death penalty news----worldwide
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Rick Halperin
2017-03-19 22:37:57 UTC
March 19


2 given death penalty for Gaza drug smuggling

A Hamas military court on Sunday sentenced 2 Palestinians to death for drug
smuggling in the Gaza Strip, in the 1st punishment of its kind in the enclave.

"The Gaza military court announced the death penalty for 2 civilians from
Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, for selling narcotics," the Hamas-controlled
interior ministry said in a statement.

It said a 3rd suspect was sentenced to hard labor.

Authorities have seized drugs with a street value of around $1 million (900,000
euros) over the past few months, the ministry said.

They seized 1,250 packets of cannabis and 400 pills of Tramadol -- a powerful
opiate-based painkiller -- in January alone, it said.

Until Sunday, only people guilty of spying for Israel or murder had received
the death penalty in Gaza, controlled by Islamist Hamas since 2007.

All Palestinian death sentences in theory have to be approved by president
Mahmoud Abbas, but Hamas has long refused to accept his legitimacy.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights says around a dozen death sentences
have been passed down in Gaza since the start of 2017.

(source: The Daily Star)


Mufti Hannan's death penalty upheld

The appellate division of the Supreme Court on Sunday upheld the death penalty
of 3 men of banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al Islami (HuJi), including
its chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, in a case filed for the grenade attack on the
then UK envoy in Bangladesh Anwar Choudhury in 2004.

A 3-member bench of the Appellate Division led by chief justice Surendra Kumar
Sinha passed the order after dismissing the review appeal of the HuJi chief.

On 7 December last, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty of the 3 HuJi

On 11 February last year, a High Court bench, comprising justice M Enayetur
Rahim and justice Amir Hossain, delivered the verdict upholding the death
sentence of 3 of the accused - Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam and
Delwar Hossain - and life-term imprisonment of 2 others - Mufti Hannan's
brother Mohibullah and Mufti Moinuddin - handed down by the lower court.

Anwar Choudhury and 51 others were injured while 3, including 2 police
officials, were killed in a grenade attack at Hazrat Shahjalal (RA) shrine in
Sylhet on 21 May 2004.

Later, 2 cases - 1 for murder and another under the Explosive Act - were filed
in connection with the grenade attack.

After investigation into the case, charges were framed against four people,
including Mufti Hannan, on 31 July 2007.

The Divisional Speedy Trial Tribunal of Sylhet on 23 December 2008, awarded
death sentence to Huji leaders Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar
Hossain Ripon while Mufti Muhibur Rahman (Hannan's brother) and Mufti Mainuddin
were awarded life term, and fined Tk 10,000 each in the murder case.

(source: prothom-alo.com)


3 Prisoners Hanged

Iranian authorities have hanged a prisoner at Dizel Abad, Kermanshah's central
prison, and 2 prisoners at Choubindar, Qazvin's central prison.

According to close sources, a prisoner was hanged at Kermanshah's central
prison on the morning of Monday March 13. The prisoner has been identified as
Mohammad Reza Samadi Nasb, sentenced to death on drug related charges.

"Mohammad Reza was arrested in 2013 on the charge of trafficking 2 kilograms of
crystal meth, but he always insisted on his innocence and claimed the charges
against him were false," a source close to Mr. Samadi Nasb's cas file tells
Iran Human Rights.

According to a report by the state-run news agency, Rokna, 2 prisoners were
hanged at Qazvin's central prison on the morning of Tuesday March 14. The
report identifies the prisoners as: Reza, 31 years of age, charged with
possession of 400 grams of heroin and 890 grams of crystal meth; and Mehdi,
charged with murder of a relative.

(source: Iran Human Rights)


Marjan Davari's mother speaks out against the death penalty

In an interview on March 17, 2017, the mother of Marjan Davari called for
abolition of her daughter's death sentence.

Ms. Davari's mother said, "Marjan did not deserve the death penalty. I don't
know what happened in the middle of the way that the page turned ... As a
mother I am burning. I hope that not only my own daughter but other youths
would not go on the stool."

Marjan Davari, 50, a researcher and translator, was arrested on September 24,
2015, when the Path of Knowledge Institute was shut down and its instructors
arrested. She received a death sentence on March 12, 2017.

(source: NCR-Iran)


CBCP to lawmakers: Christ was never for 'legal killing'

As the Senate considers the revival of capital punishment, leaders of the
Philippines' Catholic Church on Sunday urged legislators not to use the Bible
to defend the death penalty, which they say runs against the teachings of Jesus

In a pastoral letter read out at Mass services across the country, the Catholic
Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said lawmakers must "interpret
the Scriptures properly" and take note that Jesus "was never an advocate of any
form of 'legal killing.'"

"To the people who use the Bible to defend death penalty, need we point out how
many other crimes against humanity have been justified, using the same Bible?
We humbly enjoin them to interpret the Scriptures properly, to read them as a
progressive revelation of God's will to humankind, with its ultimate
fulfillment in Jesus Christ, God's definitive Word to the world," the letter

"Jesus was never an advocate of any form of "legal killing". He defended the
adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood and challenged those who
were without sin among them to be the first to cast a stone on her."

Christ, the CBCP said, pushed for "justice founded on mercy" in lieu of a
system of retribution exemplified by the principle of "an eye for an eye, a
tooth for a tooth."

Senator Manny Pacquiao, a champion boxer and born-again pastor, has repeatedly
used the Bible to defend the return of the death penalty. He said in January
that that while the 10 Commandments prohibit killings, God approves of capital
punishment to pursue justice and that even Christ was sentenced to death.

Capital punishment inched closer to reinstatement earlier this month after it
was approved by the House of Representatives on 2nd reading on Ash Wednesday,
March 1, as well as on final reading last March 7.

CBCP said it was ironic that majority of congressmen during the 2nd reading
voted in favor of death penalty while their foreheads were marked with crosses
made of ashes, a symbol of God's forgiveness.

"Could they have forgotten what that cross meant? Could they have missed out
the contradiction between their vote and the crosses on their foreheads, which
were supposed to serve as a loud statement of faith in the God who, for love of
us, chose to give up his life for our salvation, rather than see us perish?"
the Church leaders asked.

The bishops said capital punishment has often been used by repressive
governments as "a way of stifling dissent, or of eliminating those whom they
regarded as threats to their hold on political power."

"Think, for instance why Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded, or why
Pilate had Jesus crucified. Think of the thousands of Christian martyrs who
were put to death for sheer hatred for the faith," they said.

They added that capital punishment was never proven as an effective deterrent
to crime and will likely target only the poor who cannot afford good lawyers
and a guarantee of due process.

The CBCP ended its pastoral letter with an appeal for the public to pray for
the enlightenment of the Senate ahead of its death penalty deliberations.

"Let us pray fervently for the legislators of our country as they prepare to
vote on death penalty in the Philippine Senate. Let us offer all our Masses for
them, asking our Crucified Lord who offered his whole life, body and blood, for
the salvation of sinners, to touch their consciences and lead them to abolish
capital punishment once and for all," CBCP said.

(source: abs-cbn.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-03-20 13:13:21 UTC
March 20


Erdogan vows to reinstate death penalty as referendum opponents face 'attacks
and imprisonment----In the build up to the referendum, the Turkish President
promised he will introduce the death penalty in a campaign that has caused a
diplomatic furore

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Saturday that he will reinstate
capital punishment "without hesitation", ahead of the referendum on 16 April
that could lead to a radical extension of his powers.

Speaking at a televised rally in Canakkale, the leader of the Justice and
Development Party (AKP) promised that he would sign a bill on the death
penalty, stating: "I believe, God willing, that after the 16 April vote,
parliament will do the necessary concerning your demands for capital

His controversial comments come over a decade after Turkey completely abolished
the death penalty in its efforts to join the European Union.

This isn't the first time the premier has introduced talks about reinstating
capital punishment. He raised the idea after last year's failed coup of 15
July, suggesting it would bring justice to the families of the victims.

As the referendum approaches, Erdogan has been leading an inflammatory,
anti-western campaign that saw him pushing a political narrative that depicts
Turkey as a great nation that is being undermined by an imperialist Europe.

He attacked German chancellor Angela Merkel again on Sunday, accusing her of
using "Nazi measures", according to Agence France-Presse. In a televised
speech, he said: "You are right now employing Nazi measures," using the
informal 'you' in Turkish in what has become an intense diplomatic dispute. He
previously launched a scathing attack on Germany for stopping rallies in
advance of the constitutional referendum, in which he repeatedly referred to
Germans as 'Nazis'.

He erroneously labelled the Dutch as "Nazi remnants" in a desperate bid to
appeal to voters in the Turkish diaspora. The Netherlands is home to
approximately 397,471 people of Turkish origin, who make up 2.4 % of the total
population. Most of them hold dual nationality and are therefore eligible to
vote in the Turkish referendum.

A 'yes' in the referendum would rewrite the constitution and transform Turkey
from a parliamentary system to an executive presidency, giving Erdogan
unprecedented control to appoint ministers, pick senior judges, and dismiss
parliament. Erdogan's campaign has understandably been met with criticism, with
Turkey's main opposition leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, urging Turks to vote no in
the referendum, saying its approval would undermine democracy.

European institutions have also expressed concerns over the campaign. A Council
of Europe inquiry noted there is an "excessive concentration of powers in one

According to the Associated Press, figures opposing the referendum in Turkey
have faced threats, violence, arbitrary detentions, a lack of TV airtime and
even sabotage in the campaign.

The AKP leader's shift towards an autocratic government has led to accusations
of being 'dictatorial' by critics.

Erdogan came under fire in January after using Hitler's government as an
example of an effective presidential system. He defended his argument that
putting all political power in the hands of the presidency would be a success,
by saying "there are already examples in the world [...] you can see it when
you look at Hitler's Germany. There are later examples in various other

The rocky campaign and talks of introducing a death penalty will undoubtedly
cause long-term damage for ties between Turkey and European countries, and
could end Ankara's efforts to join the EU.

(source: independent.co.uk)


Juncker warns Turkey death penalty is 'red line' issue

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker has warned Turkey that any return
of the death penalty would be a "red line" in the country's stalled EU
membership bid.

"If the death penalty is reintroduced in Turkey, that would lead to the end of
negotiations," he told Sunday's edition of Germany's Bild newspaper, calling it
a "red line".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday he expected parliament to
approve the restoration of capital punishment after next month's referendum on
controversial consitutional changes to expand his powers.

Mr Juncker nevertheless said he was opposed to a complete halt to all
membership negotiations with Turkey.

"It makes no sense to try to calm (Erdogan's) nerves by stopping negotiations
that are not even taking place."

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel went even further, saying in an
interview with Der Spiegel: "We are farther away than ever from Turkey's
accession to the EU."

Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 and the European Union has
repeatedly made clear that any move to restore it would scupper its membership

However Turkish ministers say they need to respond to popular demand for the
return of capital punishment to deal with the ringleaders of an attempted coup
in July.

"What Hans and George say is not important for me," Mr Erdogan said.

What the people say, what the law says, that's what is important for us."

Turkey and Europe are locked in a diplomatic crisis after Germany and the
Netherlands blocked Turkish ministers from campaigning for a 'yes' vote in the
16 April referendum, which opponents fear will create 1-man rule.

In response, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu threatened to "blow the
mind" of Europe by sending 15,000 refugees a month to EU territory, which would
endanger a year-old migrant deal between Turkey and the EU to reduce the flow
of migrants.

"Turkey will not back out of the accord, even if Erdogan has told me several
times he wanted to," Mr Juncker said.

Turkey has no interest in ceding "control" of its borders to "human traffickers
and criminals".

(source: rte.ie)


2 Prisoners in Imminent Danger of Execution

2 prisoners at Shiraz's Adel Abad Prison who are on death row on drug related
charges were reportedly transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for
their executions.

According to close sources, the prisoners are: Cyrus Abedi, 36 years of age,
and Farajbakhsh Amrollahi.

"Cyrus and Faraj were both arrested in 2012 on the charge of possession of 2
kilograms of crystal meth and a small amount of opium. They were sentenced to
death by Shiraz's revolutionary court in the same case file," a confirmed
source tells Iran Human Rights.

(source: iranhr.net)


4 convicts awarded death penalty

A local court awarded capital punishment to 4 murder convicts while 2 of their
co-accused were sentenced to life imprisonment here the other day.

According to the prosecution, the accused - Gul Muhammad, Akram, Qalab Ali,
Shehbaz shot dead four persons - Nawaz, Aslam, Siddiq and Lal Din in 2013 over
enmity when they were on the way to appear in the court.

In light of the evidence, District and Sessions Judge Rai Nazir Ahmed awarded
death penalty to the accused. 3 of the murderers were fined.

(source: nation.com.pk)


Calcutta HC Acquits Death Row Convict

The Calcutta High Court has acquitted a man who was sentenced to death penalty
by the trial court finding him guilty of conspiring murder of his wife and maid

The prosecution had accused Avik Ghosh of conspiring with other accused to
commit dacoity in his own home and also of conspiring and abetting murder of
his own wife and maid servant. The trial court acquitted three accused, but
convicted Avik Ghosh and Somnath Tanti. The former was sentenced to death and
the latter to life imprisonment.

A bench comprising Justice Ashim Kumar Roy and Justice Malay Marut Banerjee, on
his appeal, observed that Avik Ghosh was convicted under Sections 302/109 IPC,
but none of the co-accused, whom he allegedly abetted to commit murder, were
found to be guilty for committing such murder.

Similarly, not only total 4 persons were charged, but at the conclusion of the
trial all the 3 other accused were acquitted, except Somnath Tanti, and
therefore, his conviction under Section 396 IPC cannot be sustained.

Answering the death reference in negative while allowing the appeals, the court
also observed that the trial judge also relied on the alleged confessional
statement of the convict Somnath Tanti allegedly made while in police custody,
although the same is inadmissible in evidence according to the provisions of
Section 25 of the Evidence Act.

(source: livelaw.in)


Kushtia court awards death penalty to man for 2013 murder of college girl

A court in Kushtia has found a 30-year-old man guilty of murdering his wife 4
years ago.

In February 2013, Snigdha Akter Rimi, who went to the Kushtia Government
College, was strangled to death at the district's Mirpur Upazila.

On Monday, the court of Kushtia's Chief Judicial Magistrate ordered death
sentence for the husband Shihab Uddin Shishir, who has been absconding after
securing bail.

According to court documents, Sishir and 2nd-year History student Rimi got
married in 2011 without informing their families following a relationship.

Prosecutor Anup Kumar Nandi said that Shishir strangled Rimi to death on Feb
13, 2013 at a relative's house in Kushtia's Mirpur Upazila.

Shishir was arrested a month later from Tangail and confessed before a judge.

He later secured bail and has been absconding since then, said Prosecutor

(source: bdnews24.com)


Senator Ejercito admits death penalty bill passage will not be easy

After its passage at the Lower House of Congress, the Death Penalty
Reimposition Bill will be discussed next at the Senate.

Senator JV Ejercito has admitted that the passage of the bill will not be easy.

The senator said the bill is not as popular at the Senate as it is at the Lower
House because there are several senators who have expressed opposition.

"The Liberal Party, the minority, will be against it. Most of the lady senators
are against it. That';s quite a big number. But now, perhaps the anti is
slightly leading," said Senator Ejercito.

Ejercito is one of those in favor of the reimposition of the death penalty on
high-level drug trafficking.

The senator is convinced that death penalty is needed to fight illegal drugs
that have long been a problem in the country.

"Among the ASEAN countries its only the Philippines which repealed death
penalty and probably this is the very reason why the Philippines became the hub
of international drug trade in Asia, kasi tayo na lang ang walang death penalty
(because we're the only one without death penalty)," Senator JV Ejercito added.

Senator Manny Pacquiao supports the Death Penalty Reimposition Bill.

Meanwhile, Senator Ejercito believes there must be assessment whether rape and
plunder will be among the cases punishable by death penalty.

(source: Yahoo News)


Duterte tells EU Parliament, 'Mind your own business'----'Why don't you mind
your own business? Why do you have to fuck with us, goddamn it,' says the
Philippine President

President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out against the European Parliament for
demanding that the Philippines stop efforts in Congress to reinstate the death

"Do not impose your culture or your belief in what would be a government in
this planet," said Duterte on Sunday, March 19, during a gathering of Filipinos
residing in Myanmar.

He spoke in English in the middle of a mostly Filipino speech to make himself
clear to Europeans.

Unable to contain his frustration, the President cursed at the body of European
lawmakers for their resolution.

"These fools, I really don't - why are you trying to impose on us? Why don't
you mind your own business? Why do you have to fuck with us, goddamn it," said

He took issue with how the Europeans did not seem to respect how Asian
countries continue to impose the death penalty. He said the death penalty used
to be a "favorite" form of punishment among Southeast Asian countries.

"Do not impose on other countries, especially us. This, before, was the
favorite of ASEAN countries because there's a death penalty in Indonesia,
Malaysia and I'm trying to revive it," he said.

Other Southeast Asian countries like Singapore and Brunei impose the death

Duterte pointed out that some European countries also impose capital
punishment. Actually, all European countries save for Belarus have abolished
the death penalty.

"As if the other countries of EU there's no more death penalty. There are still
a lot," said Duterte.

The Philippine House of Representatives approved its version of the death
penalty bill last March 7. It allows execution of drug convicts through
hanging, firing squad, or lethal injection.

The counterpart bill still has to go through another 3 readings in the Senate.

Duterte made no mention of the European Parliament's call for the immediate
release of detained Senator Leila de Lima, one of his fiercest critics. But the
Palace and his allies in Congress have condemned it as a form of interference.

(source: rappler.com)


Philippine bishops urge flock to fight the death penalty----In a special
prayer, Catholic bishops have urged Filipinos to "make a stand" against
restoring the death penalty. The bill, pushed by President Duterte, has already
passed the lower house of the Philippine parliament.

The clerics read out the homily at all masses across the Philippines on Sunday.

"Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, let us not allow our wells to be poisoned
by bitter water. Let us uphold the sanctity of life and make a stand against
death penalty," the Catholic bishops said in a pre-written prayer.

The Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006. However, firebrand
President Rodrigo Duterte launched a bid to restore it as part of his brutal
crackdown on crime. Lawmakers already backed the bill in the country's House of
Representatives and it is expected to pass the Senate as well.

Despite the death penalty being illegal, Duterte has repeatedly supported
extrajudicial killings and police have reportedly executed thousands of
suspects since he took office in June.

Jesus was not 'an advocate' of killing

On Sunday, the bishops said that the death penalty would be biased against the
poor, who would not be able to afford a good lawyer, and argued there was no
evidence that it deterred crime.

Referring to the upcoming Senate vote, they called on worshipers to "pray
fervently for the legislators."

"Jesus was never an advocate of any form of 'legal killing.' He defended the
adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood," they said, citing the
New Testament story about Jesus opposing a stoning.

Around 80 percent of all Filipinos are Catholic, and the Church wields a
significant influence in the country. At the same time, Duterte and his crusade
against drugs are also immensely popular. When confronted by the Catholic
Church earlier this year, Duterte accused it of greed, hypocrisy, and sexual
abuse of children.

The pro-death penalty camp hopes to reinstate capital punishment by May this

(source: Deutsche Welle)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-03-21 13:13:10 UTC
March 21


Don't misuse Bible to push death penalty, Philippines bishops say

Remember what Jesus' cross stands for, and don't misuse the Bible to justify
the death penalty, the Philippines' Catholic bishops have said.

"To the people who use the Bible to defend the death penalty, need we point out
how many other crimes against humanity have been justified, using the same
Bible?" the country's bishops asked.

"We humbly enjoin them to interpret the Scriptures properly, to read them as a
progressive revelation of God's will to humankind, with its ultimate
fulfillment in Jesus Christ, God's definitive Word to the world."

Their words came in a March 19 pastoral statement on the death penalty signed
by Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen Dagupan, president of the
Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines. The statement was read at all
Masses in the country on Sunday.

Jesus came not to abolish the law, but fulfill it, the bishops explained:
"Jesus was never an advocate of any form of 'legal killing'. He defended the
adulterous woman against those who demanded her blood and challenged those who
were without sin among them to be the first to cast a stone on her."

The letter opened with a quotation from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans: "God
proved his love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

The death penalty was abolished in the Philippines in 2006. At present
President Rodrigo Duterte, who is also leading a brutal crackdown on drugs, has
advocated its restoration.

In their letter, the Catholic bishops recounted the passage of a House of
Representatives bill that would restore the death penalty.

"It was Ash Wednesday when members of the lower House, on the 2nd reading of
the death penalty bill, outvoted by voice-voting the nays with their ayes.
Ironically, they were captured on television shouting in favor of death with
their foreheads marked with crosses made of ashes," the bishops said.

"Could they have forgotten what that cross meant?"

They questioned whether the legislators had missed that the crosses on their
foreheads "were supposed to serve as a loud statement of faith in the God who,
for love of us, chose to give up his life for our salvation, rather than see us

According to the bishops, the saying of the Bible, "an eye for an eye, a tooth
for a tooth" was challenged by Jesus, who advocated non-retaliation of evil for
evil and justice founded on mercy.

"Even with the best of intentions, capital punishment has never been proven
effective as a deterrent to crime," they continued. "Obviously it is easier to
eliminate criminals than to get rid of the root causes of criminality in
society. Capital punishment and a flawed legal system are always a lethal mix."

The statement also spoke about the victims.

"We are not deaf to the cries of the victims of heinous crimes. The victims and
their victimizers are both our brothers and sisters. The victim and the
opressor are both children of God," they said.

They said the guilty should repent and make reparation for their sins. The
bishops offered love, compassion and hope to crime victims.

The death penalty will be applied more to the poor, who cannot afford adequate
legal defenses, the bishops said.

"As a law, death penalty directly contradicts the principle of inalienability
of the basic human right to life, which is enshrined in most constitutions of
countries that signed the universal declaration of human rights," they said.

The Philippines bishops called for prayers for the country's legislators.

"Let us offer all our Masses for them, asking our Crucified Lord who offered
his whole life, body and blood, for the salvation of sinners, to touch their
consciences and lead them to abolish capital punishment once and for all," they

(source: patheos.com)


Trinidad PM vows to bring back hangings after missing policewoman becomes
latest murder victim

Following the discovery of the decomposing body of a 22-year-old policewoman
who went missing last week, law enforcement officials have vowed to bring the
killer to swift justice and Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has made it clear
his government will be taking whatever steps are necessary to resume hangings.

Joseph's body was found by a fisherman in the Gulf of Paria near Port of Spain
on Wednesday, 6 days after she disappeared.

It had been disposed of in a crocus bag, but it became snagged in the
fisherman's net and he brought it to the surface. He will receive a $25,000
reward that had been offered by Crime Stoppers for information about Joseph's

At least 3 people, including a woman who is said to have had an argument with
Police Constable Joseph days before she disappeared, have been detained by
police in connection with the murder.

1 of the men is the 36-year-old father of the female suspect's child. He was
reportedly romantically linked to the woman, Joseph, and 3 other women. The 2nd
man, 24, surrendered to police hours after Joseph's body was found. He is being
questioned in connection with transporting the body out to sea.

The cause of Joseph's death has not been ascertained. An autopsy was
inconclusive due to the state of decomposition, police said.

But Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams described the murder as
"barbaric and vicious."

He stressed that those responsible would be brought to justice in the shortest
possible time.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said he was pained by the tragedy and, noting
that the country was traumatized by the spate of murders, said his government
would seek to revive the death penalty.

"I am a firm believer in capital punishment and it is not as a result of any
deterrent, it is the punishment for the crime," he said.

The last execution in Trinidad and Tobago was on July 28, 1999 when Anthony
Briggs was hanged for murdering taxi driver Siewdath Ramkissoon during a
robbery 7 years earlier.

Joseph's mother Paula Guy has a broken heart, but she has decided to surrender
the pain of losing her daughter to God. That is the only way she will cope with
unanswered questions about the killing.

She admitted that she first thought of committing murder herself, as she wanted
to take the life of the person(s) who left an irreplaceable void in her family.

"I wanted to kill him, break he neck, shoot him, all kinda thing I wanted to
do. But as the days go by and I find my child body, I kinda let it go," she
told the Trinidad Guardian newspaper.

"I had a lot of hate....You can't be blessed if you have people in your heart.
I forgive him because I know what coming for him. God will deal with him or

(source: Curacao Chronicle)


Court hands death penalty to man

A court awarded death sentence to an accused for his involvement in a murder
case in Faisalabad on Monday.

The judgment was announced by Additional District and Sessions Judge Rana
Shaukat Ali.

The prosecution told the court that accused Sajid and his accomplices Manzoor,
Abid and Mubashir had gunned down a man Arshad over an old enmity a few years

The local police registered a case against the accused and presented the
challan before the court. After hearing the arguments, the judge handed down
death sentence to Sajid along with a fine of Rs0.4 million as compensation
money. However, the court acquitted Manzoor, Abid and Mubashir over lack of
evidence. The accused was sent to District Jail Faisalabad.

Earlier on February 25, 2017, a court awarded death sentence to an accused for
his involvement in a murder case in Sargodha. The judgment was announced by
Additional District and Sessions Judge Chaudhary Muhammad Tariq.

Accused Hassan Sher, resident of Jabbi village, Tehsil Johrabad, had gunned
down a man Munawwar Shahzad over a petty dispute in July 2015.

The local police registered a case against the accused and presented the
challan before the court.

(source: tribune.com.pk)


Kerala court gives death penalty to UP labourer in Parampuzha triple murder

A Kerala Principal District and Sessions Court on Tuesday sentenced to death
Narendra Kumar, the migrant labourer from Uttar Pradesh prime accused in the
Parampuzha triple murder case, where 3 members of a family were murdered on May
16, 2015 at Parampuzha, Kottayam . This is the 2nd death sentence announced in
Kerala after Nino, the prime accused in the Attingal double murder on April 19,

District judge S Santhakumari termed Narendra Kumar's sentence as a warning to
the migrant labour community involved in crimes.

According to prosecution,Firozabad native Narendra Kumar (26) murdered Lalson,
71 of Moolaparambil house, his wife Presanna Kumari, 62 and their elder son
Praveen Lal, 28. Narendra Kumar killed the victims, by hacking and hitting
their heads with a blunt object, before electrocuting them and pouring acid on
their faces.

Narendra Kumar, who was in a debt of Rs 2 lakh and was employed at the victims'
laundry shop committed the crime for money. The accused, who escaped to UP with
money and gold ornaments, was later arrested by a police team led by Pampady
Circle Inspector Saju Varghese.

The investigation team produced strong material evidence, including clothes
worn by Narendra Kumar while committing the crime, his mobile phone, forensic
reports of Kumar's samples recovered from murder spot in court. Police also
recovered Presanna Kumari's ear at Narendra Kumar's house.

The prosecution had tried 72 witnesses, produced 60 documents and 42 items of
material evidence in the case.

The Attingal double murder in April 2016 was the 1st case in Kerala where the
accused, Nino, was awarded the death penalty. Nino and co-accused Anushanthi,
both colleagues at an IT company in Attingal, Thiruvananthapuram were convicted
of murdering Anushanthi's daughter Swasthika (4), and her mother-in-law Omana
(60). The duo, who were having an illicit affair had also planned to murder
Anushanthi's husband Lijeesh, who escaped and helped in Nino's arrest.

While both pled innocence, they were convicted and found guilty of plotting and
executing the murders. While Nino was awarded capital punishment, Anushanthi
was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2016.

(source: newindianexpress.com)


Policeman Who Killed Fellow Officer Sentenced to Death----After dispute over
illegal gambling operation turned deadly, court in Inner Mongolia rules capital
punishment for man who shot his brother-in-arms.

A police officer in northern China will have to pay for murdering a deputy
station chief with his life, a court in northern China has ruled.

The officer, Du Wenjie, killed Bao Zhanquan on July 10, 2016, in front of the
station where Bao worked. On March 16, 2017, the intermediate people's court of
Tongliao, a city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, gave Du the death
sentence, a local media outlet reported Friday.

The motive for the murder appears to be gambling-related. Along with a few
flagitious friends, Du opened an illegal gambling den in Tongliao on June 18,
2016. The game room did well, with its 29 gambling machines generating over
400,000 yuan ($58,000) in profits in just the first 3 weeks. However, its
success was short-lived: Local police raided and shut down the operation on
July 10. That same evening, Du went to a police station in Horqin District to
persuade the deputy director, Bao, to reconsider the gambling crackdown. When
Bao refused, Du shot him twice in the head in front of the station. Within 10
minutes, Bao was dead.

Despite fleeing the scene in a police car and changing cabs several times to
throw off the scent, Du was apprehended in a residential district at 7 a.m. the
next morning.

According to the report, regulars at the gaming room confirmed that the place
was owned by 5 people, including Du. The crooked cop, however, had not put up
his stake, apparently believing his connections to local law enforcement were a
sufficient contribution to the operation. When Du failed in his one
responsibility of keeping the police at bay, he took drastic and immediate

How Du obtained bullets for his gun remains unclear. According to his police
station, also in Horqin District, Du was issued an unloaded firearm on Jan. 8,
2016 - and police officer or not, it is illegal to buy or sell ammunition in
China except under highly controlled circumstances.

In another odd turn, while fleeing the scene Du reportedly confessed to a taxi
driver that he was responsible for what had happened in front of the police
station and asked the driver to turn the murder weapon in to authorities,
assuring his unwitting ally: "There aren't any bullets in here. Relax, I won't
bother you."

The court did not accept the defense's argument that in giving the taxi driver
his gun, Du was effectively turning himself in. In addition to receiving the
death penalty for "intentional murder," Du was served both a 4-year prison term
and a 30,000-yuan fine for his role in the gambling operation.

In 2016, a total of 362 police officers died in the line of duty in China, down
from 438 the previous year.

(source: sixthtone.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-03-22 15:36:35 UTC
March 22


1st death sentence in 2017

FIDH and its member organisation in Belarus Human Rights Centre "Viasna"
denounce the first death sentence in 2017 and regret the Belarusian authorities
continue to ignore calls to render Europe a death penalty-free zone.

On 17 March 2017, 32-year-old Aliaksei Mikhalenya was sentenced to death by the
Gomel Regional Court of Belarus for 2 murders committed with particular
cruelty. Although Aliaksei Mikhalenya has the right to appeal the sentence in
Supreme Court in Belarus, the appeal court rarely commutes death sentences and
the chances to get the Presidential pardon are illusionary, as revealed in the
joint FIDH-HRC report "Death penalty in Belarus: Murder on (Un)Lawful Grounds".
As the report demonstrates, throughout investigation and trial,
self-incrimination is used by the prosecution as the main evidence of guilt,
whilst the right to an effective legal defence is systematically violated. In
general, the application of death penalty in Belarus is accompagnied by severe
human rights violations at each stage of the judicial proceedings and during

"The UN has confirmed the violation of the right to life in 6 decisions
concerning the use of death penalty in Belarus. The application of capital
punishment is an indicator of authorities disrespect of international human
rights bodies and human rights in general", commented Florence Bellivier,
former President of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.

Furthermore, considerable secrecy surrounds the application of death penalty in
Belarus. Information concerning the death penalty is withheld from the general
public, whilst information on detention conditions for death convicts and
execution procedures is not publicly available. The exact number of persons
convicted to death and executed in Belarus is unknown. The families of death
convicts are neither informed in advance of the date of the execution, nor
immediately thereafter, the body is never handed over to relatives and the
location of the burial site is kept secret.

"The name of Aliaksei Mikhalenya was held secret until yesterday when human
rights defenders communicated his identity. Withholding the identity precludes
us from providing legal aid to the person concerned and to his family", said
Andrei Paluda, coordinator of the campaign "Human rights defenders against the
death penalty in Belarus".

Belarus is the only country in Europe that applies death penalty. For the
duration of negotiations around EU restrictive measures against Belarusian
officials and businesses, the executions had been on hold. However, upon the
lifting of sanctions in February 2016, executions resumed and by December 2016
reached their highest number since 2008: 4 convicts executed in secrecy in

Being a founding member of the World Coalition against the Death penalty, FIDH
and its member organisation HRC "Viasna" urge the EU and other actors to use
all leverages at their disposal to put an end to the capital punishment in

(source: FIDH)


When politics and principles clash on the death penalty

18 lawmakers who voted no to the RH bill under the 15th Congress voted yes to
the death penalty measure under the 17th Congress. How did the Church mobilize
against the 2 controversial measures?

PART 1: What happened behind closed doors to the death penalty bill?

Somber-looking nuns seated at the House of Representatives' plenary hall could
only look from afar when 217 lawmakers gave their approval to reimpose the
death penalty for drug convicts.

Under any other circumstances, the overwhelming number who voted for the return
of capital punishment may have been surprising for the Philippines, a
predominantly Catholic country.

But not during the time of President Rodrigo Duterte, who openly said Catholic
bishops are "full of shit" as he accused them of corruption and indulging in
sexual escapades.

Duterte, who has not been mincing words against the Church, continues to enjoy
strong support from the poor even as his bloody war against drugs has resulted
in more than 7,000 deaths since July 2016.

The President also has the backing of at least 267 lawmakers allied with the
majority bloc, whose party whips made sure the controversial death penalty
measure - House Bill (HB) Number 4727 - would be passed on 3rd and final
reading on March 7.

Lawmakers and political analysts alike were not surprised when legislators who
thumbed down the Reproductive Health (RH) bill in the 15th Congress gave their
thumbs up to the death penalty in the current 17th Congress.

Is there even a Catholic vote under the administration of Duterte?

Principled voters?

There were a total of 18 lawmakers who voted no the RH bill but said yes to the
death penalty bill.

The RH bill waited for 14 years before lawmakers in the 15th Congress, in a
close vote of 133-79-7, approved it on 3rd and final reading on December 17,
2012. 4 days before that, then-president Benigno Aquino III certified the
measure as urgent.

Reimposing the death penalty, meanwhile, was a campaign promise of Duterte. The
measure is also included in his list of priority measures. No less than his top
ally in the House, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, was a principal co-author of HB

Manila Auxillary Bishop Broderick Pabillo is saddened by the reality that in
Congress, it seems that political survival trumps the religious principles of
lawmakers when they decide on controversial bills that are prioritized by the
sitting president.

"What's frustrating is that you see the culture that there are many in the
House who do not have convictions. So whoever is on the top, they just follow
him or her," said Pabillo, who chairs the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the
Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on the Laity.

But for Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles, the RH and death
penalty measures "are 2 distinct bills."

"The reasons I voted against RH can be found in the records of Congress in the
explanation of my vote. Particularly the legality/constitutionality of its
provisions (and as predicted the Supreme court ruled against some of its
provisions as being patently violative of the Constitution), the dangers they
pose to women (and up to now there are still health questions that are
derailing the drugs), and difference in policy and spending," said Nograles.

He still believes that population growth "will naturally adjust" without
government intervention.

"The money will be better spent on primary healthcare, education to make sure
our young population is healthy and educated so they will continue to help grow
our economy sustainably for years to come, instead of spending it buying
condoms, pills, etc," Nograles added.

Another curious case is that of Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro. The
representative of Capiz' 2nd District was among the lawmakers in 2006 who
agreed to abolish the death penalty under then-president and now Pampanga 2nd
District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

11 years later, Castro not only voted in favor of the death penalty but he was
also a principal co-author of the measure along with Alvarez.

"I would just like to clarify first that I did not favor the abolition; I voted
in favor of the suspension of the death penalty," said Castro.

"What is the reason? Because at the time, there was no need [for the death
penalty], but this time, as you may know in my sponsorship speech, it has
become so cruel, it has become so ugly, it has become so gruesome that this
criminal has ignored even the minimum standard of norms imposed in civilized
society," he said.

Just like the President, Castro believes capital punishment is retribution for
the victims of heinous crimes.

According to Ateneo de Manila University political analyst Rene Raymond
Raneses, lawmakers who were given the chance to vote on both the RH and death
penalty bills can also ground their arguments based on their faith.

"It's about selectively choosing what the Bible says," said Raneses.

"On the one hand, there is this protection of life [argument against the RH
bill], right? But on the death penalty, there is religious grounding on
insisting the life of the greater majority when it comes to punishing
criminals. So these are competing voices," he added.

A 'divided' Church

Pabillo admitted the Church may have mobliized too late to fight the death
penalty in the House as well.

"There were signature campaigns. There were bishops who talked to House of
Representatives members. And the faithful were asked to talk to the
representatives if they know any of them," he said.

Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, CBCP president and
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, and other bishops denounced the
plan to revive the death penalty.

Catholics also staged the "Walk for Life" grand procession on February 18. The
procession, attended by 10,500 Filipinos, aimed to oppose drug-related
killings, the death penalty, and other measures labeled by the Catholic Church
as "anti-life."

"But the problem is that the mobilization of the people was a bit too late,
right? Unlike the RH where it was discussed for a long time, the discussion on
this was fast. It's like it came out of nowhere," said Pabillo.

Pabillo explained the Church's time last year was divided between fighting the
spate of extrajudicial killings in the country and HB 4727's passage.

This was a far cry from the years the CBCP led the charge against the RH bill
for more than a decade.

In the book, "Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine
Catholic Church" by the late Rappler senior investigative reporter Aries Rufo,
the CBCP went head-to-head with former Health Secretary Juan Flavier when the
latter promoted the use of condoms to combat HIV and AIDS.

When Flavier ran for senator in 1995, the Church mobilized its lay groups to
campaign against him. Flavier won but wound up 5th, way below expectations.

Arroyo, a devout Catholic, also endeared herself to the Church not only by
abolishing the death penalty in 2006, but also by aggressively promoting only
the Church-backed natural family planning method.

The Church also remained relentless in its fight against the RH bill, with some
dioceses even campaigning against pro-RH senatorial bets who voted in favor of
the RH bill via its controversial "Team Patay" and "Team Buhay" tags during the
2013 polls.

Church losing hold over flock?

According to Aries Arugay, political analyst from the University of the
Philippines, the Church has become more "politically obscure" in the past

"It has to play a more constructive role in terms of addressing the things that
brought Duterte to power. The Church lost its ability to be the institution of
the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden. They lost the ability to capture
those sectors of society," he added. Pabillo argued, however, that Duterte's
open attacks against the Church can be considered "unprecedented."

"It's the 1st time someone fights and curses like that openly. But we see that
this is not only against the Church. This is against anything like the) UN
(United Nations, former US President Barrack] Obama...That is something new.
That is unprecedented," said Pabillo.

He admitted the Church is still figuring out the best approach to fight not
Duterte per se, but his supposed "mismanagement of the government."

"For us, it is not against Duterte. It is against the mismanagement of whoever.
We spoke against Gloria over corruption, against PNoy because he did not do
anything. The problem with him (Duterte) is that he takes it personally,"
Pabillo said.

The fight continues

Now that the death penalty bill was passed by the House, how does the Church
plan to stop the bill in the Senate?

According to Pabillo, "small groups" from within the Church have been meeting
to draft initial plans of action.

One of the proposed plans is to once again campaign against pro-death penalty
lawmakers who will run in the 2019 polls.

"Maybe we'll hold the representatives accountable. We'll make their votes known
to the public. We'll post them in churches. We will remind them in 2018. At
after that, we can put it on Facebook also. We are still going to strategize,"
said Pabillo.

The Church is also planning to stage another "Penitential Walk for Life" on
Good Friday next month, with the Church targeting the procession to be held
from Baclaran to the Manila Cathedral. Pabillo said the procession aims to
"meditate on the Way of the Cross from the point of view of life."

The 217-54-1 vote for the death penalty bill at the House only shows that the
odds are against the Church. But according to Pabillo, it is during times like
these when the Church must continue fighting.

"Because I think we should not stop speaking about the truth. We should not
stop defending life. That's part of the Church's mission," said the bishop.

"Because if we are silent, it's like accepting the bad things that are
happening. Even if I am alone, even if it's just 1 voice, I'd still say, "Death
penalty is wrong," Pabillo added.


When the House whips go to work for the death penalty

PART 2: Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas leads the charge to whip the votes and
bring back the death penalty in the country, a pet bill of President Rodrigo

The passage of the controversial death penalty measure was expected, but key
members of the House made sure it would be passed on 3rd and final reading.

House Bill (HB) Number 4727 is part of the legislative agenda of President
Rodrigo Duterte, who counts at least 267 legislators as his allies.

The House leadership also allowed several amendments to HB 4727 to make the
measure more palatable to a majority of lawmakers, who ended up voting 217-54-1
on the bill's final reading.

Who acted as Duterte's lieutenants in the House and made sure HB 4727 would be

Whipping the votes

"The whips worked on that). I think the whips did their work because some of
the people, some members of the House who would have voted otherwise, succumbed
to the whip of the Speaker and definitely Malacanang," said Aries Arugay,
political analyst from the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

"It only means the House is not sitting on the President's legislative agenda,
but they are reflecting the people's will as expressed by Malacanang. They
could have sat on it as with the freedom of information bill, but they didn't,"
he added.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez threatened to replace deputy speakers and committee
chairmanships who either voted no, abstained from voting, or were absent during
the proceedings.

But the person who led the charge of whipping the votes on the ground was
Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Rodolfo Farinas, the Majority Leader.

Farinas is known to be diligent in reaching out to every member of the House.
He admitted in a television interview that he even texts all 292 of his
colleagues to remind them to show up for the 4 pm session every Monday to

Farinas also told Rappler that he discussed the death penalty measure with all

"I simply talked to each member to discuss the bill with them. And out of
mutual respect, I found out from them their position on the matter whether for
or against. Those belonging to the latter even took the initiative of talking
to me to explain the reason they were against it, which I respected," said

Occidental Mindoro Representative Josephine Ramirez-Sato, a member of the House
contingent to the powerful Commission on Appointments, said she had spoken to
Farinas thrice regarding her no vote on the death penalty bill.

As a member of the justice panel, Sato had to make a written manifestation
explaining why she will be voting against HB 4727.

"Of course, the Majority Leader read it. He said, "Oh I didn't know you would
be voting no. It's like we were just joking about it."

Farinas had also called her days before the 3rd reading of HB 4727.

"He was just asking me what my final vote will be...But I must emphasize that
there was really no pressure. It was a friendly conversation," said Sato.

She had also approached Farinas minutes before the session started on March 8
to reiterate her no vote.

Party consultations

It was a strategy that trickled down to the other parties in the House. The 22
members of the National Unity Party (NUP), for example, discussed the
reimposition of the death penalty in their regular lunch meetings prior to the

"We went through a process of consultations among ourselves, our respective
districts, and constituents. We openly discussed the issues, the pros and cons,
especially during the times when the number of crimes was reduced from 21 to 4
to just drugs," said Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles,
chairman of the powerful committee on appropriations.

Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro, who is NUP's vice president for political and
electoral affairs, said they also did not impose a party stand.

"In the party, we are left with our own preferences. And we had our lunch with
our members and I was just telling them that I don't even have to deliver any
message for the members of the NUP. No need for any convincing because the
members were independent," said Castro.

In the end, 20 NUP members voted in favor of HB 4727, while only 2 said no.

The party-list representatives, meanwhile, were whipped by their coalition
president and AKO Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe, as well as coalition
secretary-general and Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin of AAMBIS-OWA.

"Yeah, we talked to members. We whipped all members to toe the line because
that's the administration's priority, and 2nd, it's the campaign promise of
President Duterte," said Batocabe.

He added that one of the rules for coalition officers is for them to support
the legislative agenda of the President.

A total of 23 party-list representatives gave their nod to HB 4727. Another 18
said no and 6 were absent during the vote.

Weak political party system

The voting turnout for HB 4727 is generally not surprising, apart from a few
lawmakers who voted either contrary to their previous public statements or
against their party stand.

"The House under the leadership of Alvarez is just maintaining its reputation
that it's easily swayed by Malacanang more than the Senate. The House is
historically like that," said Arugay.

He added, however, that the 217-54-1 vote for the death penalty bill only
confirms how the Philippines lacks a genuine political party system.

The once ruling Liberal Party (LP) is against the death penalty. Around a week
before the House was scheduled to vote on the death penalty bill, the 32 LP
congressmen met with Vice President Leni Robredo, former President Benigno
Aquino III, and Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Franklin Drilon, and Francis

It was during this meeting that the LP congressmen said they will be deciding
whether or not to bolt the majority bloc after the vote on HB 4727. Their
counterparts in the Senate are already in the minority after they were stripped
of their leadership titles. Senator Leila de Lima is also in jail facing drug

LP stalwarts emphasized that there will no sanctions on congressmen who will
vote in favor of HB 4727.

On March 8, 15 LP congressmen said yes to reimposing the death penalty, while
another 15 of them said no. 2 LP lawmakers were absent during the proceedings.
The party was divided.

Among those who voted in favor of HB 4727 was Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo, the
highest ranking LP member in the House, and Quezon City 4th District
Representative Feliciano Belmonte Jr, former speaker.

"I think it reveals that for the existing parties, the party discipline is weak
because the party line is unclear. There were LP [members] who voted yes. The
reason given is because of the fact that their party is liberal - I think
that's a stupid excuse that does not bode well [for] a viable party system. It
should be very clear," said Arugay.

Loyalty check

Alvarez made good on his promise to remove deputy speakers and committee
chairpersons who did not vote yes to the death penalty bill.

Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was ousted as
deputy speaker, along with 11 other committee chairpersons, on March 15.

Alvarez used to be Arroyo's transportation secretary when the latter was
president. It was during the Arroyo administration when the death penalty was
abolished in 2006.

According to Ateneo de Manila University political analyst Rene Raymond
Raneses, Alvarez' removal of deputy speakers and committee chairpersons was
expected by Duterte's top ally in the House.

Raneses, however, advised Alvarez to make sure the replacements would be loyal
to the majority.

The political analyst also believes those who will lose their posts will likely
stay in the majority.

"If these people were replaced, I don't think it would strip away support from
the administration coalition as long as the people he puts in there are people
who have the same number of people behind them," said Raneses.

Lawmakers had previously agreed to give "full support" to Alvarez whatever he
decides on the House reorganization.

Numbers game until the end

The death penalty bill may have breezed through the House of Representatives,
but its fate in the Senate remains to be seen.

The measure is not a priority among senators and Senate President Aquilino
Pimentel III said a "close fight" for the bill should be expected in the

Still, pro-death penalty senators are convincing their colleagues to consider
accepting a version of the measure involving high level drug trafficking
offenses only.

If there is one thing that is guaranteed after the House's 3rd reading of HB
4727, it is that Duterte will have a strong legislative shield against any
impeachment complaints for now. Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano already
filed the 1st impeachment complaint against the President.

"Pretty much Duterte is protected because we all know all impeachment
complaints emanate from the House. We can even equate the vote for the death
penalty to the possible purported legislative shield that Duterte will enjoy,"
said Arugay.

The death penalty vote turnout also shows that Duterte's allies in the House is
no-nonsense when it comes to following the President's desires.

"I think this legislative bloc that is supportive of Duterte doesn't have time
to be friends with everyone. It's very polarizing. Either you're with us or
against us," said Arugay.

And this is a fact known to Alvarez himself. He said he will always be open to
debates in the House, but he also knows he has the numbers to get what he

"Because in a democracy, we always argue, but at the end of the day, if I have
the majority, I will prevail," said Alvarez.


What happened behind closed doors to the death penalty bill

It was a little past 10:30 am on February 8 when Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
walked out of his office towards Macalintal Hall at the South Wing Annex of the
House of Representatives.

Reporters flocked around Alvarez and asked why he called for a meeting with
around 100 lawmakers belonging to the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng
Bayan (PDP-Laban), the ruling administration party under President Rodrigo

"I am meeting with them to tell them that the party stand is the restoration of
the death penalty," said Alvarez, who is also PDP-Laban's secretary-general.

It was during the same interview that the Davao del Norte 1st District
representative told reporters that he would be replacing administration-allied
deputy speakers and committee chairpersons should they thumb down House Bill
(HB) Number 4727.

After an exclusive meeting with his party mates that Wednesday morning, Alvarez
attended another caucus with around 260 lawmakers.

A month after that Wednesday meeting, the House passed on 3rd and final reading
the controversial HB 4727, which gives judges the options to punish
perpetrators of 7 drug crimes with either life imprisonment or death.

A total of 217 lawmakers said yes, while only 54 said no with no abstentions.

Since Alvarez and Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro filed the first version of HB
4727 on June 30, 2016, lawmakers and political analysts alike agreed the death
penalty measure would be passed in the lower chamber.

How did the House manage to pass a controversial priority bill of the President
in just 8 months?


It was not smooth-sailing for HB 4727 in the beginning. As early as December
2016, it was clear that a handful of representatives were still ambivalent
about their stance on the death penalty.

Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas broke down the numbers at the time. When he
called for a majority caucus - which was attended by 100 of the 267
administration-allied legislators - 50 of the legislators were pro-death
penalty, while only 15 were strongly against it. 35 were undecided.

They were torn between following the President's legislative agenda and
following their conscience, forcing Alvarez to extend the debate to this year.

The House leadership then had to come up with various compromises to make the
death penalty bill more palatable to lawmakers living in a predominantly
Catholic country.

Various caucuses were held from December 2016 to February 2017 to decide on
these amendments.

In attendance were PDP-Laban members and lawmakers who are members of parties
that signed coalition agreements with the administration party - Lakas CMD,
Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People's Coalition, National
Unity Party, and the party-list-coalition.

The 1st compromise was the removal of the mandatory penalty of death provisions
under the measure as well as the addition of safeguard measures for the

Deputy Speaker Ferdinand Hernandez said more of his colleagues softened their
hardline stance against the capital punishment bill when this was proposed.

"In fact, because of that position, many members of the House changed their
position. Instead of hardline, a lot of them accepted, like they believe this
is more palatable," said Hernandez.

The tipping point for the rest of the 217 lawmakers who voted in favor of HB
4727 was when the list of crimes under the bill was reduced from 21 to 7, all
involving drug-related offenses.

House justice panel chairperson Reynaldo Umali said this was finalized with the
help of a survey conducted by the committee on rules.

"The Majority Leader and the Speaker distributed surveys, papers, to members to
determine the sampling of the top 3 crimes they want in the bill)...It was
really democratic and a showcase of how to build consensus," said Umali, who
sponsored HB 4727 since he chaired the committee that approved the measure.

The top crimes that emerged from the survey were drug offenses, rape, plunder,
and treason.

'Open' caucuses?

Another majority caucus was held on February 27, when Umali brought with him 3
versions of HB 4727 listing different combinations of the top crimes based on
the survey. The lawmakers were supposed to choose which version was most
acceptable to them.

According Castro, the mood was "so open" during their caucuses.

"Everybody could make suggestions. everybody could make motions. Everybody was
free to state and everybody was invited to speak. It was democracy," said

But it seems "democracy" in the House could only go as far as the numbers game
would allow.

Umali said that during the said caucus, a "big, loud" group at the back of
Macalintal Hall was "very vocal" about limiting the death penalty bill to drugs

It was, after all, one of the recommendations of the committee on justice when
it probed the narcotics trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

"'We couldn't agree. If some wanted to add rape, why not this other crime? So
they just proposed to limit it to drug-related, heinous crimes," said Umali.

He could not give an estimate on the number of lawmakers in that group, but
Umali said they were "big enough to be able to sway the majority and the
Speaker to agree on going back to the original plan of just pursuing [the]
drug-related crimes."

The majority bloc eventually favored the version that listed only 7 drug crimes
to be punishable with death.

Riding on the war against drugs

According to Ateneo de Manila University political analyst Rene Raymond
Raneses, limiting the offenses to drugs was a good strategy to have HB 4727

"I think it's a strategy because it actually made it more difficult on the part
of those against the death penalty to denounce the reimposition of the death
penalty because it's already very limited. They made it in sync with the
popular and consensual war on drugs," said Raneses in a mix of English and

"The argument of those against the death penalty is, the justice system cannot
be trusted. So you have all these crimes. But limit the crimes that will be
punished, it's more in sync with what the people want in the country. Some
people don't want the death penalty, but there's an implicit consensus that the
war on drugs is a good thing," he added.

Duterte won on a campaign anchored on a promise to eradicate drugs and
criminality. He also promised to bring back the death penalty.

The President continues to enjoy strong support among the poor, even if more
than 7,000 drug personalities have been killed in legitimate police operations
and apparent summary killings nationwide.

Duterte taking a step back in the House?

Duterte, however, was not immediately informed about the amendments to the

Reimposing the death penalty is one of his pet bills, but it seems the
President preferred Alvarez to pull the reins in the House.

When the President was told that the bill was watered down because lawmakers
"could not agree among themselves," Duterte said he would "let them solve" the
issue on their own.

And so it was only during the same night when the House approved HB 4727 on 3rd
reading that Alvarez personally explained to Duterte that rape, plunder, and
treason had to be stricken out.

According to the Speaker, watering down the bill was needed to enable the House
to have an "output" before the end of the 1st regular session.

"It's not a matter of convenience but you know, we have to be realistic.
Because if we want the crimes to be added at the same time, but it would take a
while for us to talk about it, then it's better if we do it one by one so we
can accomplish something."

While the President was "thankful" the House passed the measure, he would have
preferred that rape with homicide was included in the bill, too.

(source: rappler.com)


Abolish death penalty except in terror cases says Law Commission

The Law Commission has recommended that death penalty be abolished for all
crimes. The commission however recommended that death penalty must remain for
cases of terrorism. The same was informed by Hansraj Ahir, the Union Minister
of State for Home Affairs in the Rajya Sabha.

The commission said that death penalty under Section 302 of the Indian Penal
Code be abolished except in cases of terrorism since it does not serve the
penological goal of deterrence any more than life imprisonment.

The panel while supporting death for those convicted in terror cases and waging
war against the country said, although there is no valid penological
justification for treating terrorism cases differently from other crimes, there
is a concern raised that abolition of capital punishment for terror related
cases and waging war will affect national security.

(source: oneindia.com)


Law Commission recommended abolition of death penalty

The Law Commission has recommended that the death penalty be abolished for all
crimes except those related to terrorism, Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said the Law Commission in its 262nd
report has recommended that the death penalty be abolished for all crimes other
than terrorism related offences and waging war.

(source: The Economic Times)

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Rick Halperin
2017-03-22 15:37:35 UTC
March 22


Ready to execute Mufti Hannan after receiving government order, says IG Prisons

Jail authorities say they are prepared to carry out the death sentences of
Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI) chief Mufti Hannan and his two accomplices as
soon as they get the government order.

"We are yet to receive the executive order to carry out the death sentences.
The prison authorities, however, are always ready for the execution," Inspector
General of Prisons Brig Gen Syed Iftekhar Uddin told a media briefing on

Mufti Hannan and 2 other HuJI activists, Sharif Shahedul Alam alias Bipul and
Delwar Hossain alias Ripon have been awarded the death penalty for the 2004
grenade attack on the then UK envoy in Sylhet.

HuJI leader Mufti Hannan and Bipul are being kept at the Kashimpur High
Security Prison in Gazipur while Ripon is lodged at the Sylhet Central Jail.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court published the verdict, rejecting their petitions
for review of their sentences, which was read out to them on Wednesday.

After losing the last legal option, the 3 are now left with the only option of
seeking presidential clemency by admitting guilt.

Kashimpur prison authorities said Mufti Hannan and Bipul hinted at seeking
clemency while convict Ripon told Sylhet jail officials that he will give a
decision later.

According to the jail code, they will now get 7 days to petition for pardon.

If the president rejects their pleas, the government will fix a date and prison
authorities will start the process to execute the verdict.

In May 2004, then British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury came under a
grenade attack while coming out of the Hazrat Shahjalal's shrine in his
hometown Sylhet.

Police's Assistant Sub-inspector Kamal Uddin died instantly. Constable Rubel
Ahmed and one Habil Miah succumbed to their injuries in a hospital later.

The envoy was injured along with nearly 40 employees of the Sylhet district

In December last year, the Appellate Division upheld their death sentences.

The trial court had sentenced 2 others to life imprisonment, who moved the High
Court but failed to secure a verdict in their favour. Their sentences are
upheld as they did not challenge it at the Appellate Division.

(source: bdnews24.com)


Immediately Suspend Imminent Executions----Issue Moratoriums on Death Sentences
as Inhumane Punishments

The Bangladesh government should immediately halt the imminent execution of 3
men convicted of a May 2004 grenade attack, which targeted the then British
High Commissioner, Anwar Choudhury. Chowdhury survived the attack that took
place outside the Hazrat Shahjalal shrine in Sylhet district, but was among
dozens injured by the blasts. 3 police officers were killed.

On March 19, 2017, the country's apex court rejected the final review
application of the 3 men on death row, all alleged members of the banned
militant group Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI). The 3 men are: Mufti Abdul Hannan, HuJI
founder, and 2 activists in the group, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar
Hossain Ripon.

"Criminals need to be punished, but Bangladesh is moving in the wrong direction
by invoking the death penalty," said Brad Adams, Asia director. "Bangladesh
should instead initiate an immediate moratorium on capital punishment because
it is inherently cruel and irreversible, and should never be used, regardless
of the crime."

The evidence against the three men is primarily based on their confessions,
statements that magistrates say were freely given in front of them but that the
men have said were forcibly extracted through torture in police custody. Human
Rights Watch has previously documented numerous cases of torture to coerce
confessions, and due process violations in the Bangladesh criminal justice
system that have made it difficult for defendants to receive a fair trial,
including in capital cases.

Noting that "custodial torture has become a persistent trend in Bangladesh,"
the country's National Human Rights Commission recently said that,
"Indiscriminate order of remand for extracting confessions immensely
contributes to a culture of custodial torture."

Court documents show that Hannan had spent 77 days, and Bipul and Ripon 40 days
each, in police custody prior to giving their confessions. During this time and
throughout their interrogation, the accused were not provided access to any
legal representation. All 3 confessions were made during this period.

Bangladesh courts have accepted allegations in previous cases that torture
takes place in police custody, and local, and international human rights
organizations contend that the practice is widespread. Nevertheless, the
appeals court stated that, "These confessions are natural, voluntary,
inculpatory, and corroborative to each other," and were not "procured from them
by means of coercion, duress, or torture."

The United Nations Human Rights Committee, which interprets the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Bangladesh is a
signatory, has stated that there must be no "direct or indirect physical or
undue psychological pressure from the investigating authorities on the accused,
with a view to obtaining a confession of guilt. That all 3 convictions are
based on interrogations without a lawyer present strongly suggests that they
violated article 14 of the ICCPR on the right to a fair trial.

Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all countries and under all
circumstances. Capital punishment is unique in its cruelty and finality, and it
is inevitably and universally plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error.
A majority of countries in the world have abolished the practice. In 2012, the
United Nations General Assembly called on countries to establish a moratorium
on the use of the death penalty, progressively restrict the practice, and
reduce the offenses for which it might be imposed, all with the view toward its
eventual abolition.

"Delivering justice requires adhering to the highest standards, particularly
when a life is at stake, and there can be no room for doubts or mistakes,"
Adams said. "Human Rights Watch has long supported justice and accountability
for militant attacks, but we have also stated repeatedly that these trials have
to meet international fair trial standards, and call upon Bangladesh to reject
the death penalty."

(source: Human Rights Watch)

JAPAN----new death sentence

Man sentenced to death for killing 5 people in Hyogo Pref.

The Kobe District Court on March 22 sentenced a 42-year-old man to death over
the killing of 5 people in Hyogo Prefecture in 2015, dismissing lawyers'
arguments that he was mentally ill.

Tatsuhiko Hirano, 42, was handed the death penalty after being convicted of
fatally stabbing 5 neighbors with a survival knife in 2 separate homes on Awaji
Island in Hyogo Prefecture, on March 9, 2015. The victims, 3 women and 2 men,
were aged between 59 and 84.

Hirano had a history of medical treatment for a psychiatric disorder, and in
the trial he denied the allegations against him, saying that he was
"manipulated by agents with magnetic waves."

The focus of the case was whether Hirano could be held criminally responsible
for his actions.

Public prosecutors said that delusions bore no influence in the killings and
that Hirano was mentally competent. Defense lawyers, meanwhile, argued that the
killings wouldn't have occurred without the delusions brought on by Hirano's
mental condition. They said that he either couldn't be held criminally
responsible, or was of diminished capacity, warranting a lighter sentence.

(source: mainichi.jp)


Alleged drug dealer, 3 others caught

An alleged drug dealer and 3 others were nabbed by police yesterday moments
after they had picked up 25 packets of Syabu paid for via a bank deposit to an
unknown person.

The dealer, 29, from Bintawa Village was caught along with his friends, aged 25
to 49, after personnel from the Padawan Anti-Narcotics Unit stormed the lobby
of an inn at Jalan Batu Kawa around 12.50pm.

Padawan District police chief Supt Aidil Bolhassan, who confirmed the arrest,
said the main suspect was found holding a black box containing 25 packets of
Syabu weighing roughly 55.50g.

"All 4 suspects subsequently tested positive for amphetamines. They also have
prior arrest records for drugs," said Aidil.

According to Aidil, the main suspect admitted that he had purchased the drugs
from an unknown dealer, who had instructed him to deposit money into a bank
account before providing the location to collect the drugs.

"The main suspect confessed that the drugs belonged to him, while his 3 friends
admitted to having consumed drugs," added Aidil.

Police have classified the case under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act
1952, which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction, as well as the
Dangerous Drugs (Forfeiture of Property) Act 1988.

(source: Borneo Post)


Man gets death penalty for murdering wife

One Wali Muhammad Khaskheli was sentenced to death after he was proved guilty
in a murder case while 4 other accused in the case were acquitted here on

Additional sessions judge awarded death penalty to Khaskheli, while set his
mother, father, uncle and brother free.

As per details, Sumaira Naeem, wife of Wali Muhammad Khaskheli, was
strangulated to death in the limits of Degan Bhurgari police station, taluka
Kot Ghulam Muhammad, in 2012. A murder case was registered against Khaskheli,
husband of the deceased, his father Muhammad Moosa Khaskheli, uncle Umer
Khaskheli, mother Rasheeda and younger brother Gul Muhammad Khaskheli.

However, the prosecution could prove the offence only against the main accused,
Wali Muhammad Khaskhel, the deceased's husband, while the other co-accused were
acquitted. After the court gave the decision, convict Wali Muhammad Khaskheli
was detained and sent to Central Prison Hyderabad.

(source: nation.com.pk)


Vietnam drug smugglers sentenced to death over heroin haul

Vietnam has sentenced 9 drug traffickers to death for smuggling nearly half a
tonne (500 kilograms) of heroin into the country from Laos, a local government
report said Wednesday.

9 others were jailed for life over the massive drug bust and "all illegal
profits were seized", according to the official newspaper of the Hoa Binh
provincial government.

The traffickers smuggled the drugs from neighbouring Laos for resale in China
and pocketed $670,000 between 2012 and 2016, according to a separate report by
the state-run Vietnam News Agency which gave no further details.

Communist Vietnam has some of the world's toughest anti-drug laws. Anyone found
guilty of possessing more than 600 grams (21 ounces) of heroin, or more than 20
kilograms of opium, can face the death penalty.

The "Golden Triangle" region covering parts of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar is
one of the world's top producers of opium, and heroin and other drugs are often
smuggled into Vietnam from the region.

In January 2014 30 drug smugglers were sentenced to death in Vietnam's largest
narcotics case, after nearly 2 tonnes of heroin was seized.

Governments in Southeast Asia's Mekong region have vowed to redouble efforts to
tackle the rampant trade in heroin and methamphetamines.

But crackdowns are hindered by the soaring demand for drugs, corrupt
officialdom and the long, porous jungle borders between the neighbours.

(source: thepeninsulaqatar.com)


EU Missions condemn death sentences issued in Gaza

The European Union (EU) Representative and Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and
Ramallah issued a statement on Tuesday condemning the sentencing of 2 men to
death on Sunday by a military court in the Gaza Strip, after the men were found
guilty of alleged drug dealing.

It reportedly marked the 1st time that the death penalty was used in Gaza for a
drug-related offense, though a number of Palestinians have been sentenced to
death in recent months after being found guilty of collaborating with Israel or
of murder.

"The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recall their firm opposition under
all circumstances to the use of capital punishment," the statement said.

"The EU considers that abolition of the death penalty contributes to the
protection of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights. It
considers capital punishment to be cruel and inhuman, that it fails to provide
deterrence to criminal behavior, and represents an unacceptable denial of human
dignity and integrity."

The statement continued by calling on "the de facto authorities in Gaza,"
referring to the Hamas administration, to "refrain from carrying out any
executions of prisoners and comply with the moratorium on executions put in
place by the Palestinian Authority, pending abolition of the death penalty in
line with the global trend."

The EU missions released a similar condemnation after a Gaza court sentenced a
Palestinian man to death earlier this month for the premeditated murder of his

Several Palestinians have been executed in Gaza after Hamas-affiliated members
of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza approved the enforcement of
death sentences last year.

Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announced at the time that 13 Palestinians
had been sentenced to death by Gaza courts and would be executed as soon as

Under Palestinian law, willful, premeditated murder and treason as well as
collaboration with the enemy -- usually Israel -- are punishable by death.
However, all death sentences must be ratified by the Palestinian president
before they can be carried out.

Despite this, the Hamas de facto administration in Gaza has carried out
executions periodically without receiving approval from President Mahmoud Abbas
since 2010.

(source: Ma'an News Agency)

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Rick Halperin
2017-03-23 13:34:57 UTC
March 23


Azalina: Cabinet to review death sentence for drug offences

The cabinet has agreed that the mandatory death penalty for drug offences needs
to be reviewed.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said told the Dewan
Rakyat that the cabinet made this decision on March 1, after attorney-general
Mohamed Apandi Ali gave them a presentation.

"The cabinet agreed and decided that amendments be made to Section 39B of the
Dangerous Drugs Act by including additional clauses to give discretionary power
to the courts to bestow other sentences, besides the mandatory death penalty,
in certain situations," Azalina said today.

(source: malaysiakini.com)


China woman on death row fails in appeal

A 24-year-old woman from China, who was sentenced to death for trafficking
1,397.1gm of syabu failed in her appeal against the sentence at the Court of

Justices Datuk Lim Yee Lan, Dato' Abdul Rahman Sebli and Puan Sri Zaleha Yusof
unanimously dismissed the appeal by Cheng Jin Hui after hearing submissions
from her and the prosecution as the respondent.

The court held that there was nothing in the appeal record that warrants the
court's intervention on the findings made by the High Court.

Cheng was June 9, 2016 found guilty by the High Court here and convicted of
committing the offence at 11.25pm on July 6, 2014 at the passengers'
examination area at the arrival hall in Terminal 2 of the Kota Kinabalu
International Airport (KKIA).

The offence under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 carries the
death penalty on conviction.

Earlier, counsel Ram Singh representing Cheng, submitted that it was a genuine
case of an innocent courier who was asked to carry clothes samples to Malaysia
by some African men in China.

Cheng did not realise the secret compartment inside the luggage contained drugs
and she did check the content of the luggage and found nothing except clothes
samples and her own clothes, submitted Ram.

Cheng's shock reaction could not be inferred as she knew drugs were inside the
secret compartment of the luggage, he added.

Ram also submitted that the High Court judge misdirected herself when she held
that there was trafficking of drugs as she had men's rea possession of the
luggage and drugs inside the luggage.

The prosecution rebutted that Cheng was not an innocent courier.

Cheng knew the drugs were inside the luggage and her reaction of shock proved
her conduct of mens rea in carrying the luggage with drugs inside, the
prosecution submitted.

(source: dailyexpress.com.my)


Law Commission has recommended abolition of death penalty: Govt----The Law
Commission in its 262nd report has recommended abolishing the death penalty for
all crimes other than terrorism-related offences and waging war

The Law Commission has recommended that the death penalty be abolished for all
crimes except those related to terrorism, Rajya Sabha was informed on

Minister of state for home Hansraj Ahir said the Law Commission in its 262nd
report has recommended that the death penalty be abolished for all crimes other
than terrorism related offences and waging war.

