin, worth about RM228,859,
following the arrest of a couple and their son in Taman Gopeng Baru, Gopeng
last Friday.

Perak Narcotics Crime Department chief, ACP R. Ravi Chandran said police
managed to seize the drugs after detaining a 58-year-old man who was in a
Proton Waja that was parked in front of a house in the housing estate, on Feb
5, at about 3.50pm.

"Police found 5 transparent plastic packages believed to be filled with heroin
weighing about 4.53kg when the car was inspected. In a follow-up search at the
suspect's house, police arrested his wife and 20-year-old son after finding
plastic packages believed to contain heroin weighing 50.70grammes,??? he told
reporters at the Perak police headquarters, here today.

Ravi said the 3 suspects were being remanded for 7 days beginning Saturday to
assist investigations.

He said the drugs were believed to be for distribution around Gopeng, Kampar
and Ipoh and was sufficient to supply some 3,500 drug users.

Ravi said the family head who was detained worked as a farmer and had 6
previous criminal records, while his wife and son had no previous criminal
records.

"We are also investigating when the family started trafficking drugs actively.
The farmer also tested positive for methamphetamine," he said while thanking
the public for the tip-off.

The case would be investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act
1952 which carries the mandatory death penalty if convicted.

(source: themalaymailonline.com)



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2016-02-11 15:38:11 UTC
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Feb. 11



BANGLADESH:

Death penalty won't be abolished in Bangladesh: Huq


Law Minister Anisul Huq has dismissed the chances of an abolition of the death
penalty in Bangladesh. However, he has said the government will try to avoid
capital punishment in future laws.

He spoke of the government stance while talking to reporters after a
views-exchange meeting with a delegation of the European Parliament in Dhaka on
Thursday.

The minister said, "When the issue of the death penalty was raised, I told them
unambiguously that the laws which now provide for the death penalty would not
be changed."

"We'll try to do that (abolishing the death penalty) when we enact new laws in
future. Since capital punishment is not that much acceptable as punishment,
we'll bring about changes," he added.

"But if we think capital punishment is the best weapon to combat any serious
crime, the death penalty may remain in a relevant new law," Huq said.

The European Union has long been urging Bangladesh to scrap the death penalty.
It made the call even as Bangladesh executed several war criminals after their
conviction by war crimes tribunals.

(source: bdnews24.com)

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

HC upholds death penalty in ex-UK envoy Anwar attack case


The High Court has reinstated a lower court's verdict that convicted 5 Huji
militants for the assassination attempt on former British High Commissioner
Anwar Choudhury which killed 3 people and left more than 70 others injured at
the shrine of Hazrat Shahjalal in Sylhet.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Amir Hossain gave the verdict
in the murder case on Thursday afternoon.

The court started hearing on the death references on January 6 this year.

Anwar, currently serving as the British Ambassador to Peru, along with 70
others sustained injuries in the attack launched after the Jumma prayers on May
21, 2004.

Hailing from Sylhet, Anwar served as the British High Commissioner to
Bangladesh until 2008.

3 militants of banned militant outfit Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami Bangladesh
(HujiB) - Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul, and Md Delwar Hossain
alias Ripon - were sentenced to death while 2 others - Hannan's brother
Muhibullah alias Muhibur Rahman alias Ovi and Mufti Mainuddin Khaja alias Abu
Jandal - given life-term jail by the Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal on
December 23, 2008.

Another case was filed over the use of explosives is currently under trial at a
Sylhet court.

In his confessional statement, Hannan said that Jandal had supplied the
grenades through Bipul and Ripon. HujiB received the grenades from
Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

(source: Dhaka Tribune)

********

Bangladesh upholds Islamists' death sentence for UK envoy attack


Mufti Abdul Hannan was behind a number of deadly grenade attacks including on a
rally of current PM Sheikh Hasina in Aug 2004.

A Bangladesh court Thursday upheld the death sentence of a top Islamist
militant and 2 of his followers for a 2004 failed assassination attack on the
British ambassador that left three people dead.

The High Court dismissed appeals by Mufti Abdul Hannan, head of Harkatul Jihad
Al Islami, and two members of the banned militant Islamist group who have all
been convicted over a spate of deadly attacks.

"The High Court has upheld the verdict. Unless they make another appeal in the
country's highest court, there is now no bar to their execution," deputy
attorney general Sheikh Moniruzzaman Kabir said.

"Mufti Abdul Hannan was behind a number of deadly grenade attacks including on
a rally of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in August 2004 in which more
than 20 people were killed," he said.

There was no comment from the defence lawyers, who did not turn up for the
verdict.

The trio were convicted of murder and masterminding the grenade attack in May
2004 on then British high commissioner Anwar Choudhury, who was only slightly
injured.

The attack came just weeks after the Bangladeshi-born diplomat took up the post
and occurred as he was visiting a historic Sufi shrine in the northeastern city
of Sylhet.

The High Court also on Thursday upheld life sentences for 2 other militants for
their roles in the blast that left 3 worshippers dead and scores injured.

The British High Commission had welcomed the conviction of those involved but
opposed the use of the death penalty.

Police said at the time of the attack that the group was plotting "to avenge
the deaths of Muslims in Iraq and across the world by America and Britain".

(source: Deccan Chronicle)






PAKISTAN:

Pakistan army confirms death sentences for 12 militants


Pakistan has hanged nearly 350 inmates, mostly routine criminals, since lifting
a 2008 moratorium on executions in 2014.

The death sentences of 12 hardcore militants was confirmed on Thursday by army
Chief General Raheel Sharif, days after they were given death penalty by the
military courts for committing "heinous offences relating to terrorism".

The convicts were found guilty of various acts of terrorism in the country,
including breaking of Bannu Jail, attacks on armed forces, law enforcement
agencies and civilians, army said in statement.

"Today Chief of Army Staff confirmed death sentences awarded to another 12
hardcore terrorists, who were involved in committing heinous offences relating
to terrorism," it said.

The convicts were tried by military courts set up after attack at Peshawar
school on December 16, 2014 which killed at least 150 people, mostly students.

The venue and timing of trial was kept secret due to security reasons.

Already several militants conceited by these courts have been hanged, including
the facilitators of the Peshawar school attack.

(source: Deccan Chronicle)






IRAN:

Iranian Musicians Jailed, Facing Possible Execution For Playing Metal


As an American, I sometimes forget how provocative heavy metal as an artform
could be, particularly in less secular countries. Everybody talks about freedom
of speech in this country and some would lead you to believe we are losing that
freedom, but last time I checked, nobody in this country is facing potential
death just for being in a metal band.

That's exactly what's happening to Iranian band Confess members Nikan Siyanor
Khosravi and Khosravi Arash Chemical Ilkhani. Both men were arrested by the
Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and are facing charges of
blasphemy, advertising against the system, running an illegal and underground
band and record label promoting music considered to be Satanic, writing
anti-religious lyrics and granting interviews to forbidden foreign radio
stations. These serious charges resulted in the 2 band members, aged 23 and 21
sitting in solitary since last November until finally making bail on February
5th, paying the equivalent of $30,000 US.

The musicians are lawyering up and could face a minimum of six months to six
years in prison, and worse, if they are found guilty of the blasphemy charge,
they could be executed! It's easy to see how they could be charged with
blasphemy, especially when they have a song named "I Am Your God."

The band's new album, In Pursuit of Dreams, also features tracks titled "New
World Order," "Teh-Hell-Ran" (a play on words of the Iranian capital Tehran),
"The Alphabet Of Power" and "5 Years In A Cave." It was released on the group's
own label, Opposite Records.

The government has allegedly seized all of their personal online accounts,
including e-mail and Facebook, although as of this writing their profile on
Facebook is still active.

We're not exactly sure what we can do to help the band at the moment, but we
figured raising awareness is a start. We have started the hashtag #FreeConfess.
(source: Robert Pasbani, metalinjection.net)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Butcher kills man with skewer for girl, sets his body on fire----He and the
girl face death penalty


An Indian butcher in Saudi Arabia killed another Indian with a skewer and set
his body on fire after an argument over a girl, a newspaper reported on
Thursday.

Police arrested the butcher after civil defence men putting out a fire at an
apartment found the scorched body of the victim a few days after he was
murdered.

The butcher at first denied involvement but confessed during interrogation that
he killed the man after a rift over an Indian girl.

Sada newspaper said the girl worked as a housemaid for the victim and had an
affair with both men at their separate apartments in the Western Red Sea port
of Jeddah.

It said the butcher faces the death penalty for murder while the girl may also
be executed for having a relationship with 2 men and covering up for the
killer.

(source: emirates247.com)






UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

Death sentence for maid killers in UAE


A couple who killed their maid then tried to cover up the crime by burning her
body with acid have been sentenced to death.

Abu Dhabi Criminal Court handed down the verdict on Wednesday after convicting
the Palestinian husband and wife of murdering the Ethiopian woman.

The court was told that on the day of the murder in 2014, a fight broke out
between the wife and the maid. Prosecutors said the wife beat her maid with a
stick so badly that the maid fell unconscious and later died.

"Her husband poured a chemical substance on the maid's body to try to hide her
identity," said a prosecutor. The couple wrapped the woman's body in white
cloth then placed it in a suitcase that they dumped in the desert during the
night in the Al Ajban area of Abu Dhabi.

Although the body was badly burned, police officers were still able to uncover
the identity of the maid after her corpse was found. Her killers were later
arrested while hiding out in a hotel with their children.

"They made the woman work for them for many months but they never paid her
anything. They instead killed her," a prosecutor told court.

Prosecutors charged the couple with murder, torture and depriving the maid of
her freedom. Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty in the event of a
conviction.

Both the wife and her husband had denied all the charges. But Chief Justice
Idris bin Mansour found the pair guilty.

The maid's family had also refused blood money and asked that the pair be
executed for the murder of their relative.

Under UAE law, a death sentence can be appealed within 14 days of the verdict
being issued.

(source: 7days.ae)






KENYA:

12 men on death row challenge mandatory sentence


12 death row inmates have petitioned against a law imposing mandatory death
sentences on capital offenders.

Joseph Kaberia and 11 others, serving different terms at the Kamiti Maximum
Prison, argue the penal code is arbitrary, cruel and inhuman.

The convicts argue they are not challenging the legality of death sentence or
their convictions.

They say they want the mandatory death sentence addressed, calling it a
constitutional point and a matter of general public importance.

Chief Justice Willy Mutunga recently issued policy guidelines on the death
penalty, stating that courts must impose death sentences for offences that
attract the penalty.

The CJ made the directive following conflicting decisions of the Court of
Appeal over mandatory death sentences.

In the case of Godfrey Mutiso, three judges ruled that a mandatory death
sentence is unconstitutional.

But in a subsequent decision, 5 judges of the same court, in the case of Joseph
Mwaura and others, emphasised that courts do not have discretion concerning
offences with a mandatory death sentence.

(source: The Star)


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2016-02-11 20:06:40 UTC
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Feb. 11



SINGAPORE:

Masseuse charged with murder of boyfriend


A masseuse was charged at the Magistrate Court here today with the murder of
her boyfriend last month.

Ng Choon Wah, 53, together with another suspect who is still at large, is
accused of causing the death of Ng Kin Hock, 52, at a house in Taman Bahagia
here at about 12.30 am on Jan 28.

The victim's body was found at a rubber plantation in Jalan Nyior 3 days after
the murder.

Choon Wah was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the
mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

She nodded when asked if she understood the charge after it was read in front
of Magistrate Nuruhuda Mohd Yusof.

No bail was offered for the accused.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Norafiah Saini appeared for the prosecution.

Nuruhuda then set March 24 for mention of the case.

(source: New Straits Times)






IRAN:

Death Sentence Is Tehran's Answer To Ahwazi Calls For Freedom


The human rights situation has been worsening quickly in Iran. More than 2,000
people have been hung during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as President of the
regime. This is the biggest scale of executions in the past 25 years. These
mass executions will be added to the black pages of the Iranian regime's
history of human rights violations since the Iranian revolution in 1979. The
large-scale execution of political and ideological prisoners has resulted in
Iran being named one of the top countries committing executions per capita
during the past few years.

Unlocked from its sanction-based constrictions, Iran is now fully free to
underwrite terror and carry out more executions against Ahwazi Arab and
throughout the country. 5 Ahwazi are facing imminent execution in public. The
names of these Ahwazi Arab prisoners are QaisObeidawi, HamoodObeidawi, Mohammad
Helfi, Mehdi Moarabi and Mehdi Sayahi.

The 5 men were condemned following a trial filled withheinous violations of the
judiciary process by the Revolutionary Court of mullahs in Iran. These
prisoners were arrested in April 2015 and on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, were
brought in front of television cameras of Press TV by Ministry of Information
to make public confessions of about their fictional crimes. Farhad Afsharnya,
the regime's supposed Chief Justice for the AL- Ahwaz region saidthe execution
of the 5 Arabs was confirmed, it will be ratified by the court and execution
will be carried out in public.

These Ahwazi activists were only concerned with advancing cultural and social
awareness for the cause of Ahwaz people and were not connected to an armed
struggle against the state. The Iranian regime has stepped up its ferocious
crackdown against Ahwazis and all none- Persian activists after the tension
between Iran and its neighbours heightened as a result of Iran's involvement in
Middle Eastern wars, such as in Syria and Yemen. Similar sentences have been
issued in closed rather than public court proceedings, give a substantial
reason to conclude that the Iranian judicial system only pay lip service to any
idea of due process. Furthermore, it becomes apparent that human rights are
overlooked by any president while the judicial system is not independent. These
executions might occur anytime soon after Iranian parliamentary election at the
end of February.

The Iranian regime's massive hypocrisy in condemning Saudi Arabia's
questionable human rights record is breathtaking. Any use of the term
"moderate" in connection with Iran's president Hassan Rouhani is ludicrous
hyperbole; he is simply the president elected from the list of candidates
chosen for the position by the Guardian Council, consisting of 12 Islamic
theologians and Jurists, according to the Iranian constitution.

Under the constitution, secular candidates or those who fail to embrace the
Islamic Republic's theocratic hardline Shiite values are nominally capable of
being selected but, in reality, are not.

The parliament or Masjid has little power over the regime's religious courts to
stop or even slow down the rate of executions, with the courts routinely
issuing verdicts without even hearing evidence or investigating the charges
against accused individuals as might be expected under legal systems elsewhere
in the world.

1 example of the Iranian regime's legal system is the common charge of
muharebeh or 'enmity to God,' routinely used against human rights activists and
dissidents, which invariably receives the death penalty, often administered in
public by stoning or mass hangings by cranes. Many of those hanged take up to
20 minutes to die slowly and painfully of strangulation. The victims' bodies
are left for some time before being removed as a way of intimidating the public
into silence.

Since Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, over 2,000 Iranians, including women,
many of them Ahwazi Arabs, Kurdish and Baluchi Sunnis, have been executed,
almost all after ludicrous kangaroo trials in which they were unrepresented and
not allowed to submit any evidence in their defence. Recently, 6 of 33 Sunni
men currently on death row were publicly executed in a mass hanging, while
another woman was sentenced to death by stoning. This is the "moderate" Iranian
regime.

This report sheds light on this failure of the Iranian regime to respect the
rightsof the Ahwazi Arab people in Al-Ahwaz, the south and south west part of
Iran.

Conducted behind closed doors, before biased judges and in the absence of legal
representation, the unfair trials of Arabs in the AL-Ahwaz region are part of a
long-standing persecution of this oppressed people in Iran.

Despite the fact that this recurring miscarriage of justice is in flagrant
violation of the Islamic Republic's constitution, Iran's jails are filled with
Ahwazi political prisoners who face brutal punishments, a lifetime in prison or
execution.

Over the past decade, hundreds of Ahwazi Arab prisoners ranging from poets,
teachers to bloggers and human rights activists have been executed on trumped
up charges in kangaroo courts.

Rather than finding reasonable evidence for the commission of a crime, judges
generally rely on confessions, which have been drawn out from the accused
through physical torture and psychological duress. Meanwhile, friends and
relatives of the accused are kept in the dark, often not informed of where
their loved one has been imprisoned, or even buried.

As we follow carefully the history of Ahwazi Arab people of repression,
violence and capital punishment, we see that they have a long record of
systematic crackdown over decades.

Meanwhile, the execution of Ahwazi intellectuals historically has inflicted an
irreversible blow to the liberty movement of this occupied nation that has been
struggling to achieve its fundamental rights of self- determination for years.

The executions of early leaders of Ahwaz liberation movement in 1963, the
oppressive policies of Islamic Republic of Iran against Ahwazi people in every
phases of their life, the tragic bloody massacre of Mohammareh city in 1979,
and the severe crackdown of popular uprising in 2005 provide ample evidence
that the intellectual, Ahwazi public figures, and the political class of this
nation repeatedly have been targeted for imprisonment, repression and
execution. The largest popular uprising of Ahwazi people broke out on 9 April
2005 when people from several cities turned out into the streets and protested
against the distribution of circular(petition) attributed to Mohammad Ali
Abtahi, former vice president-parliamentary legal affairs of the president
Mohammad Ali Khatami.

The latter events of popular uprising in April 2005 in Ahwaz which was a
nonviolent demonstration against the wicked policy of central government
focused on altering the demography of Ahwazi Arab people reminded the nation of
the catastrophic massacre when so many people were killed in the course of the
widespread peaceful demonstration, so many people massacred in the street by
Iranian squad riot forces.

At the time, many civil and cultural activists were executed and many
clean-handed and innocent young protesters were killed under tortures, their
bodies discovered in Karoon River. These bodies were wrapped up in plastic and
their hands were tied up behind their backs by rope. After the massacre,
terrible panic and suffocating climate dominated in the region and
subsequently, the executions of highly educated, intellectuals, and civil and
political activists started again.

Notably, in 2005, dozens of teachers and cultural activists were arrested and
after unfair trials and without access to legal representation, they were
charged with vague charges such as acting against the national security, enmity
with God, corrupting the earth and blasphemy , and then condemned to execution
or life imprisonment. As an example, MR. ZamellBawi, who was studying law at
senior semester at university and was waiting for his graduation ceremony, was
arrested by intelligence security and under physical and psychological tortures
was forced to incriminate himself falsely.

After a show trial in revolutionary court in Ahwaz he was sentenced to death
and his verdict confirmed by the higher tribunal in Tehran. Additionally 6
immediate members of his family who were mostly students and cultural
activists, were sentenced to life imprisonment and exiled to far- away prisons
outside Ahwaz.

In 2005, Ali OudaAfravi , Mehdi HantoushNavaseri, in 2006, Ali Matori, Malik
al-Tamimi, Abdullah Soleimani (Kaabi), Abdul Amir Faraj Allah, Mohammad Lazem
Kaab, Khalaf DhrabKhazraei, Ali Reza Asakereh, in 2007, QasemSalamat, Majed
Albughbish, Razi Zargani, RaisanSawari, AbdolrezaHantoushNavaseri, Muhammed Ali
Sawari, JaafarSawari, in 2008, Hussein Asakereh, Abdul Hussein Al -hareibi,
Ahmad Meramzy, ZamellBawi, in 2009, Khalil Kaabi and Said Sadon were sentenced
to death on false charges of "enmity against God" and after months of torture
in solitary confinement in secret prisons secretly were hanged. It is
noteworthy that all these executed people were the educated and the political
and cultural activists of the Ahwaz nation and the bodies of these people had
not been handed over to their families.

Hashem Shabani, an Ahwazi Arab poet and human rights activist was executed for
being enemy of God and threatening national security. In reality, he spoke
about against brutal treatment of Ahwazi Arabs, apparently he was campaigning
for the Ahwazi people who are oppressed, mocked and treated as third citizens
by Iranians. We have to keep in mind that if somebody is an Arab, then they are
not the same as being an Iranian Persian because of their ethnic background.
There is a cultural bias against Ahwazi Arabs in the mainstream Persian
population.

In 2011, the brothers Heydariyan (3 people) along with their friend, Ali
Sharifi, were arrested in the wake of civil protests in Ahwaz. According to
credible reports, they were charged with enmity with God and at were sentenced
to death after confessing under torture. They were denied a fair trial and
judicial proceedings and in 2012 were hanged in secret. Ali Chbyshat and Khalid
Mousavi were arrested in 2011 and were kept for seven months in solitary
confinement by the Intelligence Service without access to lawyers and then
convicted to death penalty and hanged in secret.

Because of the severe repression, censorship, lack of freedom of the press and
the judicial system's lack of transparency and lack of coverage for any of the
non-Persian prisoners, there is no possible way to give exact figures of all
the death sentences among non-Persian ethnic groups in Iran. Iran not only has
the world's highest execution rates but the executions have mostly been carried
out against ethnic groups such as Ahwazis, Kurds and Baluchis who are
struggling to achieve their national and linguistic identity and
self-determination rights.

There are thousands of underage prisoners who have been executed in Iran.
According to the International Covenants on Human Rights, the death penalty is
forbidden for people who commit crimes while under 18 years of age. Waging war
against God is one of the leading charges used by the Iranian regime to justify
the inhuman executions of ethnic groups in Iran.

Since the 80s, the clerical regime used it as a weapon to suppress many
political and ideological opponents. Most executions of prisoners who were
accused of "enmity against God" belong to none-Persian ethnic nationalities in
Iran, mostly Ahwazi Arab, Baluch, and Kurdish activists.

The regime defies international law by holding all the bodies of the executed
prisoners. Hundreds of Ahwazi prisoners' bodies have been withheld by the
Iranian authorities. Many human rights organisations called on the regime
authorities to hand over the bodies of the executed political prisoners to
their anguished families.

This is a part of the regime's collective punishment policy against the Ahwazi
Arab people, Iran has refused to deliver the bodies of hundreds of Ahwazis
executed since 2005 to date under the pretext that their families will hold
funerals for them, which will serve as a catalyst for Ahwazi uprising. This
reflects the racism of the Iranian regime against Ahwazi Arabs.

Finally one must question the purpose of the regime behind the high number of
executions and the human tragedies. In a country where most of fraud and
administrative and financial corruption are committed by the regime officials,
while the oppressed nations are living in extreme poverty, why is it that these
officials have not been prosecuted or executed?

It can be concluded that the executions of non-Persian prisoners have political
and security aspects in a bid of the ruling regime in Iran to expand its
domination and control over the occupied and oppressed nations of Ahwaz,
Kurdistan, Baluchistan and other peoples in the country.

When the Iranian regime learned that its agenda has been failed to put out the
peaceful resistance of Ahwazi people the Iranian authorities with the help of
their deeply flawed criminal justice system began to prioritize the death
penalty of Ahwazi prisoners, amid warnings from the human rights organizations,
such as Amnesty International.

Since the Ahwazi uprising, the death sentences and executions are being imposed
and carried out on Ahwazi prisoners even more extensively, after procedures
that violate human rights standards.

Iranian television stations like Press TV continue to broadcast
self-incriminating testimonies of Ahwazi detainees even before the opening of a
trial, undermining the fundamental rights of defendants to be considered
innocent until proven guilty.

Is it just Ahwazi political prisoners who must be executed for using their
pens, the only weapons they raised in the struggle for the rights of the Ahwazi
people? Why is it a crime in the Iranian state to write about the lack of basic
rights to a decent existence for the Ahwazi people who live below the poverty
line, while their land is teeming with natural resources such as oil, natural
gas, mining stone and running water? All remain inaccessible to the people of
Ahwaz, including the right to clean drinking water.

Where is the justice when the Ahwaz region, the so-called heart of Iran's
economy, is considered one of the poorest regions in Iran?
From 2003 to date, the climate in Ahwaz has dramatically deteriorated due to
air pollution caused by Iran's industrial activities in Ahwaz. Ahwaz is one of
the most polluted areas in Iran and the larger Middle East, and it is an area
where there is a visible increase in the number of people dying from pollution
related diseases.

One has only to visit the out-patient department in hospitals in the Ahwaz to
find them filled with patients suffering from cancer and other pollution
related chronic lung diseases. If our political prisoners have established
campaigns, it is only because they could not close their eyes and remain silent
to the horrific sufferings of their people.

The world is learning slowly that Ahwazi political prisoners are quickly
sentenced to death after unjust show-trials where they are charged with "enmity
against God", or that they post a risk to national security, or militant
activities and secession. The vast majority of Iranians, the pro-Iranian Mullah
regime who view themselves as human rights advocates who claim to be distraught
over the rivers of blood flowing in Syria and other Arab nations are weeping
crocodile tears if they're honest, having remained silent for decades on the
plight of the Ahwazi Arab peoples and other brutally oppressed ethnic groups in
Iran who are murderously subjugated and brutalised solely for claiming their
lawful rights.

Iran by dominating on the wealth of this nation has increasingly plundered it
and as a result of it, the villages and towns of Al-Ahwaz were destroyed day by
day. The chauvinist policies of Iranian governments have had to try to
completely deny the existence of Ahwazis. In return, when Ahwazis protest at
the ongoing oppression, they will be dealt with live fire or arrest and then
execution. It seems that execution sentence is the Iran's last resort to
liquidating Ahwazi prisoners.