"As Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure are in the concurrent list of the 7th
Schedule of the Constitution, the report has been circulated to all state
governments and union territories for seeking their views," he said replying a
written question.

(source: livemint.com)


Mufti Hannan to seek presidential clemency

Convicted of killing in terrorist attack, the chief of Bangladeshi chapter of
Harkat ul Islam, Abdul Hannan, will seek presidential clemency after the apex
court dismissed his plea to review death sentence, prison authorities said on

Hannan, also known as Mufti Hannan, expressed his willingness to seek the
pardon after officials read out the death warrant to the convict after the
Supreme Court rejected his review against the conviction.

"Hannan He told us that he would file mercy petition to the president," senior
jail superintended Mizanur Rahman said as the authorities were preparing for
execution of the terrorist.

Inspector General of Prisons Brigadier General Syed Iftekhar Uddin told
reporters that all preparations were taken to hang the militants.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday released full verdict that upheld its order
confirming his death penalty for the 2004 grenade attack on then British High
Commissioner to Bangladesh Anwar Choudhury.

Attorney General Mahbube Alam said that the execution of the convicted militant
was a matter of time as the Supreme Court dismissed the review petitions of 3
death-row convicts, including Hannan.

A court in Sylhet on December 23, 2008 sentenced Hannan and 2 of his associates
- Bipul and Ripon - to death for carrying out grenade attack on the British
envoy at a shrine in the north-eastern city.

Choudhury escaped, but 3 people, including 2 security officials were killed in
the attack on May 21, 2004.

2 other members of the banned militant group - Muhibullah alias Muhibur Rahman
alias Ovi and Mufti Main Uddin alias Abu Zandal - were sentenced to life in

The High Court confirmed the death penalty on February 11, 2016. The convicts
however filed appeal with the Appellate Division, which rejected the militant's
plea upholding the punishment on December 7, 2016.

Their reviews were dismissed on February 23 this year.

(source: newsnextbd.com)

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Rick Halperin
2017-03-24 13:13:34 UTC
March 24


LHC acquits 2 death row convicts

A Lahore High Court division bench on Wednesday acquitted 2 convicts condemned
to death in a murder case.

The division bench headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan acquitted the convicts,
Aneesur Rehman and Muhammad Naeem, while allowing their appeals against

During the hearing, the defendants' counsel submitted that there was no solid
evidence which showed that the convicts were responsible for or associated with
the murder. He pleaded the bench to acquit them after setting aside their death
sentence. However, the prosecution opposed the request submitting that trial
court awarded death penalty to the convicts on basis of eye-witnesses

The bench after hearing arguments allowed the appeals and acquitted the
convicts after setting aside their death sentence.

(source: pakobserver.net)


Halt imminent executions of three men who tried to kill UK ambassador

Bangladesh must halt the imminent executions of 3 men sentenced to death for a
grenade attack on the UK Ambassador, Amnesty International said.

Prison authorities in Bangladesh today confirmed that the executions of Mufti
Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon - all alleged
members of the banned armed group Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI) - would be carried out
soon. They were all convicted of and sentenced to death over an attack in 2004
which injured the then-UK High Commissioner, Anwar Choudhury, and killed 3

"These executions must be stopped immediately. While those found responsible
for crimes after fair trials should be punished, the death penalty is never the
solution. It's dismaying that the Bangladeshi authorities are looking to take
more lives in the name of fighting 'terrorism'," said Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty
International's Bangladesh researcher.

"The death penalty is always a human rights violation and is in no way a more
effective way to tackle crime than life imprisonment. Sending these men to the
gallows will not make Bangladesh safer, it will only add to the death toll."

On 19 March 2017, the Bangladeshi Supreme Court rejected the 3 men's final
appeals. Their only remaining option is now to seek a presidential pardon to
stop the executions.

Bangladesh is among the minority of states globally that still implements the
death penalty. In 2015, four people were executed in the country, while almost
200 people were sentenced to death.

"We urge President Abdul Hamid to pardon these 3 men and spare their lives.
Bangladesh should also immediately impose a moratorium on executions with a
view to full abolition of the death penalty. More and more countries around the
world are coming around to the fact that taking lives neither deters crime nor
is an effective mean to deliver justice," said Olof Blomqvist.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception,
regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime; guilt, innocence or
other characteristics of the individual; or the method used by the state to
carry out the executions.

(source: amnesty.org)


Malaysia to scrap mandatory death sentence for drug offences----Government
agrees to give courts discretion in imposing death penalty for narcotics
offences.--Close to 800 prisoners currently on death row for drug trafficking

The Malaysian government has agreed to do away with the mandatory death
sentence imposed for drug offences.

Azalina Othman Said, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, told
Parliament that the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 will be amended to allow judges to
exercise discretion when deciding on the appropriate sentence.

(source: ibtimes.co.uk)

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Rick Halperin
2017-03-26 19:34:38 UTC
March 26


Rebel court sentences Yemen president to death

A rebel court in Yemen's insurgent-held capital has sentenced President
Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to death for high treason in absentia, the rebel news
agency has said.

Yemen on Sunday marked the 2nd anniversary of a Saudi-led coalition starting
air strikes against the Huthi rebels in support of Hadi's government, after the
insurgents overran the capital Sanaa.

The court found Hadi guilty of "usurping the title of president after the end
of his term in office" in February 2014, "instigating attacks by Saudi Arabia"
and "undermining the independence and integrity of the Republic of Yemen", the
rebel-controlled Saba agency said late Saturday.

Six members of Hadi's government were also sentenced to death for treason, it

On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of Huthi supporters flooded the streets of
Sanaa for a mass rally against Saudi Arabia's role in the war, an AFP reporter
at the site said.

That came a day after former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is allied to the
Huthis, slammed Riyadh in a speech marking two years since the coalition's
military intervention.

"Free Yemenis will continue to choose resistance, as long as the coalition led
by Saudi Arabia continues to choose war," Saba quoted Saleh as saying.

Rebel leader Abdul Mali k al-Huthi said the Saudi-led coalition had been
"living under the illusion that they can take Yemen in a week or a month... but
have sunk into the mud," it said.

Hadi's forces have gained ground in southern Yemen since the coalition's
intervention in March 2015, but the Huthis still control the capital and
strategic ports on the Red Sea coastline.

More than 7,700 people have been killed and over 40,000 injured over the past
two years, the United Nations says.

3 million people have been displaced and the country faces a serious threat of
famine, it says.



The death penalty is required to be retained in our book with certain

The proposed recommendation of the National Law Commission for abolition of
death penalty, prima facie, appears to be based on three facts. First, most of
the advanced countries in the world have abolished the death penalty being a
cruel and inhuman sentence. Secondly, there is no rational foundation for
awarding death penalty and the discretion of the judge varies from person to
person. Thirdly, in our country the death penalty has not served as a deterrent
measure as the heinous crime falling in the category of "rarest of rare" cases
are committed frequently.

However, I am of the candid opinion that the death penalty is required to be
retained in our book with certain amendments for 2 reasons. Firstly, it is not
just a punishment given to the criminal concerned, but it also gives a strong
signal to other like-minded people. Secondly, it works as a deterrent measure
against such criminals who are the menace to society.

I have come across the cases wherein the death penalty by sessions judge was
confirmed by the High Court and even the SC upheld it. However, even after the
rejection of the mercy petition by the President, the High Court again
entertained a petition of death convicts challenging the capital punishment and
stayed the death penalty. Naturally, the death convicts are interested in
prolonging petitions hoping that courts would turn the death penalty into life
imprisonment on the account of delay. This results in sending a message to the
people at large that death penalty has no useful purpose.

I would have been happy if the Law Commission would have considered as to how
the execution of death penalty can be expedited or how delay can be avoided. I
will not say that once the sessions court has imposed death then it should
expeditiously be executed. But certain time limit is required to be prescribed
while deciding petitions challenging the death penalty. And there should be
provision that if such appeals or mercy petitions are not decided in a
stipulated time period then death penalty should stand rejected. But, it should
not be taken out of the book.

(source: Advocate Ujjwal Nikam is a famous special public prosecutor who has
represented the state or the CBI in cases such as 1993 Bombay bomb blasts,
26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai and Gateway of India twin blasts. He has the
record of securing maximum death penalties in Maharashtra----Asian Age)


The legitimacy of Capital punishment

Law Commission felt time has come for India to move towards abolition of the
death penalty. It hoped the movement towards absolute abolition will be swift.
But it is difficult to agree with the Commission's majority opinion.

To be or not to be, is the question. To live, or to extinguish life? William
Shakespeare's question posed in Hamlet in 1602 haunts policymakers across the
world still: whether or not to award capital punishment.

The terms "capital" is derived from the Latin capitalis, "of the head",
referring to execution by beheading. Beheading is barbaric. Although most
nations (more than 100) have abolished capital punishment, many countries have
retained it. Over 60 % of world's population live in countries where execution
takes place, such as in India, the United States, China, Indonesia etc.

Historically, execution of criminals and political opponents has been used by
nearly all societies both to punish crime and to suppress political dissent.
Normally capital punishment is reserved for murder, terrorism, war crimes,
reason, espionage etc. In some countries rape, adultery, incest carry death
penalty. In many countries drug trafficking is also a capital offence. In
China, human trafficking and serious cases of corruption are punished by death
penalty still.

In India, recent terrifying rape-and-murders gave rise to calls for death to
rapist-murderer. So, will Law Panel's recommendation of death for terrorists
give a leeway for a demand for the inclusion of rapists-murderers? Where do the
demands stop? And are these demands justified?

Although several members of the Constituent Assembly were opposed to death
penalty, yet founding fathers of India's Constitution retained capital
punishment. Parliament, through law, prescribed death penalty in many
situations such as murder, mutiny by a member of armed forces, waging a war
against the government etc. First fetter was imposed in 1973 when Section 354
(3) of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1973 impelled the judiciary to give special
reasons for capital punishment.

Then, on May 9, 1980, came the landmark verdict of a Constitution Bench of the
Supreme Court in Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab [1980 (2) SCC 684], in which
the constitutional validity of death penalty for murder provided in Section 302
of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and the sentencing procedure stipulated in
Section 354 (3) was impugned. The Supreme Court by a split verdict of 3 to 2
rejected the challenge to the constitutionality of Section 302 of the IPC and
Section 354 (3) of the CrPC (Justices Chandrachud, Gupta and Untwalia). The
minority view (Justices Bhagwati and Sarkaria) struck down Section 302 of IPC
as unconstitutional and void in so far as it provides for imposition of death
penalty as an alternative to imprisonment for life.

The Bachan Singh judgement propounded "rarest of rare" doctrine. It is now well
settled that life sentence is the rule and death sentence an exception. This is
also buttressed from the fact that in several important judgments involving
serious crimes, the Supreme Court declined to award death penalty to convicts.
Judgements pertaining to Graham Staines, Jessica Lall, Priyadarshini Mattoo
etc., bear testimony to this jurisprudential trend.

But then Bachan Singh case also opened up a challenge to the judiciary: What
constitutes "rarest of rare"? There is no statutory definition. It is entirely
in the realm of judicial discretion without any legislative yardstick. Of
course, who else, but only a Judge, can award a death sentence. An element of
discretion/conscience is always ingrained in every judicial function. And, as
American Chief Justice Earl Warren [1891-1974] said, in civilised life, the law
floats in a sea of ethics.

Law Commission of India took note of above situation and, in its 262nd report
recommended that death penalty be abolished for all crimes other than terrorist
related offences and waging war against the Government of India. The Commission
felt that time has come for India to move towards abolition of the death
penalty. The Commission further hoped that the movement towards absolute
abolition will be swift and irreversible. With respect, it is difficult to
agree with Law Commission's majority opinion. The line of demarcation between
terrorist related offences and other heinous offences is blurred. Criminals
must face punishment. Greater the ferocity of offence, higher should be the
penalty. India is a vast country with multi-faceted strife in every field. It
is premature to abolish death penalty now or swiftly in future. Time is not
ripe yet. Existence of death penalty acts as a deterrence, and awarding death
sentence must continue to remain in the realm of judicial discretion/wisdom.
Also, under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution, the President and
Governors, respectively are powered to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or
remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any
person convicted of any offence.

Although death sentence may be retained, but procedure to execute must improve.
Beheading or hanging till death is barbaric, uncivilised and epitomises state
cruelty. Penalty of death sentence can surely be executed in a more civilised
manner; for example, extinguishing life by injecting painless medicine. Article
21 of India's Constitution sanctifies extinguishing (depriving) life by
"procedure established law". Extant established procedure of hanging till death
is most cruel. Indian civilisation in 21st century cannot afford to remain so
insensitive. The State must invent a better procedure to extinguish life.
Cruelties committed by criminals can, by no means, justify contra procedural
cruelty committed by the State. Death penalty may thus be retained in rarest of
rare cases, but the State may extinguish life in a civilised and less cruel

(source: Opinion; Bishwajit Bhattacharyya----The writer is Senior Advocate,
Supreme Court of India and former Additional Solicitor General of India----The
Asian Age)


Emotions and word of law

Wobbly and inconsistent standards could dilute or confuse India???s legal

Judges should never be bloodthirsty - a real concern for the dignity of human
life postulates resistance to taking a life through law's instrumentality. That
ought not to be done save in the rarest of rare cases when the alternative
option is unquestionably foreclosed." The Supreme Court spoke thus in the
Bachan Singh case. Judiciary has invariably stuck to the 'rarest of rare' rule
to pick convicts to send to the gallows.

The death penalty has been on the statute book for long and passed
constitutional muster too. In its 35th report in December 1967, the Law
Commission, which began its deliberations after a Parliament resolution in
1962, rejected the abolition of capital punishment linking it to "conditions in
India, to the variety of social upbringing, to disparity in morality and
education in the country."

But in August of 2015, the Commission, a proactive body with retired Chief
Justice A.P. Shah as its helmsman, recommended the "abolition of death penalty
except for terrorism and waging war-related crimes". Now, it is this report
that has been referred to all States by the Centre as Criminal Law and
Procedure are in the concurrent list of the Seventh Schedule of the
Constitution, and the entities need to be in the loop.

The Commission's deliberations were born out of a judgement of the SC in the
Sankar Kisanrao Kade case where the top court was concerned with differing
standards in adoption by the Judiciary and the Executive in considering crimes
fit for gallows or clemency. While the judiciary stuck to the "rarest of rare"
doctrine, the standards of the Executive were wobbly and were called into
question for "selectivity". The power of pardon with the President did not
always disclose good and valid reasons and therefore judicial intervention
became somewhat routine.

While the State Governments deliberate on their responses, emotions ought not
to hold sway as they may in Tamil Nadu as so many Rajiv Gandhi case death row
convicts are involved. The primary concern of SC is that the dispensation ought
to rid the inconsistency in treating prisoners fit for gallows and clemency and
not whether times have changed in 2017 from 1967 so much that India can afford
to get rid of the death penalty, even as ghastly crimes have shown no
noticeable abatement.

(source: Opinion; Narasimhan Vijayaraghavan----The writer is an advocate in the
Madras high court----The Asian Age)


Be bold and abolish death penalty, government told----Human rights advocates
urge that capital punishment be removed not just for drug trafficking offences,
but for all crimes currently punishable by death.

Human rights groups have urged the government to be bold and abolish the
mandatory death penalty in its entirety.

In applauding the Cabinet decision to amend Section 39(B) of the Dangerous
Drugs Act 1952 to include a clause providing discretionary powers to the courts
in sentencing drug traffickers, they said capital punishment was not right.

Amnesty International, Lawyers for Liberty and Suara Rakyat Malaysia all agreed
that there was no evidence to show the death penalty reduced crime.

They called on the government to make the anticipated removal of the mandatory
death penalty for drug offences the first step towards complete abolition of
that particular form of punishment.

"Malaysia is 1 of some 30 countries that still use the death penalty, including
mandatory death penalty, which remains one of the most abhorrent methods of
punishing crime," said Amnesty International Malaysia executive director
Shamini Darshini.

"Death penalty robs lives, has no impact on crime rate, and gives Malaysia a
black mark where its human rights record is concerned."

She said there was concern about the fate of current death row prisoners should
the 1952 Act be amended to allow discretionary sentencing by judges on certain
death penalty cases.

Prison Department statistics show there are almost 800 prisoners, both
Malaysians and foreigners, currently on death row for drug trafficking

On March 23, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Azalina Othman Said
told the Dewan Rakyat that a review of the Act would enable judges to mete out
suitable jail sentences instead of the mandatory death penalty, especially in
marginal cases.

Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen echoed Shamini's call for
the government to extend the review to all death penalty offences.

"The judges are in the best position to decide on the appropriate sentence for
each individual case, whether it is for murder, kidnapping, waging war, or
firearms offences."

He said contrary to popular belief, there was no "cogent empirical evidence" to
show the death penalty was a more effective deterrent of crime than long-term

"The death penalty disproportionately affects the poorer and lower classes, and
the risks of wrongful convictions cannot be excluded."

Paulsen also urged the government to impose a moratorium on all death penalties
pending the review and amendments.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the "long-awaited
baby move" - it was promised to be tabled in Parliament last year - was a
positive 1st step towards abolition of the death penalty.

"Everyone deserves a 2nd chance. The death penalty is not a solution; it is a
violation of human rights and should be abolished.

"We are aiming to become a developed nation, and one of its important elements
is human rights.

"Many countries have abolished the death penalty and we should aim for the
same," he said.

(source: freemalaysia.com)


Ex-judges want review of mandatory death penalty

The proposed amendments to review the mandatory death sentence for drug
trafficking will give judges wider discretion when deciding if a person is to
hang, says former chief justice Tun Ahmad Fairuz Sheikh Abdul Halim.

He said giving judges leeway for discretion would be a positive move in some

"There are some situations where a crime might not warrant the death penalty.
If this amendment is allowed, judges would be able to use their own
discretion," he said when met after a legal lecture he delivered yesterday.

He was responding to the Cabinet's agreement to review the Dange???rous Drugs
Act 1952 to allow judges to use their discretion in sentencing offenders
instead of impo???sing the mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who
made the announcement last week, said the review would enable judges to mete
out suitable sentences in marginal cases where offenders could be jailed

She said the review was presented to the Cabinet on March 1 by Attorney-General
Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali.

Ahmad Fairuz said during his time on the Federal Court bench, the duty of
having to sentence a man to death weighed on the conscience.

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who was a former minister in charge of law, said judges
would have the option to mete out suitable senten???ces on a case-by-case

"We always worry that judges do not have other options than the man???datory
death sentence. In some cases, there is not much evidence, but the judges have
no other options but to give the death penalty," he said.

Nazri said the move to give judges more discretion over the death penalty in
drug trafficking cases was long overdue.

He said the proposed amendments to provide such discretionary powers to judges
had come during his tenure when he was in charge of the law portfolio.

"When I was the minister, there were about 240 Malaysians who are suspected to
be drug mules all over the world. Some of their family members came to see me
personally and pleaded for leniency.

"We also can use this to negotiate with other governments who have arrested
Malaysians suspected to be drug mules," he added.

Nazri said another factor that was considered was that there were cases that
judges who do not wish to mete out death sentences in drug trafficking cases.

"Some judges do not believe in the death penalty. So when the case comes before
them, although there was enough evidence to impose a conviction, they will find
some technicality to acquit the person," he said.

Former court of appeal judge Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, who is also Suhakam
commissioner, is in favour of abolishing the death penalty.

"As for sentencing in cases of Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, I
believe that the grant of judicial discretion to judges is a step forward," he

Senior criminal law practitioner Kitson Foong said the move would address cases
of drug mules where the offender might be an innocent carrier.

"This will be a good opportunity for the court to spare the life of an
individual who has been used by drug cartels," he said.

(source: thestar.com.my)


Son's killers: Pakistani man pardons 10 Indians

A Pakistani has decided to forgive the murderers of his son, which could save
the lives of 10 Indian men.

A court in United Arab Emirates' city of Abu Dhabi has approved to pay blood
money in exchange of acquitting the Indian youngsters sentenced to death for
murder, BBC Urdu reported.

The youngsters, who came to work in Abu Dhabi from Indian Punjab, were
convicted in October last year for killing a Pakistani following an argument in

'Blood money' explained

As per Shariah law in the UAE, an appeal against death penalty can be filed in
court if the family of the victim and the convict reconcile, and the affected
family pardons the offender.

Mohammad Riaz, who originally belongs to Peshawar, has decided to pardon the
killers of his son, Mohammad Farhan.

Although the final decision will be taken by the court, the appeal has given
the convicts a new ray of hope, and a possibility to go free.

The blood money is being arranged by an Indian businessman SP Singh Oberoi, who
is based in Dubai. He's a president of the NGO, Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable
Trust, which works for people convicted and arrested for such matters.

"We have succeeded in forging the reconciliation," said Oberoi.

Pakistani citizen Farhan had breathed his last following the brawl. His father,
along with family and friends, is now in Abu Dhabi for exonerating the 10
Indians. He submitted the agreement in court, and has been given time until
April 12, 2017 for further action into the matter.

"It was unfortunate that I lost my son. I appeal the young generation not to
indulge in such fights and mind their own business," said Riaz. "I have
forgiven these 10 individuals. It's my name only...Allah has saved their lives.
Lives of at least 10 people, including wife and children, are attached
[financially] to one person [who comes to work in UAE]."

Riaz, Oberoi said, has assured he [on behalf of his family] will ask the judge
to pardon all the 10 convicts.

The Indian businessman said Riaz was invited from Pakistan 3 days ago, with all
arrangements, including visa and accommodation being made by his trust. "We
somehow made him agree... and as per Sharia law, have submitted Dhs200,000 as
blood money in court," he added.

Detailing the work of his NGO, Oberoi said that between 2006 and 2010, about
123 youngsters were sentenced to death and in prison for up to 40 years in the
UAE. His non-for-profit saved the lives of 88 such men, who have now returned
home. These men belonged to Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra and Hyderabad. 5 such
youths were also from Pakistan, and 5 from Bangladesh.

(source: Express Tribune)


Young Man Facing Death for Insulting Islam Online Tricked into Signing

Sina Dehghan, sentenced to death for "insulting the prophet" of Islam when he
was 19-years-old, was tricked into signing his confession, an informed source
told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

Despite the severity of the charge, a court-appointed attorney who failed to
defend him properly represented him during his trial, added the source, who
requested anonymity for security reasons.

"During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and
repented, he would be pardoned and let go," said the source in an interview
with CHRI on March 21, 2017. "Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and
accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to death."

"Later he admitted that he signed the confession hoping to get freed," said the
source. "Apparently the authorities also got him to confess in front of a
camera as well."

"Security and judicial authorities promised Sina???s family that if they didn't
make any noise about his case, he would have a better chance of being freed,
and that talking about it to the media would work against him," added the
source. "Unfortunately, the family believed those words and stopped sharing
information about his case and discouraged others from sharing it as well."

"Sina is not feeling well," continued the source. "He's depressed and cries
constantly. He's being held in a ward with drug convicts and murderers who
broke his jaw a while ago."

"He was a 19-year-old boy at the time (of his arrest) and had never done
anything wrong in his life," added the source.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrested Dehghan on October 21,
2015 at a military barracks in Tehran after he made comments against Islam and
the Quran on the LINE instant messaging application. He has been imprisoned in
Arak Prison ever since.

Initially, Branch 1 of the Criminal Court in Arak sentenced Dehghan to death
for "insulting the prophet" and 16 months in prison for "insulting the supreme
leader." The Supreme Court confirmed his death sentence in late January,
according to the source.

Deghan's co-defendants, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri, were also convicted of
posting anti-Islamic content on social media.

Nouri was issued the death sentence, which was upheld by the Appeals Court, but
it is not known if the Supreme Court has issued a final ruling.

Eliasi was initially issued a 7-year prison sentence, which was later reduced
to 3 years upon appeal.

According to article 262 of Iran's Islamic Penal Code, insulting the prophet is
punishable by death. However, Article 263 states that if the accused tells the
court that his insults were the result of anger or a mistake, the sentence
could be reduced to 74 lashings.

"Sina is allowed to contact his family by phone and receive visits," the source
told CHRI. "During the past year, his family has come from Tehran to visit him
every week."

(source: iranhumanrights.org)


Death Penalty Focus of Human Rights Report on Iran

The Secretary General released its report on the situation of human rights in
Iran at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council, being held in March in
Geneva. The 1st point of the report focused on the death penalty. Although
there has been a decrease in the number of executions in 2016 compared to 2015,
there are still a large number of individuals being executed or sentenced to
death in Iran.

At least 530 people, including 9 women, have been documented as being executed
in 2016. Non-governmental sources believe that this figure is actually much
higher. Many these executions are related to drug offences. On November 23,
2016, Hassan Nourozi, a member of the Iranian Parliament, indicated that there
were about 5,000 prisoners between 20 and 30 years old on death row in Iran.
Most of these individuals were 1st-time drug offenders.

Even though the death penalty has not been shown to be an effective deterrent
for drug-related offences, there has been no progress toward the adoption of a
bill to amend mandatory death penalty sentences for these crimes and no
moratorium against the execution of drug offenders.

Additionally, the trials for these individuals show that due process guarantees
were often violated in proceedings that fell short of international fair trial
standards. United Nations human rights mechanisms have repeatedly and
consistently expressed their great concern at this persistent trend, along with
urging the Iranian government to end executions and institute a moratorium on
the death penalty altogether.

There are also individuals in the Iranian parliament that continue to support
the death penalty for drug offenses, which is a concern as discussions of
changes to the penal code continue. Those who support an anti-death penalty
campaign can find themselves arrested. Atena Daemi, an anti-death penalty
campaigner, was reportedly taken away from her parents' home to begin serving a
7-year prison sentence for her activities against the death penalty. The
Iranian government has noted that her sentence has now been reduced to 5 years.

2 mass executions were conducted in 2016. On August 5, 20 people belonging to
the Kurdish minority were executed for terrorism-related offences. Concerns
were expressed by the Special Rapporteur and the UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights regarding the fairness of the these trials. On August 27, 12 individuals
were hanged for drug related offences. Basic international human rights fair
trial standards and due process guarantees were also reportedly disregarded in
their trials as well.

There is also the issue of individuals who have been sentenced to death row
remaining there for lengthy periods, in some cases over 15 years. Those who
have been executed are often put to death in public executions. Despite a 2008
circular banning this practice, the government continues to justify its use,
including as a deterrent for drug-related offenses. In July, a public execution
took place in front of a crowd of people including children. In September, a
prisoner was hanged in public at a sports stadium with at least one child
watching the execution. The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed
concern about the continued practice of public executions and their impact on

Politics also play a role in a number of death penalty cases. Several
individuals were reportedly executed in political cases and non-violent
economic crimes, again with issues regarding their trials. Iran is a party to
the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, but the trials for
political prisoners often ignore the international norms for due process as
defined in Article 14.

In August, Mohammad Abdollahi, an alleged Kurdish militant, was executed at
Darya. His charges were based solely on an accusation that he was a supporter
of a Kurdish opposition group and was sentenced to death for Moharebeh (enmity
against God), although he reportedly never committed any armed or violent acts.

Another key issue with the death penalty in Iran is the execution of juvenile
offenders. International human rights instruments, ratified by Iran, impose an
absolute bank on the execution of any persons who were under 18 at the time of
their offense, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime itself.
However, the Iranian penal code still allows for sentencing of children to
death and no progress to change this has been made, despite repeated
recommendations from the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Special Procedures
mandate holders and Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Despite assurances by the Iranian authorities that the judiciary was working to
prevent juvenile executions, at least five young individuals who were below the
age of 18 at the time of their offense in 2016. Between 80 to 160 individuals
convicted as children were reportedly on death row as of December 2016.

Additionally, the Secretary-General's predecessor noted that up to 60% of the
executions in Iran were taking place without prior notice and without informing
the family. Same-sex relations was also being punished with the death penalty,
partners being reportedly forced to describe their consensual sex acts as rape
to avoid a death sentence.

As a result of multiple issues regarding the use of the death penalty, the
international community continues to encourage the Iranian government to
suspend the use of the death penalty, particularly in regards to cases with a
juvenile offender or drug-related offenses.

(source: themediaexpress.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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March 27


December 16 gangrape case: Supreme Court reserves order on plea challenging
death penalty to convicts----The convicts in the case appealed against the
Judgement of Delhi High Court which considered the crime committed by them
'rarest of the rare' and awarded them the death penalty.

New Delhi, March 27: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order in the
Nirbhaya gangrape case on the petition filed challenging the death sentence to
convicts. The matter is being heard by a three-judge bench including Justice
Dipak Misra and Justices R. Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan. The convicts in the
case appealed against the judgement of Delhi High Court which considered the
crime committed by them 'rarest of the rare' and awarded them death penalty.

In an earlier development, the Supreme Court accepted the plea filed by amicus
curiae Raju Ramachandran, which argued that the convicts were not given
appropriate chances to represent their cases. He said that there was a
violation of procedure with regard to the sentencing of the convicts - Akshay,
Pawan, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh. The accused were asked to file their affidavits
by February 23.

In December last year, amicus curiae Sanjay Hegde questioned the evidence
produced by the prosecution in the gangrape case and came out with certain
points putting a question on the merit of evidence. According to Hegde, 1 of
the convicts, Mukesh, was not with the prime culprit Ram Singh when the offence
was committed since their mobile locations were found to be different on that

The case also witnessed the suicide of the main accused Ram Singh in the Tihar
jail. Similarly, another accused who was juvenile at the time of crime has
already been convicted in August last year. The court awarded him a maximum
sentence of 3 years in a reform house.

In December 2012, 6 people gang raped a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in a
moving bus in Delhi. The girl succumbed to her injuries in a Singapore hospital
on December 29, 2012.

The rape case also stormed the streets of Delhi with protesters demanding
women's safety in the capital city. After a long deadlock, the central
government agreed to form a committee which revisited the laws related to the
rape in India. The committee led by Justice JS Verma recommended a new law for
the country.

(source: india.com)


Lam Thye suggests moratorium on death penalty cases

The Government should consider whether its review of the mandatory death
penalty for drug trafficking should include making it retrospective on pending
cases, said social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

Lee said the proposal for the review under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs
Act was timely as this could help prevent a "travesty of justice".

Judges, he said, must be given the discretion to mete out suitable sentences on
a case by case basis, especially for drug mules.

"While supporting the review of Section 39B, I also hope that the Government
will address the issue raised by lawmakers and legal practitioners, including
whether the move, if approved, could have a retrospective effect on pending
death penalty cases," he said in a statement here yesterday.


More than 1,100 people have received death sentence in Malaysia

More than 1,100 people have been convicted and sentenced to death by the courts
up to Feb 21 this year, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid

"Based on statistics from the Prison Department, as of Feb 21 this year, a
total of 1,122 prisoners have been found guilty and sentenced to death by
court," said Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minster in a written
parliamentary reply.

His reply did not state from when these convictions took place.

He was responding to a question from Kasthuri Patto (DAP-Batu Kawan), who asked
the Ministry to reveal the statistics of prisoners who have been sentenced to
death according to background and cases as of Feb this year.

Ahmad Zahid said a total of 16 inmates - 14 Malaysian and two foreigners - had
been executed between 2014 and Feb 21 this year.

"From the total, a total of 15 prisoners have been sentenced to death for
murder while the other one was due to a crime involving firearms," said Dr
Ahmad Zahid.

Last week, The Cabinet agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to allow
judges to use their discretion in sentencing offenders instead of imposing the
mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said
the review will enable judges to mete suitable sentences in marginal cases
where offenders could be given jail sentences.

(source for both: thestar.com.my)


New bill to remove statute of limitations on homicide----Taiwan's Ministry of
Justice proposes to remove statute of limitations on homicide in new bill

In a landmark legal reform, Taiwan's Ministry of Justice recommended to
eliminate the current maximum 30-year statute of limitations on homicide,
enabling law enforcement to prosecute murderers indefinitely in the future.

Taiwan's Criminal Code has been around for 82 years and has been heavily
criticized for its outdated regulations, which led the ministry to amend 21
articles of the code.

Removing the statute of limitations for murder-related crimes is one of the
most important amendments being made to the Criminal Code, and could help solve
cold cases dating back 20 years when forensic science was less advanced.

Crimes in Taiwan have a statute of limitations ranging from a minimum of 5
years for less serious crimes to a maximum of 20 to 30 years for serious crimes
that might receive a death penalty or life imprisonment sentence under Article
80 of the Criminal Code.

Several high-profile murder cases in Taiwan were left unsolved following the
passing of the statute of limitations, including the execution-style murder of
former Taoyuan Commissioner Liu Pang-yu on Nov. 21, 1996, and the murder of
Peng Wan-ru, director of the Democratic Progressive Party Women's Affairs
Department, on Nov. 30, 1996.

The statute of limitations for both cases expired in December 2016.

Killers in these cases as well as those of navy captain Yin Ching-feng in Dec.
10, 1993 or the murder of former DPP Party Chairman Lin I-hsiung's mother and
7-year-old twin daughters on Feb. 20, 1980, remain unidentified.

Many of these unsolved cases took place more than two decades ago when forensic
science was still rudimentary, but the old Criminal Code capped the statute of
limitations on murder at 20 years, meaning criminals could walk free once the
time passed, even if law enforcement were able to track the killer down after
the period, stated the ministry.

The ministry noted this was illogical and the recommended amendments to remove
the statute of limitations on serious crimes were modeled on legal practices in
Japan and Germany, where homicide does not have a statute of limitations.

The bill recommends that the sentence for those that take the life of their own
kin under Article 272 should be the same as those that are homicide offenders
under Article 271.

Under the current Article 272, criminals that murder family members or
relatives are handed either the death sentence or life imprisonment, which is
inflexible and offers no room for judges to base their decision on the
circumstances of the murder.

The proposed amendment recommends judges should be able to double the length of
prison sentences for those that murder their own family members in cold blood,
but should take into consideration the circumstances of the murder.

For instance a more lenient sentence should be given to murderers of family
members that endured long years of abuse from the victim, but a much heavier
sentence should be issued to those that planned the murder of their family
members over trifling issues.

The ministry also recommended to only charge mothers that kill their infants
with criminal responsibility if the newborn was conceived through rape, had
untreatable congenital disorders, or because the mother was unable to
economically support the child. However, the court must prove she had "no other

Under the current Article 274 of the Criminal Code, a mother who kills her
newborn will be handed a minimum of six months to a maximum of five years in

(source: Taiwan News)


4 Kampar men charged with trafficking 14.6kg of meth

4 men, including 3 brothers, were today charged at the magistrate's court here
with trafficking in 14.6kg of methamphetamine on March 13.

Kalitazan @ Nur Azan Abdullah, 44, B. Kalidass, 41, R. Elanggo, 30 and R.
Vikneswari, 28, were accused of committing the offense at an abandoned hut in
Jeram Mukim, Kampar Km1/2, Gua Tempurong here, at 2pm.

They could face the death penalty under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous
Drugs Act 1952, if found guilty.

No plea was recorded, and no bail was offered.

Magistrate Nurul Asyifa Redzuan fixed May 8 for mention, pending a chemist

The men were represented by Sukhdabe Singh Kashmir Singh, while Deputy Public
Prosecutor Nurul Azriah Said prosecuted.

(source: Yahoo News)


Hanging won't stop criminals if detection rate stays low - Bishop

A member of the West Indian United Spiritual Baptist Sacred Order Inc in
collaboration with The Baptist Community of T&T sing spiritual songs as she
walks along Coffee Street San Fernando, during their annual "Baptist Liberation
Rally and Peace march Against Violence", on Saturday

As Parliament moves to resume the execution of convicted murderers, Bishop of
the United West Indian Baptist Sacred Order, Leon John, says this will not
deter criminals as the crime detection rate is too low.

Giving his personal view on the death penalty during the annual baptist
Liberation Rally in San Fernando on Saturday, John said if criminals believe
they can commit crimes without being caught they will continue their crimes.

The success of the death penalty has long been debated in society, with many
believing it does little to deter the murder rate.

With the murder rate spiralling once again, John said penalties, including a
death penalty, would only work if you have someone to impose them on.

"In order you hang somebody you have to really find out who actually did the
murder. The rate of detection of crime in Trinidad and Tobago is really low, so
even if you increase penalties, if you don???t find persons who did the crime,
hangings will not help much," John said.

"I believe that it would not make a difference with what is taking place with
crime. I'm not in support of bringing back hangings as a deterrent to crime. If
the criminals know that they will be caught, that will be a deterrent. If they
know they can do crimes and get away, even if there is hanging as the final
penalty, that would not be a deterrent."

During a post-Cabinet media briefing on March 16, Prime Minister Dr Keith
Rowley said he was a firm believer in capital punishment and that those who
have chosen crime as a way of life should pay the ultimate penalty. Rowley said
he had communicated with former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, who
had provided a pathway for the Office of the Attorney General to make sure the
existing law can be used.

Maharaj is expected to host a media conference today to speak on Rowley's

It was during Maharaj's term as attorney general in 1999 that Dole Chadee and
his gang were executed, after being convicted for the murders Hamilton
Baboolal, his sister, Monica and their parents. 2 children, Osmond and Sumatee
Baboolal, survived the attack. Osmond later turned to a life of drugs.

Giving an insight into what might come today, Lawrence said, "I'm basically
dealing with the announcement made by the Prime Minister with respect to the
submission of a plan for the implementation of the death penalty. I'll be
talking about the questions and issues that have been raised following that

He said he will also be dealing with the laws to abolish preliminary inquiries
and introduce judge alone trials which Government intends to introduce, as well
as its fight against crime since coming into office.

(source: Trinidad Guardian)


Justice Minister wants death penalty abolished

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Baboucarr Tambedou, has said he
wants the death penalty abolished in The Gambia.

He said so on Thursday at a press conference held at the Justice ministry in

Personally, he is an advocate for the abolition of death penalty in The Gambia,
he added.

The Justice minister reiterated that the Justice ministry takes full
responsibility for the error made in the process of amending the age limit in
the constitution, carried out recently at the National Assembly.

"I was certainly aware, and I have taken full responsibility in terms of the
error in the procedures, and I think we have closed that chapter. We are
looking now to other interesting challenges in this country," he said in
response to questions on the issue.

He added that no new cases on criminal charges will be handled by the Justice
ministry, unless "they are thoroughly and comprehensively investigated and
until the ministry of Justice is in a position to conduct this trials and only
on the approval of the Cabinet."

He said they are preparing for victims under the former government, and when
the truth and reconciliation commission is set up they will look at issues
surrounding justice, "which will soon be done".

The ministry of Justice, in consultation with the Interior ministry, has
established a 'criminal case' and detention review panel, to review ongoing
criminal cases against current or former public officers or cases linked to
political activities.

"The membership of the panel consists of lawyers from the Ministry of Justice,
staff members from the Ministry of the Interior, a representative from the
Gambia Police Force and the Gambia Prison Service. I have started receiving
their recommendations on a rolling basis, and I will act based on this."

Foreign judges

Minister Tambedou also said The Gambia is not a xenophobic country, as Gambians
do not hold anything against foreign judges.

However, after 52 years of Independence "the country has matured enough to be a
country that is capable of producing its own judges to preside over its affairs
in its own country."

He made it clear that where the country lacks capacity, expertise or experience
in a particular area, "the country will be more than happy to welcome technical
assistance from traditional friends and allies".

(source: The Point)

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2017-03-28 13:46:59 UTC
March 28


Dhaka court awards death penalty to 5 for killing Bangladesh's award winning

A Dhaka court on Tuesday sentenced 5 persons to death for killing award-winning
photojournalist Aftab Ahmed in 2013, a media report said.

The verdict was announced by Judge Abdur Rahman Sarder of Dhaka Speedy Trial
Tribunal 4.

The convicts are Humayun Kabir, Habib Hawlader, Belal Hossain, Raju Munshi and
Md Rasel, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

Of them, Rasel and Raju have been absconding since the case was filed.

The court also sentenced Sabuj Khan to 7 years imprisonment and fined him. If
he doesn't pay, he will serve an extra year in jail.

According to the case details, on December 25, 2013, the 80-year-old
photojournalist was killed at his house in Rampura here.

Aftab was awarded 'Ekushey Padak', the 2nd highest civilian award in
Bangladesh, in 2006. He had an illustrious career during which he served as
chief photographer for the Bangla newspaper The Daily Ittefaq.

(source: hindustantimes.com)


Assigned lawyers will still represent those facing death penalty----Chief
Justice says this is important as it involves offenders' lives.

The judiciary will continue to assign lawyers to represent accused persons,
including foreigners, who are facing the death penalty, Chief Justice Arifin
Zakaria says.

"The government gives priority to this matter as it involves the life of
accused persons," he told reporters after the launch of a coffee table book
titled "Palace of Justice" by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department
Azalina Othman Said.

Arifin, who retires this week, said this when asked if payments of legal fees
to court-appointed lawyers were affected since the government had slashed
allocations to ministries.

It is a practice that those who face charges carrying capital punishment must
be represented by lawyers if they cannot afford to engage counsel.

Such lawyers appear during trial in the High Court and during appeals in the
Court of Appeal and Federal Court.

Among the offences that carry the death penalty are murder, drug trafficking,
kidnap and discharge of firearms.

Meanwhile, Azalina in a speech today said "something would be in store from the
government" for Arifin after his retirement.

"I will make sure of this as long as I am the de facto law minister," she said.

When approached later, Arifin declined to comment.

To questions about his post-retirement plans, Arifin, who was interviewed by
the media yesterday, said he would accept a consulting position at a law firm
in a manner similar to that of other retired judges.

"Why not? You need some income and something to fill up the time. I need to be
active, otherwise my mental capacity will be reduced," he had said.

(source: freemalaysiatoday.com)


Death-row inmate convicted of killing 4 people in 1993 dies of illness

Gen Sekine, a former pet breeder on death row for killing 4 people in Saitama
Prefecture in 1993, died Monday while in detention, a person familiar with his
condition said.

The 75-year-old inmate - who was convicted of conspiring with his former wife
Hiroko Kazama to kill 3 people in a financial dispute stemming from his dog
breeding business - is believed to have died of an illness, according to the
source. Kazama, 60, is also on death row.

Sekine, who was also convicted of a separate killing the same year, died at the
Tokyo Detention House on Monday morning. He had collapsed there in November
last year, according to the source.

In 1993, he murdered a 39-year-old company employee, a senior member of a crime
syndicate and the man's driver by making them swallow poison capsules. He then
dismembered their bodies before incinerating and abandoning the remains,
according to a court ruling.

In the separate case, Sekine murdered a 54-year-old woman after selling dogs of
foreign origin to her in a scam.

Sekine and Kazama were initially arrested in January 1995. In March 2001, a
district court in Saitama Prefecture sentenced them to death for committing, in
the words of its presiding judge, "cruelly ruthless and extremely heinous

The Tokyo High Court rejected the pair's appeal in July 2005, and the Supreme
Court upheld the decision in June 2009.

(source: Japan Today)


British lord joins call to save Jennifer Dalquez from death row

A member of United Kingdom's House of Lords or upper parliament has called on
the government of the United Arab Emirates to grant Filipina domestic helper
Jennifer Dalquez clemency to save her from death row.

"It is clear from the evidence that her action was not pre-meditated, but a
desperate response to an unprovoked sexual attack," Inderjit Singh, Lord of
Wimbledon CBE, said in a letter addressed to UAE Ambassador Sulaiman Hamid

"I am writing to you to use your good offices to remove the threat of the death
penalty and for the authorities to show due clemency," added Singh, a former
BBC journalist, engineer, and champion of interfaith relations.

An excerpt of the letter was posted on the website of Network of Sikh
Organizations, the British-registered charity that Singh chairs.

The same post contains a statement from the pro-migrant worker group Justice
For Domestic Workers (J4DW), which described Dalquez, 30, as another "victim of
gross inhumane abuse and injustice faced by migrants in the Gulf states."

"Her plea in mitigation of self defense as she resisted and fought off her
assailant when he attempted to rape her at knife point has been disregarded,"
J4DW Coordinator Marissa Begonia said.

Dalquez was sentenced to death for killing her employer on May 20, 2015. She
insisted it was self defense as her employer, armed with a knife, allegedly
tried to rape her.

The Court of Appeals in Al Ain on Monday deferred to April 12 its ruling on
Dalquez's execution after 1 of the victim's children did not attend the

Dalquez could be saved from execution if the victim's 2 children will opt for
the payment of blood money.

(source: gmanetwork.com)


Death penalty should be abolished, says Baru

State PKR chairman Baru Bian wholeheartedly agrees with the call by human
rights advocates that capital punishment be removed for all crimes currently
punishable by death.

According to him, imposing of the death penalty was believed to act as a
deterrent against crime but there is no conclusive evidence that capital
punishment is an effective deterrent.

"Those who are about to commit crimes do not stop and sit down to weigh the
consequences if they are caught, especially those who commit murder.

"I believe most people do not even know what the penalties are for various
crimes except for drug trafficking as that is well-publicised, but even that
does not have any deterrent effect, judging from the unabating illegal drug
activities in this country," Baru said in a press statement yesterday.

Baru, who is Ba Kelalan assemblyman, said while capital punishment does not
give the offender the chance to be rehabilitated, he believed that people can
change, and there are many offenders who do change.

"Whether it is through spiritual input, professional counselling or even the
ageing process, many former criminals have changed their attitudes towards
crime and emerged as reformed individuals.

"There is ample evidence of such transformations and I believe that we should
not give up on anyone, even hard-core criminals."

Baru pointed out that there is also the human rights aspect, that executing
people runs contrary to the principle of holding high regard for the sanctity
of human life.

"I do not believe that we have the right to end someone else's life, and
executions merely serve to label us as barbaric while having no deterrent
effect on crime."

Most horrifying of all, Baru said, once the death sentence is carried out, it
is too late to reverse the decision or to compensate the executed if it is
later discovered that there has been a miscarriage of justice.

"This is not merely a hypothetical situation, as there are documented cases of
people being executed for crimes they did not commit."

He said research in the US in 2014 found that over 4 % of death row inmates
were innocent, calling this a conservative estimate.

"If this is applied to the number of death row inmates in Malaysia, there could
be 32 people languishing in prison waiting to be executed for crimes they are
innocent of. This is not inconceivable, given the pressures and limitations
that our criminal justice system operates under."

Baru said the idea that the innocent could be executed is so abhorrent that of
itself, that would be reason enough to abolish the death penalty.

"I agree with Suara Rakyat Malaysia director Sevan Doraisamy that the death
penalty is not a solution to crime and should be abolished."

The Cabinet last week agreed to review the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, to allow
judges to use their discretion in sentencing offenders instead of imposing the
mandatory death sentence.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said
the review will enable judges to mete out suitable sentences in marginal cases
where offenders could be given jail sentences.

(source: theborneopost.com)


Indonesia's president says open to death penalty review

Indonesia's President Joko Widodo said he would restore a moratorium on the
death penalty if he won the backing of the people, after a spate of executions
that drew international condemnation.

Widodo declared an anti-drugs campaign soon after coming to power in 2014 and
refused all requests for pardons from death-row drug convicts, ending a 4-year

But in recent months he has softened his position.

Asked in an interview with AFP on Monday whether he would consider a
moratorium, Widodo said: "Why not? But I must ask my people.

"If my people say OK, they say yes, I will start to prepare," he said.

A moratorium could be the 1st step towards abolishing the death penalty, a move
which needs approval in parliament which has been discussing the issue for the
past year.

However, Widodo said it would be difficult to secure parliamentary backing
without clear public support in a conservative, Muslim-majority country where
voters are deeply concerned about high levels of addiction.

He cited a 2015 survey by a private pollster that found 85 % of Indonesians
support the death penalty for drug traffickers.

- Jungle killings -

Since Widodo came to power, Indonesia has hauled 18 people -- 15 of them
foreigners -- before the firing squad for drug trafficking.

They include a group of 8 -- 2 Australians, a Brazilian, an Indonesian and 4
Nigerians -- who were put to death in a single night in April 2015 on the
prison island of Nusakambangan.

The convicts were taken to a jungle clearing on the island, which houses
several high-security prisons, and tied to stakes before being shot, in an move
that triggered global revulsion.

The executions of Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in
particular caused tensions, with Indonesia's neighbour Australia temporarily
recalling its ambassador from Jakarta.

Among the foreigners currently on death row are Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and
Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, who were both pulled from the April 2015 round of

A British grandmother, Lindsay Sandiford, is also on death row in Bali after
she was caught smuggling a huge stash of cocaine into the resort island which
attracts millions of visitors to its palm-fringed beaches every year.

Widodo has insisted that the death penalty is part of Indonesia's law and
serves as deterrent against drug trafficking.

However, last November he said he was "open for options" to abolish it. In
another concession, only drug convicts from countries that implement the death
penalty were executed last year.

- 'Good sign' -

International and domestic rights groups have appealed to Indonesia to put a
stop to capital punishment, arguing that miscarriages of justice are inevitable
in a judicial system deeply compromised by corruption.

Ricky Gunawan from Community Legal Aid Foundation, a group calling for the
abolition of the death penalty, said Widodo's latest comments were "a good sign
that he is shifting from his stubbornness".

"But the downside is he leaves it to the people to decide, and a good leader
should make a stance instead of leaving to the people to decide," he told AFP.

Gunawan urged President Francois Hollande, who will visit Indonesia this week,
to press the issue during their talks. France scrapped the death penalty at a
time when public support for it was high.

Some analysts have said that since Widodo is the 1st Indonesian president from
outside the establishment -- he was not in the military nor part of the elites
-- he needed to show a strong hand on law enforcement.

Halfway into his term, Widodo is faced with rising religious intolerance in a
country that has always prided itself as a moderate Muslim nation.

In a case seen as a major test for pluralism, the governor of Jakarta -- an
ethnic Chinese Christian - is currently on trial on allegations of blasphemy
against Islam.

Widodo said that extensive freedoms have opened the way for hate speech, but
played down the extent of intolerance, saying that a "small" number of
incidents was "normal" in a nation that embraces many religions and

"People must know the balance of rights and duty... if they are too free, it is
not good for our country," he said. "Indonesia is one of the most tolerant
countries in the world."

(source: Agence France-Presse)


'Will power needed for death penalty'

Former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj says the Government has been
given the plan on how to implement the death penalty and all that is required
now to get the job done was will power.

Speaking at a press conference at his San Fernando law chambers yesterday,
Maharaj SC said: "It comes to the will power of a government to deal with the
problem and the government depends upon its ministers. A plan is only as good
as its implementation...I believe it can be implemented. I believe if the
government wants to continue with the death penalty it can be implemented."

Maharaj who has passed on a dossier detailing how he was successful in hanging
Dole Chadee and his eight accomplices during his tenure as attorney general to
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, reiterated that he charged no fee.

He said the Government has the option of retaining the services of Peter
Pursglove SC, who is presently on vacation here, as a consultant to assist them
in carrying out the death penalty. Pursglove had been retained by Maharaj to
assist in fast-tracking murder cases.

Addressing the issue of the abolition of preliminary inquires, Maharaj said
that move will put additional strain on the High Court which already had
hundreds of people awaiting trial.

He endorsed the comments of Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard who
described the move as short-sighted during a parliamentary committee meeting
last Friday given the lack of resources in the DPP's Office and other
inefficiencies in the criminal justice system. Maharaj said the government must
withdraw the bill pending further study.

Similarly, he said the Miscellaneous Provisions (Trial by Judge Alone)Bill
should have gone through a process of proper and adequate consultation with the
legal profession and the public.

He said the law will not make any dent in the delays of the criminal justice
system and it would have no impact on increasing the detection rate for murders
and serious crimes.

Maharaj added that the time has come for the population to see and to feel the
government is declaring war against the criminal elements. Maharaj called on
the Government and the police to take immediate action to halt the spiralling
rate of criminal activities and bring the criminals to justice.

He said it was unacceptable that 85 % of the people who committed murders and
serious crimes are walking free and called for an immediate action plan to
increase the detection of crimes.

Maharaj said this must include:

* An overhaul and purge of the existing investigative units of the Police

* An overhaul for the forensic laboratory with immediate steps to have the
necessary staff and forensic technology to detect murders and serious crimes

* Immediate changes to the Witness Protection Unit so witnesses will be
encouraged and induced to come forward to testify

* Government must take steps to implement the DNA Act and establish a DNA bank.

(source: Trinidad Guardian)

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2017-03-29 13:51:33 UTC
March 29


4 Lakshmipur men get death penalty in 2014 rape case

A Lakshmipur court has sentenced 4 men to death in a 2014 case of rape on a
housewife in the district.

District and Session Judge AKM Abul Kashem delivered the verdict with the
accused on the dock on Wednesday.

The 4 accused - Sana Ullah, 37, Abul Kashem Majhi, 32, 'Harun', 32 and Md
Rahim, 27 - have also been slapped with a fine of Tk 20,000 each.

Prosecutor Abul Bashar said the victim was gang raped on the night of Dec 22,
2014 at Kamalnagar Upazila. She regained consciousness after spending 5 days in

6 days into the incident, the victim's husband started the case at Kamalnagar
Police Station accusing 5 people.

Police pressed charges against them on May 31, 2015.

One of the accused has been acquitted in the case, said advocate Bashar.

(source: bdnews24.com)


Islamic State stones a youth accused of homosexuality in Mosul

The Islamic State group has sentenced a youth to death by stoning in the city
of Mosul, on charges of homosexuality.

The terrorist group published photos on affiliated websites showing a number of
IS Diwan al-Hisbah (accountability) members, while reading out death sentence
according to Sharia, in the presence of a crowd of people, before carrying out
the execution based on "the limits of Allah and Islam".

The photos revealed that the Islamic State militants started to throw the youth
with stones, who was blindfolded, after throwing him from a building???s
rooftop, but the exact time and location of the execution were not identified.

The incident is not the 1st of its kind in Mosul, where the terrorist group
claims to implement the limits of God and Islam.

Earlier this year, Islamic State militants sentenced a man to death by throwing
him from a high rooftop in Mosul, after accusing him of being homosexual, while
used the same method to execute 4 people, including 2 of its own members, on
charges of homosexuality and sodomy in Dor al-Toub area in central Mosul.

(source: iraqinews.com)

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2017-03-30 13:03:52 UTC
March 30


Village chief gets death for rape, killing girl

The Kalasin Provincial Court on Thursday morning sentenced to death a former
village chief for the rape and fatal assault of an 18-year-old student and
ordered he pay more than 2 million baht compensation to her family.

The court found Krittidech Rawengwan, 35, formerly village chief of Ban Si Than
in Kamalasai district, guilty of rape and physical assault causing the death of
Ruadeewan Polprasit on Dec 23, 2015.

Ruadeewan was travelling home from school when her attacker kicked and knocked
over her motorbike, then dragged her into a rice field on the side of the Ban
Si Than-Ban Non Muang road. She fought back and was able to fend off his
attempts to rape her.

However, she was severely beaten during the attack and died from her injuries.
A post mortem showed that her liver had been ruptured.

Krittidech was arrested on April 4, 2016 and the case was filed with the court
on June 4, 2016. He was charged with rape and physical assault causing death.

Krittidech denied any wrongdoing through the trial. The court heard testimony
from 40 prosecution witnesses in November last year and questioned 11 defence
witnesses in December.

The court found him guilty as charged and handed down the death sentence. He
was ordered to pay 2.39 million baht to the victim's family.

The courtroom was packed with Ruadeewan's relatives and neighbours.

(source: bangkokpost.com)


Gaza military court sentences 2 to death for drug offenses

In the 1st ruling of its kind since the creation of the Palestinian Authority
(PA) in 1994, a military court in Gaza City sentenced 2 Palestinians convicted
of selling drugs to death on March 18. The court condemned others convicted of
the same charges to prison with hard labor. The sentences were welcomed by many
Palestinians but slammed by human rights groups.

According to the charge sheet published by the Ministry of Interior, based on
intelligence received, the Palestinian Anti-Narcotics Department arrested the 2
while in possession of large quantities of drugs they had smuggled across the
Gaza Strip???s southern border. A 2013 law on psychotropic substances allows
for the execution of drug dealers in the Gaza Strip.

The head of the military court, Nasser Suleiman, told journalists on March 18
that those condemned to death had previous convictions of drug dealing but had
committed the same crime again, meaning that the previous punishments had not
deterred them.

He said the military court was hearing 30 cases of drug dealing. The cases had
been heard previously by civilian courts, but 3 months ago, they were
transferred to the military court as drugs are considered a threat to public
security. As the crimes involve smuggling through the border areas, said
Suleiman, they should be under the control of the National Security Forces.

Gaza's Interior Ministry spokesman Iyad al-Bazm told Al-Monitor the drugs are
primarily smuggled into the Strip from Egypt through its southern border and
from Israel through its eastern border, and that security measures by the
Interior Ministry had thwarted the delivery of large quantities of narcotics
and resulted in the arrests of those selling them.

The Ministry of Interior said that by the 1st quarter of 2017, the ministry had
seized about 1,200 packages of hashish and 400,000 Tramadol pills.

Bazm said that 2015 and 2016 saw a rise in drug smuggling into Gaza, and the
ministry would not allow Palestinian society to be destroyed from the inside by
such substances. Every effort would be made to protect the youth from the
dangerous phenomenon, he added.

The head of planning at the Palestinian police's Anti-Narcotics Department,
Hassan al-Swerky, told Al-Monitor that January saw the largest drug bust in 3

Swerky urged the court to carry out the death sentences as soon as possible to
deter others thinking of smuggling such substances into Gaza. Despite the large
quantities of drugs that have been seized over the past months, he claimed that
addiction levels have dropped. Swerky declined to give figures for drug abuse
in the Strip, saying only that rehabilitation centers and primary care clinics
run by the Interior Ministry had successfully treated many addicts who checked
themselves in for treatment.

Hundreds of activists and citizens in Gaza organized protest vigils on March
19, calling for severe punishments for drug dealers and welcoming the harsh

Human rights groups, meanwhile, condemned the sentences.

"We are against the death penalty and the sentences issued on March 18, which
represent an attack on the civilian judiciary by the military judiciary,
because drug cases should be tried before civilian courts," Issam Younis, the
head of Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, told Al-Monitor.

Younis called on the Gaza authorities to repeal the sentences and examine why
those convicted had committed their crimes. He said the Gaza Strip and the West
Bank face partition, blockade, unemployment and rising poverty, all of which
create fertile ground for criminality.

He said that drug trafficking is a crime that no one can condone, and those
guilty of it must be punished - but within the framework of laws that preserve
human rights. He also expressed doubt over the sentences' efficacy, asking,
"Does the death penalty, which needs to be approved by President Mahmoud Abbas
before it is carried out, deter crime?"

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights protested that no law allows for the
death penalty for drug possession and that the court had overstepped by hearing
a case that was entirely civilian.

In a March 19 statement, the organization said, "We express our deep concern
over these dangerous developments in the use of the death penalty, and we
emphasize the danger of using it or approving it in drug cases, especially in
light of the lack of fair trial guarantees and the many reports of widespread
torture during interrogations, especially in connection with drug crimes."

The organization has registered 35 executions since the establishment of the PA
in 1994, 33 in Gaza and 2 in the West Bank. They have included various types of
cases ranging from spying for Israel to homicide, and most were carried out
without the approval of the Palestinian president.



Judgment announced: Court awards death penalty, life term to 2 in murder case

A court awarded death sentence and life term to 2 accused for their involvement
in a murder case in Sargodha on Tuesday.

The judgment was announced by Additional District and Sessions Judge Zulfikar
Ahmad. The prosecution told the court that accused Hashmatullah, resident of 49
Tail, Sargodha and his accomplices Asmatullah, Ehsanullah and Ikram, had gunned
down 2 real brothers Haroon and Amjad over a property dispute a few years ago.

The local police registered a case against the accused and presented the
challan before the court. After hearing the arguments, the judge handed down
death sentence to Hashmatullah and life imprisonment to Ehsanullah along with a
fine of Rs0.4 million as compensation money. However, the court acquitted
Asmatullah and Ikram over lack of evidence. The accused was sent to District
Jail Sargodha.

Earlier on March 1, 2017, accused Shanaf had killed Adil over a land dispute in
Parthanwala Village. The judge awarded death sentence to the accused and
ordered him to pay fine of Rs200,000.

(source: The Express Tribune)


Half of Leave voters want to bring back the death penalty after Brexit

More than a 1/2 of Leave voters want the death penalty brought back after
Brexit, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey also found 42 % of those who opted to part ways with the
European Union want corporal punishment back in schools and 30 % want
inefficient light bulbs to return to shop shelves.

The results were released on the day Theresa May sent a letter to European
Council President Donald Tusk and formerly triggered the 2-year countdown to

The results have been compiled into a chart by Statista, exclusively for The

The death penalty for murder was abolished for the entirety of the UK in 1973
but votes on whether to restore it were held every year until 1997.

But the poll found 53 % of those surveyed want a return to capital punishment
after Britain leaves the Union.

The poll, quizzed 2,060 adults on 21 and 22 February. The research, also
surveyed 810 Remain voters and found that 20 % of people opting to stay in the
European Union backed the death penalty.

(source: indpendent.co.uk)

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2017-03-31 13:37:16 UTC
March 31


Man facing death penalty acquitted after 8 years

The Supreme Court on Thursday acquitted a man, who was awarded death sentence
by a trial and a high court in a murder case, after 8 years in prison.

Abdul Baqi was convicted in the killing case of Muhammad Ali in Balochistan in
2009. The trial court on the basis of a medical report and witnesses'
statements had awarded him the death sentence. Later, the Balochistan High
Court upheld Baqi's death sentence. The convict had challenged high court
verdict in the Supreme Court.

A 3-member bench headed by Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa after hearing the
arguments of the prosecution and the defence counsel acquitted Abdul Baqi and
set aside the BHC verdict.

The bench observed that there was a contradiction between the medical report
and the statements of the prosecution witnesses. Justice Khosa said that in the
charge-sheet it was written that an axe was recovered from the accused, but
later it was added that a 'blood soaked axe' was recovered.

The court observed that the prosecution has failed to prove its case and
ordered to release Baqi.

(source: nation.com.pk)


Mad mullah's give man death penalty for blasphemy

Iran's mad mullahs have sentenced a young man to death - for "insulting the
prophet" on a social media app.

The Daily Mail reports that Sina Dehghan was just 19 when arrested by the
country's fanatical revolutionary guard for insulting Islam on the LINE app.

But human rights activists claim the confession was tricked out of Dehghan who
was told he would be released if he signed.

Once he signed, prosecutors allegedly reneged on the deal and in January, he
was sentenced to die.

"During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a confession and
repented, he would be pardoned and let go," a source told the Center for Human
Rights in Iran. "Unfortunately, he made a childish decision and accepted the
charges. Then they sentenced him to death."

What exactly he did - and said - remains unknown.

Dehghan even confessed on camera, believing he was about to be sprung. Fanatics
told his family to keep quiet and the matter would fade away.

That didn't happen.

"Unfortunately, the family believed those words and stopped sharing information
about his case and discouraged others from sharing it as well," the source

Now, his lawyer has asked for a judicial review in a scramble to save the young
man's life.

His co-defendants, Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri were also convicted of
posting anti-Islamic material on social media.

Nouri was sentenced to death but his eventual fate remains unknown. Eliasi was
sentenced to 7 years in prison but that was reduced to 3 on appeal.

Dehghan was a draftee in the military when he was arrested in 2015.

"They took him to his home and searched it while he repeatedly expressed regret
and repentance," a source told CHRI.

(source: torontosun.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-01 12:41:15 UTC
April 1


MP govt plans to introduce death penalty for rape of minor

An amendment to the criminal law providing death penalty for raping a minor
would be introduced in the Madhya Pradesh Assembly soon, the government said on

"A bill providing death sentence for rape of minors would be presented in the
coming monsoon session [of Assembly]. Once it is passed it would be forwarded
to the President for assent," Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said on

Mr. Chouhan made the announcement while addressing 'Joint Convocation Ceremony'
at the Madhya Pradesh Police Academy.

"The 1st condition for the development of the state and the country is a good
law and order system and this is the major responsibility of the police," Mr.
Chouhan said.

His government would extend full support to the police, the CM assured.

The government had sanctioned at least 30,000 new posts of police personnel at
various levels and some 25,000 new houses were going to be constructed with
facilities like CCTV cameras for the police personnel, he added.

Mr. Chouhan also lauded the police, especially for the investigation of Bhopal
- Ujjain train blast case, where the accused were nabbed within 3 hours.

Women were not inferior to anyone and therefore 1/3 of the posts in the police
department were reserved for women in the state, he said.

The Chief Minister also asked the police to create an atmosphere where women
can move around anywhere at any time independently and fearlessly.

As many as 633 police personnel (including 155 women) in the ranks such as
subedar, sub-inspector, sub-inspector of Special Armed Force (SAF) and
sub-inspector of Special Branch were inducted in the service during the 89th
Convocation of the Academy.

(source: thehindu.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-02 14:43:10 UTC
April 2


Hanging in disbelief

The Privy Council decided in 1993 in the case of Pratt and Morgan that
execution could not lawfully take place more than 5 years after sentence. It
was recommended that a capital appeal should be heard within 12 months of
conviction and the entire domestic appeal process completed within 2 years.

I remain hanging in disbelief at any suggestion that the death penalty can be
resumed simply by returning to case management that makes our murder cases
Pratt and Morgan compliant.

On several previous occasions when the resumption of hanging ole talk has
appeared I have written to explain that there are existing hindrances to the
implementation of the death penalty in addition to Pratt and Morgan.

On this occasion, I emphasise that 2 of these hindrances arose out of a
decision of the Privy Council given shortly after the execution of Dole Chadee
and his associates.

The additional hindrances to the implementation of the death penalty are
potential challenges to test the fairness of the Mercy Committee process and
the state of conditions in prison. They are contained in Lewis and others v The
Attorney General for Jamaica decided on September 12, 2000, referred to below
as Lewis.

In addition, condemned persons have continued to petition international human
rights bodies in order to obtain a recommendation that their sentences be

In The Attorney General for Barbados v Joseph and Boyce, the Caribbean Court of
Justice (the CCJ) in a decision dated November 8 2006, agreed with an earlier
decision of the Privy Council, although on different grounds, that a condemned
person had a right to petition the relevant international human rights bodies
and to have the reports of those bodies received and considered by the State
prior to execution.

The Privy Council to whose jurisdiction our country has remained subject, has
resisted any change in the Pratt and Morgan timetable to permit execution later
than five years after sentence in order to accommodate delays in the
determination of appeals to international bodies.

It did so even though the Board acknowledged that it might have been
over-optimistic to expect that petitions to international human rights bodies
could be dealt with in 18 months, particularly where petitions may be made to 2
international bodies.

The CCJ has disagreed and said that the time for receiving the decision of the
international bodies should not be open-ended.

Access to the international bodies was not an impediment in the case of Dole
Chadee. He had already accessed the international bodies and they had rejected
his petitions by the time of his 2 additional last-ditch appeals to the Privy
Council in 1999 heard 0n May 10 and May 29, 1999, which were unsuccessful and
followed by his execution on June 4, 1999.

At that time, challenges to the Mercy Committee process and prison conditions
were not impediments, but the Privy Council then changed its mind in the Lewis
case and departed from previous decisions that precluded matters concerning the
Mercy Committee and prison conditions from being a hindrance to implementation.

It was acknowledged by Purseglove SC in an interview in this newspaper, last
week, that "the Privy Council is looking all the time for reasons to stop a
country executing".

In the 1st of Chadee's appeals, when the Privy Council gave its reasons it
expressly stated that it had held in Thomas and Hilaire in March 1999 that
prison conditions were not a constitutional ground, without more, for
commutation of a death sentence. 18 months later, the Board changed direction
in the Lewis case.