(source: Rahim Hamid, Ahwazi Arab freelance journalist and human rights
activist; countercurrents.org)






BANGLADESH:

HC upholds death for 3 Huji men


The High Court yesterday upheld death penalty of 3 Huji members, including its
chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, and life imprisonment of 2 others over the 2004
grenade attack on the then UK envoy in Bangladesh.

The 2 other condemned operatives of the outlawed militant outfit are Sharif
Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar Hossain alias Ripon.

The court also upheld the life imprisonment of Muhibullah alias Muhibur Rahman
alias Ovi and Mufti Main Uddin alias Abu Zandal, also Huji members.

Former UK high commissioner to Bangladesh Anwar Choudhury along with around 70
others was hurt and 3 were killed in the attack at the shrine of Hazrat
Shahjalal (RA) in Sylhet.

The Bangladesh-born envoy, barely 18 days into his new assignment, suffered
minor leg injuries in the grenade attack after Juma prayers.

Yesterday, the HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Amir Hossain
handed down the verdict after accepting the death reference of the case and
dismissing the appeals filed by the convicts seeking acquittal of the charges.

The grounds, on which the HC delivered the verdict, could not be known as its
full text was not released yesterday.

After receiving the full HC judgment, the convicts will have 30 days to appeal
against it before the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, according to
Deputy Attorney General Shaikh AKM Moniruzzaman Kabir.

If they did not do so, there would be no legal bar to executing the sentences,
he told journalists after the HC verdict.

No counsels of the convicts were present in the courtroom when the HC judgment
was handed down.

On December 23, 2008, the Sylhet Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal sentenced
Mufti Hannan, Bipul and Ripon to death, and Ovi and Abu Zandal to life
imprisonment for the grenade attack and the killings.

All 5 convicts, who are now in jail, filed separate appeals with the HC in
2009, seeking acquittal.

(source: The Daily Star)






INDIA:

SC puts on hold child rapist-murderer's death sentence


The Supreme Court on Wednesday put on hold the execution of the death sentence
of Vasanta Sampat Dupare who had sought recall of its verdict upholding his
conviction and death sentence for raping and stoning to death a 4-year-old girl
in Maharashtra in 2008.

An apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman and
Justice Uday Umesh Lalit agreed to hear the review plea by the 55-year-old
death row convict as his counsel submitted that the lower court had not
properly examined the additional evidences and the related exhibits in the
course of the trial.

Putting on hold the death sentence, the bench told his counsel to satisfy it as
to how its earlier judgment, sought to be recalled, was wrong.

A bench headed by Justice Misra had on November 26, 2014 had rejected Dupare's
plea challenging the Bombay High court decision upholding his death penalty.

The apex court while upholding the death sentence had said "the rape of a minor
child is nothing but a monstrous burial of her dignity in darkness. It is a
crime against the holy body of a girl child and the soul of the society and
such a crime is aggravated by the manner in which it has been committed".

(source: twocircles.net)






ENGLAND/PAKISTAN:

Britain funds counter-narcotics program linked to death penalty in Pakistan,
court hears


Secrecy regarding Britain's funding of a counter-narcotics operation in
Pakistan linked to the death penalty faced scrutiny Thursday as a tribunal
heard arguments on whether the British government should publicly disclose
details on the matter.

Despite Britain's official policy of opposing the death penalty, it has funded
the counter-narcotics program since the 1990s. Pakistan's Anti-Narcotics Force
(ANF), which has received millions of pounds in UK taxpayers' money, has openly
gloated about securing death sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

Yet amid growing calls for transparency, ministers have repeatedly refused to
release documents examining whether UK funding given to the group could result
in executions.

Global human rights organization Reprieve says juveniles and exploited drug
mules are often executed in states such as Pakistan and Iran. The group is
challenging the UK government in the Information Rights Tribunal over its
refusal to disclose a broad range of information relating to the Pakistan
agreement.

Reprieve is demanding the government release its appraisal of human rights and
execution risks related to the program, steps it has taken to mitigate these
risks, and whether parliamentary approval was secured for the scheme.

At the center of the case is the government's Overseas Justice and Security
Assistance (OSJA) guidelines, which were introduced by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office following the 2011 Arab Spring.

The guidance was drafted to ensure that the human rights implications of the
government's security and justice work abroad are considered in full. But since
the OSJA was implemented, ministers have refused to be transparent about the
assessments that have been undertaken and who signed off on them.

Director of the death penalty team at Reprieve, Maya Foa, said the government's
determination to keep this information secret is steadfast.

"The FCO is falling over itself to prevent information about how it ensures its
overseas activities align with basic British human rights principles from
coming to light. Yet if the measures taken were sufficient, why would there be
any need to keep them secret?" she said.

"The British public has a right to know if their taxes are funding death
sentences and executions in countries like Pakistan and Iran, where juveniles
and exploited drug mules are sent to the gallows on a daily basis. Ministers
need to come clean."

In December 2014, Pakistan ended an unofficial moratorium on executions. Since
this policy change was enacted, Pakistan's government has made its intention
clear to execute each and every one of its citizens on death row. At present,
this group is estimated to eclipse 8,000 people, more than 100 of whom are
believed to be alleged drug offenders.

In February 2014, a previous hearing relating to Britain???s funding of the
counter-narcotics program was conducted in secret, following a request from the
government. Thursday's hearing is expected to be the last before a formal
judgment is issued.

RT approached the FCO for comment on the case but is yet to receive a response.

(source: rt.com)

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2016-02-12 17:59:42 UTC
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Feb. 12



VIETNAM:

2 Vietnamese arrested for smuggling meth near China border


Police in the northern province of Cao Bang on Thursday arrested a man and a
woman for smuggling more than 1 kilogram of methamphetamine in a box of snack
cakes near the China border.

The 55-year-old man and his wife, 52, from Hanoi, said they planned to sell the
drug in the capital and nearby provinces.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Those convicted of
smuggling more than 600 grams of heroin or more than 2.5 kilograms of
methamphetamine face the death penalty.

The production or sale of 100 grams of heroin or 300 grams of other illegal
narcotics is also punishable by death.

(source: Thanh Nien News)






BANGLADESH:

Bangladesh must abolish the death penalty now----Bangladesh's Law Minister
responded to European condemnation of his country's use of the death penalty.
But his suggestion that Dhaka may rethink the issue in the future, isn't good
enough, writes Grahame Lucas.


The Bangladeshi Law Minister Anisul Huq's remarks on the death penalty came
after a meeting with a European Parliament delegation in Dhaka on Thursday.
According to reporters present, Huq responded to calls from members of the
delegation to abolish the death penalty in his country by categorically ruling
out any changes to the law at the present time. This was a coolly calculated
slap in the face for his visitors from Europe and a clear sign that Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina intends to continue her quest to call Islamist leaders
to account for the crimes they allegedly committed during Bangladesh's war of
liberation in 1971.

It reinforces the view that the Dhaka government has no intention of rethinking
the political impact of the so-called International War Crimes Tribunal. The
Tribunal has been underway in the country since 2010 and has imposed a series
of death sentences on high profile Islamist leaders, several of whom have
already been hanged.

International criticism of the Tribunal's work has been consistently damning.
Defense lawyers have been prevented from carrying out their work properly, some
witnesses for the defense have not been allowed to testify and some of the
testimony by prosecution witnesses has been farcical and based largely on
hearsay. The latter is not surprising seeing how much time has elapsed by the
alleged crime and the trial. The Tribunal clearly does not meet international
judicial standards. Nonetheless, it continues to impose the death penalty
against the Islamist opponents of the Dhaka government.

The death penalty is irreversible and when used against political opponents it
creates martyrs and triggers further political instability. While the death
penalty remains popular with Hasina's Awami League and its supporters, its
continued use is without doubt creating a fertile breeding ground for Islamist
terror. Just recently James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence in the
US, warned that Hasina's continuing efforts to undermine the political
opposition would foster the rise of Islamist terrorists.

He is right. Moreover, Clapper pointed to the fact that Islamist terrorists had
claimed responsibility for the slaying of at least 11 progressive writers and
bloggers since 2013. However, Sheikh Hasina remains in denial of the obvious
consequences of her policies and claims that the so-called Islamic State does
not have a foothold in her country, despite evidence to the contrary. At the
very least she is guilty of sticking her head in the sand, at worst of an
extreme form of cynicism.

While the desire to finally close the 1971 chapter in the country's past is
both honorable and understandable, Bangladesh continues to move away from the
path of reconciliation between those who support secularism in the majority
Muslim country and those who wish to see Islam play a greater role. With more
of those convicted by the War Crimes Tribunal now awaiting execution, the need
for dialogue across the political spectrum is greater than ever, as it the need
to abolish the death penalty now, rather than after the damage has been done.

(source: Opinion, Deutsche Welle)






INDONESIA:

Coffee Murder Suspect Taken for Psychiatric Observation


Jessica Kumala Wongso, the woman accused of having murdered her friend last
month by placing cyanide in her coffee, was taken to a Jakarta hospital on
Thursday (11/02) for psychiatric observation in an effort to establish her
motive, police said.

The 27-year-old Jessica was examined by Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital
psychiatrists, who are expected to help explain "why and how" she allegedly
committed the murder of Wayan Mirna Salihin (27), Jakarta Police general crimes
director Sr. Comr. Krishna Murti said.

"She has so far denied the allegation, let alone revealing her motive. But it
does not matter if she doesn't want to. We have our own ways," he told
reporters on Thursday.

"We are working on this with the experts. They are analyzing her character, and
the results will be revealed in court," Krishna said. "We are obliged to
explain her plans and actions in the case."

Police have charged Jessica with the premeditated murder of Mirna, which could
see her facing the death penalty.

Mirna died at a Jakarta hospital shortly after she started to suffer
convulsions after taking a sip of her iced coffee at a cafe in Grand Indonesia
mall on Jan. 6.

Lab tests confirmed traces of cyanide inside her stomach, as well as in her
coffee drink, which police found was ordered by Jessica, who had arrived at the
cafe almost an hour earlier.

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

Police: Killer of Bogor Girl (7) to Face Death Penalty


Noval Fajar Bakti, the 31-year-old man suspected of having killed a 7-year-old
girl in a dispute over a loan with her mother, will face the death penalty, the
Bogor Police chief has said.

Adj. Sr. Comr . Suyudi Ario Seto, the chief of Bogor Police, said on Friday
(12/02) that the suspect will face murder charges as he had planned to hurt the
child and had even bought a knife in preparation.

Noval is believed to have attacked both the girl, Sarah, and her mother,
Yunida, in their home in the Taman Lestari housing complex in the Citeureup
subdistrict of Bogor last Saturday.

He allegedly told police he had asked Yunida for a loan as he needed money to
support his family, but that the woman had asked him to pay her back twice the
amount.

As the dispute escalated, Yunida started screaming "thief!" which caused Noval
to panic and launch his assault.

The girl died in a nearby hospital while the mother is still being treated for
her wounds.

(source for both: Jakarta Globe)






PHILIPPINES:

Duterte favors public executions of criminals


Rodrigo Duterte may have learned a lesson from late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Or maybe he picked up the lesson from former President Joseph Estrada.

Speaking at a political rally on Wednesday, the opposition presidential
candidate and Davao City mayor reinforced his iron-hand stance against crime -
he not only wants the death penalty back, he also wants the execution to be in
public.

"I will work for the restoration of the death penalty," Duterte told a cheering
crowd here. "I will really bring it back (and make) it public so that the
people will see for themselves (how criminals are punished)."

The 1987 Constitution abolished the death penalty although it does not close
its door to its restoration.

Section 19 of the Charter's Bill of Rights states: "Excessive fines shall not
be imposed, nor cruel, degrading or inhuman punishment inflicted. Neither shall
the death penalty be imposed, unless, for compelling reasons involving heinous
crimes, the Congress hereafter provides for it. Any death penalty already
imposed shall be reduced to reclusion perpetua."

Death by musketry

Duterte spoke to a crowd of about 3,000, mostly college students, at University
of Cagayan Valley gymnasium here.

Marcos ordered the execution by firing squad in public of Chinese drug
trafficker Lim Seng in January 1973, 4 months after declaring martial law. In
May 1972, before martial law was declared, the 3 convicted rapists of movie
star Maggie dela Riva were executed by lethal injection in the presence of the
media.

Duterte promise

Another convicted rapist, Leo Echegaray, was executed by lethal drugs, also in
the presence of the media, in February 1999 during the Estrada presidency.

Repeating a promise he made earlier, Duterte asked voters to give him "3 to 6
months" to stamp out criminality in the country.

He said he would take "full responsibility, legal or otherwise," for any human
rights violation or administrative charges that may be slapped against lawmen
accused of killing criminals.
From the airport, Duterte met with Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg before
his convoy drove around the city, where people lining up the street chanted,
"Duterte! Duterte!"

Pressed by Utleg for details on his political platform, Duterte told the
archbishop: "I will be very drastic. I will order the police and the military
(to use all measures) as granted to me (by law) should I win the race.

"I assure you, if (you are concerned about stories that I would be killing
people), that is not something we will do," he said.

During the motorcade around the city, Duterte stood at the back of a pickup
truck. He waved at cheering women and raised a clenched fist to acknowledge his
male supporters.

He invited the people of Tuguegarao to visit Davao City and see for themselves
what he had achieved as mayor for 22 years.

"I will even take care of your hotel expenses. But please, the first batch
should all be beautiful women," he said.

(source: Philippine Inquirer)

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

Speedy trial sought for death row inmate's 'recruiters' ---- Lawyers' group
calls on Indonesia to grant clemency to Filipino Mary Jane Veloso


A Philippine bishop has called on authorities to speed up the prosecution of
the alleged recruiters of Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipino woman on death row in
Indonesia for drug trafficking.

"The government should continue to focus with resolve their efforts to go after
illegal and exploitative recruiters," said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga,
head of the Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant
People.

The prelate was speaking Feb. 12 after Veloso's alleged recruiters refused to
enter a plea during their Feb. 11 arraignment on human-trafficking charges.

Judge Nelso Tribiana of the Nueva Ecija Regional Trial Court entered a "not
guilty" plea for Maria Cristina Sergio and her partner, Julius Lacanilao,
before setting the next hearing for March 9.

Sergio and Lacanilao's refusal to enter a plea was "a legal strategy" that
should not derail the legal process "that should proceed with haste," Santos
said.

The prelate urged the government to be more resolute in going after recruiters
who victimize overseas Filipino workers and "put them to much danger and
enslavement."

The International Association of Democratic Lawyers also called on the
Philippine government to ensure that Veloso comes home alive by expediting the
case against the alleged recruiters.

Veloso is facing the death penalty for attempting to smuggle 2.6 kilograms of
heroin into Indonesia.

She was scheduled to go before a firing squad last April, but the execution was
postponed at the last minute, pending an investigation into her claim that she
was the victim of human trafficking.

In a letter addressed to the Philippine government, the international lawyers'
group said Veloso's case should "not drown in all the fanfare" for the coming
national elections in the Philippines.

The group expressed dismay over what they described as the "snail's pace" of
the case "due mainly to the high-handed dilatory legal tactics that the defense
lawyers have overzealously resorted to in court."

"We call on the Philippine government to exert all efforts to expedite the
prosecution of [Veloso]'s traffickers," the group said.

It also appealed to the Indonesian government to keep Veloso's reprieve in
effect "for as long as the legal proceedings in the Philippines are going on,
and/or to magnanimously grant her clemency on both legal and humanitarian
grounds."

In 2015, Indonesia executed 14 people by firing squad, including citizens from
Brazil, the Netherlands, Australia, and Nigeria.

(source: ucanews.com)

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Feb. 12



RUSSIA/UKRAINE:

Kremlin-backed militants threaten death sentences for prisoners


A spokesperson for the so-called Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) has claimed
that the militants are not holding any civilians or anybody else illegally. All
those in custody, Darya Morozova asserts, are "under investigation" and could
be sentenced to death.

The remarks came on the eve of the 1st anniversary of the Minsk II agreement,
and less than 2 weeks after 60-year-old religious specialist Ihor Kozlovsky and
volunteer Marina Cherenkova were both seized by the militants. Prominent DPR
militant Alexander Khodokovsky is reported to have asserted that Mr. Kozlovsky,
who is a much-respected academic, could have been involved in "destabilizing
the situation" and had "multiple contacts with various organizations in Ukraine
engaged in destructive activities here."

According to the Minsk agreement of February 12, 2015, all persons illegally
held must be exchanged, on an "all for all" basis. A recent planned exchange
fell through, according to the Ukrainian side, because the militants suddenly
put forward new and impossible demands. The militants, in turn, blame Ukraine.
Yurii Tandit from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) center trying to
organize exchanges speaks of 130 people on its list of Ukrainians held hostage.
The figure for people registered as missing is much higher - over 600.

Ms. Morozova, who calls herself the "DPR human rights ombudsperson," spoke to
Yuliya Polukhina for an article published in the Russian newspaper Novaya
Gazeta on February 8. Her words have been widely discussed and commented on in
Ukraine, so the lack of any retraction from Ms. Morozova or other militants
suggests they do reflect the position currently taken.

Ms. Morozova was asked to comment on the 30-year "sentence" handed down to
Yevhen Chudnetsov, a Ukrainian soldier from the Azov regiment who was captured
in February 2015. The militants claim he surrendered. Novaya Gazeta writes that
relatives of Mr. Chudnetsov, who is from the Donbas area, missed the "trial"
because it began half an hour earlier than scheduled. The "prosecutor" had
demanded the death penalty, so an appeal can in theory be lodged by either the
defendant or the prosecution. This seems highly theoretical in the Chudnetsov
case, since from the outset he has not had a lawyer.

There is disturbingly little information about this so-called trial or what
indeed Mr. Chudnetsov was charged with. There is, however, a video that was
widely shown on all Russian propaganda channels. In it, Mr. Chudnetsov looks as
if he has been beaten and has had about half his teeth knocked out. The torture
he was almost certainly subjected to is not mentioned. Instead, it is claimed
that he surrendered and then at a press conference he oluntarily provides what
is purported to be information about the foreigners supposedly instructing Azov
- from Georgia, Sweden and the U.S. - or fighting as mercenaries, and the
foreign weapons purportedly used.

Ms. Morozova is asked by Novaya Gazeta if people like Mr. Chudnetsov could be
part of the list of people to be exchanged. She replies that, for the moment,
that is not possible, and that the DPR is working on the same principle as the
Ukrainian authorities. She claims that Ukrainian authorities have 30 people
sentenced to terms ranging from 15 years to life and are in no hurry to pardon
them. They are not being handed over, she claims, so the militants "try them
[their prisoners] within the framework of our legislation. We do not in
principle have prisoners of war, and the people who are in our custody are all
facing charges. Procedural matters are under way, trials, and they will soon be
convicted."

The interviewer then asks Mr. Morozova: "You mean all of those captured as
prisoners of war can be tried?" She answers: "Quite right."

Ms. Morozova chillingly goes on to claim the DPR is holding no more than 30
people (not the 133 cited by the SBU), and that there are no civilian hostages.
"We have only prisoners of war who were detained in battle," she claims, and
says that they have proof these detainees killed people and were responsible
for the deaths of civilians. She asserts that most of those still being held
were seized near Ilovaisk, and claims that some are accused of rape, murder and
torture.

Many Ukrainian soldiers died near Ilovaisk, after the militants' promise of
safe passage proved to be a treacherous lie. Neither then, nor on other
occasions, was it only soldiers who were taken prisoner and tortured, as the
experience of journalist Yevhen Vorobyov demonstrated.

Her list of prisoners for exchange from the militants' side, she says,
comprises 1,490 names. She asserts that the DPR knows definitely that these
people are in detention in government-controlled territory, facing criminal
charges. The SBU, meanwhile, says that it is aware of only 465 people.

Ms. Morozova, in fact, calls 500 from the almost 1,500-strong list "political
prisoners" and claims they are in detention either for involvement in the
so-called referendum of May 11, 2014, or because they spoke out in support of
the self-proclaimed republics.

Asked about the prosecution's demand for the death penalty in Mr. Chudnetsov's
case, Mr. Morozova confirms that yes, according to the "DPR Criminal Code," the
death penalty can be used, and may well be. The DPR introduced its own
"criminal code" back in August 2014, with the death penalty for particularly
grave crimes. In a 2nd resolution passed by the DPR "Council of Ministers" on
August 17, 2014, military courts and a system of military justice were
introduced. More about these so-called military courts was revealed in November
of that year with the list of capital offenses including insubordination, state
treason, spying and desertion, as well as looting, robbery, etc.

Former Russian military intelligence officer and militant leader Igor Girkin in
January confirmed extrajudicial executions, although in fact, his senior aide
Igor Druz had confirmed this to the BBC back in August 2014. The main
difference was that Mr. Girkin admitted only to killing "looters," while Mr.
Druz was entirely open, saying that the militants had killed a number of people
"to prevent chaos."

Now the militants are claiming that they are not holding any hostages or others
illegally, and say that any people in their custody are under criminal
investigation.

Like Ihor Kozlovsky, one presumes. Or people like Yevhen Chudnetsov,
"sentenced" to 30 years without a lawyer in a "trial" his family missed because
it happened half an hour ahead of schedule.

(source: Halya Coynash, a journalist, is a member of the Kharkiv Human Rights
Protection Group in Ukraine----The Ukrainian Weekly)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-13 16:17:18 UTC
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Feb. 13



GERMANY----film festival entry

Steve Coogan Film at Berlin Fest Puts Death Penalty on Trial


Is it possible to discuss an emotive topic like the death penalty with both
passion and reason? Steve Coogan hopes so.

The British actor-comedian plays a lawyer battling to keep his client from the
gallows in Berlin Film Festival entry "Shepherds and Butchers," set in South
Africa in the last years of apartheid. Adding to the ethical complexity, the
defendant is a white death-row prison guard, who has killed seven black men in
an apparent road rage incident.

Coogan says director Oliver Schmitz's film, which has its world premiere at the
festival on Saturday, is "a powerful indictment of capital punishment" but not
"sanctimonious or preachy."

"No one is demonized in this film, apart from the system itself," Coogan said
over the phone from New York, where he's filming taut domestic drama "The
Dinner" alongside Laura Linney and Richard Gere. "It's about the brutalizing
effect on those who carry out executions and the dehumanizing effect on all
those involved."

There's no doubt where Coogan stands on the issue; he thinks capital punishment
is "repellent and morally objectionable." But he said Schmitz's film, which
also stars Andrea Riseborough and young South African actor Garion Dowds,
approaches the topic without "hand-wringing or pious pontification."

"The film is very honest in its presentation of literally what happens, and
sometimes it's hard to watch," Coogan said. "It's a literal representation of
the minutiae of what happens when the state kills people.

"It lets the actions do the talking for themselves."

Like many comedians, 50-year-old Coogan relishes the chance to get serious. He
has worked hard to expand his career beyond its comic origins - a particularly
difficult task in Britain, where his best-known creation, pompous radio
personality Alan Partridge, is a comedy icon.

He has given his comic skills free rein in road series "The Trip" and "The Trip
to Italy," in which he drives, eats and banters with Welsh comedian Rob Brydon.

But he also co-wrote and helped produce 2013 feature "Philomena," in which he
starred alongside Judi Dench as a jaded journalist who helps an Irishwoman
search for the son taken from her decades earlier by Catholic church officials.
The film, based on an actual case, was nominated for four Oscars, including
best picture.

"I think a film is interesting if the subject matter is divisive or has some
tension within it," Coogan said.

"If you try to make films all things to all men you end up with some kind of
nondescript soup, which may tick all the boxes in terms of the bottom line, but
I don't think it makes for very interesting art.

"With 'Philomena,' one of the most gratifying things about it was that people
left the theatre talking animatedly about forgiveness and whether it was
appropriate. To provoke discussion is a good thing."

(source: Associated Press)






EUROPEAN UNION:

British MP Lambert accepts Bangladesh criticism for her call to spare 1971 war
criminal Mujahid's life----Member of European Parliament Jean Lambert says her
letter urging the government to review the death sentence of war criminal Ali
Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid should not be seen as "a partisan move on behalf of any
particular party."


"I'll be hated to be saying that ...," the chair the European Parliament
Delegation to South Asia said at a press beefing on Friday when she was asked
why she had made the appeal to spare the Jamaat-e-Islami secretary general's
life.

Mujahid was hanged in November last year along with BNP leader Salauddin Quader
Chowdhury for the horrific crimes against humanity they had committed in 1971
to thwart the independence of Bangladesh.

Just before the verdict of their final review in October, Lambert had written
in her "personal capacity" to the Bangladesh government through the ambassador
in Brussels. In the letter, she had called for a review of Mujahid's death
sentence.

The EU, as a matter of policy, does not support death sentence to any person in
any part of the world.

But the British MP Lambert had made the request to the Hasina government
specifically in Mujahid's case. bdnews24.com had seen the letter and run a
story.

"You're right in saying that it was a specific case. I think you are also right
in implied criticism that why I did not mention others," she said.

"It was a case where I was asked to intervene. You are absolutely right, I
should raise other issues of death penalty."

But the member of European Parliament (MEP) added: "I don't want to be
misinterpreted that this was support of any particular individual in terms of
who they are. It's a question about raising opposition to death penalty."

(source: bdnews24.com)






IRAN:

Infographic: Capital Punishment in Iran - 2015


IHRDC's final update of its chart of executions carried out by the Iranian
government in 2015 counts 966 executions, an increase of nearly 34% from the
previous year. The infographic below highlights some of the details behind
these numbers, including the charges leading to the death sentences of the
individuals in question, the 8 top cities for executions in the last year, and
trends in overall executions and the executions of juvenile offenders over the
last year. Iran has led the world in executions per capita for years.

Among these 966 executions, 625 - nearly 2/3 - arose from drug trafficking
charges. This represents a rise of over 75% in executions for this charge over
the previous year. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) establishes that the death penalty may only be used for "the most
serious crimes", and international legal experts have long averred that
drug-related offenses do not fit in this category. Iranian law envisions the
use of capital punishment for a wide variety of crimes, including armed
robbery, drug trafficking, fraud, and sodomy.

These executions took place in a highly problematic judicial context. There
have been hundreds of reports of violations of due process in Iran in recent
years, including the denial of access to counsel, the denial of the right to be
heard by a fair, independent, and impartial judicial body, and a routine
reliance on confessions extracted under physical and psychological duress as
primary forms of evidence in capital cases.

see:
ttp://www.iranhrdc.org/english/news/features/1000000626-infographic-capital-punishment-in-iran-2015.html

(source: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center)






PAKISTAN:

JI calls for revoking Qadri's death penalty


Jamaat-i-Islami leader Prof Mohammad Ibrahim Khan has asked the president and
the prime minister to revoke death penalty of Mumtaz Hussain Qadri, the
murderer of the former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, and set him free
'honourably'.

"President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif should show wisdom
in the case of Qadri. They should not only revoke his death penalty but also
set him free from the jail honourably," a statement issued here on Friday
quoted the former senator as saying.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has upheld the death sentence of Qadri. "If the
president and prime minister don't show wisdom then it can trigger crisis
across the country," he cautioned.

The JI leader said blasphemy should not be associated with an individual but
this was an issue of the entire Muslim Ummah. He urged ulema to highlight the
issue of death penalty of Qadri in their sermons in mosques.

Justifying action of Qadri the JI leader said late governor Taseer had visited
the jail where he met Asia Bibi who was detained in blasphemy case. He said Mr
Taseer not only met Asia Bibi but also expressed sympathies with her and
started efforts for her release.

Prof Ibrahim raised reservations over Mumtaz Qadri case and said instead of
blasphemy law he was treated under the anti-terrorism law. He said law in
Taseer case was 'misused'.

(source: dawn.com)






DONETSK PEOPLES REPUBLIC:

DPR court hands down 1st death sentence


1 person has been sentenced to death in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's
Republic (DPR), Lyudmila Strateichuk, DPR Supreme Court judge and acting
chairman of the DPR Military Tribunal, said.

"1 such sentence has now been handed down. There are cases that are pending
consideration, and they also envisage the death penalty. These cases involve
killings and espionage," Strateichuk told reporters on Friday.

She also said the republic's military tribunal has considered two criminal
cases against DPR troops, and over 40 are pending consideration.

"The military tribunal has now tried 2 criminal cases, both defendants are DPR
troops. Another 46 cases are pending trial," she said.

(source: interfax-religion.com)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-14 14:29:20 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 14




PAKISTAN:

No juvenile convict executed after lifting of moratorium: expert


Legal consultant on Child Rights for Ministry of Human Rights, Sharafat A.
Chaudhry, said on Saturday that after lifting of moratorium on death penalty
Pakistan has not executed any juvenile convict. Talking to Business Recorder,
he said that Pakistan had been requested, being a state party to the Convention
on the Rights of the Child (CRC), to submit its response to a number of
questions including death penalty to juvenile to which Pakistan has worked out
a response for United Nations Committee on the Right of the Child (UNCRC) over
death penalty of juvenile convict.

One of the additional questions on Pakistan fifth periodic report on CRC for
the UNCRC includes; "Please provide detailed information on investigations
undertaken and their outcome, if any, into alleged juvenility, as well as into
allegations of torture, in the cases of Ansar Iqbal, Shafqat Hussain, Aftab
Bahadur, Faisal Mahmood and Muhammad Afzal - Please also explain how the right
of a child to the rule of the benefit of the doubt is protected in cases where
filed evidence of juvenility is dismissed on procedural grounds".

Responding to the question case by case, Chaudhry said that it has been noted
that learned trial judges properly scrutinise the prosecution evidence as well
as defence pleas taken by the accused persons in their statements and while
doing so, entire facts and circumstances of cases were considered by the
courts.

He said that the convicted persons - Ansar Iqbal, Shafqat Hussain, Aftab
Bahadur, Faisal Mahmood and Muhammad Afzal - availed all judicial forums
including the appellate forums of High Court and Supreme Court but could
neither prove their innocence nor alleged claim of juvenility. "Additionally,
on administrative grounds, the Ministry of Interior conducted inquires for
these cases but the alleged claim of juvenility could not be proved," Chaudhry
maintained.

Responding to the question relating to the case of Ansar Iqbal, he said the
Supreme Court had comprehensively analysed the record and judgements of trial
court as well as of high court, adding that the top court had dismissed the
claim of Ansar's juvenility on merit and not on technical grounds. He claimed
the accused person presented fake documents to prove his claim of juvenility as
Ansar's school leaving certificate claimed his year of birth 1979, Form- B,
allegedly issued by the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA),
records his year of birth as 1978 while the NADRA record related to his father
shows 1974 as his year of birth.

"The documents presented by Ansar could not be verified, thus the apex court
decided to leave his appeal on merit considering all relevant material and
evidence on record," Chaudhry said.

He also said that in Shafqat Hussain's case the claim of juvenility was never
claimed upto the criminal revision petition before Supreme Court whereas in
case of Faisal Mahmood, the claim of juvenility was never agitated and proved
by the record except his solitary statement recorded under Section 342 CrPC
during his trial.

(source: Business Recorder)

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

Most of those being hanged in Pakistan not accused of terrorism: Reprieve


Reprieve, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) working on death
penalty, says the GSP Plus status involves Pakistan committing to certain human
rights reforms, including around the death penalty and they will share
information with the European Union (EU) officials to ensure they have access
to the evidence they need to assess whether these reforms have been delivered
or not.

Talking to a group of Pakistani journalists who visited Reprieve headquarters
in London, Director of death penalty Maya Foa said as much as 345 people have
been executed since the moratorium was lifted in December 2014 to February 05,
2016.

"Majority of those executed not been terrorists or related to terrorism. An
independent analysis by various organisations carried out last year estimated
that 'fewer than 1 in 6' of those hanged between December 2014-July 2015 'were
linked to militancy'. Reprieve is currently working on new figures which
indicate the proportion since then may be even lower, but we have yet to
finalise these," commented Maya.

She said that the GSP Plus status involves Pakistan committing to certain human
rights reforms, including around the death penalty.

To a question about what is Reprieve's take on these executions and the
government's argument that they are aimed at uprooting terrorism in Pakistan,
she said as independent analysis has shown, the vast majority of those executed
have not been terrorists.

"Most of those being hanged have not even been accused of terrorism. Rather,
they are often the poor and disadvantaged, or victims of the widespread use by
the police of torture to extract false 'confessions.'

It is hard to see how executing hundreds of people like this will do anything
to make the country safer," she remarked. When asked what steps are being taken
by Reprieve to stop death penalties in Pakistan, she said Reprieve continues to
work to support some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on Pakistan's
death row, who have suffered from torture, unfair trials and other abuses.

"We are particularly concerned by the execution of people who were sentenced to
death as children - something which happened at least 5 times last year. One
example is Faisal Mehmood, who was executed on 27 May even though when the case
reached the Supreme Court even the prosecutor agreed that he should not face
the death penalty as he was under 18 at the time of the alleged crime (he was
tried just months before the introduction of the Juvenile Justice System
Ordinance).

The execution of juveniles is a serious breach of both Pakistani and
international law and something which the government needs to address urgently.

"The moratorium needs to be reinstated until serious flaws in the justice
system such as this can be fixed," commented Maya.

(source: The News)






SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudi YouTube stars call for gays to be executed in 'the most horrific ways
possible'


Popular Saudi Arabian YouTubers posted a shockingly homophobic video to YouTube
- which was removed for hate speech.

The clip was uploaded by Fe2aFala - popular Arabic vloggers who have more than
500,000 subscribers, racking up over 45 million views

In a shocking video uploaded to the video site, the young men rant about
"Deviant marriage in Riyadh", apparently after a local raid of a ceremonial gay
wedding.

They added: "We would like to thank the police for beating their asses."

The vloggers play a clip appearing to show 2 "deviants" getting married -
accompanied by an on-screen emoji poo.

The men continue to insist that gays are "disgusting and nasty", asking Allah
to send his "godly wrath" upon them.

The men then discuss whether gays are "mentally ill" and needing a "cure" - or
whether they are "animals" who need to be "executed in the most horrific ways".

After outcry, YouTube took action to pull the video, with a message now
explaining: "This video has been removed for violating YouTube's policy on hate
speech."

An LGBT rights campaigner said: "I translated this video from the Saudi Arabian
YouTube channel Fe2aFala for the English-speaking audience to raise awareness
against Fe2aFala's recent video dealing about promoting the killing and abusing
of gay and transgender people, the issue has aroused after the unorganized gay
marriage that happened recently in Saudi Arabia."

(source: pinknews.co.uk)






NORTH KOREA:

The latest rumor from North Korea: Another general executed


Yet another North Korean general is killed by the Pyongyang regime.

That's the story that's been doing the rounds this week after a South Korean
news agency quoted an anonymous South Korean official from an unnamed South
Korean agency as saying that Ri Yong Gil, chief of the Korean People's Army
[KPA] general staff, had been executed for corruption.

\ It fit with the pattern that has emerged since Kim Jong Un took over the
leadership of North Korea from his father at the end of 2011: Aging member of
the old guard dispatched by young upstart leader.

After all, it happened with Hyon Yong Chol, the defense minister executed by
anti-aircraft gun for insubordination and treason. And to Pyon In Son, head of
operations in the army, said to have disagreed with Kim. The 33-year-old leader
even had his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, shot for amassing too much power.

This rumor about Ri may well be true. But as with almost everything related to
North Korea, very little is clear.

A memo from South Korea's National Intelligence Service, obtained by the
Washington Post, said that Ri was executed on Feb. 2 or 3 for factionalism and
corruption charges.

"Even though corruption and factionalism were given as reasons behind his
execution, Ri had been considered a man on principle so it is more likely that
these reasons were just given to justify his execution," the memo said. "This
is another sign of Kim Jong Un's reign of terror," it said.

But the South's spy agency has a history of being wrong about North Korea
almost as often as it's right, and the Daily NK, a Seoul-based news service
with informants inside Norh Korea, Friday reported that Ri had been arrested
rather than executed.

Ri was "going against the Party's monolithic teachings and monolithic military
system" by "exercising privileges and partaking in factional bureaucracy," a
source told The Daily NK. He was arrested at a party meeting and dragged out in
handcuffs, the site reported.

There is also recent precedent for top officials being given a time-out: Choe
Ryong Hae, Secretary of the Korean Workers' Party, went missing for three
months last year, reportedly because of corruption, then returned to the public
eye last month. North Korea's state media reported he gave a speech at a
ceremony marking the anniversary of the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League in
Pyongyang.

There were also rumors in South Korea that Hwang Pyong So, director of the
General Political Bureau of the Korean Peoples' Army, had been knocked off at
the end of last year after three weeks passed without him putting in an
appearance. Then he showed up next to Kim during a trip to a tree nursery
operated by the army (yes, in North Korea trees are a military issue.)

Further obscuring the truth about Ri, the elderly general had appeared on state
television in recent days, alongside Kim Jong Un, an unlikely occurrence if Ri
had in fact been executed. Those who've been put to death are usually edited
out of official news broadcasts.

Ri, who has (or had) held a number of top military positions, was ranked number
76 on the national funeral committee formed after Kim Jong Il's death in
December 2011, according to Michael Madden's biographical notes on his Web
site, North Korea Leadership Watch.

In 2012, Ri delivered a speech at a Korean People's Army rally commemorating
the 1-year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, and the following year
accompanied Kim Jong Un on several field inspections.

He was appointed Chief of the General Staff in August 2013, according to
Madden. But he did not appear during footage broadcast this week of Kim
celebrating North Korea's latest long-range rocket launch.

What is clear is that the Pyongyang regime is in a state of upheaval ahead of
the Congress of the Korean Workers' Party, scheduled for May.

It would be the 1st time such a shin-dig has been held in 36 years, and many of
Kim's recent moves - including the nuclear test and rocket launch - are
considered preparation for the Congress.

"The head of the party congress is going through the files of everybody in
senior positions in the government, military or party very closely," Madden
said. "This is where someone like Ri Yong Gil could possibly get in trouble. I
think that's one of the reasons we've seen a lot of secondary personnel changes
too."

What that means is that there is plenty more change in and brinksmanship from
North Korea over the next 3 months, Madden said.

(source: Washington Post)






INDIA:

Decrying Afzal's Execution is not 'Anti-National'


An event at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi on February 9 on
Mohammad Afzal Guru, the Kashmiri young man who was executed in Delhi's Tihar
Jail precisely 3 years ago on February 9, 2013, found 2 groups of students
clashing with each other leading to the police being deployed on the campus to
restore order.

The incident occurred at the end of a cultural evening organised by some
students (to mark Afzal's 3rd death anniversary) at the Sabarmati Dhaba against
the execution of both Afzal and Kashmiri separatist leader Maqbool Bhat and for
Kashmir's "right to self-determination". Afzal, as is well known, was executed
after a long drawn judicial process (he was on the death row for nearly a
decade) having been charged with organising the 2001 Parliament attack case.

This event triggered a major controversy in the electronic media in particular
with one TV anchorperson loudly accusing the students who held the cultural
evening as "anti-national" parroting the BJP view on the subject since members
of the BJP's students wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, had clashed
with those students hurling the same accusation against the latter.

One does not have to subscribe to the views of Afzal or for that matter other
Kashmiri leaders, a large number of whom are alienated from India in the
Valley, to understand the reasons for their alienation.

One person who had been directly connected with Afzal as his lawyer was Nandita
Haksar, the noted human rights activist and advocate. She was also the lawyer
for Abdul Rehman Geelani, the Delhi University professor who too was implicated
in the same Parliament attack case. Geelani was subsequently released the court
having been unable to find strong evidence of his involvment in the attack.
Nandita's book, The Many Facess of Kashmiri Nationalism: From the Cold War to
the Present Day, has recently been published. In that she brings out her
position quite clearly. She writes: "I had ensured that our campaign for his
(Geelani's) acquittal had been in the language of Indian nationalism. The
slogan I had come up with was: 'Defend Geelani, defend Indian democracy'.... I
believed that to defend the corrupt police officers of the Special Cell who
were trying to frame a Kashmiri Muslim would only undermine Indian democratic
institutions, the media, the courts and the entire criminal justice system."
She took the same position while trying to save Afzal from the gallows.

In the book she refers to a meeting held on September 24, 2005 at Srinagar in
defence of Afzal, and points out:

"...that September day in 2005 all the leaders,... signed a joint statement:

'The judgement of the Supreme Court states that the attack on the Indian
Parliament resulted in heavy casualties and has 'shaken the entire nation and
the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital
punishment is awarded to the offender.'

We, the people of Kashmir, ask why the collective conscience of Indians is not
shaken by the fact that a Kashmiri has been sentenced to death without a fair
trial, without a chance to represent himself? Throughout the trial at the
Sessions Court Mohammad Afzal asked the judge to appoint a lawyer. He even
named various lawyers but they all refused to represent him. Is it his fault
that the Indian lawyers think that it is more patriotic to allow a Kashmiri to
die rather than ensure he gets a fair trial?....

We resolve to launch a Kashmir-wide signature campaign in support of our demand
that the death sentence of Afzal be commuted.

"It was clear that neither Afzal nor the Kashmiri leaders were claiming that
Afzal was innocent. Afzal had never feigned innocence, which was why his story
had such poignancy. In a letter sent from Jail No 2 on January 26, 2004, he had
written:

The magnitude and gravity of my unknowing, unwilling and unintentional
involvement in the Parliament attack case was from the beginning emotionalised
and magnified by the police through all possible means due to my helplessness
and ignorance and unability to manage the suitable legal aid and the police
made me scapegoat so as to mask their unability and failure and to make people
fool.

"In the trial court, Afzal had admitted that he had helped 1 of the 5 militants
who attacked the Parliament buy a white Ambassador car for their mission. But
he had not taken part in the actual attack and was not responsible for any
death.

"Afzal never had a lawyer to represent him right through the trial or during
the appeal. The court records show that key witnesses against him were never
cross-examined. The reason for this was largely that he and his family were too
poor to engage a lawyer and the Kashmiri organisations never bothered to help
him at that stage.

"Could Afzal have been saved from the gallows? I believe he could have been.
There were many sane voices in India who spole about the wisdom of not hanging
Afzal. Even B. Raman, the former additional secretary in the Indian
intelligence service's Researcha and Analysis Wing (RAW), had advised against
the hanging of Afzal. The President of India had expressed his views that the
death penalty should be banned in India and the president of the Congress
Party, Sonia Gandhi, had intervened to save the woman convicted of being
involved in her husband's assassination; Sonia was strongly against the death
penalty."

Several democratic-minded people subsribe to the stand of Nandita while
decrying Afzal's execution. Can all of them be branded anti-national?

(source: mainstreamweekly.com)

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

Dalits and Muslims: India's favourites for the death penalty


In October 1931, Gandhi said of Ambedkar that "he has every right to be bitter.
That he does not break our heads is an act of self-restraint on his part."
Meaning that given the background of the atrocities against him and his
communities, Ambedkar was entitled to be harsh with his words.

I thought of that as another college protest has attracted the ruling party's
anger. In Delhi, police have registered charges of sedition against students at
Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) over an event protesting the hanging of Afzal
Guru.

Sedition is the "the crime of saying, writing, or doing something that
encourages people to disobey their government".

The FIR was lodged by the BJP MP from East Delhi, Maheish Girri, who in a
written complaint called the students "anti-constitutional and anti-national
elements". Girri also wrote to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Human Resource
Development Minister Smriti Irani, telling them "strict action should be taken
against the offenders so that such shameful and anti-India activities are not
repeated".

This is a repeat of the sequence in Hyderabad where the BJP acted strongly
against students protesting the hanging of another man, Yakub Memon. That
episode ended with the tragedy of one of the students hanging himself.

JNU, which says it had not approved the event, has set up a committee to
inquire but again, the same problem of representation has arisen. The students'
union says there is no member on it from marginalised communities.

There was a choice here for the BJP. Instead of throwing the book at the
students, it could have shown some understanding of the issue, which is linked
to caste directly. Why are dalits protesting against hangings in Hyderabad? Why
is the focus on Muslims at JNU? Why are the students insisting on
representation from marginalised communities when they are being judged by a
committee? The fact is that India reserves the death penalty mostly for dalits
and Muslims.

A study that will be published later this year by the National Law University
shows that 75 % of all death sentences and 93.5 % of all death sentences for
terrorism were given to dalits and Muslims. The obvious issue here is that of
prejudice. The government shows no signs of acting strongly when upper-caste
Hindus commit acts of terrorism, as the case of bombings in Malegaon shows. And
there is no hurry to hang the killer of Beant Singh, while Rajiv Gandhi's
killers have had their death sentences commuted. They had also been convicted
of terrorism, but not all of us are judged by the same rules. Let us leave
aside the others like Mayaben Kodnani, convicted of murdering 95 Gujaratis and
not even in jail.

The 2nd issue is that of economics.

Dalit and Muslim are also synonyms for 'poor'. Afzal Guru got almost no legal
representation in the trial court stage. Given the reality, it should not
surprise us that dalits and Muslims and their supporters are protesting against
the government. They have every right to and are justifiably upset. They are
seen as out of control and unbalanced, but they are arguing on fact. It is the
BJP MPs who keep shooting off letters to Smriti Irani, demanding firm action
against those who are acting on emotion.

Those in the upper castes insist that all Indians must buy into their fantasies
that they are a perfect society that everyone must bow to. Hindutva's
constituency is middle class and upper caste. It detests the idea of
reservations because it senses its privileges are being encroached upon. This
is why the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh also does not like reservations and
their statements on this have got the BJP into trouble during elections.

The prime minister's response to this has been to accuse the opposition of
invention and lies. But the facts are absolutely clear on the ground. Dalits
are getting a voice and are standing up for their rights. There is nothing
wrong with that and if they use intemperate language, they should not be
treated as criminals. It is important the Indian government engage them, and
listen to their argument, not only their slogans.

Compare the wisdom of Gandhi we saw at the beginning to the knee-jerk actions
of the leaders of Hindutva, first against the students in Hyderabad and now in
Delhi.

Indians must show some mature understanding of the issues. As long as the
government does not even attempt to do that, we should not be surprised that
those whom we are oppressing so cruelly and relentlessly will say, write and do
things that encourage people to disobey the government.

(source: Opinion, Aakar Patel, The Express Tribune)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-15 16:36:26 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 15




GREAT BRITAIN/THAILAND:

Revealed: Britain's National Crime Agency Helped Thai Police Put 2 Men On Death
Row----Critical evidence used to sentence 2 Burmese bar workers to death last
year for the brutal murder of 2 British backpackers in the Thai resort of Koh
Tao was secretly supplied by Britain's elite crime-fighting agency.

The National Crime Agency secretly assisted the Royal Thai Police with a
controversial murder investigation that put 2 Burmese migrants on death row
despite government rules designed to stop British law enforcement contributing
to capital punishment convictions overseas.

BuzzFeed News can reveal that mobile phone evidence handed over by officers
from Britain's elite crime-fighting force played a central part in the
prosecution of Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo, who were sentenced to death on Christmas
Eve for the murders of British backpackers David Miller and Hannah Witheridge
in Koh Tao.

The Foreign Office has previously expressed grave concerns about allegations
that the two Burmese men were forced to confess under torture and a spokesman
said after the verdict that it "opposes the use of the death penalty in all
circumstances and we have made this position clear to the Thai government".

British police are prohibited from supplying evidence to foreign authorities
who still use capital punishment without written assurances that suspects will
not be sentenced to death - unless they have ministerial permission.

But sources close to the case and documents seen by BuzzFeed News have revealed
that the National Crime Agency (NCA) passed on the information linking the
Burmese suspects to the crime "verbally" without seeking any written assurances
that it would not be used to sentence them to death, and the evidence became a
crucial part of the prosecution. The 2 men, both 22, are appealing their death
sentences and claim they were framed by the Thai police and coerced into
confessing during severe beatings.

The revelation that the NCA helped the investigation without any human rights
assurances will plunge the agency into further controversy weeks after BuzzFeed
News revealed its systemic use of illegal search and seizure warrants in the UK
and serious flaws in its system for detecting money laundering.

Both the Foreign Office and the Home Office refused to say whether ministers
had given the NCA the green light to assist the Thai police without a death
penalty assurance.

The murder of the 2 young British backpackers on the idyllic Koh Tao shoreline
made international headlines in September 2014. Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk,
had been raped before being beaten to death while Miller, 24, from Jersey, had
been violently attacked and abandoned to drown in the shallow waters of the
island's shores. The murder weapon, a bloodstained hoe, was found nearby.

The shambolic handling of the investigation by the Thai police quickly sparked
widespread consternation. Officers initially questioned British brothers James
and Christopher Ware, who had spent time with the 2 victims in Koh Tao, but the
pair were released after being cleared by DNA testing. Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo
were arrested soon after and forced to conduct a bizarre re-enactment of the
killings on the beach in front of the world's media after the country's premier
declared he was certain they were guilty. Claims soon emerged that the 2 men
had been severely mistreated in custody.

David Cameron was so troubled by the Thai investigation that he intervened in a
face-to-face meeting with the country's military ruler, General Prayuth
Chan-ocha, and it was arranged that a team from the Metropolitan police would
be sent in as observers.

The human rights risks in Koh Tao were deemed so high that the Met banned its
officers from becoming actively involved in any aspect of the case because no
death penalty assurance had been given.