Regarding the change of direction by the Privy Council in Lewis, in a pungent
dissent, Lord Hoffman said: "If the Board feels able to depart from a previous
decision simply because its members on a given occasion have a 'doctrinal
disposition to come out differently', the rule of law itself will be damaged
and there will be no stability in the administration of justice in the

It is also worth repeating the following words of the Privy Council, per Lord
Nicholls, which indicate that nothing short of a constitutional amendment can
revive the death penalty for implementation: "If the requisite legislative
support for a change in the constitution is forthcoming, a deliberate departure
from fundamental human rights may be made, profoundly regrettable although this
may be. That is the prerogative of the legislature. If departure from
fundamental human rights is desired, that is the way it should be done. The
constitution should be amended explicitly."

In response to the above realities our political leaders have, as is common,
ducked confronting the real issues. On the death penalty question there has
been little attempt at consultation with the country followed by genuine
bi-partisan constitutional reform, if desired.

Political focus remains on periodic electoral battles to get their hands on the
national cash register and sometimes to put their friends and allies in line
for the spoils.

(source: Editorial, Trinidad Express)


Court awards death penalty to 2 in murder case

A court awarded death sentences to 2 accused for their involvement in a murder
case in Dera Ghazi Khan on Friday.

The judgment was announced by Additional District and Sessions Judge Khizar

The prosecution told the court that accused Kashif and Muhammad Usman,
residents of Dera Ghazi Khan, had murdered Shabbir Qureshi, an accountant of a
private firm, in June 2006 over money matters. The victim had gone to collect
money from the accused when they killed him and threw his body in a canal.

However, the police recovered the body and arrested the accused. The police
registered a case against the accused and presented the challan before the
court. After hearing the arguments, the judge handed down death sentence to
Kashif and Usman along with a fine of Rs0.9 million as compensation money. The
accused were sent to District Jail Dera Ghazi Khan.

Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court handed down 4 year jail imprisonment to two
accused for possessing explosives and weapons. ATC Judge Wajahat Hussain Khan
announced the verdict.

The prosecution told the court accused Hakim and Asad were arrested by CTD
police while huge quantity of weapons and explosives were also confiscated from

(source: The Express Tribune)


Death penalty upheld for 2 Bangladeshi militants over blogger murder

Death sentences awarded to 2 Bangladeshi militants were upheld on Sunday over a
blogger murder in 2013.

The High Court Division bench also ordered life imprisonment to 6 others
including Mufti Jashimuddin Rahmani, chief of the banned Islamist outfit
Ansarullah Bangla Team.

All the militants were reportedly affiliated with the banned Islamist outfit.

A special tribunal in Bangladesh capital Dhaka in December 2015 handed death
penalty to 2 and various jail terms to 6 others for killing the secular blogger
Ahmed Rajib Haider, 35, in February 2013.

1 of the death row convicts is on the run.

According to case details, Haider was hacked to death on Feb. 15, 2013 and his
body was brutally mutilated.

The brutality also irked protests from various quarters across the country.

Razib was the 1st of 6 bloggers killed in Bangladesh in a series of deadly
attacks against writers in the country.

(source: xinhuanet.com)


Death Sentence for Man for 'insulting Islam' through messaging app

Iranian authorities have sentenced a 21 year old man to death for "insulting
Islam" through messages he sent on an instant messenger app, when he was only

Human rights lawyers claim that Sina Dehghan, was tricked into confessing to
the breach of Islamic law by a promise of release. The Centre for Human Rights
in Iran says that once they obtained his confession, prosecutors dropped the
agreement and sentenced Dehghan to death in January this year.

The content of the messages is unknown.

A source claims: "During his interrogation, Sina was told that if he signed a
confession and repented, he would be pardoned and let go. Unfortunately, he
made a childish decision and accepted the charges. Then they sentenced him to

Allegedly, his family were told to keep quiet and he would likely to go free.

Prosecutors asked that Dehghan be sentenced to death for "insulting the
prophet" as well as to 16 months in prison for 'insulting the supreme leader'.

The sentence has been upheld by the country's Supreme Court, but a request for
a judicial review has given his family hope that his life might be spared.

His mother said, "According to Sina's lawyer, steps have been taken for a
judicial review, and with the good news we're hearing from him, God willing
this case will come to end positively as soon as possible."

Co-defendants Sahar Eliasi and Mohammad Nouri were also convicted of posting
anti-Islamic material on social media. Nouri was issued a death sentence, the
final ruling of is the Supreme Court remains unknown. Eliasi appealed his
7-year sentence, which was reduced to 3 years.

The Japanese-based messaging app, Line, has since added end-to-end encryption
to its messages.

Dehghan is struggling to cope with the incarceration in Arak Prison, the source
said, adding, "Sina is not feeling well. He's depressed and cried constantly.
He's being held in a ward with drug convicts and murderers who broke his jaw a
while ago. He was a 19-year-old boy at the time (of his arrest) and had never
done anything wrong in his life."

Despite signing the UN convention on the rights of the child, Iran still
attracts condemnation for carrying out executions of minors.

Iran's Islamic penal code makes insulting the prophet a crime punishable by
death. Although there is a clause that states that if the insults were made by
mistake, or were made in anger, the sentence may be reduced to 74 lashes.

Regarding Dehghan, Human Rights Organisation Article 19 said, "He is now on
death row, yet the imminence of the execution of Sina is an affront both to
international standards and Iran's own criminal code. "It is also clear that
Sina was only given access to a court-appointed lawyer, who failed to
adequately defend him in trial." And said further that Dehghan's case
illustrates how the Iranian people are "at the mercy of a system where forced
confessions, false promises, and threats to family members undermine not only
national judicial processes, but the international standards Iran has signed up

"Iranian authorities have an opportunity to act to stop the execution, and to
take visible steps to implement their own codes of practice. We ask simply that
a review of the case be undertaken immediately and the death penalty dropped."

(source: irannewsupdate.com)


UN panel reminds PH: treaty commitment bars enactment of death penalty law

Expressing concern over the House of Representatives passage of a bill
restoring capital punishment, a United Nations panel has reminded the
Philippines there is no mechanism for it to withdraw its commitment to abolish
the death penalty, under 2 international treaties to which it is a State Party.

The reminder, embodied in a letter by UN Human Rights Committee chair Yuji
Iwasawa to the Philippines' Deputy Permanent Representative Maria Teresa
Almojuela, was referring to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights and the Second Optional Protocol aimed at abolishing the death penalty.

"The committee is currently in session in Geneva. It expressed its grave
concern at information received aboout the passage of a bill through the Houses
of Congress to reintroduce the death penalty for drug-related offenses in the
Philippines. It understands that the Senate will consider this bill soon,"
Iwasawa wrote March 27.

The letter said the committee "reminds the State Party about denunciations of
the Second Optional Protocol as set out in its General Comment No. 26 on
Continuity of Obligations. The Optional Protocol excludes the possibility of
denunciation by omitting a denunciation clause to guarantee the permanent
re-introduction of the death penalty by States that have ratified it."

The UN panel also urged the Philippines "to take its obligations" under the
ICCPR and the Second Optional Protocol "seriously, and refrain from taking
retrogressive measures which would only undermine human rights to date."

The human rights committee is the monitoring body of the ICCPR and the Optional
Protocols, which includes the Second Optional Protocol aimed at abolishing the
death penalty.

"The Philippines is a State Party to all these treaties. In ratifying the
Second Optional Protocol, States Parties guaranteed that no one will be
executed within their jurisdiction," the letter to Manila pointed out.

The Philippines, through Republic Act 9346, had abolished in June 2006 capital
punishment, during the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The latter,
now a member of member of Congress as 2nd district representative for Pampanga,
was 1 of the 54 who recently voted "no" against the bill reviving death
penalty, as pushed by allies of President Duterte.

Macapagal-Arroyo led the list of House leaders who were stripped of their posts
- she was Deputy Speaker - for voting "No" against the death penalty

While the bill was carried by the super-majority in the House, it however faces
rough sailing in the Senate, with Senate President Koko Pimentel himself noting
that the vote was too close to call, and could even split the chamber right
down the middle.

Leaders of the new minority bloc, mostly from the Liberal Party, vowed to
oppose it. Among their key reasons for opposing the death penalty restoration
is precisely the need for the Philippines to adhere to its commitments as State
Party to the ICCPR and the Second Optional Protocol.

The senators reminded the Executive that there is no renunciation mechanism for
these treaties, and Manila stands the risk of sanctions if it impugns its
commitments. However, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who led the push for the bill
in the House, had scoffed at the notion that the Philippines cannot define or
alter its own policy simply on account of a global commitment.

During the first Senate hearing on the House-led initiative, senators got an
admission from government legal experts that, indeed, the commitments to
international law formed part of the law of the land. This prompted Justice
committee chair, Sen. Richard Gordon to raise the possibility that being in
breach of such international laws could constitute an impeachable offense for
the Executive.

Gordon decided to suspend further Senate hearings pending submission of a
formal legal opinion by the Department of Justice.

(source: IOnterAksyon.com)


Duterte, EU at war over death penalty

President Rodrigo Duterte has returned to a favorite topic and a favorite form
of discourse, and criticized the European Union with violent, threatening
language. "You fools. You sons of bitches. Stop interfering with us," he said
at a news conference. "No one will tell you, so I will tell you: You are all

Then followed the quote that was heard around the world: "I will just be happy
to hang you. If I have the preference, I'll hang all of you."

Would that our Fearless Leader indulged his sense of outrage and took to the
warpath against enemies deserving of the Filipino people's condemnation -
perhaps a country like Russia, which supports both the murderous Assad
government in Syria and the increasingly dictatorial Erdogan administration in

Or perhaps - much closer to home - a country like China, which has buried its
policy of a "peaceful rise" in the world and replaced it with a policy of
assertive and overreaching nationalism. Criticizing Beijing would have the
advantage of aligning with Philippine popular opinion about Chinese
aggressiveness in the West Philippine Sea.

But no. Duterte has chosen instead to continue his fight against the human
rights hegemony of those terrifying, faceless, paper-pushing antideath
bureaucrats in Brussels: "You are putting us down. You are exerting pressure in
[sic] every country with the death penalty."

As far as we can tell, the President is grinding his much-used axe against the
European Union again because the European Parliament passed a resolution
calling on the Philippines not to reimpose the death penalty and because the
country's European allies and trading partners continue to voice their
opposition to the Duterte administration's ultraviolent war on drugs.

In other words, the President's latest tirade is in defense of his
administration, not of the country; it is in response to what he perceives to
be criticism of his policies, and therefore of himself.

Retreating to Threats

The telltale sign that the criticism has gotten under his skin is the language
that he uses; when he feels greatly offended he goes beyond the rhetoric of
abuse (cursing the previous president of the United States or the present pope,
for instance) and deploys the tropes of violence: "I will just be happy to hang
you. If I have the preference, I'll hang all of you."

This is what people say when they've lost the argument - or when they cannot
brook any argument.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella, who once recommended that the public
use its "creative imagination" when parsing the President's often intemperate
statements, was reduced to explaining his principal's unstatesmanlike remarks
against longstanding allies and partners as a symbolic expression. "I'm sure by
this time we understand that it's more than being literal. He basically speaks
about an attitude of, you know, emphasizing that we should be left alone to be
able to do our part."

We note that President Duterte approves publicly of Russia's Vladimir Putin and
China's Xi Jinping in part because they don't criticize his war on drugs for
human rights violations.

But we also note that the President knows his people well enough to know that
he cannot make his fight with the European Union and with European allies and
partners solely about death vs life. That would be an ultimately losing
proposition. As even the surveys show, a great majority of Filipinos want due
process to be followed; they do not want mere suspects killed.

So President Duterte uses the Western history card. He traces EU opposition to
the death penalty to Western imperialism and the massive death toll of 2 world
wars. "Your guilt, your conscience, is almost genetics. It is passed on from
generation to generation."

This is macabre, and downright mistaken. Modern opposition to the death penalty
is based on the experience of all of humanity; that experience shows that the
penalty claims the lives of mostly poor people. Reimposing it is a backward
step - like going back to hanging.

(source: Commentary: Editorial desk, Philippine Daily Inquirer)


UN body to Phl: Stop death penalty revival

A monitoring body of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR) has called on the Philippine government to junk the proposal to
reinstate the death penalty in the country and abide by its international

In a letter to Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maria
Teresa Almojuela, Human Rights Committee (HRC) chairman Yuji Iwasawa reminded
the Philippines that it is a party to the Second Optional Protocol of the ICCPR
that prohibits the imposition of capital punishment.

"The committee is currently in session in Geneva. It expresses grave concern at
information it has received about the passage of a bill through the House of
Congress to reintroduce death penalty, for drug related offenses, in the
Philippines," read the letter dated March 27.

"It understands that the Senate will consider this bill soon," it added.

The letter was also addressed to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III.

Iwasawa said he regrets the recent development in the Philippines and urged the
government to desist from ultimately passing the measure.

"On behalf of the committee, I call on (the Philippines) to take its
obligations under the ICCPR and the Second Optional Protocol seriously and
refrain from taking retrogressive measures, which would only undermine human
rights progress to date," he said.

Last month, the House of Representatives passed on third reading the bill that
imposes the death penalty on drug related offenses.

In an earlier statement, UN special rapporteurs Agnes Callamard and Nils Melzer
expressed concern over the passage of the proposal at the House of

"If approved, the bill will set the Philippines starkly against the global
trend towards abolition and would entail a violation of the country's
obligations under international law," they said.

Callamard is the special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary
executions, while Melzer is the special rapporteur on torture and other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

They reminded the Philippines of its obligation under the second optional
protocol of the ICCPR.

"Not only was the treaty ratified and widely advertised, but state authorities
have also expressly confirmed on numerous occasions its validity and binding
nature on the Philippines, without raising any concerns over the procedure
through which it had been ratified," the rapporteurs said.

(source: Philippine Star)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-03 13:10:05 UTC
April 3


Bunge Committee Touts Review of Death Penalty

The Parliamentary Committee on Constitution and Legal Affairs has advised the
government to review death penalty laws to allow death row prisoners who have
been in prison for a long time to have their sentences commuted to life

The Committee Chairman, Mr Rashid Shangazi, said here yesterday that the review
of the laws should also consider putting time limit for execution of the
punishment and allow it to automatically change to life imprisonment if not

Mr Shangazi said that once his committee recommended for review of the
punishment, but the MPs are now proposing for time frame of executing the death
penalty and if not implemented it should change to life imprisonment.

"The number of prisoners who are on death row has been increasing, but the
punishment has never been executed since the second phase government, why
should we continue to have this punishment in place," Shangazi queried. He said
delays in executing the punishment has been affecting death row prisoners and
also it is against human rights of which Tanzania has signed various
conventions to protect them.

"The Committee advise the government to go through the laws governing this
punishment, it can recommend for a section that will set time limit of
execution and allow it to change automatically to life imprisonment if not
implemented within the given time."

Debating on 2016/2017 budget implementation and budget estimates for 2017/2018
for the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, the lawmakers advised
that the government should work on various issues among them death penalty and
overcrowding in prisons.

The Minister for Constitution and Legal Affairs, Prof Palamagamba Kabudi,
promised to work on all issues raised by the Committee. Statistics show that
the number of Tanzanians on death row has reached 465 and the punishment has
never been executed in the country since 1994.

Tanzania Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance reports show that only
the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere endorsed the punishment. According to Universal
Periodic Review report, there are 465 death row prisoners in Tanzania among
them 445 males and 20 females.

Human rights activists have been pushing for the abolishment of death penalty
because it does not help the convicts to transform and it is against human
rights as stipulated in the country's constitution.

(source: Tanzania Daily News)


Mary Jane remains in limbo 2 years later

Mary Jane Veloso of Nueva Ecija has remained in death row in Indonesia after
she was saved at the last moment by appeals from international groups as well
as Philippine officials. She was due to be executed for drug trafficking along
with 2 Australians, a Brazilian, 4 Nigerians, and an Indonesian in April, 2015.
But just hours before dawn, she was led back to her cell while the 8 other
death convicts were executed by firing squad.

President Joko Widodo heeded appeals of those who said Mary Jane had been a
victim of human traffickers and asked that she be spared so she could testify
against them. Her case is pending to this day and she remains a death convict,
unless she is granted a pardon by President Widodo.

In an interview last week, Widodo who had refused all requests for pardons in
the last four years said he would consider a moratorium on executions, "but I
must first ask my people." He appeared to have made 1 concession from his firm
stand on the death penalty - only drug convicts from countries that implement
the death penalty were executed in Indonesia last year.

Mary Jane may have benefited from this concession last year but if the
Philippine Congress revives the death penalty this year, it will no longer help
her. The bill reinstating the death penalty for drug crimes was swiftly
approved last March 7 by the House of Representatives and has now been sent to
the Senate.

In this connection, Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the Catholic Bishops'
Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Mission for the Pastoral Care of
Migrants and Itinerant People, said last January that If Congress enacts the
death penalty bill into law and we start executing our own convicts, "we will
lose any moral authority to ask for clemency for our Filipinos who have been
sentenced to death abroad."

Thus 2 years after she was saved from execution at the last minute in April,
2015, Mary Jane remains in limbo and her fate hinges largely on the decision of
President Widodo and the Indonesian people whose views he will seek in a
survey. It also hinges in part on our own government. If Congress revives the
death penalty as sought by the new administration, it is not likely that she
will be saved from execution much longer.

(source: Manila Bulletin)


Bangladesh High Court upholds death penalty of 2 hardliners

The Bangladesh High Court on Sunday upheld a trial court order, confirming the
death penalty given to 2 hardliners for the 2013 murder of a secular blogger
that had set off a chain of attacks on liberal writers in the country.

A 2-member bench upheld the death sentences for the 2 members of the banned
Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), said court officials.

The court also gave different jail terms to 6 others in the case, 16 months
after a fast-track tribunal handed down the death sentences to the 2 ABT
members for hacking to death secular blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider in February

"The HC bench confirmed the tribunal verdict after the analogous hearing of
(mandatory) death reference and appeal hearing by the convicts who faced the
trial," a spokesman of attorney general's office said.

Redwanul Azad Rana and Faisal Bin Nayem, who were given the death penalty, were
students of the top North South University.

The 6 given varied jail terms included ABT's so-called 'spiritual guru' Mufti
Jashim Uddin Rahmani, who was sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment after he was
found guilty of provoking the students through his sermons to kill Haider.

Rana, who is also the main suspect in the murder of writer-blogger Avijit Roy,
is absconding.

The ABT, said to be ideologically inclined to Al Qaeda, is 1 of the 2 main
militant outfits active in Bangladesh.

The other is the IS-affiliated Neo-Jamaatul Muhahideen Bangladesh (neo-JMB),
which carried out the July 1, 2016, attack on an upmarket cafe in Dhaka that
killed 22 people.

Haider, 35, an architect by profession, was killed near his house in Dhaka's
Mirpur area.

He had started a movement demanding the highest punishment to the 1971 war
criminals just days ahead of his murder.

His was the 1st of at least 5 similar attacks on liberal writers in Bangladesh.

In February 2015 Bangladesh-born American blogger and science writer Avijit
Roy, 42, was killed in Dhaka.

A month later blogger Washiqur Rahman, 27, was hacked to death near his home in
Dhaka's Tejgaon area.

Other victims were Ananta Bijoy Das, 33, a banker and founder of the Science
and Rationalist Council; Niloy Chakrabarti, 40, who wrote under the pen name
'Niloy Neel'; and publisher Faisal Arefin Dipan, 43, the publisher of a
bestselling book by Avijit Roy.

Since 2013, Bangladesh has witnessed a spate of Islamist attacks on foreigners,
liberals and members of religious minorities with the IS and the Al Qaeda
making competing claims.

The government, however, has consistently dismissed their claims, saying the
foreign terrorist groups have no presence in Bangladesh and the attacks were
carried out by homegrown outfits.

Bangladesh banned ABT in 2015 but its operatives regrouped under Ansar Al
Islam, which too was outlawed last month, and 1 of its key organisers, a
renegade army major, carries a bounty on his head and is being pursued by
security agencies.

Authorities believe sacked army major Syed Ziaul Haque is the mastermind of the
attacks on the secular writers.

In recent weeks, Bangladesh has carried out at least 4 security campaigns
against homegrown militant outfits across the country, including in Sylhet
where army commandos were called in to neutralise militants after a 4-day

The more-than-a-week-long security campaigns in Sylhet, Comilla and
Maulvibazaar resulted in at least 22 deaths.

(source: timesofoman.com)


Annual Report on the Death Penalty 2016

The 9th annual report by Iran Human Rights (IHR) on the death penalty in Iran
shows that in 2016 at least 530 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of
Iran. Although this number is significantly lower than the annual execution
numbers from the past 5 years, Iran remained the country with the highest
number of executions per capita.

Commenting on the relative decrease in the 2016 execution figures, Mahmood
Amiry-Moghaddam, IHR's Director and spokesperson, said: "We welcome any
reduction in the use of the death penalty. But, unfortunately, there are no
indications that the relative decrease in the number of the executions in 2016
was due to a change in the Islamic Republic of Iran's policy. Our reports show
that the Iranian authorities have executed at least 140 people in the first 2
months of 2017 alone."

In violation of its international obligations, Iran continued to execute
juvenile offenders in 2016. According to our report, at least 5 juvenile
offenders were executed in 2016 in Iran. 2 of the juvenile offenders were
reportedly sentenced to death for drug offences. Iranian authorities also
carried out public executions and other barbaric punishments such as
amputations, and blinding of eyes. According to IHR's reports, 33 people were
hanged in public spaces, in front of hundreds of citizens including children.

This 2016 annual report is being published only a few months before the end of
Hassan Rouhani's 1st presidential period. A review of Mr. Rouhani's 3.5 years
as President shows that, despite good diplomatic relations and dialogue with
the EU, the number of executions under his presidency was significantly higher
than the annual executions under the previous two periods under Ahmadinejad.

To launch the 2016 annual report on the death penalty in Iran, Iran Human
Rights (IHR) and ECPM (Ensemble contre la peine de mort) call on Iran's
European dialogue partners to push for a moratorium on use of the death penalty
in Iran and for major reforms in the country's judicial system which does not
meet minimum international standards.

The report focuses particularly on the role of the Revolutionary Courts as a
major source of arbitrariness and violations of due process in the Iranian
judicial system. The Revolutionary Courts are responsible for the vast majority
of the death sentences issued and carried out over the last 37 years in Iran.
According to IHR's 2016 report, at least 64% of all executions in 2016 and more
than 3,200 executions since 2010 have been based on death sentences issued by
the Revolution Courts. The Revolution Courts are less transparent than the
Public Courts and Revolutionary Court judges are known for abusing their legal
powers. Trials lasting less than 15 minutes, lack of access to a chosen lawyer,
and sentences based on confessions extracted under torture are the hallmarks of
the Revolutionary Courts.

Revolutionary Courts also play a key role in the crackdown against human rights
defenders and the abolitionist movement. In 2016 the Revolutionary Courts
sentenced the human rights defenders Narges Mohammadi and Atena Daemi to 10
years and 7 years in prison respectively for their activities against the death

On the issue of the lack of due process, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam said: "A
sustainable reduction in use of the death penalty is impossible as long as
there is no due process. Revolutionary Courts which sentence hundreds of people
to death every year are among the key institutions responsible for Iran's
violations of due process and must be shut down."

ECPM's Executive Director, Raphael Chenuil-Hazan, said: "We call on every
democratic State and all Iran's European partners to make serious efforts to
reduce the death penalty in Iran, and to include human rights, especially the
situation of the death penalty in Iran, in their bilateral and multilateral
dialogues. A good outcome can only be achieved through constant and permanent
pressure in the dialogue with Iran."

IHR and ECPM also call on the Iranian authorities to release Narges Mohammadi
and Atena Daemi immediately. These human rights groups also call for an end to
the crackdown on civil society and the prosecution of peaceful civilian

(source: iranhr.net)


EFCC poll says majority of Nigerians want death penalty for treasury looters

A poll conducted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has
shown that more Nigerians were in support of death penalty for convicted
treasury looters.

The poll, according to the anti-graft agency, was part of sensitisation of the
public towards embracing drastic measures to combat corruption in the country.

The war against corruption has assumed a high tempo under President Muhammadu
Buhari government, which was one of the campaign promises in the build-up to
the 2015 presidential election.

While Nigerian judicial system only punishes corruption with jail terms upon
conviction, in China, corruption offenses carried capital punishment.

Recently, a former Adamawa State governor, James Bala Ngillari, was jailed for
corruption in a landmark trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(

The commission reported that majority of Nigerians, who participated in the
recent poll, approved capital punishment for looters of public funds.

The report of the online poll conducted through its Twitter handle was
published in the March edition of its monthly magazine titled EFCC ALERT.

According to the publication, the poll opened on February 28, 2017 and by the
time it closed, 4,584 participants had responded to the question: "What
penalties do you think looters of public funds deserve?"

Participants were offered to chose from 3 options: long prison terms, final
forfeiture of loot, and or death sentence.

Final result showed that 49 % voted for death sentence as a penalty, while 32 %
for long prison terms, and 19 % for final forfeiture of loot stolen.

EFCC said that the poll was part of sensitisation towards the
#CorruptionDialogue tweet meet organised in partnership with the Presidential
Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, which held March 1.

The commission noted that though the poll may not impact on the judicial
system, "but what is not in doubt is that Nigerians hold strong belief that
every measure should be considered in fight against corruption, including the
death sentence."

(source: nigeriatoday.ng)


Court refers Wagdy Ghoneim to Grand Mufti before death penalty decision

The Cairo Criminal Court sentenced on Sunday the Islamic radical preacher Wagdy
Ghoneim to death, simultaneously referring his case to the Grand Mufti. The
final verdict will be issued on 29 April, according to state-media.

Ghoneim, a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood group was charged with forming
an illegal cell from 2003 to 2015, aimed at 'obstructing the constitution and
state institution, assaulting citizens, and harming national unity and public
order,' Al-Ahram's report read.

Ghoneim faced tril in other cases alongside former Islamist president Mohamed
Morsi, including incidents of violence outside the Presidential Palace on 5
December 2012.

He had also been known for making controversial remarks about Copts on TV
channels. In March this year, Ghoneim was sentenced by a Cairo misdemeanours
court to 5 years in prison on charges of incitement against Copts.

Ghoneim had reportedly been banned from entering the UK for inciting terrorism.

(source: menafn.com)


Miyazaki triple killer seeks retrial after victims' family has change of heart

A 29-year-old man on death row for the 2010 murder of his wife, baby and
mother-in-law in Miyazaki Prefecture is seeking a retrial based on a plea for
leniency from a member of the victims' family, his lawyer said Monday.

The lawyer, Tomohiro Kurohara, said a male member of the family now wants
Akihiro Okumoto to atone for his crimes by living rather than dying, and said
he intends to use the statement as "new evidence" warranting a retrial.

"The bereaved family's feelings toward punishing him changed after the death
sentence was finalized. We want (the judges) to consider again whether the
death penalty is appropriate," Kurohara said.

The petition was filed with the Miyazaki District Court on March 24.

Okumoto murdered his 24-year-old wife and 50-year-old mother-in-law at his home
in the city of Miyazaki in March 2010 using a knife and hammer. He also killed
his 5-month-old son by strangling and drowning him in a bathtub, later burying
his body in a nearby yard. Okumoto committed the killings due to stress,
according to a court ruling.

Okumoto was sentenced to death at a lay judge trial in 2010, and the Miyazaki
branch of the Fukuoka High Court backed the ruling in 2012. He appealed to the
Supreme Court the same year, but the ruling was upheld in 2014.

(source: japantimes.co.jp)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-04 13:38:40 UTC
April 4


Death Penalty Limitations

Re: 'Criminals Will Ravage Country Unless Death Penalty Enforced' (February 28)

It is absolutely mind-boggling that any reasonable person would tout
enforcement of the death penalty as a worthwhile solution to crime.

Leaving out well-meaning considerations of ethics and religious beliefs etc, it
has never been proven to lower crime rates significantly. Therefore, why
continue to spout the crime-reducing benefits of a death penalty?

Reliance on the death penalty sounds like such an attractively easy and obvious
solution. Furthermore, state-sanctioned homicide often has instant appeal to an
apprehensive electorate (as long as it's done in private, of course). It grabs
the imagination and fires up one's baser emotions very nicely.

But in order to improve our crime situation, we must also educate our young
properly and use harsh approaches like tough love, community service in
distinctive dress, curfews, aversion methods and public humiliation (such as
caning) liberally. This should not only better their brutish lives but improve
ours as well.

At present, far too many of our young people are actually too stupid to
comprehend the meaning of a death penalty or any other kind of penalty - unless
significant physical pain and/or degradation are involved (please spare me any
references to slavery). Furthermore, the imbeciles are often so incredibly dumb
that they frequently believe they are invincible and will not get caught. This
lack of critical reasoning is carried over into adulthood.

On top of all that, they are too mindless to care. Many a bleeding heart will
be shocked at terminology such as this. They might prefer to talk about
poverty, lack of love in the home, low self esteem, culpability of the church
and society etc. Others may even suggest formation of yet another committee to
look into crime. Meanwhile, it's as if the Bahamian house is burning. When
there is a fire, there is little point in discussing the problem. We have to
put the fire out. Immediately.

It would be nice if all the aspects of crime could be handled with a simple
solution, such as the death penalty, but unfortunately, as much as we would
wish it to be, it simply is not the case. It never has been and never will be.

We tend to focus on homicides when talking about crime, but homicides are
simply a final symptom of the widespread disease of lawlessness. Homicide is
not the first and only crime performed by these dangerously silly, mental
midgets. Homicide is frequently a result of the previous life of crime that led
up to it. Therefore, we have to recognise the 'broken windows syndrome' as

It is now essential to make some hard, expensive efforts to guide/teach the
rudiments of civilised behaviour forcefully to these cowardly and violent
predators. If this also means passing appropriate laws, or an introduction of a
mandatory National Youth Service etc, then we should do it. Also, we must stop
overlooking crimes of friends, family, lovers and especially our professionals
and other 'leaders'. We have to confront our failures and admit the only hope
for our young, trigger-happy nitwits to become somewhat caring, productive
citizens and improve their economic plight is to insist on, and enforce,
improved academic or vocational education, as much as possible.

If a death penalty, along with praying and marching makes some people feel
better, by all means continue. However, the limitations should be recognised.

Meanwhile, at the risk of sounding elitist, let's actually do the hard and
costly work to do something constructive about the clear connection between
crime and our young people's tiny, malicious, underdeveloped minds. Most of
these young are worth salvaging. Not only is it essential for our self
preservation but it is also our moral duty to try to do whatever is reasonable
and necessary to accomplish that goal.



March 31, 2017

(source: Bahamas Tribune)


High Court commutes death sentences in Rakib murder

The High Court has commuted the death penalties handed to the convicts in the
2015 murder of Rakib Hawlader, a motor workshop worker in Khulna.

On Tuesday, Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain
sentenced the 2 convicts -- Omar Sharif and Mintu Khan -- to life in prison.

They were slapped with a Tk 50,000 fine each. They have to serve 2 more years
in jail in case of failing to hand over the money to Rakib's family.

"It has been found through evidence that the offenders tried to save the boy,"
said the court.

Both Rakib's father Nurul Alam Hawlader and the defence counsel will move to
the Appellate Division against the verdict.

Rakib used to work at a motor workshop owned by Sharif in Khulna's Tutpara.
Sharif and his uncle Mintu got enraged after he left the job.

On Aug 3, 2015, they inserted a high-pressure air pump nozzle into his rectum.
The high air pressure tore the 12-year-old boy's intestines, rectum and bladder
causing profuse internal bleeding in the stomach.

The incident shocked the nation and calls to bring the perpetrators to justice
reverberated across the country.

In November the same year, a Khulna court handed death penalty to Sharif and

Advocate Salma Sultana who is fighting the case for Rakib's family said the
court's statements were self-contradictory.

"Anyone would die if air is inserted through his or her rectum. It is common
sense," she said.

Sharif's lawyer Golam Md Chowdhury said what they had received was "partial

"The offenders did not flee. They took him to hospital. The murder was not

Sharif's mother Beauty Begum has been acquitted in the case as the allegations
against her could not be proven.

(source: bdnews24.com)



Ali, Dawood and Abdullah are facing imminent execution. They were arrested
after allegedly participating in pro-democracy protests and sentenced to death.
They were all children at the time. They were all tortured into 'confessions'
and convicted in secret trials.

Torture, forced 'confessions' and death sentences for juveniles - PM must raise
human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia

Prime Minister Theresa May has been urged to use a trip to Saudi Arabia to
press for the release of 3 juveniles who face beheading for allegedly attending

Theresa May is due to arrive in Saudi Arabia on today for talks. Her visit
takes place amid fears for three prisoners who were arrested as children in
2012 and sentenced to death on charges relating to pro-democracy protests.

Abdullah al-Zaher, Dawoud al-Marhoon and Ali al-Nimr were sentenced to
beheading and, in Ali's case, 'crucifixion' despite their being 15, 17 and 17
at the time of their arrest.

All 3 juveniles were tortured into forced 'confessions', and convicted in
secretive trials. They remain imprisoned, and could be executed at any time
without notice being given to their families.

"As the Prime Minister makes ever greater overtures towards the Saudi
Government, the Kingdom continues to carry out appalling abuses - including
torture, forced 'confessions' and death sentences for juveniles. Theresa May's
desire for closer relations with the Gulf must not cloud Britain's commitment
to human rights. The Prime Minister must make it absolutely clear to the Saudis
that the UK condemns torture and the death penalty - and she must call for the
immediate release of Ali, Dawood and Abdullah."----Harriet McCulloch, deputy
director at Reprieve Execution methods



'Crucifixion' (beheading followed by public display of the body)

Executions in 2017

So far, at least 20 people have been executed (as of 3 March 2017)

Executions in 2016

154 executions were carried out in 2016

Reprieve has previously written to the Prime Minister about the cases, and
asked her to call on the Saudi authorities to release the three and commute
their sentences. In a Parliamentary answer last week, Foreign Office minister
Tobias Ellwood said that the UK "remains concerned about [the] cases" and that
UK officials last raised concerns with the Gulf Kingdom in January of this
year. However, the UK appears not to have requested the release of the 3 young

The Prime Minister is understood not to have directly raised the cases with the
Saudi authorities on her last visit to the Gulf. On that visit, she promised
greater security assistance to governments in the region, saying the UK aimed
to be the Gulf's "partner of choice."

(source: reprieve.org.uk)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-05 15:00:50 UTC
April 5


Pritchard warns against death penalty quick fix

MARK PRITCHARD, Chairman of the United Kingdom All Party Parliamentary Group on
the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Trinidad warned against trying to get a
"quick fix" to the local criminal justice system and dealing with the problem
of crime and violence facing the country, saying that danger existed both to
the families of the victims as well as the defendants.

Noting the calls for the restoration of the death penalty, he said fixing the
system needs to be done in a calm, objective, evidence-driven way and it is in
the national interest as well as the international reputational interest of any
country in the world which wants to fast track capital punishment to make sure
that this is done in an evidence- driven way.

Pritchard was speaking with journalists during a news conference at the
residence of the British High Commissioner in Maraval after a day of talks with
"key actors" on the death penalty. He said he would "prefer to see an informed
debate before any fast-tracking or changes in the law takes place and to see
what is the latest data and statistical and academic analysis globally so that
at least any changes or any fast-tracking is done in an informed way." He said
he was impressed with the calibre of the people in the local criminal justice
system as well as with the politicians he had met. He said there were some very
able public servants and he believed that the majority of them would like to
see any change in the law be an evidence- driven one and any debate be an
informed debate and not "a rush to judgement, a rush to headlines and a
fast-tracking of a process without due process and without evidence." Asked if
he has stressed to the Government the danger of using the death penalty as a
quick fix, Pritchard said he had done so but, the Government officials
responded that it was the law of the land "but I think they also are conscious
that any change in Government policy or fast-tracking of existing legislation
would be more carefully and considerably received if those recipients
internationally and in-country were to see that the Government had provided an
imperical evidence base to that amendment to a law or a change to the law, to
going round the law, if you can go around the law, whatever it might be. And I
think it is important to listen to retired justices and chief justices and
senior judges in this country and to listen to academics." He said while he was
visiting from another country, if he were a citizen of this country, he would
be pressing for an objective review which would try and understand what people
are really thinking as opposed to what they think they are thinking based on
data from 2011. He said that in addition to that review the Government should
try and have an informed debate based on the best evidence and academic studies

British High Commissioner, Tim Stew, said that in tackling the backlog in the
criminal justice system, a number of legislative measures needed to be put in
place but this needed to be done as a package.

For one thing, he observed there is no plea bargaining in the system and said
there was no reason why someone facing the death penalty would plead guilty and
why their attorney would advise them to do so. He added that the mandatory
nature of the death penalty also slows down the course of justice because if
there were alternative forms of sentencing, perhaps having to do with the
length of time the guilty person would spend in prison if that period was
appropriate to the nature of the crime, would encourage plea bargaining and
this would inevitably shorten the length of court cases and speed up justice.
However, he said he would not advocate any one measure as the solution to the
country's problems but what was needed was a package of measures and a
programme of work which he said was already being developed with help from the
United Kingdom to make the changes and speed up justice in Trinidad and Tobago.

(source: newsday.co.tt)


The lucrative business of pardoning death row prisoners in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world. However, in
some cases, inmates facing the death penalty are spared if the victim's family
agrees to pardon their crimes ... in exchange for a large sum of money. This
practice, known as "diya", has become a dirty, if lucrative, business.

"Diya" is an Islamic concept that essentially equates to "a blood price", or,
the amount of money that a murderer (or his family) must pay the family of the
victim in order to obtain a pardon.

A video, which was filmed by a passerby on Sunday, March 26, shows an inmate
who is on the verge of being beheaded in a public square in Taef, a town
located in western Saudi Arabia.

Suddenly, however, a wave of excitement goes through the crowd: the execution
has been pushed back because the family of the victim just agreed to negotiate
a pardon for the condemned man. The victim's family can make this decision up
until the very last second, sometimes waiting until then to announce a decision
that was made much earlier.

The execution is put off for 3 months, which is the amount of time that his
family has to raise the sum demanded by the victim's family. That's when the
mediators step in.

Mohammad Alsaeedi lives in Qatif, in eastern Saudi Arabia. He has attended
public executions before and is a community activist for human rights.

"Mediators encourage the families to ask for astronomical sums of money"

When a family is seeking a pardon for a son who has been convicted of murdering
someone, they start by speaking to a mediator. Mediators are usually public
figures, a religious leader or sometimes a local emir.

The mediator's 1st task is to convince the victim's family to accept the idea
of a pardon. Once the victim's family has declared that they are open to the
idea, the negotiations with the killer's family start.

Mediators tend to encourage the victims' families to ask for astronomical sums
of money - sometimes as much as 60 million rials [about 15 million euros]. They
have a vested interest in doing so, as they get a cut of this money.

In the large majority of cases, the family of the convicted person doesn't have
the means to pay that much, so the mediator helps them to launch a fundraising
campaign. All of the money raised is funnelled into a bank account that is
opened by the local administration with the authorisation of the interior

The mediators are responsible for campaigning for donations from rich
businessmen and the most influential tribes in the region.

Fundraising campaigns are also shared widely on social media under the hashtag
#?save a life.

It's also common for tribes to organise ceremonies and charity dinners to
convince the region's wealthiest and most influential people to donate to the

A video, which was posted on March 18, 2017, shows a fundraising ceremony
organised by a tribe to raise money to buy the pardon of a man accused of
killing his brother-in-law during a fight. The programme for the event included
tea, traditional dances and, of course, the handing over of cheques.

Our Observers think that these practices corrupt the principle of a "pardon".

Saudi law forbids people from promoting fundraising campaigns both in
traditional media and on social media. However, Twitter is full of this kind of

Moreover, a royal decree from 2011 fixes the diya at 400,000 rials [equivalent
to about 100,000 euros]. But very few families follow this guideline [in Saudi
Arabia, royal decrees aren't obligatory].

For the past few years, it's like there's been a morbid competition to ask for
higher and higher diyas. It's become a business. Many families aren't thinking
about the virtues of Islam when they offer to pardon someone, they are thinking
about the huge amount of money that they could get by doing so.

"Authorities should fix a ceiling for the diya"

The people who are responsible for this situation are the mediators. They are
the ones who push families to ask for outrageous sums because they earn a
commission from it. They are opportunists who make fortunes off the backs of
dead people. Saudi authorities should closely monitor and control this
practice. They should start by fixing a ceiling for the diya.

The worst is that once a murderer has been pardoned, he is allowed to leave
prison after a few months or even weeks. He ends up serving an extremely light
sentence for his crime. I think that creates a situation of rampant impunity
for those who can pay.

However, in November 2016, the Saudi Supreme Court did rule that when people
convicted of murder are pardoned, judges should commute their sentence to
prison terms of at least 5 years.

"A pardon doesn't mean the crime should go unpunished"

In an opinion piece published on the news site Al Riyadh, Abderrahmane Allahem,
a lawyer who specialises in human rights in Saudi Arabia, says that 5 years
isn't enough for a convicted murderer.

I'm not against the idea of pardons. However, in the case of a death penalty
pardon, the court should commute the murderer's sentence to at least 25 years
in prison. A pardon doesn't mean the crime should go unpunished. (...)

What's more, the fact that a murderer can be freed so quickly could be a danger
for society. Failing to punish a murderer is like depreciating the value of
human life.

For the past few months, there have been an increasing number of appeals from
lawyers, intellectuals and religious leaders for the government to ban "blood
negotiators". For the time being, that has yet to happen.

(source: Mohammad Alsaeedi; france24.com)


Death penalty restoration opposed by Duterte critics

The proposed restoration of the death penalty and 3 other measures being pushed
by President Rodrigo Duterte and his allies would be opposed by the Minority
Bloc in the Senate, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa Senado, Trillanes said the three other measures
which they agreed to block were the lowering of the minimum age for criminal
liability from 15 to 9 years old, postponement of the barangay elections
scheduled this October, and any move to change the 1987 Constitution.

"The Minority Bloc will block all those," said Trillanes who belongs to the
Opposition in the Upper Chamber.

The other members are Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon, Senators Bam Aquino
and Risa Hontiveros and detained Sen. Leila de Lima.

Trillanes disclosed that before Congress adjourned on March 15, they reached an
agreement on the 4 measures which are among the priority measures of the

The House of Representatives has so far approved only the death penalty bill.

Trillanes also said the proposed postponement of the barangay elections would
not be approved at the Senate.

He emphasized that even some members of the Majority Bloc were not in favor of

"So it's unlikely. The barangay elections for all intents and purposes would
push through by October," he said.

The senator said the Minority Bloc would not agree that Congress should convene
as Constituent Assembly to propose amendments to the 1987 Constitution unless
it was clear that the Senate and the House would vote separately.

"Definitely, this won't push through and we will also not allow ourselves to be
convened as a Constituent Assembly unless and until voting process is
clarified. It should be separate," related Trillanes.

(source: thestandard.com.ph)


Singapore to make fight against drugs a 'national priority': Shanmugam

It will also review its strategy for new challenges and make it targeted, he
stated in a speech that lasted over an hour. "We will differentiate between
those who supply and cause harm versus those who are abusers and, where
possible, we will employ data based, science-based approach."

In responding to a Private Member's Motion filed by MP for Holland-Bukit Timah
GRC Christopher de Souza, Mr Shanmugam said the motion is a "timely call" for
Singapore to remain vigilant in the fight against drugs, step up its efforts
and make it a "national priority".


Mr Shanmugam pointed out new local challenges and new trends that have emerged.

One major challenge, he said, is the increased supply of drugs. Mr Shanmugam
noted that Singapore is near the Golden Triangle, which is the second-largest
opium source in the world. Singapore is also a major transport hub, and
vulnerable to drug syndicates, he said.

Another major challenge Mr Shanmugam highlighted is the peddling of drugs
online. "You can have anonymous transactions, you can have parcels coming in
from any part in the world ... that creates a challenge," he said. "We also
face a challenge from new drugs ... new psychoactive substances, where people
take drugs and mix them with contaminants to lower the cost."

Quoting figures from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), he said more than 3.5
kg and 4,000 tablets of new psychoactive substances have been seized in the
past 2 years. These have been falsely marketed as legal and safe, he added.

Some youths also think that drugs are "cool", he noted. "There is a certain
perception glamourised through media outside this country, that drugs are cool
and cannabis is non-addictive. And if we are not careful, they can become our
next generation of abusers," the minister said.

He also observed that a new group of Singaporeans are trying drugs, where last
year, 40 % of those arrested for abuse in Singapore were less than 30 years
old. "They are students, professionals, people who are well-educated, with good
jobs," he said.

"Parents may think it is not their children, but in the past three years, we
have picked up more than 350 students, from all levels, from primary school to
tertiary, and from all backgrounds ... with as well as without a substance
abuse in the family."

He also highlighted another "worrying statistic" - that 83 % of those in
Singapore's prisons are in there either for substance abuse, or have a history
of substance abuse. This is even though the particular crime they committed is
not related to drugs.

"You can see how much drugs can impact on lives," he said. "It destroys you.
These are all statistics, facts."


In moving the motion, Mr de Souza suggested a regular review of the Misuse of
Drug Act to ensure that it contains the "legal muscle" to deter the demand and
supply elements of drug offences.

He cited a rise in young drug abusers and a "significant" rise in the supply of
cannabis. For instance, the number of abusers arrested under the age of 30
years has increased by about 20 % since 2014 according to CNB statistics, he
said. The supply of cannabis is also on the rise, based on increasing amounts
seized by CNB, he added.

In order to prevent youths from getting involved with drugs, he said that its
ills should be included in the Ministry of Education's primary school
curriculum and be an examinable topic.

MP who also spoke on the issue stressed the importance of rehabilitation. Mr de
Souza asked that lower-risk inmates be given increased access to effective
rehabilitation. "We should make full use of the window of opportunity while an
addict is low-risk. Lower-risk inmates have a higher chance of recovery," he

MP for MacPherson SMC Tin Pei Ling said strong community support is needed to
help former drug offenders battle the demons of addiction. She added that
individuals should be encouraged to step forward to speak of their personal
experiences in taking drugs, and become role models or mentors to struggling
drug users who need help.

Mr de Souza also highlighted a need to ensure that the overall national
attitude, or the cultural perception towards drugs remains strongly anti-drugs.
MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC Intan Azura Mokhtar concurred, underscoring the point by
sharing a personal anecdote.

She spoke of how her 18-year-old son studying at a local polytechnic has two
friends who smoke marijuana and do not think it is a "big deal". She said that
her son was also offered the drug, which he declined.

MPs also noted the ease of getting drugs online. The number of people arrested
for buying drugs and drug-related paraphernalia online increased significantly
from 30 in 2015 to 201 in 2016, a 570 % increase over a year.

Ms Tin said it has been reported that these websites even offer free samples to
bait curious youths into experimenting, knowing full well that the return on
investment from giving a free sample is a very high chance of addiction and
subsequent demand for drugs. With perceived anonymity online, youths may be
less fearful of obtaining illicit drugs, she added.

"With all interactions made virtually, without physical interactions with the
drug traffickers and usage of sophisticated cashless transactions, like
bitcoin, youths may feel more at ease to obtain drugs," she said.

Nominated MP Kok Heng Leun also spoke, making a case against capital punishment
and the death penalty. "I agree that it is important to have tough laws, but I
do not believe that capital punishment, as a demonstration of the tough laws
and resolution to fight against drug problems is something I can support," he


Mr Shanmugam thanked the MPs for their views, noting that most suggestions "are
in line with where we want to go."

"Today's motion and the speeches of the members, even Mr Kok's speech, give me
considerable comfort because I think we are on the same page, that this has to
be taken seriously, and you reflect the perspectives and the will of the people
in many ways."

He said Singapore's 1st line of defence has to be preventive education, which
includes school talks and lesson plans. He added that Singapore is also looking
at Iceland's methods of anti-drug messaging.

"This is a generation that you tell them ... 'Don't do this', they might go and
do it," he said. "So you need different approaches, and Iceland does seem to
have an approach that seems to work."

He also stressed the need to grow a pool of anti-drug advocates amongst young
people's peers. "We need volunteers, more individuals, more organisations,
civil society groups, businesses," he said. "CNB will launch a United Against
Drugs coalition later this month, and also review the way it puts across
messages. So we need to mobilise the ground."

A 2nd defence Mr Shanmugam pointed to is effective enforcement and tough laws,
noting that Singapore will have to increase its partnerships with overseas
counterparts and tackle the new "online supply menace".

The Government will also study how to deal with the issue of new psychoactive
substances, he added.

Mr Shanmugam also reiterated the Government's stand on the death penalty as a
deterrent against trafficking. "The death penalty is an important part in our
comprehensive anti-drug regime and part of our overall approach which will not
work on its own, but it's part of an overall set of measures," he said.

He also noted the importance of rehabilitation as the 3rd line of defence,
explaining that every abuser has different risk levels and motivational
factors, and the Singapore Prison Service tailors rehabilitation accordingly.
Other programmes, he added, include family support, skills training and
religious services.

Mr Shanmugam stressed the importance of family and community support as a
fourth line of defence, agreeing with MPs that it is ???crucial??? to help
families stay strong. He said the Singapore Prison Service has a Family
Resource Centre and a Yellow Ribbon Community Project to encourage families to
visit abusers in the Drug Rehabilitation Centre.

"I am not saying that by any means that it is perfect, that it can be improved,
or that we are where we want to be," he said of the measures on this front.
"But we have thought about these things, we've introduced these and it
continues to be refined, changed and worked on."

(source: gov.sg)


Argentine charged with trafficking RM240k worth of cocaine

A 57-year-old Argentine man was charged at a magistrate's court here with
trafficking in drugs worth more than RM240,000 at the Penang International

Miguel Angel Camacho (pic) had allegedly trafficked in 1.37kg of cocaine at the
airport in Bayan Lepas on March 29 this year at about 2pm.

That drugs are estimated to be worth RM247,200.

The accused nodded to say he understood the charge which was read out in
Spanish on Tuesday before Registrar Mohamad Alif Abdul Aziz.

No plea was recorded as the offence under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous
Drugs Act 1952 carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

The court fixed June 22 for case mention.

Customs Department DPP Nur Fazliyana Ahmad prosecuted while the accused was
unrepresented in court.

(source: thestar.com.my)


Death penalty for killers demanded

Labour leaders of Bangladesh Garments And industrial Worker Federation (BGIWF)
and Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) yesterday demanded capital
punishment of the killers of labour leader Aminul Islam, who was killed f5
years ago after being abducted.

They came up with the demand at a press briefing at the Ashulia office of BGIWF
where BGIWF President Babul Akhtar, Aminul's wife and two sons were present.

Babul said the case filed for the killing of Aminul needs farther

Aminul's wife said the charge sheet in the case has not yet been completed and
no arrest has been made in 5 years.

On April 5, 2012, Aminul was found dead in Ghatail of Tangail a day after one
of his acquaintance Mustafizur Rahman took him out of his office in Ashulia.

Mustafizur, the lone accused in the case, is on the run.

(source: The Daily Star)

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April 6


Hamas hangs 3 Gaza 'collaborators' with Israel----Gaza's Hamas rulers hanged 3
men they accused of collaborating with Israel Thursday following calls for
revenge for the killing of 1 of their commanders last month, an AFP journalist

Hamas says that the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and its "collaborators"
killed Mazen Faqha in the Palestinian territory on March 24, but has offered no

According to Hamas, Faqha formed cells for the Islamist group's military wing
in the West Bank cities of Tubas, where he was born, and Jenin.

The men who were hanged on Thursday were not implicated in his killing but the
Islamist group has pledged "radical measures" against Palestinians who
"collaborated" with Israel.

Hamas has offered "collaborators" with Israel a chance to turn themselves in
and receive clemency.

"The doors of repentance will be open for 1 week, from Tuesday, April 4 to
Tuesday, April 11," the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

Hamas also tightly restricted movement out of the enclave following the

The measure remains in place despite calls from NGOs and human rights groups to
lift it.

The restrictions have stopped male patients aged from 15 to 45 from using the
territory's sole crossing for people to enter Israel to receive medical
treatment, Human Right s Watch said.

Security checks and searches have increased, including roadblocks.

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have fought 3 wars since 2008. The
enclave has been under an Israeli blockade for 10 years.

(source: al-monitor.com)


Libyan Muslims Throw Alleged Gay Men Off Rooftop

A video of Muslim men throwing accused homosexuals from a rooftop in Libya was
posted to Twitter by a local journalist on Sunday.

The killing was done as a form of punishment for disobeying the Sharia law, a
strict interpretation of an Islamic set of principles, according to Tarek

The authenticity of the video was unclear, but in the 45-second clip, apparent
Muslims can be seen chanting "Allah-U-Akbar" as they throw 4 purportedly gay
people off a rooftop.

The incident allegedly took place in Libya, and the date, as well as the
victims' gender, were unknown.

Towards the end of the clip, a bystander walked toward the unmoving bodies.

However, it remained unclear if he was a part of the act since he stood on the
sidewalk as the bodies dropped one by one.

Under Sharia law, homosexuality "is a vile form of fornication, punishable by
death," according to TheReligionofPeace.com.

(source: Instinct Magazine)


Report over abolition of death penalty sent to all states: Govt

The Law Commission report which recommended abolishing death penalty for all
crimes other than those related to terrorism, has been circulated to all the
states for their views, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.

Quoting the Ministry of Home Affairs, Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary
said in response to a written reply to a question that as criminal law and
criminal procedure are on the concurrent list of the Constitution, the report
was circulated to all the states on October 13, 2015 for their views on the

"The views of some of the states are awaited and they are being reminded
regularly," he said.

2 government appointees in the law panel - then ex-officio members P K Malhotra
(Law Secretary) and Sanjay Singh (Legislative Secretary) had given their
dissent on the report. Besides them, Justice Usha Mehra (retd), the then
permanent member of the panel too had opposed the report.

(source: The Free Press Journal)


Youth gets death twice for killing child

A Rajshahi court sentenced a man to death penalty twice under separate sections
for killing a child after abduction in 2014.

The death-row convict was identified as Ashik Mondol, 25, son of Akter Hossain
alias Babu of Dighirparha village under Adamdeghi upazila in Bogra.

Judge Shiring Kabita Akter of Speedy Trial Tribunal of Rajshahi handed down the
verdict on Tuesday afternoon.

The court also sentenced Ashik 17-year rigorous imprisonment and fined Tk

The convict was present at the court while delivering the judgment. Later, he
was sent to Rajshahi Central Jail.

According to case statement, Ashik abducted Meghdad, 7, son of one Rashedul
Islam of the area on Eid Day on July 29, 2014.

Later, he claimed ransom for his release over Rashedul's mobile phone. On
August 2, 2014, Rashedul filed a case in this regard.

Police arrested Ahik on the following day and took in remand. Later, law
enforcers recovered Meghdad's body based on information he provided.

(source: businessnews24bd.com)


Senate proposes death penalty for sea piracy

A bill seeking death penalty for anybody that caused death during sea piracy
scaled second reading in the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill sponsored by Senator Nelson Effiong, (Akwa Ibom South) also proposed
life imprisonment if death was not recorded during sea piracy.

The document was titled: "A Bill for an act to make special provisions for
suppression of sea piracy and to provide for punishment for the offence of sea
piracy and for matters connected therewith."

Effiong in his lead debate described sea pirates as distinct and sophisticated
criminals who are fully armed and whose despicable activities are carried out
on those traveling on sea routes.

He described sea routes as popular and cheaper trade routes.

Effiong added that Nigeria, being an import dependent economy must do more to
guarantee the safe arrival of goods at her shores.

He underscored the urgent need to put in place law that will discourage and
suppress sea piracy and punish those engaging in it.

(source: The Nation Newspaper)


'Death penalty talk happens every 5 years'

Trinidad and Tobago is the only country in the Commonwealth Caribbean still
adhering to the cyclical, political debate on the death penalty.

That is the view of Senior Counsel Douglas Mendes, who participated in a panel
discussion on perspectives on the death penalty at The University of the West
Indies (The UWI), St Augustine, on Tuesday night. He said while the death
penalty is still "on the books" in Barbados, it is due to be removed shortly.

Mendes sat on a panel with Prof Rose-Marie Belle Antoine, dean at The UWI's
Faculty of Law; British MP and co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on
the Abolition of the Death Penalty Mark Pritchard; and Jadia Jn Pierre, student
representative at the Faculty of Law.

While the panel gathered to discuss different perspectives on the death
penalty, they all seemed to support its abolition.

"The death penalty talk is cyclical and comes around every 5 years, and those
are the facts," Mendes said.

He said the Inter-American Court also deemed the death penalty as a violation
of the Constitution. The Inter-American Court, he said, directed T&T to amend
the archaic laws to remove the mandatory death penalty. However, in order to
hang reputed gang leader Dole Chadee in 1999, then-attorney general Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj removed T&T from under the ambit of the Inter-American Court,
he said. "We did so solely because membership of the court was seen as a
hindrance to carrying out the death penalty," Mendes said, adding this made T&T
a "pariah country".

Maharaj was recently tapped by the current Government to advise on the death

According to Mendes, "The death penalty should not be on the books."

He said there was a bill, still at the Attorney General's office, that has been
debated and discussed and yet never handed over to the President.

"The death penalty is the law but it hides something, which is that it must be
carried out scrupulously in accordance with the law and what the Constitution
says," he said.

He said a death sentence can only be carried out after the convicted person
exhausts all applications from the High Court all the way to the Mercy
Committee, and not be carried out 5 years after sentencing.

Pierre, who spoke on behalf of the student body, provided statistics as
evidence that the death penalty did not impact the rising crime levels.

She examined the murder figures in T&T following the 1999 hangings. "The crime
rate has been increasing. You had 93 murders in 1999; in 2000, you had 118; in
2001, there were 153; 2002 there was 171, and it has been increasing. Sometimes
I lose count," she said.

"I think when people are calling for the death penalty, they are actually
calling on the Government to do something," she said.

She said when the Government then responds by bringing up the hangman as part
of the crime solution, they think they are saying to the public something is
being done. "We must be concerned about the detection rate. If you are not
catching anybody, you will not be hanging anybody," she said.

She called for better and improved detection rates before hanging would serve
as a deterrent to crime.

Pritchard questioned whether there was even a real debate happening in the
country. "There are loud voices but is it a debate?" he asked.

He said more states are moving towards abolition and questioned why T&T was
moving in the opposite direction.

Attorney Bindra Dolsingh, who was in the audience, said it was "virtually
impossible to implement the death penalty" as a sentence.

He was involved in 4 cases where the accused pleaded guilty to murder on the
understanding that the death penalty was not going to be imposed.

Murder categories

Senior Counsel Peter Pursglove added his voice to the debate from the audience.
Pursglove worked with Maharaj on the 1999 legislation during the 1999 hanging
of Chadee and his gang.

"The mandatory death penalty, we had made legislation to abolish it. I in fact
drafted that legislation, and we introduced the categorisation of murder," he

Murder, he said, was differentiated into 3 categories.

"The reason why the bill was never sent to the President for assent was because
we decided that it was unconstitutional at that time because the law had moved
on," he said.

He said a 2nd bill was drafted which still differentiated murder into 3
categories but made the mandatory death penalty for murder 1 open to judicial

"Now that bill is somewhere in the Attorney General's headquarters, already
drafted but no government had the ability or the will to actually implement it.
Its all there to categorise murder and remove the mandatory death penalty, It's
a matter for the politicians," Pursglove said.

(source: Trinidad Express)


2 guillotine anniversaries invite a macabre head count

The year 2017 offers up a head count of a macabre kind. France introduced the
guillotine en route to a more humanitarian and equitable system of capital
punishment 225 years ago on the April date, and used it for the last time 40
years ago. At least 40,000 heads rolled before France abolished capital
punishment in 1981.

Convicted felon Nicolas-Jacques Pelletier fell victim to the not-so-merciful
killing machine, which introduced the efficiency of the slaughter house to
executions, on Apr 25, 1792. The last decapitation in France was Hamida
Djandoubi's on Sep 10, 1977. A Tunisian immigrant, he was executed for the
slaying of his girlfriend.

The French Revolution alone is believed to have lopped off those 40,000-plus
heads. Encyclopedia Britannica notes that only eight executions occurred
between 1965 and the last one in 1977. The number for the intervening centuries
is probably a matter of record for anyone interested enough to scour French
government archives.

The inventor of the execution machine, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, lobbied for
decapitation before the National Assembly in 1789 as an execution method that
exemplified the spirit of liberte, egalite and fraternite. The argument at the
time, as recounted by History.com, was based on unfairness: common criminals in
France were executed by unreliable methods such as hanging, burning at the
stake and breaking on the wheel while aristocratic felons had the privilege of
a quick decapitation. A tip would persuade the executioner to ensure a swift

The guillotine was promoted as an instrument that would decapitate more
efficiently than a sword or ax.

The discovery that the instrument wasn't as efficient as its inventor portrayed
hastened its end, as did Djandoubi's execution. A doctor in attendance
testified that Djandoubi remained responsive for up to 30 seconds after

It was not the 1st time that the condemned appeared to remain conscious for an
uncomfortably long period of time before life finally oozed out. Henri
Languille, guillotined in 1905, reportedly looked at a witness who called out
his name - after being decapitated.

The abolition of the death penalty was incorporated into the Constitution of
the Fifth Republic by the Constitutional Act of Feb 23, 2007, and under French
law, it is forbidden to remove people to a country where they would face the
death penalty.

(source: newsahead.com)


Indonesian envoy explains execution of drug traffickers, other offenders

The Indonesian Ambassador to Nigeria, Harry Purwanto, has said his country
reserves the right under international conventions to punish certain categories
of crimes with death penalty. Purwanto told The Guardian in Abuja yesterday
that there were 16 legal regulations bordering on severe crimes against the
country that attract the death sentence, which include terrorism, corruption as
well as trafficking in drugs and psychotropic substances.

There are also 5 legal stages peddlers of hard drugs and other psychotropic
substances must go through before they are executed. He said Indonesia placed a
moratorium on the death penalty until 2013 when it was reinstated after the
drug challenge got worse with 4.5 million Indonesians undergoing

The envoy added that "between 30,000 and 40,000 young Indonesians were dying
because of drugs, but when President Joko Widodo was elected in 2014, he vowed
not to grant clemency to anyone who was convicted of drugs in all 6 stages of
the country's legal process and has kept faith with that pledge.

He listed the processes drug suspects must go through before facing death to
include the 1st court of trial, Appeal Court, Supreme Court, presidential
clemency and the last stage which is a final review.

The envoy stated that Indonesia does not impose the death penalty in all cases
except severe cases with serious impact on society.He debunked the claims that
the country was a drugs hub, arguing that the hubs were elsewhere in Asia and
the Americas.

On whether Nigerians are specifically targeted for execution for drugs related
offences, Purwanto maintained that Indonesian laws are not discriminatory as
Africans, Asians and Europeans have paid the ultimate price for trafficking in
drugs in the country.

Purwanto disclosed that there are some Nigerians who have integrated into the
Indonesian society and even married Indonesians but are serving 10 to 15 years
in jail for drugs related offences.

(source: nigeriatoday.com)


Death Penalty Bill Weakens Mercy Appeals For Death Row Inmates

The proposed revival of capital punishment in the Philippines "weakens appeals
to save" Filipinos on death row abroad, warns a church body that works with
migrant workers.

Edmund Ruga of the Commission for Pastoral Care for Migrants and Itinerant
People said the approval of the bill is an indication that the Philippines
agrees with death penalty.

The bill seeking to re-impose the capital punishment was approved in the Lower
House of the Philippine Congress on March 7.

"How can we demand other countries stop executing Filipinos if we are promoting
death itself?" said Ruga.

Church groups, however, are optimistic that a strong lobby will still work
against the passage of the proposed measure.

Nikka Sebastian of the Episcopal Commission on Youth of the bishops' conference
said her organization will "solicit commitments" from senators.

"We want their assurance that the death penalty will not be pushed through the
Senate," she said, adding that if the bill becomes law, the Philippines will
lose the right to ask mercy for Filipinos sentenced to death abroad.

At least 88 Filipinos are on death row on various countries, according to the
Philippines' Foreign Affairs office.

(source: eurasiareview.com)


ISIS executes 33 in the Syrian desert, observatory claims

In the al-Mayadin desert near Deir ez-Zor, ISIS executed 33 people "with sharp
tools" on Wednesday a conflict monitoring group claimed, as ISIS is
increasingly limited in its movements and is being squeezed out of major
population centers in Syria.

"The 'Islamic State' [ISIS] organization executed 33 persons aged between 18
and 25 years old in the desert of al-Mayadin in an area located about 8 km
southeast of al-Mayadin city in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor city," a
statement from SOHR read.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that its activists
"were able to monitor the execution and see the bodies."

The US-led international coalition to defeat ISIS believes places like Deir
ez-Zor to be ISIS's largest concentrations of forces.

"As ISIS is being squeezed out of Mosul and isolated from Raqqa they are
centered largely along the Euphrates River valley, ranging from Raqqa all the
way down through Deir ez-Zor, Mayadin, Abu Kamal, and then over into Al-Qa'im
in Iraq," the press office of the US-led global anti-ISIS coalition told Rudaw
English by email in March. "That is probably their largest concentration of

"We also believe there is a pocket of ISIS fighters there that may grow as they
realize they cannot safely re-enter Raqqa and have no ability to get into Mosul
in large numbers without encountering Iraqi security forces screening them."

ISIS has not been in full control of Deir ez-Zur city. The Syrian army,
supported by Russia, controls portions, including an airbase in the south of
the city, and they clash regularly with ISIS fighters.

(source: rudaw.net)

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April 7


Rights group: 485 death penalties issued in Egypt

Some 485 Egyptians have been handed the death penalty between 30 June 2013 and
the end of December 2016, the Egyptian Observatory for Rights and Freedoms
revealed today.

In a report, the Swiss based organisation said that in 50 cases all processes
have been exhausted, including appeals to the highest courts, and so the
judgments are final and enforceable.

Entitled "No end in sight for the systematic injustice", the report said: "The
trials of these cases lacked the basic standards of fair trials (...) the lack
of an independence military judiciary contributed to this."

Thousands of political detainees throughout the country have been subjected to
legal and legislative violations because they are referred to military courts,
even though they are civilians.

The report criticised "the successive authorities in Egypt for legalising
military trials of civilians after the revolution of 25 January 2011, and
turning them into an integral part of the justice system, rather than an

(source: Middle East Monitor)


Human Rights Watch blasts Hamas executions

Human Rights Watch on Thursday condemned Hamas, after the terrorist group
executed three men in Gaza who were accused of "collaborating" with Israel.

In a statement quoted by AFP, the organization urged Hamas to stop the
"barbaric" practice.

The executions were carried out after Hamas vowed revenge for the killing last
month of one of its top terrorists, Mazen Faqha, which it blamed on the Israeli
intelligence agency Mossad and its Palestinian "collaborators".

The men who were hanged on Thursday were not implicated in the killing of Faqha
but were accused of past acts of "treason and collaborating," a Hamas interior
ministry statement said.

In response , Human Rights Watch said, "The abhorrent executions by Hamas
authorities of three men in Gaza deemed to be collaborators project weakness,
not strength."

"Hamas authorities will never achieve true security or stability through firing
squads or by the gallows, but rather through respect for international norms
and the rule of law," it added.

Human Rights Watch cited data from the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human
Rights as saying that Hamas had now executed a total of 25 Palestinian Arabs
since violently seizing power in Gaza in 2007.

Hamas regularly claims to have captured "Israeli spies", and many times it
tries them and sentences them to death.

Amnesty International has in the past called on Hamas to stop the executions of
suspected collaborators, saying that the group "must immediately and totally
cease its use of the death penalty."

In theory all execution orders in the Palestinian Authority's (PA) territories
must be approved by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas, who is based in Ramallah and who
imposed a moratorium on executions several years ago.

Hamas no longer recognizes Abbas's legitimacy, and has in the past emphatically
declared that the death penalty in Gaza can be carried out without his consent.