However, the secret role that Britain's elite crime-fighters, the NCA, played
separately in the Thai investigation can now be revealed.

BuzzFeed News has established that the agency received an urgent request from
the Thai police for the serial number of Miller???s missing iPhone days after
the young backpackers were found dead. The request put the NCA in a quandary.
The government's "Death Penalty Assistance Policy" for British law enforcement
agencies dealing with foreign investigations states clearly that "written
assurances should be sought before agreeing to the provision of assistance that
anyone found guilty would not face the death penalty".

Capital punishment is still used regularly in Thailand and human rights groups
have repeatedly raised concerns that migrant workers in the country are
persecuted by police. But officers at the NCA were concerned that other British
holiday-makers were at risk with the killers still loose, and they feared that
the quality of the crime-scene evidence would deteriorate quickly.

Government guidelines say that only in "exceptional circumstances where it is
imperative that we act quickly to safeguard the integrity of evidence or
protect British lives" can officers "deploy immediately without seeking
assurances about the death penalty" - but only after consulting with ministers
and the Home Office and Foreign Office.

The NCA deemed the situation time-critical and rapidly made the "exceptional"
decision to retrieve the serial number for Miller's phone and pass it on to
Thai police verbally. Because of concerns about the use of capital punishment,
they did so on the basis that it was for intelligence purposes only and not to
be used to prosecute the 2 suspects. However, no written assurance was secured
that it would not be used in court.

The serial number immediately became a critical piece of evidence. It proved
that a smashed iPhone found on a property linked to the 2 Burmese migrants had
belonged to Miller - thus linking the victim to the suspects.

The Thai police then made an official request to use the information in court,
which the NCA refused in the absence of a death penalty assurance. But it was
too late. The Thai police knew the iPhone belonged to Miller and they went
ahead and used the information to secure the conviction of the Burmese pair.

The judgment handed down at the Koh Samui Provincial Court sentencing both
defendants to death on Christmas Eve 2015 shows that Miller's iPhone was a
central plank of the prosecution case.

Translations of the trial documents show the court was told that Miller???s
smashed phone had been found at a property belonging to a friend of the Burmese
bar workers. Wai Phyo said he had found the phone near the murder scene and
taken it to his friend's house, leaving it there to be charged as he did not
know the password. When he learned of the murders, the friend had tried to
destroy the phone but police later found the smashed handset in his backyard.

Andy Hall, a British human rights campaigner who worked on the defence in
Thailand, said that there were questions over how the phone evidence was
gathered. He said that "when the phone was discovered by the police behind the
accused friend's house, suspiciously no photos were taken of the collection
process" and that "the description of the phone found and the one presented in
court could be interpreted as not matching".

But prosecutors told the court that the phone belonged to Miller and the
location of the bodies meant it was impossible that the phone had been found
where the defendants claimed. This helped, along with DNA evidence collected
from cigarette butts, a condom, and the bodies of the victims, to convict the
migrant workers beyond "reasonable doubt", according to the judgment.

Lawyers representing the pair said DNA samples from the alleged murder weapon -
a garden hoe - did not match that of the two men, and Thailand's leading
forensic scientist told the court that the evidence had been so badly
mishandled that it was worthless.

The prosecution case had also rested heavily on sperm samples collected from
the crime scene, but when the defence asked to have the DNA independently
tested Thai police officers failed to hand it over.

The defendants' lawyers claimed that their initial confessions were a result of
torture. They said the 2 Burmese workers were framed and severely mistreated in
custody as part of the "systematic abuse" of migrants on Koh Tao. A
re-enactment of the murders in which the defendants were paraded in front of
the media was "staged under threat of violence", the lawyers said.

Wai Phyo told the court that Thai police officers had severely beaten him and
taken photos of him naked. "They also kicked me in the back, punched me, and
slapped me, threatened to chop off my arms and legs, and throw my body into the
sea to feed the fish," he testified. "They also said they would take me into
another room and electrocute me."

Human rights groups reacted furiously to the judgment, with Amnesty
International calling for a retrial and an independent investigation into the
torture allegations, while Human Rights Watch described the verdict as
"profoundly disturbing" and Reprieve said it was "deeply alarming" that the 2
men had been sentenced to death "as without a fair trial serious doubts over
their guilt will remain".

But the families of the victims welcomed the verdicts and defended the handling
of the case by the Thai police. Miller's family said in a statement outside the
court that the police investigation "was not the so-called shambles it was made
out to be" and "the evidence against Wai Phyo and Zaw Lin is absolutely
overwhelming".

The NCA refused to comment on the Thai murder investigation. But it said in a
statement that: "In fast-moving investigations, potentially involving threats
to life, it is not uncommon for intelligence to be shared verbally, with a
record of the information shared being retained by the NCA."

The statement continued: "The NCA monitors human rights concerns closely,
having regard to the FCO's Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance
when sharing intelligence. We expect investigations and trials to be conducted
in a fair and transparent way, in line with international standards.

"Neither the NCA nor the British Government can interfere in another state's
criminal or judicial processes, just as other governments are unable to
interfere in our own processes."

The Home Office, which oversees requests for assistance from foreign police
forces, refused to comment on whether the NCA had asked for permission to hand
over evidence about Miller's phone. The Foreign Office also declined to confirm
whether it had been told about the specific evidence request, but said:
"Ministers have been regularly updated on the Koh Tao murder cases since Hannah
and David's deaths in September 2014, including on key liaison between UK law
enforcement and the Thai authorities."

Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo are applying to Thailand's court of appeal to overturn
their death sentences.

(source: BuzzFeedNews)

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

Most of those sentenced to death were spared


The shocking statistic that 306 British soldiers were executed for military
offences in the Great War masks a much greater number of incidences of the
imposition of the death penalty.

Only 10 % of those sentenced to death were ultimately put before a firing squad
- formed, in most cases, by troops from the condemned man's own battalion.

Although the military system of justice was operating in the midst of the most
savage war of attrition experienced by soldiers up to that time, the putting
into effect of a sentence of death was subject to a considerable degree of
scrutiny before a man would learn in the final 48 hours of his life that he was
to be executed.

The military system of field general court martial was a simpler version of the
stricter procedures that operated in peacetime at home.

The procedure in the field of battle allowed for a panel of 4 officers, one
normally to be of the rank of major or above.

In the case of Henry Palmer, of Wallsend, uncovered recently by researchers at
the Northumbria World War One Commemoration Project, the highest ranking
officer was only a captain and 2 were second lieutenants, frequently men of
only 19 years of age and barely months out of school.

The court martial process was held simply to determine if an offence had been
made out to the satisfaction of the panel.

A man was sometimes allowed the assistance of a defending officer, someone who
would have little in common with the accused and was thrust into the role with
no legal experience.

In many cases, the accused would be unrepresented and left to make whatever
cross-examination he was allowed as the case proceeded.

In the event that the panel found the case proved, the death sentence was
automatic for a wide range of offences and took any discretion away from the
panel that had actually had the man standing before it.

There was no appeal against the sentence, and the papers in the case would then
begin a relentless progression up the chain of command as the man's battalion,
brigade, divisional and corps superiors added written comments or a simple
agreement to the carrying out of the sentence.

It would often be the case that the degree of discipline in the man's unit
would feature as a mitigating or militating factor in the final decision of the
commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Douglas Haig.

In the case of Palmer, the battalion had acted successfully in pressing an
attack when Palmer had dropped out of the action.

Nonetheless, his sentence was confirmed, even though the panel had recommended
mercy on the grounds of his low intellect.

In the case of William Hunter, of North Shields, the subject of the Peter
Mortimer play, Death at Dawn, soon to be staged again at Wallsend Memorial Hall
and in Newcastle, the officers in his battalion and superior units all found
him to be of little quality as a fighting man and that discipline in his
battalion had been poor of late, so Hunter was executed perhaps as a warning to
others in his battalion rather than as a punishment for him.

More about his case can be found in the 1983 book For the Sake of Example, by
Anthony Babington, published by Secker and Warburg.

Tickets are now available for the new performances of Death at Dawn. The play
will be staged at the Frank Street hall from Friday, February 19, to Tuesday,
February 23, and at the Discovery Museum, in Blandford Square, Newcastle, from
Friday, February 26, to Wednesday, March 2, at 7.30pm nightly, but with no
Sunday performances.

(source: newsguardian.co.uk)






INDIA:

Madani demands death penalty for those who hurt religious


Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind General Secretary Maulana Mehmood Madani has sought death
penalty for those who hurt a person's religious values or disrespect a
religious leader.

"Death penalty or life sentences should be given to those who hurt a person's
religious values or disrespect a religious leader," he said.

Madani made the remarks while addressing the 'Huloos-e- Insaaf' conference
convened by his outfit at the Faiz-e-Aam college here yesterday.

"We are Indians by choice and not by chance. It was love for the country that
made us stay back in India even after the partition," he said.

He demanded that the UP government should fulfill the promise of 18 per cent
reservation to Muslims made during the 2012 assembly polls.

Madani said that the minority status of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and
Jamia Milia Islamia be kept intact and innocent Muslims lodged in prisons
should be released.

Hindu and Christian leaders who were present at the event asked the people to
rise above caste and religion to live in harmony.

"Fire cannot be put out by fire, water is needed to do so. People of all
religions should live with harmony and save the country from those who are
taking it towards destruction," Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind's President Maulana Sayeed
Arshad Madan said.

"Neither the killing of Akhlaq signifies Hinduism nor the ones shedding the
blood of innocent people with an Ak-47 can be called Muslims," Acharya Pramod
Kirshnam said.

"Raise the voice against those who indulge in injustice," Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind
leader Maulana Usman said.

Father Manish Johnson said, "We all should live with harmony and end all the
hate."

The leaders also took a pledge to rise above caste and religion and work for
humanity.

(source: Press Trust of India)






BOTSWANA:

Death row convict buys time ---- Lobatse man, Patrick Gabaakanye currently on
death row is seeking an independent assessment on his mental status as a last
attempt to avoid the hangman's noose


Through a letter dated February 5, 2016 addressed to the Attorney General (AG),
Athalia Molokomme, Gabaakanye has requested the AG to conduct or facilitate an
independent assessment on his mental health and intellectual functioning. He
contends that the assessment should be done in order to determine whether he
suffers from a mental illness, intellectual or psychosocial disability as a
matter of urgency.

The notorious 59-year-old Gabaakanye commonly known as 'RraSelepe' having had
his sentence of death upheld by the Court of Appeal (CoA) mid last year, is
also currently awaiting the resolution by the High Court and CoA of outstanding
issues relating to his clemency petition.

His lawyer, Martin Dingake, has argued that Gabaakanye has never had a mental
health assessment and as such, it cannot be ruled out that he suffers from such
a degree of mental illness and or intellectual or psychosocial disability as
will preclude his execution under applicable norms of international law, as
well as under domestic law.

"My client has never been afforded a competent psychiatric assessment. The
sentencing judge was not able to take any mental health condition or
intellectual/psycho-social disability into consideration when reaching a
decision on sentence.

He said if Gabaakanye was to be executed without consideration of any mental
health condition or intellectual/psycho-social disability, his execution will
be rendered arbitrary and will violate the right to life under Article 4 of the
African Charter by the African Commission," he said.

Dingake contends that international customary law prohibits the execution of
those suffering from a mental disorder which includes not only individuals who
suffered from such a disorder at the time of the offence but also of those who
have become mentally ill after their death sentence is imposed. He explained
that the term 'mental disorder' covered both psychosocial disabilities and
mental illness many of which may not be immediately obvious.

He said such included among others functional psychosis, schizophrenia,
personality disorder, depression, epilepsy, and disorders arising from alcohol
and drug dependence, noting that as such the African Commission has recognised
the need to prohibit the execution of persons with psycho-social and
intellectual disabilities.

According to the letter, the 3rd of the UN Safeguards also provides that the
death penalty shall not be carried on "persons who have become insane.

In subsequent resolutions urging full compliance with the UN Safeguards, the
United Nations Human Rights Commission repeatedly called upon states not to
impose the death penalty on a person suffering from any form of mental disorder
or to execute any such person."

Dingake maintained that with all the provisions his client was entitled to such
an assessment at sentencing in order that his personal and individual
circumstances could be properly considered when determining sentence.

He also pointed out that Gabaakanye needed the assessment report, as it has to
be placed before the Advisory Committee on Clemency for consideration when they
do finally meet.

(source: mmegi.bw)






UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

Court sentences 4 Emiratis to death for joining IS


A top court in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday sentenced four Emiratis to
death after convicting them of joining the Islamic State jihadist group in
Syria, local media reported.

The 4, who were tried in absentia, are part of a group of 11 defendants accused
of "joining the terrorist Daesh group in an Arab country", the official WAM
news agency said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

Local newspapers said that the group had travelled to Syria.

They were also charged with "promoting" IS online, helping to finance the group
and insulting UAE leaders, WAM said.

3 other Emiratis, a Bahraini, a Mauritanian and a Syrian were handed jail
sentences of between three and 10 years, the local Gulf News daily reported.
Another Emirati was acquitted.

Abu Dhabi's Federal Supreme Court does not allow international media access to
such trials.

The UAE is a member of the US-led coalition that has been bombing IS jihadists
in Iraq and Syria since September 2014.

UAE authorities have enacted tougher anti-terror legislation, including harsher
jail terms and even introducing the death penalty for crimes linked to
religious hatred and extremist groups.

In July, the UAE executed an Emirati woman for the jihadist-inspired 2014
murder of an American school teacher in an Abu Dhabi shopping mall.

Her husband is accused of seeking to carry out attacks on targets including Abu
Dhabi's Formula 1 circuit and has reportedly claimed to be the local leader of
IS. He is currently on trial.

In another case, the same court jailed three Arabs for 10 years each after
convicting them of ties to the Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen, WAM said on
Sunday.

It acquitted 3 others for lack of evidence against them, it added.

The UAE is also playing a key role in a Saudi-led coalition that has been
battling the Huthis and their allies in Yemen since March last year.

(source: Agence France-Presse)

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

Businessmen held in UAE were tortured into confessions, says UN report ----
Labour says UK should review relationship with United Arab Emirates in light of
finding in case of four men who could face death penalty


4 businessmen who were arrested in the United Arab Emirates have been tortured
into making confessions and could face the death penalty, according to a United
Nations report and a legal opinion obtained by their British lawyer.

The plight of the 4 men, who variously hold Libyan, American and Canadian
citizenship, has been taken up by Labour's justice spokesman, Andy Slaughter,
who is concerned about UK links to the Gulf state and previous complaints by
Britons about being tortured in Dubai.

The legal opinion by Geoffrey Robertson QC, a former UN judge, says the 4
businessmen - Salim Alaradi, who has Libyan and Canadian nationalities, Kamal
and Mohamed Eldarrat, who have Libyan and US nationalities, and Issa al-Manna,
a Libyan - have been wrongly accused of funding a terrorist organisation. They
are due to go on trial in the secretive state security chamber court in Abu
Dhabi on Monday.

Alaradi was holidaying with his family at a beach hotel in Dubai when he was
arrested last summer by the State Security Agency (SSA), according to
Robertson's report. He was not permitted to notify his family or any lawyer of
his arrest.

"[Alaradi] was in secret detention - at an air force base, it is believed -
[where] he claims he was tortured, a claim corroborated by serious bruising
observed on his body, by similar claims by several of the men who were detained
at the same time and have now been released, and by evidence of torture and
ill-treatment in the UAE gathered by Amnesty International and Human Rights
Watch," the report states.

Alaradi said he was subjected to sleep deprivation, chained in a stress
position, hung upside down and beaten on the soles of his feet. "He was made to
carry heavy weights while being beaten, subjected to waterboarding techniques
and blasted for lengthy periods by ice-cold air," Robertson said. "His brother
was in an adjacent cell, and heard him screaming."

The organisations that they are alleged to have funded, the February 17 Brigade
and Libya Dawn, are paramilitary forces that have been allied to the west and
are not on the Libyan government's list of banned groups, according to
Robertson.

The UN working group on arbitrary detention (UNWGAD) will publish a report on
the four men on Monday calling for their immediate release from custody. It
says: "All of them were deprived of the right to challenge their arrest and
detention before the judicial authorities and subjected to enforced
disappearance, secret and incommunicado detention. [We] received reliable
information on the acts of torture [inflicted on] the 4 victims..."

The report documents claims that the men were subjected to electric shocks,
whipped, had guns held to their heads, were drugged and "hung with a rope
around the neck". Some said they had been placed in a freezer for up to 45
minutes.

In its response to the UN panel, the UAE said: "[The 4 men] are completely free
to choose, appoint and meet with a lawyer according to the rules of procedures
governing correctional institutions."

The UN working group is the same body that produced a critical report this
month declaring that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is resisting
extradition to Sweden for questioning about an alleged rape, was being held
under arbitrary detention in the UK.

Prof Mads Andenaes, a former chair of the working group, told the Guardian:
"Some states try to block rulings against the UAE, based on the usual 'your
friend's friend is your friend, and your friend's enemy is your enemy' ... The
UAE has had much more moderate responses to previous UNWGAD rulings against
them than the UK. I hope that this not now going to change after the
inappropriate UK responses in the Assange case."

Labour's Slaughter said: "The UK has a special relationship with the UAE which
should be reviewed in the light of the UN working group report. This case rings
a warning bell to the UK government, which is sending international development
funds to UAE to support the development of legitimate institutions, and selling
them large quantities of arms."

British human rights groups such as Reprieve have documented similar complaints
from UK citizens held in the UAE, who have said they were tortured into making
confessions.

Sue Willman, a partner at the law firm Deighton Pierce Glynn and a member of
the UK Law Society's human rights committee, said: "British citizens have also
reported torture in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where other Brits enjoy relaxing
holidays. In the past year, I have been contacted by a growing number of
ex-detainees and their families all complaining of torture and arbitrary
detention there.

"As my client faces the death penalty in a kangaroo court, it is time for the
UK government to make it clear to its partners in the Gulf that it can no
longer tolerate such flagrant breaches of basic human rights".

(source: The Guardian)
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Rick Halperin
2016-02-16 15:39:36 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 16




THAILAND:

Uighur suspects deny fatal Bangkok bombing charges


2 Uighur men accused of carrying out a bombing in the Thai capital that killed
20 people last year denied all charges at a military court Tuesday.

The Bangkok court charged Adem Karadag and Yusufu Mieraili with 10 counts of
criminal violation each, including terrorism and pre-meditated murder - both of
which carry the death penalty.

Both suspects maintained their innocence, with Karadag - also identified by
Thai police as Bilal Mohammed and as Bilal Turk - insisting that he had entered
Thailand after the Aug. 17 bombing, which also left 120 people injured.

His lawyer Choochart Khanphai told reporters outside the courthouse, "my client
since his arrest has never confessed to any charge."

Khanphai attempted to correct his previous statements in the immediate
aftermath of Karadag's arrest in September, which had accorded with those of
authorities, who said his client had confessed to the crimes.

"My previous statements were given at a time when I had no access to my
client," he said.

Police have said that both suspects have confessed to being paid by a
mastermind to build and plant the bomb at a religious shrine in central
Bangkok.

The lawyer also underlined Tuesday that he had petitioned the court on Jan. 15
on the ground that his client said he had been tortured by plainclothes men
while in military custody.

"My client was intimidated by these men, they were waterboarded, threatened
with large dogs and threatened with deportation to China."

Both Karadag and Mieraili have refused to provide their addresses in China's
northwestern Xinjiang region out of "fear of reprisal" from the government, who
the Muslim Turkic minority group accuses of curtailing their cultural and
religious rights.

The next court date is set for April 20.

Karadag has said through his lawyer that he is an ethnic-Uighur refugee from
Xinjiang Province, and claims to have been naturalized as a Turkish citizen.

While police have claimed the bombings were masterminded by human traffickers,
angry at Thai authorities for clamping down on their networks, Khanphai has
said that the bomb was connected to the controversial deportation of a Uighur
group held in Thai immigration centers to China.

Subsequent TV images of the Uighur sat on a plane blindfolded, handcuffed and
under surveillance of guards, provoked uproar among local and foreign rights
groups.

The deported Uighur were from a group of around 400 held over immigration
offenses in holding centers in Thailand at the beginning of 2014, many of whom
claim to have Turkish nationality.

In July, 85 men and 24 women from the group were deported to China, while
around 180 were sent to Turkey.

Many Turks welcome Uighur as their own, as they are among a number of Turkic
tribes that inhabit a region they call East Turkestan and consider to be part
of Central Asia, not China.

In the past year, allegations of torturing suspects to gain confessions have
been leveled at both Thai police and military.

2 Myanmar workers have claimed they were physically and mentally tortured until
they confessed to the murder of 2 British tourists on the island of Tao, while
Thai NGOs claimed in a report released earlier this month that the use of
torture by security forces to obtain confessions in the country's Muslim
majority south is "widespread and systematic".

(source: aa.com.tr)






BANGLADESH:

Retired judge quits defence


Retired High Court judge Nozrul Islam Chowdhury yesterday withdrew from the
defence of war criminal Mir Quasem Ali.

During the hearing on an appeal by Quasem challenging his death penalty,
Justice Nozrul informed the Appellate Division that he would no longer be part
of the proceedings.

Later, he told reporters on the Supreme Court Bar Association premises that he
had quit as Quasem's lawyer due to "serious adverse environment".

It is not unconstitutional and unethical for a retired HC judge to move cases
before the apex court, he said.

Nozrul retired on December 12 last year and began appearing in the Appellate
Division to move cases as a lawyer on January 3 this year.

He said he had been involved with 2 other cases, in which Attorney General
Mahbubey Alam was on the opposite side. The attorney general questioned the
legality and ethical grounds of his moving the case on behalf of Quasem but he
did not have anything to protest in those 2 cases.

"Such attitude is unexpected."

On February 10, the attorney general told the SC that the retired HC judge was
still living at a government residence and using a car and gunman provided by
the government.

Against this backdrop, Justice Nozrul would be going against ethics of judges
if he practised law in court, he added.

Talking to reporters at his office yesterday, Mahbubey Alam thanked Justice
Nozrul for his move. He added that there was no pressure from the government on
Nozrul to do so.

Meanwhile, SC lawyer Eunus Ali Akond filed a writ petition with the HC, seeking
orders forbidding retired HC judges to practise law.

In the petition, he prayed to the HC to scrap the constitutional provision that
permits retired HC judges to practise law in the Appellate Division.

Eunus told The Daily Star that the 15th amendment of the constitution was said
to have restored the original constitution of 1972.

The 1972 constitution did not allow retired HC judges to practise law in the
apex court, he said, adding that former president Ziaur Rahman had amended the
constitution in 1978 lifting the bar.

However, under section 33 of the 15th amendment, retired HC judges are
permitted to practise law, which is contradictory to the original constitution,
Eunus said.

2 retired HC judges -- Justice Nozrul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Shahidul
Islam -- are practising law in the SC although they are enjoying the state
facilities and that goes against the 1972 constitution, he added.

Eunus said he would move the petition before the HC for hearing next week.

A 5-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra
Kumar Sinha yesterday held the hearing on the appeal of Quasem for the 3rd day.
The hearing will resume today.

The International Crimes Tribunal in November 2014 sentenced the
Jamaat-e-Islami leader to death, as he was found guilty of abducting, confining
and torturing people during the Liberation War.

Around 4 weeks later, Quasem filed the appeal with the SC, challenging the
verdict.

(source: The Daily Star)






SYRIA:

ISIS extremists publicly behead Syrian man for 'insulting the Caliphate'


Extremists of the Islamic State (ISIS) executed on Monday a man in the city of
Shaddadi in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, after accusing him of
"insulting the Caliphate".

Saleh al-Rahim, 48, was publicly beheaded in central Shaddadi.

"ISIS claimed that al-Rahim has refused to pay taxes to the al-Hisba (taxation)
department, which the group considered a violation to its rules and an act of
insult to the ISIS self-declared Caliphate," rights activist Ahmed Hussaini
told ARA News in Shaddadi.

The man was arrested at an ISIS security checkpoint near the village of Sarb in
the vicinity of Shaddadi while trying to escape the ISIS-held area towards
Hasakah city.

The victim was brutally beheaded in front of hundreds of people in Shaddadi's
central square, after one of the militants read a statement accusing him of
insulting the Caliphate and deserving the death penalty, according to local
sources.

The city of Shaddadi is deemed the main bastion for ISIS jihadis in Hasakah
province - where the group has recently lost large territories to the
western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

(soruce: ARA news)






VIETNAM:

Vietnam inmate avoids death penalty by getting pregnant; four guards suspended


4 prison guards in northern Vietnam have been suspended for alleged negligence
after a female inmate, on death row for drug trafficking, became pregnant,
which means her death sentence will be commuted to life in prison once her
child is born, state media reported Tuesday.

The Thanh Nien newspaper said Nguyen Thi Hue, 42, was arrested in 2012 for drug
trafficking and sentenced to death in 2014. A court rejected her appeal the
same year.

The paper reported that while in prison Hue paid $2,300 to a male inmate to
help her get pregnant.

It said the 27 year-old male inmate twice put his sperm in a plastic bag with a
syringe in a mutually agreed place and Hue inseminated herself. She became
pregnant and is expected to give birth in about 2 months. Under Vietnamese law,
Hue will have her death sentence commuted to life imprisonment for having a
child under 3 years of age.

Police in Quang Ninh province were not available for comment Tuesday.

In 2007, 2 prison guards in northern province of Hoa Binh were sentenced for up
to 5 years in prison for abuse of power for allowing a female inmate to get
pregnant with a male inmate.

(source: firstpost.com)






KENYA:

Mombasa man to hang for raping and killing 5-year-old


A man yesterday was sentenced to death for defiling and strangling a 5-year-old
girl.

John Mwanzo, 42, defiled and killed the girl on December 30, 2012, at his home
in Kizingo, Mombasa county.

Judge Martin Muya sent Mwanzo to the hangman after he found the 42-year-old man
guilty of murder. He was convicted last Tuesday.

Muya said Mwanzo does not deserve mercy.

"The crime you committed deserves a death penalty," he said.

Mwanzo pleaded with the court to grant him a non-custodial sentence, saying he
has 4 children who solely depend on him.

He told the court he was remorseful.

Mwanzo also urged the court to consider that he has been in remand since 2013
when the case started.

(source: The Star)






CANADA:

Canada to fight for lives of citizens sentenced to death in all countries,
including the U.S.


It's not exactly a pardon from the governor, but the Liberal government says it
will automatically plead for the lives of Canadians sentenced to death in the
United States and any other country abroad.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion announced the change on Monday as he met
with the United Nations' top human rights official. The move effectively
reverses 1 of the previous Conservative government's earliest and most
contentious foreign policies.

Dion also revealed plans to travel to Geneva at the end of the month to address
the UN Human Rights Council, as Canada looks to re-engage with - and, some
hope, help reform - its troubled human rights system.

Successive Canadian governments had automatically sought clemency for Canadians
sentenced to death by a foreign court. But that came to an end in 2007, when
the Conservative government said it would begin asking for clemency on a
case-by-case basis.

The Conservatives said Canadians who commit crimes such as murder in a
democratic country that adheres to the rule of law should not count on the
government to help. Human rights groups and opposition parties said the
Conservatives were effectively condoning the death penalty, which Canada
abolished in 1976.

In an interview Monday, Dion accused the Conservatives of "sending the message
that Canada was not very sure we were against the death penalty, because we
were ready to accept the death penalty under some circumstances. We were
picking and choosing."

In order to be able to maximize the possibility that you will get clemency for
some, you need to ask for clemency for all.

. Aside from running contrary to domestic policy in Canada, Dion said the
Conservatives' position made it more difficult to successfully advocate for
clemency in those situations when the government decided to act.

"Our credibility to be able to get clemency was negatively affected," he said.
"In order to be able to maximize the possibility that you will get clemency for
some, you need to ask for clemency for all."

Dion was extremely critical of capital punishment during the interview. Aside
from the risk of innocent people being mistakenly sentenced to die, he said the
death penalty "is not something that should be done in a civilized society,
because a civilized society is looking for justice and not vengeance."

Some will interpret that as criticism of the U.S. But Dion defended his
comment, noting that "many Americans will agree with me." He added that the
majority of states don't execute inmates. While the death penalty is legal in
31 states, moratoriums are in place in 20.

Alex Neve, the head of Amnesty International Canada, applauded the government's
move, calling it a "renewal" of Canada's commitment to human rights abroad. He
said the 1st beneficiary should be Ronald Smith, an Alberta man on death row in
Montana whose case was directly affected by the Tories' policy.

Dion also announced that Canada will be redoubling its support for the UN's
controversial human rights system, as he hosted UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein. It was the 1st such visit by the UN's top human
rights official since 2006.

The United Nations is not a perfect institution ... But in order to improve the
situation, Canada must be there.

Canada will contribute $15 million over 3 years to help UN Office of the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights, which Al Hussein heads, investigate and
report on human rights violations abroad. That is about double what Canada has
given each year since 2013.

Dion also said he plans to travel to Geneva at the end of the month to address
the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR), which has been steeped in controversy
since it was established in 2006.

Ostensibly the UN's leading organization for advancing human rights abroad, the
council came under fire in September after members elected Saudi Arabia as its
chair. The council has also spent a disproportionate amount of time and energy
condemning Israel, while ignoring human rights violations elsewhere.

"The United Nations is not a perfect institution," Dion acknowledged. "There
are shortcomings everywhere, including with this human rights institution. But
in order to improve the situation, Canada must be there. This idea that if it's
not what we want, we'll pull out, has been a mistake that we need to stop."

Shimon Fogel, head of the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs, said his
organization remains deeply concerned about the council's "skewed and
politicized character." He urged the government to adopt an "aggressive
initiative," with Canada leading efforts to reform the UN's entire human right
system.

"We would hope and expect that (Dion) would set out the necessary steps to
bring the UNHCR to a new, credible level of contributing to international peace
and universal respect for human rights," Fogel said, "thereby earning the
confidence of those who truly care about the protection of those rights."

(source: National Post)



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Feb. 16



CANADA:

Canada defends its principles on death penalty abroad


The Liberal government has signalled a major shift on seeking clemency for
Canadians facing the death penalty abroad. Clemency will be sought "in each and
every case, no exceptions," says Global Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, and not
selectively as has been the practice since 2007.

Ronald Smith, facing execution in Montana, got no support for his clemency plea
in the United States from then-prime minister Stephen Harper, who said such
backing would send the "wrong signal." The Federal Court disagreed; in 2009, it
forced the government to ask for clemency, which it grudgingly did.

Amnesty International believes only 2 Canadians are currently at risk of being
executed abroad, both in the United States. (The federal government refuses to
release numbers). But a few others in the Middle East did face this risk, and
have since been freed or had sentences commuted.

Dion says the death penalty "is not something that should be done in a
civilized society." Supporting Canadian clemency requests abroad is a
clear-sighted ethical stance from a government still defining its foreign
policy. We may not have the largest clout on the world stage, but it???s worth
declaring our principles clearly - and acting on them. Bravo.

(source: Editorial, Ottawa Citizen)






IRAN:

Ahwazi: Iran Carrying Out Wave of Executions


Hassan Rouhani's presidency has seen Iran's human rights record deteriorate
markedly, especially with regards to the Ahwazi community. Human rights
activists and intellectuals in particular are victims of a persistent and
ruthless crackdown. They are illegally detained, face grossly unfair trials -
often on spurious charges of "enmity to God" - and are then often sentenced to
death and executed.

Below is an article published by Countercurrents:

The human rights situation has been worsening quickly in Iran. More than 2,000
people have been hung during Hassan Rouhani's tenure as President of the
regime. This is the biggest scale of executions in the past 25 years. These
mass executions will be added to the black pages of the Iranian regime's
history of human rights violations since the Iranian revolution in 1979. The
large-scale execution of political and ideological prisoners has resulted in
Iran being named one of the top countries committing executions per capita
during the past few years.

Unlocked from its sanction-based constrictions, Iran is now fully free to
underwrite terror and carry out more executions against Ahwazi Arab and
throughout the country. 5 Ahwazi are facing imminent execution in public. The
names of these Ahwazi Arab prisoners are Qais Obeidawi, Hamood Obeidawi,
Mohammad Helfi, Mehdi Moarabi and Mehdi Sayahi.

The 5 men were condemned following a trial filled with heinous violations of
the judiciary process by the Revolutionary Court of mullahs in Iran. These
prisoners were arrested in April 2015 and on Tuesday, June 16, 2015, were
brought in front of television cameras of Press TV by the Ministry of
Information to make public confessions about their fictional crimes. Farhad
Afsharnya, the regime's supposed Chief Justice for the Al-Ahwaz region said the
execution of the 5 Arabs was confirmed, it will be ratified by the court and
execution will be carried out in public.

These Ahwazi activists were only concerned with advancing cultural and social
awareness for the cause of Ahwaz people and were not connected to an armed
struggle against the state. The Iranian regime has stepped up its ferocious
crackdown against Ahwazis and all none-Persian activists after the tension
between Iran and its neighbours heightened as a result of Iran's involvement in
Middle Eastern wars, such as in Syria and Yemen. Similar sentences which have
been issued in closed rather than public court proceedings, give substantial
reason to conclude that the Iranian judicial system only pays lip service to
any idea of due process. Furthermore, it becomes apparent that human rights are
overlooked by any president while the judicial system is not independent. These
executions might occur anytime soon after the Iranian parliamentary election at
the end of February [2016].

The Iranian regime's massive hypocrisy in condemning Saudi Arabia's
questionable human rights record is breathtaking. Any use of the term
"moderate" in connection with Iran's president Hassan Rouhani is ludicrous
hyperbole; he is simply the president elected from the list of candidates
chosen for the position by the Guardian Council, consisting of 12 Islamic
theologians and jurists, according to the Iranian Constitution.

Under the constitution, secular candidates or those who fail to embrace the
Islamic Republic's theocratic hardline Shiite values are nominally capable of
being selected but, in reality, are not.

The parliament or Masjid has little power over the regime's religious courts to
stop or even slow down the rate of executions, with the courts routinely
issuing verdicts without even hearing evidence or investigating the charges
against accused individuals as might be expected under legal systems elsewhere
in the world.

One example of the Iranian regime's legal system is the common charge of
muharebeh or 'enmity to God,' routinely used against human rights activists and
dissidents, which invariably receive the death penalty, often administered in
public by stoning or mass hangings by cranes. Many of those hanged take up to
20 minutes to die slowly and painfully of strangulation. The victims' bodies
are left for some time before being removed as a way of intimidating the public
into silence.

Since Hassan Rouhani took office in 2013, over 2,000 Iranians, including women,
many of them Ahwazi Arabs, Kurdish and Baluchi Sunnis, have been executed,
almost all after ludicrous kangaroo trials in which they were unrepresented and
not allowed to submit any evidence in their defence. Recently, 6 of 33 Sunni
men currently on death row were publicly executed in a mass hanging, while
another woman was sentenced to death by stoning. This is the "moderate" Iranian
regime.

This report sheds light on this failure of the Iranian regime to respect the
rights of the Ahwazi Arab people in Al-Ahwaz, the South and South-Western part
of Iran.

Conducted behind closed doors, before biased judges and in the absence of legal
representation, the unfair trials of Arabs in the Al-Ahwaz region are part of a
long-standing persecution of this oppressed people in Iran.

Despite the fact that this recurring miscarriage of justice is in flagrant
violation of the Islamic Republic's constitution, Iran's jails are filled with
Ahwazi political prisoners who face brutal punishments, a lifetime in prison or
execution.

Over the past decade, hundreds of Ahwazi Arab prisoners ranging from poets,
teachers to bloggers and human rights activists have been executed on trumped
up charges in kangaroo courts.

Rather than finding reasonable evidence for the commission of a crime, judges
generally rely on confessions, which have been drawn out from the accused
through physical torture and psychological duress. Meanwhile, friends and
relatives of the accused are kept in the dark, often not informed of where
their loved one has been imprisoned, or even buried.

As we follow carefully the history of Ahwazi Arab people of repression,
violence and capital punishment, we see that they have a long record of
systematic crackdown over decades.

Meanwhile, the execution of Ahwazi intellectuals historically has inflicted an
irreversible blow to the liberty movement of this occupied nation that has been
struggling to achieve its fundamental rights of self-determination for years.

The executions of early leaders of the Ahwaz liberation movement in 1963, the
oppressive policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran against Ahwazi people in
every phases of their life, the tragic bloody massacre of Mohammareh in 1979,
and the severe crackdown of popular uprising in 2005 provide ample evidence
that intellectuals, Ahwazi public figures, and the political class of this
nation repeatedly have been targeted for imprisonment, repression and
execution.

The largest popular uprising of Ahwazi people broke out on 9 April 2005 when
people from several cities turned out into the streets and protested against
the distribution of a circular (petition) attributed to Mohammad Ali Abtahi,
former Vice President for Parliamentary and Legal Affairs of President Mohammad
Ali Khatami.

The latter events of popular uprising in April 2005 in Ahwaz, which was a
non-violent demonstration against the wicked policy of the central government
focusing on altering the demography of Ahwazi Arab people, reminded the nation
of the catastrophic massacre when so many people were killed in the course of
the widespread peaceful demonstration, so many people massacred in the street
by Iranian squad riot forces.

At the time, many civil and cultural activists were executed and many
clean-handed and innocent young protesters were killed under torture, their
bodies discovered in Karoon River. These bodies were wrapped up in plastic and
their hands were tied up behind their backs with rope. After the massacre,
terrible panic and a suffocating climate dominated the region and subsequently,
the executions of highly educated, intellectuals, and civil and political
activists started again.

Notably, in 2005, dozens of teachers and cultural activists were arrested and
after unfair trials and without access to legal representation, they were
charged with vague charges, such as acting against the national security,
enmity with God, corrupting the earth and blasphemy, and then condemned to
execution or life imprisonment. As an example, Mr. Zamell Bawi, who was
studying law at senior semester at university and was waiting for his
graduation ceremony, was arrested by intelligence security and under physical
and psychological tortures was forced to incriminate himself falsely.

After a show trial in a revolutionary court in Ahwaz he was sentenced to death
and his verdict confirmed by the higher tribunal in Tehran. Additionally, 6
immediate members of his family who were mostly students and cultural
activists, were sentenced to life imprisonment and exiled to far- away prisons
outside Ahwaz.

In 2005, Ali Ouda Afravi , Mehdi Hantoush Navaseri, in 2006, Ali Matori, Malik
al-Tamimi, Abdullah Soleimani (Kaabi), Abdul Amir Faraj Allah, Mohammad Lazem
Kaab, Khalaf DhrabKhazraei , Ali Reza Asakereh, in 2007, Qasem Salamat, Majed
Albughbish, Razi Zargani, Raisan Sawari, Abdolreza Hantoush Navaseri, Muhammed
Ali Sawari, Jaafar Sawari, in 2008, Hussein Asakereh, Abdul Hussein Al-Hareibi,
Ahmad Meramzy, Zamell Bawi, and in 2009, Khalil Kaabi and Said Sadon were
sentenced to death on false charges of "enmity against God", and after months
of torture in solitary confinement in secret prisons were secretly hanged. It
is noteworthy that all these executed people were the educated and the
political and cultural activists of the Ahwaz nation and the bodies of these
people had not been handed over to their families.

Hashem Shabani, an Ahwazi Arab poet and human rights activist was executed for
being an "enemy of God" and threatening national security. In reality, he spoke
about the brutal treatment of Ahwazi Arabs, while he was campaigning for the
Ahwazi people who are oppressed, mocked and treated as 3rd citizens by
Iranians. We have to keep in mind that if somebody is an Arab, then they are
not the same as being an Iranian Persian because of their ethnic background.
There is a cultural bias against Ahwazi Arabs in the mainstream Persian
population.

In 2011, the brothers Heydariyan (3 people) along with their friend, Ali
Sharifi, were arrested in the wake of civil protests in Ahwaz. According to
credible reports, they were charged with enmity with God and were sentenced to
death after confessing under torture. They were denied a fair trial and
judicial proceedings and in 2012 were hanged in secret. Ali Chbyshat and Khalid
Mousavi were arrested in 2011 and were kept for seven months in solitary
confinement by the Intelligence Service without access to lawyers and then
convicted to death penalty and hanged in secret.

Because of the severe repression, censorship, lack of freedom of the press and
the judicial system's lack of transparency and lack of coverage for any of the
non-Persian prisoners, there is no possible way to give exact figures of all
the death sentences among non-Persian ethnic groups in Iran. Iran not only has
the world's highest execution rates but the executions have mostly been carried
out against ethnic groups such as Ahwazis, Kurds and Baluchis who are
struggling to achieve their national and linguistic identity and
self-determination rights.

There are thousands of underage prisoners who have been executed in Iran.
According to the International Covenants on Human Rights, the death penalty is
forbidden for people who commit crimes while younger than eighteen years of
age. "Waging war against God" is one of the leading charges used by the Iranian
regime to justify the inhuman executions of ethnic groups in Iran.

Since the 1980s, the clerical regime used it as a weapon to suppress many
political and ideological opponents. Most executions of prisoners who were
accused of "enmity against God" belong to non-Persian ethnic nationalities in
Iran, mostly Ahwazi Arab, Baluch, and Kurdish activists.

The regime defies international law by holding all the bodies of the executed
prisoners. Hundreds of Ahwazi prisoners' bodies have been withheld by the
Iranian authorities. Many human rights organisations called on the regime to
hand over the bodies of the executed political prisoners to their anguished
families.

This is a part of the regime's collective punishment policy against the Ahwazi
Arab people. Iran has refused to deliver the bodies of hundreds of Ahwazis
executed since 2005 to date under the pretext that their families will hold
funerals for them, which will serve as a catalyst for Ahwazi uprising. This
reflects the racism of the Iranian regime against Ahwazi Arabs.

Finally, one must question the purpose of the regime behind the high number of
executions and the human tragedies. In a country where most of fraud and
administrative and financial corruption are committed by regime officials,
while the oppressed nations are living in extreme poverty, why is it that these
officials have not been prosecuted or executed?

It can be concluded that the executions of non-Persian prisoners have political
and security aspects in a bid of the ruling regime in Iran to expand its
domination and control over the occupied and oppressed nations of Ahwaz,
Kurdistan, Baluchistan and other peoples in the country.

When the Iranian regime learned that its agenda has been failed to put out the
peaceful resistance of Ahwazi people, the Iranian authorities with the help of
their deeply flawed criminal justice system began to prioritize the death
penalty of Ahwazi prisoners, amid warnings from human rights organizations,
such as Amnesty International.

Since the Ahwazi uprising, the death sentences and executions are being imposed
and carried out on Ahwazi prisoners even more extensively, after procedures
that violate human rights standards.

Iranian television stations like Press TV continue to broadcast
self-incriminating testimonies of Ahwazi detainees even before the opening of a
trial, undermining the fundamental rights of defendants to be considered
innocent until proven guilty.

Is it just Ahwazi political prisoners who must be executed for using their
pens, the only weapons they raised in the struggle for the rights of the Ahwazi
people? Why is it a crime in the Iranian state to write about the lack of basic
rights to a decent existence for the Ahwazi people who live below the poverty
line, while their land is teeming with natural resources such as oil, natural
gas, mining stone and running water? All remain inaccessible to the people of
Ahwaz, including the right to clean drinking water.

Where is the justice when the Ahwaz region, the so-called heart of Iran's
economy, is considered one of the poorest regions in Iran?
From 2003 to date, the climate in Ahwaz has dramatically deteriorated due to
air pollution caused by Iran's industrial activities in Ahwaz. Ahwaz is one of
the most polluted areas in Iran and the larger Middle East, and it is an area
where there is a visible increase in the number of people dying from
pollution-related diseases.

One has only to visit the out-patient department in hospitals in the Ahwaz to
find them filled with patients suffering from cancer and other
pollution-related chronic lung diseases. If our political prisoners have
established campaigns, it is only because they could not close their eyes and
remain silent regarding the horrific sufferings of their people.

The world is learning slowly that Ahwazi political prisoners are quickly
sentenced to death after unjust show-trials where they are charged with "enmity
against God", or that they post a risk to national security, or militant
activities and secession. The vast majority of Iranians, the pro-Iranian Mullah
regime who view themselves as human rights advocates who claim to be distraught
over the rivers of blood flowing in Syria and other Arab nations are weeping
crocodile tears if they're honest, having remained silent for decades on the
plight of the Ahwazi Arab peoples and other brutally oppressed ethnic groups in
Iran who are murderously subjugated and brutalised solely for claiming their
lawful rights.

Iran, by dominating on the wealth of this nation, has increasingly plundered it
and as a result of it, the villages and towns of Al-Ahwaz were destroyed day by
day. The chauvinist policies of Iranian governments have had to try to
completely deny the existence of Ahwazis. In return, when Ahwazis protest at
the ongoing oppression, they will be dealt with live fire or arrest and then
execution. It seems that the execution sentence is Iran's last resort to
liquidating Ahwazi prisoners.

(source: Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization)






PAKISTAN:

SC seeks record of accused convicted by military courts


The Supreme Court on Tuesday maintained its earlier stay order against death
penalty of four criminals given by military courts and sought the whole record
of the proceedings.

The 2-member apex court bench comprising Justice Dost Muhammad and Justice Qazi
Faez Isa heard the pleas filed by the 4 accused against their conviction by the
military courts.

Accused Ali Rehman and Taj Muhammad were convicted by a military court for
financing terrorists, who attacked Army Public School Peshawar, Qari Muhamamd
Zubair for attacking a mosque in Noshewara, and Imarn for killing army
personnel and civilians in Bajour Agency.

Their pleas against the military courts' verdicts were rejected by the Peshawar
High Court (PHC) and they had moved the apex court.

During course of proceedings, Col Jamsheed appeared before the court and stated
that Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif had dismissed the mercy
appeals of the convicts and their death warrants were issued after the
signature of COAS.

Attorney General Salman Aslam Butt submitted the record of the case. The bench
objected on the record, saying it had sought the record of trial courts, which
was missing.

Later, the court sought the record and adjourned the case for an indefinite
time.

(source: Business Recorder)






JAPAN----film review

Death by Hanging


The documentary-esque opening of Nagisa Oshima's Death by Hanging calmly
establishes an execution chamber and its efficiency in such a way as to tempt
the audience to accept, even admire, the dispassionate letter of the law. Shots
gently travel down bare corridors and take in waiting cells and Buddhist
altars, giving the chamber's spartan layout a facade of honor and respect. It's
only when one blindfolded prisoner is led to the gallows trembling in fear that
the detached mood wavers, and Oshima includes a thoroughly chilling shot that
idly traces the path of the rope from the dangling noose up to the ceiling,
then diagonally down to where the rest of the length has been pulled taut and
tied off. Everything leading up to that shot could have made its way into a
state-approved feature on the legality of execution, but the protracted gaze on
the method of killing imparts such great, disturbing power to the noose that
the full truth of the death penalty can no longer be viewed in abstract terms
of justice.

This moment of clarity leads immediately into the hanging of the condemned, a
Korean-Japanese man named R (Do-yun Yu). Having set up the efficiency of
capital punishment, the film loses its straightforward momentum when the
prisoner doesn't die and is merely rendered unconscious. The staff around him
are so shocked that they immediately begin to debate what to do next. Most
favor simply putting R right back into the noose and finishing the job, but one
officer notes that they cannot hang an unconscious man. "The prisoner's
awareness of his own guilt is what gives execution its moral and ethical
meaning," he says before hastily adding, "Though I'm no authority."

With this fastidious attention to self-justification, the film pivots abruptly
from a social-realist message movie to a grim satire. The prison staff works to
"heal" the man so that he can be fit to execute, though they must contend not
only with R's physical health, but his capacity to remember, and thus regret,
his crimes. This leads to farcical reenactments of those violations by the
prison staff, charades led by the prison's sniveling bureaucrat of an education
officer (Fumio Watanabe), who attempts to jog R's memory like a kindly teacher
trying to get a dim pupil to understand the most basic of concepts. The
exercise gradually implicates the staff to the point that they're visited by
what appears to be the ghost of a woman who confirms R's guilt, but viciously
condemns the death penalty. The ghost's debate with the officers is the
pinnacle of the film's dark farce, but the gentle empathy she feels for the
prisoner also points toward the somber self-examination of the final act.

Though the film focuses on capital punishment in general, its moral conflict
also extends to R's ethnicity and how that affects his place in Japanese
society. Early in the film, the staff act out R's childhood with racist
stereotypes and a concocted narrative that suggests he would always grow up to
be a savage. But their racism unwittingly implies that if R's youth set him up
for failure, it could be the result of such condescending, dismissive treatment
by Japanese authority and society as much, if not more so, than personal flaws.
The ghost, who herself claims to be Korean, corroborates this, gently
commiserating with the condemned for their shared torment.

If Oshima sees the death penalty in general as wrong, his understanding of the
disproportionality of it truly rages at Japanese hypocrisy, especially given
the still-recent history of the nation's treatment of the peninsula during
World War II. Near the end of the film, which is otherwise shot in neutral
grays, R walks past a Japanese flag on the wall rendered in high contrast,
framing it as a blazing, white void pockmarked by a black hole. It is an
obliterative image, one that uses the symbol of a nation to consume it whole,
and it summarizes the film's rage and disgust better than any speech.