(source: Israel National News)


Clemency plea for Hongkonger on death row in Java----Chief executive's office
steps in as man convicted of drug trafficking in Indonesia faces execution

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's office has made a formal plea for clemency to
the Indonesian authorities for a Hong Kong man who has been sentenced to death
for drug trafficking.

With the clock ticking for 39-year-old Anika Lai Shiu-cheung on the
Nusakambangan Island, the notorious "Execution Island" in Central Java, Leung's
office confirmed it had recently sent a letter to the Indonesian consulate in
Hong Kong asking for clemency. Details of the letter were not disclosed.

Consul general Tri Tharyat told the Post that the letter had already been
forwarded to the Indonesian foreign ministry.

"After that, the consulate general will observe the process undertaken by the
officials in Jakarta," the diplomat said.

Asked if he believed Lai's claims that he was beaten up by the Indonesian
police and that he was innocent, Tri said Lai had already been given the
opportunity to state his arguments in all 3 layers of legal proceedings - the
lower, higher, and top courts.

"We have faith in the legal system. But I can't comment on the outcome of the
proceedings," Tri said.

Lai's 69-year-old mother, Shiu Yuk-chee, is desperate to see her only child
come home.

"He told me he did not do it," Shiu said. "He is an honest person. I believe he
did not do it."

According to Shiu, the saga started in 2013 when a former colleague of Lai
asked him to send a batch of preserved fruit from Hong Kong to Indonesia. Lai
was told that he would be rewarded with HK$100,000 once the job was completed.

But the middleman who was supposed to receive the preserved fruit in Jakarta
was nowhere to be seen when Lai arrived in the country. Stranded with a big
batch of the produce, the ex-colleague asked him to find a warehouse to store
the goods first and then open a shop to sell them.

In April 2014, Lai was handling renovation issues at the shop, which was in a
shopping mall. Several people suddenly stormed inside and beat him up.

"He thought it was robbery because they were pointing guns at him. They were
searching the shop looking for something," Shiu said.

She claimed Lai was then taken to a vehicle where the attackers finally
identified themselves as police officers. They were unable to communicate with
each other because of the language barrier and Lai was taken to his hotel where
he was beaten up again, she said.

The next day, Shiu claimed, Lai was taken to the warehouse where he had stored
the preserved fruit, but found crystal meth there instead, Shiu said.

In November 2014, Lai was sentenced to life in prison by the lower court. An
appeal court upheld the lower court's decision in February 2015, but the top
court sentenced Lai to death in September 2015. He was sent to the "Execution
Island" last month.

Lai was not represented by lawyers in courts, Shiu said. She said Lai's former
boss once flew to Indonesia to try to find him a lawyer, but it did not work
out, with the former boss getting scammed HK$40,000 instead.

Shiu also said she did not have the opportunity to find legal representatives
for her son. The 1st time Lai told Shiu that he was charged with drug
trafficking was after the top court had already made its decision.

The charge sheets said Lai trafficked 91kg of crystal meth, but the court
judgement said it was only about 423 grams, Shiu said.

The Post could not verify Shiu's accounts, but spoke with Democratic Party
lawmaker James To Kun-sun, who is assisting the family. To is trying to obtain
primary documents of the case. He hoped that the authorities could first stay
the execution.

Last week, Indonesian President Joko Widodo said he would restore a moratorium
on the death penalty if he won the backing of the people, after a spate of
executions drew international condemnation.

He has rarely granted clemency but did so in 2015 for convicted murderer Diwi
Trisna Firmansyah, reducing his death sentence to life imprisonment.

No date for Lai's execution has been announced.

(source: South China Morning Post)


Noose over their heads: 'You cannot take what's not yours to give'

In a harrowing yet powerful depiction, Ajoka Theatre's play Interzaar showed
the life and struggle of six death row inmates who literally had a noose
hanging over their heads, but were trying to prove their innocence in court at
the same time.

Intezaar, which rather fittingly translates into "wait", was created by Ajoka
Theatre in collaboration with the Justice Project Pakistan, London-based
Complicit and Highlight Arts at the Forman Christian College University (FCCU)
Lahore on Thursday. The play is written by Shahid Nadeem, directed by Dina
Mousawi, and produced by Ryan Van Winkle.

With a tagline of "you cannot take what's not yours to give", the play is based
on the true stories of six death row prisoners in Pakistan. Performed in an
open theatre, it tells the tale of suffering, injustice and waiting for death
in Pakistani prisons. Often enough, the people who find themselves this
situation hail from financially disadvantaged backgrounds and are victims of
the miscarriage of justice.

Talking to The Express Tribune, playwright Shahid Nadeem said that the
performance highlights the dark world of death row prisoners, who are
struggling to survive under the long and arduous legal system of the country.

"Many death row convicts have to fight their pleas in the judicial system for
up to 20 years, while some are also executed or die of natural causes before
proving themselves innocent," he said. "We believe that capital punishment is
in itself cruel, hence the tagline. On top of this, our legal system is marred
by corruption, flaws and the rich almost always get away while the poor

Shahid said the play interweaves 6 different stories into 1.

"There is one a story of a juvenile on death row, another of a woman who was
tortured to get a confession and also the tale of a mentally-challenged
convict," he explained.

According to Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), the theatre piece was built upon
real-life accounts from Pakistan's 8,000-strong death row convicts. According
to JPP's research, a condemned prisoner would have to spend an average of 11.41
years on death row in Pakistan.

This theatre piece traced the impact that waiting can have not only on
prisoners, but their families too. The characters of Intezaar walked the
audience through their miserable existence and how resilience and courage give
a purpose to otherwise meaningless lives. Intezaar also demonstrates the
structural flaws inherent to Pakistan's criminal justice system which remains
inaccessible, beholden to power, mired in red tape and usurped by influence and

The stories of Intezaar are based on actual stories of many of JPP???s clients,
whose names were changed to protect their privacy. Many of them continue to be
on death row, while others were executed after the government lifted the
moratorium on the death penalty in December 2014.

Intezaar is a unique project which has brought together by 4 organisations from
Pakistan and the United Kingdom, all committed to the cause of human rights and
socially meaningful art.

The theatre piece will be staged again in Rawalpindi at the National College of
Arts on April 10 and in Faisalabad at Government College on April 11.

(source: The Express Tribune)


FSB Major General: we need death penalty for corrupt migration officials, not
terrorists----In his opinion, corruption is one of the main obstacles for
eradicating terrorism.

In Russia, it is not terrorism that we need to fight against more vigorously,
but corruption, since it is one of the main obstacles for eradicating
terrorism, says reserve FSB Major General Alexander Mikhailov, a member of the
Council for Foreign and Defense Policy of the Russian Federation.

In this regard, he considers it necessary to stiffen the penalties for corrupt
officials - up to death penalty, RIA Novosti reports.

"The criminal blasts himself up, and if he does not, we threaten him with 20
years of imprisonment," he said, adding that it is unlikely that such a measure
could scare a suicide bomber.

In Mikhailov's opinion, if the responsibility is to be stiffened, it is better
to do it with regard to crimes related to corruption in the sphere of
migration. It is the kind of offense, he believes, that is one of the main
obstacles for eradicating terrorism.

"I believe that initiating capital punishment for corrupt officials would be
the solution we need," the General said.

As an example, he referred to the situation in St. Petersburg, where a major
terrorist attack took place in the subway, killing 14 people. Mikhailov noted
that today in the Northern Capital "there is a huge amount of information about
places of compact residence of migrants," however, the police there "do not
even show up" at those areas.

One of such enclaves, according to him, is the St. Petersburg market Apraksin
Dvor. "Why don???t local authorities pay attention to citizens' statements?
What can be the key factor, except corruption, to not to get everything under
control there," he asked rhetorically.

On February 2, 1999, the Russian Constitutional Court imposed a moratorium on
the capital punishment, until jury trials are introduced throughout the
country. On November 19, 2009, the Constitutional Court extended the moratorium
until the ratification of Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human
Rights, which provides for the complete abolition of the death penalty.

In October 2015, Chechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov proposed to institute the
death penalty for terrorists in Russia. According to him, this must be done
because keeping these criminals in prisons is "wrong".

A month later, a similar proposal was made by Sergey Mironov, the leader of
Spravedlivaya Rossiya party. However, the Kremlin said that Russian President
Vladimir Putin, who had spoken earlier against the capital punishment, did not
change his mind.

Nevertheless, in March 2016, a bill was introduced in the State Duma, providing
for the capital punishment as one of the punishments for terrorism. A year
later, a decision on it still has not been made. However, after the terrorist
attack in St. Petersburg, the initiative was brought up again.

It is also to be noted that shortly before the terrorist attack in St.
Petersburg, protests against corruption swept through Russia. However, after
the subway explosion, the fight against terrorism took the leading place on the

(source: crimerussia.com)


Sotto: Most senators will OK death penalty for top drug traffickers

Senate Majority Leader Vicente "Tito" Sotto III said he was almost certain that
the majority of senators would vote for the proposed death penalty if it would
be implemented through lethal injection and imposed only on high-level drug

"High level drug trafficking and lethal injection has a better chance of
passing the Senate than all the other laws that were included in the old law
reimposing the death penalty," Sotto said during a forum at the Senate on

"When it comes to high-level drug trafficking, many issues that they use to
counter the death penalty vanish. It's not anti-poor. The death penalty is
never anti-poor for high-level drug trafficking because there are no drug lords
who are poor."

Based on his last count, the 24 senators are still split on the death penalty
bill - 10 are in favor, 10 are against it, while four are still weighing on the

But even if the bill gets the majority votes, the Senate would not still be
able to pass it before the first regular session of the 17th Congress adjourns
on June 2.

The House of Representatives has already approved the measure, but it remains
pending at the committee level in the Senate.

"In June? That's hard. It would call for a long debate," Sotto said when asked
if the Senate could pass the measure before the adjournment.

"Even if we have the majority - as a matter of fact, we will get the majority -
I believe we may get the majority after the debates," he added.

He said the measure was a priority in the House, but not in the Senate.

"On our part, we promised them that we will debate on it and as much as
possible pass it," he said. "But we were not able to give a guarantee that we
will pass it, by June ha," Sotto said.

(source: newsinfo.inquirer.net)


3 men, 2 women face kidnap charge, get N5m bail----He alleged that the accused
had conspired to kidnap a woman, Mojisola Adeleke, and demanded N15 million
from her family.

5 people including 2 women were on Thursday arraigned before Chief Magistrate
Oluyemisi Adelaja for allegedly kidnapping a woman and demanding a N15 million

The accused - Aboy Feku, 23; Blessing Mimo, 20; Samuel Yola, 26; Lovers
Gregory, 31; and Donald Gregory, 26 - are standing trial at an Ebute Meta Chief
Magistrates' Court on charges bordering on conspiracy and kidnap.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

But the Prosecutor, Insp. Chinalu Uwadione told the court that the accused
committed the offences on March 2 at about 4.00p.m. at Ketu-Ejinrin in Lagos.

He alleged that the accused had conspired to kidnap a woman, Mojisola Adeleke,
and demanded N15 million from her family for her release.

The offences contravened Sections 271 and 299 of the Criminal Law of Lagos
State, 2015 (Revised).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the offence of kidnap carries
death penalty following the signing into law the anti-kidnapping bill by Gov.
Akinwunmi Ambode on Feb. 1, 2017.

The magistrate, however, granted the accused bail in the sum of N1 million each
with 2 sureties each in like sum 1 of who must be a landlord in Lagos.

Further hearing has been adjourned until April 26.

(source: pulse.ng)


Hussein Execution was Moved Forward Because of Gaddafi Rescue Plans

The execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was accelerated due to
the belief that the then Libyan leader, Muammar El-Gaddafi, had a plan to
rescue him from prison, Judge Mounir Haddad revealed today.

Hadad, who presided over the trial of Hussein, revealed to the Al-Arabiya
Satellite Channel Point of Order program new details of the trial against the
former president and his last moments before being hangged, including the
'health and welfare' votes for the magistrate himself .

According to his testimony, the application of the death penalty to Saddam
Hussein was precipitated because authorities knew that El-Gaddafi - later
murdered in 2011 - was allegedly trying to bribe US guards who guarded him to
rescue him from prison.

He added that, contrary to previous reports from the local and US press, former
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani gave his 'implicit approval' for Hussein's
execution, and that during the hearing to hear the verdict he was distinguished
by 'his calm and composure' .

The judge said that he personally received the last will from Saddam Hussein
because no Sunni cleric was present when he was executed, and when asked about
his final wish, the condemned man responded by wishing him 'health and

Al-Arabiya will broadcast more details of the last days of the ex-leader of the
Iraqi Baath party in the episode that will be broadcast on April 14, the
channel announced when reproducing the opinion of the lawyer on the Muslim
confession of the deposed ruler after the invasion and military occupation Of
the United States.

(source: Prensa Latina)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-08 12:46:14 UTC
April 8


2 Taiwanese arrested in Jakarta over drugs: CIB

Criminal Investigation Bureau officials and Indonesian police officers join
hands at a news conference at the Jakarta Police Narcotics Division in
Indonesia to signify their solidarity in a joint effort to fight illegal drugs.
Photo: CNA, courtesy of the Indonesian police

2 Taiwanese were arrested last month in Jakarta for allegedly trying to smuggle
almost 3.8kg of amphetamines into Indonesia, the Criminal Investigation Bureau
(CIB) said on Wednesday.

Lai Chen-yu and Huang Ming-wei, both 24, were allegedly caught with amphetamine
packets taped to their legs when they landed at Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta
International Airport on a flight from Taiwan on March 13, the bureau said.

The 3.776kg haul has an estimated street value of NT$4.6 million (US$150,322),
it said.

The Jakarta Police Narcotics Division, together with CIB officials, announced
the arrests at a news conference on Wednesday in the Indonesian capital.

Jakarta Police Chief Inspector General Mochamad Iriawan credited cooperation
between Indonesian and Taiwanese police for the arrests.

"The Taiwanese police told us earlier about the 2 Taiwanese suspects. Their
tip-off helped us track down the suspects' flight," he said.

CIB officials assisting in the investigation said that Lai was a language
student at a Kaohsiung university, and that he had signed a confession after
being questioned by Jakarta police.

"Lai said he was introduced by friends to a contact person for a drug ring, but
he does not know the person's real name or identity," said Cheng Hui-ming,
captain of the bureau's Third Investigation Unit.

Cheng said the contact told Lai he could make easy money and that Lai, who was
unemployed, agreed to do so, with the promise that he would be paid NT$150,000.

"It is not worth losing your life getting involved in drug smuggling, because
Indonesia has severe punishments against such crimes. [The 2 suspects] may face
a minimum of 20 years in prison or be given the death penalty," Cheng said.

7 Taiwanese were sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Indonesia last year,
he added.

3 of them were found carrying 2kg of amphetamines and were arrested at the
airport. The other 4 were convicted for possession of 26kg of amphetamines in
an Indonesian city, he added.

Since Indonesian President Joko Widodo assumed office in 2014, he has presided
over the execution of 18 people convicted of drug charges, including 15
foreigners, Cheng said.

Jakarta police officials said they are still trying to track down the
ringleaders, and evidence point to collusion between Taiwanese syndicates and
an Aceh-Jakarta drug network.

The 2 suspects were supposed to take the amphetamines to a restaurant in West
Jakarta and hand them over to a man known by the initials of T.A.W., Iriawan

(source: Taipei Times)


SC: Death penalty breaches reformative theory of punishment ---- In its 262nd
report, the bench noted, the Law Commission of India recommended abolition of
the death penalty for all crimes other than terrorism-related offences and
waging war.

The Supreme Court on Friday commuted to life term the capital punishment
awarded to a murder convict, noting that death penalty "somehow breaches the
reformative theory of punishment under criminal law".

A bench of Justices P C Ghose and Rohinton F Nariman also underlined that death
penalty had in fact become a "distinctive feature" of criminal law in India,
and that the apex court had been encouraging discussion and debate on the

"Today when capital punishment has become a distinctive feature of death
penalty apparatus in India which somehow breaches the reformative theory of
punishment under criminal law..." said the bench.

It recalled that the top court had recently referred to the Law Commission to
study the issue of death penalty in India to "allow for an up-to-date and
informed discussion and debate on this subject".

In its 262nd report, the bench noted, the Law Commission of India recommended
abolition of the death penalty for all crimes other than terrorism-related
offences and waging war - offences affecting national security.

Making these observations, the court said it was not inclined to award capital
punishment to the convict in the murder case. "Therefore, confinement till
natural life of the accused respondent shall fulfill the requisite criteria of
punishment in peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case," it held.

The court was hearing an appeal by the Maharashtra government, which had
pressed for death penalty for one Nisar Ramzan Sayyed, who had in October 2010
set on fire his pregnant wife and thrown his minor son into the blaze, causing
their death. While the trial court sent Sayyed to the gallows, the High Court
acquitted him for want of concrete proof.

The apex court, after taking note of the dying declaration of his wife and
other circumstantial evidence, held that Sayyed's guilt was proved beyond
reasonable doubt but this was not a "rarest of the rare case" that warranted
him to be sentenced to death.

(source: indianexpress.com)


Palestinian rights groups condemn Gaza executions

Palestinian human rights groups have condemned the execution by authorities in
the Gaza Strip of 3 civilians accused of collaborating with Israel.

According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Hamas-controlled
interior ministry in Gaza hanged the men, aged 55, 42 and 32, on Thursday
morning. They have been identified only by initials.

The 55-year-old was from Khan Younis in southern Gaza and had been detained
since 2011, according to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights. He had originally
been sentenced to 15 years in prison, but a military court later changed the
sentence to death.

The 42-year-old was accused of passing information about Palestinian resistance
factions to Israeli occupation forces. He had also been in detention since
2011. The 32-year-old was identified as a resident of Gaza City.

PCHR called the executions "a clear violation" of the Palestinian Basic Law,
which requires death sentences to be ratified by the president of the
Palestinian Authority.

The current incumbent, Mahmoud Abbas, has not ratified a death sentence in a
decade. In total, 38 persons have been executed since the Palestinian Authority
was established in the early 1990s, 36 of them in the Gaza Strip, according to
PCHR. 25 executions were carried out without ratification from the PA leader.

PCHR has long campaigned against the death penalty as a matter of principle and
reiterated following the latest executions that the measure is neither just nor
a deterrent.

The group also stated that "torture is systematically used against those
convicted of collaboration while being interrogated."

Al Mezan reaffirmed its condemnation of the death penalty, stating that it is
ineffective and "violates the human right to life."

(source: electronicintifada.net)


UN rights agency condemns PLO's executions in Gaza, urges moratorium on death

The United Nations human rights office today strongly condemned the execution
of 3 men in Gaza for "collaboration with the occupier" and urged authorities to
halt all further executions and comply with Palestine's obligations under
international law.

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights (OHCHR) told reporters in Geneva that the executions took
place "despite our appeal and those by other international and Palestinian
organizations for the sentences not to go ahead."

OHCHR stressed that the executions "were carried out in breach of Palestine's
obligations under international law," including the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, whose conditions on the use of the death penalty
were not abided.

The defendants had been convicted of treason under the PLO Revolutionary Penal
Code on the basis of what is termed "collaboration with the occupier".

The conviction of "treason" does not meet the threshold of "most serious
crimes," as stipulated by the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, Ms. Shamdasani said. These are typically understood as intentional

In addition, the defendants were tried in military court, in contravention of
international law.

"We are also concerned that trials in Gaza resulting in the imposition of a
death sentence do not appear to meet international fair trial standards," the
spokesperson said.

She said that the accusations were insufficiently investigated, raising the
possibility that the confession may have been coerced.

"We urge the authorities in Gaza to halt further executions and comply with
Palestine's obligations under international law," said Ms. Shamdasani.

"We also call on the State of Palestine to immediately establish an official
moratorium on the use of the death penalty with a view to its abolition."

(source: un.org)

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2017-04-09 13:59:25 UTC
April 9


Waiting for the hangman----And at least 8,000 prisoners in Pakistan are simply
waiting to die, whiling away an average of 11.41 years until they are either
acquitted or executed

434 people have been hanged since the moratorium on death penalty was lifted in
Pakistan. But the number of lives destroyed far exceeds this figure. When the
state makes the decision to execute someone, it wrecks the lives of everyone
who loves them.

The criminal justice system in Pakistan requires waiting. Waiting for things to
move forward, waiting for verdicts, waiting for justice, which often isn't, as
promised, served.

And at least 8000 prisoners in Pakistan are simply waiting to die, whiling away
an average of 11.41 years until they are either acquitted or executed. Either
way, whoever ends up on Pakistan's death row might as well get comfortable.
They could be there a while.

Justice Project Pakistan has had clients that have spent well over 1/2 their
lives as prisoners. Some were arrested before their 18th birthdays, making them
in the eyes of the law, juveniles. Aftab Bahadur entered his prison cell as a
15-year-old, wide-eyed teenager but left as 38-year-old in a body bag. Ansar
Iqbal had spent 29 of his 43 years on this earth in prison before he was
executed in June 2015. The time that Zulfikar Ali Khan spent on death row was
enough to allow him to complete 33 diplomas and educate 50 other prisoners. In
the 18 years, he was confined to a prison, the Government of Pakistan scheduled
and postponed his execution 22 times.

All 3 of them did not deserve to be there.

This week, 'Intezaar' was staged by Ajoka Theatre Pakistan, Highlight Arts and
Complicite, which offered its audience an insight into the lives that people
like Aftab, Ansar and Zulfikar led locked in a prison. Their miserable
existence contrasted heavily with their resilience and courage to inject some
purpose into their otherwise meaningless lives.

There is a prisoner who can paint, another who can compose and sing, yet
another who spends all his times studying and teaching others. But other
inmates are there in violation of Pakistani and international laws: the
juvenile offenders, the physically handicapped and mentally ill.

While there was some degree of artistic license at play here, none of these
stories was fiction. When the play depicted the executioner attempting to hang
a man paralysed from the waist down, they were talking about our client, Abdul
Basit. The difficulty and inherent wrongness of hanging a man unable to stand
was one experienced in actual life 2 years ago.

When the play showed us the story of a mute woman, prone to hysteria, it was
not an embellishment but again, retelling of facts. Kanizan Bibi was held for
11 days in police custody before being brought to the magistrate to confess.
She was tortured so brutally and so relentlessly; she was hospitalised while in
detention. Like her theatrical counterpart, Kanizan has not spoken a word in
years, as a direct result of the trauma the torture put her through. 2017 marks
her 27th year on death row.

The visual depiction of the very real consequences of our justice system forced
the audience to confront what it really means to support the death penalty in
Pakistan. And many turned away in shame, cringing that such violence is being
committed in their name.

Conditions on Pakistan's death row expose prisoners to a high risk of the
'death row syndrome,' a psychological disorder that inmates on death row are
susceptible to when they are isolated. Suicidal tendencies, psychotic delusions
and heightened anxiety (as a result of knowing of their imminent death) can
cause prisoners to go insane. The wait to march to the gallows only exacerbates

Especially vulnerable are juveniles and individuals with mental illness or
intellectual disabilities. The International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights considers the prolonged detention of the prisoner; the physical
conditions of imprisonment; and the psychological impact of the incarceration
on the prisoner as inhuman treatment. The United Nations Human Rights Committee
has acknowledged that "the psychological tension created by prolonged detention
on death row may affect persons in different degrees." Critical to this last
factor are "personal circumstances of the prisoner, especially his age and
mental state at the time of the offence."

These experiences of prisoners on death row are a testament to the need for a
comprehensive and urgent response from the international community. As Pakistan
heads for its first of many UN reviews this year, this must be kept in mind.

We have woken up to so many stories in the last year alone, of people being
acquitted after they have been hanged, or dying in prisons waiting for their
appeals. And for all of them, the wait has been long, illegal and utterly

(source: Opinion, Rimmel Mohydin; The writer works with Justice Project
Pakistan, a human rights law firm based in Lahore----Daily Times)


Life or Death)

The debate over whether capital punishment should be reimplemented in Trinidad
and Tobago has sparked heated debate on both sides of the divide - one which
has taken on greater fervour with the recent spate of heinous murders, now at
143 for the year so far.

Deeply concerned about the surge in homicides, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
announced recently that the Government has asked former Attorney General Ramesh
Lawrence Maharaj, to consult on measures to reintroduce the hangman in the
shortest possible time under. It was during Maharaj???s tenure that hangings -
the execution of the notorious Dole Chadee and eight members of his gang in
1999 - were last carried out in the country.

Maharaj, who has agreed to assist the Government free of charge, has since
recommended a fast-track mechanism for murder cases to be tried all the way to
the Privy Council so that hangings can be resumed. Maharaj, who has long
advocated that the death penalty be reinstated, recommended, in part, that a
Case Management Unit be established, comprising representatives from the Office
of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Commissioner of Prisons, Supreme Court
Registry, and Ministries of National Security and Foreign Affairs.

The unit, he said, would examine the cases of death row prisoners who are close
to the 5-year Pratt and Morgan limitation period.

Some 36 convicted prisoners are currently on death row in the nation's prisons.
Maharaj has also made it clear that the Government must have the will to
reintroduce the death penalty.

Attorney Keith Scotland agreed, saying the death penalty remains on the statute
books under the Offences Against Persons Act and should be exercised.

"It, therefore, means that the collective wisdom of our representatives which
are to represent the will and aspirations of the people have insisted that the
death penalty remains on the law books in spite of developments in other parts
of the world in terms of the degrees of murder," Scotland said on Wednesday.
"It is the law and ought to be implemented until such time as the Parliament or
the people see it fit to have a change." South-based attorney and former
Princes Town MP Subhas Panday believes that governments have been dragging
their feet on bringing back capital punishment.

"There is no will to carry out the law and successive governments have been
making excuses all the time," he said on Friday in a Sunday Newsday interview.

"It says to me that the they are anti-hanging but say they are interested in
hanging and that Pratt and Morgan is preventing them from so doing." Moral
issue vs the law Saying he does not have a moral position on the death penalty,
Panday insisted: "It is the law.

Father (Joseph) Harris (Roman Catholic Archbishop) has a moral position but my
view is that it is time for the implementation of the death penalty." Indeed,
Harris has sought to debunk the view that capital punishment is the panacea for
ridding the country of the spate of violent crimes. The archbishop's position
came last December in response to calls by one of his subordinates, Fr Ian
Taylor, to resume hangings as a deterrent to crime. During a Saturday night
mass at St Charles RC Church, Taylor had urged that killers be hanged given the
high level of violence in TT.

Of Taylor's call, Harris had said: "What was said goes totally against what the
church stands for." Harris said the poor criminal detection rate also posed a

"You have to find the criminals and if our conviction rate is 3 to 5 %, who yuh
hanging?" he asked. "Do we want to run the risk of hanging people for crime
they didn't do so that it would look good?" Describing it as "barbaric,"
attorney and social activist Hazel Thompson-Ahye argued that the death penalty
had no place in a civilised, progressive society.

"I am so sure, today, the death penalty is so wrong," she said.

"It is really a very negative way of dealing with crime. It is based on
retribution, waging a vendetta against the criminals. Do them because they have
done us. When you have a negative response, you are going to get negative
results." Thompson-Ahye, a proponent of restorative justice, lamented that TT
was a punitive society.

"We still cannot get out of the corporal punishment of children.

All of these things are connected.

We feel we must beat children.

We feel we must hang criminals," she said, adding that many punitive measures
were taken against the disadvantaged in the society.

Thompson-Ahye described as "scandalous" the fact that the Ministry of National
Security's allocations in the national budget over the years, have exceeded
that of the Ministry of Education. She said the focus must be on tackling the
socio-economic conditions which give rise to crime in the first place." "There
is too much inequality in the society," she observed.

"Don't think for a moment that when we talk about the obscene bonuses and
gratuities that we give to the CEOs, even when they are in failing businesses,
that it is lost on the poor." Thompson-Ahye asked: "When people read about the
millions of dollars that were paid to private attorneys and the DPP's office is
being starved of resources, we really have to ask ourselves, are we really
serious about fighting crime?" She said society should be focusing on dealing
with its inequalities.

"We speak about spending $25,000 a month on keeping an inmate in Remand Yard
and where is that money going? she asked.

Taking issue with Fr Taylor's call for the return of the hangman, Thompson-Ahye
said: "I don't know how he could talk in favour of the death penalty because
there is a finality which denies the possibility of conversion. No matter how
heinous the crime the criminal has committed, that person still remains a child
of God. That person is still redeemed in the blood of Christ, especially in
this Easter season." Thompson-Ahye also said attention should be paid to
alleviating what she called the structural violence meted out to the poor in
relation to housing, healthcare and other areas White collar crime, she
insisted, also must be tackled aggressively.

Last week, Chairman of the United Kingdom All Party Parliamentary Group of the
Abolition of the Death Penalty Mark Pritchard on a visit to Port of Spain,
warned against using the death penalty as a quick fix to crime and violence.

Rather, the anti-death penalty advocate said fixing the system must be handled
in a "calm, objective, evidence-driven manner" before capital punishment can be
effectively carried out.

Despite the misgivings of abolitionists, some of whom have been passionate in
their condemnation of the issue, protagonists are adamant that it is necessary
to combat the worrying surge in murders.

"There are too many senseless killings in the country especially within recent
times and the killers are seeing that they have no consequences to face," said
retired prisons commissioner Cipriani Baptiste, who presided over the execution
of the Chadee gang at the Port-of-Spain jail, some 18 years ago. While he
believes that the death penalty will not be a deterrent for would-be killers,
Baptiste, who served as prisons commissioner from 1993 to 2001, suggested that
restorative justice "in a general sense," can be a talking point as
deliberations on capital punishment continue.

Senior Counsel Israel Khan insisted that the death penalty must be carried out
for 1st degree murders. "I believe that murders should be categorised into 1st,
2nd and 3rd degree.

I reserve, at this point in time in our history, the death penalty for first
degree murders - that is atrocious or vicious murder," he told Sunday Newsday.
"For example, if a man takes a fee to kill a man and he wants to receive a fair
trial and he has lost all of his appeals, he should be executed because life is
sacrosanct and no one should take anybody???s life. You have forfeited the
right to live." Khan said while hangings may not necessarily reduce the murder
rate "it gives satisfaction to the human part of us that wants revenge for
killing someone." "It gives a sort of psychological satisfaction because you
have forfeited your right and you should be executed," he added.

Attorney Martin George agreed.

"I am fully supportive of the view taken that once this is the law on the books
of Trinidad and Tobago, then it ought to be implemented and we ought to make
use of it as part of the arsenal of the legislative structure of the country,"
he said.

"Because if we reach to a point where the population, for whatever reason,
decides and is able to prevail upon the Legislature to change the law that the
death penalty is no longer part of our legislative framework, then that is a
different issue, but once it remains the law, then I am of the view that we
ought to take all measures and all steps to implement it." Saying his view was
not based on emotion, George said: "It is simply a view that says that the
death penalty is the law and it ought to be implemented until it changes. If it
changes then we have a different paradigm. But as it stands, that remains the
law of the land." Welcoming Maharaj's input in fast-tracking the process,
George said the argument about whether the death penalty impacted crime was a
"spurious and speculative debate. Because it is very clear and obvious that the
death penalty deters at least 1 person. The person who is hung. He will never
go out and murder anybody again. So, it is clearly a deterrent for him if
nobody else." Regarding Pritchard's view that capital punishment should not be
seen as a quick fix to violent crime, George said: "I think those who look at
it that way, they are mistaken.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with using that as one of the tools in our
arsenal in our legislative framework to deal with the scourge of crime in TT.
Of course, It is not that it is a cure all or magic bullet." George also
expressed the view that there are many convicted people who have not committed
crimes and by the same token, those who have gone free but committed the act.

(source: Commentary, Corey Connelly, Newsday)


Mufti Hannan to be executed 'anytime'----Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid
rejects militant leader's mercy plea.

Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Sunday said there was no
legal bar to execute the death penalty on militant leader Mufti Hannan as
President Abdul Hamid has rejected the clemency plea, a media reported.

"The Kashimpur Jail authorities have started the preparation, Mufti Hannan will
be executed anytime," the Home Minister said while talking to media at his
secretariat office here, the Dhaka Tribune reported.

"There's no threat of militant attack centring the execution of the militant
leader," he added in reply to a query.

Ditto his aides

On March 21, the Supreme Court's Appellate Division released the full text of
its verdict confirming the death penalties of Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami
Bangladesh (HujiB) leader Mufti Hannan and his 2 aides.

The culprits were sentenced to death for the assassination attempt on Anwar
Choudhury, the then British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, during his visit
to Hazrat Shahjalal's shrine in Sylhet city on May 21, 2004.

The attack killed 3 persons and severely injured Anwar.

On December 23, 2008, a Sylhet court sentenced the trio to death and 2 others
to lifetime imprisonment for their roles in the attack. The High Court upheld
the sentences in February 2016.

Mufti Hannan was also sentenced to death for the 2001 Ramna Batamul bombing, in
which 10 persons were killed.

The HujiB militant group was formed in 1992 and claims to have carried out at
least 14 attacks, killing more than 100 people in the pursuit of "establishing
Shariah law in Bangladesh."

(source: The HIndu)


Somalia Court Executes 5 Militants for Murders of Officials

5 al-Shabab militants convicted of murdering senior officials in the north
eastern Somalia town of Bossaso have been executed by firing squad.

The men were sentenced to death in February by a military court in Bosaso port
town, the commercial hub of Puntland, Somali federal member state.

The court said the men were involved in identifying possible targets, and
carrying out assassinations against officials.

Abdifitah Haji Adam, Chairperson of Puntland military court, told VOA Somali
Service that the court found the suspects guilty and gave them the death
penalty 2 months ago.

"The men were al-Shabaab members. They were behind assassinations that happened
here in Bososo, including the killing of the director of Puntland State
presidency and the General Attorney of the army. They included murderers and
accomplices. The court found them guilty and sentenced them to death in
February, and today the sentences have been carried out," said Adam.

Group's leaders targeted

Al-Shabab, a terrorist group that emerged amid Somalia's years of chaos, once
controlled large swathes of South and Central Somalia.

U.S. drone strikes killed some of the group's top leaders, weakening its
military power in south and central Somali, causing some of its fighters to
spread north to the Puntland mountainous areas to set up bases.

The group still is capable of carrying out frequent suicide bombings and
assaults on Somalia's hotels and military targets, proving to be more resilient
than expected.

In Puntland, the militant group recently assassinated dozens of government
officials, including the attorney general of Puntland Military Courts,
AbdiKarim Hasan Fidiye, 3rd deputy commander of Puntalnd Police Forces, and the
director of the Presidential Palace.

President Donald Trump recently gave the U.S. military more authority to
conduct offensive airstrikes on al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia.

Journalist sentenced

Meanwhile, a court in Hargeisa, the capital of Somalia's breakaway northern
territory of Somaliland, has sentenced journalist Abdimalik Muse Oldon to 2
years in prison.

The journalist was arrested 2 months ago for meeting Somalia's new president
Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo in Mogadishu.

The court said Oldon was charged with "engaging in anti-national activities,
spreading "false" news and disturbing public order."

The chairman of Somaliland's independent human rights group based in Hargeisa,
Guled Ahmed Jama, who is also the defense lawyer of the journalist has
described the sentence as unfair and unconstitutional.

"The journalist did nothing against Somaliland and meeting with someone
supporting is not constitutionally illegal. We see the sentence as "unfair" and
we are appealing," the attorney told VOA.

(source: voanews.com)


Proposed Article To Kazakhstan's Criminal Code Raises Concerns

Like many other countries, Kazakhstan has shown a tendency to equate violent
acts where deadly force is used to terrorism.

Kazakhstan has an article in its Criminal Code -- Article 174 to be exact --
that outlaws actions that foment social, national, tribal, racial, class, or
religious hatred and actions that insult national honor or dignity or the
religious feelings of citizens.

The article is sufficiently vague that it has allowed broad interpretation by
Kazakhstan's courts, which have on several recent occasions found journalists,
bloggers, civic activists, and others guilty of violating the article. Rights
groups have decried such use of Article 174 to silence government critics.

A proposed major addition to the Criminal Code is being debated, and some
believe this article would also be open to broad interpretation and potential

Article 184-1 seeks to punish those who have caused "great harm to the vitally
important interests" of Kazakhstan. Conviction on this charge could carry the
death penalty.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq, quoted Deputy Justice
Minister Zauresh Baymoldina as saying the "vitally important interests" would
include actions that "compromise the territorial integrity of the state, the
stability of the constitutional structure, social, or political stability, [or]
defensive capabilities and security."

It seems to be a response to terrorism, though there are clearly other actions
that would fall under this article.

Proposed penalties for violators of Article 184-1 include prison terms of 15 to
25 years. Loss of citizenship is another penalty that was already recently
added to the books.

Kazakhstan still officially allows for the death penalty, although there has
been a moratorium on its use for nearly 20 years.

So far, there is only 1 specific offense under the draft article that is
punishable by death: any attempt to kill the 1st president of Kazakhstan,
Nursultan Nazarbaev "with the goal of hindering his legal activities or in
revenge for [his] activities."

Veteran Kazakh civic activist Yevgeny Zhovtis has told Azattyq that Article
184-1 is a modern adaptation of the Soviet Criminal Code concerning
"anti-Soviet" activities.

He is among those who fear the article will be used to punish government
opponents. "It only remains to wait a little while until 'enemies of the
people' and 'undesirable elements' appear...[including] opposition figures,
independent journalists, or activists," Zhovtis told Azattyq.

For that reason, attorney Ayman Umarov told Azattyq that the authorities must
concretely define what is "vitally important" for the country. Umarov agreed
the article seemed to target terrorists. But he said, for example, large-scale
embezzlement of state funds is vitally important for the state and the people.

Blogger Miras Nurmukhanbetov wrote that the Criminal Code "is turning into a
stick to be used against those who think differently [than the authorities]."

Defining 'Terrorism'

There have been very few incidents in Kazakhstan since 1991 independence that
would qualify as acts of terrorism.

But like many other countries, Kazakhstan has shown a tendency to equate
violent acts where deadly force is used to terrorist acts.

The violence in the western city of Aqtobe in early June was branded a
terrorist attack. In that incident, a group of some 2 dozen mostly young men
robbed a gun shop and then went on a bizarre spree where they hijacked a bus
and, after first allowing all the passengers to leave, drove to a military
facility and launched an ineffective attack that was quickly repelled and in
which most of the attackers were killed.

No extremist or terrorist group ever claimed the attackers were part of their
group, although Kazakh officials explained the young men were inspired to
violence after listening to Islamic extremist radio broadcasts.

Another incident in Almaty in July 2016 was labeled terrorism, though it
involved one ex-convict who confessed he had killed several policemen (he
purportedly wanted to kill some judges but couldn't find any) out of vengeance
for being put it jail.

Some Kazakh citizens have gone to conflict areas such as Syria or Iraq -- not
many, probably only several hundred -- enough that the Kazakh government does
have a legitimate concern but possibly not so many that the Criminal Code has
to be greatly overhauled to deal with the as-yet-quite-small problem of
terrorism in the country.

Which brings us back to Yevgeny Zhovtis's concern that a law meant to punish a
specific group of individuals who represent a genuine threat will end up being
used to punish people who challenge the authorities.

(source: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)


Reprieve death row, lifers to overcome prisons congestion, says report

There could be some reprieve for prisoners on death row as well as for those
serving life sentences, if the Govt. accepts the recommendations of a special
Task Force (TF) appointed by the Cabinet to look into congestion in prisons.

The report of the TF tabled in Parliament this week by Chief Government Whip,
Parliamentary Reformss and Mass Media Minister Gayantha Karunatileka, proposed
that, the Govt. consider commuting death sentences to life imprisonment, and
consider parole for those serving life sentences according to the existing

"As capital punishment had not been carried out since 1976, and due to the
moratorium on the death penalty, the Govt. has to consider alternative action
to manage overcrowding of prisons, as life sentenced and death penalty
prisoners contribute greatly to overcrowding. To date, there are a total of
1,082 persons on death row, 726 cases remain under appeal, while Life sentence
prisoners total 555, with 463 cases under appeal," the report said.

The TF recommended that Govt consider commutation of death penalty prisoners'
sentences to life sentences. Life sentenced prisoners' sentences can be
commuted according to existing provisions of law" and to make Presidential
pardons available to long term prisoners who are rehabilitated and are able to
re-integrate into society, and to consider a system of parole for detainees who
are identified as eligible by a Parole Board.

Among the key findings of major contributory factors for prison overcrowding
are underutilisation of existing provisions of law, misuse of existing
provisions of law and socio-economic reasons. "Based on the data collected by
the Prisons Dept, the number of remand prisoners equals the number of convicted
prisoners held in custody."

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or Punishment, who visited Sri Lanka last year, in his report
submitted to the UN Human Rights Council in March, also spoke of the appalling
conditions within Sri Lankan prisons and made several recommendations.

The UN official has recommended that the Govt. adopt and implement measures to
significantly reduce overcrowding, including overhauling the prison system, to
reduce the number of detainees and increasing prison capacities in more modern
prison facilities; accelerating the judicial process and reviewing sentencing
policies by introducing alternatives to incarceration (bail and electronic
surveillance for pretrial defendants; non-custodial sentences for non-violent
offenders and juveniles; parole and early release for the convicted) and design
a criminal justice system that aims at rehabilitating and reintegrating
offenders, including by creating work and education opportunities.

Sri Lanka's prison population at present stands at around 17,000 (7,496
convicted prisoners, 8,351 remand prisoners and 1,143 prisoners whose cases are
under appeal).

(source: The Sunday Times)

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2017-04-10 13:06:37 UTC
April 10


Sense of hoplessness

People in Port-of-Spain may be well dressed, smell good, and outwardly look
happy when in fact they are in serious pain experiencing a lot concerns,
including distress and a sense of hopelessness, says Anglican Bishop Claude

Calling on people not to lose hope and heart and to see the Easter season as a
time of reflection of perspectives, Anglican Bishop, Claude Berkley said,
"people will make a mess of things as is human nature, but get back on course
and strive to make right." Delivering the sermon at yesterday's Palm Sunday
service at Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain, Berkeley said, "People are afraid,
marginalised, and more and more people are on the breadline." "I am seeking to
make representation to the HDC (Housing Development Corporation) for about five
people right now," he said, "All of them with very, very sad stories." While
today might be a confusing day, he said, it need not be.

Seeing Palm Sunday as a day of reflection on perspectives, he said, his
perspective was that God is in control and continues to work with people to
discern and take charge of their siuation.

"In that way we can work around the murders, disruptions, turmoils, economic
hardships, marginalisation of people, the loss of faith, the hopelessness we
see on the streets. We look for the creativity and imagination of what is
available to us, so that we can transform our city of Port-of- Spain for the
greater honour and glory of God," he said.

Shift in societal responsibility, he said, has created many of societies

The breakdown of family life, influences of popular culture, the "Get rich
quick, or die trying" notion and a number of new philosophies that engage
living, he told Newsday after the service, have caused people to go off course.

"Now we are seeking to address that breach of good community living by exacting
murder or the penalty of death on the persons. It is shown that the death
penalty is a not a deterrent to those who are of that mind," he said.

He reiterated the church's position that the death penalty should be abolished
and other means of treating those who would have run afoul of the law, be

Some injustices may be done by holding people who have committed offences, many
years before they could be tried, he said.

Before talking about exacting justice, he said, the issues of detection and
conviction have to be addressed.

While the death penalty was controversial, he said, "If you are carrying out
the death penalty, you are doing what is forbidden.

Thou shalt not kill." Noting arguments in favour of not spending tax payers
money to keep criminals in jails, Berkley expressed support for restorative

People who commit crimes, he said, should go through the rehabilitative
process, work and contribute to the well being of their victims.

(source: Newsday)

SAUDI ARABIA----executions

3 Pakistanis executed by Saudi Arabia for smuggling heroin----Amnesty reported
158 death penalties in Saudi Arabia during 2015

Saudi Arabia on Sunday executed three Pakistani nationals convicted of
smuggling heroin, bringing the number of executions in the kingdom to 26 this

The state-run SPA news agency said the 3 had been found guilty of "smuggling
quantities of heroin in their stomachs".

It named the 3 men as Mohammed Ashraf Shafi Mohammed, Mohammed Aref Mohammed
Anayt and Mohammed Afdal Asghar Ali. All 3 are Pakistani citizens.

SPA reported 153 people being executed in the ultra-conservative kingdom last
year, a number confirmed by London-based rights group Amnesty International.

Among those executed was Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a high-profile figure
behind a string of Shiite protests in 2011 demanding reform in the Sunni-ruled

Amnesty reported 158 death penalties in the country for 2015, the highest
annual rate in the past 2 decades.

Saudi Arabia has a strict Islamic legal code under which murder, drug
trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

(source: Agence France-Presse)


High Court judges hear death row convict teenage Oishee's statement in chamber

In a bid to assess the mental health of teenage death row convict Oishee
Rahman, High Court judges have heard her statement in the chamber.

Found guilty of murdering her parents, Oishee was brought to the court on
Monday by the prison authorities on a previous order by the bench of Justice
Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain.

At the beginning of the hearing, the court said that a report filed by doctors
at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) says the teenage girl
has been diagnosed with mental illness.

A petition over the matter has been filed and that's why the court ordered to
produce her, it said.

Oishee was then taken to the chamber, where judges heard her for 15 minutes in
presence of counsels.

She was sent back to the prison after giving her statement and the court then
proceeded with arguments by the State and the defence.

On Apr 3, the High Court ordered the inspector general of prisons to produce
the girl before it.

Oishee's counsel Sujit Chatterjee Bappy told bdnews24.com then, "Oishee was
deranged at that time. No person will kill his or her parents in the right
state of mind."

Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua filed a petition in 2013, on which the
High Court ordered the BSMMU to examine her mental health.

On Apr 26, 2014, BSMMU submitted a report diagnosing Oishee with mental

The teenager is now lodged at the Kashimpur prison in Gazipur.

In November 2015, a Dhaka speedy trial tribunal awarded the death penalty to

Her friend Mizanur Rahman was given a 2-year jail term for aiding and abetting.

The 3rd defendant Asaduzzaman Jony, another friend of Oishee, was acquitted of
the charges of abetment.

On Aug 16, 2013, Inspector Mahfuzur Rahman and his wife Swapna Rahman were
found murdered in their apartment in Dhaka in 2013.

The bloodstained bodies were found in a locked bathroom in their apartment.

Police said Oishee mixed sleeping pills in the coffee to render her parents

Later, she stabbed her mother and then her father to death.

After the killings, the teenage girl left the apartment with her younger

The slain police officer's brother started a murder case the next day. Oishee
surrendered to police the same day.

In March 2014, police pressed charges against Oishee, her 2 friends and the
underage house help.

The house help is being tried at a juvenile court.

In November 2015, the trial court's order of Oishee's death sentence was
forwarded as the death reference to the High Court for it approval.

On Dec 6 the same year, Oishee filed a petition challenging the trial court's

The court started hearing the matters on Mar 12 this year.

(source: bdnews24.com)


Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav accused of espionage gets death penalty

Kulbhushan Jadhav sentenced to death for his alleged involvement in espionage
and sabotage activities against Pakistan.

Former Indian Naval Officer Kulbhushan Jadhav who was arrested in Pakistan on
spying charges has been sentenced to death, the head of the Pakistan Military's
Public Relations Department announced on Monday afternoon.

Jadhav, a 1991 commissioned Naval officer, was arrested in March 2016 by
Pakistan authorities on the charges that he was dealing with Balochistan
freedom fighters. The allegation was that the officer, who retired in 2013, was
an active RAW agent, a charge denied by India.

"The spy has been tried through Field General Court Martial (FGCM) under
Pakistan Army Act and awarded death sentence," the military's media wing
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

The COAS, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has confirmed his death sentence awarded by
FGCM, the statement added.

Pakistan also claimed that Jadhav confessed before a Magistrate and the Court
that he was tasked by RAW to plan, coordinate and organise espionage / sabotage
activities aiming to destabilize and wage war against Pakistan by impeding the
efforts of Law Enforcement Agencies for restoring peace in Balochistan and

It also claimed that Jadhav was provided with a defending officer as per legal

Earlier, Pakistan Army had also released a "confessional video" of Jadhav, who
said he was a serving Indian Navy officer.

India has acknowledged Jadhav as a retired Indian Navy officer, but denied the
allegation that he was in any way connected to the government.

(source: dnaindia.com)


Issue for Duterte to tackle: 10 Filipinos are on Saudi death row

10 Filipinos are now in death row in various jails here after they had been
convicted of various major offenses, according to figures released by the
Philippine Embassy.

The 7 men and the 3 women on death row, who were convicted of crimes punishable
with death penalty here, are among a total of 31 Filipinos criminally charged
in Saudi Arabia for allegedly committing such serious crimes as murder.

The Philippine Embassy said the 10 Filipinos failed to settle private rights or
blood-money payments but there has been no immediate information if their
execution would be carried out anytime soon or if the appeal has been going on.

8 of the 31 accused of committing crimes punishable by death are currently
facing trial by courts here that were notorious for handing down the guilty
verdict not only to foreigners but on Arabs as well.

It is not immediately known if President Rodrigo Duterte, who will be meeting
with Saudi Arabia King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud on Tuesday, will attempt to
ask for consideration or would be able to secure one, especially in the case of
one Filipino who had been charged in connection with illegal drugs.

Even Saudi Arabia's own, Prince Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, known to be an inner
adviser to the king, Abdulaziz, did not get mercy for shooting a man during a
traffic brawl in 2012 and was beheaded in October 2016.

Such was Saudi Arabia's justice system, based on qisas - the act of retribution
- that being spared from the gallows was seemingly not possible.

The Philippine Embassy said it has provided lawyers to at least 15 of those
charged here. There are separate lawyers for those charged in Jeddah, who face
such charges as murder and illegal drugs.

There were varied reasons why Filipinos ended up being charged with murders in
Sharia courts in Saudi Arabia, including maltreatment, physical abuse, sexual
advances by employers and others, Embassy data showed.

The Philippine Embassy meanwhile said that there were also other issues facing
overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) such as being "forced to work beyond agreed
working hours and not given rest days."

There are also massive reports of delayed payment of salaries and non-payment
of benefits by employers, aside from poor accommodation facilities and "lack of
proper food."

It said that OFWs were also prone to abuses with the visa sponsorship system,
especially when they exit or secure transfer sponsorship.

There is also the problem hounding some 11,200 Filipinos, who have illegally
entered the Kingdom.

They form part of the 399,054 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia to work in various
companies and families, providing such services as health and household care
and manual labor.



Indonesia urged to heed UN call to abolish death penalty

The government has been encouraged to heed the United Nations' call to abolish
the death penalty from the country's judicial system.

Jakarta-based human rights watchdog Imparsial said it expected the government
to finally adopt the recommendation during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
slated for next month, when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
will review Indonesia's human rights record along with that of other UN member

"The government must no longer avoid the recommendation regarding the death
penalty, as it is clear the policy is questionable," Imparsial deputy director
Muhammad Gufron told the press on Sunday.

Gufron suggested the government comprehensively review the last 3 rounds of
executions in order to identify alleged corrupt practices in the process.

The upcoming UPR will be the 3rd session held to evaluate the human rights
record of each of UN member. The quadrennial gathering has always seen the
UNHRC suggest that Indonesia abolish the death penalty, a recommendation
Indonesia has consistently rejected.

(source: The Jakarta Post)

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2017-04-11 14:27:16 UTC
April 11


Execution of a Prisoner After Heart Attack

In a heinous crime on April 5, 2017, a seriously ill prisoner was hanged in
Esfahan prison. Houshang Servati was executed while 2 days earlier, after his
transfer to solitary confinement, had suffered a heart attack. He had 5

The regime's henchmen keep persecuting and torturing prisoners to the last
moments and their transfer to solitary confinement for the implementation of
death sentence is accompanied by beating and insults.

On April 4, another ill prisoner was executed after 4 years detention in Tabriz
prison. Before his arrest, he was exempt from military service because of
mental illness.

In another development, on the morning of April 6, Gohardasht prison guards
raided halls 30 and 35 of Ward 10 of the prison, insulted and humiliated
prisoners and destructed their belongings, and took away their medications.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)


Prisoner Hanged on Rape Charges

A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Kerman Central Prison onrape charges. A
report by the press department of the Judiciary in the province of Kerman has
identified the prisoner as "V.F.", 32 years of age. The date of the execution
was not mentioned in the report.

(source: iranhr.net)


Iran responsible for 2/3 of Middle East's executions in 2016: Amnesty

Amnesty International today said that Iran was the Middle East and North Africa
(MENA) region's leading executioner in 2016, putting at least 567 people to
death. That number included at least 2 and as many as 7 children.

Iran was followed in the rankings by Saudi Arabia - which executed at least 154
people - and Iraq, where at least 88 were executed.

Worldwide, the organization said that China executed more people than all the
other countries in the world put together, with "thousands" of death sentences
handed out each year.

China lists only 85 executions carried out between 2014 and 2016 in its state
database, but Amnesty International found news reports of 931 individuals
executed in that time. The organization said that figure still represents but a
fraction of the total put to death.

Excluding China, however, countries from MENA carry out 83% of global

"4 out of the world's top 6 executioners - Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq and
Egypt - are from the MENA region and execution rates in these countries remain
appallingly high." said James Lynch, Head of the Death Penalty team at Amnesty

While the number of executions in the region was down 28% from 2015, the
organization said that year had seen an unusually high number of executions.

The number of people executed in Egypt doubled in 2016, from 22 to 44. The
country is now ranked 6th worldwide for executions.

"Many MENA states justify their use of the death penalty by claiming that they
are acting to counter grave security threats, despite there being no evidence
that the death penalty deters violent crime," Lynch added.

The organization also said that death sentences in Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iran
were often imposed after "grossly unfair" trials, many of which relied on
"confessions" obtained through torture.

(source: albawaba.com)


Rights group renews criticism of death penalty in Japan

Japan executed 3 people last year and imposed 3 new death sentences in what
Amnesty International has also described as a secretive system.

A global report on death sentences and executions for 2016 cited the executions
last March of Yasutoshi Kamata, 75, and Junko Yoshida, 56, and the November
execution of Kenichi Tajiri, 45. All 3 were hanged, with Yoshida the 1st woman
to be executed in Japan since 2012.

The figure was unchanged from 2015, when 3 prisoners were also hanged.

In its report, Amnesty said Japan imposed 3 new death sentences in 2016 and 141
people remained on death row as of the end of the year. Of these, 129 had their
death sentence finalized, it said.

The human rights group also renewed its criticism of Japan's practice of
executing people with mental or intellectual disabilities, while highlighting
that the country and the U.S. were the only members of the Group of 7 developed
nations to carry out executions.

Amnesty said in November that "secretive executions can't hide the fact that
Japan is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the death penalty."

"Executions in Japan are shrouded in secrecy with prisoners typically given
only a few hours' notice, but some may be given no warning at all. Their
families, lawyers and the public are usually notified about the execution only
after it has taken place," it said.

Last October, the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations formally issued a
declaration stating its opposition to the death penalty and calling for
authorities to abolish the punishment by 2020 and replace it with life

The move set the legal profession against the government, which has executed 17
people since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power in 2012.

(source: Japan Times)


Amnesty criticises 'rogue state' China as global death penalty toll
falls----Rights group calls on Beijing to publish figures to allow informed
debate about use of capital punishment

Amnesty International has sharply criticised China for continuing to conceal
the number of people it sentences to death, as the human rights group reported
a fall in executions globally last year.

The number of executions around the world fell by more than a 1/3 to 1,032
across 23 countries in 2016, compared with 1,634 in 25 countries in 2015. Iran,
Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan were the top executioners.

It is estimated that China executes thousands of people, but Beijing does not
release statistics and considers the number of death sentences to be a state

Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty's east Asia director, said: "It is time for China to
stop being a rogue state in the international community with respect to the
death penalty and finally allow the Chinese people to have a proper, informed
debate about capital punishment in the country."

China has a conviction rate of about 99.9% and criminal trials heavily rely on
confessions. Rights activists say suspects are often tortured or coerced into
admitting guilt.

The Chinese government claims it has reduced the use of the death penalty and
taken steps under a policy of "killing fewer, killing cautiously". As part of
this, the county's top court must now approve death sentences handed out by
lower courts.

But without concrete statistics, activists say there is no way to verify
government claims. "There is absolutely no way to tell if death sentences are
going up or down in China," Bequelin said. "Members of the international
community have become very complacent on taking China's word at face value."

For years, China has rebuffed requests by the United Nations for more data on
executions and ignored UN resolutions to increase transparency.

In 1 high-profile case that highlighted the problematic use of the death
penalty, last year a man was exonerated 21 years after he was executed by
firing squad for murder.

China's court system has a database of sentences, but it is largely incomplete,
Amnesty found. Hundreds of death penalty cases were missing from the official
judicial database, including all instances of foreigners sentenced to die over
drug-related offences.

"China doesn't want to be embarrassed and they don't want the extra scrutiny,"
said William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty. "We're talking about thousands
of lives - not only wrongful executions but also cases where people are perhaps
guilty but there are mitigating circumstances or issues of fair legal

The 2 largest offences that were omitted from the government database were drug
charges and so-called terrorism cases. There are 46 crimes punishable by death
in China, including drug offences, arson and embezzlement.

Amnesty singled out China's use of the death penalty in terrorism cases, mainly
centred on the north-west Xinjiang region, home to the Turkic Muslim Uighur
ethnic group.

Authorities launched a "strike hard" campaign after a series of attacks, which
included death sentences being handed out in public trials held in sports
stadiums. "Whenever we've seen a strike hard campaign, we've traditionally seen
increases in death sentences," said Nee.

Uighurs accounted for about 4% of death sentences, despite accounting for only
0.7% of China's total population, according to a partial analysis of capital
punishment data.

A year after its founding in 1921, China's Communist party said it wanted to
???abolish the death penalty, abolish corporal punishment". But by the time the
Communists took power in 1949, the death penalty was frequently used against
party enemies, and in less the 3 years 712,000 people were executed, according
to official figures, during the "Campaign to Suppress Counter-revolutionaries".

Behind China, Iran executed at least 567 people in 2016, mostly for drug
crimes, the Amnesty report said, followed by Saudi Arabia with at least 154
executions and Iraq with 88.

The United States carried out 20 death sentences last year, the lowest number
since 1991, and the number of people sentenced to die dropped to the lowest
since 1973.

(source: The Guardian)


China's death penalty highest in the world, report says

The Chinese government may still be executing several thousand people, even
though officials have claimed the death penalty only applies to an "extremely
small" number of cases.

According to Amnesty International's 2016 global review of the death penalty,
China outranks Iran and Vietnam, while putting to death more people annually
that all other countries combined, The Washington Post reported Monday.

Describing the level of capital punishment in place as "grotesque," Amnesty
stated thousands of people are executed every year in a court system that lacks
judicial process in the trials.

"Given the lack of an independent judiciary in China, the dominant role of the
police, and the systematic overreliance on confessions - often extracted
through torture...there is a very real risk of miscarriages of justice," said
William Nee, author of the Amnesty report.

Past convictions have been overturned.

In December, China cleared the name of a man who was convicted of rape and
murder 2 decades ago.

Nie Shubin, executed by firing squad, was found not guilty but only after his
family campaigned for him and another man eventually confessed to the crimes.

Executions have also helped to supply the country with organ transplants, a
practice that was in place until 2015, according to the Chinese government.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has declared his plan to reform China's judicial
system, but the country has yet to publish the exact number of executions still
taking place in the country.

China's top legal official, Supreme People's Court President Zhou Qiang, has
claimed executions are carried out in an "extremely small number of cases" and
only for the "most severe offenses," writes Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia
regional director at Amnesty.

But secrecy involving the executions remains an issue despite efforts at
reform, according to Amnesty.

Iran registered the second highest number of executions, more than 560, in
2016, and Vietnam may have put to death 429 people between August 2013 and June

The United States fell out of the top 5 with the lowest number of executions,
or 20, since 1991.

(source: United Press International)


India Posted 81% Increase In Death Penalty In 2016, Says Amnesty
Report----India awarded as many as 136 death sentences in 2016 as compared to
75 death sentences in 2015.

India registered an increase of 81 % in death sentences imposed in 2016
compared to 2015, a study released by Amnesty International has said.

As per the global report on death sentences and executions, India awarded as
many as 136 death sentences in 2016 as compared to 75 death sentences in 2015
and the crimes for which capital punishment was awarded mainly included

The figure almost doubled in 2016 on account of the new anti-hijacking law,
which allowed for capital punishment even in cases of hijacking (though only
for those that result in the deaths of hostages, security personnel or any
person not involved in the offence), it said.

According to the report, India did not register a single execution in 2016 but
it had more than 400 prisoners who were to be executed at the end of the year.

In comparison, Pakistan recorded a significant dip of 73 % in the number of
executions. More than 320 people were executed in Pakistan in 2015 while last
year, only around 87 people were executed in the country.

The Amnesty International report said that India is among the few countries
that imposed death penalty for drug related offences.

"The death penalty was imposed or implemented for drug- related offences in a
number of countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Laos,
Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates
and Vietnam," it said.

Amnesty International, which comes out with a report on death sentences and
executions every year, also said that in 2016, there was a considerable drop in
number of executions worldwide.

A total of 1,032 persons were executed in 23 countries in 2016 in comparison to
1,634 executions in 25 countries in 2015, adding that 2 of the 25 countries
that had executed death penalty in 2015 abolished it in 2016.

Of the total executions in 2016, most took place in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia,
Iraq and Pakistan, in that order.

The report states that though China continued to be the world's top
executioner, the true extent of the use of death penalty is unknown as this
data is considered a state secret.

Among India's neighbours, Pakistan had the highest number of death sentences at
360, followed by Bangladesh at 245. Sri Lanka had 79 death sentences last year.

For the 1st time since 2006, the USA was not one of the 5 biggest executioners,
falling to 7th behind Egypt.

The 20 executions in the USA was the lowest in the country since 1991.

(source: Huffington Post)


India won't release Pak prisoners after Kulbhushan Jadhav's death penalty

India on Monday decided not to release about a dozen Pakistani prisoners, who
were to be repatriated on Wednesday, hours after Pakistani army chief approved
the execution of Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for alleged "espionage and
sabotage" activities.

The government feels that it is not the right time for the release of Pakistani
prisoners, official sources said here.

The prisoners were to be released as part of the practice by India and Pakistan
to repatriate nationals lodged in each other's jail after they complete their

The death sentence to Jadhav, 46, was confirmed by Pakistan army chief Gen
Qamar Javed Bajwa after the Field General Court Martial (FGCM) found him guilty
of "all the charges", said the military's media wing Inter-Services Public
Relations (ISPR) in Rawalpindi.

Angered by the development, India today said it will regard as "premeditated
murder" if Pakistan carries out the death sentence "without observing basic
norms of law and justice".

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to India
Abdul Basit and issued a strongly-worded demarche.

(source: Deccan Chronicle)


India has never sent a Pakistani spy to the gallows----What is ironic is that
Jadhav was not brought before a civil court for trial. Indian officials say
that this is to do with the fact that they were unable to produce enough
evidence against him.

India termed the Kulbhushan Jadhav incident as a new low by Pakistan. Jadhav
accused by Pakistan of being an Indian spy was sentenced to death by Pakistan
on Monday. While India has raised strong objection to this incident, it also
says that no spy from Pakistan has ever been sentenced to death in India.

Between 2013 and 2016, India has arrested at least 46 Pakistan spies. None of
them have been given a death penalty. Even in incidents prior to 2013, no
Pakistan spy has been awarded a death penalty, Indian officials say.

In the past 4 years 52 men connected to the ISI were arrested by India. In
2013, 13 agents were arrested while in 2014, the number was at 9. In 2015 and
2016 then number stood at 20 and 10.

While India maintains that no spy from Pakistan has ever been sentenced to
death, that could not be said in the case of the neighbour. In 1999, Pakistan
executed Sheikh Shamim on charges of spying. Sarabjit Singh was also sentenced
to death. However he was killed by inmates in jail after being on the death row
for nearly 16 years.

What is ironic is that Jadhav was not brought before a civil court for trial.
Indian officials say that this is to do with the fact that they were unable to
produce enough evidence against him. In fact Pakistan appeared to be in a hurry
and hence tried him before a military court. In the past all Indians arrested
in Pakistan on charges of spying were brought before a civil court, but in the
case of Jadhav that norm was broken.

(source: One India News)


Amnesty slams Pakistani court

By sentencing Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav to death, Pakistan's military
court system has once again showed how it "rides roughshod over international
standards", Amnesty International said on Monday, questioning the secretive
court's ability to dispense justice.

"The death sentence given to Kulbushan Jadhav shows yet again how Pakistan's
military court system rides roughshod over international standards," Biraj
Patnaik, South Asia Director, Amnesty International, said in response to
Pakistan military court sentencing Jadhav to death for alleged spying.

"Stripping defendants of their rights and operating in notorious secrecy,
military courts do not dispense justice but travesty it. They are an inherently
abusive system that is best left to deal with issues of military discipline,
not any other crimes," Patnaik said in a statement.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances,
regardless of who is accused, the crime, guilt or innocence, or the method of
execution, he said.

A Pakistan military court sentenced Jadhav to death after he was convicted of
"espionage and sabotage activities".

The prominent rights group also noted that over 87 executions were recorded in
Pakistan in 2016 and over 360 death sentences were recorded in the country last

It said over 6,000 people are known to be under death sentence at the end of
2016 in Pakistan, which is among the world's top 5 executioners.

(source: Daily Pioneer)


Pakistan Defence Minister Says Death Penalty For 'Spy' Kulbhushan Jadhav Is A

Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif today said the death sentence handed
out to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav for "spying" should serve as a warning
to those "plotting" against the country.

"Those plotting against Pakistan will not be spared," Asif said.

The statement came after an army court sentenced Jadhav to death after finding
him guilty of "espionage and sabotage activities" and the army chief Gen Qamar
Javed Bajwa approved his execution.

Jadhav's sentencing by a Pakistani military court was according to the law,
Asif told Geo TV.

He said the death sentence handed out to Jadhav should serve as a "warning to
those plotting" against Pakistan".

Asif said that Pakistan would use all constitutional force available against
those acting against the sovereignty of the country.

"Soldiers and civilians of Pakistan have given sacrifices for this country and
their sacrifices demand us to give a befitting reply to terrorists and those
who aid and facilitate them," he said.

The defence minister further said that Jadhav's "confession" was a public
document and if India raises the issue of his death sentence, Islamabad will
reply to New Delhi.

"Jadhav came (to Pakistan) with the approval of the Indian government," he
claimed and said there is no doubt that India was "fueling terrorism in

Replying to a question on dealing the issue on diplomatic and political fronts,
he said that Pakistan would present the issue on every international forum.

According to Asif, the world had acknowledged Pakistan's struggle against
terrorism and the country was dealing with this "menace" from both the "eastern
and western front".

Pakistan sentenced Jadhav to death for carrying out espionage and sabotage
activities in Balochistan and Karachi, the military's media wing Inter-Services
Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

India's Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner to
India Abdul Basit and gave a demarche, which said the proceedings that have led
to the sentence against Jadhav are "farcical in the absence of any credible
evidence" against him.

Asif rejected the Indian stance of terming death sentence as a premeditated
murder and claimed Jadhav was involved in carrying out terrorist activities in
Pakistan and all legal formalities were met during his trial.

He accused India of "committing premeditated murder of the innocent people of
Kashmir since last 7 decades".

He said New Delhi's stubbornness is the biggest hindrance in the way of the
relationship between the 2 countries.

(source: PTI)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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2017-04-11 14:28:28 UTC
April 11


HC upholds death penalty for 4 in Rajon murder case

The High Court has maintained the maximum penalty a lower court had handed down
to 4 men for clubbing 13-year-old Rajon to death in Sylhet.

Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain's bench delivered the
verdict on the convicts' appeal and death reference in the Samiul Alam Rajon
murder case on Tuesday.

Death sentences were upheld for prime accused Kamrul Islam, Moina, Tajuddin and

The court also maintained 7-year imprisonment for Kamrul's brothers - Ali
Haider, Muhit Alam and Shamim Ahmed - and 1 year jail sentence for Dulal Ahmed
and Aiyaz Ali.

The life imprisonment sentence of Nur Ahmed, who had filmed the torture and
killing of Rajon, was commuted to 6 months.

Rajon's father Sheikh Azizur Rahman Alam said he was satisfied with the

Rajon was tied to a pole and beaten to death on July 8, 2015 at Kumargaon bus
station on the outskirts of Sylhet by several men who accused him of stealing a
rickshaw van.

They recorded the incident on a mobile phone and posted the gory footage on
social media, triggering a massive outcry across Bangladesh.

A Sylhet court sentenced Kamrul, Moina, Tajuddin and Zakir to death on November
8 that year and fined them Tk10,000 each.

Nur was sentenced to life in prison and fined Tk10,000 for filming the video of
the killing. Apart from them, Kamrul's brothers and Moina were given 7 years
jail while Dulal, Aiyaz and Moina were given 1 year jail.

Moina was sentenced thrice in the case.

The death reference reached the High Court on November 10 last year. The court
started appeals hearing on January 30 this year.

Appeals hearing concluded on March 12.

(source: Dhaka Tribune)


'Alarming' executions in Vietnam: Amnesty

Secrecy around executions continues to plague some Southeast Asian countries,
with newly released figures showing the "disturbing" use of the death penalty
in Vietnam, Amnesty International says.

At least 1032 people were executed worldwide in 2016, while at least 3117 were
sentenced to death, according to Amnesty International's global report released
on Tuesday.

The figures, while alarming, are considerably less than the reality because
they exclude the thousands of executions believed to have taken place in China.

This secrecy continues to plague some countries in Southeast Asia.

Like China, Amnesty says Vietnam continues to classify figures on the death
penalty as state secrets.

However, according to the report, new information obtained this year reveal
executions have been carried out at a higher rate than previously understood.

In February 2017, Vietnam media reported statistics by the ministry of public
security showing 429 people had been executed between August 2013 and June
2016, at an average rate of 147 executions a year.

"(This) placed Vietnam over a 3-year period as effectively the 3rd-biggest
executioner in the world," Amnesty International's deputy director of global
issues, James Lynch, told AAP, putting it behind China and Iran.

The figures raise as many questions as they answer - with no context provided
as to what people were executed for, when they took place or the details of
their cases' legal proceedings.

"Secrecy is a huge concern, not only Vietnam but also Malaysia ... when new
information comes to light it is disturbing, the number of executions were
higher again than people had expected. The size of death row was higher than
expected," Mr Lynch said.

"There needs to be a much more structured program of transparency about the
imposition of the death penalty to allow for a more informed debate."

Also of concern in the region were calls by the Philippines government to
reintroduce the death penalty as a measure to tackle crime and threats to
national security.

It's a step backward for Southeast Asia, where the Philippines has been a key

(source: The Weekly Times)


Scores sentenced to death in Indonesia in 2016 but proposed law offers hope

More than 60 people were sentenced to death in Indonesia last year but proposed
changes to the country's penal code could save the lives of future prisoners if
they can demonstrate good behaviour.

In a sign Indonesia is slowly edging away from capital punishment, the House of
Representatives is poised to pass a revised criminal code, which, a lawmaker
told Fairfax Media, would "give hope" to those facing execution.

Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Minister, Yasonna Laoly, is optimistic the
revised penal code will be passed mid-year. A clause would allow death
sentences to be commuted to imprisonment if felons could show they had

However, it will provide little succour to the more than 215 people currently
facing the firing squad - including British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford - as
laws in Indonesia are not applied retrospectively.

The proposed change comes after Indonesian President Joko Widodo told Agence
France-Presse last month he would consider a moratorium on the death penalty if
his people agreed to it.

But he told the news agency it would be difficult to secure parliamentary
backing without clear public support and cited a 2015 survey that found 85 % of
Indonesians supported the death penalty for drug trafficking.

An Amnesty International report on death sentences and executions globally in
2016 - to be released on Tuesday - found the number of executions in Indonesia
fell from 14 in 2015 to four last year.

However, there were significantly more death sentences imposed.

"At least 60 new death sentences were imposed in 2016, including 46 for
drug-related offences and 14 for murder," the report says. "At least 215 were
under sentence for death."

14 convicted drug offenders were due to be executed on July 29 last year as
part of Indonesia's so-called "war on drugs". However, 10 were given a
last-minute stay of execution for reasons never properly explained by the
Indonesian government. Their lives remain in limbo.

"No independent and impartial body was mandated to review existing death
sentences at the end of the year," the Amnesty report says.

The report also found there were people with mental or intellectual
disabilities on death row in Indonesia and there was credible evidence of
people who were under 18 at the time of the crime for which they were

In December, Indonesia abstained from voting on a United Nations General
Assembly resolution on a moratorium on the death penalty.

In February Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo said Indonesia would continue to
impose the death penalty - including for drug trafficking - but executions had
been put on hold while Indonesia lobbied for support to become a non-permanent
member of the United Nations Security Council.

Nasir Jamil, a member of the House of Parliament's working committee on the
penal code, said the committee had agreed to the clause on capital punishment.
He told Fairfax Media it was a compromise that reflected differing views within
government and among academics.

"So, we give them an alternative," Mr Nasir said. "This clause gives people who
are sentenced to death some hope that their sentence can be commuted to life or
20 years' imprisonment. At the moment they have no hope."

Mr Nasir said convicts would need to be able to persuade a number of people -
including prosecutors - that they had reformed in order to have their sentences

Prison chiefs would not be the sole arbiter of their good behaviour, to prevent
opportunities for convicts to bribe them.

Mr Nasir said he hoped the revised penal code would be passed in August but
some other articles in the bill relating to defamation and insulting the
President were yet to be finalised.

In 2007 the Indonesian Constitutional Court upheld the validity of the death
penalty but recommended that a death-row prisoner who showed rehabilitation
after 10 years have their sentence commuted to imprisonment.

Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, part of the so-called Bali 9,
were executed in 2015 for drug trafficking despite their well-documented
rehabilitation in jail. This included Chan becoming a pastor and Sukumaran
establishing art classes in Kerobokan jail.

Their lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said it remained to be seen if the revised
code would be passed, given deliberations were not complete.

He said if the bill was not passed this year its future would be uncertain as
2018 would be a "political year" ahead of the 2019 presidential elections.

(source: Sydney Morning Herald)


Malaysia ranked 10th in use of death penalty, says Amnesty International

Malaysia was placed 10th among the world's top executioners after carrying out
9 death sentences last year, human rights watchdog Amnesty International
Malaysia (AI-M) said in its report.

AI-M Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said the number of
executions in Malaysia has also considerably increased from the previous years,
according to the Death Sentences and Executions Report 2016 launched today.

"The Home Ministry in October last year had informed the Parliament that
Malaysia had executed 6 people in 2014, 1 in 2015 and 9 last year.

"The disclosure was the 1st time executions have been disaggregated by year in
recent memory and the revelation provided an insight into the magnitude and
true extent of Malaysia's use of the death penalty," she told reporters here.

According to the report, 23 countries were known to have carried out
executions. China lead the list of top executioners, followed by Iran, Saudi
Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan.

However, she praised Malaysia for being "slightly more" transparent with death
penalty data, after urging Putrajaya to do so over the years.

"The October announcement proved that Malaysia has been executing more than we
were previously aware of. The government should continue to make public
information on the death penalty while it is still in use," she said.

In the previous parliamentary session, minister Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said
revealed that the government had agreed to review Section 39B of the Dangerous
Drugs Act 1952 and allow courts to decide on the penalty for drug offences.

Currently, the law only provides for one sentence for those convicted of
drug-related offences - death.

While the government has agreed to review drug laws in the country, it should
also explore its options in entirely abolishing the death penalty, Shamini

"On March 15, the hurried double executions of brothers Rames and Suthar
Batumalai while clemency application was still pending is symbolic of the lack
of transparency that surrounds executions in Malaysia.

"It is a perfect example of why the death penalty must be abolished in
totality. The government must go further and immediately establish a moratorium
on all executions as first steps towards full abolition of the death penalty."

The report also revealed that executions at the global level had decreased by
37 * from a high of 1,634 in 2015. On the other hand, new death sentences had
increased in 2016 to 3,117 from 1,998 in 2015.

(source: Yahoo News)


Dying for business: UK softening stance on death penalty for post-Brexit deals
- Amnesty

Britain has been accused of "damping down" its criticism of regimes that
practice the death penalty because it is desperate to secure trade deals after
it leaves the European Union, Amnesty International claims.

By contrast, the number of executions is down to 1,032 across 23 countries,
against 1,634 in 2015 across 25 countries. China was named the top executioner.
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan made up 87 percent of executions in

Amnesty UK director Kate Allen has called into question the UK's willingness to
criticize countries with a record of human rights abuse, such as Saudi Arabia,
and claimed security and new deals may have become its priority as it faces the
prospect of leaving the EU.

"We fear that trade and security issues are trumping human right," she said.

"With UK officials damping down their objections to the death penalty when it
comes to countries like Saudi Arabia or Bahrain," Allen was reported saying in
the Independent.

When Bahrain unfairly executed 3 men, the British foreign secretary gave "only
the mildest of rebukes," she said.

While acknowledging the UK "at its best" has done some "very important" work in
urging countries to abolish the death penalty, Allen said as death sentences
are at a record high "now is not the time to go quiet."

"If governments in Beijing, Manama, Islamabad and Riyadh see there's very
little public outrage over executions, then they're going to think they've got
a green light to carry on killing," she added.

The report follows Prime Minister Theresa May's tour of the Middle East last
week to secure future security and trade deals with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain,
both known for their poor human rights records.

Maya Foa of legal rights charity Reprieve pointed out that many of the
countries with the "worst" records for executions are the very same ones the PM
is courting."

"Many of those with the worst record on executions are countries which British
Prime Minister Theresa May has been actively courting in recent weeks - has
been actively courting in recent weeks - including Saudi Arabia, where
juveniles face beheading and crucifixion, and Bahrain, where political
protesters have been executed on the basis of forced 'confessions,'" she said.

"The UK government must not let the trade agenda trump concerns for human
rights." (source: rt.com)


Amnesty says Botswana executed 1 criminal in 2016

Amnesty International says Botswana was the only country in southern African to
execute a criminal last year.

The rights group, which opposes the death penalty, said in a global report
Tuesday that the single execution in Botswana was the country's 1st since 2013.

Patrick Gabaakanye, 65, was hanged in May for the 2010 axe murder of an elderly
man, according to media in Botswana.

Amnesty says another 283 people across southern Africa faced the death sentence
at the end of 2016, including 157 in Zambia and 97 in Zimbabwe.

The report says Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe were the only southern African
nations that sentenced criminals to death last year - a total of 110, most of
whom were in Zambia.

(source: Associated Press)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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April 12


Amnesty International: Death sentences on the rise in Africa

More than 1,000 death sentences were handed down in Africa in 2016. That's
according to the latest report by Amnesty International. Botswana was singled
out for resuming executions.

DW: Could you briefly tell us the components of your report with a focus on the
African countries?

First of all, it's quite important to highlight the major elements of the
report itself. In 2016, Amnesty International recorded a 37 % decrease in the
number of executions carried out globally. In 2016, we found that China was the
world's top executioner. And progress towards abolition was recorded in all
regions of the world.

In terms of sub-Saharan Africa, the use of the death penalty was mixed. On one
hand, we recorded fewer executions; on the other hand, the number of death
sentences rose dramatically to a staggering 145 % increase. At least 22
executions were carried out in 5 countries compared to 43 executions in 4
countries in 2015. In 2016, the countries that carried out executions included
Nigeria, Botswana, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia. Death sentences rose from
443 in 2015 to at least 1,086 in 2016. And this was mainly due to an increase
in the number of dead sentences handed out in Nigeria. Nigeria handed down 527
death sentences and that's the highest we recorded excluding China in the

What could be the reason for this rise of the death sentences in Nigeria?

We are not exactly sure of the reason for this dramatic sharp increase in the
number of death sentences handed down in 2016. However, I must note that we
recorded a similar number of death sentences for Nigeria in 2014. So in 2015,
there was a decrease and then it's gone back up again. It's very possible that
a lot of [capital punishment] cases came to a conclusion in 2016 and judgments
were handed down.

Amnesty says there is progress in abolishing the death penalty but more needs
to be done

Botswana has been described as a model for democracy and good governance. Why
do you think they have resumed executions?

Botswana is one of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that still hangs on to
the use of the death penalty. Although they do not carry out as many executions
as some other countries like Somalia, they still hold steadfastly to the death
penalty. It's unclear why they have resumed executions; they carried out 1
execution last year. It's a country that consistently uses the death penalty
and has refused to stay away from this cruel and inhuman degrading punishment.

Amnesty International works to end executions and opposes the death penalty.
What's being done at the moment to scrap the death penalty?

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception,
regardless of the nature of the offence or the characteristics of the
individual or the methods used by the states to carry out the executions. Since
1977, we have been calling on all countries in the world that are yet to
abolish the death penalty, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa to establish an
official moratorium on executions as a fast step towards abolishing the death

(source: Oluwatosin Popoola is Amnesty International's Nigeria
researcher----Deutsche Welle)


Nigeria Records 2nd-Highest Number Of Death Sentences In 2016----According to
the human rights organization, 2016's figure represents a "massive and
worrying" spike from 2015, when the country recorded 171 death sentences.

Nigeria handed down 527 death sentences in 2016, tripling 2015's figure and
placing it 2nd only to China in death sentences recorded throughout the world
in 2016.

Amnesty International Nigeria announced the figure in its 2016 global review of
the death penalty published on Tuesday.

Lagos State recorded the most executions in Nigeria in 2016 with 68, followed
closely by Rivers State with 61.

According to the human rights organization, 2016's figure represent a "massive
and worrying" spike from 2015, when the country recorded 171 death sentences.

The group emphasized that Nigeria's sharp increase in death sentences puts the
country at odds with the global decline in death sentences. In 2016, there were
1,032 executions recorded worldwide, down from 1,634 in 2015 (a 37 % decline).

"By handing down more death sentences last year than any other country except
China, Nigeria has tripled its use of this cruel and inhuman punishment and
skyrocketed up the shameful league table of the world's death penalty
offenders," said Damian Ugwu, Amnesty International's Nigeria Researcher.

"The danger of people being executed for crimes they may not have committed
remains ever-present. Investigations show many death row inmates live in
constant fear of execution in some Nigerian prisons."

The group stated that on December 23, 2016, for example, Apostle Igene, an
inmate of Benin Prison, Edo State, was executed after being sentenced to death
in 1997 by a military tribunal. He was never permitted to appeal the sentence.

The report also pointed out that Oyo State passed a law in 2016 making
kidnapping punishable by execution and that Lagos and Bauchi States passed
similar laws in 2017.

The group condemned such laws, saying that there is no evidence demonstrating
that the death penalty deters crime more than any other punishment. It also
pointed out that Nigerian security authorities have been ramping up police
training with a view towards improving crime detection and prevention. These
measures, the group said, "are likely to have a greater impact on the crime
rate than any moves to expand the scope of the death penalty."

The organization concluded its report by calling on the Nigerian government to
establish an official moratorium on death penalties and to eventually abolish
it altogether.

"For years, the federal government has claimed to have a voluntary or
self-imposed 'moratorium,' but executions have happened nonetheless. This
demonstrates the urgency of formally establishing a moratorium," the group

(source: saharareporters.com)


Zambian opposition leader charged with treason: Mwamba----Reportedly for
failing to move off the road for the president's motorcade.

Zambia's main opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, has been arrested and
charged with treason for failing to move off the road for the president's
motorcade at a weekend ceremony, his deputy said.

The charge allows no bail and can carry the death penalty.

Police raided Hichilema's residence late Monday, firing teargas and breaking
down doors, while the president of the United Party for National Development
sought refuge in a safe room in the house. Police used teargas to try force
Hichilema and his family out, and he emerged when his lawyers were allowed on
the property, according to his wife, Mutinta.

The police work independently and the presidency won't interfere in Hichilema's
case, Amos Chanda, President Edgar Lungu's spokesman, said in a statement
posted to the ruling Patriotic Front's Facebook account. "Several crimes" were
committed during the motorcade incident, he said. The police haven't confirmed
the arrest or charge and said a statement will be issued Wednesday.

"He was not interviewed, he was only told that you have been charged with a
treasonable charge which is treason itself," Geoffrey Mwamba, the UPND's vice
president, told reporters Tuesday. The allegations are "trumped up" and
Hichilema "has not committed any offense whatsoever," he said.

Election dispute

The latest arrest marks a spike in the confrontation between HH, as the
opposition leader is known, and Lungu, whom Hichilema refuses to recognize
because he says the election he lost in August was fraudulent. The UPND
challenged the results in the Constitutional Court, which didn't hear the case
after the 14-day period allowed for the petition lapsed before it could even

Yields on Zambia's $1 billion of Eurobonds due April 2024 rose 4 basis points
on Wednesday to 8.08 percent.

Police in the Southern Province arrested 4 people for attempting to hold a riot
in response to the arrest of Hichilema, the police commissioner for the
province, Bonny Kapeso, said in a text message Wednesday.

Hichilema, 54, was last arrested in October over allegations of unlawful
assembly, and says he's been detained at least 16 times in the past 5 years.

"This time they were so brutal," Hichilema said by phone Tuesday after he
arrived at the police station. "They tortured my workers. My lips are swollen,
my eyes are swollen, my skin is itching."

(source: moneyweb.co.za)


2 militants hanged in Sahiwal Jail

Police authorities confirmed that 2 militants were hanged in Sahiwal jail
today, reported Waqt News. According to reports both militants were involved in
several terrorist activities. Both had been convicted by military courts and
had been kept in Sahiwal jail for a long time.

Their dead bodies were handed over to their relatives.

On March 7, execution of terrorists already convicted by the military courts
was resumed with five hardcore terrorists sent to the gallows at District Jail
Kohat on Wednesday.

According to ISPR, the executed terrorists include Shaukat Ali, Imdad Ullah,
Sabir Shah, Khandan and Anwar Ali.

The convicted terrorists were involved in attacks on Pakistan Army and other
law enforcement personnel.

All the 5 terrorists had confessed to their crimes before the military courts.

Execution of these terrorists comes at a time when the government is on the
verge of extending the term of the military courts, which came to end earlier
this year after lapse of the Sunset Clause.

These courts were established under the 21st constitutional amendment after the
2014 terrorist attack on the Army Public School (APS), Peshawar.

Military's top brass on January 11 lauded the role of military courts for
greatly helping in bringing the heightened wave of terrorism down across the

According to the ISPR, 274 cases were referred to the military courts.

Out of 274 cases, 161 convicts were awarded the death penalty, 12 were executed
and 113 were awarded imprisonment of varying duration.

The cases were dealt through due process of law in the military courts.

(source: The Nation)


US experts cite 'flimsy' evidence in Kulbhushan case, question slow 26/11 trial

Top US experts have expressed concern over Pakistan's decision to give death
penalty to Indian national Kulbhushan Jadhav as they warned that Islamabad
wants to send a "strong message" to India against isolating it on the world

Jadhav, 46, was awarded the death sentence by military Field General Court
Martial under the army act for his alleged involvement in terrorism and
espionage. The death sentence was confirmed by army chief Gen Qamar Javed

"Apart from the gross irregularities in the Jadhav situation, such as the lack
of consular access and the secrecy surrounding the surprise court-martial, what
struck me the most is the contrast between the speed of Mr Jadhav's trial set
against the endless postponements for that of the Mumbai attackers," Alyssa
Ayres, a former senior State Department official in its South and Central Asia
Bureau said.

"The latter case, by contrast, has been in a continual state of prolongation
for nearly 9 years,"Ayres told PTI.

She is currently senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the
Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank.

Bharat Gopalaswamy, director of South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, a
Washington-DC based top US think-tank, believes that the evidence warranting
Jadhav's conviction "is rather flimsy" and the story by the Pakistani
authorities "do not add up".

Without furnishing further evidence, this conviction as it stands, "seems to be
politically motivated" in order to counter India's aggressive diplomacy against
Pakistan in combating terrorism, he said.

"This whole story is shrouded in mystery and uncertainty, but it seems clear
that Pakistan wants to send a very strong message to India, whether to warn New
Delhi against meddling in Pakistan or to push back in a big way against India's
efforts to isolate Pakistan on the world stage," said Michael Kugelman, deputy
director and senior associate for South Asia at the prestigious Woodrow Wilson

"At the same time, given how much India will want to ensure that Yadav isn't
executed, Pakistan now has a very large bargaining chip at its disposal.
Pakistan may want to use Yadav as a trump card to get some type of major
concession from India," Kugelman said.

"The bottom line is that India-Pakistan relations are on life support. We can
kiss goodbye any immediate prospects for resuming dialogue, though that wasn't
a very strong possibility even before the announcement about Yadav's death
sentence. Ultimately, India and Pakistan face some very dark and dangerous days
ahead," he said.

According to Sameer Lalwani, senior associate and deputy director for Stimson's
South Asia programme, said the decision and timing of Jadhav's execution
sentence "appears puzzling" because in many ways it does not seem to work in
Pakistan's self-interest.

"If Jadhav posed a threat and Pakistan wanted to send a deterrent signal to
potential saboteurs of CPEC and Gwadar, they could have executed him months ago
after his intelligence value had been exhausted," Lalwani said.

"If Pakistan wanted to exploit Jadhav's capture for diplomatic purposes by
showcasing evidence of Indian sub conventional aggression, Pakistan still has
yet to convince the international community and an execution raises
suspicions," Lalwani said.

"Finally, if the Indians care that much about Jadhav, Pakistan could have used
him as a bargaining chip. Perhaps the sentence is an opening bargaining gambit
but actually executing Jadhav may not be reaping much of a deterrent signal for
Pakistan while foreclosing on diplomatic or trade value," he said.

Both the State Department and the White House refused to comment on the
sentencing of Jadhav.

"We have seen these reports. We refer you to the governments of India and
Pakistan for further information," a State Department spokesperson said.

(source: Hindustan Times)


Pakistan is home to the 'world's largest death row'

Exhausted from a full day's work, 25-year-old student Sohail Yafat knew he had
one last stop to make before heading home: a visit to a colleague's ailing
father at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology hospital, in his native Lahore,
Pakistan's second city.

Yafat never expected the police to be there, waiting for him. He was arrested,
and bundled into a police van.

"There was no warrant. This was all purely on suspicion," he says. "I was
blindfolded, and I was brutally tortured and beaten on the way. I had never
even entered a police station, so I had no idea of this world."

That was the summer of 2001. The police and a complainant had named him as an
accomplice in a murder case in the town of Sahiwal, about 150km south. What
followed for Yafat was harrowing: 10 years of imprisonment during which he was
tried, convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. In 2011, a court
exonerated him, acquitting him of his crimes for want of evidence.

"I was subjected to 3rd-degree torture. They beat the soles of my feet with
bamboo sticks. I was beaten with whips. I was kept awake, bound so that I was
positioned bolt upright and unable to sleep," he recalls.

The maximum punishment for murder suspects in Pakistan is the death penalty -
Yafat says he was terrified of receiving it. In the 10 years he spent in
prison, having seen the conditions under which death row prisoners lived, he
was determined to work for their rights, "to ease their pain", he says.

In 2014, the government lifted a 6-year moratorium on executions as part of a
counter-terrorism plan. It then expanded the use of executions to include
non-terrorism offences in 2015, saying the measure was needed to combat crime.

Last year, Pakistan executed 87 people, making it the 5th most prolific
executioner in the world, according to an annual report on the global use of
the death penalty released by Amnesty International on Tuesday.

Together, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan accounted for 87 % of all
recorded worldwide executions, the report said. China is widely believed to
execute thousands of people every year, but data on executions "is classified
as a state secret", according to Amnesty.

In total, 1,032 executions were recorded in 2016, down by 37 %, but death
sentences were at the highest level since Amnesty began compiling statistics,
with 3,117 people sentenced to death worldwide.

Of those, more than 360 people were sentenced in Pakistan, and are currently
living on the world's largest recorded death row, home to more than 6,000

Pakistan's Interior Ministry had not responded to a request for comment by the
time of publication.

Pakistan's prisons are chronically overcrowded, partly owing to an overloaded
justice system that incarcerates a large proportion of under-trial prisoners.
As of April 2015, the country's prisons held at least 80,169 prisoners, against
a capacity of just 46,705, according to World Prison Brief.

Within the prisons themselves, special areas are designated for death row
prisoners. As many as eight prisoners will be forced to share an 8-by-10ft
cell, says Yafat, who spent years at the Sahiwal Jail tending to fellow

(source: Yahoo News)


1,122 Still On Death Row

Malaysia is ranked 10th among 23 countries that apply the death sentence
worldwide, according to the 2016 Death Sentences and Executions Report by
Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM).

AIM executive director K. Shamini Darshni said Malaysia recorded 9 executions
as of last year with 1,122 individuals currently on death row.

"The Home Ministry had in October, last year, informed Parliament that Malaysia
executed 6 people in 2014, 1 in 2015 and 9 as of September 2016.

"The disclosure was the 1st time the annual breakdown of executions has been
given in recent memory and has provided an insight into the magnitude and true
extent of Malaysia's use of the death penalty," she told reporters during the
presentation of the report here today.

According to the report, 829 have been sentenced to death since 2010, while 95
others had received pardons or had their death sentences commuted during the
same period.

The government had stated that as of April 30, 2016, 1,042 people comprising
629 Malaysians and 413 foreign nationals were sentenced to death due to murder,
drug trafficking, firearms trafficking or kidnapping.

"Of these, 649 prisoners had legal appeals pending, while 393 were seeking
pardon," she said.

Shamini further said despite draft legislation to reform death penalty laws in
the country which was announced in November 2015, it has yet to be introduced
in Parliament.

"On March 23, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina
Othman Said had announced that the government was looking to allow judges
sentencing discretion in drug trafficking cases where the mandatory death
penalty is currently applied.

"However, while the move could result in a significant reduction in the use of
the death penalty, the authorities should not limit reform to drug trafficking
offences only," she said.

Citing the hurried execution of brothers B. Rames and B. Suthar on March 15
while their clemency applications were still pending, Shamini called on the
government to establish a moratorium on all executions as a 1st step towards
full abolition of the death penalty.

(source: malaysiandigest.com)


Court to hear evidences in Siti Aisyah`s trial

The court session for the Kim Jong Nam murder case involving Indonesian
national Siti Aisyah on Thursday, April 13, in Malaysia will be held to listen
to proofs and evidences presented by the prosecutor.

"Tomorrow, the court session will be held to only hear the evidences that
strengthen the prosecution side, and the judge will review those proofs before
deciding whether it should brought to the High Court," Head of the Indonesian
Protection Team and Indonesian Law Body of the Foreign Ministry Lalu Muhammad
Iqbal noted in a text message in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The lawyer, along with the Indonesian Protection Team from the Indonesian
Embassy and Foreign Ministry, will accompany Aisyah in court, Iqbal remarked.

Iqbal stated that the team of lawyers appointed to accompany Aisyah will not
contest the charges in court tomorrow.

"The defense will present its side in the High Court," Iqbal pointed out.

Aisyah became the defendant in the murder case of King Jong Nam, a relative of
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un and will appear for the 2nd time in the
Magistrate Court in Sepang, Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday, Apr 13.

At the Magistrate Court in Sepang on Mar 1, Aisyah and a Vietnamese citizen
Doan Thi Huong were accused of the murder of Kim Jong Nam.

At the indictment reading in the Magistrate Court, both were accused of
murdering Jong Nam and were charged under law Section 32 Kanun Keseksaan or
regarding planned murder along with Section 34 from the same law and could face
a maximum of death penalty if convicted.

The police have accused Aisyah, 1 of the 2 women suspects, of smearing Jong
Nams face with a deadly poisonous chemical on Feb 13.

Aisyah was arrested 3 days after the incident.

While speaking to the Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Aisyah said she was
paid 400 ringgit to take part in a show that she believed was a prank reality
show. Aisyah also thought that the chemical used was merely baby oil.

(source: Antara News)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-12 14:39:25 UTC
April 12


They turned into animals----Observes HC about killers of Sylhet boy Rajon,
upholds death sentence of 4

The perpetrators had turned into a group of animal characters devoid of
humanity when they tortured Sheikh Md Samiul Alam Rajon to death in Sylhet in
2015, said the High Court yesterday as it upheld death penalty of four for
having been directly involved in the killing.

Rajon had been refused water during the torture, the court said, and that
demonstrated the "cruel", "inhuman" and "heinous" nature of the crime.

The death-row convicts are Qamrul Islam, Zakir Hossain alias Pavel, Saddique
Ahmed alias Boro Moyna and Taz Uddin alias Badal. Except for Zakir, all are in

Zakir has been absconding since the incident, said Assistant Attorney General
Atiqul Haque Salim.

3 convicts -- Quamrul's brother Muhid Alam alias Muhit, Shamim Ahmed and Ali
Haider -- were sentenced to 7 years in prison and 2 others -- Ayaz Ali and
Dulal Ahmed -- to 1 year's imprisonment.

The bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain,
however, commuted the life sentence of Noor Ahmed alias Noor Mia, who had
filmed the brutal incident, to six months' jail.

Rajon's father Sheikh Azizur Rahman Alam, who was present in the courtroom
during the delivery of the judgment, said he got justice.

"I thank the government and judges for ensuring justice. I hope sentences of
the convicts will be executed soon."

The video footage captured by Noor and confessional statements of 2 convicts
proved the accusations brought in the murder case, Atiqul Haque told The Daily

The HC upheld a lower court's verdict sentencing 5 convicts to different terms
on the grounds that they had tried to hide the body of Rajon, he added.

SM Abul Hossain, a defence lawyer for Quamrul and Muhit, said his clients would
appeal to the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, challenging the HC
verdict, after receiving the full text of the verdict.

On July 8, 2015, Rajon was beaten to death by a group of brutes in Kumargaon
Bus Stand area of Sylhet sadar, allegedly for trying to steal a rickshaw van.

Noor Ahmed filmed the horrendous incident and shared it on Facebook.

The 28-minute video footage went viral on the social networking site, which
shows prime accused Quamrul Islam hitting the boy with a stick on his feet,
joints of legs, shoulders and head.

A Sylhet court in November 2015 sentenced the four accused, including Quamrul,
to death.

The High Court observed that if anybody is apprehended by public other than
police or legal force over an allegation of committing crimes, he must
immediately be sent to the nearest police station or police must be informed so
that they arrest him and bring him to book.

"Taking a sudden decision on a mere idea can never bring appropriate result. In
this case, it is claimed by the defence against victim Rajon that he tried to
steal a van and for that some angry people killed him by beating him but that
has not been proved by the evidence of either party.

"When an unusual incident takes place beyond expectation, then it is difficult
to retain the situation under control. We must control the environment of our
society having awareness and applying basic law, since otherwise society will
get a negative message and mass people will take the law into their own hands
ignoring the appropriate legal process. In such a situation, innocent people
may be victimised even after having no fault of any crime. People should
acknowledge from the present case that for such crime committed by perpetrators
they are going to meet the gallows and other punishments."

"All of us including the state must be alert to keep the society safe from any
kind of untoward incidents like Rajon's one," Justice Jahangir Hossain Selim

The judge said, "Most of the people of the country do not have the knowledge of
the basic law due to lack of education. To bring the people under awareness of
law and how to apply it, state owned media, electronic and print media
organisations including journalists, all religious leaders and teachers should
come forward to play a significant role".

"Social movement is also a very important factor in this regard and this
awareness of law should be incorporated in the primary education," the court

(source: The Daily Star)


Death penalty highlights wider injustices in Japan's legal system

Japan's justice system is under increasing scrutiny following a historic
declaration from the country's largest legal association to bring to light the
country's high conviction rate and continuing use of executions.

The Japanese Federation of Bar Associations went further and called for the
abolition of the death penalty, a move human rights activists hope will open a
dialogue about this issue in the country.

Proponents argue that the use of capital punishment is reserved for only the
most extreme cases - multiple murders, or terrorist attacks such as the 1995
Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attack that killed 12 people in the Tokyo subway
system. On average, just 1 or 2 people are executed in Japan each year, making
its use far more exclusive than in many countries that still apply capital

However, there are major issues with even this limited use. According to
Atsushi Zukeran, chairman of the Japan Association for Social Justice and Human
Rights (Kyuenkai), there have been four cases of people being wrongly convicted
and then sentenced to death in Japan - and this is something he believes that
can happen again.

"There is still the possibility to kill the wrong person in the Japanese death
penalty system," said Zukeran to Equal Times, adding that this is worrisome for
Japan's human rights records. "If someone is falsely charged - and then
executed - there is no way to go back."

The most recent case - that of Hakamada Iwao, who was on death row for 47 years
before DNA evidence led to his release 3 years ago - shows just how difficult
justice can be. Evidence that could have exonerated him during his trial was
withheld from the defence, and even today, he is still awaiting retrial as the
Japanese Prosecutor's Office refuses to accept that he is innocent.

Wider issues with the justice system

Another 130 inmates are still on Japan's death row, notorious for its harsh
treatment of inmates and gross human rights violations. Death row inmates in
Japan are killed by hanging and the date of the execution is kept a secret to
everybody, including to the condemned person, until the morning of the

Japan has a very high sentencing rate. More than 99 % of criminal trials result
in a guilty verdict. While part of this can be attributed to the relatively low
number of cases that go to trial, some of it is also connected to strong
systematic challenges that make proving one's innocence exceedingly difficult.

According to Zukeran, these challenges start from the moment that a defendant
is suspected.

"Once they are arrested, they are detained for 23 days - from morning to night
in a police station jail, and they do interrogations without the presence of a
lawyer, and in a closed room," he said. "There, they can make false statements,
and that could be the base, or foundation, of a guilty death penalty sentence."

"From there it does not get any better," says Yoshihiro Yasuda, a prominent
lawyer who defends those facing the death penalty. According to him, the trial
itself is stacked in favour of prosecutors, making it incredibly tough to prove
someone's innocence.

"We cannot see the same evidence that the public prosecutor has," Yasuda told
Equal Times. "Also, they can hire freely many experts, and they can use the
public science research institutes, whereas the defence has to pay."

Kyuenkai is calling for three changes that they believe will make the system
more fair: altering the system of interrogation and moving prisoners from
police to judicial detention centres; giving fair access to all evidence to
both sides; and prohibiting appeals of not guilty charges by the prosecution.

Public discussions, not opinion polls

Despite these glaring issues, the death penalty enjoys wide support among the
Japanese public, with recent surveys showing that 80 % of people are in favour
of its use.

For Yuji Ogawara, a lawyer who has worked on several death penalty cases, this
is more symbolic of the fact that there has not yet a real, national discourse
on the use of the death penalty in Japan.

"Personally, I think that we should not decide the...death penalty by the
results of opinion polls. It should be decided by public discussions," said

"Until now, for people in Japan, there were not many opportunities...to discuss
either abolishing, or keeping the death penalty."

Still, the trend is worrisome. According to Yasuda, Prime Minster Shinzo Abe
may be looking to use the death penalty as a tool to protect the country
against terrorist attacks ahead of the forthcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"Since Abe became prime minister, in total, 21 people have been executed," said
Yasuda." This is the biggest number among any prime minister.

Awareness of the use of the death penalty in other countries, such as the
United States, China or Indonesia, remains much higher than Japan, and cases
there often get international attention. Many advocates believe that greater
media attention, and pressure, could aid the fight to both abolish the death
penalty, and reform Japan's justice system.

"A long time ago, in France, Catherine Deneuve, the actress, once protested and
threw a bag at the American embassy," said Yasuda. "I want to see people do
that to the Japanese embassy. Then I think Japanese will be woken up."

Ogawara agrees that international attention can help - but cautions that it
must be constructive, as harsh criticism could have unintended consequences.

"Simple foreign pressure will just cause Japanese people's resistance," said

"That why [it's better] for the international community to give us advice, as a
friend who shares common values."

(source: equaltimes.com)


Govt refuses to implement moratorium on death penalty

Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo indicated that Indonesia would continue to
execute convicts when he confirmed that the government would not implement a
moratorium on the death penalty despite mounting calls from human rights

He hinted that there would soon be a fourth round of executions.

"We never said we would implement a moratorium," Prasetyo said. "We are
considering many aspects," he added.

Prasetyo made the statement in response to a question raised by United
Development Party (PPP) politician Arsul Sani, who asked him to give updates on
the government's execution plans during a meeting at the House of
Representatives on Wednesday.

Arsul asked about the fate of more than 100 death row convicts in regard to
ongoing discussions between the government and lawmakers on making the death
penalty an alternative sentence as stipulated in the Criminal Code (KUHP) draft

The bill, which is being deliberated at the House, softens the government's
stance on capital punishment as it stipulates that the punishment can be
reduced to life imprisonment.

Article 89 of the bill states "the death penalty should be the last option
taken to protect the public." It is elaborated further in Article 91, which
says convicts may have their sentences reduced if they behave well during their
imprisonment. The bill does not define the guidelines of death penalty
assessments or stipulate institutions authorized to make such assessments.

"If the revised KUHP takes effect while we still have death row convicts, we
will comply with this new law," Prasetyo said.

(source: The Jakarta Post)


Global youth org urges Senate to reject death penalty

An international youth organization on Wednesday urged the Senate to reject the
proposed death penalty law, arguing that the bill is "intrinsically flawed and

In a statement, the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) criticized
the House of Representatives as a "rubber stamp" of President Rodrigo Duterte's
"undemocratic" policies.

Last month, the House of Representatives approved House Bill No. 4727 seeking
to reimpose capital punishment on 7 drug-related offenses.

The IUSY said the measure was railroaded and "did not undergo due process" as
the organization noted how the House leadership stripped some lawmakers of
their committee chairmanships over their no vote on the bill.

"This is undemocratic. A vibrant, functioning democracy provides a platform for
discourse and dissent. As a co-equal branch, it must be ready to act as a
check-and-balance to the excesses of the Executive branch," the group said.

"The current Philippine House of Representatives has, sadly, become a rubber
stamp to President Rodrigo Duterte's undemocratic policies," it added. At the
Senate, 7 death penalty proposals are still pending before the justice
committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon. Gordon himself is against death

"As the Senate reviews its version of the bill, we offer our support to the
Filipino people fighting the death penalty. The Resistance continues," the IUSY

Congress is currently on a break and will resume session on May 2.

The IUSY said there is no compelling reason to reinstate capital punishment for
drug-related offenses.

It said the death penalty bill is "anti-poor" as it "targets small-time drug
peddlers" forced into poverty and inequality.

"Aside from being intrinsically flawed and illegal, the bill is a setback in
the overall fight for freedom, social justice, and human rights and dignity
across the world," it argued.

"The reimposition of the death penalty in the Philippines will affect the
marginalized members of society the most, not the drug lords who have since
fled the country or the corrupt politicians who pocket the money of Filipino
taxpayers," the group added.

Akbayan Youth, a member organization of IUSY, said the death penalty will not
solve the country's problems.

"Young people all over the world have now joined in the global chorus against
President Duterte???s policies that murder the poor. We urge the Senate not to
give its legislative imprimatur to these policies. The killings must now stop
and President Duterte must be held accountable," JC Tejano, national
chairperson of the group, said.

(source: gmanetwork.com)


Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella has clarified that during the
bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and King Salman bin
Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the issue on Filipinos on death rows was not

Based on data from the Department of Foreign Affairs, about 31 Filipinos have
been sentenced with the capital punishment.

Reports on the cases of Filipinos on death row have not reached the King yet.

President Duterte had a plane prepared for Filipinos who will be sent home to
the Philippines because they do not have the necessary documents.

"The process has not yet reached the level of the King. In this case, there is
no place for us to ask for clemency at this stage so let us wait for the
process regarding death row issues. However regarding amnesty, he did make
mention that he's planning to bring home those would take advantage of the
amnesty program regarding violation of the immigration rules," Presidential
spokesperson Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said.

Some agreements are expected to be signed between the Philippines and the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"We're hoping to sign three agreements during the President's visit. Firstly,
the establishment of political consultations, secondly, the bilateral labor
agreement. And thirdly, a foreign service institute," said Philippine Charge
d'Affaires in Riyadh Saudi Arabia Consul Imelda Panolong.

Both sides have also talked about cooperation for maintaining the security and
the eradication of transnational crimes like illegal drugs trade and terrorism.

President Duterte will meet with businessmen in Riyadh to urge them to invest
in the Philippines particularly in Mindanao.

The last part of President Duterte's visit in KSA includes a visit at the
Filipino community gathering where some 2,000 overseas Filipino workers are
expected to attend.

Based on data from the Philippine Embassy in Riyadh, 76 % of the voters in KSA
voted for President Duterte during the last elections.

(source: Yahoo News)


Amnesty International urges Ghana to abolish death penalty

The Amnesty International (AI), a human rights group, has urged the Government
of Ghana to abolish the death penalty.

Mr Frank Doyi, the Acting Director, AI Ghana, said: "The death penalty is the
ultimate denial of human rights. It is premeditated and cold-blooded killing of
a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is
done in the name of justice."

He said the death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the
Universal Declaration of Human rights.

He said Ghana's retentionist policy of the death penalty was out of step with
the rest of the world; stating that abolition of the death penalty would
reinforce Ghana's commitment to human rights.

Mr Doyi made the appeal on Tuesday in Accra during the launch of the Amnesty
International Global Report: "Death Sentences and Executions 2016".

He said Article 13 of the 1992 Ghanaian Constitution guarantees the right to
life, however the same article allows for the death penalty.

He noted that Article 3(3) provides for mandatory death sentence for the
persons convicted of high treason.

"We call on the Government of Ghana to expedite action on the review of the
1992 Constitution to: Amend articles 3 (3) and 13 (1) of the 1992 Constitution
to remove the mandatory death sentence for persons convicted of high treason
(3(3)) and to prohibit the execution of the citizens by the state (13(1))," he

He noted that according to information that the Ghana Prisons Service provided
to AI, no executions were carried out in 2016, whilst 17 death sentences were

Mr Doyi said at the end of the year, 148 people were under sentence of death, 7
of whom were foreign nationals - 5 Togolese, 1 Burkinabe and 1 Nigerian; adding
that 4 commutations were granted and 1 person was exonerated.

He said Ghana had international human rights obligations to respect, protect
and fulfill the human rights for everyone within its juisdiction, without

"These human rights include the right to life, the right not to be subjected to
torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the
right to a fair trial," Mr Doyi stated.

"Ghana has explicitly accepted obligations in regard to these rights in the
international and regional human rights treaties which it has ratified,
including the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights," he added.

He said Ghana had ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against
Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

He said the acceptance of the proposal for the abolition of the death penalty
would provide a unique opportunity for Ghana to truly and fully commit to the
protection of the internationally recognise human rights.

Dr Vincent Adzahlie-Mensah, AI Board Member, said government's white paper on
the constitutional review report backs the abolishing of the death penalty in

He therefore, appealed to government to ensure that a referendum was held to
approve the appropriate constitutional amendments.

"What we need is for government to protect us from our killers, rather than
kill our killers," he added.

Mr Ron Strikker, the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana said his country and the
European Union would support every effort by Ghana to abolish the death

Mr Lawrence Amesu, retired Director, AI Ghana, who chaired the event, said at
the time AI started advocating for the abolishing of the death penalty, there
were only 18 countries that had done that, but now the number had progress to

He said AI looks forward to seeing the day when there would be no death penalty
in the world.

Mrs Yvonne Atakora Obuobisa, Director of Public Prosecution, Attorney General's
Department, said "It is gratifying to note that we all want an end to the death

She said after the necessary constitutional procedures had been met, government
would hold a referendum on the recommendations of the constitutional review
committee; which would lead to the abolishing of the death penalty.

(source: ghanabusinessnews.com)


Abolish Death Penalty, Zimbabwe Urged

Amnesty International has pleaded with Zimbabwe to abolish the death penalty
with some 97 convicts currently awaiting the hangman's noose in the country.

The Zimbabwean constitution now exempts women and those under 21 from the

Although the country last implemented the death sentence in 2003, it remains 1
of the only 3 countries in the region yet to abolish the sentence.

Amnesty fears that Botswana's executions last year may cause the region to

"Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe were the only countries in Southern Africa who
handed down death sentences in 2016 - a total of 110, the overwhelming majority
of which (101) were in Zambia," said Amnesty in its latest report released this

"Botswana's step backward must not be replicated elsewhere in the region. While
they didn't carry out any executions, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe continued to
hand down death sentences. We urge all countries to totally abolish the death

At least 283 people across the region were under sentence of death at the end
of 2016, including 157 in Zambia and 97 in Zimbabwe.

Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has since declared his opposition to the
death penalty.

"At a time when the number of countries carrying out executions around the
world is going down, indicating that the world is moving away from this
inhumane and degrading form of punishment, Botswana is the only country in the
region still showing flagrant contempt for the right to life," said Deprose
Muchena, Amnesty International's Regional Director for Southern Africa.

Across sub-Saharan Africa as a whole fewer executions were recorded but the
number of death sentences more than doubled, largely due to a steep rise in

About 1,032 executions were carried-out worldwide in 2016, down 37 % from 2015.
Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan join China as world's top 5 executioners.

China however remains the leading country in terms of executions in the world
with over 1 100 executions. The world generally registered a drop in

(source: allafrica.com)


Doing Away with the Death Penalty----Amnesty International Says Executions
Globally Have Fallen, Despite Record Rise in Death Sentences

Last year saw a record number of death sentences, according to Amnesty
International's annual report on the issue, released today.

That's dispiriting news for opponents of the death penalty - a uniquely cruel
and irreversible punishment. But the picture emerging from the annual roundup
isn't entirely bleak.

For example, there were fewer reported executions worldwide, and fewer
countries carried out executions, compared to 2015.

Executions in Iran fell by more than 40 % compared to 2015 - especially
significant because Iran accounted for more than 1/2 of all known executions
last year. Pakistan, another country that carries out death sentences in large
numbers, saw a 73 % fall in executions last year.

In the United States, the number of executions is at its lowest in 25 years,
and fewer death sentences were imposed than in any year since 1973. That's due
in part to court decisions throwing out capital sentencing laws in Florida and
Delaware. The refusal by European pharmaceutical companies to supply US states
with the drugs used for lethal injections also contributed to the sharp

The use of the death penalty for crimes committed by children, prohibited by
international law, fell for the 2nd year running. Iran was the only country
known to execute or impose death sentences for crimes committed by individuals
under age 18. It executed at least 2 juvenile offenders - and possibly 7 or
more - in 2016, but fewer than the 14 it put to death in 2014.

Amnesty International has always cautioned that its figures, compiled on the
best available information, may not reflect the real total.

Some countries, including Thailand, were more forthcoming with data than in
previous years, Amnesty International said.

On the other hand, Belarus, China, and Vietnam treat death penalty data as
state secrets, and armed conflict or authoritarian rule means there's little or
no information from countries like Laos, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen.

These gaps are significant. China is likely the world leader in death sentences
and executions, a dubious title it has held for years. New data shows that more
than 400 death-row inmates in Vietnam were given lethal injection between 2013
and 2016. And Syria secretly executed thousands of prisoners from 2011 through
at least 2015, Amnesty International recently reported.

Overall, however, there's enough good news in today's report to confirm Amnesty
International's conclusion that there's a continuing global trend toward

(source: Human Rights Watch)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-13 14:39:33 UTC
April 13


How abolishing the death penalty led to more convictions----The lesson from
Victorian England is that juries convict more often when death is not an option

Though no one has been executed in Britain for over 50 years, until 1998
someone convicted of high treason or "piracy with violence" could in theory be
put to death. The law is now clearly against capital punishment, but Britons
are not. Fully 1/3 would like the death penalty to be brought back; the leader
of the populist UK Independence Party has suggested a referendum on the matter.
Yet research presented at this week's Royal Economic Society conference
suggests that if you really want to be tough on criminals, killing off capital
punishment makes sense.

Anna Bindler and Randi Hjalmarsson, both of the University of Gothenburg,
examined over 200,000 cases from the Old Bailey criminal court in London from
1715 to 1900. During this period capital punishment was abolished for many
offences, from counterfeiting money (in 1832) to robbery (in 1837). Making the
necessary statistical controls, the authors looked at the change in the
likelihood of conviction for offences that were no longer capital.

The paper suggests that when capital punishment was an option, juries were
often reluctant to convict at all. They may have felt it was a little rum to
send someone to the gallows for stealing a cow, so they downgraded the charge
or acquitted the defendant. The authors find that juries were particularly
reluctant to convict women.

Once death was off the table, however, jurors could convict with a clearer
conscience. The paper finds that the abolition of capital punishment increased
the chance of conviction for all crimes by around eight percentage points, with
especially large effects for violent offences. The temporary halt of penal
transportation during the American war of independence had a somewhat smaller
effect on the likelihood to convict, suggesting that juries considered living
in America to be a prospect slightly less awful than death.

Past research has found that would-be criminals are more put off by an
increased likelihood of conviction than they are by more severe sentences. If
so, then getting rid of the most brutal punishments could make criminal-justice
systems work better. If the third of Britons who would like the death penalty
reintroduced got their way, the country might inadvertently end up letting more
criminals walk free.

(source: The Economist)


Rebel court sentences Yemen journalist to death

A Yemeni court in the rebel-held capital has sentenced a veteran journalist to
death on charges of spying for neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the press union and
rebel media said on Thursday.

Since March 2015, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has been leading a deadly military
intervention against the rebels and their allies in the kingdom's impoverished

Yahya al-Jubaihi, 61, was convicted of establishing "contact with a foreign
state" and providing Saudi diplomats in Sanaa with "reports that posed harm to
Yemen militarily, politically and economically," the rebel-controlled Saba news
agency reported.

Prosecutors alleged that Jubaihi had been receiving a monthly salary of 4,500
Saudi riyals ($1,200) from Riyadh since 2010, 4 years before the rebels overran
the capital, Saba added.

The Yemeni press union condemned the "arbitrary" sentence, accusing the rebels
of "targeting the freedom of the press."

It said Jubaihi was a "veteran journalist with a long record of professional
work across Yemen."

He was seized from his home on September 6, it added.

The rebels and their allies -- renegade troops loyal to former president Ali
Abdullah Saleh -- have controlled all government institutions in Sanaa since
they overran the capital in September 2014.

Rival bodies loyal to internationally recognised president Abedrabbo Mansour
Hadi operate out of 2nd city Aden or from exile in Saudi Arabia.

The Aden-based information ministry said Jubaihi's trial was a "farce" and
accused the rebels of looking to "settle political accounts... through a
politicised judiciary."

Jubaihi wrote regular columns in Saudi dailies Okaz and Al-Madina, as well as
in Yemeni newspapers.

He served at the government's press department in the 1990s and 2000s when
Saleh was president and Hadi was his deputy.

Press watchdogs and human rights groups have been deeply critical of the
rebels' treatment of journalists as the conflict in the Arabian peninsula
country has escalated over the past 2 years.

In December, journalist Mohammed al-Absi, 35, died suddenly after publishing
reports about alleged corruption. His family and human rights groups said a
post-mortem found he had been poisoned.

Eight reporters were killed in Yemen last year, according to the International
Federation of Journalists.

That made the country the 4th deadliest for journalists after Iraq, Afghanistan
and Mexico, the watchdog added.

(source: al-monitor.com)


Prisoner with Mental Illness Executed on Murder Charges

A prisoner who reportedly suffered from a mental illness was hanged at Tabriz
Central Prison on murder charges.

According to the human rights news agency HRANA, the execution was carried out
on the morning of Wednesday April 12. The prisoner, 27-year-old Rahman
Hosseinpour, who was held in the "psychotherapy ward" of the prison, was
reportedly transferred to solitary confinement prior to his execution.

"Rahman suffers from a mental illness. He committed murder in self defense
after he was sexually abused. He was not mentally stable at all. Despite this,
his death penalty sentence was still carried out," says a source close to the
family of Mr. Hosseinpour.

Iranian official sources, including the media and Judiciary, have not announced
Rahman Hosseinpour's execution.


Prisoner Hanged on Drug Charges

A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Khoramabad's Parsilon Prison on drug
related charges.

According to the human rights news agency HRANA, the execution was carried out
on the morning of Saturday April 8. Iran Human Rights has received confirmation
on this execution from close sources.

The prisoner, who has been identified as Maziar Geravand, was reportedly
transferred to solitary confinement along with another prisoner, Morteza
Sanaie, in preparation for execution. According to close sources, Mr. Sanaie's
excution was stopped and he was taken back to his prison cell.

Maziar Geravand was reportedly sentenced to death on the charge of possession
and trafficking of three kilograms of heroin. Mr. Geravand, who is the father
of a three-year-old child, was reportedly in prison for three years before he
was executed.

Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not
announced Maziar Geravand's execution.

Executions for drug related charges continue in Iran despite a bill allegedly
approved by the Judicial Committee of the Iranian Parliament to halt the death
sentences of thousands for drug related charges.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)


EU consider death penalty inhuman

The EU Delegation regrets the execution of 5 suspected Al Shabab members by the
Puntland authorities on Saturday 8th April 2017. While the EU condemns in the
strongest terms all acts of terror and supports the application of robust
sentences that follow due process, the EU also opposes on principle the death
penalty in all circumstances. The European Union considers the death penalty to
be a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to provide deterrence to
criminal behaviour and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and
integrity. Any miscarriage of justice - which can occur in any legal system -
is irreversible. The EU also notes with growing concern the recurrent use of
military courts in Somalia. The EU Delegation calls upon the authorities of
Puntland and the Federal Government of Somalia to instate a moratorium on the
death penalty and to ensure that civilians are tried before civilian courts.
The EU is committed to strengthening the Somali judicial system and the
promotion of rule of law and justice for the Somali citizens. We look forward
to supporting the Somali authorities in adopting legislation to abolish the use
of the death penalty.

(source: mareeg.com)


Local EU Statement on the execution of 5 suspected Al Shabab members in

The EU Delegation regrets the execution of 5 suspected Al Shabab members by the
Puntland authorities on Saturday 8th April 2017.

While the EU condemns in the strongest terms all acts of terror and supports
the application of robust sentences that follow due process, the EU also
opposes on principle the death penalty in all circumstances. The European Union
considers the death penalty to be a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails
to provide deterrence to criminal behaviour and represents an unacceptable
denial of human dignity and integrity. Any miscarriage of justice - which can
occur in any legal system - is irreversible.

The EU also notes with growing concern the recurrent use of military courts in

The EU Delegation calls upon the authorities of Puntland and the Federal
Government of Somalia to instate a moratorium on the death penalty and to
ensure that civilians are tried before civilian courts.

The EU is committed to strengthening the Somali judicial system and the
promotion of rule of law and justice for the Somali citizens. We look forward
to supporting the Somali authorities in adopting legislation to abolish the use
of the death penalty.

(source: satprnews.com)


Pakistan hangs 2 'hard core' militants convicted by military courts

Pakistan has hanged 2 "hard core" Taliban terrorists convicted of
terrorism-related offenses by controversial military courts which were revived
after 2 years ignoring opposition from rights groups. The executions were
carried out at a high-security prison in Punjab province Tuesday, the army said
in a late-night statement. It said the 2 "hard core terrorists" were involved
in committing "heinous offences relating to terrorism, including killing of
civilians, attacking Armed Forces, Law Enforcement Agencies, polio vaccination
team and employees of a NGO."

The army did not elaborate where the trials were held and when the initial
punishment was announced. The 2 convicts were identified as Muhammad Shahid
Omar and Fazl e Haq - both active members of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP). Military courts were restored last month for another 2 years
after their initial 2-year term expired in January.

The courts were set up after a constitutional amendment after a terror attack
on an army-run school in Peshawar in December 2014 killed more than 150 people,
most of them students. While Pakistani authorities maintain the military courts
are an "effective deterrent" against terrorism, rights groups question
transparency of the trials because of the secrecy surrounding the special

The military courts have handed down the death penalty to more than 160
militants and yesterday's hangings took the number of those executed so far to
23. Also, the executions came on a day when Amnesty International in a
worldwide report said Pakistan reduced the number of executions by 73 % in 2016
compared to the year before.

(source: The Times)


Girl's mother wants death penalty for killer

Kausar Banu, whose 16-year-old daughter was killed on Sunday evening, has
demanded the death penalty for the accused, Sambaji More. "The only way my girl
will get justice is if he is hanged. That is all I want right now. I have faith
in the country's legal system," she said.

Sufiya Begam Sheikh from Indira Nagar slum in Khar (East) was allegedly stabbed
to death by More on Sunday evening at Santa Cruz (East) bridge. More (21) was
caught immediately by local residents while he was trying to flee the spot.
Sufiya passed away a few hours after she was taken to hospital.

The family's neighbour, Nisha Sheikh, claims she had never seen Sufiya and More
interact. "Sufiya was a very friendly person, but she rarely spoke to him," she

The victim's father, Mohammad Shoeb, said he would rarely see More around. "He
used to leave early in the morning for work and come back late at night," he

"Investigations are under way. The youth claims the girl was his girlfriend,
but we think that is not true. We think it is 1-sided love affair," said Senior
Police Inspector Mahadev Wavale.

Sajid Ali Sheikh, a resident of Vakola Shivaji Nagar (the area where the murder
took place), however, said she had seen them together at the same spot many

"They used to meet here every Sunday at the same time. It is not possible they
were not friends. Last week, I saw the youth trying to push the girl off the
bridge. I have also witnessed them quarrelling quite a lot of times," she said.

(source: thehindu.com)


30 Pakistan spies in Indian jails, provided consular access whenever sought:

As many as 30 Pakistan nationals facing charges of spying are languishing in
Indian jails but none has been denied consular access whenever sought or
sentenced to death penalty so far, said top South Block officials as relations
between India and Pakistan hit a new low over a Pakistani military court
awarding death penalty to former Indian Navy official Kulbhushan Jadhav.

Officials added that more than 265 Pakistani nationals are currently in Indian
jails. New Delhi has allowed consular access to them but Pakistan disowned
them, they said. In 2015, a Lashkar-e-Toiba militant Mohammad Naved was
arrested after an attack on a BSF convoy. He is facing trial before an NIA
court in Jammu. However, Pakistan has refused to accept him as their national,
said an official.

According to data available with the government, nearly 2 dozen Pakistan
nationals caught on charges of smuggling were sent back to Pakistan in 2016 and

From 2014 to 2016, more than 250 Pakistani nationals were deported, according
to a reply by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju in Parliament.

Pakistan executed Indian national Sheikh Shamim in 1999. In 2013, another
Indian national Sarabjit Singh, who was sentenced to death for spying in
Pakistan, died in jail after being attacked by fellow inmates.

(source: indianexpress.com)


The death penalty and our justice system


I am one of the bleeding-heart liberals who are against instituting the death
penalty for proponents of heinous crimes in the society, and I have 2 reasons
for this.

First, our decrepit, overburdened, and flawed system could hand down
convictions resulting in the execution of innocent people. I believe that it is
morally reprehensible to imprison, let alone execute an innocent person.

2nd, there is no convincing empirical evidence to demonstrate that execution as
punishment may serve as a significantly greater deterrence to murderers than
other penalties.

The right to life has been expressed as the primacy and intrinsic dignity of
the human being. All other rights depend on the foundation of life.

In our societal context, the murders being committed interfere with our right
to live and do business without fear. Therefore, the justice system should mete
out punishment that is commensurate with murderous acts. If murder - oftentimes
heinous - is committed, that wilfully deprives an innocent person of his right
to life, would it not be proportionate for the system to deprive the guilty of
his right to life as well?

Common sense dictates that the death penalty could be effective in deterring
marauding gunmen from executing decent, law-abiding citizens, primarily for
wants and other senseless reasons, if we looked at our system and addressed the
glaring inefficiencies and other issues associated with the untimely
dispensation of justice.

Is it so difficult to rationalise that once the competent investigations are
done, and due process of law is followed, and if justice is swift and certain,
that the death penalty could reduce the murder toll?

I am not arguing that the death penalty should be reinstated for all cases of
murder. I am arguing that it may be necessary for the most heinous of the
cases. Aren't the most heinous cases of premeditated murder, which are
perpetrated by dog-hearted criminals, deserving of death?

It is time for us to weigh the impact of the rising murder toll for the family
and friends of the victims, and the society at large, and consider this option
in buttressing what obtains in our justice system.


(source: Letter to the Editor, Jamaica Gleaner)


20-Year-Old Mother Who Dumped Her Baby Alive In A Toilet Bowl Faces Death

It's always heartbreaking to hear the news of a child's passing, but perhaps
even more so when the child was murdered at the hands of their own flesh and

A 20-year-old food processing student at an agricultural college in Bukit Kayu
Hitam was recently charged in the magistrate's court for drowning her newborn
baby in the hostel's toilet bowl.

The Star reported that Nur Izzati Adi allegedly murdered her baby on March 30
at 5:20pm in the women's toilet located on the 3rd floor - to which she nodded
as the charges were read last Monday.

As it is a murder case, the court ruled that Nur Izzati was charged under
Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death penalty upon

No plea was recorded, and on top of being denied bail, Nur Izzati was taken to
the Pokok Sea prison.

Nur Izzati was represented by Tunku Intan Mahiya Tunku Mahamad, and prosecuted
by the Deputy Public Prosecutor Parihah Ab Kadir.

However, in light that the post-mortem report has yet to be fully revealed,
Magistrate Nurfadrina Zulkhairi has declared that the case will be re-mentioned
in court on June 7.

The daily also highlighted that police were investigating a possible case of
body dumping, but promptly turned into a murder case after the baby was
confirmed to be alive prior death.

The 1st-year student was first arrested when she went to a government hospital
to sought medical treatment.

After the reports were lodged to the police, her 19-year-old boyfriend, was
also arrested in Jitra last week.

(source: malaysiandigest.com)


Bangladesh executes HuJI chief Mufti Abdul Hannan, aides for 2004 shrine attack

Bangladesh on Wednesday executed banned Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami chief Mufti
Abdul Hannan and his 2 associates for a 2004 attack on a shrine that killed 3
people and wounded the British High Commissioner at the time.

Hannan was hanged at Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur along with his accomplice Sharif
Shahedul alias Bipul at 10:01 pm, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan was quoted as
saying by the Bdnews24.com.

His associate Delwar Hossain Ripon was executed in Sylhet jail, the minister

President Abdul Hamid had rejected their mercy petitions.

On 19 March, the Supreme Court reconfirmed an earlier verdict of itself
endorsing death penalty of Hannan and the two others for the 2004 attack on the
then UK envoy.

The then Bangladeshi-born British High Commissioner Anwar Chowdhury narrowly
escaped the grenade attack at a shrine in northeastern Sylhet that killed 3
people, all policemen, and injured 70 others. Anwar sustained minor injuries.

The HuJI operatives carried out the attack at the shrine of saint Hazrat
Shahjalal in Sylhet, also the birthplace of Chowdhury, as he went to visit
there 18 days into his new assignment in Dhaka.

A speedy trial tribunal originally tried the case and delivered its verdict on
December 23, 2008, sentencing to death HuJI leaders Sharif Shahedul Alam and
Delwar Hossain alongside Hannan.

Hannan and 7 other kingpins and operatives of Huji were earlier sentenced to
death by another court in Dhaka for a deadly 2001 bomb attack that killed 10
people during Bengali New Year celebrations at a public park.

HuJI was formed in 1992 by Bangladeshis who took part in the Afghan war against
the Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

The US has designated HuJi as a foreign terrorist organization and "specially
designated global terrorist" while Indian officials suspected the outfit's
links in the Jaipur serial bombings and several other blasts there.

Bangladesh has witnessed a spate of attacks on secular activists, foreigners
and religious minorities since 2013.

(source: firstpost.com)


Mufti Hannan, 2 associates executed

Harkat- ul-Jihad-al-Islami chief Mufti Abdul Hannan and his associate Sharif
Shahedul Alam Bipul were executed at Kahismpur jail in Gazipur around 10:00pm
on Wednesday while another of their cohorts Delwar Hossain aka Ripon was hanged
in Sylhet jail around the same time.

Hannan and his 2 associates were handed death penalty for launching a grenade
attack on the then UK ambassador Anwar Chowdhury at Shahjalal Shrine in Sylhet
in 2004.

Anwar Choudhury and 51 others were injured while 3, including 2 police
officials, were killed in that attack.

On 11 February in 2016, a High Court bench comprising justice M Enayetur Rahim
and justice Amir Hossain, upheld the death sentence for three of the accused -
Mufti Abdul Hannan, Sharif Shahedul Alam and Delwar Hossain - and life-term
imprisonment for two others - Mufti Hannan???s brother Mohibullah and Mufti
Moinuddin - handed down by the lower court.

On 19 March this year, the appellate division of the Supreme Court upheld their
death penalty. 2 days later, the appellate division released the full text of
its verdict on the review petition of the three HuJi men challenging their
death penalties.

(source: prothom-alo.com)


Erdogan says gov't should reinstate death penalty after April 16 referendum

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan???has said he believes the government should
submit a draft on reinstating the death penalty in the event that the
constitutional amendments are approved in the upcoming referendum on April 16.

"After April 16, with God's permission, the draft would be brought to
parliament. If it passes in parliament, I will approve it," Erdogan said at a
rally in the eastern province of Erzurum on April 12.

Although the death penalty has not been in effect since 1984, Turkey abolished
the capital punishment in 2004 as a part of reforms to ease Turkey's accession
into the European Union. The move was initiated by the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP) and supported by the main opposition Republican
People's Party (CHP).

But debates on reinstating the capital punishment were brought to discussion
after the July 15, 2016, coup attempt. Erdogan vows the people's demand for the
death penalty would be met. Calls for the death penalty were among the most
recited chants in public rallies.

"April 16 will be the day to decide that," he said.

Erdogan said the reinstatement of the death penalty could be brought to the
agenda with a consensus of all political parties.

"Mr.Kemal Kilicdaroglu [leader of the Republican People's Party - CHP] says he
would approve it. I hope he will not deny it when time comes. Mr. Devlet
Bahceli, [leader of the Nationalist Movement Party - MHP] already said yes. And
Mr. Binali Yildirim [Prime Minister] is the same," he said, adding that it
would be put to a referendum if it gets approved in parliament.

"To reinstate the death penalty there needs to be a constitutional amendment,
but in an event that the parliament does not approve that, I am telling now, we
will appeal to the public with a referendum just like we did for April 16. Let
the public decide," he said.

(source: Hurriyet Daily News)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-14 16:52:06 UTC
April 14


Turkey Will Try to Return the Death Penalty After the Referendum, Erdogan

The Turkish President Redzhep Tayip Erdogan said the government should propose
a bill to return the death penalty if the constitutional changes to move to a
presidential republic are approved on the referendum on Sunday.

At a rally in the eastern province of Erzurum, he said he would approve such a
project if it passes in parliament but is ready to start a new consultation if
it encounters resistance from lawmakers. "For the return of the death penalty
requires a constitutional amendment, but if parliament does not approve, I will
turn it to a public referendum, as we did on April 16. Let the public decide,"
Erdogan said, quoted by "Hurriyet".

"The day, which will be decided this would be April 16th ," he stressed the
President and added that he would need a consensus from all parties to embark
on the return of the death penalty. "Mr. Kilicdaroglu [the leader of the
largest opposition Republican People's Party] says he would approve it. I hope
that will not be denied when the time comes for it," Erdogan said.

(source: novinite.com)


Top court upholds death penalty for woman for killing 3 men

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death sentence given to a 42-year-old
woman for killing 3 men she met through an online dating service in the Tokyo
area in 2009.