Image/Sound

The film's low-contrast cinematography places emphasis on the atmospheric
pallor of the execution chamber, as well as the story's moral torpor, and
Criterion's restored transfer clearly differentiates between the many shades of
gray. The intentional flatness of the images doesn't preclude healthy textures
maintained by preserved grain; close-ups, which increasingly dominate the
second half of the film, show great detail. The lossless mono track faithfully
renders the audio, which consists largely of dialogue, but occasionally
broadens to include more subtle additions, like the sound of a heartbeat as R
fails to die as expected at the start of the film.

Extras

The Blu-ray comes with Nagisa Oshima's 1965 short documentary Diary of Yunbogi,
a frank depiction of the Korean-Japanese tensions that are explored more
abstractly in Death by Hanging. The disc also includes a half-hour interview
with Tony Rayns, who discusses Oshima's career in general overview. Rayns's
most valuable contributions consist of the ample social context he gives for
the director's ever-changing style. Finally, there's a theatrical trailer, as
well as a leaflet with a brief introduction written by the director in 1968,
and an essay by Howard Hampton that places the film within the context of
Oshima's radical '60s period and its Godardian mixture of genre deconstruction
and politics.

Overall

Nagisa Oshima's satire on capital punishment and its racist application has
lost none of its relevance, and its punkish fury is excellently served by
Criterion's gorgeous Blu-ray.

(source: Slant Magazine)






BELARUS:

Belarus sentences triple murderer to death


Belarus on Tuesday sentenced to death a man convicted of killing 3 people, the
day after the European Union (EU) announced it was lifting sanctions against
the ex-Soviet country for an improved human rights record.

It was the 3rd death penalty handed down in Belarus since November 2015.

The 32-year-old man, whose name was not released, was sentenced by a court in
Minsk which had found him guilty of 5 crimes including the 3 murders, announced
Yulia Liaskova, spokeswoman for the Belarusian high court.

These crimes were "committed with particular cruelty," she said.

The 2 other recent death sentence cases in Belarus were in January when Gennadi
Yakovitsky, 49, was convicted of killing his companion and in November, when
Ivan Kulesh, 29, was found guilty of killing 3 saleswomen.

The latest death sentence came after EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to lift
nearly all sanctions on Belarus, including against strongman President
Alexander Lukashenko, after improvements in the country's human rights record.

EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said that Belarus was "showing a
positive trend which we want to encourage."

At the same time the European Union is opposed to capital punishment and
abolishing the death penalty is a pre-condition for a country becoming a member
of the bloc.

More than 400 people have been condemned to death in Belarus since the 1990s,
according to estimates by human rights groups.

(source: Agence France-Presse)

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2016-02-17 15:20:51 UTC
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Feb. 17



IRAN:

Iran defends its capital punishment in Europe


Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, his country's Iran's capital
punishment law at the European parliament on Tuesday, saying Iran mostly
executes drug smugglers.

The remarks came in Brussels when lawmakers criticized the increasing number of
death sentences in Iran.

Zarif also blamed Europe for their "lack of support" to help Iran control the
flow of drugs to European countries.

"The European Union has accused Iran of human rights violations and banned the
export of technical tools that would be used to combat the drug trade," Zarif
told European lawmakers, according to BBC Persian.

The number of executions in Iran has sharply increased in recent years. At
least 687 people were put to death in 2013, compared to 99 people in 2004.

Human rights activists worry that the nuclear deal with Iran and the country's
increasing economic and trade relations with Europe may take the spotlight off
its human rights record.

In a report in late 2015 the UN General Assembly condemned the human rights
situation in Iran.

The report indicated that execution rates in Iran have rapidly increased and
that 694 people were executed in Iran in 2015.

This is the highest number of executions in the country since the Iran-Iraq
War, Ahmed Shaheed, the special UN rapporteur for human rights in Iran, told
Rudaw at that time.

(source: rudaw.net)






SAUDI ARABIA----executions

Saudi executes 3 drug traffickers


Saudi Arabia on Wednesday executed one of its citizens and 2 Yemenis convicted
of drug trafficking, bringing to 63 the number of people it has put to death
this year.

Saudi national Daifallah al-Omrani was executed in the northern region of Tabuk
after his conviction for smuggling amphetamines, the interior ministry said.

In a separate case, Yemeni citizens Ahmed Mubarak and Abdul Salam al-Jamali
were executed in the southwestern city of Jazan near their homeland, the
ministry said.

They were convicted of trying to smuggle hashish.

Most people sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia are beheaded by a sword.

The kingdom executed 47 people in a single day on January 2 for "terrorism".

In 2015 Saudi Arabia executed 153 people, mostly for drug trafficking or
murder, according to an AFP count.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia last year
was the highest for 2 decades.

The kingdom practises a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug
trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in Saudi
Arabia, which says the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.

(source: Agence France-Presse)






BANGLADESH:

Quasem's counsel ends arguments


Counsel for war criminal Mir Quasem Ali today concluded arguments on an appeal
filed with the Supreme Court by Quasem challenging his death penalty for
wartime offences.

During today's hearing, SM Shahjahan, a lawyer for Mir Quasem, told the
Appellate Division that statements of the prosecution witnesses are not
credible as their statements do not corroborate each other.

When Quasem was on trial, the prosecution witnesses had given their statements
to International Crimes Tribunal-2 on the charges brought against him. But most
of them did not give the same statements to the investigation officer of the
case, Shahjahan told the court.

He also prayed to the court to acquit his client.

After concluding today's hearing, the 5-member bench of the Appellate Division
headed by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha fixed February 23 to hear legal
aspects from the attorney general.

After attorney general's argument conclusion, the defence counsel can give
reply to the prosecution arguments, the court said.

The SC started hearing the appeal on February 9.

The International Crimes Tribunal-2 on November 2, 2014 sentenced Quasem to
death after finding him guilty on 10 charges for abducting, confining and
torturing people during the Liberation War.

Around 4 weeks later, he filed an appeal with the SC, challenging the
tribunal's verdict.

Quasem, a member of Jamaat's central executive council, in his appeal cited 181
reasons for his acquittal on all the charges.

(source: The Daily Star)

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

Bangladesh mulls death penalty for dowry-provoked suicide


The government is amending the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980 keeping provision
for death sentence for provoking suicide.

Currently, the law stipulates only jail terms for any dowry dealing, according
to a local news agency.

The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has prepared a draft to amend the
Dowry Prohibition Act prescribing more stringent punishment for the crime.

The Dowry Prohibition Act of 1980 only provides for punishment for taking dowry
and is silent on the issue of harassment.

The draft law has a provision for sentence to death or life imprisonment if
husband, in-laws or any other person leads a woman to commit suicide over
dowry.

The draft law also provides for life imprisonment for attempt to murder over
dowry and sentence to life or a minimum of 12 years of imprisonment or both for
causing any grievous injury.

Life term or a minimum of 12 years of imprisonment has been fixed as punishment
for dismemberment over dowry in the proposed amendment.

The husband will require paying alimony as per the nature of the wounds
inflicted on the wife, according to the draft law.

Taking or demanding dowry will invite a minimum jail term of 1 year and maximum
of 5 years and a minimum fine of Tk 50,000.

For lodging any false complaint or case, the punishment will be 6-month
imprisonment or a fine of Tk 50,000 or both.

The draft law has also defined various kinds of harassment and crimes.

The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs' Additional Secretary
(Administration) Bikash Kishore Das told the news agency that the law was being
amended considering all aspects.

"The amendment proposes to increase punishment for dowry in the present
context. The draft has been prepared by taking views of the stakeholders," he
said.

The draft law has also kept provision for formulating rules in accordance with
the new Dowry Prohibition Act.

(source: financialexpress-bd.com)






PHILIPPINES:

Bongbong Marcos backs death penalty for drug trafficking


While Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. believes that there is no quick fix
to the country's drug problems, he is supporting the death penalty for those
involved in the illegal drug trade.

Marcos pointed out on Tuesday that solving the country's drug problem has
become complex, adding that it should be seen, not only as a police problem but
as a societal problem as well.

The vice presidential hopeful, who led the oath-taking of at least 1,000
members of the We Parents organization in Pasig City, said the different
sectors of society, organized in groups like the "We Parents," should come
together to help solve one of the country's biggest problems.

The We Parents organization was formed in 2012 in Pasig City to help address
some of the city's problems, such as livelihood. The organization is composed
of members of parent-teachers associations, homeowners associations and even
public utility drivers and operators associations that conduct various programs
like skills training in partnership with the local government.

"We need all sectors of society to come together, starting from the parents.
[We should focus our efforts in] the values formation of the children and
strengthening the Filipino family. I think the solution lies in a strong family
that the child can depend on," Marcos said.

During his speech at Barangay Maybunga's covered court, Marcos said that "92 %
of barangays in Metro Manila have been affected by the illegal drug problem."

"This is alarming not only because of the crime related to it but also because
[drug dealers] want to prey on our children, who are our country's future... If
they will prey on our children, it's like they're destroying our future,"
Marcos told residents of the city that was once in the limelight because of its
"shabu tiangge."

Marcos said the negative effects illegal drugs have brought to society have
convinced him to support the death penalty for the traffickers.

"Because of the scale of damage they inflict [to society], I think they deserve
the death penalty," he said.

(source: inquirer.net)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-18 22:45:07 UTC
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Feb. 18



PAKISTAN:

Christian couple sentenced to death for sending 'blasphemous' texts to an
Islamic cleric in Pakistan say they were tortured into confessing to the crime


A disabled Christian man and his wife sentenced to death in Pakistan for
blasphemy have claimed they were tortured into confessing.

Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, from Gojra, east Pakistan, were found
guilty of sending a text message which 'blasphemed' against the Prophet
Mohammed to their local imam in 2013.

Mr Emmanuel, who is paralysed from the waist down, claims the only reason he
confessed to the crime was because he could not stand watching his wife be
tortured by police.

'There is no man who can stand to see his wife being tortured by police, so to
save my wife, I confessed,' Mr Emmanuel said in an appeal for bail lodged this
week.

The couple were arrested in July 2013 after their local imam, Maulvi Mohammed
Hussain, claimed Mr Emmanuel had used his wife's phone to sent him a text
insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

The couple, who have 4 children, denies ever sending the text, saying the phone
had been stolen from them months before the message was supposed to have been
sent.

"There was no evidence that the text messages came from a phone owned by the
couple," Farukh Saif, an official of World Vision in Progress giving legal aid
to the couple, told Christians in Pakistan.

In the first place they had lost the phone some months before July 2013 and
secondly there was no SIM card in their names.

The only evidence police produced was a bill for a SIM card from a shop owner
which is unheard of.'

Mr Emmanuel and Ms Kausar were initially sentenced to death for blasphemy, but
as with nearly all such convictions, it is most likely they will spend the rest
of their lives in jail.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws are notoriously harsh, and accusations of blasphemy
against Islam is taken very seriously in the country.

Being found guilty of desecrating the Koran or blaspheming against the Prophet
Mohammed is punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The laws have long been criticised both in Pakistan and internationally as they
are often used to settle personal grudges and accusations are made with little
to no evidence.

They have lodged an appeal at Lahore High Court on the grounds of Mr Emmanuel's
deteriorating condition, claiming lack of treatment in jail has left him with
bedsores and life-threatening ill health.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws are notoriously harsh, and accusations of blasphemy
against Islam is taken very seriously in the country.

Being found guilty of desecrating the Koran or blaspheming against the Prophet
Mohammed is punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The laws have long been criticised both in Pakistan and internationally as they
are often used to settle personal grudges and accusations are made with little
to no evidence.

Last month, the head of a powerful religious body in the country said he is
willing to review Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, to decide if they are
Islamic.

Pakistan's religious and political elites almost universally keep clear of
debating blasphemy laws in a country where criticism of Islam is a highly
sensitive subject. Even rumours of blasphemy have sparked rampaging mobs and
deadly riots.

But Muhammad Khan Sherani, chairman of a body that advises the government on
the compatibility of laws with Islam, told Reuters he was willing to reopen the
debate and see whether sentences as harsh as the death penalty were fair.

"The government of Pakistan should officially, at the government level, refer
the law on committing blasphemy to the Council of Islamic Ideology. There is a
lot of difference of opinion among the clergy on this issue," Sherani said in
an interview at his office close to Pakistan's parliament.

"Then the council can seriously consider things and give its recommendation of
whether it needs to stay the same or if it needs to be hardened or if it needs
to be softened," Sherani, said.

(source: Daily Mail)






BURUNDI:

Burundi's defense minister requests reintroduction of death penalty


Burundian Defense Minister Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye has requested the
reintroduction of the death penalty to sanction authors of the May 13, 2015
failed coup plot, the government official said Thursday in a parliamentary
session.

Defense and War Veterans Minister Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye was speaking in a
session at the parliamentary house in Kigobe along with 2 of his colleagues -
Security Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni and External Relations and
International Cooperation Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe.

They had been summoned to answer MPs' questions and to debate on Burundi's
political crisis that broke in April 2015 as well as possible solutions.

"The death penalty should be reintroduced especially to sanction people who
attempted to overthrow institutions on May 13, 2015,"Ntahomvukiye told the
Parliament.

Burundi abolished the death penalty in the penal code promulgated on April 29,
2009.

Ntahomvukiye acknowledged that there are 3 rebel groups that are propagating
trouble in some areas of the east African nation including the Republican
Forces of Burundi (FOREBU), the Restoration of a Rule of Law (Red-Tabara) and
the National Liberation Forces (FNL) led by Nzabampema.

For his part, Bunyoni told MPs that with the beginning of the country's
political crisis in April 2015, more than 90 % of arms seized from
troublemakers came from other countries, with the majority from Rwanda.

The Burundian government and the ruling party, the National Council for the
Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) have been
accusing Rwanda of "destabilizing" Burundi.

Burundi's crisis broke out in April 2015 following the announcement by
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza that he would be seeking a 3rd term.

His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups,
resulted into a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup on May 13,
2015.

Over 400 persons are reported to have been killed since then.

(source: Xinhua news)






IRAQ:

Iraq sentences 40 members of ISIS to death for role in Speicher massacre


Iraq has sentenced 40 members of Islamic State (ISIS) in its captivity to death
on Thursday. They were charged with mass-murdering hundreds of Iraqi cadets at
Camp Speicher in Tikrit back in June 2014.

According to Reuters many of these suspects were arrested by Iraqi authorities
after they pushed ISIS from Tikrit in early 2015. Previously 24 were convicted
and executed last year. There are a total of 600 individuals suspected of
having a hand in that atrocity. Amnesty International has condemned this trial
alleging that it was "fundamentally flawed" and constituted "a reckless
disregard for justice and human life."

The Speicher massacre ranks among the most bloody and notorious of the crimes
against humanity ISIS has carried out to date.

On that occasion ISIS lined up 1,700 the mostly Shiite members of the Iraqi
military and systematically murdered them. Burying many in mass graves and
dumping others in the Tigris River.

(source: rudaw.net)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-19 16:59:26 UTC
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Feb. 19



PHILIPPINES:

Pacquiao deletes post about gays being 'put to death', repeats bible verse on
interview


Boxer and Philippine congressman, Manny Pacquiao is in a middle of a massive
scandal following statements saying that allowing same-sex marriage 'makes us
worse than animals'.

Although he has already issued an apology for the ignorant comparison, Pacquiao
was still defending his stance on same-sex relations by quoting bible verses on
social media. One of these posts have since been deleted, with the Senatorial
candidate quoting Leviticus 20:13 saying that homosexuals are 'to be put to
death'.

Nothing really stays erased online, and unfortunately for the Filipino
politician, even multiple mainstream media outlets in the Philippines have
highlighted the deleted Instagram post.

The verses Pacquiao quoted states the following: "If a man has sexual relations
with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.
They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads."

The boxer was in the same exact controversy in 2012, shortly after he became a
bible preacher. An appearance in Los Angeles was cancelled because of it, but
Pacquiao has vehemently denied quoting the very same Leviticus verse.

"I didn't say that, that's a lie," Pacquiao said back in 2012. "I don't know
that quote from Leviticus because I haven't read the Book of Leviticus yet."

Once Pacquiao quoted the same exact verse in 2016, it seems like his camp tried
to do some damage control. Unfortunately for them, not only did the erased
instagram post still get highlighted on numerous outlets, Pacquiao repeated the
same line on an interview that they obviously can't delete.

Speaking to DZMM after his initial apology, Pacquiao tried to explain that he
wasn't "condemning" being homosexual, just the act of having sexual relations
and getting married.

"Yes, it is detestable in God's eyes," Pacquiao said in Filipino. "If we just
read the bible. I'll give you a few verses. If we believe God, if we believe
the bible -- Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22, and 1st Corinthians 6:9."

"I don't believe that all LGBT are going to hell, what I'm saying is it's 'the
act' (of having sexual relations with the same sex)," Pacquiao said when asked
to elaborate. "They can be together without doing anything, without doing the
disgusting act in front of God."

"Who am I to judge? I am also a sinner like all the ordinary people, but I'm
telling the truth," he said. "We should follow what is written on the bible if
we really believe God."

The Senatorial candidate also went on to say that he would support the death
penalty, as it is "biblical".

(source: bloodyelbow.com)






IRAQ:

ISIS execute a 15-year-old boy by beheading after he is caught listening to
western music in Iraq ---- Ayham Hussein caught listening to music at father's
market store in Mosul


A teenage boy has been beheaded by ISIS for simply listening to Western music.

Ayham Hussein, 15, was arrested by militants after allegedly being caught
enjoying pop tunes on a portable CD player in the group's Iraqi capital Mosul.

He was dragged before a Islamist kangaroo court which sentenced him death in a
public execution.

A spokesman for the Nineveh media centre told ARA News: 'Ayham Hussein was
captured by the jihadis while listening to pop music at the grocery store of
his father in the Nabi Younis marketplace in western Mosul.'

His body was reportedly handed over to his family on Tuesday.

The execution, believed to be the first for listening to music in the city, has
sparked outrage among locals.

The source added: 'There was no formal decision by the sharia court that bans
listening to western music.'

ISIS has imposed its own sickening brand of medieval justice across swathes of
territory in Iraq and Syria, executing prisoners for so-called 'crimes' such as
blasphemy and being homosexual.

In a statement two years ago, the terror group also banned 'music and songs in
cars, at parties, in shops and in public, as well as photographs of people in
shop windows.'

It added: 'Songs and music are forbidden in Islam as they prevent one from the
remembrance of God and the Koran and are a temptation and corruption of the
heart.'

Earlier this week, it beheaded a captive in the Syrian stronghold of Raqqa with
a 3-foot sword.

(source: Daily Mail)






THAILAND:

Court approves delay for Koh Tao appeal


A Thai court yesterday agreed to delay an appeal hearing for 2 Myanmar men
sentenced to death for the murder of 2 British tourists. The hearing has been
pushed back to March 24 at the defence team's request.

It is the 2nd time the defence has applied for and received an extension to
give them more time to prepare their case.

U Sein Htay, chair of the Migrant Worker Rights Network, which has been
assisting the defence team, said he did not think any further extensions would
be needed.

"The appeal will be finished before the 2nd extension deadline," he said

He said the 2nd deferral was requested so that the team would have more time to
translate some of the court documents from Thai into English so they can be
reviewed by Western forensic analysts.

The case largely rests on hotly contested DNA evidence, which the Thai court
ruled on December 24 proved the Myanmar defendants guilty beyond reasonable
doubt. The defence has pored over nearly 4000 pages of court records and
assembled more than 100 points to dispute.

"The extra time to prepare is allowing us to put together the strongest appeal
that we can. We are trying our best for these 2 men," said U Sein Htay.

The defence team is collaborating with Australian DNA expert Jane Taupin to
question the prosecutors' claim that forensic samples led to a 100 % match with
the defendants.

Rakhine natives Ko Zaw Linn and Ko Wai Phyo were convicted and given the death
penalty for the murders of 2 British backpackers on the Thai holiday island Koh
Tao.

(source: Myanmar Times)






SOUTH KOREA:

S. Korea Top Court OKs Soldier's Death Penalty Over Rampage


South Korea's top court on Friday upheld a death penalty for a soldier
convicted of killing five comrades in shooting and grenade attacks in a
front-line army unit in 2014.

The verdict by the Supreme Court is final and cannot be appealed, a court
official said, requesting anonymity because of department rules. The Defense
Ministry said it confirmed the court's ruling.

The conscript, only identified by his surname Yim, had told investigators after
his arrest that he assaulted fellow soldiers because he felt insulted by
drawings they made of him. He had fled into the forest near the border with
North Korea but was captured after a failed suicide attempt.

South Korean courts occasionally issue death sentences but the country has not
executed anyone since December 1997. Yim has become the 61st person in South
Korea on a death row, according to records from the Justice Ministry and the
Defense Ministry.

South Korea requires all able-bodied men to serve in the military for about 2
years in the face of a threat from North Korea. Shooting rampages by bullied
soldiers in South Korean army barracks are not unusual. In 2005, another
soldier went on a similar rampage and killed 8 colleagues in anger at superiors
who he said verbally abused him. He too was sentenced to death.

Such rampages raised serious questions about the discipline and readiness of
South Korea's military, which faces North Korean troops across the world's most
heavily fortified border. Confrontations between the rivals deepened recently
following the North's nuclear test and long-range rocket launch.

(source: Associated Press)






INDONESIA:

Alleged Masterminds in Activist's Killing Could Face Death


35 suspects appeared in an East Java court Thursday to face charges related to
the killing of a farmer and an attack on another farmer, both of whom were
anti-sand mining activists.

2 of the suspects are local officials who allegedly masterminded the separate
attacks. The pair could face the death penalty, if convicted.

The hearing into the murder of Salim Kancil, 52, and Tosan, 51, who survived a
separate attack on the same day last September, took place at Surabaya District
Court.

The farmers were activists who led protests against an illegal sand-mining
operation in Lumajang, a regency about 150 kilometers (93 miles) southeast of
Surabaya. Both were from the village of Selok Awar-Awar in Pasirian, a
sub-district of Lumanjang.

The alleged masterminds of the attacks, Hariyono and Madasir (alias Abdul
Holek), face multiple counts. Hariyono was village leader of Selok Awar-Awar
and Madasir was chairman of the Community Institution of the Village Forest.

Prosecutor M. Naimullah charged both men with formulating a murder plan,
causing violence resulting in death, aggravated assault, and taking someone's
life. Hariyono also faces charges related to illegal mining and money
laundering, which carry a penalty of 20 years in prison.

Another 33 defendants appeared in two different courtrooms. Charges against
them vary, depending on their alleged roles, but carry maximum penalties of 5
to 7 years.

Electrocuted, beaten, stabbed

During the indictment Naimullah alleged that the defendants committed torture
and premeditated murder, and these acts were carefully planned by Hariyono and
Madasir because Salim wanted to protest sand mining by Hariyono.

Madasir threatened to kill Salim and Tosan if the sand mining operation were
shut down, the prosecutor alleged.

Salim and Tosan reported the threats to the Lumajang and Pasirian police.

Not long afterward, at least a dozen men attacked Tosan at his home on Sept.
26, running him over with a motorcycle. Thinking he was dead, the attackers
left him in the middle of the road.

They then went to Salim's house, where he was beaten. Then they took him to the
village hall, where he was allegedly electrocuted, beaten again and stabbed to
death.

Salim's body was left on the street, face down with his hands tied behind his
back, according to the indictment.

"They (the defendants) have undergone detention since 3 months ago. It is still
an indictment," said Ade Erwiyanto, Haryono's defense attorney, adding, "There
will be direct evidence by calling witnesses."

Another prosecutor, Dodi Emil Gazali told the court that Hariyono began mining
the sand in Watu Pecak, an area on the coast, without a permit on the pretext
of developing coastal tourism.

Haryono sold the sand for Rp 270,000 (U.S. $200) per truck, and sold an average
of 150 truckloads per day, which equaled more than Rp 40 million (U.S.
$30,000), Dodi said.

Chief Judge Jihad Alkharuddin adjourned the trial till next Thursday, when
witness testimony is set to begin.

Some of the witnesses, who fear for their lives, have been placed into an
Indonesian witness and victim protection program.

'No response' As the hearing took place, outside the courthouse dozens of
activists from a conservation group staged a demonstration highlighting the
detrimental effects of illegal sand mining in Lumajang.

Salim had voiced concerns about the process to local authorities and lawmakers
but to no avail, said Ony Mahardika, director of the East Java Forum for the
Environment (WALHI) group.

An investigation by WALHI determined that hundreds of people were involved in
the illegal mining, he said.

"Salim also sent a letter to the parliament leaders and to the district head of
Lumajang to oppose the mining. But there was no response. He was instead
intimidated and threatened with violence," Ony said.

(source: Benar News)






IRAN:

5 Ahwazi Arab Men in Danger of Execution


The fate of 5 Ahwazi Arab men has been predetermined by Farhad Afsharnia, the
head of Judiciary in the Khuzestan province of Iran, prior to a trial or
verdict.