Although Kanae Kijima had pleaded not guilty to the murders, the top court
ruled she killed all 3 -- Takao Terada 53, Kenzo Ando, 80, and Yoshiyuki Oide,
41 -- between January and August of 2009.

Lower courts recognized Kijima, who has changed her surname to Doi while on
death row, as the perpetrator, mainly based on circumstantial evidence, while
rejecting the defense counsel's argument that the victims may have committed
suicide or died by accident. The cause of death in each case was carbon
monoxide poisoning.

In March 2012, the Saitama District Court found her guilty of murder and
sentenced her to death as demanded by the prosecution, saying she bought coal
briquettes and sleeping pills, prepared stoves and then stayed with each man
until just before he died.

In March 2014, the Tokyo High Court upheld the death sentence, saying she
committed the crimes to maintain a luxurious lifestyle.

(source: The Mainichi)


EU calls on Bangladesh to abolish death sentence

The European Union delegation in Dhaka has urged the Bangladeshi authorities to
introduce a moratorium on executions as the "1st step towards definitive
abolition of capital punishment".

In a statement on Thursday, the EU's Dhaka office said capital punishment is
"not a deterrent against crime and renders miscarriages of justice

"The European Union universally opposes the use of capital punishment."

The call came following the execution of 3 militants for the 2004 grenade
attack on a Sylhet shrine gathering, targeting the then British high
commissioner Anwar Choudhury. Three people, including 2 policemen, were killed
in the attack.

The envoy sustained injuries along with nearly 40 employees of the Sylhet
district administration, including its chief.

Banned radical outfit Harkat-ul Jihad al-Islami leader Abdul Hannan aka Mufti
Hannan and his accomplices Sharif Shahedul alias Bipul and Delwar Hossain Ripon
were executed on Wednesday night after completing a long trial process.

The British High Commission in Dhaka earlier told bdnews24.com that bringing
the perpetrators to justice was "right", but reiterated the UK's opposition to
death penalty in all circumstances.

(source: bdnews24.com)


Pak Army says 'no compromise' on Jadhav's death sentence

The Pakistan Army said Thursday there will be 'no compromise' on the issue of
death sentence awarded to alleged Indian spy Kulbushan Jadhav by a military

The remark comes as Pakistan faces hostile backlash from India over the death
penalty to Jadhav.

In a Corps Commanders' Conference presided by Chief of Army Staff (COAS)
General Qamar Javed Bajwa, "The forum was also briefed about Kulbushan Sudhir
Jadhav. It was concluded that no compromise shall be made on such anti state
acts," according to an ISPR statement.

The statement said that the forum also reviewed national security environment
and recent developments in the region.

"Forum reviewed progress of operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and provision of support
to ongoing National Housing and Population census. COAS appreciated formations,
intelligence agencies and Law Enforcement Agencies for successful execution of
operations," the statement added.

Jadhav was awarded the death penalty on April 10 in an unprecedented decision
that sparked a diplomatic spat between the 2 hostile neighbours.

Pakistan media reported yesterday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and General
Bajwa have agreed not to come under pressure from India over the issue.

During a meeting, the Army Chief took the Prime Minister into confidence
regarding Jadhav.

On Tuesday, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj warned Islamabad
that it risked damaging bilateral ties with New Delhi if it went ahead with the
execution of Jadhav.

Jadhav was arrested in March last year in the restive Balochistan province and
accused of being a Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) agent, who was fuelling
the Baloch separatist movement and attempting to sabotage the multi-billion
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

India has, however, so far categorically denied such charges.

(source: business-standard.com)


Islamabad Unafraid of New Delhi's Threats Over Death Penalty to 'Indian Spy'

Pakistani Field General Court Martial declared the death sentence verdict to
Jadgav on Monday. The move prompted sharp criticism by Indian authorities,
including the country's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj who warned Pakistan
about the severe consequences of the potential execution for bilateral

"Pakistan will not take any pressure from India," Sharif said, as quoted by
news outlet Times Now.

Jadhav, 46, a former Indian navy personnel and businessman, was arrested by
Pakistani authorities in March 2016 on charges of conspiring against Pakistan
and conducting spy activities in the country's cities of Balochistan and
Karachi. Pakistan's government consider him to be an active officer of the
Indian Navy working for the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) of the Indian
foreign intelligence agency.

According to the Indian Foreign Ministry, Jadhav was kidnapped in 2016 from
Iran and his subsequent detention had never been "explained credibly" by the
Pakistani side. New Delhi added that the Indian government had made formal
requests for consular access to Jadhav 13 times since his arrest, but the
requests had been rejected by the Pakistani authorities.

(source: sputniknews.com)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-15 13:01:13 UTC
April 15


Canada should bring back death penalty

Every human living in and around Medicine Hat is an awesome person for making
this a great city in which to reside and live. But I think it's about time we
as humans start to talk about bringing back the death penalty.

There have been numerous murders involving children over the years. The accused
seem to have more rights then the victims and their families, and yet the
defence lawyers are trying now to delay, interrupt or slow down these trials.
Victims??? loved ones have to be put through the wringer by bringing back some
of these trials 2 to 3 times before the judge can make a proper decision.

We need a federal vote for the return of the death penalty in Canada. There
were a couple of child murders in the last couple years in Calgary, involving
very young children, along with 1 mother who was killed, and a youngster and
his grandparents.

3 cheers for the inmates at the Calgary Remand Centre and Edmonton Remand
Centre trying to make a male inmate realize what he did. He somehow has to pay
for his crimes and he took 3 human lives including a young boy.

Let's do a vote sooner, not later, We need to protect society. It almost seems
at times we are going backward when these crimes happen. All the rights seem to
be on the suspect's side. The victims are long forgotten except by friends and

Bob Moss

Medicine Hat

(source: Letter to the Editor, Medicine Hat News)


Southern Azerbaijan: AHRAZ Publishes Report on Death Penalty in Azerbaijani
Turkish-populated Cities in Iran (2015-2016)

The Association for the human rights of the Azerbaijani people in Iran (AHRAZ)
published a report on the use of the death penalty in Azerbaijani
Turkish-populated cities in Iran between October 2015 and October 2016. The
death toll amounted to 588 citizens executed in the country, of whom 187 were
hanged in the mostly Azerbaijani-populated provinces. Half of the executed were
accused of drug trafficking, a quarter of adultery and the rest because of
political and security reasons. AHRAZ listed a number of cases, specifying the

Below is the report published by AHRAZ:

Report on the death penalty in Azerbaijan's cities in Iran (2015-2016)

From October 2015 to October 2016, totally 588 people were sentenced to death
in Iran. Out of this number, 504 people were hanged and executed in this
country. During this period, 187 people were hanged in the mostly Azerbaijani
Turkish populated provinces such as West Azerbaijan (comprising 10% of the
executed in this period), East Azerbaijan (8%), Ardabil (7%), Zanjan (4%),
Qazvin (6%), and Hamadan (2%).

57% of the executed were accused of crimes related to drugs, 26% in relation to
murder because of adultery, 7% related to political and security reasons, and 4
% other cases.

39% of the executions in this period were reported by the Iranian domestic and
official media and 61% were reported by non-governmental and independent media
and institutions.

From January-March 2017, 34 people were hanged in the Azerbaijani populated
cities in Iran such as Tabriz, Urmia, Ardabil, Zanjan, Qazvin, Maraghe and
Maku, who were accused of the crimes related to drugs and murder. Some of the
details related to these cases in this short period are mentioned below, as

A prisoner, called Rashid Javadi from Jolfa city was hanged in the Tabriz
Central Prison on 7 January 2017 because of holding and carrying 106 grams of

Morteza Heydari from Malekan (East Azerbaijan Province) who was accused of
positioning 3 kilos industrial drugs and 3.6 kilos of heroin was hanged in the
Maraghe Prison in January 2017. At the time of reporting, 4 other prisoners are
to be hanged soon in this prison. These people include: Iraj Ghafouri from Khoy
City, accused of crimes in relation to drugs, Akbar Moradi from Maraghe City
because of murder, Hoseyn Fatemi from Miandoab (Qoshachay) City as well as Ali
Mostofi from Maraghe City.

On 18 January 2017, 3 prisoners accused of holding drugs as wells as a child
accused of murder at the time of adolescence were executed in the Tabriz
Central Prison. These prisoners included Parviz Solati, Qorban Lotfi, Ertekan
Karimi, and Hasan Hasan Zadeh, 18 years old who committed murder at the time of
15 years old.

A handicapped prisoner, named Qabl Ali Babir who had missed his 2 legs as well
as another prisoner called Sina Hoseyn Pour, both accused of holding drugs,
were hanged in the Urmia Central Prison on 21 January 2017.

Hashem Qaraqozlu from Qorveh, accused of holding drugs, was hanged in the
Hamadan Central Prison on 29 January 2017.

Taher Saeidi, accused of holding drugs, was hanged in Maku Prison on 01
February 2017.

Kuchak Naji, accused of crimes related to drugs, was hanged in the Urmia
Central Prison, on 03 March 2017.

Morad Seyfi from Miandoab (Qoshachay) City, and Mr. Morad Payiz from Maraghe
City both accused of crimes related to drugs, were hanged in Maraghe Prison on
05 March 2017.

Four prisoners, accused of crimes related to drugs, were hanged in the Urmia
Central Prions on 14 March 2017. These included Changiz Baduzadeh, Akram Hoseyn
Pour from Salmas City, Vahed Hamedi from Ardabil City and Kiomars Fridan
(nicknamed Delavar) from Urmia City.

(source: unpo.org)


Revolutionary Courts Responsible for Majority of Executions

The Revolutionary Courts were established in 1979 by the 1st Supreme leader,
Ayatollah Khomeini. They were temporary courts designed to deal with the
officials of the former regime. However, more than 37 years later they continue
to operate. These courts are responsible for the vast majority of the death
sentences issued and carried out over the last 37 years in Iran. The
Revolutionary Courts are less transparent than the Public Courts (both criminal
and civil) and Revolutionary Court judges are known for greater abuse of their
legal powers than other judges. Revolutionary Court judges often deny access to
legal representation during the investigation phase and prevent lawyers from
accessing client files on the basis of confidentiality, or the fact that the
lawyers have insufficient "qualifications" to review certain files. Trials
lasting only a few minutes, no jury, no defence lawyers and death sentences
based on no evidence other than confessions extracted under torture are the
hallmarks of the Revolutionary Courts.

All cases regarded as security-related, such as cases involving political and
civil activists, and others allegedly involved in corruption and drug-related
charges, are processed by the Revolutionary Courts.

Revolutionary Courts are most well known for the summary executions of the
political opposition in the 1980s. However, data collected by IHR shows that
every year several hundred people are executed on the basis of death sentences
issued by the Revolutionary Courts.

IHR reports since 2010 show that 3,210 of the 4,741 executions (68%) in the
last 7 years were based on death sentences issued by the Revolutionary Courts.

At least 340 of the 530 executions in 2016 (64%) were based on death sentences
issued by the Revolutionary Courts.

Revolutionary Courts also play a key role in the crackdown against human rights
defenders and the abolitionist movement. In 2016 the Revolutionary Courts
sentenced the human rights defenders Narges Mohammadi and Atena Daemi to 10
years and 7 years in prison respectively for their activities against the death

On the issue of the lack of due process, the spokesperson of IHR, Mahmood
Amiry-Moghaddam said: "A sustainable reduction in use of the death penalty is
impossible as long as there is no due process. Revolutionary Courts which
sentence hundreds of people to death every year are among the key institutions
responsible for Iran's violations of due process and must be shut down."

(source: iranhr.net)


Hamas claims it executed 3 Palestinians on suspicion of collaborating with

The men were not directly accused of a connection with the March 24
assassination of senior military commander Mazen Fuqaha, which Hamas blames on
Israel's global Mossad intelligence agency and local "collaborators".

The group also praised but did not take responsibility for the death on
Thursday of an Israeli soldier, Sergeant Elchay Teharlev, 20, who was rammed by
a vehicle near the Israeli settlement of Ofra in the occupied West Bank. The
ministry said authorities hanged the convicts before a gathering of Palestinian
dignitaries and Gaza "elites".

Palestinian members of Hamas security forces stand at a security checkpoint in
Gaza City on April 5, 2017.

The 3, all residents of Gaza, had been sentenced to death by a Hamas court a
few months ago, the officials added.

Israel's Ministry of Defense announced on Monday that it confiscated 30
wetsuits camouflaged as sportswear that were believed to be destined for Hamas
in the Gaza Strip.

"The death penalty is a barbaric practice", it said.

Israel has long accused Human Rights Watch of being unfairly biased against it.

Human rights groups condemned the executions, with Amnesty International
calling them an "outrage".

The Palestinian Authority ordered its workers to step down after the Hamas
takeover in 2007.

The United Nations human rights office today strongly condemned the execution
of 3 men in Gaza for "collaboration with the occupier" and urged authorities to
halt all further executions and comply with Palestine's obligations under
global law.

Hamas says that Faqha formed units of the Islamist group's military wing in the
West Bank cities of Tubas, where he was born, and Jenin.

The group imposed strict restrictions on movement from Gaza after Faqha's
killing and searches and security checks had gone up, AFP reported.

Hamas has offered "collaborators" with Israel a chance to turn themselves in
and receive clemency.

Cogat, the Israeli defence body that co-ordinates access to Gaza, denied
barring rights groups from visiting the enclave.

(source: normangeestar.net)


Cabinet okays death penalty for barring flight operation

The Cabinet, on Monday February 13, gave final approval to the drafts Civil
Aviation Act-2017 with provision of death penalty or life-term imprisonment and
maximum penalty of Taka 5 crore on charge of any willful obstruction in the
flight operation.

The approval was given in the weekly meeting of the cabinet held at #Bangladesh
Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, cabinet secretary M Shafiul Alam said the
new law has been framed updating 'the Civil Aviation Ordinance, 1960' according
to the guideline of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

The new law proposed more stringent punishment for offences of violation of the
law relating to civil aviation, he said adding that the cabinet didn't give any
retrospective effect of the proposed law.

The Civil Aviation Act-2017 has proposed 5 years imprisonment and minimum fine
of Taka 1 crore or both for violation of the Air Navigation Order (ANO). In
case of forgery of certificate or license, the law proposed for same

For any interference in the air navigation like obstructing or damaging the
lighting or signaling system or intervention in the flight operation, the law
proposed life-term imprisonment or fine of Taka five crore or both.

The law also suggested maximum 7 years jail and fine of Taka 50 lakh for
carrying dangerous goods or substances in the flight. For violation of the air
space of #Bangladesh one would get maximum 7 years and minimum 3 years
imprisonment or maximum penalty of 50 lakh, the draft proposed.

(source: menafn.com)


A system that cannot guarantee justice should not take lives, says Amnesty

Amnesty International, a human rights group, has called for the total abolition
of death penalty in any form.

In the group's global report on death sentences and executions in 2016, the
body faulted the efficacy of Nigeria's judicial system, saying a system that
cannot guarantee justice should not take a life.

According to the report, Nigeria handed down 527 death sentences, ranking 2nd
in the world after China.

The report also showed that as of 2016, in sub-saharan Africa, Somalia had the
highest number of executions, followed by Nigeria.

While stating its disapproval of the recent laws recommending death penalty for
kidnappers in Lagos, Kano and Bauchi states, it argued that the law had not
minimised the act, citing more kidnap cases being recorded.

"The danger of people being executed for crimes they may not have committed
remains ever-present. Investigations show many death row inmates live in
constant fear of execution in some Nigerian prisons," Isa Sanusi, the group's
media manager, said.

It therefore called on the public to join it in its advocacy for the total
abolishment of death penalty, globally.

"Amnesty international is calling on the Nigerian government to establish an
official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

"For years, the federal government has claimed to have a voluntary or
self-imposed moratorium, but executions have happened nonetheless, including
those in December 2016. This demonstrates the urgency of formally establishing
a moratorium."

Speaking at the event, Collins Okeke, a member of a group known as Nigerian
anti-death penalty coalition, said though the body had not been able to
convince law firms in the country to abolish death penalty, they have got them
to admit that death penalty is inhumane and degrading.

"Death penalty is a lazy way to punish crime, what is needed is to put in place
a strong criminal justice system," Okeke said.

"There are a lot of inefficiencies in our judicial system. We have a police
system that is unequipped, a court system clothed with cases and judges who are

Okeke alleged that there was lack of openness in the judicial system, adding
that "if you do not fix the system, you cannot kill anybody under that system".

On his part, Malachy Ugwummadu of Committee for the Defence of Human Rights
(CDHR), said there is no empirical record showing a corresponding decrease in
crime rates with the implementation of death penalty.

Ugwummadu said from the standpoint of life itself as a fundamental human right,
if you cannot give it, you should not take it.

"A very important argument against capital punishment is that if a state,
throug prosecution, has shown resentment as to the behaviour of its citizens,
enough to attract death penalty, to what extent can the same state be justified
for condescending to the same level of brutal murder of the said people, in
trying to correct that societal practise?" Ugwummadu asked.

"If somebody has been accused of an offense which in the wisdom of the
legislature of that community, attracts death penalty, a state that hopes to
rise above that behaviour, must conceive and device ways other than committing
the same offense in trying to correct that particular pattern of behaviour."

He quoted Mahatma Ghandi, saying, "an eye for an eye only ends up making the
whole world blind."

In place of death sentences, the group proposed a life term period of community
service for convicted persons, saying Nigerian prisons were not just over
populated but underutilised.

Ugwummadu also suggested compensation for the families or victims of crime.

"We are not against justice or punishment for criminals. We actually want
criminals to be punished. What we are saying is that killing is not a solution
to the crime of killing."

(source: thecable.ng)


China, Iran still top in death penalty

The People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran top the charts
for executions according to a newly released report by Amnesty International.
Iran accounted for 55 % of all recorded death sentences according to Amnesty.
Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Pakistan are tragically part of this gruesome tally as
compiled by the international watchdog group.

Though Iran's 567 executions represented the world's 2nd highest tally, the
number fell from 977 judicially sanctioned executions in 2015. While about 1/2
of the executions are connected to drug-related and other criminal offenses,
others are likely carried out for political and religious crimes.

In a separate report on Iran Amnesty advised that "the authorities heavily
suppressed the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly
and religious belief, arresting and imprisoning peaceful critics and others
after grossly unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts. Torture and other
ill-treatment of detainees remained common and widespread."

According to Amnesty International, 18,848 people worldwide are under death
sentences and 3,117 were executed in 2016.

"Transparency is an essential safeguard of due Process," said Amnesty
representative Renzo Pomi. In Iran, it's not possible to confirm the exact
number of executions. For example, 2 people were killed for "insulting the
Prophet" in violation of their right to freedom of religion.

The People's Republic of China presents another case shrouded in fog. While
Amnesty International cites China as the world's leading global executioner
with numbers in the thousands, the "figures on the use of the death penalty in
China remain classified as state secrets." While Amnesty admits the use of the
death penalty has decreased in China in recent years, there are still 46
categories of crime punishable by death.

"The Chinese authorities also continued to resort to the death penalty as a
tool to send political messages," the report stated, adding though that the
government is using the death sentence less for "economic crimes."

Vietnam ranks on "a scale higher than previously thought," according to the
survey. Again, such information is shrouded as state secrets. During 2016,
Vietnam imposed 63 new death sentences, though the number is likely larger.

Nonetheless, Amnesty has discovered an alarming trend where a recently
published report by Vietnam' s Ministry of Public Security states that 429
prisoners were executed between August 2013 and June 2016 at a rate of 147
executions a year. Such figures would put Vietnam in a league with Pakistan
when it comes to state sanctioned executions.

Speaking at a press conference, Argentine Ambassador Martin Garcia Moritan
stated his country was "firmly committed against the death penalty," and
moreover called for a "worldwide moratorium" against such actions by

According to Amnesty's Renzo Pomi "today 141 countries worldwide have abolished
the death penalty." This includes the entire Latin American region (including,
rather improbably, Cuba), all of the European Union, much of Africa and
Australia, and even Russia.

(source: China Post)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-16 12:58:24 UTC
April 16


Hotel manager gets death sentence for drug trafficking

A hotel manager was sent to the gallows by the Magistrate's Court here today
after he found guilty of trafficking 82.38 gm of heroin last year.

Judicial Commissioner Muhammad Jamil Hussin passed the death sentence to
Muhammad Firdaus Abdullah, 29, after the defence failed to raise a reasonable
doubt on the prosecution's case.

The father of one was found guilty of committing the offence at 9.30am at the
Machap rest and service area (north-bound) in Kluang on Jan 4 last year. The
offence under Section 39B(1) (a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 provides for
mandatory death penalty upon conviction.

In his judgment, Muhammad Jamil said the accused's defence was a mere denial
and fabricated.

According to the facts of the case, a team of policemen spotted the accused
carrying a suspicious package towards a white Honda car parked by the roadside.
Upon inspection, four small packs of heroin weighing a total of 82.38gm, were
found in the package.

Deputy public prosecutor Rasyidah Murni Adzmi prosecuted, while the accused was
represented by lawyer Chandran Singh.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution and defence each called 6 witnesses.

Muhammad Firdaus appeared calm when the court passed the sentence, while his
family members broke down in tears.

(source: themalaymailonline.com)


Child Rapists Should be Executed: Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh's Deputy

Dr Abbas Shuman, the Deputy of Al-Azhar's Grand Sheikh, has called for the
death penalty to be imposed on anyone found guilty of raping a child, reported

"The rape of children is terrorism punishable by execution," said Dr Shuman,
adding that such crimes are alien to Egypt's society and culture and represent
terrorism in its worst form.

Dr Shuman added that the raping of children is no less dangerous than bombings
and other violence.

In the past few years, there have been several notable cases of child rape that
have been widely reported in Egyptian media. In 2014, 2 teenagers were
sentenced to 15 years in prison after being convicted of raping and killing a
5-year-old child in Port Said before throwing her off an 11-story building.

Most recently, a 20-month-old girl was raped by a 35-year-old man in
Al-Daqahliyah Government, leading to many in Egypt to call for greater
punishment for child rapists.

(source: egyptianstreets.com)


North Korean soldiers who compared Kim Jong-un to a mentally ill child in
extremely unwise joke are arrested and face death penalty

North Korean soldiers are facing the death penalty after spreading a joke
comparing Kim Jong-un to a kindergartner.

Officers and soldiers from the 2nd army corps have been placed under arrest for
mocking the North Korean leader, and are under investigation, a source has told
Radio Free Asia.

The source said: 'News of cadres of the second army corps slandering Kim
Jong-un reached all the way to the People's Army's General Political Bureau,
and the arrested cadres are to be severely punished.'

According to UPI, other soldiers have referred to him as a mentally ill

It comes as Kim Jong-un threatened nuclear justice during the Day of the Sun
parades in the secretive state.

Kim, wearing a Western-style suit at Kim Il-sung Square, saluted formations of
soldiers who yelled out 'long live' to celebrate the 105th anniversary of his
grandfather's birth.

The dictator has accused President Donald Trump of provoking his nation towards
armed conflict with a series of increasingly aggressive moves, including
sending the USS Carl Vinson to the Korean peninsula.

Kim is said to be losing popularity with North Koreans, and is already
unpopular with the country's soldiers.

US officials feared Kim Jong-un would mark the national holiday by launching
North Korea's 6th nuclear weapons test, since the country has used previous
holidays to showcase its military prowess.

The despot, who did not speak during the annual parade, flaunted prototypes of
intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), which experts fear could one day be
capable of striking mainland America.

One of Kim's top officials, Choe Ryong Hae, today vowed North Korea would 'beat
down enemies with the power of nuclear justice'.

He told the packed-out square: 'If the United States wages reckless provocation
against us, our revolutionary power will instantly counter with annihilating
strike, and we will respond to full-out war with full-out war and to nuclear
war with our style of nuclear strike warfare.'

(source: dailymail.co.uk)


Extended prison terms in lieu of death penalty eyed

Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza has asked Congress to consider increasing the
prison terms and scrapping parole privilege for persons convicted of heinous
crimes, which are more acceptable alternatives to the death penalty.

Daza filed House Bill 4872 to increase the duration and effect of penalties of
reclusion temporal and reclusion perpetua even as the House of Representatives
unanimously approved the death penalty measure.

In his proposal, Daza called for amendments to the Revised Penal Code by
increasing the prison term for reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment from
maximum of 20 years to minimum of 30 years and maximum of 40 years.

Under the bill, persons convicted of reclusion perpetua shall not be eligible
for parole under the Indeterminate Sentence Law.

HB 4872 also seeks to adjust prison sentences for crimes punishable with
reclusion temporal from 12 years and 1 day to 30 years.

Maximum prison term for reclusion temporal is currently set at 20 years.

Daza was among the 52 lawmakers who thumbed down the death penalty bill that
was presented for 3rd and final reading last month.

"While our country needs strong and effective deterrents against criminality,
especially the scourge of illicit drugs, the death penalty has been empirically
shown to be an ineffective one," he explained.

The veteran lawmaker said stiff penalties outside death for drug related and
heinous crimes "is imperative both as a deterrent and for the effective
dispensation of justice."

HB 4872 remained pending before the House Committee on Justice, which strongly
recommended approval of the death penalty measure.

The death penalty proposal is expected to face rough sailing in the Senate
which will debate on the measure starting next month.

Daza's no parole proposal may yet see the light only if senators reject the
death penalty bill.

(source: Manila Bulletin)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-17 14:05:18 UTC
April 17


Execution of 2 Ill Prisoners in Tabriz and Intensified Deterioration of Prison

The mullahs 'anti-human regime on April 12 hanged 27-year-old Rahman
Hosseinpour while suffering from mental illness in Tabriz prison. He was taking
daily 30 tranquilizer pills and was imprisoned in the psychotherapy ward. On
April 4 another ill prisoner detained in Tabriz prison was executed after 4
years in prison. On April 11 in the same prison 2 ill brothers were attacked
after going to the prison clinic and were later transferred to solitary

Execution of sick prisoners or their mistreatment is in violation of several
international treaties to which Iran is a signatory member.

These crimes are a portion of the deteriorating situation of Tabriz prison and
a growing pressure on prison inmates. 7,000 prisoners piled up in the prison,
because of the lack of the most basic medical facilities, do not get medical
visits even once a year. It has been more than 2 months that with the excuse of
repairing the kitchen, prisoners get only rice and soup. Given that many
prisoners ca not afford to buy food, they are suffering from malnutrition.
There are not enough blankets or beds in terms of the number of prisoners there
and half of the prisoners have to rest on bare ground without minimum
facilities. Any objection by the prisoners is answered by repression and

Gohardasht prison inmates also suffer poor food quality, lack of medical
facilities and lack of heating system. Prisoners have to pay for all the
facilities, from the cost of treatment to the food and residency at their own
expense. Inmates of Section 10 of this prison do not have access to hot water
for more than a year due to the breakdown of the heating system.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)


PH barred from reintroducing death penalty, UN reminds Senate

The Philippines is prohibited from reimposing capital punishment because of
international treaties signed by the government, a United Nations (UN) body
reminded the Senate.

In a letter dated March 27, UN Human Rights Committee chair Yuji Iwasawa
expressed "grave concern" over the passage of the death penalty bill at the
House of Representatives and urged the Senate to "refrain from taking
retrogressive measures."

Iwasawa reminded Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III that the
Philippines is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) and the 2 Optional Protocols.

Article 6 (2) of the ICCPR bars States from reintroducing death penalty once it
is already abolished, whether through amending domestic law or acceding to the
Second Optional Protocol. The same article provides that, "in those States
which have not abolished the death penalty, the sentence of death can only be
applied for the most serious crimes."

"The Committee is currently in session in Geneva. It expresses its grave
concern at information it has received about the passage of a bill through the
Houses of Congress to reintroduce the death penalty, for drug related offenses,
in the Philippines. It understands that the Senate will consider this bill
soon," Iwasawa wrote.

"The Committee reminds the State party about denunciations of the Second
Optional Protocol, as set out in its General Comment No. 26 on Continuity of
Obligations. The Second Optional Protocol excludes the possibility of
denunciation by omitting a denunciation clause to guarantee the permanent non
-reintroduction of the death penalty by States that have ratified it," he said.

The UN official added: "On behalf of the Committee, I call on the State Party
to take its obligations under the ICCPR and the Second Optional Protocol
seriously and refrain from taking measures, which would only undermine human
rights progress to date."

In December last year, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al
Hussein also wrote to Pimentel and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, both allies
of President Rodrigo Duterte. He warned that the Philippines would "violate its
obligations under international human rights law if it reintroduced the death

"International law does not permit a State that has ratified or acceded to the
Second Optional Protocol to denounce it or withdraw from it," Hussein then

Senators are divided on the fate of the death penalty bill in the upper
chamber, where it is not a priority measure.

(source: globalnation.inquirer.net)


Claiming victory, Turkey's Erdogan says may take death penalty to referendum

President Tayyip Erdogan told crowds of flag-waving supporters on Sunday that
Turkey could hold another referendum on reinstating the death penalty, as he
claimed victory in a vote that will hand him sweeping new powers.

Addressing crowds in Istanbul, Erdogan said he would "immediately" discuss the
issue of bringing back the death penalty with Prime Minister Binali Yildirim
and the leader of the nationalist opposition. Such a move would spell the end
of Turkey's accession talks with the European Union.

Erdogan also said votes in favour of constitutional changes to replace Turkey's
parliamentary system with an executive presidency stood at 51.5 %. He said
everyone should respect the nation's decision, and added Turkey would "shift
gears" in the coming period.

(source: Reuters)


France Calls on Turkey to Adhere to Anti-Death Penalty Human Rights
Convention----French Foreign Ministry said that Turkey should adhere to the
European Convention on Human Rights which abolishes the death penalty.

Turkey should adhere to the European Convention on Human Rights which abolishes
the death penalty, the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.

"[France] also calls on the Turkish authorities to comply with the European
Convention on Human Rights, which Turkey has signed and which prohibits the use
of the death penalty," the ministry said.

The French ministry said it acquainted itself with Sunday's referendum on
government-approved constitutional amendments switching Turkey from a
parliamentarian to a presidential system. Preliminary results indicate over
half of the voters supported expanding presidential powers in the referendum.

"These constitutional amendments are making significant changes in Turkey's
governance system," the ministry said.

(source: sputniknews.com)


Australia's death row drug traffickers facing potential execution by hanging or
firing squad

After Amnesty International released its report last week that 1032 prisoners
were executed last year - with China as the world's top executioner - how many
Australians are on death row in foreign countries?

At least 5 Australians have been under threat of death by firing squad in
China, all for drug trafficking.

An Australian man and woman are facing execution by lethal injection in Vietnam
and an Australian woman faces the death penalty in Malaysia, where drug
smugglers are hanged.

During 2016, Amnesty calculates, 23 countries carried out executions of

Amnesty International has refused to publish the actual number of people China
executed because it was "clear that the figures it was able to publish on China
were significantly lower than the reality, because of the restrictions on
access to information".

It says that after China the majority of executions are carried out by Iran,
Iraq, Pakistan and in Saudi Arabia where there were 40 beheadings.

The reality of Australians being executed overseas hit home when Indonesia
carried out the death penalty on Bali 9 ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran
Sukumaran in 2015.

In chilling scenes, funeral parlour workers in the Javanese port of Cilicap
happily showed off the coffins which were to hold the bodies of the men after
their death by firing squad.

Footage of the filled coffins in the back of ambulances arriving back at
Cilicap after their execution on Nusakambangan Island made world news.

But the sobering loss of 2 young Australian men paying the ultimate price for
drug smuggling has not got through to other young people.

Last year Vietnam imposed 63 new death sentences. Of these, at least 54 were
imposed for drug-related offences and four involved foreign nationals.

1 of these is an Australian woman, yet to be named, who was allegedly found
with 4.8kg of heroin in her luggage in June last year.

The 37-year-old, who is of Vietnamese origin, was detained at Tan Son Nhut
Airport in the southern hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

Officials claim they found nearly 5kg of heroin hidden in picture frames in her

The woman allegedly told officers she was paid $33,500 to transport the heroin
to Australia.

She has yet to face trial, but Vietnam has some of the world???s toughest drug
laws and trafficking even small amounts of heroin is punishable by death.

Vietnam applies the death penalty is cases of trafficking of 100 grams of
heroin or 300g of other illegal narcotics, replacing firing squads with lethal
injection 3 years ago.

If convicted, the woman will join Australian Pham Trun Dung, on Vietnam's death

Like other Australians imprisoned in foreign jails, he awaits the grimmest of


Execution method: Lethal injection

Death row Australian: Pham Trung Dung, 38

Arrested in May, 2013, Dung was stopped from boarding a flight from Ho Chi Minh
City to Sydney when customs officials found 3.6kg of heroin in his luggage.

At his 2014 trial, Dung told the court he had been hired by an unidentified man
to traffic the heroin in exchange for $40,000.

He had been living in Australia with his partner and their 2 sons and found the
lure of the money irresistible.

His job was to transport the drugs back to Australia and deliver them to an

Sentenced to execution, Dung appealed but the Ho Chi Minh City People's court
last August confirmed his death sentence.


Execution method: Hanging

Death Row Australian: Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, 54

In December 2014, Australian grandmother Maria Exposto was flying en route from
Shanghai, China to Melbourne via Kuala Lumpur on a Malaysian Airlines flight.

She was in transit when Malaysian customs officer Mohd Noor Nashariq scanned
her bag and allegedly found 1.1kg of methamphetamine hidden in a hand-stitched

Exposto told police she had flown to Shanghai to meet up with a US serviceman
following an online romance between the 2, but the man was a scam artist.
Australian Maria Exposto has yet to learn her fate in Malaysia where she was
caught with 1.1kg of methamphetamine.

She said another man, a stranger, duped her into carrying a backpack which he
told her was full of clothes, but which contained the secreted drugs.

Exposto emigrated to Australia from East Timor and has been an Australian
citizen since 1985.

Soon after her arrest, lawyers for Exposto said she had voluntarily offered her
bags to customs as she attempted to enter Malaysia, having gone through
immigration mistakenly.

They were then hopeful of an acquittal, but Exposto has remained in custody.

In 1986, Malaysia hanged Australians Kevin Barlow, 28, and Brian Chambers, 29,
at Pudu Prison for trafficking 141.9g of heroin.


Execution method: Lethal injection

Death row Australian: Antonio Bagnato, 28

In February this year a Thai court sentenced Australian Antonio Bagnato to
death for the kidnap and murder of a Hells Angels bikie and alleged drug
smuggler, Wayne Schneider.

Bagnato, 28, and 4 other men abducted Schneider from his luxury villa in the
beachside suburb of Pattaya in December 2015.

Schneider's body was later found buried. His neck was broken and he had facial

Bagnato, who had fled to Cambodia, was extradited back to Thailand.

Wayne Rodney Schneider's body was found with his neck broken, injuries to the
face and buried in a grave.

A Muay Thai fighter, Bagnato was also wanted in Australia in relation to the
2014 murder of Bradley Dillion.

Bagnato was found guilty of murder, deprivation of liberty and disposing of a

There is some debate as to whether Bagnato will be executed.

The last person to be sent to their death by lethal injection in Thailand was
in 2009.

Bagnato has been transferred to Bang Kwang Central Prison in Nonthaburi
Province, north of Bangkok, the only prison with a death row and an execution

Up to 25 inmates share each 4m by 7.5m cell in the notoriously squalid prison.


Execution method: Firing squad

Death row Australians: Henry Chhin

Shanghai police intercepted 270g of ice concealed in computer equipment which
they alleged Chhin tried to send from China to Australia in 2005.

Chhin was sentenced to death and his sentence was suspended for 2 years.

But Shenzen police uncovered a further 700g of meth in cabinets at Chhin's
residence, and his fate is currently unclear.

Queensland man Ibrahim Jalloh is reportedly awaiting trial in China on drug

Chinese officials arrested the 2 young men from Queensland at Guangzhou airport
in June 2014 in possession of methamphetamine.

Sherrif has received a "suspended" death sentence, but the outcome is

Jalloh, who has an intellectual disability, has received a suspended death
sentence, which may be commuted to life in prison.

Peter Gardner faces a potential death penalty for allegedly trying to smuggle
30kg of methamphetamine when he visited China with then girlfriend Kalynda
Davis in 2014.

Charge: Attempt to smuggle 30kg methamphetamine in suitcases on Sydney flight
at Guangzhou airport in November 2014

Dual Australian and New Zealand citizen, Peter Gardner was arrested with his
then girlfriend, Sydney promotions representative Kalynda Davis, at Guangzhou
Airport in November 2014.

Gardner allegedly tried to board a Sydney flight with Davis and 2 suitcases
full of 3kg of ice worth $20 million in bags.

Guangzhou authorities say the suitcases, which were superglued shut, contained
the biggest haul of methamphetamine recorded at the airport.

His then girlfriend Kalynda Davis was released without charge.

Gardner said it was 'the biggest mistake of my life'.

Davis' policeman father made a mercy dash to China and his daughter was
released without charge and sent home in December.

But Gardner has been held in a Guangzhou prison since.

Gardner told a Guangzhou court early last year that he thought the suitcases
contained the performance enhancing sport drugs, peptides, and that this was
"the biggest mistake of my life".

He faces another hearing this year, at which he may learn whether he will be
convicted and sentenced to death.

(source: news.com.au)


Thailand Death Sentences Increase, China Tops List, Report Says

China topped the world list in 2016 for the highest number of state executions
carried out, with the figures standing at more than 1,000 according to the
latest report by Amnesty International.

The report, released Tuesday, said at least 1,032 were executed in 23 countries
around the world in 2016 excluding China.

"In many countries where people were sentenced to death or executive, the
proceedings did not meet international fair trial standards. In some cases this
included the extraction of 'confessions' through torture or other
ill-treatment, including in Bahrain, China, Iran, Iraq, North Korea and Saudi
Arabia," the report read.

It also noticed a big decrease in the number of executions in the United
States, which for the 1st time since 2006, did not rank among the world's big 5

The report noted that since China treated the use of the death penalty as a
state secret, the number could be much higher and into the thousands.

The 5 other countries carrying out the highest number of executions were Iran
at 567, Saudi Arabia at 154, Iraq at more than 88 followed closely by Pakistan
with more than 87.

Thailand has been in a state of de facto moratorium for 1/2 a decade although
Amnesty noted in its report an increase in the number of prisoners sentenced to
death in the kingdom rose to 216 last year. The report noted that Thai
authorities provided Amnesty with full figures, unlike countries such as
Vietnam and Malaysia which along with China keep their use of the death penalty
state secret.

Pressured by parliament, the report noted that Malaysia revealed it has
executed 9 people in 2016. As for Vietnam, a report by its Ministry of Public
Security made public in February this year revealed that 429 prisoners were
executed between August 2013 and June 2016, thus placing it behind only China
and Iran for the period.

The United States' figures continued to fall for the 8th consecutive year
although it carried out 20 executions in 2016, putting it at number 7 in the

"The number of death sentences in the USA also decreased from 52 in 2015 to 32
in 2016 (38% decrease). This is the lowest number recorded since 1973," the
report stated.

(source: khaosodenglish.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-18 15:42:38 UTC
April 18


The crucifixion and resurrection of Trinidad

Trinidad and Tobago is in a state of crisis due to the increased intensity of
crime with little hope of a solution by those in authority who have been
appointed to protect us. In the face of rising crime they tend to shift the
blame on our attitude - a response that if not incorrect is insensitive to the
victims of crime as well as their friends and family, co-workers and
neighbours. The loss of law and order continues to erode our faith in the
government as they continue to fail to convince us that they understand our
fears and frustrations.

We as a nation are appealing for a positive programme for the restoration of a
society of decency and order. The Government must assume a major role in the
fight against violence and senseless killings. The Prime Minister must exert
moral leadership, reinforcing the importance of respect for law and contempt
towards those who continue to violate it by practising murder and other violent
and heinous crimes. Harsher penalties must be imposed on convicted murderers
and rapists.

The primary duty of any government is the safety and security of its citizenry
and loss of law and order due to gang warfare is the most visible sign that the
Government has failed. Those in authority and even citizens continue to make
statements about the crime situation that make them appear to be siding with
the supposed villains rather than their victims.

Who or what do we turn to in the face of this crisis? During this Easter season
the resurrection of Christ provides a semblance of hope.

We are now called to be a resurrection nation; we will rise above kidnappings
and murders. The tomb is empty and this directly means that our nation should
also be emptied of all the murderers and criminals that create a barrier
between us and peace. This will be achieved by enforcing the death penalty on
convicted murderers and rapists and that will send a strong message to the
nation that these crimes will not go unpunished.

The negative influences may never be completely destroyed because of the
attitude of those in authority, but we as individuals can continue to dream and
do all in our power to rise above all obstacles and live a life of success.
Having recently been the victim of an arson attack against my home in Chaguanas
I have decided to rise above the violence, pettiness, immaturity, senselessness
and cowardice of my enemies and have decided to travel the world sharing the
message to millions with speaking engagements and my very own motivational CD
that we can positively impact the world by daring to dream and rising above the
evil influences that are designed to destroy us and prevent us from living our

Simon Wright Chaguanas

(source: letter to the Editor Trinidad Express)


Halt imminent execution of 2 men arrested as teenagers

The Iranian authorities must urgently stop the imminent execution of two
long-time death row prisoners who were children at the time of their arrest,
Amnesty International said today.

One of the men, Mehdi Bahlouli, is due to be executed tomorrow morning in
Karaj's Raja'i Shahr Prison, after more than 15 years on death row. He was
sentenced to death by a criminal court in Tehran in November 2001 for fatally
stabbing a man during a fight. He was 17 at the time of the crime.

The execution of the second man, Peyman Barandah, is scheduled to take place
just three weeks later, on 10 May, in Shiraz Central Prison, Fars Province. He
was arrested at the age of 16 and spent nearly 5 years on death row, after
being convicted in August 2012, also for stabbing a teenager to death during a

"Carrying out the executions of these 2 young men would be an outrageous breach
of international human rights law that would cement Iran's position as one of
the world's top executors of juvenile offenders," said Philip Luther, Amnesty
International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North

"Mehdi Bahlouli has spent his entire young adult life on death row. His
shocking ordeal epitomizes the cruelty of Iran's juvenile justice system which
regularly sentences juvenile offenders to death in violation of international
human rights law and then subjects them to prolonged periods on death row. The
anguish and torment of living their lives in the shadow of the gallows also
amounts to cruel and inhuman treatment."

Mehdi Bahlouli's family told Amnesty International that they received a call
from the prison on Saturday informing them to attend for their last visit. He
was transferred to solitary confinement on Sunday in preparation for his

Iran's recently amended 2013 Islamic Penal Code gives judges the option to
replace the death penalty with an alternative punishment if they determine that
the juvenile offender did not understand the nature of the crime or its
consequences, or his or her "mental growth and maturity" were in doubt.

In January 2017, Mehdi Bahlouli's request for retrial was denied. This decision
blatantly contradicts the Iranian authorities' statement to the UN Committee on
the Rights of the Child in January 2016 that "all adolescents who were under 18
at the time of committing the crime are granted retrials [under Iran's 2013 new
Islamic Penal Code] and their previous verdicts are annulled by the Supreme

"The Iranian authorities have touted the 2013 Islamic Penal Code as evidence
that the country is moving away from the use of the death penalty for juvenile
offenders. However, these 2 scheduled executions show these claims are empty
rhetoric," said Philip Luther.

"Instead of intensifying the mental anguish and suffering of juvenile offenders
by letting them languish on death row for long periods, Iran must urgently
amend its penal code to completely abolish the use of the death penalty for
crimes committed while under 18, commute the death sentences of all juvenile
offenders and establish an official moratorium on executions."


Since the beginning of the year, Amnesty International has received reports
indicating that 2 young men, Arman Bahrasemani and Hassan Hassanzadeh, were
executed for crimes that took place when they were under 18 years of age. The
organization fears the true number could be much higher.

The organization has identified the names of at least 90 juvenile offenders
currently on death row across Iran. Many have spent prolonged periods on death
row - in some cases more than a decade. Some have had their executions
scheduled then postponed or stayed at the last minute on multiple occasions,
adding to their torment.

In January 2017, the Iranian authorities scheduled the executions of 2 other
men arrested as children - Sajad Sanjari and Hamid Ahmadi. Both were halted at
the last minute, following an international outcry.

According to Amnesty International's report on death sentences and executions
in 2016, Iran carried out at least 567 executions last year, including at least
2 executions of people who were under 18 at the time of the crime. The
organization received information indicating that 5 other juvenile offenders
may have been among those executed.

(source: Amnesty International)


Investigate Iranian Presidential Hopeful Ebrahim Raisi for 1988 Mass Executions

Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and former political prisoner Nasrin
Sotoudeh has strongly criticized the candidacy of Ebrahim Raisi in Iran's May
19, 2017 presidential election.

"The competency of this candidate should not be approved for any reason until
the events of 1988 are investigated and it is proven that he was not an
accomplice," she told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "In the
meantime, we do have an audio file... that shows he did have a hand in those

In 1988, Raisi was part of a 4-man commission, later known as the "death
committee," that implemented the extrajudicial executions of thousands of
political prisoners.

The victims, who had already been tried and were serving prison sentences, did
not know they were facing death when they then faced the inquisition-like

At that time, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, who was the heir apparent
to the Islamic Republic???s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, condemned the
killings, telling members of the committee: "I believe this is the greatest
crime committed in the Islamic Republic since the [1979] revolution and history
will condemn us for it.... History will write you down as criminals."

Montazeri's son, Ahmad, released the taped recording of that conversation in an
audio file posted online in August 2016, bringing the massacre to the forefront
of public memory.

That month he was sentenced to 6 years in prison by the Special Court for the
Clergy for releasing the audio file.

While he did not personally prosecute Ahmad Montazeri, Raisi was the chief
prosecutor of the court at the time of Montazeri's conviction.

"When you add it all up, [Raisi's] resume looks very bad... If the veracity of
existing evidence is not discredited and his innocence is not proven, we cannot
pretend nothing happened and allow this man to be a candidate for president,"
Sotoudeh told CHRI.

Raisi and the Special Court for the Clergy

Iran's Special Court for the Clergy has proven to be "much tougher" in
politically motivated cases compared to the Revolutionary Court, and blatantly
violates human rights' standards, Sotoudeh, who has defended countless
political activists, told CHRI.

"Naturally, the work of this court is on Mr. Raisi's resume -

the kind of work that he has been able to do, hidden in the dark, away from the
public eye," she said.

"No lawyer has ever come forward to criticize and review the rulings by this
court because essentially no independent lawyer has ever been present at its
proceedings," she added.

Sotoudeh was a leading member of the Defenders of Human Rights Center when she
was sentenced to 11 years in prison in 2011 for her peaceful defense of human
rights in Iran.

"The Special Court for the Clergy is much worse than the Revolutionary Court in
violating legal tenants," she told CHRI. "Deliberations in the Special Court
for the Clergy are often behind closed doors."

"At least in the Revolutionary Courts, thanks to 40 years of constant efforts
by human rights activists, families can attend trial sessions and follow up on
the cases against their loved ones," she said. "But you can't do any of that in
the Special Court for the Clergy."

"The families face a lot of severe restrictions when they have to deal with
this court and they often don't have any access to what???s going on," she

After spending almost 3 years in prison, Sotoudeh was released on September 18,

"Only certain types of lawyers are accepted by the Special Court for the
Clergy," said Sotoudeh. "They have to be a member of the [Muslim Shia] clergy
and are hand-picked by the court itself."

"The rulings made by the court have been issued behind closed-doors and
defendants are usually handed stiff sentences, such as those against Hassan
Yousefi Eshkevari, Hossein Kazemeini Boroujerdi, and most recently Ahmad
Montazeri," she added.

Sotoudeh continued: "This is Mr. Raisi's resume. Now there is also the issue of
what he did in the 1980s, which he has never wanted to address. But after the
release of Mr. Montazeri's recording, Mr. Raisi came out and defended his
actions and didn't deny his role in any way."

In an April 2017 interview with CHRI, Ahmad Montazeri also strongly criticized
Raisi's presidential bid.

"(Raisi's) direct and undeniable participation in the massacres in the summer
of 1988 is very important," he said. "If any of the candidates had attacked a
person with a knife, he would have had a criminal record and would not get
clearance from the authorities, never mind Mr. Raisi, whose record is very

Ahmad Montazeri also told CHRI he is waiting to release more recordings.

"When the conditions are right and the people in charge of the country are more
tolerant, the rest of the audio files will be published," he said. "Already a
lot of transparency has been achieved (with the release of the 1st file)."

Ahmad Montazeri was detained on February 21, 2017 to begin serving his 6-year
prison sentence, but was granted furlough (temporary leave) and released the
next day.

(source: iranhumanrights.org)


President Erdogan's death penalty remarks start debate with Europe

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks over reinstating capital punishment
following the approval of constitutional amendments in the April 16 referendum
has triggered a fresh debate, collecting warnings from European allies.

Erdogan said during his arrival to Ankara from Istanbul on April 17 that he
would approve the return of the death penalty if the parliament passes such a
law to pay respect "to our martyrs."

"If [a bill] comes before me, I will approve it. But if there isn't support
[from opposition MPs], then we could have another referendum for that," Erdogan
said late on April 16 to a crowd in Istanbul, which chanted for its

A referendum on restoring the death penalty in Turkey would constitute a break
from European values, the French president's office warned on April 17.

France said the organization of a referendum on the death penalty would
"obviously be a break with values and engagements" that was accepted by Turkey
when it first joined Europe's top rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, the
presidency said.

The French presidency said it "took note" of the figures and the "disputes"
surrounding them, saying they showed "that Turkish society is divided over the
proposed deep reforms."

In a separate statement, France's foreign ministry called on the Turkish
government to respect the European Convention on Human Rights and its ban on
the death penalty.

Although the death penalty had not been in effect since 1984, Turkey abolished
the capital punishment in 2004 as a part of reforms to ease Turkey's accession
into the European Union.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said in March that any return of
the death penalty in Turkey would be a "red line" in the country's stalled EU
membership bid.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, meanwhile,
said on April 17 that Turkish authorities needed to address concerns about the
content and procedure of the referendum raised by a panel of European legal

"The German government respects the right of Turkish citizens to decide on
their own constitutional order," they said in a statement.

"The tight referendum result shows how deeply divided the Turkish society is
and that means a big responsibility for the Turkish leadership and for
President Erdogan personally," the statement said.

The European Commission said Turkey should seek a broad national consensus on
constitutional amendments. In March, the Venice Commission, a panel of legal
experts at the Council of Europe, said the proposed changes to the constitution
on which Turks voted, namely boosting Erdogan's power, represented a "dangerous
step backwards" for democracy.

Austria, which has repeatedly called for halting membership talks, once more
called for them to stop.

"We can't just go back to the daily routine after the Turkey referendum. We
finally need some honesty in the relationship between the EU and Turkey," said
Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, adding the bloc should instead work on a
"partnership agreement."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on April 17 that the results of
the Turkish referendum should be respected. He said the vote was a domestic
Turkish matter.

Rached Ghannouch, the leader of Tunisia's Ennahdha Party, said he called
Erdogan to congratulate him over the win.

Both Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Army congratulated Erdogan, according
to state-run Anadolu Agency.

(source: Hurriyet Daily News)


Soldiers parade outside the Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk,
founder of the Republic of Turkey----Turkey's EU Membership Off Table Amid
Likely Death Penalty Reinstatement - Rome

Turkey's EU membership is no longer on the bloc's immediate agenda after the
the outcome of the country's constitutional referendum had laid down the
framework for the possible reinstatement of capital punishment, Italian Foreign
Minister Angelino Alfano said Tuesday.

On Sunday, Turkey held a referendum on the transition from a parliamentary to
presidential system of governance. Preliminary results of the vote indicate a
victory for supporters of the governance shift. Once the results are confirmed,
the nation's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with his newly bestowed powers,
will be able to reinstate the death penalty, which was outlawed in 2004 amid
Turkey's attempts to have closer ties with the European Union. In late
February, Erdogan said Ankara may seek to reintroduce capital punishment in the
light of last year's failed coup attempt.

"The issue of Turkey's accession to the European Union is 'not on table.' In
any case the possible solutions, related to the death penalty reintroduction
may delay it even further," Alfano told Il Corriere della Sera newspaper.

On Monday, a number of senior EU officials, including German Foreign Minister
Sigmar Gabriel, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, Belgium's Deputy
Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, expressed the opinion that
the reinstatement of the death penalty would diminish Turkey's prospects of
joining the bloc.

Turkey signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in
1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks about Ankara's
membership of the European Union began in 2005, but have been repeatedly
suspended due to the Cyprus dispute and Turkey's record of denying press
freedom, among other obstacles.

In March 2016, Brussels and Ankara agreed on a deal, under which Turkey pledged
to take back all undocumented migrants that had arrived to the European Union
through the state's territory. In return, the bloc pledged to accelerate the
Turkish EU accession bid and introduce a visa-free regime, as well as provide
financial aid to Turkey to cover the costs of migrant reception.

(source: sputniknews.com)

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2017-04-19 13:30:05 UTC
April 19


Turkey: death penalty incompatible with Council of Europe----Adoption would
push Ankara outside the institution

"Rejection of capital punishment is a basic principle of the Council of Europe
and its reintroduction would be simply incompatible with Turkey's continued
membership in the organization". It is what the Luxembourg socialist
parliamentarian Yves Cruchten, general rapporteur on abolition of the death
penalty for the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace), said
reacting to President Erdogan's declaration on the intention of holding a
referendum to bringing back the death penalty in Turkey. "The parliamentary
assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace) has helped turn Europe into a death
penalty free continent, by making a moratorium on executions and a commitment
to abolition a condition for accession" says Cruchten, underlining that Pace
"will not accept any backsliding on this".

"President Erdogan should be under no illusion: reintroducing the death penalty
would be simply incompatible with Turkey's continued membership of the Council
of Europe" declares Cruchten.

(source: ansamed.info)


Activists decry hurried execution of convicted drug courier

The following is a joint-press release by We Believe in Second Chances and the
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign.


We Believe in Second Chances and the Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign
(SADPC) note with dismay that the execution of Jeefrey bin Jamil has been
abruptly scheduled for this Friday, 21 April 2017. Jeefrey is now known as
Jeffrey Marquez Abineno.

Jeffrey (aged 52) was convicted by the High Court of trafficking 45.26 grams of
diamorphine into Singapore on 28 November 2014. His appeal was dismissed by the
Court of Appeal on 2 December 2016. He appealed to the President of Singapore
for clemency, but was refused a pardon on 17 April 2017 - the same day his
family was informed of his scheduled execution.

We are alarmed by the speed at which Jeffrey's execution is to be carried out.
In previous cases, there was more time between the President's rejection of
clemency and the execution. We note with concern this decreasing window of time
between notifying the inmate's lawyer and the scheduled execution. Families of
death row inmates need time to make funeral preparations, inform their
relatives, visit the inmate, and ready themselves emotionally. The inmate's
lawyers need time to review their case and pursue other legal avenues where
necessary. There should be a reasonable notice period, and at the very least a
consistently enforced notice period, for the inmate's family and lawyers to
plan ahead and make the necessary arrangements.

The death penalty is the harshest and most final punishment that a court can
mete out to any individual. It is a punishment that has been abandoned by the
majority of criminal justice systems in the world. Moreover, decades of
research have not been able to prove that the death sentence is more effective
than other forms of punishment in deterring crime and keeping society safe.

Furthermore, should Jeffrey's hanging on Friday proceed as planned, it would
take place under a cloud of uncertainty over its international legality and
legitimacy. Lawyers for 2 of Jeffrey's fellow death row inmates - Malaysians S
Prabagaran and K Datchinamurthy - have commenced judicial review proceedings in
Malaysia challenging Singapore's drug prosecution regime on grounds that it
constitutes a breach of fair trial. Their case is now before the Court of
Appeal of Malaysia. Should it succeed, Putrajaya would be compelled to
institute legal proceedings against Singapore before the International Court of
Justice (ICJ) for denying its citizens a fair trial.

This impacts Jeffrey's case substantially. If the ICJ ultimately rules that
Singapore's current drug prosecution regime breaches the accused???s right to a
fair trial, Jeffrey and his family would pay the high price of him being one of
the last men hanged under a regime found to be in breach of customary
international law.

We urge the Singaporean authorities to halt the execution of Jeffrey Marquez
Abineno. The death penalty is irreversible. Once it is carried out, a wrongful
execution is an injustice that can never be rectified.

(source: theindependent.sg)


2 men bag death sentence in Bangladesh

A Bangladeshi court on Wednesday sentenced 2 men to death for crimes committed
during the country's 1971 war of independence with Pakistan, officials said.

The Special War Crimes Tribunal handed down the penalty to Moslem Prodhan, 66,
and Syed Mohammad Hossain, 64, for killings and atrocities carried out on
civilians during the 9-month war.

Prosecution lawyer Tureen Afroz said 6 charges, including killing of unarmed
civilians, were proved beyond doubt against the accused, who were members of an
armed militia group linked to the Pakistan army.

"The death sentence can be executed either by hanging or shooting as the
government decides," Afroz quoted the court's decision as saying.

Prodhan is in custody and Hossain is currently on the run.

6 opposition politicians, mostly from the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party,
have been hanged after being convicted of war crimes. Prime Minister Sheikh
Hasina set up the special tribunal in 2010.

The Head of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, Motiur Rahman Nizami, and its
top-ranking leaders Abdul Kader Mollah, Mohammad Kamaruzzaman, Ali Ahsan
Mohammad Mojaheed and Mir Quasem Ali, and Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader,
Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, were among those executed.

East Pakistan became Bangladesh after the fighting ended with the surrender of
Pakistani forces on Dec. 16, 1971.

An early attempt to prosecute the suspects was called off following the 1975
assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh's founding leader and father
of current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

(source: The News)

IRAN----impending executions

Mohsen Babaie and 10 Others May Be Executed at Any Moment

11 prisoners are reportedly in imminent danger of execution in Karaj's Rajai
Shahr Prison. According to close sources, they may be executed at any moment.

According to close sources, the prisoners were transferred to solitary
confinement on the morning of Sunday April 16 in prepation for their
executions. All 11 prisoners are reportedly on death row on murder charges.
Iran Human Rights has obtained the names of 5 of these prisoners: Farzad
Ghahreman, Mohsen Babaie, Mehdi Bahlouli, Seyed Hassan Hosseini, and Vahid

Close sources have informed Iran Human Rights that Mohsen Babaie was born in
1988, and he was arrested in 2011. "Mohsen was an accountant. In 2011, he and
his business partner got into a physical altercation. His partner died after
Mohsen punched him in the face. If the murder victim's son does not forgive
him, Mohsen will be executed," a source close to Mohsen tells Iran Human

In a recent urgent action report by Amnesty International, Mehdi Bahlouli is
described as 17 years old at the time of his alleged crime. According to
Amnesty, another prisoner by the name of Peyman Barandah is scheduled to be
executed at Shiraz Central Prison (Fars province) on Wednesday May 10. Peyman
was arrested "at the age of 16 and spent nearly 5 years on death row, after
being convicted in August 2012..." says the Amnesty report.

Iran remains one of the few countries which sentences juveniles to death,
executing more juvenile offenders than any other country in the world. Juvenile
executions are in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC),
which Iran has ratified.

(source: Iran Human Rights)


Lagos govt to execute Rev'd King, others on death row

The Lagos State Government is set to execute the General Overseer of the
Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, also known as Rev King and
other prison inmates on death roll.

This was disclosed by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,
Adeniji Kazeem during a press conference in the state.

Kazeem said the state government was reviewing the cases of those on death roll
and will be taking a crucial decision soon.

The Commissioner disclosed that his recent visit to prisons in the state which
was on the instruction of the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, said prison
officials drew his attention to the highhandedness of those on death row.

According to Kazeem, previous administration had not deemed it fit to sign
documents for the execution of convicts on death row, but the Ambode
administration is moving towards signing the execution document.

Kazeem said, "Very soon, you will see the action of this government on that
issues, we are reviewing the case on Rev. King and others on death roll.

"Lots of people are on death row, Rev. King is not the only one on death row,
it is on the instruction of Ambode that I visited the prisons recently and I
discuss the issue with the prison officials and they expressed concern.

"We are moving in that direction of signing. The prison officials said we need
to look at that seriously. Those on death row are beginning to think they have
some rights. We are going to move in that direction, you will hear from me, but
I will not tell you the exact date."

Recall that the Supreme Court had on 27 February, 2016 upheld the judgment of
the Appeal Court which passed death penalty on King.

(source: dailypost.ng)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-20 13:56:27 UTC
April 20


Beware Vietnam's Death Machine----A closer look at capital punishment in the
Southeast Asian state.

One Thursday in July 2013, Barack Obama and his Vietnamese counterpart, Truong
Tan Sang, sat down in the Oval Office to discuss Thomas Jefferson. Sang brought
to this historic meeting between the 2 nation's presidents a letter Ho Chi Minh
had sent Harry Truman, prior to the Vietnam War, seeking cooperation with the
United States. Uncle Ho's words, said Obama, were "inspired by the words of
Thomas Jefferson." In fact, when the Proclamation of Independence was read by
Ho in 1945, he chose to begin with an extract from America's Declaration of
Independence, its principal author being Jefferson.

While a visit to the White House by the Vietnamese president was an occasion
for historical reflection, the here-and-now was what really mattered. Indeed,
diplomacy and trade were the main talking points, signaling the start of an
emboldened relationship between the 2 nations. But the U.S. president did at
least mention Vietnam's human right's record.

"All of us have to respect issues like freedom of expression, freedom of
religion, freedom of assembly. And we had a very candid conversation about both
the progress that Vietnam is making and the challenges that remain," Obama said
after the meeting. Sang's only comment was that the 2 men "have differences on
the issue."

Little reported afterwards was the execution of a 27-year old Vietnamese man
named Nguyen Anh Tuan, a convicted murderer, which took place on August 6, just
2 weeks after Sang's visit to White House. Tuan's execution was the 1st in
years, and the 1st since Vietnam replaced firing squads with lethal injections
in 2011. However, a ban on importing "authorized" lethal drugs meant it had to
use untested domestic poisons. Tuan took 2 hours to die, reportedly in
harrowing pain.

Between the date of Tuan's death and June 30, 2016, Vietnam executed 429 people
(or an average of 147 executions per year; or 12 each month). Additionally,
1,134 people were given death sentences between July 2011 and June 2016. The
number remaining on "death row" is not known.

These figures only came to light after the public security ministry decided to
release them in February. They are normally classified as state secrets and
rarely revealed. Surprising many around the world who thought the numbers to be
much lower, Amnesty International reported this month that Vietnam is now the
world's third-most prolific executioner of prisoners. Only China and Iran are
thought to have executed more people.

In June 2016, the Paris-based Vietnam Committee on Human Rights provided a
lengthy report on the death penalty???s mechanisms in Vietnam, explaining that
capital punishment is applied for 18 different offenses, down from 44 in 1999.

Like many of its Southeast Asian neighbors this includes harsh drug laws, and
Vietnam metes out the death penalty for those caught in possession or smuggling
100 grams or more of heroin or cocaine, or 5 kilograms or more of cannabis and
other opiates. Other crimes, including murder and rape, also carry a death

After reforms during the 2000s, "the death penalty was effectively abolished on
certain crimes, such as robbery, disobeying orders or surrendering to the
enemy. But in other cases, crimes were simply re-worded to mask their
appearance and deceive international opinion," the Vietnam Committee on Human
Rights report reads.

Particularly troubling is the fact that the Vietnamese regime wields capital
punishment for vaguely-defined crimes of "infringing upon national security,"
explains the report. These include carrying out activities aimed at
overthrowing the people's administration (Article 109 of the reformed Criminal
Code), rebellion (article 112), and sabotaging the material-technical
foundations of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (article 114).

Returning to the recent execution figures, it is worth considering why the
regime would choose to announce them in February - knowing the reaction they
would cause - and whether they are not masking a far larger number of

One problem is that they came with no information as to what the prisoners were
being executed for. We might assume that most were for drug offenses or murder,
as has been the case in the past, but it is by no means certain. That leads one
to wonder whether any of the people executed were arrested for simply
protesting against the regime.

Even if they weren't, capital punishment and human rights are by no means
detached issues, as some claim. What is the connection between the drug
trafficker, the murder and the human-rights activist in the regime's eyes? They
are all a risk to national security. Indeed, in his famed essay, "Of Crimes and
Punishments," Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria described the death penalty
as a "war of the whole nation against a citizen whose destruction they consider

But what is the "nation" in Vietnam? It is not just an arbitrary land defined
borders. No - according the regime's own laws, it is defined as akin to the
"people's administration." Since the Communist Party and the Nation are
effectively the same under the law, an attack on the Party becomes treasonous.
Indeed, the law makes "no distinction between violent acts such as terrorism,
and the peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression," the Vietnam
Committee on Human Rights report reads.

Moreover, what is a "citizen" in Vietnam? And if it is to be treasonous to
attack the Party, and thereby the Nation, does this mean the person who wishes
the end of the Party is not a citizen? When France did away with the peine de
mort in the early 1980s, Francois Mitterrand's Minister of Justice said the
scaffold had come to symbolize "a totalitarian concept of the relationship
between the citizen and the state." It is this same totalitarian relationship
that knots capital punishment and human rights in Vietnam.

What also catches the eye is the hubristic nature of Hanoi's release of the
execution figures, coming as they do as criticism of the regime increases. They
might be better read as a boast, not an admission. The overriding message is:
We are prepared to kill, and have done so more than most people thought.

Following the 2013 meeting between Obama and Sang, some pundits thought Obama's
ambition was to embolden Vietnam's reformist politicians through diplomatic
engagement and improved trade links. This became America's foreign policy
towards Hanoi for the next 3 years. It didn't work, however, and suppression
has remained as essential as ever for the Communist Party, perhaps even more
so, especially as criticism of the Party's rule nowadays swells on issues such
an environmentalism.

So while Vietnam's economy has flourished since Obama's rapprochement, its
civil society has languished somewhere between desperation and enviable
bravery. Obama's administration bears responsibility for this, and the
strategic patience it gambled on played only into Hanoi's hands. Naive,
perhaps. Or just willfully remiss, as Vietnam???s amity was necessary for
America's counter-Beijing Asian 'pivot'. Maybe, then, Vietnam's activists were
jettisoned for the sake of geopolitics - an unexceptional component of
America's Janus-faced foreign policy.

Today, however, U.S. trade links are far from assured. U.S. President Donald
Trump's withdrawal from the TPP has jeopardized the free-trade bounty Hanoi was
counting on. Vietnam now appears keen to formalize a bilateral free-trade
agreement with the US, and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said last month that
he wants to visit Washington as soon as possible

In a perverse situation, Trump's administration now wields the stick that Obama
chose not to use. Moreover, it has the ability to bargain in a way Obama
couldn't: No trade pact without improved human rights. Since the Communist
Party's legitimacy depends on a growing economy - and 1/5 of all Vietnam's
export are to the United States, which could be further hampered if Trump
pushes through trade tariffs and increased taxes on imports - Hanoi might be
strong-armed into opening up space for criticism, in return for the United
States opening more trade links.

Still, this depends on how much Trump values a human-rights laden foreign
policy, which some analysts claim he doesn't. That said, the State Department's
decision to give the imprisoned Vietnamese activist Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh the
"International Women of Courage Award" certainly irked Hanoi.

Perhaps this explains the adroit use of executions statistics by the Vietnamese
regime, and the appropriate timing of their release. The numbers will raise
hairs in Europe; the European Union (EU) bars membership for countries with
capital punishment, though not for countries with which it agrees free-trade
agreements, it seems. The EU-Vietnam FTA that should become effective next year
but contains no condition regarding Vietnam abolishing the death penalty
(surely patronizing, given that the EU has higher expectations of European
countries than others).