Afsharnia tells Iranian official sources, including Mehr News and IRNA, that he
predicts the prisoners will be hanged to death in public. However, Afsharnia
admits they have not been issued sentences for the alleged crime of killing
Iranian security agents by gunfire. According to Afsharnia, the men were
arrested at a checkpoint in a vilage in the city of Hamidyeh (Khuzestan
province).

Ahwazi human rights groups have identified the prisoners as Gheys Abidavi,
Hamoud Abidavi, Mohammad Halafi, Mehdi Moarabi and Mehdi Siahi. According to
Ahwaz Human Rights Organization, the men were subjected to brutal torture and
were forced to give confessions which Iranian authorities aired on Press TV.

Iran state news agencies list the alleged crimes the men have been accused of
as moharebeh, corruption on earth, and active membership in a terrorist group.
Iranian intelligence agents claim that on April 2 2015, the 5 Ahwazi Arab men
shot bullets at a tent containing Iranian security guards inside, resulting in
the death of 3 of them.

Iran Human Rights is fundamentally opposed to the death penalty and condemns
sentencing the 5 Ahwazi Arab men to death. IHR calls for the case of these men
to be investigated in a fair and open trial, with the presence of their lawyers
and indepedendent media.

"These 5 men along with other individuals who are faced with security charges
have not received a fair trial and their scheduled executions by Iranian
authorities are meant to spread fear in the society. We ask the international
community, especially European governments, to place pressure on Iranian
authorities in order to stop these executions and also help improve the human
rights situation, primarly in Iran's ethnic regions," says Mahmood
Amiry-Moghaddam, spokesperson for Iran Human Rights.

(source: Iran Human Rights)

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

Moharebeh Executions in 2015


Article 183 of the Islamic Penal Code defines moharebeh as the use of "weapons
to cause terror and fear or to breach public security and freedom." In
practice, many defendants in moharebeh cases are deprived of access to an
attorney.

Testimony from hundreds of former defendants in Iran???s system of
Revolutionary Courts, where moharebeh cases are prosecuted, confirms that guilt
and sentencing in such cases is typically determined by Iran's Ministry of
Intelligence before the trials even start.

In previous years, political prisoners known for peaceful activism have been
executed on charges of moharebeh. The 21 cases reported last year represent a
relative increase over previous years. Although the Iranian judiciary rarely
shares the unvarnished details of these cases with the public, it is clear that
several members of political parties based in Iran's Kurdish region were among
those executed for moharebeh in 2015.

(source: Iran Human Rights Documentation Center)






MALAYSIA:

Man charged with Syabu trafficking


A 44-year-old local was charged in the High Court here Thursday with
trafficking 71.03gm of syabu.

Ibrahim Tabarak pleaded not guilty before Judge Ravinthran N. Paramaguru to
committing the offence at 5.10pm on Sept 1, 2015 at the ferry terminal in
Labuan.

He was charged under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act, which
carries the death penalty on conviction.

The court set May 9-13 for trial in Labuan and March 30 for case management.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wan Farrah Farriza Wan Ghazali prosecuted while
Ibrahim was represented by counsel Ram Singh, Timothy Daut and YS Lo.

Meanwhile, in the Magistrate's Court, 4 people were jailed for committing
various drug-related offences.

Akmad Syah, who pleaded guilty before Magistrate Cindy Mc Juce Balitus to
having 1.7gm of syabu on Jan 11, was jailed 17 months.

Nisbah Abu Jain was jailed 6 months for having 0.04gm of syabu on Dec 4, last
year at Sinsuran, here.

Ridzuan Abdul and Sherah Salleh, who admitted to taking drugs on Jan 11, were
jailed 5 months and 4 months respectively. Inspector Isfandiar Jasdi
prosecuted.

(source: Daily Express)

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

35-Year-old Labuan Man Caught With More Than 350 Gm Of Syabu


A 35- year-old local man here is likely to face the death penalty for
involvement in trafficking 353.27 gm of syabu with a street value of RM38,500.

The man was nabbed by a police anti-narcotics team who raided the suspect's
house at Rancha-Rancha after a public tip-off around 11.30 pm on Feb 16.

"There was a scuffle between our anti-narcotics personnel and the suspect, who
sustained some injuries. He was caught with a package containing 7 plastic
packets of the drug," Labuan police chief Supt Adzhar Othman told reporters
Friday.

He said the man who also tested positive for methamphetamine and amphetamine
was being remanded under Section 117 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which
allows for detention of a suspect for more than 24 hours to enable police to
complete their investigation.

"Under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act, drug traffickers caught with
synthetic narcotics weighing more than 50 grams faces the mandatory death
sentence if convicted," Adzhar said.

(source: Bernama)

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Feb. 21




INDIA:

Supreme Court to hear contempt plea against Kanhaiya Kumar, SAR Gilani tomorrow


The plea alleged that by terming the execution as "judicial killing", Kumar and
others have committed contempt of the court which had delivered the verdict.

The Supreme Court has agreed to a plea on Monday seeking contempt action
against jailed JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, former DU lecturer SAR Gilani
and few others on the ground that they allegedly termed the execution of Afzal
Guru as "judicial killing".

A bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justices R Banumathi and UU Lalit fixed
the contempt plea for hearing on Monday when the plea alleged that by terming
the execution as "judicial killing", Kumar and others have committed contempt
of the court which had delivered the verdict.

The plea, filed by lawyer Vineet Dhanda, refers to the apex court verdict,
pronounced on August 4, 2005 in the case, by which Guru was handed down death
penalty for being part of the conspiracy in the attack on Parliament. "The
so-called cultural event's pamphlets spoke about the judicial killing of Afzal
Guru. The main topic of the 'cultural event' organised was judicial killing of
Afzal Guru which outright tantamount to criminal contempt as the respondents
are calling the judges of the apex court as killers who have been projected to
have committed judicial killing of Afzal Guru," the plea said.

"Afzal and Yakub Memon were no martyrs as projected by the group of students of
JNU. The Supreme Court has already passed a detailed judgement in both cases
after giving due consideration as per law after going through the evidence," it
further said.

Pamphlets were allegedly distributed during the "so- called" cultural event
held at JNU on February 9 that termed death sentence to Guru and Maqbool Bhatt
as "judicial killing", the plea said. The students, who organised the event,
also used social media platforms and "tarnished" the image of Supreme Court, it
alleged.

Besides Kanhaiya and Gilani, the plea has sought contempt action against Umar
Khalid, Lenin Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya, Shehla Rashid Shora and Ali Javed.

(source: dnaindia.com)






VATICAN CITY:

Pope calls for worldwide abolition of death penalty


Pope Francis on Sunday called for the worldwide abolition of the death penalty,
saying the commandment "You shall not kill" was absolute and equally valid for
the guilty as for the innocent.

Using some of his strongest words ever against capital punishment, he also
called on Catholic politicians worldwide to make "a courageous and exemplary
gesture" by seeking a moratorium on executions during the Church's current Holy
Year, which ends in November.

"I appeal to the consciences of those who govern to reach an international
consensus to abolish the death penalty," he told tens of thousands of people in
St. Peter's Square.

"The commandment "You shall not kill," has absolute value and applies to both
the innocent and the guilty," he told the crowd.

The 1.2 billion-member Catholic Church allowed the death penalty in extreme
cases for centuries, but the position began to change under the late Pope John
Paul, who died in 2005.

The pope added that there was now "a growing opposition to the death penalty
even for the legitimate defense of society" because modern means existed to
"efficiently repress crime without definitively denying the person who
committed it the possibility of rehabilitating themselves."

Francis made the comments to throw his weight behind an international
conference against the death penalty starting Monday in Rome and organized by
the Sant'Egidio Community, a worldwide Catholic peace and justice group.

Francis, who has visited a number of jails since his election as pope nearly 3
years ago - the latest in Mexico last week - also called for better prison
conditions.

"All Christians and men of good will are called on to work not only for the
abolition of the death penalty, but also to improve prison conditions so that
they respect the human dignity of people who have been deprived of their
freedom," he said.

In the past, the pope also denounced life imprisonment, calling it "a hidden
death penalty" and saying that more should be done to try to rehabilitate even
the most hardened of criminals.

(source: Reuters)

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

Pope tells Catholic politicians: Stop death penalty executions


Catholic politicians should not authorize any death penalty executions this
year, Pope Francis said Sunday, as he renewed the Vatican's support for a
worldwide end to capital punishment.

"Even criminals retain the inviolable right to life, a gift from God. I appeal
to the consciences of rulers so that we may arrive at a global consensus for
the abolishment of the death penalty," Francis said during his Sunday Angelus
message.

"And I propose to those [rulers] who are Catholic to commit a courageous and
exemplary act: do not execute anyone in this Holy Year of Mercy," the pontiff
added.

Francis was referring to the Jubilee, an ongoing Catholic festival offering the
faithful a general pardon for their sins. The pope has scheduled it to run from
December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016, and has dedicated it to the Christian
ideal of mercy.

(source: Europe Online Magazine)






IRAN:

Photos: Meet the teenage girls on Iran's death row


Mahsa's story begins like any other teenager's story: She fell in love. The
17-year-old Iranian hoped to marry the boy, but her father opposed the
marriage. One day she got into an argument with her father over the romance,
got angry, and killed him with a kitchen knife. Now, Mahsa's brothers are
requesting the death penalty for her.

In Iran, the death penalty can be applied to minors, and in 2014, a United
Nations report estimated that at least 160 juvenile offenders were on death row
in the country. Today Mahsa is one of them, held in a detention center in
Zibashahr, near Tehran, with other minors awaiting capital punishment.

Mahsa's portrait was taken by Sadegh Souri, a 30-year-old Iranian photographer
who spent 4 years researching women and girls in his home country. With rare
access to the Zibashahr prison, Souri's photos tells the stories of several
young women between the ages of 12 and 18, convicted of crimes including armed
robbery and drug trafficking.

"My main goal in this project was to understand how young girls could end up in
jail in the first place," the prizewinning photographer tells Quartz. "I spent
time talking to them, they were nice and kind."

According to a Jan. 25 report by Amnesty International, 73 juvenile offenders
were executed in Iran between 2005 and 2015.

see:http://qz.com/615376/iran-women/

(source: qz.com)






OMAN:

'Highest punishment for drug trafficking is death sentence'


The highest punishment for anyone attempting to smuggle narcotic or
psychotropic drugs into the sultanate is death penalty, according to the ROP.

"Article 43 of the amended law states that drug abusers can receive up to 3
years imprisonment, a maximum fine of RO3,000 or death sentence," Col
Abdulrahim bin Qasim al Farsi, Director General for Combating Narcotics and
Psychotropic Substances in ROP, said.

He added, "Under Article 66, the court can order an expatriate convicted of
drug related crimes, to be deported, besides cancellation of visa and
employment in Oman."

Col Farsi said, "According to Article 64, any person concealing information on
or access to the drugs' consignment from concerned authorities will be jailed
between 6 months and 3 years and imposed a fine of minimum RO100 but not more
than RO1,000."

As per amendments to the Law of Combating Drugs and Psychotropic Substances
promulgated by Royal Decree 34/2015, drug abusers can avoid prosecution if they
seek treatment at a rehabilitation centre, provided they are not caught
red-handed and no criminal suit is already filed against them. Rehabilitation
can either be sought by the addict or on the request of spouse or kin.

Col Farsi has also advised those getting medicines from abroad to keep
prescription with them at all times to avoid legal consequences.

The ROP is also planning to conduct awareness campaigns against drug abuse
across the sultanate. It will be also be organising de-addiction programmes.

(source: muscatdaily.com)






PAKISTAN:

ATC awards death sentence to narcotics smuggler


Anti Narcotics court Saturday awarded death sentence to narcotics smuggler and
his co accused was awarded life imprisonment.

The hearing was held in the court of Chaudhry Anwar Ahmed Khan here. In his
verdict Muhammad Shabbir was awarded death penalty and his co accused Muhammad
Shafi was sentenced to life imprisonment while both the accused would have to
pay Rs 2,00,000 fine each. Anti Narcotics Force ANF had arrested and recovered
660 kg charas from their possession.

(source: The News)

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

Criminal injustice


In 2015, Pakistan executed at least 324 people. Only 2 more countries - China
and Iran - executed more people over the past year, with Saudi Arabia following
Pakistan closely to complete an ignoble quartet. The moratorium on capital
punishment, in place in Pakistan between 2008 and 2014, was lifted after the
Peshawar Army Public School (APS) massacre as the entire nation was whipped up
in anger. The government of Nawaz Sharif had been trying to lift the moratorium
ever since it came to power in 2013 but lacked the political will to either
stand up to the pressures of the international community or risk the riposte of
the terrorists. However, in the aftermath of the APS attack, it was relatively
easy for the government to reinstate capital punishment, initially only for
convicted militants and then later spreading its scope to include all convicted
criminals. Lest anyone mistake this upturn in executions as a sign of
Pakistan's anti-terrorist resolve, it should be pointed out that only 39 (10 %)
of those executed had ties to a militant organisation. It is obvious that the
justification of combating terrorism was a mere smokescreen, and that the
sitting government's eagerness to restart executions was part of its regressive
"tough on crime" image, which ignores ground realities and frequent
miscarriages of justice in favour of gruesome spectacle. Unfortunately, the
public's (arguably manufactured) bloodlust is still unrelenting, and this
shameful revelation has been welcomed by many as evidence that the country is
headed in the right direction.

Opposing the death penalty is possible on 2 grounds: the ethical and the
practical. Since there is little stomach for the former school of thought in
these quarters, it is useful to expand on the latter. It is baffling how the
same police and courts of the country that are condemned ad nauseam for being
corrupt, incompetent and heartless are suddenly entrusted to handle matters of
life and death with full due diligence. It can be logically concluded, even
without looking at the facts, that wrongful convictions would be a norm rather
than exception, thereby making it likely that many innocent individuals can be
(and are) wrongfully executed. But then if one looks at the details of people
on death row, it is evident that the list is full of the most vulnerable people
of our society: the extremely poor, the mentally ill, people convicted while
still being juveniles, religious minorities - in other words people with no
hope of gaining access to adequate counsel. The rich and the influential gain
advantage of the lopsided Qisas laws and easily pay their way out of trouble.
All in all, it is hard to see how reinstating capital punishment has made
Pakistan a safer place, as the deterrence principle has also been
quantitatively proved to be fallacious. There are no 2 ways about - there is no
place for the death penalty in Pakistan without compromising on the principles
of justice.

(source: Editorial, Daily Times)


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Feb. 18



INDONESIA:

Jessica's lawyers file pretrial motion


Lawyers of Jessica Kumala Wongso filed a pretrial motion with the Central
Jakarta District Court to challenge her suspect status in the murder case of
Wayan Mirna Salihin, who died after drinking cyanide-laced coffee.

Yudi Wibowo, one of the lawyers, said on Wednesday that having filed the
motion, the team would face the 1st hearing on Feb. 23.

Meanwhile, the Jakarta Police's general crime director, Krishna Murti, said
that he had been informed about the pretrial.

"Once we receive a notification letter about the pretrial, the Jakarta Police's
legal team will immediately prepare for the hearing," Krishna said on Tuesday
as quoted by kompas.com. Nonetheless, Krishna added that his team was
optimistic that they could put Jessica behind bars as they had found 2 pieces
of evidence that confirmed their allegations.

Jessica, the sole suspect in the murder case, was charged under the Criminal
Code for premeditated murder. The law carries the possibility of the death
penalty, lifetime imprisonment, or a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The police suspect her of murdering Mirna, 27, who died after drinking the
poisoned coffee at the Olivier restaurant in the Grand Indonesia shopping mall
on Jan. 6. However, police have so far been tight-lipped on a motive behind the
homicide.

(source: thejakartapost.com)






UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

Doha court reviews expat's premeditated killing of compatriot


A Doha Criminal Court has been reviewing the case of a Bangladeshi man accused
of premeditated killing of his compatriot.

Local Arabic daily Arrayah reported that the Public Prosecution accused the
defendant of murdering his accommodation and work mate.

The witness in the case, a police officer, told the court that he received a
call about the killing of an Asian man at a workers' accommodation. When he
went there, he found the body of the victim on his bed with severe injuries and
covered in blood. He also found a sharp knife under the bed. Upon investigation
and further search, the defendant was arrested.

He told the investigators that he killed the victim after a heated verbal
dispute, when the latter insulted and rebuked him harshly. After committing the
murder, he fled the accommodation. At night, he slept at a mosque and in the
morning, police found him and he was eventually arrested.

The defendant justified the killing claiming that the victim used to beat and
insult him in front of others at work at the Fish Market. Also, he used to
constantly threaten to send him back home, which made the defendant furious,
provoking him to kill the other person.

A medical report submitted to the court on the condition of the defendant
affirmed that he suffered from depression related to the murder, but he is
fully accountable for his crime.

The court has adjourned the case until the legal heirs of the victim express
their wish whether they seek a death penalty for the defendant or accept blood
money.

(source: Gulf Times)






IRAQ:

Shocking surge in 2016 death sentences tops 90 as 'terror' trial closes


The 40 death sentences handed down today in Iraq after a fundamentally flawed
mass trial show a reckless disregard for justice and human life, said Amnesty
International and brings the total sentenced in 2016 close to 100.

Iraq's courts have imposed at least 52 death sentences since 1 January 2016.
Today a further 40 individuals were sentenced to death as the verdict of a
high-profile anti-terror trial is delivered in Baghdad.

"For Iraqi courts to hand down 92 death sentences in just 6 weeks is a grim
indicator of the current state of justice in the country," said James Lynch,
Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

"The vast majority of the trials have been grossly unfair, with many of the
defendants claiming to have been tortured into 'confessing' the crimes. These
allegations must be urgently investigated and a re-trial that meets
international fair trial standard should be ordered."

Today's trial involved 47 individuals accused of involvement in the Speicher
massacre, in which at least 1,700 military cadets from Speicher Military camp,
near Tikrit, were brutally killed by militants from the armed group calling
itself Islamic State (IS) in June 2014.

Iraq's Federal Judicial Authority confirmed that 40 people were sentenced to
death under the 2005 anti-terrorism law and 7 were released due to lack of
evidence.

More than 600 arrest warrants were issued by the Iraqi authorities in
connection with the Speicher massacre. The Central Criminal Court of Iraq
(CCCI) went on to announce that it would consolidate all cases relating to the
Speicher crimes into one case - opening the door to mass trials.

In July 2014, 24 men were sentenced to death by hanging under the 2005
Anti-Terrorism Law in connection with the massacre.

"These mass, expedited trials raise serious questions about whether the Iraqi
authorities really want to uncover the truth behind these abhorrent attacks, or
whether they simply want to create the illusion that justice has been done.
Once again we are seeing basic human rights trampled upon as the authorities
circumvent fair trials in the name of national security," said James Lynch.

Amnesty International is calling on the Iraqi authorities to halt the
ratification of death sentences and immediately establish an official
moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

Before a death sentence can be carried out, the President of Iraq must ratify
it. Former President Jalal Talabani refused to ratify any death sentences
leading to a backlog of more than 600 cases.

Last year, the new President Fuad Ma'sum came under significant pressure from
MPs and the public to ratify death sentences, particularly following the
Speicher massacre. A Special Committee was set up in the Presidency Office to
manage the backlog. In July 2015 Amnesty International called on the Iraqi
President to halt the ratification of death sentences that would pave the way
for executions. Many of those sentenced to death have been subject to grossly
unfair trials.

(source: Amnesty International)



PAKISTAN:

Pakistan, with 324 executions in 2015, ranks third worldwide - report


Pakistan hanged 324 people last year to rank 3rd worldwide in terms of
executions, but the vast majority of those put to death had no links to
militant groups or attacks, rights groups said in a report seen by Reuters.

Pakistan lifted a moratorium on executions in late 2014 as a measure to deter
militancy, after a Taliban gunmen attacked a school and killed 134 students and
19 adults.

Of the 351 executions that followed, only 39, or about 1 in 10, involved people
linked to a known militant group or guilty of crimes linked to militancy,
Reprieve, an international human rights group, and Justice Project Pakistan
said in a report.

Pakistan now ranks after China and Iran, carrying out 324 hangings in 2015
alone, the report showed.

Juveniles, mentally ill prisoners, and prisoners who had been tortured or had
not received fair trials were among those executed, the report found in an
analysis of media reports and data from courts, prisons and legal teams.

"The numbers show that the Pakistan government's claims do not match reality,"
said Maya Foa, director of the death penalty team at Reprieve.

"Those going to the gallows are too often the poor and vulnerable," she said in
a statement. "It is hard to see how hanging people like this will make Pakistan
safer."

A spokesman from Pakistan's interior ministry did not respond to requests for
comment.

The government initially said the unofficial moratorium was only being lifted
in cases connected to militancy, but it was later broadened to cover all cases,
the report said.

The hangings have drawn condemnation from international partners but have been
broadly popular at home.

Government officials told Reuters last year that the policy had been helping to
deter militant attacks.

Militant, insurgent and sectarian attacks have fallen since 2014, though it is
unclear whether the decline is linked to the change in execution policy, as it
has also coincided with a military crackdown on militant strongholds.

Last year, attacks in Pakistan by militant, insurgent and sectarian groups were
down 48 % from 2014, an independent think-tank, the Pak Institute for Peace
Studies, says.

(source: Reuters)






THAILAND:

Koh Tao defence seeks 2nd appeal hearing extension


The defence team for 2 Myanmar men facing the death penalty for the murder of 2
British tourists on Koh Tao will today file a 2nd application to push back an
appeal against the sentence.

Lawyers for the 2 Rakhine State natives convicted of murdering the backpackers
in Thailand are assembling additional points to contest the forensic evidence
that formed a crucial part of the prosecution case.

Thai police handling of the case - from failing to secure the murder scene to
testing of the DNA sample collection - was internationally decried, but on
December 24 the court said the evidence against the Myanmar defendants proved
their guilt beyond "reasonable doubt". Ko Zaw Linn and Ko Wai Phyo were
sentenced to death.

The defence team has appealed the sentence and in collaboration with Australian
DNA expert Jane Taupin is questioning the prosecutors' claim that forensic
samples lead to a 100 percent match with the defendants.

The appeal hearing is slated for February 24, but the defence is petitioning to
delay the court date.

According to the Migrant Worker Rights Network, the team has pored over nearly
4000 pages of court records, and has assembled an extensive list of more than
100 appeal points focusing mainly on the DNA. The extra time will be used to
coordinate with experts from Australia, Britain and Thailand, said network
chair U Sein Htay.

The court ordered an initial postponement on January 20, just 4 days before the
appeal was to be heard. U Sein Htay said he is not sure the defence will get a
2nd temporary reprieve.

"If the court does not approve the request, we will send our appeal report
before the deadline on February 24," he said.

He added that the 2nd request is being made in order to translate some of the
court documents from Thai to English in order to bring them to forensic
analysts for review.

U Aung Myo Thant, a legal adviser at the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok, said an
embassy team is also preparing to hand over analysis to the defence.

"The Myanmar delegation team will also give suggestions to the defence team
after finishing observations on the murder case documents," he said.

The December death penalty verdict sparked outrage in Myanmar. Protests led by
nationalist monks have been scheduled every Sunday, and even Commander-in-Chief
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing weighed in, suggesting his Thai counterparts
"take another look" at the case.

During a visit to Yangon earlier this month, migrant rights expert Andy Hall,
who has been advising the defence team, said the case against the pair is "not
strong".

"They should be released," he said. "That is not to say they are guilty or not
guilty, but the case against them is not strong."

(source: Myanmar Times)






BANGLADESH:

Defence ends argument in Mir Quasem case ---- Quasem has also spent a large
amount of money abroad to make the war crimes trials controversial


The counsels of condemned war criminal and influential Jamaat-e-Islami leader
Mir Quasem Ali yesterday concluded arguments on his appeal filed with the
Supreme Court seeking acquittal.

The 5-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Surendra
Kumar Sinha will hear from the attorney general on behalf of the state on
February 23.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday told reporters that the trial
proceedings might end by February 24.

During yesterday's hearing, defence counsel SM Shahjahan argued that the
statements of the prosecution witnesses in the case were not credible as the
statements do not corroborate each other.

Quasem, a commander of al-Badr force in Chittagong during the 1971 Liberation
War, was awarded capital punishment by the International Crimes Tribunal 2 on
November 3, 2014. As many as 24 prosecution witnesses testified against Quasem.

The tribunal handed down the death penalty on 2 charges - for killing 7 people,
including teenage freedom fighter Jasimuddin, after abduction. He was also
awarded a total of 72-year imprisonment on the 8 other proven charges of
abduction, conspiracy and planning.

A top Jamaat financier, Quasem appealed against the judgement on November 30,
2014 seeking acquittal from the charges.

The Appellate Division started hearing on his appeal on February 9. It is the
7th appeals case heard by the top court.