The execution figures, however, put the United States in an awkward position.
It cannot condemn Vietnam when it is still a practitioner in capital
punishment, as well as the loudest proponent of drug prohibition
internationally, too. As is to be expected, the White House has been silent on
the matter. If the Washington can stomach the totalitarian ethos behind
Vietnam's capital punishment then why can't it overlook Vietnam's human right's
record, Hanoi may well argue. Indeed, the moral lecturer on human rights has
the mirror turned on it when capital punishment arises.

One might assume, then, that with little international support for capital
punishment abolition in Vietnam, the cogs will no doubt continue rotating on
the death machine, at least until a true separation between the Nation and the
Party, and between the State and the Citizen, takes place.

(source: The Diplomat)


Madhya Pradesh Seeks Death Penalty For Rapists

Madhya Pradesh has prepared a proposal seeking death penalty for rapists.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has given his nod to the plan chalked out
by Madhya Pradesh police. The state government will now forward it to the
Centre for final approval.

"Police headquarters has prepared perhaps the most stringent proposal for
punishing those charged with sexually assaulting women," said Aruna Mohan Rao,
additional director general of police (ADG) from crime against women cell.

The proposal contains harsher punishment from 20 years in jail to death
sentence for those who sexually assault girls less than 12 years of age, she

Once the Centre approves it, the bill will be introduced in the state Assembly
during monsoon session, sources said. Then, it would be forwarded to the

The state government also plans to request the Centre to inculcate the said
provisions into the Indian Penal Code.

Government sources said the CM approved the stringent laws for curbing crimes
against women after a series of measures failed to bring the crime graph down.

Due for Assembly polls in 2018, the BJP government stares at highest number of
rape cases in country with National Crime Record Bureau 2015 report putting MP
on top in terms of rape cases registered in 2015. The state had recorded 4,391
rapes in the year.

(source: news18.com)

SINGAPORE----impending execution

EU calls on Singapore government to halt the execution of Jeffrey Marquez

The European Union (EU) has called on the Singapore authorities to halt the
execution of Mr Jeffrey Marquez Abineno, to commute his sentence to a
non-capital sentence and to adopt a moratorium on all executions.

Jeefrey was 47 years old at the time of his alleged offence. He was a drug
addict. Upon his arrest, his urine sample tested positive for heroin and
methamphetamine. He was convicted of delivering drugs to feed his own drug
habit. The Prosecution argued that he would be paid in packets of heroin or in
cash each time he made a delivery. The Prosecution further conceded that
Jeefrey was a 'courier', but did not issue him with a certificate of
cooperation. The trial Judge therefore had no choice but to sentence Jeefrey to

Jeefrey's lawyers applied to the Court of Appeal to challenge the
constitutionality of section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act as it gave the
Prosecution (and not the Judge) the power to decide who lives and who dies by
the issuance or non issuance of the certificate of cooperation. The Court of
Appeal however rejected their arguments.

Jeefrey's lawyers said that they received news on 17 April that his petition
for clemency was turned down, and that they understand that he is scheduled to
be executed tomorrow at the crack of dawn.

The EU said that it holds a principled position against the death penalty and
is opposed to the use of capital punishment under any circumstances.

"The death penalty has not been shown in any way to act as a deterrent to
crime," the press statement said.

Adding: "Furthermore, any errors - inevitable in any legal system - are

(source: The Independent)


Abe calls antiterror bill 'pressing' in Diet debate

Full-fledged deliberations on a bill to punish major organized crimes in the
planning and preparation stages began Wednesday, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe
attending a House of Representatives panel session.

During a session of the Committee on Judicial Affairs, Abe sought understanding
of the bill, which is intended to revise the Law on Punishment of Organized
Crimes and Control of Crime Proceeds.

"We'll continue to work thoroughly to ensure the appropriateness of
investigations, to prevent people from harboring fears and concerns," Abe said.

The government and ruling parties are aiming to pass the bill into law during
the current Diet session, which is scheduled to end on June 18.

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics only three years away, Abe said:
"Implementing antiterrorist measures is a pressing issue. Establishing the
crime of preparing for acts of terror and other offenses can help prevent
serious organized crimes."

The legislation is essential to conclude the U.N. Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime, to which Japan became a signatory in 2000.

"Among Group of 7 industrialized countries, only Japan has yet to conclude the
convention," Abe said. "The early conclusion of it is extremely important."

Shiori Yamao of the Democratic Party referred to the possibility that people
could be accused of a crime even for such menial acts as picking mushrooms in a
protected forest.

"That won't counter terrorism," she said. "If surveillance by investigative
authorities is reinforced, it's nothing but harmful."

Fierce opposition expected

At the beginning of the panel session, the ruling and opposition parties failed
to reach an agreement over whether Makoto Hayashi, head of the Justice
Ministry's Criminal Affairs Bureau, should attend the session as an unsworn
witness for the government. As a result, the panel's Chairman Junji Suzuki, who
is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, used his authority to take a vote.

The ruling camp wanted Hayashi to attend the panel session, saying that
questions concerning specific investigations and practical matters needed to be
answered by the bureau chief, who is in charge of the matter and has expertise.
The DP and other parties, which want to grill Justice Minister Katsutoshi
Kaneda, opposed it. However, Hayashi's attendance was approved with a majority

The bill stipulates that if a major crime involving terrorist groups or other
organized crime groups is planned by two people or more, and at least one of
them is involved in the preparation of it, all operatives who take part in the
planning stages of the act can be punished.

Among crimes punishable by the death penalty or more than 4 years of
imprisonment with or without labor, the government has narrowed down the number
of crimes subject to punishment in which organized criminal groups are presumed
to be involved to 277.

The government and ruling parties intend to pass the bill in the lower house
shortly after next month's long holidays. However, the schedule for
deliberations is tight, and the opposition bloc is highly likely to fiercely
oppose it. To ensure the passage of the bill during the ongoing Diet session,
some LDP members have called for the session to be extended. .

(source: The Japan News)


Move to execute coffee shop killer grinds to a halt after she 'finds
Christ'----Sentence for coffee shop killer officially reversed from death
penalty to life in prison for murders committed in 2013

A female manager of a coffee shop who had been convicted for the robbing and
murder of a couple in 2013, has been given life in prison, reversing the
original death sentence she faced that year.

Today, the Supreme Court dismissed the prosecution's appeal of a life sentence
handed down in 2015 to Hsieh Yi-han, 31, on the grounds that she confessed and
that a psychological assessment found that Hsieh had made a clean break with
her past errors and was at low risk of repeating her crime.

In October 2013, Hsieh had originally been sentenced to death by the Shilin
District Court in Taipei for the murder of Shih Chien University assistant
professor Chang Tsui-ping, 58, and her husband, Chen Chin-fu, 79, before
dumping their bodies in the Tamsui River in suburban Taipei in February 2013.

Hsieh had befriended the couple when they visited the Monmouth Coffee she was
managing. Coveting the couple's large fortune, she laced their drinks with
sleeping pills, stabbed them to death, and dragged their bodies into the river.
Hsieh then withdrew NT$350,000 from Chen's bank account, but failed in her
attempt to withdraw money from Chang's account by passing herself off as the
murdered woman. The case came to light when the couple's bodies were discovered
near the riverside cafe.

The verdict was then upheld in September 2014 by the Taiwan High Court.
However, Taiwan's Supreme Court in February 2015 overturned the death sentence
handed down in Hsieh's 1st and 2nd trials and remanded the case to the Taiwan
High Court for review.

Pastor Huang Ming-chen, who met with Hsieh 20 times during her detention, said
after she had found Christ, she wished to repent her sins and even hoped to
reconcile with the families of the victims. This led the court to believe that
there was a high probability that she could be reformed and that the death
penalty was not appropriate after Taiwan signed into law the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The covenant stipulates that in countries that have not abolished the death
penalty, the death sentence may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in
accordance with the law, and it can only be carried out pursuant to a final
judgment rendered by a competent court.

However, Chen's sister said in an interview earlier this year that that the
reversal of the death penalty "had led to very painful suffering, she said she
was "really very unconvinced! Taking two lives and she only gets life
imprisonment! Her crime should result in the death penalty! This will be the
only way to serve justice in the afterlife for my brother and sister-in-law."

(source: Taiwan News)


Thai Court extends appeal deadline in trial of Myanmar migrant pair sentenced
to death

For Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun - the migrant workers sentenced to death by the
Thai court in relation to the deaths of 2 British tourists - the new year
brings with it a glimmer of hope. Aung Myo Thant, the lawyer in charge of the
case, confirmed to 7Day yesterday that Thai authorities have extended the
deadline by which the defendants can file the final appeal for their case.

After being handed the death sentence last December, Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun
had made an appeal to the Thai Appellate Court, citing accusations that
officials had 'bungled' the investigation by declining to test key pieces of
evidence, refusing to allow independent examinations, and failing to properly
collect and preserve DNA samples. However, the Appellate Court officially
stated on February 23 that the initial sentence would be upheld - an
announcement that caught even the defendants' attorneys off-guard.

Following the Appellate Court's decision, the defendants were given 30 days to
submit another appeal for their case to the Supreme Court, the final court.
Although the pair's lawyers immediately began work on the Supreme Court appeal,
they argued that the March 23 deadline was not enough time.

An initial petition for an extension was granted and the pair was given a new
deadline of April 23. However, their attorneys argued that that still wasn't
enough time to prepare a comprehensive appeal, and filed yet another successful
petition. The team now has until May 23 to put together their case.

Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Tun were found guilty of killing David Miller, 24, and the
rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, whose battered bodies were found on a
beach on the southern diving resort of Koh Tao in September 2014. Miller had
been struck by a single blow and left to drown in shallow surf, while
Witheridge had been raped and then bludgeoned to death with a garden hoe.

While the death penalty is technically still legal in Thailand, it is rarely
carried out.

(source: coconuts.co)


Pakistan Army chief issues execution order of 30 militants

Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday signed execution
orders of 30 hardcore terrorists who were awarded death sentence by military
courts of the country, the military said.

"These terrorists were involved in committing heinous offences relating to
terrorism," an army statement said.

They were behind the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, kidnapping
and slaughtering soldiers of security officials, attack on an airport in Swat
Valley, killing innocent civilians, attacking armed forces' law enforcement
agencies, the statement said.

It is the 1st time the army chief has approved death penalty of 30 convicts on
a single day.

The army said the process of execution has been expedited during the ongoing
anti-terror major operation codenamed "Radd-ul-Fasaa" or "reject discord" in

Pakistan's Parliament recently extended the period of military courts for 2
more years after their 2-year term expired earlier this year.

(source: webindia123.com)


Mohsen Babaie and 6 Others Executed at Rajai Shahr Prison

7 prisoners were reportedly executed at Rajai Shahr Prison on murder charges on
the morning of Wednesday April 19.

These prisoners were among eleven who were transferred to solitary confinement
on Sunday April 16 in preparation for their executions. The 4 other prisoners
were reportedly returned to their cells, including Mehdi Bahlouli, who was
reportedly 17 at the time of his arrest.

Sources close to Iran Human Rights have confirmed the names of 3 of the
prisoners who were executed: Mohsen Babaie, Farzad Ghahreman, and Siamack

Close sources have informed Iran Human Rights that Mohsen Babaie was born in
1988, and he was arrested in 2011. "Mohsen was an accountant. In 2011, he and
his business partner got into a physical altercation. His partner died after
Mohsen punched him in the face. If the murder victim's son does not forgive
him, Mohsen will be executed," a source close to Mohsen tells Iran Human

Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not
announced these 7 executions.

(source: Iran Human Rights)


Inmate's Hand Amputated Before Execution in Shiraz

3 inmates were executed on Tuesday, April 18 in the prisons of Shiraz and
Tabriz. 10 days prior to the executions, authorities in Adel Abad Prison of
Shiraz had horrifically amputated the hand of 1 of the inmates. 1 of the 2
prisoners executed in Tabriz Central Prison was 28 years of age.

Furthermore, 2 prisoners who were arrested while under the age of 18 are now
facing execution. Mehdi Bahlouli, 17 years of age when arrested, is currently
held in solitary confinement of Gohardasht Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran.
Peyman Barandah, arrested at the age of 16 for his alleged crime, is on death
row in Shiraz Central Prison.

The Iranian Resistance calls on Iranians from all walks of life, especially the
youth, to protest such vicious punishments and arbitrary executions,
specifically the hanging of juveniles. It further calls on the international
community to strongly condemn this unprecedented barbarity in the 21st century
and hinge their relations with the Iranian regime on an immediate halt to
executions and inhumane punishments.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)


Erdogan death penalty vow likely to be tough sell in divided Turkey

Immediately after winning Sunday's referendum, President Tayyip Erdogan
promised to reinstate the death penalty, a reform put in place 15 years ago
that was seen as fundamental to Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.

The move would be sure to delight his fans, who called for it repeatedly at
campaign rallies. But by effectively ending Ankara's decades-long EU accession
bid, it could be a tough sell to the millions of Turks in bustling port cities,
trade and tourist hubs who voted 'No' in Sunday's vote.

Preliminary results show a slim majority of 51.4 % of Turkish voters voted
"Yes" to granting the presidency sweeping powers, the biggest overhaul of the
country's politics since the founding of the modern republic.

"Our concern is not what George, Hans or Helga says," Erdogan told flag-waving
supporters on the steps of his presidential palace on Monday.

"Our concern is what Hatice, Ayse, Fatma, Ahmet, Mehmet, Huseyin, Hasan says,
what God says," he said. He has promised a debate in parliament on the issue
or, failing that, another referendum.

But Europe would not be the only source of resistance to Erdogan's plans.

Turkey's biggest cities - Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir - voted "No" on Sunday,
along with industrial heartlands, tourist hotspots and ports in 33 provinces,
outward-looking regions that have thrived on strong relations with Europe and
are increasingly fearful of the future.

More than 320 of Turkey's 500 largest industrial companies are based in cities
that voted against the constitutional changes, 181 of them in Istanbul.

"For years, we have worked on getting ourselves integrated with the world,"
Serafettin Asut, head of the chamber of commerce and industry in the
Mediterranean city of Mersin, home to one of Turkey's largest international

"We have made progress in foreign trade. We constantly think about how to
improve ourselves. When you look at it from this perspective, bringing up the
death penalty again would not really be received well," Asut said.

More than 64 % of Mersin's electorate voted "No" in the referendum, a surprise
outcome in a city which had voted largely for the ruling AK Party, which was
founded by Erdogan, in a November 2015 general election.

"People (in Mersin) turn their face towards the outside world but at home they
see a different story," Asut said.

Tourist centres such as the Mediterranean city of Antalya, through which some 6
million foreign visitors entered the country last year, also overwhelmingly
voted "No".


The main secularist opposition CHP party and the pro-Kurdish opposition HDP are
seeking to annul the referendum, while the bar association and international
observers have said the vote was marred by irregularities.

Erdogan has said the vote on Sunday ended all debate, however, telling European
observers who criticised it: "Talk to the hand".

There have been sporadic protests against the outcome in cities, including
Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

"The AK Party is increasingly failing to attract the voters of big cities,"
said Murat Gezici, head of pollster Gezici, which correctly predicted the
outcome of the referendum.

"They tried to convince the masses through patriotic and conservative values
and the voters have perceived this as an indication of AKP's future policies -
turning its face away from the West," Gezici said.

If Erdogan presses ahead with reinstating the death penalty, the AKP will need
to either pass a bill through parliament, for which it does not have the votes
alone, or hold another referendum, which he could swing with the backing of the
nationalist MHP party, which has supported the idea in the past.

In the latest referendum, however, Erdogan was only able to get the support of
35 % of MHP voters, according to Gezici, indicating that the backing he bet
among the nationalists may not be there.


A hero for many in Turkey's pious working class, Erdogan has over the years
also won support from liberal businessmen. His reform-oriented early years in
power as prime minister from 2003 brought stability and attracted foreign

But confidence has been dented by the worsening ties with Europe, mounting
concerns about political freedom and civil rights after last year's failed
coup, a resurgent conflict with Kurdish militants, and the threat from Islamic
State in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

One businessman in Turkey, who runs a medium-sized textile company with around
150 clients based in Europe, said he had recently set up a company in Germany
because of the deteriorating environment.

"It is a precaution in case relations between Turkey and the EU sour further
and affect trade," he said, asking not to be identified because he feared
retribution from customers who are loyal Erdogan supporters.

"I don't expect something as severe as an embargo," if Turkey were to restore
the death penalty, he said. "But I now have a safety net for my business in
case things between Turkey and Europe gets much worse."

Hurriyet columnist Murat Yetkin said Erdogan may have won the referendum, but
some big challenges lie ahead.

"Now Erdogan will have to rule the part of Turkey most open to the world, with
the highest cultural production, export capacity, tourism revenue and
industrial output, with a constitution approved by its most introvert part," he

(source: nasdaq.com)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-21 13:40:29 UTC
April 21


Death penalty: No opting out----It never makes good sense to flaunt our
violation of international law. After all, when rapacious neighbors dig into
our pie and leave not even the crust to us, we seek relief by invoking our
rights under international law.

The Philippine Senate recently received advice from a UN monitoring office that
it could not, without violating international law, pass a bill that would
return the death penalty into the country's statute books. I have repeatedly
pointed this out.

We became parties to the Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights. Article 1 of the Protocol cannot be any clearer than it is
succinct: No one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present
Protocol shall be executed. By virtue of the Executive's ratification and
Senate concurrence, the Protocol entered into force for the Philippines.

Of course, statutes can always be amended and repealed by subsequent acts of
the legislature of equal rank. But treaties are not the same thing, because
they are covenants we enter into with other States and, as in the present case,
establish a regime that cannot be left to the unilateral disposition of one of
the State-parties.

Treaties (and protocols are essentially treaties) are entered into by the
sovereign power of a State to bind itself, in what can be reasonably
characterized as auto-limitation of power. That, social contract theorists have
always taught, lies at the heart of any organized society - whether it be a
domestic society or a community of nations: auto-limitation of individual
autonomy. So there is really no reason for us to be bawling about a derogation
of our "sovereignty", and whining that our "freedom" has been compromised!

The incorporation clause of Article II of our Constitution makes the generally
accepted principles of international law part of the law of the land. This is
not empty rhetoric. It is a constitutional provision, and it has been held to
be one of the self-executing principles found in Article II. One of the
accepted principles of international law is that a treaty can be denounced (the
"opt-out" mechanism) only when the treaty provides for it, otherwise, there is
no way that a State-Party, having acceded to a treaty, can extricate itself
from its obligations. Once more, this quite clearly results in a limitation on
what our Legislature may or may not pass - but it is a limitation we took upon
ourselves by acceding to the treaty.

In respect to human rights treaties (as well as in the case of other treaties,
such as the settlement of territorial boundaries) there are no provisions for
treaty-denunciation and it should not be too difficult to see why: Human rights
have attained a status both of importance and urgency that they did not have
prior to the Second World War.

It took the egregious violation and the shocking transgression of human rights
on a scale that remains shocking to awaken the world to the primacy of human
rights. And when States freely take upon themselves the obligations imposed by
human rights treaties, then it is the better policy to disallow them from going
back on their word.

Of course, the Philippines can strike a cavalier pose and pass a death penalty
bill anyway. And under the flow of the municipal law system - the domestic laws
of the Philippines - the trial courts will then sentence some persons to death
and, after the exhaustion of all post-conviction remedies, the Bureau of
Corrections will inflict the awful sentence.

Interdependent world

We can then congratulate ourselves about having dutifully executed our laws -
except for one thing: We remain bound by our international obligations and
fortunately, it is a highly interdependent world in which we live, the loud
mouths of boastful leaders who claim we do not need the rest of the world

Should we insist on passing a death penalty law and executing condemned persons
under its provisions, we will then be in violation of our international
obligation not to execute. This will allow the relevant monitoring Committee to
receive reports of our violation and to require comment on the part of the
government. If the international community is met with contumacy on our part,
it has an arsenal of enforcement mechanisms. Iran heaved a tremendous sigh of
relief after sanctions against it were lifted because whether autocrats accept
it or not, sanctions can be burdensome, painful and really punishing.

No, it never makes good sense to flaunt our violation of international law.
After all, when rapacious neighbors who are armed to the teeth dig into our pie
and leave not even the crust to us, we seek relief by invoking our rights under
international law. We take umbrage because our rights under international law
shall have been violated.

But we cannot engage in double-speak. If we desire the guarantees and the
protection of international law - and the world order it endeavors to establish
- then it should not be one of our legislature's options to doggedly pass a
bill that diametrically negates an international duty. This is no time to play
the childish role of neighborhood toughie. This is the time to manfully stand
by our word!

(source: Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino; The author is vice president for
administration and finance of the Cagayan State University and Dean of the
Graduate School of Law at San Beda College----rappler.com)


To the gallows: Murder convict hanged in Dera Ghazi Khan Jail

A convict, facing death penalty in a dual murder case, was hanged in Central
Jail, Dera Ghazi Khan, prison officials said. They maintained on June 4, 1995,
Huzoor Bakhsh had killed his wife Bharawan Mai and Muhammad Iqbal over
suspicion of having illicit relations in Rajanpur.

Later, the police arrested the accused and a case was registered against him.
The officials maintained on December 15, 1999, Rajanpur Additional Session
Judge Muqarrab Khan awarded death sentence to Huzoor Bakhsh. He filed
applications against the decision in the Supreme Court, high court and the
President of Pakistan but all appeals were rejected. He had a final meeting
with his family members late on Tuesday evening and in early hours of Wednesday
Huzoor Bakhsh was taken to the gallows.

Earlier, 3 convicts on death row were hanged across jails in Punjab. Nabeel
Ahmed, Saleem and Rashid were all handed the death sentence for committing
murders in 2000 and 1998 respectively.

(source: The Express Tribune)


10 Indians on death row await pardon decision

10 young Indian workers in Al Ain jail, convicted of murdering a Pakistani
worker, are expected to learn whether they will be pardoned as early as next

The Al Ain Appeals Court on Wednesday completed the hearing in the case and
adjourned the matter to May 25 to pronounce the verdict, head of an Indian
charity involved in the case, told Gulf News on Wednesday.

The court is expected to issue a verdict on the letter of consent submitted by
the family of the Pakistani victim to pardon the accused Indians, said S.P.S.
Oberoi, chairman of Sarbat Da Bhala Charitable Trust, that donated the blood
money for the accused men.

Oberoi, a Dubai-based businessman, said he has already saved 78 Asian men who
were convicted of murder in the UAE from death row by paying blood money on
their behalf to their victims' families.

"With my experience in similar cases, I will tell you that their death penalty
will be commuted because the victims' family has already given the pardon. We
are expecting the verdict on what other punishment, possibly imprisonment or
fine for their crimes including bootlegging and fighting, to be given to the
convicts," he said.

As Gulf News first reported on December 8, 2016, the murder allegedly occurred
during a brawl over bootlegging in Al Ain in December 2015.

11 men from the Indian state of Punjab were convicted in the case but 1 was
spared the death sentence.

On March 22, the father of the victim had appeared in the court and submitted
the letter of consent.

Oberoi, who is also from Punjab, had deposited Dh200,000 in blood money on
behalf of the accused at the court.

Oberoi's Pakistani manager had travelled to Peshawar in Pakistan and talked to
the victim's family and their relatives to secure the pardon.

An Indian Embassy official said the embassy was closely following the case.

"We are waiting for the verdict," said Dinesh Kumar, counsellor, Community
Affairs at the embassy.

Oberoi said some of the convicts did not have valid passports.

"I will request the embassy to issue them emergency travel documents, once they
are released from jail. They have been in jail since July 2015 and that time
will be deducted from their punishment to be pronounced next month," he said.

(source: Gulf News)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-22 13:06:05 UTC
April 22


27 Kurds executed in Iran for political, security reasons in 2016, says rights

\The Kurdistan Human Rights Association said the government of Iran had
executed 30 people in 2016 for political and security reasons, 27 of them

The human rights group released a statement on Thursday (April 20) stating that
27 of the 30 people executed by Iran due to state-claimed political or security
reasons were members of banned Kurdish parties.

The other three were Ahwaz Arabs, the organization added.

The statement noted that individuals sentenced to death were "tortured to
obtain forced confessions," in trials "that lasted less than 15 minutes and
without any defense, [and] had been issued without a last meeting with their

The Kurdistan Human Rights Association said at least 530 people were executed
by Iran's authorities in 2016.

Last year, Amnesty International said Iranian courts were often "completely
lacking in independence and impartiality."

According to Amnesty, China, Iran and Iraq are the top countries to carry out
executions, issuing death sentences after "unfair trials".

The organization also said authorities in some countries, including Iran, use
the death penalty to punish political opponents.

According to Amnesty's statistics, Iran carried out 997 executions in the
state's prisons in 2015, of which 393 of the executed were Kurds.

(source: nrttv.com)


Gallows preparation in Lagos prison suggests spate of executions imminent

The Nigerian authorities must immediately scrap plans to execute death row
inmates in Kirikiri prison in Lagos, Amnesty International said today amid
macabre reports from inmates that the prison's gallows were being prepared and
one inmate had been isolated possibly in preparation for execution.

This follows a statement by the Attorney General of Lagos State during a press
briefing on 18 April indicating that the state government would soon start
signing execution documents.

"The indications that Kirikiri prison authorities may be gearing up for a
string of executions are deeply alarming. The death penalty is an outdated and
cruel punishment which violates the right to life," said Damian Ugwu, Amnesty
International's Nigeria Researcher.

"We also have serious concerns as to whether many of the inmates on death row
have received a fair trial. The Nigerian police are overstretched and
under-resourced and tend to rely heavily on coerced 'confessions' rather than
investigations. In some cases death sentences are handed down on the basis of
statements signed under torture.

"The Nigerian authorities must halt these executions immediately and establish
an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death

In 2016 Nigeria handed down 527 death sentences - 3 times more than it did in
2015 - the highest recorded globally excluding China. Lagos State imposed the
highest number of death sentences in 2016, 68 people, which was closely
followed by Rivers State with 61, according to official records provided by the
Nigeria Prisons Service.

This massive spike in death sentences puts the country at odds with the global
trend towards abolition of the death penalty. As of today, 141 countries have
abolished the death penalty in law or in practice.

On 23 December 2016 3 death row prisoners were put to death in Benin Prison,
Edo state. Their executions were carried out despite the fact that one of them,
Apostle Igene was sentenced to death in 1997 by a military tribunal, and never
had an appeal.

Amnesty International is calling on the Nigerian government to commute all
death sentences to terms of imprisonment and immediately establish an official
moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

For years, the federal government has claimed to have a voluntary or
self-imposed 'moratorium' but executions have happened nonetheless; including
those in December 2016. This demonstrates the urgency of formally establishing
a moratorium.

The authorities have not confirmed officially that they plan to carry out
executions imminently at KiriKiri prison.

(source: Amnesty International)


Spaniard sentenced to death by Thai court over killing of countryman----Artur
Segarra found guilty of murdering and dismembering David Bernat in bid to
access his savings

A Spanish national was on Friday given the death sentence after being found
guilty by a Thai court of murdering fellow countryman David Bernat in Bangkok.
The victim had traveled to the Asian country in January 2016 for a vacation.
Hours after arriving, he met with Segarra to have drinks, and after midnight,
the pair went to the condemned man's apartment. There he was held captive for 6
days, until he was killed and dismembered by Segarra, according to the police
investigation into the case.

Segarra will have 2 chances to appeal the sentence, at the Thai Appeal Court
and the country's Supreme Court. If the appeals process fails to overturn the
death penalty, he can apply to the Royal Family for a pardon, which could see a
lesser punishment applied.

Segarra extorted his victim in order to gain access to the bank account he held
in Singapore.

According to the investigators assigned to the case, Segarra extorted his
victim in order to gain access to the bank account Bernat held in Singapore and
which contained his savings. The forensic police believe that he was killed
around January 26. According to the investigation, that same night Segarra
headed out on a motorcycle to the river that runs through Bangkok, carrying
with him a large package, which the police believe contained the victim's body.
He is thought to have returned in the early hours of the next morning without
the object.

The authorities found the first remains of Bernat days later in the Chao Phraya
river, and later recovered another 6 pieces of the body from the water. Segarra
was identified as the main suspect on February 5, the night that he tried to
flee to Cambodia after being recognized in a restaurant in Surin province.

Thailand carried out its last executions in 2009, on 2 convicts with
drug-trafficking charges.

The prosecutor in the trial called nearly 40 people to the stand, none of whom
were direct witnesses to the crime, and also produced evidence including DNA
samples and fingerprints collected in the apartment he had rented, as well as
security camera recordings and bank records.

Thailand carried out its last executions in 2009: these involved 2 convicts who
had been sentenced to death on drug-trafficking charges. Since then an
indefinite stay has been placed on the application of the death penalty. The
last execution in a murder case dates back to 2003, the year that the country
switched from firing squad to lethal injection as its method for the death

According to data from Amnesty International, at the end of last year there
were 427 prisoners on death row in Thailand, 24 of whom were foreigners. An
Australian was sentenced to death on February 7 in a murder case, which bears
similarity to that of Segarra given that the victim was dismembered and an
attempt was made to dispose of the evidence.

(source: elpais.com)


Erdogan revives specter of death penalty in Turkey

"What George, Hans or Helga say does not interest us!" roars Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "What counts for us is what Ayse, Murat, Mehmet, Hatice
say! What Allah says!"

This mantra - setting common European names against Turkish ones and finally
invoking God - has become Erdogan's standard rhetoric to tell the European
Union he does not care about their reaction if Turkey restores the death

But such a move would have immense ramifications - automatically drawing the
curtain on the half-century drama that has been Turkey's bid to join the EU.

Some analysts thought that Erdogan would drop his rhetoric on capital
punishment, helpful for winning the support of nationalists, after the April 16
referendum on enhancing his powers.

But with the referendum won, albeit by a narrow margin and the opposition
claiming fraud, Erdogan has vigorously returned to the topic.

After proclaiming victory, Erdogan promised thousands of supporters chanting
"Idam!" ("Execution!") that Turkey would hold a referendum on the issue if
parliament failed to adopt it.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani wrote on Twitter that he was "very
concerned" by Erdogan's comments, saying the reintroduction would be a "red
line" for the European Union.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the move would be "synonymous with
the end of (Turkey's) European dream".

'Here's the rope'

Turkey abolished the death penalty in all circumstances in 2004 - 2 years after
Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power - as a key pillar
of its bid to join the EU.

The EU states that abolishing the death penalty is an absolute pre-condition
for membership.

The Council of Europe, the rights watchdog to which Turkey has belonged since
1950, makes abolition a condition for new members and its Secretary General
Thorbjorn Jagland Thursday said bringing back the death penalty would spell the
end for Turkey.

"It goes without saying that if you want to reintroduce (the) death penalty,
you cannot be a member of the Council of Europe," he said, adding the
controversy appeared to be "much more political than a real legal thing."

While it was a previous coalition led by the Democratic Left Party that
initiated the move to abolish the death penalty, Erdogan had in the early years
of his rule resisted nationalist pressure for it to be used.

This included the case of the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers'
Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan, who was captured in 1999. He was sentenced to
death but had his term commuted to life imprisonment.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli at the time famously
brandished a noose at a rally to challenge Erdogan to execute Ocalan.

"Here is the rope! Hang him if you can," Bahceli shouted, throwing the rope
into the crowds.

But a decade later, Erdogan is publicly praising Bahceli for his support for
capital punishment and, to hisses and boos from the crowds, lambasting
Republican People's Party (CHP) chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu for his opposition.

Marc Pierini, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe and former EU ambassador to
Turkey, said the narrowness of his victory means Erdogan will remain reliant on
the MHP, which backed the constitutional changes set out in the referendum.

"Issues such as reintroducing the death penalty and politically disconnecting
Turkey from the EU are key ingredients in the political narrative of both
parties," he told AFP. 'Bitter consequences'

Supporters of the move say capital punishment needs to be restored following
last summer's failed coup that left 249 people dead.

But the death penalty remains a sensitive issue in Turkey, which has a
coup-scarred history and where many have no appetite to revive the painful
memories of the past.

Erdogan has himself often evoked the hanging of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes -
his political hero - along with 2 ministers after the 1960 military coup,
flagging it as an example of the bad old Turkey.

More executions followed coups in 1971, including of student militant Deniz
Gezmis, and the 1980 coup when dozens were sent to the gallows.

"This nation has seen in the past how bitter the consequences of the death
penalty are and the backlash that has caused", Faruk Logoglu, a former
ambassador to Washington and opposition MP, told AFP.

"Society must come to its senses," he added.

Turkey has not executed anyone since leftwing militant Hidir Aslan was hanged
on October 25, 1984.

"The death penalty would mean the automatic end of relations with the EU. The
cost would be much too dear," Logoglu said.

(source: Manila Times)


Hanged because he had not "substantively assisted" the CNB

Mohd Jeefrey bin Ismail was hanged in the early hours of Friday morning, 21
April, at least according to the scheduled execution date given to his family
by the Singapore Prison Service.

He was executed after the Public Prosecutor decided that Jeefrey had not
"substantively assisted" the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in "disrupting drug
trafficking activities within or outside Singapore."

In Singapore, the authorities do not make public announcements of hangings, the
preferred state-sanctioned killing method for those condemned to death. Lawyers
for the inmates and anti-death penalty activists often have to guess if the
executions have in fact been carried out.

Executions are typically held just before dawn on Fridays.

Jeefrey, 52, was a drug addict and trafficker, or courier, who was arrested in
2012 and subsequently sentenced to death for trafficking in excess of the
statutory limit for the drug diamorphine.

The only person who stood between him and the noose was the Public Prosecutor
who, through powers vested in him by law, could have spared his life if he had
issued a Certificate of Cooperation (COC) to Jeefrey.

The COC would then allow Jeefrey to apply to the courts to have his death
sentence commuted to life imprisonment and caning. The courts' hands would then
have been freed to mete out the alternative sentence.

In effect, the Public Prosecutor now has power over the courts as well: if the
Public Prosecutor does not issue a convict with the COC, the courts cannot
commute his sentence.

Yet, in the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA), the Prosecutor's decision making, in
whether a COC is issued or not, is shrouded in secrecy and not even the highest
court in the land, the Court of Appeal, can question it, or conduct a judicial
review of it unless "it is proved to the court that the determination was done
in bad faith or with malice."

But this is extremely hard for anyone to prove, given that the Prosecutor is
also not bound to release or make known the reasons for his decision.

In short, the Prosecutor has iron-clad, virtually unfettered powers to decide
whether a person gets to live or die.

Such dubious decision making can result in inexplicable outcomes, as in the
2013 case of Abdul Haleem Abdul Karim, 30, and his friend, Muhammad Ridzuan Md
Ali, 28.

Both men were arrested in 2010, also for trafficking 72.5g of heroin.

In court, Abdul Haleem had asked to be given the same sentence as Muhammad
Ridzuan, if the latter was sent to the gallows.

The Straits Times reported the exchange between Abdul Haleem and judge Tay Yong

Choking with emotion, he [Abdul Haleem] told Justice Tay Yong Kwang: "If you
are sparing my life and not sparing his life, I'd rather go down with him."

But the judge replied: "The court does not have complete discretion to do
whatever you want me do."

Abdul Haleem then pointed out that he and his friend faced the same charges.

The judge told him: "You have certification from the Attorney-General's
Chambers, he does not."

Abdul Haleem was sentenced to life imprisonment and caning because in the eyes
of the Public Prosecutor, he had fulfilled the criteria of having
"substantively assisted" the CNB in "disrupting drug trafficking activities
within or outside Singapore."

Muhammad Ridzuan, on the other hand, was deemed not to have cooperated with the
CNB to the same extent.

He was thus sentenced to death which left his family wondering what more he
could have done to assist the CNB.

"Ridzuan told the [Central Narcotics Bureau] who gave him the drugs," said his
sister Noraisah. "He gave them a description, with full name and
identification. I feel that this information is quite strong, and I don't know
why they said that they are still not happy with it."

No one knows why the Prosecutor decided to issue Abdul Haleem the COC, while
denying the same to Muhammad Ridzuan because the Prosecutor is not required by
law to release or explain his reasons, either to the convict's lawyers or even
to his family.

Everything is decided behind a veil of silence and secrecy.

It is disturbing that a person can be condemned to his death just because he is
deemed to not have "substantively assisted" the police in "disrupting drug
trafficking activities within or outside Singapore."

Whether drug trafficking activities are "disrupted" or not depends on so many
different factors, most of which would be beyond the control of the inmate.

For example, it would depend on whether the authorities actually act on
information provided by the inmate.

It would also depend on whether the authorities take the appropriate action, or
are competent in doing so.

And how would an inmate incarcerated on death row in Changi Prison in Singapore
be able to "disrupt" drug activities "outside Singapore"? Would this not depend
entirely on how the authorities act on the information provided by the inmate?

With the law prohibiting any judicial review or questioning of the Prosecutor's
decision, except when such decision is proved to have been made on bad faith or
malice, there really is no way of knowing if the Prosecutor has done the right
or necessary thing in acting on the information provided by the inmate.

Clearly, this practice of vesting the Prosecutor with so much power is highly

His decision and decision-making process are effectively unquestionable, giving
him seemingly unfettered authority.

Such absurdity has resulted in decisions which allow one person to be spared
death while another, charged for the same crime, is sent to the gallows.

The rule of law insists that decisions, especially those involving capital
punishment which is irreversible, must be made according to the law, and must
be opened to review or question.

In 2011, lawyer M Ravi filed a constitutional challenge on the case of Yong Vui
Kong, which centred on whether the Cabinet???s decision in granting clemency is
opened to judicial review.

The Court of Appeal, in its ruling, said "the making of a clemency decision
pursuant to Art 22P is now 'not a private act of grace from an individual
happening to possess power ... [but] a part of the [c]onstitutional scheme'."

Article 22P refers to the president's powers to grant clemencies.

The Court of Appeal said that if "conclusive evidence is produced to the court
to show that the Cabinet never met to consider the offender's case at all, or
that the Cabinet did not consider the Art 22P(2) materials placed before it and
merely tossed a coin to determine what advice to give to the President, the
Cabinet would have acted in breach of Art 22P(2)."

The Court added:

"If the courts cannot intervene to correct a breach of Art 22P of this nature,
the rule of law would be rendered nugatory."

Would it also not follow that if the courts are unable to intervene and
question the Prosecutor's decision on granting the COC, there is a risk that
the Prosecutor could make an erroneous decision based on wrong facts or even on
superficial whims which, under existing laws, could result in the death of an

Yet the law says such decisions "shall be at the sole discretion of the Public
Prosecutor and no action or proceeding shall lie against the Public Prosecutor
in relation to any such determination unless it is proved to the court that the
determination was done in bad faith or with malice."

The granting, or not, of a COC by the Prosecutor, to borrow the words of the
Court of Appeal, is 'not a private act of grace from an individual happening to
possess power.'

It is in fact from constitutional powers vested in him which should make him
accountable, and not protected behind a wall of opacity.

And if he is to be accountable, then surely his decisions must be opened to
judicial review.

Why was Haleem Abdul spared death, while Muhammad Ridzuan was not?

Why was Mohd Jeefrey not similarly issued the COC, as Haleem Abdul was?

How is it that a person can be condemned to death just simply because he is
deemed to not have "substantively assisted" the police?

How did we arrive at a law which says that not cooperating with the police is,
effectively, a capital offence?

(source: publichouse.sg)


Journalist faces death penalty in Cameroon

Radio France International (RFI) journalist Ahmed Abba is reportedly at risk of
being sentenced to death after being convicted by a military court in Cameroon.

According to Aljazeera.com, the RFI journalist was set to be sentenced on
Monday, April 24, on charges of "non-denunciation of terrorism" and "laundering
of the proceeds of terrorist acts".

According to his lawyer, Clement Nakong, and the RFI, Abba was convicted for
his reports on the Nigerian insurgent group Boko Haram.

The RFI, as well as his lawyer, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that
Abba has been in custody since July 2015 and was, however, set to appeal the

The RFI has since called on Cameroonian authorities to free their journalist,
adding that military court had acquitted the journalist of a lesser charge of
"apologising for acts of terrorism".

(source: news24.com)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-23 22:21:44 UTC
April 23


Iranian MPs to decide on limiting capital punishment

Iranian parliament's judiciary commission has agreed with a proposal on the
abolition of death penalty for a group of convicts of drug-related crimes.

Under the bill, the drug-related death penalty will be abolished except for
those involved in organized and armed narcotics offenses, Mehr news agency

According to the bill, this group of convicts will face at least 25 years in
jail instead of execution.

However, the bill still needs to pass the parliament and move through Guardian
Council, the country's constitutional watchdog body, in order to become a law.

(source: azernews.az)


Royal pardon, end to death penalty sought during coronation

Human rights lawyer P Uthayakumar has appealed for a royal pardon to commute
death sentences and reduce jail terms for prisoners in conjunction with the
official installation of Sultan Muhammad V as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong

In a letter to Prime Minister Najib Razak today, he also asked that the death
penalty be abolished, saying Malaysia was supposed to mature into a civil and
developed society by 2020.

The lawyer asked Najib to advise the Royal Pardons Board to announce that
prisoners facing death row, natural life and life imprisonment have their
sentences respectively commuted to life imprisonment, maximum 20 years jail and
15 years jail.

"To err is human and to forgive is divine. Prisoners deserve a second chance to
make amends for their past mistakes," he wrote.

"In appreciation of this most precious 'earlier freedom' they would surely want
to keep out of trouble. The state's compassion and guidance can therefore yield
results. Please temper justice with mercy."

He said he was making the appeal after having gone through pain and suffering
and "cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment" at Kajang Prison for 2 years on
sedition charges.

"My saddest day in Kajang Prison was when one Mohamad was hanged in the wee
hours of Friday the 14th day of March 2015 immediately after the suboh prayers
(Muslim prayer at dawn)," he said

He also cited the hanging of the Batumalai brothers, Rames and Suthar, on March
15, despite appeals and representations for a royal pardon.

Uthayakumar also asked that all prisoners on good behaviour while serving jail
terms of 1 year or less for non-violent and non-sexual crimes be granted royal
pardons and released.

He said 1st-time offenders, juveniles and women prisoners on good behaviour
while serving terms of more than a year for non-violent and non-sexual crimes
should be granted pardons and made to serve only 1/2 of their sentences while
qualifying for parole.

He added that all other well-behaved prisoners of non-violent and non-sexual
criminal cases be granted pardons and made to serve only 55% of their prison
sentences while also being granted parole.

For 1st-time violent and sexual crime prisoners on good behaviour, he asked
that they be granted pardons and made to serve only 60% of their prison

He also appealed for all laws on detention without trial, including under the
Prevention of Crime Act 1959 involving commercial cases, be abolished.

(source: Free Malaysia Today)


LASG and death warrants

When he addressed the press last Tuesday, the Lagos State Attorney General and
Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Adeniji Kazeem, spoke of the preparedness of the
state to decide on the death sentences passed on the General Overseer of
Christian Praying Assembly, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, a.k.a. Rev. King, and others.
The cleric, in particular, had been tried for murdering a church member in
2006. The death sentence passed by a Lagos High Court in 2007 was eventually
affirmed by the Supreme Court in 2016, an inordinate 9 years after the lower
court first determined the case.

The Lagos attorney general did not say why the state appears to be in a
quandary over the signing of death warrants: whether the state should go ahead
and simply affirm the Supreme Court decision and sign the death warrants, as
some expect, or to commute the sentences to life, as a few, including
international activists, have campaigned. Whatever the eventual decision,
finally, Lagos at least appears poised to decide one way or the other. In the
words of the attorney general: "Some people say out there that even if we
commit these infractions and they sentence us to death, they will never kill
us. It does send the wrong signal sometimes...I've heard the people from the
British High Commission and other embassies complain even on our
recently-passed anti-kidnapping law; but I must say, you must have to look at
your own local factors and deal with them. We are going to move in that
direction. I'm sure you will hear from me, but I'm not sure that I want to
openly state and give you a date when we are going to take that action."

But judging from the drift of his argument, Mr Kazeem seems persuaded that some
strong signals ought to be sent out to criminals who casually commit capital
offences. He was not unequivocal, but he seems amenable to the signing of death
warrants. That would be a mistake, however, as this column has consistently
maintained, beginning with the enactment of the anti-kidnapping law. In the
past few decades, few states have dared to sign death warrants, and a campaign
to get them to do it has met with stiff opposition. In fact, the debate over
signing of death warrants and imposing the death penalty itself had led some
lawmakers and lawyers to advocate for a committee of the Supreme Court to be
charged with that responsibility. The advocates did not explain why a new
select committee would find it easier to sign death warrants when governors who
are customarily charged with that responsibility have been wary of doing it.

There is no scientific evidence to support that death penalty or enthusiastic
signing of death warrants discourage capital offences. Every study done to find
that inverse relationship has instead established that states and countries
without the death penalty enjoy lower incidence of capital offences. If death
penalty has had no impact on armed robbery, for instance, it is not because
death warrants were not signed. When death warrants were signed, and the public
entertained to the sanguinary bar beach shows of decades past, armed robbery
still thrived. And as extremism and terrorism are showing in many parts of the
world, those likely to be recruited often have a history of violence and
criminality themselves.

In any case, Lagos is an aspiring megacity, one with an image to cultivate and
protect. It is eager to nurture and sustain a reputation far exceeding that of
many cities in Africa and the rest of the world. Its standards must not be
lowered. Its image must not be compromised. Rather than flirt with death
penalty and signed warrants in the inexcusable desire to curb capital offences
and please agitated prison keepers, it is time Lagos found better and brilliant
ways of curbing crime. The death penalty component of the anti-kidnapping law
was inadvisable, as this column suggested when it was contemplated. The world
is moving away from capital punishment; Lagos must not lag behind. The state is
selling itself as the most modern and cosmopolitan city in Nigeria, and one of
the fastest growing in Africa and the world. It cannot drive that great process
and nurture the coveted image of its vision by scrounging for easy, cheap and
controversial options.

Lagos is the pacesetter in law reform. Now is the time to look once again at
its law books and institute measures and processes that will show Nigeria how
crime control and peaceful conurbation can be achieved. The cost of signing
death warrants will be too prohibitive for the new Lagos. The state can't
afford that cost, regardless of the capital offences committed within its

(source: The Nation)


Ukip candidate Gisella Allen says she would bring back the death penalty by
guillotine----Ms Allen also wants to abolish nurseries, golf courses, plastic
bags, sex education, free bus passes and LGBT communities

A Ukip candidate for Glasgow Council has said she would like to see the death
penalty reintroduced and suggested the guillotine might be a better method of
execution than hanging.

"It doesn't necessarily have to be hanging", Gisela Allen told The Clydebank
Post. "You could have the guillotine. I think the public is entitled to

The candidate, who standing for election in the Garscadden/Scotstounhill ward,
added that she wants to see nursery funding withdrawn entirely because women
should stay at home and look after young children.

Ms Allen would also like to abolish golf courses, plastic bags, free bus
passes, sex education in schools and the LGBT community.

Being gay was part of an individual's "private life, none of anyone's
business", according to Ms Allen, while golf courses were in her view "a threat
to the safety of people".

If the candidate was elected in Glasgow on 4 May, she would become the 1st ever
Ukip councillor elected to a Scottish local authority.

The party has 1 Scottish MEP, David Coburn, who made headlines in 2015 when he
compared Scottish government minister Humza Yousaf to the terrorist Abu Hamza.
He later apologised, calling it a "joke".

Ms Allen was keen to stress that these were personal views, not the views of
the party.

However, there is a significant amount of support within Ukip for bringing back
capital punishment in some form.

Paul Nuttall, the leader of the party, who recently failed to get elected in
the Stoke-on-Trent Central by election, has said he would hold a national
referendum on re-introducing the death penalty.

Gawain Fowler, Ukip's head of press, said: "Having been able to read Mrs
Allen's personal manifesto, the people of Garscadden will be able to make their
democratic decision as to whether they wish to be represented by her.

"One of the many fine things about Ukip is that its local councillors are not
whipped. It is possible that we might make an exception in this case."

(source: independent.co.uk)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-24 14:36:46 UTC
April 24


Mayor calls for reintroduction of death penalty

Honiara City Mayor Andrew Mua has called on legislators to reintroduce the
death penalty into the Solomon Islands.

In light of the barbaric killing of Chinese couple Jimmy and Joy Kwan over the
Easter, Mr Mua said tougher laws could help prevent murders.

"I call on the government through its judicial arm to review its laws to bring
tougher penalties to these kinds of people," he said at the rally to condemn
the murders on Sunday.

"Policy makers must re-look at bringing tougher laws to deter such barbaric
killings in the near future."

The Solomon Islands formally abolished the death penalty in 1978.

(source: sibconline.com.sb)


Long Bay Jail reformed women before men swung from gallows

The execution of murderer and thief James Wilson, the 1st of 9 men to hang from
gallows at Long Bay Gaol almost a century ago, attracted little public
sympathy, and no agitation to spare his life.

Weeks later pleas for clemency delayed the execution of child murderer
Christian William Benzing, the 2nd to drop from a rope suspended from a steel
girder over an iron trapdoor outside cells 47 and 48.

Days before Benzing's scheduled execution, Labor politicians Simon Hickey and
Percy Brookfield appealed to acting Labor premier George Fuller, arguing that
Benzing, wounded while serving in Gallipoli, suffered epileptic fits and
sometimes could not recall or be responsible for his actions.

Fuller called 2 cabinet meetings, but after two doctors working at Sydney
asylums reported they could find no evidence to support the arguments of Hickey
and Brookfield, who in March 1921 was himself murdered by "deranged Russian
emigree" Koorman Tomayoff at Riverton railway station in South Australia,
Fuller advised "the Cabinet had decided that the law should take its course".

Benzing, 22, convicted of "violation" causing the death of Dorothy Myra Small,
aged 10, near her home at Rocky Point Rd, Rockdale, on January 12, 1917, hanged
on the morning of June 16, 1917.

Long Bay Gaol at Malabar, built to replace Darlinghurst Gaol, opened as a State
Reformatory for Women in 1909. When a State Penitentiary for Men opened
alongside in 1914, Darlinghurst was refashioned as a World War I interment

Opened in 1840, Darlinghurst had 76 criminals hanged by 1914, many witnessed by
crowds outside the jail's Forbes St entrance, where the condemned were paraded
on a platform above the gate.

The 1st hanging at Long Bay was on May 31, 1917, when Wilson walked three
metres from his cell to the new scaffold in the northeastern section of the
penitentiary. Wilson, a member of the controversial "revolutionary industrial
union" International Workers of the World, or Wobblies, was convicted for the
murder and robbery of Greek cafe owner George Pappageorgi in George St,
Haymarket, on April 5, 1916, probably by strangling him with a rope before
breaking open the cash register.

Wilson was arrested months later for another offence. While at Tamworth Gaol,
Wilson was among a group who attacked and killed a warder, then climbed a wall
to escape. Recaptured, while in jail he was charged with Pappageorgi's murder
when one of his finger prints was found on the cafe cash register. Wilson
pleaded guilty in Sydney Central Criminal Court on March 1917, after a justice
told him evidence might reduce the charge to manslaughter.

Apparently "resigned to his fate", at 9am on Thursday, May 31, Wilson was taken
to the gallows where prison warders pinioned his arms and placed a white cap
over his head as the rope was adjusted. Seconds later "the lever was released,
the trapdoor flew open, and the condemned man dropped. After being allowed to
hang for the regulation 20 minutes", a doctor examined his body.

William Moxley was hanged at Long Bay Jail in 1932 for the murder of Dorothy
Denzel and Frank Wilkinson.

The most recent executions in NSW had been at Bathurst Gaol on December 20,
1916, when fellow IWW members Frank Franz and Roland Nicholas Kennedy hanged
for the murder of Tottenham police Constable George Duncan in September 1916.

The next execution at Long Bay was in April 1924, when Edward Williams hanged
for the murder of his daughter Rosalie, 5, in February 1924. In December 1924
William Simpson hanged for the murder in June 1924 of Guy Chalmers Clift.
William Moxley hanged in August 1932 for the murders of Dorothy Denzel and
Frank Wilkinson in April 1932, and Edwin Hickey, 18, died in May 1936, after
pushing Montague Henwood from a train during a robbery near Linden in 1935.

James Massey hanged in June 1936 for fatally shooting Norman Stead during a
service station holdup at Darlinghurst in February 1936. Alfred Spicer died in
May 1938 for the murder of Marcia Hayes, 6, at Windsor on Christmas Eve, 1937.

Edwin Hickey was the youngest person to hang at Long Bay Jail, aged 18 when he
died in 1935.

The last to drop from Long Bay gallows was John "Jack" Kelly, whose sentence
for a bloody murder that shocked a sleepy New England town in February 1939
sparked fierce debate about capital punishment.

A drunken Kelly hit Marjorie Constance 'Connie' Sommerlad, 35, on the head with
an axe at her family's property at Tenterfield, where Kelly worked as a
farmhand. Kelly, 24, who had served time for abducting a young girl, fled to
Brisbane where he was arrested a day later. He admitted killing Connie after
she rebuked his advances.

Kelly, executed on August 24, 1939, was the last person to hang in NSW, where
the death penalty for murder was abolished in 1955, although it remained for
treason and piracy until 1985. The state handed down 3171 capital convictions
from 1788-1954, with almost 1/3 resulting in execution.

(source: The Daily Telegraph)


Double murderer executed in southwest China after change of plea fails----Chen
Quansong confessed to killing 2 young girls in 2014, but later claimed he said
this under duress

A man in southwest China who was convicted of killing 2 girls was executed on
Saturday after the execution was called to a halt earlier this year.

Chen Quansong, 30, was found guilty of killing 2 high school girls on a
mountain in Shiqian county, Guizhou province in January 2014. Chen defiled the
corpse of one girl and left their bodies in the woods and bushes, the Supreme
People's Court said.

The Intermediate People's Court in Tongren conducted the execution, the Supreme
People's Court said. The execution had been halted for about 3 months.

Chen confessed to the killings after his arrest in March 2014. But he later
retracted his confession, saying during the 1st trial that he had not killed
anyone. He said he was threatened and abused under interrogation and forced to
sign a confession. Despite withdrawing his confession, Chen was convicted of
intentional homicide and the high court of Guizhou upheld the death sentence in
February 2016.

The execution was halted in January upon a petition from Chen's lawyer,
mainland news portal Thepaper.cn reported.

(source: South China Morning Post)


China's top court cautiously imposes death penalty: expert

SPC cautiously imposes death penalty: expert

The man convicted in a high profile murder and rape case in Southwest China's
Guizhou Province was executed on Saturday after the country's top court
completed a three-month review of the death sentence verdict.

Law experts said the top court's probe and review prove that China is becoming
more discreet when enforcing the death penalty.

Chen Quansong was scheduled to be executed on January 23 after China's Supreme
People's Court (SPC) reviewed the death penalty, Chen's attorney told news site

But the execution was cancelled on the day without elaborating why, and the SPC
launched a new investigation over the case.

After 3 months of further investigation and proof, the SPC resumed its decision
of the death sentence on Chen, and Chen was executed for homicide on Saturday.

Chen, 30, was convicted of murder after he killed 2 young women surnamed Wang
and Xian in January 2014 in Shiqian county, Southwest China's Guizhou Province.

Chen then raped Wang's corpse and covered the 2 bodies with tree branches.

"The case shows that SPC tries to clear any doubts over imposing the death
penalty and ensuring it is cautiously used," said Mo Shaoping, a law professor
at the Central University of Finance and Economics.

"China has been increasingly cautious toward the use of the death penalty after
the SPC gained review rights on death penalty cases in 2007, and in 2011 the
court reduced the types of crimes covered by the death penalty from 68 to 55,"
Mo added.

(source: Global Times)


Mass Execution of Eight Inmates in Prison; Another Prisoner Executed in Public

On April 22, the mullahs' antihuman regime hanged a young 21 year old man in
public. It also sent eight prisoners to the gallows collectively in Gohardasht
prison of Karaj. One of the executed was Mohsen Babai, 29 and a B.A. in
accounting. He was married and was popular among other prisoners for his
personality and humane behavior. A number of those executed had been previously
taken to solitary cells and taken to the gallows several times. A number of
political prisoners have gone on hunger strike to protest such brutal

On April 20, another prisoner was hanged in Boroujerd prison after 8 years in
prison. Execution of 3 prisoners in Shiraz and Tabriz prisons on April 18, and
execution of another inmate on April 16 in central prison of Bandar-Abbas are
among other crimes of the regeime during recent days.

Recourse to the death penalty, especially mass executions, is taking place on
the eve of elections in order to intensify the atmosphere of intimidation.

Iranian Resistance calls on the Iranian people, particularly the brave youth to
protest against this medieval punishment and to express their solidarity with
the families of the executed.

Any engagement of the international community with the mullahs' regime has to
be conditioned upon improvement of human rights situation, especially stoppage
of executions.

(source: Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran)


1 Public Execution in Northern Iran

1 man was hanged publicly in the city of Babol Saturday morning April 22,
reported the state run Iranian news agencies.

The state controlled YJC news agency reported that the 21 year old man was
identified as H.R. sentenced to qisas death penalty (retribution).

H.R. was covicted of murdering another man identified as R. F. 1,5 years ago.

The family of the murder victim and some officials were also present during the
public execution.


Drug-Related Executions and Possibility of Change in Legislation in Iran----In
addition, even if the bill is passed and approved there is no guarantee that it
will lead to a significant reduction in the number of drug-related executions.
The bill doesn't address the issue of due process at all

According to Iran Human Rights' (IHR) annual report on the death penalty in
Iran at least 530 people were executed in 2016. With 296 executions Drug
offences accounted for the majority of executions in 2016. In 2016, the Iranian
Judiciary's High Council of Human Rights stated in a report that 93% of all
executions are based on drug-related charges. This is not true. Drug offences
counted for 48% of executions in 2013, 49% in 2014, 66% in 2015 and 56% in
2016. of those executed were charged for drug offences.

Drug-related executions, and the new legislation proposed by the Iranian
Parliament, Majles, will be briefly reviewed in the following sections.

Drug offences count for more than 50% of executions in Iran and the majority of
the death sentences issued by the Revolutionary Courts. Reports collected by
IHR show that those arrested for drug offences are systematically subjected to
torture during the weeks after their arrest. Often, they have no access to a
lawyer while in detention and by the time the lawyer enters the case they have
already "confessed" to the crime. Trials at the Revolutionary Courts are often
very short and there is little the lawyer can do. In addition, most of those
executed for drug offences belong to marginalized groups in the Iranian

This last point has been emphasized by several Iranian officials, including
Mohammad Bagher Olfat, one of the deputies of the Head of the Judiciary, who
told an Iranian news agency: "It is important to note that the individuals who
are being executed are not the main drug traffickers, because the main drug
traffickers are not involved in the shipment of drugs. Normally, the drugs are
sold cheaply to individuals who do not have sufficient financial income".

The Current Anti-Narcotics Law and the new bill proposed by Parliament

The current Anti-Narcotics Law requires the death penalty for the 4th
conviction for drug-related offences in several instances including: planting
opium poppies, coca plants or cannabis seeds with the intent to produce drugs;
smuggling more than 5 kilograms of opium or cannabis into Iran; buying,
possessing, carrying or hiding more than 5 kilograms of opium and the other
aforementioned drugs (punishable on third conviction); smuggling into Iran,
dealing, producing, distributing and exporting more than 30 grams of heroin,
morphine, cocaine or their derivatives.

In December 2015, the official Iranian media announced that 70 members of
Iran's Parliament signed a proposal for a change in legislation in order to end
the death penalty for drug offences. After the Parliamentary elections in early
2016, the call for a change was followed up and in October 2016 the Iranian
media announced that 150 of the 290 members of Parliament (Majlis) has signed
the bill. At that time, Deputy Jalil Rahimi-Jahanabadi, a member of the Majlis
Legal and Judicial Committee, told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA): "In
essence, we are proposing to add an amendment to the current law for fighting
drugs to say the death penalty would apply only if certain conditions were met,
such as carrying and using a gun, or being an international drug kingpin, or
having a commuted death sentence and repeating the crime".

Although the details of the new proposal have not been published, based on the
information in the Iranian media if the new bill is approved the death penalty
will be removed for some drug offences unless offenders were armed while
carrying drugs or if they had been imprisoned for more than 10 years if the
case is related to organized crime, or in cases where larger amount of drugs
are involved.

However, it is not clear whether the new bill will be approved by the powerful
Guardian Council which has to approve all new laws. It is not clear either
where the Expediency Council stands in this matter. Iran's Expediency Council
has amended the country's anti-drug-trafficking law several times: in 1988,
1994 and 2001. The last amendment decreed that being in the possession of more
than 30 grams of crystal meth was the same as the possession of heroin, and was
punishable by the death penalty. The Judiciary has also sent mixed signals
regarding the new bill. In October 2016, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli-Larijani told
the Iranian media that: "Executions are not necessarily desirable, but
narcotics are a great detriment to society and also shatter families. We have
no choice but to confront the issue quickly, swiftly, firmly, and decisively.
We want prosecutors in the country not to hesitate in implementing the (death)
sentences," said Amoli Larijani. "We should not wait 3 years (before carrying
out the execution sentences), until the prisoner learns how to pray in order to
get amnesty...It is offensive to say that the death penalty is ineffective. If
it wasn't for the strictness of the Judiciary, the situation would be much

In addition, even if the bill is passed and approved there is no guarantee that
it will lead to a significant reduction in the number of drug-related
executions. The bill doesn't address the issue of due process at all. As
mentioned earlier in this section, lack of due process is probably the biggest
reason for the high number of drug-related executions in Iran as large number
of the death sentences for drug charges are solely based on confessions
extracted under torture.

Another factor determining the fate of Iran's drug-related death penalty policy
is the international pressure. So, international pressure from Iran's dialogue
partners, EU in particular, must be even more focused on the issue of the death
penalty and specific demands must be raised with regards to the issue of due
process and the dissolving of the Revolutionary Courts.

Drug-related Executions

At least 296 people were executed for drug-related charges in 2016. This counts
for more 56% of all executions carried out in that year. The number is lower
than the annual executions for drug offences in the last six years. But as
mentioned in previous sections, there is no indication that the relative
reduction is due to a change in Iran's death penalty policy. In the following
sections we will set out the execution trends and geographic distribution of
drug-related executions. Finally, we will provide an update on the cooperation
between the United Nations' Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Iranian
authorities in fighting drug trafficking.

More than 2,990 people were executed for drug offences between 2010 and 2016.
The numbers for 2016 are lower than the average of the last 6 years. However,
Iran remains the country with the highest number of drug-related execution per
capita. *The number for 2015 is updated due to confirmation of 3 new execution
cases in that year.

Geographic Distribution of Drug-related Executions in 2016 The prisons of
Karaj, in particular Ghezelhesar, where prisoners from Tehran/Karaj area are
held, had the highest number of drug-related executions. The most significant
decrease compared to 2015, was also observed in the prisons of Karaj. In 2015
at least 231 people were executed in the prisons of Karaj. As in the previous
year, the Central Prison of Urmia (northwestern border) also had a high number
of drug-related executions. Most of the executions were not announced by the
official media.

(source for both: iranhr.net)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-25 13:59:06 UTC
April 25


Give judges discretion in death penalty

At present a mandatory death sentence is imposed in Malaysia for convictions of
murder, certain firearm offences, kidnapping, drug trafficking and treason.

The mandatory death sentence in our penal system doesn't allow a judge to
exercise his discretion in dispensing punishment.

Parliament must delete the word 'mandatory' for the death sentence in the
Dangerous Drugs Act. Low level drug mules who traffic small amounts of drugs,
mostly young girls who could have been deceived into carrying them, have been
sentenced to death because of the mandatory provision.

The death sentence should be reserved for the big drug lords who rarely are
caught. Hopefully, in time to come, the mandatory death sentences for other
non-drug related crimes too will be left at the discretion of the judge.

There are 1,041 inmates languishing on death row in our prisons. The sentences
have not been carried out as the appeals are still pending.

The death penalty should be abolished for low level drug mules caught for
trafficking small amounts of drugs. These drug mules should be sentenced to
community service.

Despite the mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking, it has not reduced
cases of drug trafficking in Malaysia.

And despite all international flights into our airports reminding passengers in
several languages of the mandatory death sentence drug trafficking, they still
try to bring them in.

Many of our own young girls are also behind bars in other countries awaiting
the death penalty for trafficking in drugs. There was a report of a father
yearning for the return of his daughter who is in a prison in China for almost
8 years for being a drug mule. Many of these young girls were offered free
trips and vacations to exotic destinations by new acquaintances who ended up
using them as drug mules.

Last year a drug mule aged 64 was released after 31 years in prison for drug
trafficking. The woman was 33 when she was caught at the Subang International
Airport in 1985 trying to smuggle drugs to Australia. She got the death
penalty. She appealed but lost. However her sentence was commuted to life
imprisonment by the Sultan of Selangor in 2003.

After 31 years behind bars the woman became religious, repented and learned
skills to generate income after her release. Her husband and daughter were
waiting for her outside the Sungai Udang Prison in Malacca when she walked out.
A life sentence also allows for miscarriages of justice to be addressed, unlike
if the death penalty had been carried out.



(source: Letter to the Editor, The Star)


Prisoner Hanged on Drug Charges

A prisoner was reportedly hanged at Parsilon Prison (Lorestan province, western
Iran) on drug related charges.

According to a report by the HRANA news agency, the execution was carried out
on Saturday April 22. The report identifies the prisoner as Mehdi Mirzaie, 29
years of age, sentenced to death on the charge of posession and trafficking 7
kilograms of crystal meth.

Iranian official sources, including the media and Judiciary, have not announced
this execution.

(source: iranhr.net)


Iran abolishes death penalty for drug trafficking

Iran's Parliament has abolished the death penalty for dealers, distributors and
traffickers of narcotic drugs, replacing this punishment with lifelong

Representative of the Judicial Commission of the Parliament (Majlis) of the
Islamic Republic of Iran, Hassan Nourozi announced about this while talking to
journalists on April 23.

Under the changes, the death penalty for non-band drug traffickers and
smugglers who were unarmed and had no previous execution or life imprisonment
convictions will be converted to 25 to 30 years of imprisonment.

In November 2016, Nourozi indicated that there were about 5,000 prisoners
between 20 and 30 years old on death row in Iran. Most of these individuals
were 1st-time drug offenders.

The Islamic Republic has long been criticized by international community for
its death penalties against drug traffickers. Iran executed hundreds of
prisoners during 2016, the majority for drugs offences.

But, there has been a considerable drop in the number of executions in Iran in
recent years. Earlier, the international human rights organization Amnesty
International reported that the total number of executions carried out in Iran
in 2016 decreased by 42 % (at least from 977 to 567) compared to the previous

Even though the death penalty has not been shown to be an effective deterrent
for drug-related offences, there has been no progress toward the adoption of a
bill to amend mandatory death penalty sentences for these crimes.

The UN human rights mechanisms have repeatedly and consistently expressed their
great concern at this persistent trend, along with urging the Iranian
government to end executions and institute a moratorium on the death penalty

(soruce: azernews.az)


Egypt upholds death penalty for 20 over 'role in Kerdasa massacre'

A court in Egypt has upheld death sentences for 20 people over their alleged
roles in the Kerdasa massacre 4 years ago, which left over a dozen people dead.

In August 14, 2013, a few hours after Egyptian security forces mounted a deadly
crackdown on two sit-in camps of protesters in the capital Cairo, some 50
gunmen besieged the main police station of the town of Kerdasa, located near
the northern city of Giza, for several hours, before some of them struck the
complex with rocket-propelled grenades (RPG).

The assailants then stormed the station and killed 11 people officers,
including the chief of the police station, and 3 civilians. Next month,
Egyptian security forces launched a full-scale operation on the city and
arrested dozens of suspects after a gun battle. The number of detained suspects
in the Kerdasa case later increased to nearly 200 people.