"The defence has concluded their primary submission. We will place our
arguments on February 23. They will perhaps reply on the legal grounds. We hope
that the hearing will end by 23th or 24th. Then we will have to wait for the
verdict," the attorney general told reporters after the hearing.

Chief defence counsel Khandaker Mahbub Hossain, also BNP chairperson's adviser,
alleged that his client had not been directly involved in any of the incidents
and that the witnesses produced unreal depositions. He hoped that the court
would acquit him from all the charges.

On the other hand, Mahbubey said that the convict did not claim himself
innocent as he had been the secretary general of Islami Chhatra Sangha during
the war.

The Jamaat leader, now 64, joined Islami Chhatra Sangha, then student wing of
Jamaat, in 1967 while studying at Chittagong Collegiate School. He later became
its Chittagong city unit general secretary. He played an important role in
forming al-Badr Bahini.

He had set up makeshift torture camps at different places in the port city
including Daleem Hotel in Andorkilla, where pro-liberation people were handed
down punishment. Other allegations against him include involvement in mass
killings in Asadnagar and Panchlaish areas.

Quasem in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces opened several
torture cells in the city including Dost Mohammad Panjabi building and Salma
Manjil where M Omar-ul-Islam and Lutfar Rahman Faruk among others were tortured
following abduction.

According to the government, Quasem has also spent a large amount of money
abroad to make the war crimes trials controversial.

(source: dhakatribune.com)






MALAYSIA:

More Malaysians want end to mandatory death penalty, online poll shows


Over 1/2 of Malaysians surveyed in an online poll want the government to scrap
the mandatory death sentence that leaves judges with no discretion to hand down
lighter punishments.

Conducted by Barisan Nasional (BN) component Gerakan, the online poll results
showed 838 online respondents were in favour of abolishing the mandatory death
sentence while 685 respondents disagreed with judges being given the discretion
to decide sentences, the party's Youth wing leader Chai Ko Thing told a news
conference today.

"As you can see from the results of votes garnered, the ratio is those who
agreed are 55 % and those who disagreed is 45 5," the Gerakan Youth Legal
Bureau chief said.

The survey results were collected from 1,523 anonymous Internet users over a
3-week period from January 22 and February 15 through Gerakan's online poll
site bettermalaysiapoll.org.

The survey posed just 1 question: "In your opinion, should Malaysia abolish the
mandatory death penalty?" and the results were based on the number of "Yes" or
"No" clicks obtained.

According to Chai, the mandatory death penalty in Malaysia applies to various
crimes such as murder, firearm possession, kidnapping with ransom, waging war
against the King and drug offences.

However, he said the government has currently shown its intention to remove the
mandatory death penalty for drug-related offences, a move he said is backed by
public sentiments based on the poll results.

He said Gerakan had, in 2013, initiated a petition titled "No to death
penalty", adding however the scrapping of mandatory death sentences may be a
good starting point and middle path.

"So the party's stand on this issue is we are going for total abolishment of
death sentence, but as a start from the result of this poll - it seems to be
divided, maybe to remove mandatory, then we work towards total abolishment of
death sentence," he said.

(source: themalaymailonline.com)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-22 16:24:44 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 22



GLOBAL:

Catholic faith? leads way on death penalty


Today in Rome, the Sant'Egidio Community, a worldwide Catholic peace and
justice organization of which I've been an active member for many years, will
conduct an international conference in opposition to the death penalty. It is
certain to reignite debate on the death penalty - probably even in the U.S.
presidential election.

When I was U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, the Sant'Egidio Church was in the
forefront of many of the world most contentious moral debates, from the war in
Bosnia, genocide in Rwanda, to the Population Control Conference in Beijing.
Because of the United States' leading role in the world, I was required to play
a leading role in each of those debates, both at the Vatican and on location in
those respective countries - sometimes even in opposition to my own
government's position.

Yesterday, Pope Francis spoke out clearly against the death penalty, adding his
voice to the church's decades-old opposition. Francis called for the worldwide
abolition of the death penalty, noting that "You shall not kill" was absolute
and equally valid for the guilty as it is for the innocent. He also called on
Catholic politicians worldwide to make a "courageous and exemplary gesture" by
seeking a moratorium on executions during the church's current holy year. He
made the strongest appeal yet to the conscience of those who govern to end the
death penalty.

I am not surprised by the pope's strong statement in defense of all human life.
His position is not Democratic or Republican, but authentically Catholic and
consistent with the teaching of Jesus Christ. Americans like to think of
themselves as independent political thinkers, but I've always been comfortable
in following my own father's advice when needing to make a tough decision,
"Ray, ask yourself, what would Jesus do?"

We are all entitled to our political opinion, but Catholics are not entitled to
their own interpretation of the teachings of our Catholic faith. When Pope John
Paul II issued a comprehensive statement on the death penalty, I was with him
at the Vatican. He was asked for an example of how capital punishment is
justified. He responded, "I can't think of one." I understood exactly what he
meant. All life is sacred. It has absolutely nothing to do about what is
politically popular, but what is true. Let the debate begin.

(source: Raymond L. Flynn is the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican and
former mayor of Boston----Boston Herald)






IRAN:

Appeals acquits 3 drugs death row suspects - Iranian's death penalty overturned


The Criminal Court of Appeals chaired by Judge Najib Al-Mulla overturned the
verdict of First Instance Court that sentenced 3 suspects accused of smuggling
40 kgs of hashish into Kuwait to death by hanging. The court discharged and
acquitted them.

The prosecution officer claimed the suspects smuggled the substance from a
neighboring country via the sea for trading purpose. He also forwarded a report
to the Attorney General who authorized the officer to arrest them after the
search procedures. The officer alongside Coast Guard officers then proceeded to
search the container in which the illicit item was concealed, and referred the
suspects for investigation before the judiciary sentenced them to death.

Representing the defendants, Lawyer Sultan Al-Mendel challenged the lower
court's decision and maintained the officer had acted contrary to the provision
of law, which rendered the warrant obtained from the Public Prosecution null
and void. He noted the procedures implemented lacked seriousness which cases of
such magnitude deserve. He observed the investigators did not bother to invite
any of the Coast Guard officers involved in the inspection to testify.

Iranian acquitted: The Court of Appeals overturned the verdict of a lower court
which imposed the death penalty on an Iranian accused of smuggling drugs into
the country. Case files indicate the Public Prosecution charged the Iranian,
together with other suspects, of smuggling drugs into the country through the
sea.

They were also accused of bringing goods illegally into the country as they did
not obtain proper documentation from the concerned authorities in Kuwait.
According to the arresting officer, the accused smuggled 33 kgs of hashish
through the sea with intention to deliver it to an unidentified person in
Kuwait. The accused remained in a Kuwaiti jail until the Criminal Court
sentenced them to death. Attorney Muhammad Hamza represented one of the accused
in court. He questioned the arrest and search procedures which, he said, were
carried out illegally. The Court of Appeals agreed with the lawyer so his
client and the other defendants were acquitted.

(source: arabtimesonline.com)






MALAYSIA:

Mum vows to fight on for son facing the gallows


Death-row inmate Shahrul Izani Suparman, 32, is on tenterhooks, not knowing
when he will face the gallows.

But his mother, Sapenah Nawawi, 58, has not given up hope of trying to get the
various parties to commute the death sentence.

She has been sending pleas to the pardons board, the Attorney-General, the King
and even the Sultan of Selangor's imam.

"Knowing your son will die is agonising, but not knowing when is torturous,"
she said, adding that a date for the death sentence has yet to be fixed.

Sapenah said she had asked the prison authorities but has yet to receive any
answer.

In 2003, Shahrul Izani, then 19, was arrested during a routine roadblock after
being found in possession of 622gm of cannabis.

In December 2009, he was convicted by the Shah Alam High Court for drug
trafficking, an offence that carries the mandatory death penalty.

His eldest brother Soffhian Soffree, 36, said Shahrul was an avid reader and
always kept tabs on news of other prisoners who got pardoned.

"Every time we visited Shahrul, he would ask the same question: 'Did they
reply?'," he said, adding that the lack of answers left the family constantly
on edge.

Having exhausted his appeals before the Court of Appeal and Federal Court,
Shahrul's only chance to escape the noose is by way of a pardon.

The family has approached Amnesty International Malaysia for aid to campaign
for Shahrul Izani's cause.

Amnesty International is collecting signatures to appeal to the Selangor state
pardons board, urging it to commute the death sentence.

Amnesty executive director Shamini Darshni said Malaysia was 1 of 58 countries
to still practise the death sentence and questioned its effectiveness as a
deterrent against drug trafficking.

According to 2014 statistics, 70% of the 992 people on death row in Malaysia
were convicted for drug trafficking.

(source: The Star)






JORDAN:

3 sentenced to death for killing officers


The State Security Court (SSC) on Sunday sentenced 3 men to the death penalty
for murdering 2 police officers and a gendarme lieutenant in 2 separate cases
in Irbid and Maan.

The shooting in Irbid took place earlier in December 2015, involving 5 men who
shot and killed Captain Jamal Darawsheh and Corporal Usama Jarawreh near the
Samma intersection to the west of Irbid while in their patrol vehicle.

1 of the defendants was the brother of a man from the village who was killed in
a police shootout in October last year, when police were trying to arrest him
for alleged vandalism of an Islamic cemetery.

The 2nd defendant was given life in prison for orchestrating the attack and
transporting the weapon, while the 3rd defendant received 15 years in prison
for providing the weapon while knowing it was going to be used against police
officers, a judicial source told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile in the Maan case, the SSC sentenced 2 men to death and a third
suspect to life in prison, for murdering Second Lieutenant Nart Nafesh in Maan
in August 2014.

The SSC charge sheet said 4 of the 5 defendants in the case sought to avenge
the death of a relative during the unrest in the governorate and decided to
target any police officer in the city.

In the same case, the court sentenced a 3rd suspect to life in prison, declared
a 4th not guilty for lack of evidence and referred a minor to a juvenile court,
a judicial source told The Jordan Times.

(source: The Jordan Times)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-22 23:11:27 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 22



LATVIA:

Almost 40 % of Latvians call for the re-introduction of the death penalty


According to a recent survey by Latvian research company, SKDS, slightly over
1/3 of Latvian residents believe that the country should re-introduce the death
penalty.

The survey took place in January 2016, with 36.6 % of recipients calling for
the re-instatement of the death penalty.

Meanwhile, 47.3 % had an opposite opinion on this matter and believe that the
death penalty should not be re-introduced in Latvia.

16.1 % of those surveyed did not have a point of view.

The death penalty was abolished in Latvia in 1991, when it gained independence
from the Soviet Union.

(source: The Baltic Times)






PAKISTAN:

SC maintains Abid Hussain's death penalty


The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday maintained the conviction of Abid Hussain over
killing of an innocent citizen and and dismissed his appeal.

The 2-member bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Manzoor Ahmed
Malik heard the case filed by Abid Hussain against his death penalty.

Justice Mnnzoor Malik remarked that lower courts and all other courts had
dismissed all the petitions against his death sentence. The President had also
dismissed his mercy appeal, he added.

Advocate Sohail Dar told the court that his client was in prison for more than
22 years.

Abid Hussain was awarded death penalty over killing of Muhamamd Fayyaz.

(source: Business Recorder)






UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:

UAE tries Sudanese for bomb plot against foreigners


A Sudanese man is being tried in the United Arab Emirates for allegedly
plotting a bomb attack in Abu Dhabi aimed at killing foreigners, a local
newspaper reported Monday.

The National daily said that the unnamed 29-year-old defendant faces charges
related to plotting to "commit acts of terror in the capital".

"He scouted and inspected locations to execute his plan of planting explosives
to kill foreigners in the country," the newspaper said on its website quoting
court documents.

It also quoted the prosecution as saying the defendant had posted on Facebook
and Twitter material aimed at promoting and recruiting members for the Islamic
State group.

The man who appeared before an Abu Dhabi court is being tried under the UAE's
anti-terror law.

If convicted, he could face execution, life imprisonment and or fines of up to
100 million dirhams ($27.2 million), the paper said.

The defendant has denied the charges against him.

He has also asked for a court appointed lawyer saying he could not afford the
legal fees, the newspaper added.

The case was adjourned to March 14.

UAE authorities have enacted tougher anti-terror legislation, including harsher
jail terms and even introducing the death penalty for crimes linked to
religious hatred and extremist groups.

In July, the UAE executed an Emirati woman for the jihadist-inspired 2014
murder of an American school teacher in an Abu Dhabi shopping mall.

Her husband is accused of seeking to carry out attacks on targets including Abu
Dhabi's Formula 1 circuit and has reportedly claimed to be the local leader of
IS. He is currently on trial.

(source: Gulf Times)






MALAYSIA:

Come give a death-row inmate a little cheer----Amnesty International Malaysia
is urging Malaysians to celebrate 32nd birthday of inmate facing the gallows to
give him a little comfort as Pardons Board hears his case.


Amnesty International Malaysia is planning to bring a death row inmate some joy
by getting Malaysians to celebrate his 32nd birthday next month.

Shahrul Izani Suparman was handed down the death sentence in 2009, 6 years
after he was arrested when a stash of cannabis was discovered hidden in a
motorcycle he had borrowed.

For 13 years, Shahrul Izani had maintained he did not know the drugs were
stashed in the basket of the motorcycle and is currently awaiting his clemency
application to be heard before the state Pardons Board.

AI Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni, in a statement, explained the
aim of the campaign was to give the young man hope, which was currently in
"short supply."

"For a man who is forced to listen to a fellow death row inmate struggle to
breathe his last when hanging from the rope, we hope that this action would
bring him some small comfort."

She hoped that by celebrating Shahrul Izani's birthday, by sending him greeting
cards, the initiative would become a platform that would bring people together
as a sign of solidarity and send a strong signal to the authorities that the
death penalty had no place in today's society.

Shamini is also hoping the birthday greetings would give encouragement to
Shahrul Izani and his family and show them that he was not forgotten and there
were still those who would continue to stand with him.

"On another level, AI Malaysia also hopes that this campaign will drive home
the point that the death penalty solves no crime, nor will it deter drugs from
entering the market or prevent other crimes from happening."

Those wanting to participate in the campaign may purchase a birthday card and
write a message for Shahrul Izani.

Completed birthday cards should be posted to AI Malaysia at D-2-33A, 8 Avenue,
Jalan Sungai Jernih 8/1, Section 8, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia,
which will act as a collection centre.

E-cards with a message to Shahrul Izani should be sent to
***@aimalaysia.org.

Additionally, AI Malaysia is also encouraging people to download a photo tag of
a specialised birthday greeting to Shahrul Izani from aimalaysia.org.

Once this photo tag is downloaded, the public will be encouraged to take a
selfie or a wefie with the photo tag and post it on any or all of the social
media platforms with the hashtag #ShahrulIzani.

There is also an online petition that Malaysians can sign to urge the Selangor
Clemency Board to commute Shahrul Izani's death sentence to life imprisonment
as he could be executed at any time.

(source: Free Malaysia Today)






INDONESIA:

Rock band urges House to create pro-death-penalty-law for corruptors


Legendary Indonesian rock band Slank has called on the House of Representatives
to create a law that imposes the death penalty on people who have committed
corruption.

During their short musical performance at the Corruption Eradication Commission
(KPK) headquarters, on Monday, lead vocalist Akhadi Wira Satriaji, who is
popularly known as Kaka, and drummer Bimbim voiced their support for the
antigraft body to the audience.

"Instead of proposing amendments to the 2002 KPK Law, it's better for House
members to produce a law that stipulates a death penalty for corrupt
officials," said Bimbim. He made the statement before the veteran rock band
performed one of its popular songs, entitled "Koruptor Dor".

Earlier, Kaka said Slank's performance at the KPK headquarters was done in
support of the antigraft body. "We are performing today to assert that Slank is
anticorruption and supports the KPK," said the band's vocalist before he sang a
song entitled "Seperti Para Koruptor", the 1st of 5 songs the band played. The
3 others songs were "Halal", "Hey Bung", a song that captures Indonesia's
situation during the authoritarian New Order era, and "Ku Tak Bisa". Before the
band's musical performance, a representative of the KPK employees association
(WP KPK), who identified himself only as Faisal, conveyed all KPK employees'
rejection of the planned amendments of the KPK law.

The WP KPK urged President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to withdraw the draft KPK Law
revisions already submitted by the government to the House, Faisal read from an
association statement. It also urged the House to stop the discussion on the
revisions. In the statement, the WP KPK voiced its support for the KPK leaders
who had strongly rejected the plan. The House started discussions over the
revisions earlier this month despite a public outcry. Many parties have feared
that such a move will weaken the KPK, an antigraft institution that has largely
won the public trust. The revisions of the KPK Law are listed as one of the
priority bills in the 2016 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas).

The House has 40 priority bills on the Prolegnas 2016, which must be finished
this year. Several lawmakers, many of them from the Indonesian Democratic Party
of Struggle (PDI-P), Jokowi's supporting party, which is also the main driver
of the revisions, have denied suspicions that they intend to weaken the KPK.
The proposed KPK Law revisions consists of 4 amendment points that have been
strongly criticized by the public.

The 4 amendments would mandate the establishment of an oversight council to
monitor the antigraft body's performance, give the KPK the authority to issue
investigation termination warrants in corruption cases, require the KPK to
obtain permits to conduct wiretaps and remove the KPK's ability to recruit its
own investigators.

(source: The Jakarta Post)


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Rick Halperin
2016-02-23 15:38:30 UTC
Permalink
Feb. 23



GLOBAL:

The death penalty saves lives - the pope is wrong to call for a ban


The pope wants a worldwide ban on the death penalty and it is not hard to think
of countries where the range of offences that attract it is frighteningly
large. The frequency of its application is just as worrying but to state that
it can never be justified is wrong.

I have never defended the use or availability of capital punishment on the
grounds of retribution and would echo his holiness's own phraseology in saying
that no matter how serious the crime, it is wrong if its purpose is merely an
eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Using it as a deterrent is, however, a
very different matter for it saves innocent lives.

Pope Francis claims that the death penalty is "an offence against the
inviolability of life and the dignity of the person" but what about the life
and dignity of a victim who would not be a victim if the death penalty were in
force? For if capital punishment deters - and I will shortly be looking at the
evidence for the assertion that it does - then effectively there is a choice of
lives to be made: those of the guilty or those of the innocent. We cannot
pretend that choice is not there.

The state's duty in these circumstances is an extension of the individual's
right to self-defence. If we believe our lives or those of others are at
genuine risk then we can use whatever force is necessary to mount a credible
defence including, in extremis, killing.

Thus, if the state has reason to believe that its citizens' lives are
threatened it must defend them. To ignore the deterrent effect is to condemn
innocent people to death and a state that does that is morally responsible for
those deaths. Is that really what the pope is advocating?

Therefore the crux of the argument is: is it really a deterrent? In the 5 years
immediately following the abolition of the death penalty in Britain the
government still collected statistics based on the distinction between capital
and non-capital murder precisely in order to assess the effect of abolition and
the effect was startling. The capital murder rate had risen almost 125%. It is
worth pausing just to absorb that. There was also a substantial rise in the
number of times firearms were taken on robberies.

On the strength of those figures it is possible to make a compelling moral case
for the availability of a death penalty. Capital punishment can be rarely used
and still be a deterrent as long as it is available and used occasionally. This
argument, however, applies to Britain where the categories of murder attracting
the death penalty were latterly narrowly defined and intended to reflect
premeditation. No penalty can deter spontaneous anger or jealousy or judgment
impaired by drink or drugs. Whether or not the penalty is actually a deterrent
will vary from country to country.

Pope Francis contends there are no circumstances that ever justify the death
penalty. They clearly sometimes do.

Of course there are other arguments against the death penalty, not least that
of the fallibility of human justice and the irreversibility of the penalty
where justice has failed, but his holiness was not making a practical case
against judicial execution: he was relying on principle and asserting the
principle to be unchallengeable. It is not.

(source: Opinion, Ann Widdecombe; The Guardian)






MALAYSIA:

6 in Lahad Datu intrusion case plead guilty


6 accused in the Lahad Datu intrusion case pleaded guilty at the High Court in
Kota Kinabalu today to a charge of being a member of a terrorist group.

They are Philippine nationals Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, 45; Lin Mad Salleh, 50;
Holland Kalbi, 50; Basad H Manuel, 41; Ismail Yasin, 76; and Virgilio Nemar
Patulada alias Mohammad Alam Patulada, 52.

The charge under Section 130KA of the Penal Code provides for life imprisonment
and a fine.

However, justice Stephen Chung reserved sentencing as 4 of the accused - Atik
Hussin, Manuel, Ismail and Patulada would be entering their defence for a
charge of waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which carries the death
penalty.

During mitigation, their counsel N Sivananthan said that some of his clients
were duped by the leader of the armed intruders into coming to Kampung Tanduo
in Lahad Datu three years ago.

Mitigating for Atik Hussin, Lin and Holland, Sivananthan said they were
promised a job in the state and even a Malaysian identity card.

"The moment they realised what the group was really up to at Kampung Tanduo,
they attempted to run away.

"The reason they are entering a guilty plea now after the prosecution trial is
because they had accepted the fact that they had come to Sabah with the
(terrorist) group," he said.

Sivananthan said Manuel was promised an office job in Sabah, but was tasked to
collecting water and preparing meals for other members of the group who had
intruded into Kampung Tanduo.

The counsel also said that Manuel had stated that whenever he went to collect
water from a well in the village, he was constantly guarded by men with
firearms to ensure that he did not try to escape.

Sivananthan said Ismail and Patulada did not expect the armed group to get
involved in a skirmish that eventually claimed the lives of many, including 9
security personnel.

He said Ismail escaped from Kampung Tanduo after hearing gunfire and paddled a
boat towards the Malaysian-Philippine border, while Patulada stated that he was
shot at by the other intruders.

"They all have families and are sole breadwinners and came to Sabah with the
hope of making better lives for themselves and their families because it does
not make sense that they leave their families to come here to be in a war where
they can lose their lives and deprive their families of their sole
breadwinners. 'Kiram played a cruel trick on them'

"Datu Agbimuddin Kiram (leader of the intruders) played a cruel trick on these
unsuspecting individuals (accused) by enticing them to Sabah," he said.

Deputy public prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar said mitigation would not deter
the sentence to be meted out due to the fact that the sentence had to be based
on public interest.

"We argue that the armed intrusion led by Datu Agbimuddin is an encroachment
and a direct challenge to the sovereignty and security of Malaysia ... a
lenient sentence would undermine and compromise the sovereignty of Malaysia as
an independent nation," he said.

Mohd Dusuki said the court should also take into account that the skirmishes
that happened had resulted in the deaths of 9 members of the security forces,
who were brutally attacked and killed, while some were badly injured.

"An act of terrorism is a transnational phenomenon with global effects and has
become a challenge to the community of civilised nations.

"This is the 1st case where Malaysia, as an independent nation, had been
intruded by foreigners involved in terrorism and, on that basis, this
honourable court should impose a maximum sentence as it will set a benchmark of
precedence on all subsequent cases, if any," he said.

Mohd Dusuki also observed that in any mitigation, the matter of family hardship
and other usual problems of living would be raised and he suggested that the
correct approach in meting out a sentence was to strike a balance between the
interest of the public and that of the accused.

5 accused, including 3 local men, are expected to enter a guilty plea tomorrow.

A Filipino and a Malaysian are charged with being members of a terrorist group.
Another Filipino and a Malaysian face life imprisonment or imprisonment not
exceeding 30 years or a fine on an amended charge of soliciting or giving
support to a terrorist group.

Another Malaysian faces imprisonment of up to 30 years and a fine on an amended
charge of soliciting a terrorist group by providing financial aid.

Yesterday, 10 of 16 Filipino accused wanted to plead guilty on charges that do
not carry the capital punishment (death), but 2, who are charged with being
members of a terrorist group, changed their minds today and will enter their
defence.

The defence trial, which was fixed for 3 weeks beginning yesterday (Feb 22) at
the Sabah Prisons Department, will proceed after the guilty plea and mitigation
of all 8 Filipinos and 3 Malaysians have been recorded.

(source: malaysiakini.com)






PAKISTAN:

Fundamental rights: Justice system 'punishes only the unprivileged'


The state has embarked upon executing hordes of prisoners, speakers at a panel
discussion said on Monday. The discussion was titled Terror on Death Row.

Justice Project Pakistan had arranged the session in collaboration with the
Forman Journalism Society at the Forman Christian College University (FCCU).

Analyst Ejaz Haider and JPP executive director Sarah Belal were the panellists.
The session was moderated by Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS)
Assistant Professor Uzair Kayani.

The panellists said that following the December 2014 attack on Army Public
School (APS) in Peshawar, the government had vowed to crack down on terrorism
through a number of controversial measures. These were opposed in parliament
and by some members of civil society.

They said that rather than chal