In late 2014, an Egyptian court issued death sentences to 188 suspects, which
sparked an international outcry against the controversial verdicts. In 2015,
the death penalties were reduced to 149 cases by another court, and in February
2016, the Court of Cassation accepted an appeal on the death verdicts and
ordered a retrial for the defendants.

On Monday, however, the Cairo Criminal Court upheld death sentences against 20
suspects and announced that final verdicts for the rest would be delivered on
June 2. The Monday rulings now await ratification by the the country's grand

The Egyptian government has been cracking down on the opposition since the
country's 1st democratically-elected President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in a
military coup led by former army chief and current President Abdel Fattah
el-Sisi in July 2013.

The controversial ouster sparked many protests by supporters of Morsi,
including a pair that were held al-Nahda Square and Rabaa al-Adawiya Square in
Cairo on August 13, 2013, which led to the killing of several hundreds of
demonstrators by security police.

Rights groups say the army's crackdown on the supporters of Morsi has led to
the deaths of over 1,400 people and arrest of 22,000 others, including some 200
people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.

(source: presstv.ir)


36% Filipinos 'strongly approve' of death penalty: SWS

About 6 in 10 Filipinos have expressed approval of the reimposition of death
penalty in the country, based on the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS)
survey results.

In the nationwide survey conducted last March 25-28 among 1,200 respondents,
SWS found that 36 % of Filipinos "strongly approve" of the proposed law that
will reimpose death penalty on heinous crimes related to illegal drugs, while
24 % "somewhat approve" of the proposal.

About 16 % of Filipinos expressed indecision whether they approve or
disapprove, while 7 % "somewhat disapprove" and 16 % "strongly disapprove" of
the proposal.

This translates to a net approval score of +38 (61 % strongly/somewhat approve
minus 23 % somewhat/strongly disapprove), classified by SWS as "good."

SWS terminology for net satisfaction ratings are translated as follows: +70 and
above as "excellent;" +50 to +69 "very good;" +30 to +49 "good;" +10 to +29
"moderate;" +9 to -9 "neutral;" -10 to -29 "poor;" -30 to -49 "bad;" -50 to -69
"very bad;" and -70 and below "execrable."

SWS also found that the net approval of the proposal to reimpose death penalty
was highest among those with extensive knowledge about it at +59 (78 percent
approve, 19 % disapprove), followed by those with partial but sufficient
knowledge, at +51 (70 % approve, 18 % disapprove), those with only a little
knowledge, at +30 (54 % approve, 25 % disapprove), and those with almost no
knowledge, at zero (33 % approve, 34 % disapprove).

There was stronger support for the proposal from Metro Manila and
upper-to-middle class ABC, it added.

The net approval was highest in Metro Manila, +58 (75 % approve, 17 %
disapprove), followed by rest of Luzon at +39 (63 % approve, 24 % disapprove),
Mindanao at +35 (53 % approve, 17 % disapprove), and Visayas at +25 (56 %
approve, 31 % disapprove).

(source: Manila Bulletin)


Conscience vote in Senate on death penalty urged

REP. Teddy Baguilat (LP, Ifugao) yesterday urged senators to follow their
conscience when they vote on the Palace-backed measure reviving the death
penalty and "not let politics be their sole basis."

The opposition lawmaker said senators must "search their conscience and
consider the possible ramifications of such a dangerous move."

"I urge the senators to think long and hard about their vote because the
implications will go far beyond this administration. It will mean the
livelihood of a lot of Filipinos and could even mean the death of an innocent.
Go beyond party lines, and vote according to conscience," he said.

Congress is set to resume session on May 2 but the death penalty bill is not in
the list of the Senate's priority measures.

Baguilat warned of the possibility that vital development aid from the European
Union would be cut if the death penalty is revived.

The EU could also decide to withdraw trade benefits such as the tax-free entry
of thousands of products from the Philippines that are given on condition that
the Philippines uphold its obligations, including the protection of human

Baguilat said the Philippines may also be violating an international treaty
that expressly prevents signatories from re-imposing the death penalty,
referring to the fact that the country is signatory to the United Nation's 2nd
protocol which calls for the abolition of capital punishment.

"There are serious economic repercussions if we push through with the
re-imposition of the death penalty. The bill has been approved by the House. My
hope is that the Senate will not commit the same mistake," said Baguilat.

Baguilat has been consistent in his stand against the re-imposition of the
death penalty, on grounds that it will legitimize the use of violence and is an
anti-poor measure.

On March 15, the House voted 217 against 54 with 1 abstention in favor of House
Bill No, 4727, approving it on 3rd and final reading.

The Executive has the option to choose how the penalty will be carried out - by
hanging, firing squad or lethal injection.

Under HB No. 4727, only 7 drug-related heinous crimes are punishable by death,
excluding the act of carrying illegal drugs which was removed because of the
incidents of evidence-planting by the police.

The 7 drug offenses are: importation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled
precursors and essential chemicals; sale, trading, administration,
dispensation, delivery, distribution, and transportation of dangerous drugs
and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals; maintenance of a drug
den, dive, or resort; manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled
precursors and essential chemicals; cultivation or culture of plants classified
as dangerous drugs or are sources thereof; unlawful prescription of dangerous
drugs; and criminal liability of a public officer or employee for
misappropriation, misapplication, or failure to account for the confiscated,
seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs,
controlled precursors and essential chemicals, instruments/paraphernalia and/or
laboratory equipment including the proceeds or properties obtained from the
unlawful act committed.

(source: malaya.com.ph)

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2017-04-26 14:11:29 UTC
April 26


Drilon: no resurrection of death penalty at the Senate

The bill seeking to revive the death penalty is already "dead in the Senate."

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said this Wednesday as the chamber is
expected to tackle the proposal when the session resumes next week.

The chamber has failed to get a consensus on the bill, a priority anti-crime
measure of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"It's dead and the chances of resurrecting it before we even bring it to a vote
are very slim, if not zero, at least in this Congress," Drilon said in a

He said the measure, a version of which was speedily passed at the House of
Representatives in March, does not have enough votes at the chamber.

"By my own estimate, there are at least 13 senators who will block the passage
of the death penalty bill, including the 6-member minority group and 7 from the
majority block," Drilon said.

7 bills are currently pending at the Senate seeking to restore the death
penalty for various crimes.

Sen. Manny Pacquiao, the revival's fiercest sponsor, has three proposals to
impose the death penalty on convicts of aggravated rape, kidnapping and
drug-related crimes.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian has 2: 1 seeks an amendment to the 2002 anti-drug law
to impose the death penalty for drug sale and trading, and another for heinous
crimes such as child trafficking, exploitation, pornography and rape.

Sen. JV Ejercito is proposing to revive the death penalty for a foreigner found
guilty of drug trafficking in the Philippines.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson meanwhile proposed to revive the punishment as maximum
penalty for those convicted of terrorism, plunder, bribery, treason, piracy,
kidnapping, drug-related crimes, parricide, murder, infanticide, rape, and
destructive arson.

Apart from the authors, Drilon identified Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto
III and Sen. Cynthia Villar as those who have expressed support for the revival
in media interviews.

Meanwhile, those opposed to the proposal other than Drilon are the other
minority members: Senators Francis Pangilinan, the detained Leila De Lima, and
Benigno Paolo Aquino of the Liberal Party (LP), Akbayan Senator Risa
Hontiveros, an LP guest candidate during the elections, and Sen. Antonio
"Sonny" Trillanes IV.

De Lima has a pending bill seeking to prohibit the reimposition of death

Drilon said another LP member, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, is
also against the controversial measure.

"We are ready to lead the fight against the death penalty bill. We believe that
a death penalty law was not and will never be an effective deterrence against
crime," Drilon said.

"It will be detrimental to the poor who will be made victims of this cruel and
inhumane punishment due to the inefficiencies of our judicial system," he

(source: abs-cbn.com)


Twitter goes wild over reported death penalty for 'atheism' in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has reportedly sentenced a young man to death for apostasy. The
news has stirred up Twitter users, with some expressing sadness and sorrow,
while others praised the move.

On Tuesday, a Saudi Arabian court dismissed an appeal from Ahmad Al Shamri, who
had spent 3 years in prison over charges of "atheism and blasphemy," the
Exmuslim website reports.

Al Shamri was in his early 20s and lived the city of Hafr Al-Batin in the
country's Eastern Province, according to the website. He had reportedly
renounced Islam and posted various videos reflecting his views on social media.
The man was arrested in 2014, faced trial and was sentenced to death in
February 2015.

After the appeal was rejected, social media users were split over the court
decision, posting their comments under a trending hashtag, which can be
translated from Arabic as "apostate from Hafar Al-Batin."

Many social media users condemned Saudi Arabia, pointing out that the country
is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

(source: rt.com)


More Than 30 Men Arrested For 'Sodomy' In Iran Face Death Penalty if Convicted:

More than 30 men were arrested after a private party in the Bahadoran region of
Isfahan, Iran was raided by the police, Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees
reported Thursday. Their charges are sodomy, drinking alcohol and using
psychedelic drugs and they face the death penalty if found guilty.

The men, between the ages of 16 and 30, the Canadian charity reports, were
rounded up late April 13 amid gunshots and beatings from police, according to
the Jerusalem Post.

"IRQR received several reports in last few days and were able to confirm that
police attacked guests and physically beat them. Police detained them all at
the Basij (Revolutionary Guard Militia) Station and then transferred them to
Esfahan's Dastgerd Prison. A few people managed to escape and we received
reports that there were several heterosexual individuals among those arrested,"
IRQR reported.

IRQR also reported that those arrested were forced to name their LGBT friends
to authorities. In Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death, according to the
International Society for Human Rights.

IRQR reports that a special prosecutor has been named and that those arrested
will be subjected to anal examination to prove the homosexuality charges.

In Iran, LGBT citizens are afforded very little, if any, civil rights.
Presently, LGBT citizens cannot marry, cannot adopt, cannot serve openly in the
military and are not protected from any discrimination, according to Equaldex.
In 2007, then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad infamously declared while
at Columbia University that there were no gay people in Iran.

European civil rights leaders are calling for the EU to step in.

"While the Islamic State throws gays from rooftops, the Islamic Republic hangs
them. Iran's regime forces homosexuals to flee the country and the EU turns a
blind eye," Stefan Schaden, an LGBT rights activist and spokesman for the
European "Stop The Bomb campaign" said in an email to the Jerusalem Post. "The
EU is, however, required in their dealings with third countries to comply with
binding guidelines laid down in the Union's 'LGBTI [lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and/or intersex] Toolkit' to combat state violence against LGBTI
persons. The EU must clearly step up its efforts in this regard and consider
more human rights sanctions against the Iranian regime."

This incident comes on the heels of reports that in Chechnya, gay men are being
rounded up, tortured and in some cases even killed.

(source: towleroad.com)


Hangings in T&T 'as soon as lawfully possible'

The current number of people on death row as of yesterday stands at 37.

Of those 37, 12 people can be hanged within the time frame set out in the Pratt
and Morgan ruling, which states that "in any case in which execution was to
take place more than 5 years after sentencing, there would be strong grounds
for believing that the delay was such as to constitute inhuman or degrading
punishment or other treatment".

The figures were confirmed by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi who was at the
time responding to questions from the Opposition in the Upper House.

Asked what government's timetable to resume hangings is, Al-Rawi indicated that
the death penalty would be carried out as soon as it was lawfully possible,
given the current circumstances.

Al-Rawi explained the process involved in carrying out hangings.

"It is necessary to put on the record again...that there are 3 steps of
approach towards managing the criminal justice system as it relates to
implementing the death penalty.

The 1st...is that you have a High Court matter where conviction may be given.

Secondly...is that you're entitled to appeal that to the Court of Appeal. After
appeal to the Court of Appeal, then to the Privy Council, then lastly to the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."

In examining data from 2006 to present day, he noted, however, that the appeals
process has proved to be challenging, placing additional hurdles in the way of
the implementation of the death penalty.

"One notes from the data standing under the last government, that of the 37
people on death row, 29 of them have had consideration by the last government.

And of that 29, 6 of them were met with a conclusion of appeal at the Privy
Council just at the 5-year marker with the then track having to run on the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights."

Al-Rawi said a new tracking system monitors each file of every person who
stands convicted to be hanged in accordance with the laws of Trinidad and

Since May 2016 to present day, 8 additional people (included in the 37 on death
row) have been committed to hang.

According to the AG, 25 persons in total are being tracked for the
implementation of the law, "so that the State ensures that every step that it
has within its power to comply with the State???s input into the appellate
process is preserved and...accomplished".

"In those circumstances, we expect to carry out the death penalty as soon as is
lawfully possible in all the circumstances," he said.

(source: looptt.com)


Another 4 militants executed in Pakistan----Military courts have sentenced 161
militants to death penalty since 2014 following Peshawar school attack

Another 4 militants, convicted by military courts for their involvement in
terrorism, have been executed at a jail in northwestern Pakistan, an army
spokesman said on Tuesday.

"Another 4 hardcore terrorists involved in committing heinous offenses relating
to terrorism, including the killing of innocent civilians, attacking armed
forces of Pakistan and law enforcement agencies have been executed at a jail in
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa [northwestern province]," the spokesman said in a statement.

The executed convicts Rehman ud Din, Mushtaq Khan, Obaid ur Rehman, and Zafar
Iqbal were members of the Pakistani Taliban coalition, Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP).

Pakistan established controversial military courts to try "hardcore" militants
following a deadly gun-and-bomb attack on an army-run school in Peshawar in
December 2014, which claimed the lives of over 140 people, mostly students.

The military courts, which were given another 2-year extension by parliament
last month, have sentenced 161 militants to the death penalty, 26 of whom have
been executed.

Islamabad lifted a 6-year long de facto ban on capital punishment in 2014
following the Peshawar school attack.

According to official statistics, over 8,000 death row convicts are currently
in jail.

(source: Anadolu Agency)


Serial killer sisters say they don't deserve 'barbaric' death penalty

A pair of serial killer sisters from India who murdered 9 kids - 1 not even a
year old - say they shouldn't be hanged on the gallows because doing so would
more "barbaric" than they deserve.

Instead, a lawyer for Renuka Shinde and her younger sibling Seema Gavit is
making one last-ditch bid to have a judge commute their sentence to life in
prison, according to News.com.au.

Shinde and Gavit, now both in their 40s, have been held in custody since 1996
when they were busted along with their mother Anjana Bai Gavit for kidnapping
13 young children and murdering 9 as part of a pickpocketing ring that operated
out of the city of Pune.

Their helpless victims commissioned to help them steal, ranged in age from 9
months to 2 years old.

The evil trio killed the children they deemed useless in the most gruesome

The 9-month-old was starved and beaten to death because he cried too much,
another was gagged and drowned in a toilet and a 4-year-old boy was hung upside
down, his head slammed against a wall until he died.

The sisters were convicted at trial in 2001 of 6 of the 9 slayings - but 1 was
overturned on appeal.

Their mom died behind bars in 1997 while awaiting trial.

The sisters are now among 13 women on death row in India, including Fahmida
Sayed, who planted a car bomb in Mumbai that left 54 people dead in 2003.

The last woman to be hanged in the country was in 1955.

The sisters' previous exhausted all appeals to have their execution overturned.

(source: New York Post)

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Rick Halperin
2017-04-27 16:11:56 UTC
April 27


Zambia has 168 men and 2 women on death row

Yesterda's He was speaking in Kabwe today when he addressed hundreds of
prisoners at Mukobeko maximum security prison

The Zambia Correctional Services says it has 170 inmates on death row. The 170
comprises 168 males at Mukobeko Maximum Security Facility in Kabwe. The 2 women
are confined to the female section.

Zambia Correctional Services Commissioner General Percy Chato said before the
courts of law convicted and sentenced the 170 people to death for committing
various capital offences, there had been no inmate on death row. The number had
accumulated since July 16, 2015.

"As at July 16, 2015, there was no one on death row following the presidential
clemency of 332 inmates by His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the Republican
President. The number has risen since honourable courts have continued
committing inmates to prison," he said.

Mr Chato, however, said in response to a Press query that no inmate on death
row had been hanged since 1997.

Mr Chato said that the last Head of State to sign the death penalty which
eventually led to the execution by hanging of eight inmates at Mukobeko Maximum
Security Facility was Frederick Chiluba.

Dr Chiluba's successor Levy Mwanawasa refused to sign the death penalty during
his reign, the precedent which subsequent presidents in Rupiah Banda, Michael
Sata and Mr Lungu have carried on.

"There is no legal backing as to whether execution must not be carried out, it
is on the Christian tenets since Zambia was declared a Christian Nation," Mr
Chato said.

(source: Lusaka Times)


Zambian opposition fails to have treason case dropped----United Party for
National Development leader among those charged, Amnesty claims intimidation

Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema failed in his bid to have treason charges
against him and other United Party for National Development (UPND) officials
dismissed on Wednesday.

Hichilema and 5 other defendants have been accused of treason over an incident
on April 8 when they allegedly blocked President Edgar Lungu's motorcade as it
passed through Mongu, a town 500 kilometers (310 miles) west of the capital

Judge Green Malumano agreed with defense lawyers about the lack of detail in
the treason allegation -- it contains no information how the accused planned to
overthrow the government -- but refused to quash the charge.

"Instead, I will allow the prosecutors to amend the charge and ... include
covert activities the accused planned to undertake in order to overthrow the
Zambian government," he told the court in Lusaka.

If the prosecution failed to include such detail, the count would be quashed,
Malumano added.

The UPND defendants cannot be bailed while awaiting trial for treason, which is
punishable by the death penalty or at least 15 years' imprisonment.

Outside the court, around 50 opposition supporters were arrested following
clashes with police.

Amnesty International on Wednesday demanded Hichilema's immediate release and
called for the government to drop the treason charges. The group's southern
Africa director, Deprose Muchena, said the treason allegation was designed to
harass and intimidate the opposition.

(source: aa.com.tr)


Death penalty in Nigeria: Constitutional but unconventional

Executing persons on the death row is an issue Nigerians don't take lightly.
Whenever this issue is raised, the picture of Late Sani Abacha comes alive. He
was reckoned to have ordered the execution of over 100 Nigerians during his
reign in power. It was contended then that the trials which led to the
convictions were not fair and independent (there is a high possibility that
many innocent persons were executed). The height of this was reached when Ken
Saro-Wiwa was killed. His unjust execution nailed the death penalty debate.
Over the years, while the law regarding death penalty remained intact the
attitude of presidents and governors has changed. For various reasons they have
been reluctant to sign the death warrants rather they commute the death penalty
to life imprisonment. This is a good practise.

Unfortunately, it seems the attitude of some governors is now changing. In
2013, under the administration of Mr Adams Oshiomhole four people were
executed. Last year as well, under the administration of Mr Godwin Obaseki, 3
death row inmates were executed. Lately, Mr Adeniji Kazeem, Attorney General of
Lagos, caused a stir when he said the state was considering going ahead with
the execution of inmates on death row.

Mr Femi Falana (SAN) in a letter to Governor Ambode dated April 19, 2017,
informed the Governor that the planned execution of death row inmates which
includes the popular Rev. King, General Overseer of Christian Praying Assembly,
would violate the judgment delivered by Mufutau Olokooba, justice of the Ikeja
High Court, in 2012. The judge held that "while a person who commits murder may
be sentenced to death, it is illegal and unconstitutional to execute such death
by hanging or firing squad as it will lead to the violation of his fundamental
right to freedom from torture guaranteed by the constitution". In effect the
judge declared section 367 of the criminal procedure law of Lagos State and any
other law which provided for hanging by the neck unconstitutional.

Despite this judgement, the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) 2011
in Section 301, still provides that the "punishment of death is inflicted by
hanging the offender by the neck till he be dead" while the Administration of
Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, in Section 402(1) provides that the
punishment of death is inflicted by hanging the convict by the neck till he is
dead or by lethal injection (a new introduction into our criminal justice

I don't support the execution of death sentences and I agree with Mr Falana
that the death sentences should be commuted to life imprisonment. Unlike Femi
Falana, however, I think such action by the governor should be an exercise of
his discretionary powers and not because of the judgement in Ajulu's case.

I am surprised why Mr Femi Falana is relying on a High Court judgement to
declare execution of death penalties illegal when the Supreme Court has in a
plethora of cases affirmed that the death penalty prescribed in the Lagos State
Criminal Code is consistent with the constitution of Nigeria.

In Onuoha Kalu Vs the state the Supreme Court Justice Iguh, held as follows:

"There is nothing in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1979
that renders the death penalty under Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code of
Lagos State unconstitutional. On the contrary, there are sections of the
constitution, such as sections 30(1), 213(2) (d) and 220 (1) (e) which in no
mistake terms, recognise the death penalty"

It is indeed settled law that a person who has been condemned to the death row,
is still entitled - pending when the death sentence is executed - to enjoy some
other rights which include, the right not to be subject to inhuman and
degrading treatment (see Nemi v. Attorney General Lagos State (1996) NWLR
(Pt.452) 42) Instances where actions of "torture or inhuman or degrading
treatment" can arise for a convict includes where the person is put in a crowed
cell or unhygienic cell without toilet facilities, lack of food etc. Wabili V.
C.O.P (1985) 6 NCLR 429

This has not been interpreted to mean that the convict would not be executed.

In the same case of Onuoha Kalu Vs the state, Justice Belgore held as follows:

At any rate, if after death sentence has been passed and the accused is in
prison custody if anything arises outside the normal custody that amounts to
"torture or inhuman or degrading treatment" that will be cause of action under
fundamental rights but not militating against the sentence of death. In such a
case the death sentence stands. "Inhuman and degrading treatment" outside the
inevitable confinement in death row will not make illegal the death sentence,
rather it only gives ground for an enforceable right under the constitution.

Based on the doctrine of hierarchy of court, one can rightly argue that the
Supreme Court judgement on this issue is settled law and as such final and
binding on both the Supreme Court itself and the lower courts (including the
High Court of Lagos State). As Justice Oputa while considering the powers of
the Supreme Court (as the final court in the land) said in Adegoke Motors Ltd
v. Adesanya

"We are final not because we are infallible; rather we are infallible because
we are final"

The issue of executing persons on death row has been settled by the highest
court of the land, even if it was reached fallibly. The Judgement of the Ikeja
High Court even though it may be infallible, it is, unfortunately, not final.
Our legal system is governed by finality and not fallibility or infallibility.

In the light of the above, I humbly disagree with the learned silk and posit
that the governor would be acting within the law if he seeks to proceed. Rather
than present legal arguments to discourage the governor, we have to appeal to
his conscience and international best practises.

Punishments for capital offences attract the death penalty and this type of
punishment is mandatory. The judge has no discretion whatsoever and the
constitution approves of it totally. The only remedy available to a person on
the death row is to appeal to the governor or the president to exercise the
prerogative of mercy in their favour. Nothing more nothing less and this cannot
be changed by a court, only a constitutional amendment can alter it. Which is
why lawyers and NGO's have been demanding that the National Assembly should
reconsider the continued relevance of death penalty in Nigeria.

(source: J.B Nwachukwu is a lawyer and a writer----businessdayonline.com)


Will next president re-implement death penalty?

The death penalty reemerged as a hot political issue in Tuesday's presidential
TV debate after being shunned by the courts for the past 20 years.

Conservative Liberty Korea Party candidate Hong Joon-pyo asked Democratic Party
of Korea's Moon Jae-in in the debate on JTBC whether it is legal.

"It is not a matter of being legal or illegal," Moon said. "Although the
Constitutional Court ruled the system legal, I personally think it should be
abolished. Korea has not enforced the system for the past 20 years, making it
practically dead in this country."

Hong replied: "We have not abolished it. We simply did not execute it. The
system's absence has fanned criminals like serial killers, making them

Moon did not back away, calling the death penalty "ineffective" for reining in
criminals. "The whole world knows about the system's ineffectiveness," Moon

A Hankook Ilbo-Korea Times survey following the debate showed Moon leading the
presidential race with over 40 % support.

The death penalty was last carried out on Dec. 30, 1997, under the Kim
Young-sam administration, when 23 prisoners were executed. The next president,
Kim Dae-joong, did not support the system and never saw prisoners on death row.
Following administrations have also kept their distance.

The 1st execution was in 1949 for murder, while over 1,300 people are estimated
to have been on death row in Korea. 61 people had a death sentence hanging over
them as of February last year.

Non-government organization Amnesty International regards any nation that has
not "pushed the button" for 10 years or longer to have abolished the death
penalty. It estimates that as of this year, 104 countries have scrapped capital

(source: The Korea Times)


Palace: Death penalty poll shows Pinoys back 'strong stance' on crime

A recent survey showing that majority of Filipinos back death penalty is an
affirmation of President Rodrigo Duterte???s leadership and his campaign
against crime and illegal drugs, Malaca???ang said Wednesday.

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted from March 25 to 28 showed that 61
%, or 3 in 5 Filipinos, are for the revival of death penalty, one of the
priorities of the Duterte administration.

Only 23 % of the 1,200 respondents were opposed to capital punishment.

"The latest SWS survey showing that 61 % of the Filipino people support the
proposed death penalty affirms the president's leadership platform anchored on
peace and order as well as his strong stance against illegal hard drugs and
criminality," presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella claimed that the poll results prove that Filipinos are supportive of the
House of Representatives' passage of the death penalty bill.

"It also proves that the House of Representatives' decision last month to pass
the death penalty bill is on the right track and accurately reflects the pulse
of the Filipino people," the presidential spokesman said.

The House of Representatives, which is dominated by Duterte allies, passed on
3rd and final reading the death penalty bill on March 7 despite protests from
the Roman Catholic Church, pro-life groups and a handful of House members.

The death penalty was abolished in 1987 during the presidency of Corazon Aquino
but was reimposed 6 years later under President Fidel Ramos.

Crimes that were covered by death penalty include rape, kidnapping, murder,
drug trafficking and rape.

Capital punishment was scrapped anew in 2006 under President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo, who, as Pampanga representative, voted against the death
penalty bill in March.

Abella said Duterte is "determined to fulfill his promise to make a safer and
more secure place for the people" and to promote "sustained economic progress
to uplift the lives of the Filipinos."

Drilon: Senate approval unlikely

According to Senate Minority Leader Frankilin Drilon, however, the chances for
the death penalty bill are slimmer at the Senate.

"It's not simply because of the LP (Liberal Party), but because individually or
collectively the senators think we should not impose the death penalty. In
fact, there are 7 from the majority coalition today in the Senate who are
against the reimposition of the death penalty and 6 from the minority," Drilon,
a former Senate president, said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay Forum on

Drilon said it is still not clear whether the Philippines is barred from
reimposing the death penalty by international treaty, a matter that put
hearings at the Senate on hold.

"The issue was whether or not the Second Optional Protocol was ratified and the
opinion of the Secretary of Justice is sought. Again, the situation is the
previous administration, specifically President Arroyo and then Secretary of
Foreign Affairs, that, with the law which prohibited the imposition of death
penalty, we are deemed to have ratified the Second Optional Protocol," he said.

The Department of Justice has yet to submit its legal opinion on the issue, he

(source: Philippine Star)


Senator Pacquiao vows to push for passage of Death Penalty Bill

Senator Manny Pacquiao believes the death penalty bill is not yet dead contrary
to the pronouncement of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday.

"I have trust on the wisdom and foresight of my colleagues at the Senate. I am
confident that we can be able to muster enough votes to push the approval of
the death penalty bill in the Upper House," declared Senator Pacquiao, who is
still in Brisbane, Australia to promote his July 2 fight against Jeff Horn.

Senator Pacquiao is scheduled to fly back to Manila on Friday evening so as not
to miss the resumption of Senate session on Tuesday (May2).

Senator Pacquiao said the country currently needs a death penalty law to
address the problem on illegal-drugs trade, as well as, drug-related crimes.

Senator Pacquiao explained there are 2 main reasons why he is staunchly
proposing for the restoration of the capital punishment.

First, Senator Pacquiao said, drug trafficking can be considered a heinous

"Transcript of the 1986 Constitutional Convention would bare that the delegates
even mentioned 'dope' trafficking as among the heinous crimes and ConCon
delegate Christian Monsod, main proponent of a death penalty provision in the
1986 Constitution, used this argument to convince his fellow delegates to
support his proposal.

Second, Senator Pacquiao believes there is a compelling reason for the
re-imposition of death penalty involving commission of heinous crimes.

"Don't they (opponents of death penalty bill) consider rampant drug-related
crimes and the magnitude of illegal drug problem in the country as compelling
reason?" Senator Pacquiao asked.

For Senator Pacquiao, shabu and even ecstasy are not drugs but poison.

"Shall we allow this kind of poison to continue killing our people particularly
the youth sector? This is not just addictive but it also kills the dreams and
future of our youths and the moral fiber of our society," the senator from
Mindanao said.

He believes that the victory of President Duterte was part of God's plan.

"President Duterte's assumption to power unveiled the gravity of illegal drugs
problem in our country. Only his administration has declared a relentless war
against illegal drugs," the boxer-turned-senator said.

According to Senator Pacquiao, there are enough safeguards against wrongful
execution of the death penalty.

He said, one is outright review by the Supreme Court of the capital punishment
meted out against an accused and the other is the commutation of the death
sentence by the President.

(source: philboxing.com)


Revolutionary Courts Responsible for Majority of Executions in Iran

In the Iran Human Rights' (IHR) annual report on the death penalty, the issue
of due process and the role of the Revolutionary Courts in sentencing
individuals to death.

The Revolutionary Courts were established in 1979 by the 1st Supreme Leader,
Ayatollah Khomeini. They were meant to be temporary courts to deal with the
officials of the former regime. However, they continue to operate more than 37
years later. These courts are less transparent than the Public Courts and these
judges are known for greater abuse of their legal powers. These judges also
often deny access to legal representation during the investigation phase and
prevent lawyers from accessing client files on the basis of confidentiality, or
the fact that lawyers have insufficient qualifications to review certain files.

Trials may only last a few minutes, with no jury, no defense lawyers and death
sentences based on no evidence other than confessions extracted under torture.
These are the hallmarks of these Revolutionary Courts.

These courts are also well-known for their part in the summary executions of
the political opposition in the 1980s. Data collected by the IHR shows that
every year several hundred people are executed on the basis of death sentences
issued by these courts. This number is significantly higher than the number
sentenced by the criminal courts.

As the regime has continued to crackdown on human rights activists and lawyers,
the Revolutionary Courts have played a key part in stamping out any sign of
opposition. In 2016, for example, the Revolutionary Courts sentenced the human
rights defenders Nargges Mohammadi and Atena Daemi to 10 years and 7 years in
prison, respectively, for their activities against the death penalty.

At least 340 of the 530 executions in 2016 were based on death sentences issued
by the Revolutionary Courts. They have had a higher number of those executions
for the past 6 years, all the way back to 2010.

"A sustainable reduction in use of the death penalty is impossible as long as
there is no due process. Revolutionary Courts, which sentence hundreds of
people to death every year are among the key institutions responsible for
Iran's violations of due process and must be shut down," said a spokesperson of
the IHR.

All cases regarded as security related, such as cases involving political and
civil activists, and others allegedly involved in corruption and drug-related
charges, are processed by the Revolutionary Courts.

(source: themediaexpress.com)


'Blasphemers deserve death penalty' says PTI

One of Pakistan's leading political party which calls for "moderation and
freedom to practice the religion" has reaffirmed its support for Pakistan's
controversial blasphemy laws.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf(PTI) which is headed by cricketer turned politician
Imran Khan tweeted its support for the blasphemy laws and endorsed the death
penalty for those who commit of Blasphemy.

In series of tweets, PTI stated that the party severely condemns 'false
propaganda that the party plans to make changes to blasphemy laws'.

PTI's official twitter account added that the "PTI strictly believes that
blasphemer of Prophet (PBUH) deserves the death penalty."

(source: Rabwah Times)

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2017-04-28 13:55:15 UTC
April 28


8 sentenced to death in major Vietnam drug trial----The trans-national ring is
believed to have trafficked nearly half a ton of heroin over a decade.

8 Vietnamese men were sentenced to death on Thursday for dealing heroin, but
their female ringleader was spared by a Hanoi court and received life

The trans-national ring, headed by Dang Minh Chau, 44, is believed to have
trafficked 420 kilograms of heroin between 2004 and 2015, according to the
verdict announced by the Hanoi People's Court.

The incident that led to the arrests of Chau's ring in July 2015 involved 170kg
(375lb) of heroin valued at nearly VND100 billion ($4.4 million), the court

Chau, 44, escaped capital punishment because she has a child who is under 3
years old.

Another man was sentenced to 18 months for illegal possession of a weapon,
while a woman got 12 months probation for haboring criminals, the court decided
after a 4-day trial.

In July 2015, Nguyen Quoc Hung, a restaurant owner, was asked to deliver a gas
tank filled with 112kg of heroin to a district on the outskirts of Hanoi. He
was detained on arrival with several others after his car was spotted and
searched by police.

As police widened the investigation, they found another massive stash stuffed
in 2 LPG tanks at Hung's restaurant.

Vietnam has some of the world's toughest drug laws. Those convicted of
possessing or 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.

Although the laws have been strictly enforced with capital punishment handed
down regularly, there is no sign that drug running is slowing down.

(source: vnexrpess.net)


EU Calls on Somalia to End Militant Executions

The European Union delegation in Somalia criticized on Thursday recent
executions of extremists by the Somali military justice system and called on
the government to issue a moratorium on the death penalty in the African

Somali military justice shot four al-Shabab radicals on Monday who were
convicted of murdering dozens of people in an attack in the Southwest region in

"While the EU condemns in the strongest terms all acts of terror and supports
the application of robust sentences that follow due process, the EU also
opposes on principle grounds the death penalty in all circumstances," according
to a statement issued by the delegation.

Somalia has recently executed 2 policemen and a soldier found guilty of killing

"The European Union considers the death penalty to be a cruel and inhumane
punishment, which fails to provide deterrence to criminal behavior," the EU
office in Somalia said, adding that the death penalty makes any error of
justice irreversible.

The EU delegation also called on Mogadishu to stop the trial of civilians by
the military justice system and to be tried instead by civilian courts.

"We look forward to supporting the Somali authorities in adopting appropriate
legislation to abolish the use of the death penalty," the statement concluded.

The application of the death penalty to al-Shabab members found guilty of
perpetrating attacks is common in Somalia.

Al-Shabab, which declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012, controls part of
the territory in the center and south of the country and aspires to establish a
radical Islamic state in Somalia.

Somalia has been in a state of war and chaos since 1991, when dictator Mohamed
Siad Barre was overthrown.

(source: Latin American Herald Tribune)


Death sentence for Artur Segarra unlikely to end in execution, experts say why

Spaniard Artur Segarra, accused of the murder of compatriot David Bernat, was
sentenced to death by a Bangkok court on April 21 and transferred to Bangkwang
Prison, better known to some foreigners by its nickname "Bangkok Hilton." He
was convicted of premeditated murder, robbery, kidnapping, extortion, torture,
and falsification of documents, closing the case on a macabre crime that took
place in January 2016.

Bernat, a 40-year-old entrepreneur, resided in Iran and frequently visited
Thailand. He arrived in Bangkok on Jan. 19 for vacation and had a drink with
Segarra that night. The 2 were friends from Bernat's previous trips to Bangkok.

They went to Segarra's house, in Huai Khwang, where Segarra murdered Bernat,
supposedly for his money. His body appeared on the morning of Jan. 30, cut into
pieces, in the Chao Phraya River.

Jassada Piyasuwanvanit, the court-appointed lawyer who defended Segarra during
the trial lasted, said that the sentence was expected because "all the evidence
was clear." Segarra is going to appeal, although that duty will fall to his
first lawyer, Worasit Piriyawiboon. Segarra changed lawyers 3 times because
they were not to his liking.

According to Amnesty International, Thai judges issued a total of 216 new death
sentences in 2016. In Thailand's prisons there were 427 prisoners on death row
at the end of last year, 24 of whom were foreigners.

Currently, the death penalty applies to 35 crimes in Thailand and is applicable
only by lethal injection. But the punishment has not been carried out for 14
years and has, in that time, always been commuted to a life sentence.

The last time Thailand executed criminals was in 2009 - 2 men were sentenced to
death for drugs trafficking, before the country seemed to apply an unlegislated
but indefinite moratorium on capital punishment.

The 2009 execution was an anomaly, explains Katherine Gerson, Amnesty
International campaign person for Thailand. "No one had been executed since
2003 when this took place. Thai authorities have made repeated commitments to
move towards abolition of the death penalty, which Amnesty International
believes to be a determining factor in why no executions have taken place in
the intervening period between 2009 and 2017."

Contradictingly, however, the Constitution Drafting Committee announced on Dec.
20 that it had decided to include the death penalty in the draft law against
corruption, making some more serious crimes punishable by death.

"Even though Thailand has adopted a moratorium on the death penalty for
decades, successive governments often introduce legislations with death penalty
to score political points by creating a public impression that they are
decisive and take matters seriously," said Sunai Phasuk, senior researcher on
Thailand in Human Rights Watch's Asia division.

"It is a kind of a publicity stunt," he said, "The ruling National Council for
Peace and Order (NCPO) is following that footstep. They staged a coup in May
2014, claiming widespread corruption as one of their justifications. And now
they are promising that those found to be stealing from the country will be
punished by death."

Segarra, 37, was arrested on Feb. 7 of last year in the Cambodian town of
Sihanoukville, where he had fled. He was handed over to Thai authorities a day
later. The convicted man had been awaiting a hearing in Bangkok ever since and
claims to be a victim of a trap involving his Thai ex-girlfriend, Pridsana
Saen-ubon, who testified against him in December.

Bernat's body was discovered by residents near Wat Kharuehabodi. They
discovered his right arm floating in the river. Several parts of the body were
found floating later in the provinces of Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani.

The forensic team determined that the victim died of asphyxiation between Jan.
25-27. According to the investigation, on the night after the murder, Segarra
took his motorcycle in the direction of the river loaded with a large parcel -
near where Bernat's body is believed to have been dumped - and returned without
it the following morning.

According to the judge, the murder was motivated by money, as investigators
detected "large amounts" missing from the murdered Spaniard's Singaporean
accounts. Segarra was also recorded withdrawing large sums of cash from ATMs in
Bangkok after the disappearance of Bernat.

Although there are no direct witnesses because Bernat did not leave Segarra's
apartment that night, the judge said that "forensic evidence is reliable and
cannot be rejected." The prosecution has DNA samples, fingerprints in Segarra's
apartment, camera recordings, and bank accounts withdrawals that incriminate

The Spaniard, always smiling before the cameras, arrived at the sentencing room
wearing a light brown Thai prison suit, shackles, and bare feet. On the palm of
his hand was written a Bible verse in which Jesus asks his Father to forgive
because they know not what they do.

After the sentencing, officers did not allow questioning of Segarra by the
press. But as he was leaving, he expressed that the sentence "is nothing
unusual" and that "there is no evidence" that blames him for the murder.

His appeal lawyer, Piriyawiboon, explains that, by law, "the appeal submission
could be extended for 30 days more." The Spaniard still has the possibility of
appealing to the Supreme Court and, ultimately, to request leniency from the
Royal House to lower the sentence.

According to the agreement signed between Thailand and Spain, once the sentence
is firm, Segarra could request a transfer to Spain to finish serving the
sentence after 8 years of imprisonment in Thailand.

In this case, Segarra could comply with the sentence as established in the
Spanish legislation for the charged offense and not be returned to Thailand.
Nevertheless, the transfer could only be granted if he complied with repaying
the THB700,000 that he extracted from the bank accounts of Bernat and that he
must return to the dead man's family.

(source: coconuts.co)


Woman lynching: LHC converts death penalty to life term

The Lahore High Court has commuted the death sentence into life imprisonment
for 4 men convicted of bludgeoning a woman outside the court 3 years ago.

Farzana Bibi, a resident of Nankana Sahib, had married Muhammad Iqbal against
her family's wishes. The family registered a kidnapping case against her
husband but the woman filed a petition in the high court to get the case

The matter was fixed before a single bench on May 27, 2014 and Farzana was set
to record her statement in favour of her husband.

While the defendants left the office of their counsel at Fane Road for the
court, her father Azeem and his accomplices Mazhar, Zafar and Jahan Khan
intercepted them and killed Farzana with bricks.

On Thursday, a division bench converted the death penalty of the men into life
terms on the convicts' appeal against their sentences. Their counsel had argued
the men were convicted despite lack of evidence.

(source: The Express Tribune)


Collapse of death penalty bill in the Senate hailed

A bill reviving the death penalty is dead in the Senate, with at least 13
senators expected to vote against the measure, Senate Minority Leader Franklin
Drilon has reportedly declared.

Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza on Thursday hailed Drilon's declaration.

"If Senator Drilon's claim is true, then that is very good news. We've always
maintained that the death penalty is useless in fighting crime, it does not
serve any purpose that is not already being served by the punishment of
long-term imprisonment," Atienza said in a statement.

"The certainty of capture and incarceration of criminal offenders is our best
deterrence to other would-be felons," according to the congressman, also House
senior deputy minority leader.

Atienza was among those who fought hard against the passage of the death
penalty bill in the House of Representatives, arguing forcefully that the
extreme punishment is anti-poor and violates the sanctity of human life.

Voting 217 in favor, 54 against with a lone abstention on March 7, the House
approved on final reading House Bill (HB) 4727, which would impose death
sentences on drug-related offenses.

"Our sense is, even Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd will likely vote
against the death penalty in the event of a deadlock in the Senate," Atienza

Pimentel's father, former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr., is a staunch
human rights crusader, and vehemently opposed the death penalty during his
time, he pointed out.

The younger Pimentel has repeatedly said the bill reinstating capital
punishment is not among the Senate's priority measures.

President Rodrigo Duterte has publicly said on several occasions that he
intends to send hundreds of convicts to the gallows once Congress brings back
death sentences.

"The death penalty is a travesty. Only indigent citizens inadequately
represented at trial will receive death sentences. Wealthy defendants who are
able to retain the best criminal defense lawyers will always escape conviction,
or get the lesser punishment of life imprisonment," Atienza said.

HB 4727 would give trial judges the leeway to hand out either the lighter
sentence of 30 years' imprisonment, or the heavier punishment of death, to
those found guilty of drug-related crimes.

"If their expensive lawyers are not enough, the rich will simply buy their way
out of death sentences, or even out of prison, by bribing corrupt prosecutors
and judges," Atienza said.

Buying extravagance

"If they can't buy their way out of incarceration, they will surely buy
themselves extravagant lives in detention, as we've clearly seen in the cases
of convicted big-time drug traffickers having the time of their lives at the
New Bilibid Prisons," he added.

The New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) is the national penitentiary located in
Muntinlupa City (Metro Manila).

Some members of the Senate majority bloc also on Thursday said a recent survey
of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showing 61 % of Filipino favor the
restoration of the death penalty should serve as message to lawmakers on what
to do with the proposed measure on capital punishment.

Senator Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito noted that results of the survey have
indicated the position of most of the people on the death penalty and lawmakers
being the representatives of the people should listen to it.

He said anti-death penalty senators have more numbers in the Senate because of
the Liberal Party members and the woman lawmakers but that would not stop him
and other chamber members who are for death penalty to push for it.

"We will fight for what is right and put an end to this drug menace," Ejercito

He said the Philippines became the hub of the international drug trade because
it is the only country in Southeast Asia that does not impose capital

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd said the SWS survey could help
influence senators into supporting the proposal to reinstate death penalty
especially those who are running for reelection.

There are 6 incumbent senators can still seek a second term in 2019 namely
Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Cynthia
Villar and Ejercito.

It is not clear if Senate President Pimentel 3rd could still run for reelection
because he is on his second term as senator after he won his election protest
against Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri and was declared the winner in the 2007
senatorial race.

From the 6 reelectionists only Aquino and Poe have expressed their opposition
to death penalty while the rest were either in favor or are yet to come up with
a stand.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said support of other senators for capital punishment
will depend on the number of crimes that will be included in the bill.

He noted that most of the senators support the administration's fight against
illegal drugs and, if the imposition of death penalty would only be limited to
that, more senators might be convinced to back it.

"If the death penalty will be limited to drug-related crimes, then it will get
ample support from the senators," according to Gatchalian, who is in favor of
the reinstatement of death penalty.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said the survey can't
change is stand against capital punishment, adding that it does not address

Drilon said the recent SWS poll is a mere reflection of the people's
frustration over a poor justice system

(source: Manila Times)


5 Reasons the UK is Trying to Stamp Out the Death Penalty Worldwide

The UK is committed to abolishing the death penalty worldwide. Here's why.

Amnesty International calls the death penalty, "the ultimate, irreversible
denial of Human Rights." It breaches not only the right to life, but the right
not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. That's why the
UK and other European countries signed up to Protocol 6 and Protocol 13 to the
Human Rights Convention, which abolished capital punishment.

The courts have also ruled against capital punishment. In the 2010 case of
Al-Saadoon and Mufdhi case against the UK, the European Court essentially
prohibited the death penalty, even though Article 2 of the Human Rights
Convention appears to allow for an exception to the right to life.

Death penalty on the rise worldwide

The UK government has a policy of opposing the death penalty in all
circumstances and is working towards abolition of the death penalty worldwide.
For example, we lobby other countries to vote in favour of the UN Resolution on
the Moratorium on the use of the Death Penalty.

But despite growing consensus in UK and Europe on the need for abolition,
capital punishment is on the rise across the globe.

A report by Amnesty International found a 54% increase in the use of the death
penalty from 2014 to 2015. And that report didn't even take into account China,
likely to be the world's top executioner, as the country refuses to publish
data on its use of the death penalty.

5 reasons to stamp out capital punishment The death penalty isn't outlawed by
international law. However, there's growing international pressure for its
abolition. Here are just some of the reasons why.

Execution of the innocent

The death penalty takes away our most essential right, the right to life.
Opening the door to the death penalty, even in very limited circumstances,
means that innocent people may be executed. As Amnesty have stated, "the death
penalty legitimises an irreversible act of violence by the state and will
inevitably claim innocent victims. As long as human justice remains fallible,
the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated". Many innocent
people have already been executed. More will die unless the death penalty is

Cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment

The period leading up to death causes so much suffering to the condemned that
it amounts to torture. Death row phenomenon is the term given to the
psychological distress caused to inmates by detaining them on death row in
extreme conditions, often in isolation. The execution methods themselves also
constitute a breach of the right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading
treatment, even the method that's supposed to be most 'humane', namely lethal

It doesn't even prevent crime

There's no evidence that capital punishment has any impact on crime rates. So
there can be no argument for its justification.

Not only does the death penalty not deter crime, but it leads to the
brutalisation of society as a whole. States which allow the death penalty have
higher violent crimes rates. In the USA, for example, more murders take place
in states where capital punishment is permitted.

Damage to international crime fighting

Because we don't accept the death penalty in the UK, we can't cooperate fully
on criminal justice matters with states that allow executions. We can't, for
example, agree to extradite someone to a country if there's a real possibility
that they'll face the death penalty there.

The death penalty is brutal, ineffective and a complete denial of our human
rights. We must continue the fight to ensure it's eradicated worldwide.

(source: rightsinfo.org)

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2017-04-30 20:46:57 UTC
April 30


Killer who murdered British teacher in Qatar and burned her body in the desert
loses his appeal against his death sentence

The killer of Lauren Patterson, 24, has lost his appeal against his death
sentence. Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabr was convicted of the murder of
the teacher, from West Malling, Kent, in Doha in 2013.

Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabr faces the death penalty after he was
convicted for the murder of teacher Lauren Patterson, 24, in Doha in 2013.

Ms Patterson, from West Malling, Kent, was sexually assaulted, stabbed and her
burnt remains were left in a remote desert location.

Al-Jabr was sentenced to death in 2015 but a re-trial was called in February

Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz served a 3-year sentence for helping to dispose of
Miss Patterson's body.

Mother Alison Patterson wrote on Facebook: 'The judges have upheld the original
death sentence.

'It will now go to the court of cassation within 60 days as they have the right
to appeal.

Due to the thoroughness of the judicial system here the likelihood of another
appeal is highly unlikely (praying that is the case).

Mother Alison Patterson wrote on Facebook: 'The judges have upheld the original
death sentence. Thank you to everyone for all your amazing support. Love to

'Thank you to everyone for all your amazing support without all of you I don't
know how I would have got this far. Love to everyone.'

Ms Patterson was teaching in Doha when she disappeared on a night out and was
found with a knife in her ribcage.

In an appeal hearing in 2015, al-Jabr's defence lawyer said he had been kept in
solitary confinement for 40 days between interviews with prosecutors.

He said the abuse they suffered would have 'clouded anybody's judgement'.

She and friend Lea Monet left a nightclub at La Cigale Hotel in Doha around
3.30am. Miss Monet testified that Miss Patterson was not drunk and had just
returned from her grandmother's funeral in England.

During the 2014 trial Miss Patterson's friend Lea Monet testified how she, Miss
Patterson and the 2 men, who she said they were 'casually acquainted with', had
left a nightclub at La Cigale Hotel in Doha around 3.30am on October 12.

She said Miss Patterson, who had just returned from attending her grandmother's
funeral in England, was not drunk and was 'aware of her surroundings'.

In 2015, Alison said: 'Lauren was a hard-working girl who loved her job and
spent most evenings of her time after work giving private tuition to pupils in
their homes or studying to complete her degree.'

(source: dailymail.co.uk)


Removing death penalty in PH was a mistake, Duterte tells media

President Rodrigo Duterte held a press briefing on Saturday, April 29, 2017,
before hosting a gala dinner for the Asean Summit leaders. (Photo from the
official website of the 30th Asean Summit)

Pushing for the reimposition of the death penalty, President Rodrigo Duterte
claimed that the Pangilinan law created lawlessness in the Philippines.

He was referring to the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act (Republic Act 9344)
which was authored by Sen. Francis Pangilinan.

Speaking at a press conference at the Philippine International Convention
Center, he cited other Southeast Asian countries, like Malaysia, Indonesia, and
Singapore, which have the death penalty.

"It is only the Philippines that has abrogated or ended the death penalty," he

He added that he had informed other heads of state of the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that he was advocating the reimposition of the
death penalty.

He pointed out that, during his stint as a member of the House of
Representatives, he was among those who objected to the abrogation of the death
penalty - and the votes against abrogation won. But he noted that, when he
became Davao City mayor again, the imposition of the death penalty was
suspended. Duterte claimed that the act of copying legislation from another
country, referring to the Pangilinan law, "produced a generation of criminals"
because criminal offenders below 15 years old never spent time in detention.

"It (Pangilinan law) was short-sighted," he said. "It was a disaster because we
have produced a generation of criminals now who were the minors before who went
in and out of prison without being lectured on the sense of responsibility or

He pointed out that the "disaster" started with Pangilinan, who copied the law
from the United States without providing for the remedy after the arrest of a
minor, was the case in the US.

The President said that the senator copied the law but "did not copy all
because you should have provided the billions needed to place them in
correctional just to be lectured on responsibility and their duties."

"That created the lawlessness - the Pangilinan Law," he went on.

He cited Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, who said that with right
came responsibility.

"If you are given the right to live by God, you have a responsibility to other
people's lives," he said. "if you have a right, you have a responsibility too.
It's not just a right. You have your human rights but that human right given to
you must be used to preserve the human right of others also."

(source: Philippine Inquirer)

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2017-05-01 14:05:47 UTC
May 1


Hong says will execute criminals on death row

South Korean presidential candidate Hong Joon-pyo of the conservative Liberty
Korea Party said he would revive capital punishment if elected, saying
criminals are "going on the rampage."

"Because we no longer carry out death penalty, high-profile murder cases
continue, such as the ones involving (serial killers) Yoo Young-chul and Kang
Ho-soon," Hong said on campaign trail in Gangnam-gu, Seoul on Sunday.

Although death sentence continues to be handed down by court, South Korea has
not executed criminals since 1997. It is categorized by global rights watchdog
Amnesty International as a country that has "virtually abolished" capital

Nicknamed "Hong Trump" for his controversial remarks and ultra-conservative
vision, the candidate is enjoying growing popularity, with polls putting him at
3rd place with support of around 15 %.

The former state prosecutor and conservative party leader demanded the
authorities send jailed former president Park Geun-hye to the hospital, saying
she is "said to be in very poor condition" in a detention center.

The former conservative president has been taken into custody since March 31
over a corruption scandal that brought an abrupt end to her 5-year presidential

Hong's party was formerly known as the Saenuri Party, founded and named by
Park, but rebranded as the Liberty Korea Party since Park's impeachment.

(source: The Korea Herald)


Pakistan SC declines early hearing of Asia Bibi case----Supporters of Asia Bibi
protest against the blasphemy laws.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has turned down the request for an early hearing
of the case of a Catholic mother sentenced to death for blasphemy, that her
supporters and rights activists hold hard-line Islamic lobbyists responsible
for. Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on April 26, declined a request
for the hearing of the case of Asia Bibi in the 1st week of June made by her
Muslim lawyer Saiful Malook. "Today I have been informed that the plea was
declined by the CJP," Malook is reported to have told The Express Tribune.

Bibi, a 51-year old fruit picker from Sheikhupura, was convicted of blasphemy
and sentenced to death in 2010 after an argument with a Muslim woman over a
glass of water. Her supporters and rights activists maintain her innocence and
insist she was falsely accused due to a personal dispute with the accuser.
Successive appeals have been rejected, and if the Supreme Court bench upholds
Bibi's conviction, her only recourse will be a direct appeal to the president
for clemency.

"This is very unfortunate. Her husband became quiet when he heard the latest
developments. We shall again apply for the hearing and keep struggling for
justice," Joseph Nadeem, executive director of the Renaissance Education
Foundation told UCANEWS. "There are many factors at work behind the slow pace
of judiciary. Her case has been in the doldrums due to huge pressure. There
will be a strong reaction if Bibi is freed. Opposing groups have made it a
matter of honor and ego," Nadeem said.

The Renaissance Education Foundation has been supporting Bibi's family in
Lahore since she was imprisoned for allegedly defaming Prophet Mohammed in
2009. If Bibi's death sentence is upheld, she would be 1st woman in Pakistan to
be put to death for blasphemy.

The last time her case was taken up by the Supreme Court, was on October 13, by
a three-judge bench. However, one of the judges, Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman retired
from the case because he said he was also a part of the bench in the case of
the murder of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, who was assassinated by his
bodyguard in 2011 for his support of Bibi. Judge Pervez Ali Shah fled to Saudi
Arabia along with his family in 2011 after getting death threats for convicting
Malik Mumtaz Hussein Qadri who confessed to murdering Taseer. Shahbaz Bhatti, a
Catholic and federal minister for minorities, was also assassinated that year
for supporting Bibi's released and recommending reform of the blasphemy law.

Analysts consider Qadri's 2016 execution a litmus test for processing
blasphemy-related killings. Now, in the view of Bibi's former attorney, the
current environment in the country is not conducive for the dispensation of
justice in her case. "Our plight is that the socio-political atmosphere of the
country has no space for discussion on blasphemy laws. The judges know what is
happening outside as non-state actors show their strength on the roads
demanding death for Bibi," said Naeem Shakir, a Christian lawyer. The
sensitivity surrounding blasphemy laws has made it a political tool to threaten
and put down others. The state has a weak narrative regarding this law and its
functionaries usually try to evade questions regarding its misuse," he said.

Meanwhile, several Islamic clerics have renewed calls for the execution of
Bibi, saying incidents such as the recent lynching of a Muslim university
student in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, was because of the frustration over
delay in Bibi's execution. Pakistan's National Assembly adopted a resolution
condemning the lynching and resolved to insert safeguards into the blasphemy
law but religious parties opposed the idea.

The dreadful blasphemy laws in Pakistan's Penal Code stipulates life
imprisonment for blasphemy against the Qur'an and death penalty for blasphemy
against Prophet Mohammed. Rights groups say the laws are increasingly exploited
by religious extremists as well as ordinary Pakistanis to settle personal
scores, not just against members of minority communities but also against
Muslims. The law do not clearly define blasphemy and evidence might not be
reproduced in court for fear of committing a fresh offence. There are no
penalties for false accusations. Those accused are sometimes lynched on the
spot. If they are arrested, police and the courts often allow trials to drag on
for years, afraid of being attacked if they release anyone accused of

Since the passage of blasphemy laws in the early 1980s, religious minorities
including Shia, Ahmadi, Hindu and Christians have often been attacked and
persecuted for their faith. Asia Bibi has been rotting in prison since 2009.
"Such atrocities have become routine. The plight of Bibi has had a dampening
effect on minorities. Their grief cannot be addressed because of religious
retrogressive and extremist groups. Islamists consider her freedom a defeat for
their movement," added Shakir.

(source: radiovaticana.va)


Pakistan may finalise Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution in 6 months

A final decision on whether former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan Jadhav will
face the gallows or not is expected to be taken by Pakistan in about 6 to 7
months, sources have said.

But the intensifying civilian-military tussle in that country over the Dawn
news leaks issue may well have "complicated" matters, since Jadhav was
sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and

New Delhi is hoping that the death sentence will be at least commuted to life
imprisonment. Sources also said a decision by Pakistan on the visa application
of Jadhav's parents is expected soon.

Pakistan PM's advisor on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz had said earlier, "As per
law, Kulbushan Jadhav has following available options. He has the right to
appeal within 40 days to an Appellate Court. He may lodge a mercy petition to
the COAS within 60 days of the decision by the appellate court. He may also
lodge a mercy petition to the President of Pakistan within 90 days after the
decision of COAS on the mercy petition."

According to foreign policy watchers, Pakistan's Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed
Bajwa is expected to reject any mercy petition filed, since he had "confirmed"
the death penalty verdict by the military court in the first place.

With the Pakistan Army adopting a hardline stand on the matter and being in the
forefront of the move to deny Jadhav consular access, there seems little
possibility of the Pakistan Army chief granting mercy to Jadhav.

Therefore, it seems fairly obvious that ultimately the Pakistan President will
have to take the final call on whether Jadhav will be hanged or not. The
alternative is to commute the sentence to life imprisonment.

But going by the fact that the Pakistan Army is calling the shots, it seems
most likely that any decision by the Pakistan President will also be taken
after the Army there is on board.

(source: Deccan Chronicle)


To the gallows: Murder accused gets death penalty

A man was awarded death sentence in a murder case in Dera Ghazi Khan on Sunday.
The judgment was announced by the Additional District and Sessions Judge Khizar

According to prosecution, accused Mazhar Hussain had gunned down his
mother-in-law Ghulam Fatima and injured sister-in-law Jeevan Mai for demanding
dowry in November 2011. After the incident, the accused fled the scene but was
later arrested by the police.

After complete investigation, police submitted a challan in court. Following
proceedings, the court sentenced Mazhar to death and imposed a fine of Rs0.2

Similarly, Additional District and Sessions Judge Majid Kareem Farooq sentenced
2 accused to life term in a murder case. Accused Abdul Khaliq and Muhammad
Saleem had killed Muhammad Rafiq after snatching a cheque of Rs70,000 on March
8, 2013.

(source: The Express Tribune)


At least 90 people on death row in Iran aged under 18, say UN experts

At least 90 people on death row in Iran are under the age of 18, says a group
of UN experts who are calling for authorities in the Middle Eastern nation to
immediately put an end to the execution of those aged who were under 18 at the
time of sentencing.

3 UN experts - Asma Jahangir, special rapporteur on the situation of human
rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran; Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on
extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; and, Benyam Dawit Mezmur,
chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of the Child - made the call late
last week amid news that a man who was aged 15 at the time of his sentencing
will be executed next week.

Peyman Barandah was just 15-years-old when he was sentenced to death in 2012
for the fatal stabbing of a teenager. His execution will now be carried out on
10th May.

The announcement of the date comes after another execution - that of Mehdi
Bohlouli who was 17-years-old when sentenced to death in 2001, also for the
fatal stabbing of a man - was halted just a few hours before it was due to take
place on 19th April. It is not clear when Mr Bohloudi's execution will now be
carried out.

"We are dismayed by the unprecedented rise in the number of cases of execution
of juvenile offenders in Iran," the experts said in a statement. "The
psychological suffering inflicted on adolescents kept languishing for years in
prison under a death sentence is appalling, and amounts to torture and ill

Calling for both of the executions to be "halted immediately" and the death
sentences quashed, the 3 experts also called on Iran to "commute without delay
all such sentences imposed on children".

The experts said the 2 cases take to 6 the number of juvenile offenders
scheduled for execution in Iran since January, including the cases of 2 whose
sentences have been carried out. They added that while the Iranian Government
had assured the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2016 that a 2013
amendment to the country's penal code opening the possibility for juveniles
sentenced to death to be allowed retrials would be systematically applies to
all juveniles then on death row, "these promises have not been fulfilled".

They noted that by ratifying both the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran had
committed itself to protecting and respecting children's right to life as well
as to outlaw the death penalty for all those under the age of 18.

"Any assumption that a girl over 9 years old or a boy older than 15 can be
considered mature enough to be sentenced to death, infringes on the very basic
principles of juvenile justice and violates both treaties," they said.
"Furthermore, any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a government's
international obligations, notably its duty to establish a juvenile justice
system in line with international human rights standards, is unlawful and
tantamount to an arbitrary execution."

(source: sightmagazine.com.au)


Public Executions Part of Life In Iran

Within the borders of Iran, executions are not just carried out behind the
doors of the prisons, but something that is part of the public sphere. Public
executions are common, meant in part to be a deterrent for crimes and drug use.
But the reality is that they have become a level of entertainment and are not
the real deterrent that the regime claims.

Children and families are often present at these executions, such as the one
for a 21-year old inmate, who was publicly hanged in Babol, which is in
northern Iran. The victim was only identified by his initials and had been
found guilty of murder. His sentence was issued by the first criminal court of
the province and was carried out on Saturday after being permitted the "Head of
the Judiciary", according to the public prosecutor of Mazandaran.

Another prisoner was hanged at dawn on Saturday, April 22. He was sentenced for
drug related charges and Mehdi Mirzaei, the individual who was hanged, had been
held in Parsilon Prison for the past three years. This is just another example
of how these executions also are used to address the drug issues within their

Other realities of public executions are that the individuals being executed
could be prisoners sentenced when they were juveniles. One man was publicly
hanged on April 22, in the city of Babol, according to the state-run Iranian
news agencies. The state controlled YJC news agency reported that the 21-year
old was identified as HR, and he was sentenced to the Qisas death penalty,
which is a retribution penalty.

Iran executes more individuals per capita than any other country in the world,
according to Amnesty International's annual report. At least 197 individuals
have been executed in Iran since the beginning of 2017.

The first deputy of Iran's Chief Justice, Mohseni Ejeie, cited criticism
regarding a number of executions of criminals in a press conference. He cited
several examples of individuals who were executed for moving narcotics. "Or in
Kerman, two people identified as Abdulhamid Hossein Zehi and Faramarz Kohkan,
who were active in a drug trafficking ring, were hanged...or in Karaj a person
was sentenced to death for carrying drugs...what else can we do with these
people except execute them? At any rate, we will act according to our
laws...and will not show leniency," said Ejeie.

The result is that public executions will continue, despite the evidence that
they are not a necessary deterrent and can have a significant impact on the
mental and emotional well-being of society as a whole.

(source: The Media Express)


Ghaziabad: Maliwal demands death for rapist of 7-year-old girl----Delhi women's
panel chief Swati Maliwal visited the Loni rape victim at the Delhi hospital
she has been admitted to

The chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), Swati Maliwal, on
Sunday met the 7-year-old who was raped and tortured in Loni. She also met her
family at the Delhi hospital that the victim has been admitted to.

The girl had gone missing from a wedding on the evening of March 27 at Loni in
Ghaziabad and was found semi-conscious in a nearby field the next morning.

The DCW chief said she will be writing to the chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh
and Punjab for their intervention. The family hails from Punjab and had come to
Loni to attend a wedding.

"The girl was found in a pool of blood. She was brutally raped and severely
beaten. She underwent a long operation and is fighting for survival. The
doctors said her situation is critical and she would need a long time to
recover if she survives," Maliwal said.

"The culprit, who is absconding, deserves the death penalty. He must be traced
immediately by the police," she added.

"I will appeal and write to the chief ministers of UP and Punjab to take
cognizance of the incident and ensure strict punishment for the culprit. Since
the family comes from a weak financial background, the victim should be given
proper compensation so that her family can take care of her while she goes
through the long recovery," she said.

The alleged incident took place at a residential colony under Loni Border
police station area where the family had gone to a relatives' house to attend a
wedding. The girl went missing around 7pm a day before the wedding when the
hosts and guests were busy with rituals. She was found nearly 10 hours later at
an adjacent field and was rushed to a hospital.

"It is a very bad city. Coming here was our biggest mistake and we saw such
brutality with my daughter. She has been operated twice and the doctors said
her condition is critical. She is in a state of shock and is hardly able to
speak," said the girl's father.

He had lodged an FIR for rape and under Protection of Children from Sexual
Offences Act at Loni Border police station on Friday. Police said medical
reports are yet to be received, but doctors have told them what happened with
the victim.

Srikant Prajapati, circle officer (Loni), said, "She told police that she was
assaulted by 1 person, but she doesn't know his name. Once her condition
improves, we will ask her to identify the man from pictures and videos shot at
the wedding. Till then, we will have to wait. She also said that she was
semi-conscious and was not able to shout for help when she was lying at the
spot (where she was found) at night."

"She has suffered major internal injuries. The perpetrator of the crime is
expected to be a relative or a wedding guest," he added.

(source: Hindustan Times)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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May 2


Supervising an Execution in China

A prosecutor offers a look into executions carried out in China.

"When he looked at me, I could see fear, uncertainty and hope in his eyes. The
emotions flashed by so quickly, I would have missed it if I had not been paying

An article written in Chinese by a prosecutor in China has been circulating on
various blogs and WeChat. The author, credited as Nan Shiqin, in the piece
describes his experience supervising the execution of a 23-year-old convicted

Nan comes face-to-face with the prisoner at a morgue, where the convict is
executed by a firing squad. The aftermath of the death penalty is nothing like
what television dramas show, writes Nan.

"There are no angry shouts from the prisoner, no family crying; the autopsy is
quick, and the body is hauled onto a chaise from the morgue and taken away."

"I felt regret having to end the life of someone so young. At 23, his life was
only just beginning. But I also knew that the law is ruthless because it needs
to uphold the greater good," writes the prosecutor. "It was not an easy job for
me, watching a young man give his life to atone for his crimes."

Death penalty data is a state secret in China, but according to an Amnesty
International report in 2016, the country is the world's top executioner.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) pledged to abolish the death penalty in 1922,
but Amnesty International estimates that thousands of executions and death
sentences are carried out in China each year - despite the Supreme People's
Court judgments database only recording 701 approved death sentences between
2011 and 2016.

Amnesty International found 931 death sentences reported in Chinese media
between 2014 and 2016, but only 85 of those cases were documented in the
Supreme People's Court database.

The international human rights organization also reports that the majority of
people sentenced to death between 2011 to 2016 were often unemployed or
classified as "rural people or farmers," with more than half being the latter.

(source: thenewslens.com)


His Grandfather Executed Indira Gandhi's Assassin. Today, He's A 'Hangman'

Pawan Jallad has been a hangman for over 50 years now. Traditionally, in India,
a son follows his father's footsteps, taking up the same line of work. Pawan's
father was a hangman (called a 'jallad' in Hindi), and so was his grandfather.
Despite the grisly task assigned to him as an executioner, Pawan loves his job.
He has never imagined being anything else and has wanted to be a hangman since
he was a child.

Pawan has been in the 'family business' since 1951. Proudly speaking about his
family's legacy in this profession, he mentions how his grandfather hanged
Indira Gandhi's assassin in 1987, an execution that 22-year-old Pawan
witnessed. When asked if he is scared by the work he does, Pawan shrugs and
shakes his head. To him, all he is doing is performing a duty. Whether someone
is innocent or not is not for him, but the courts to decide.

India is one of the few countries where the death penalty still exists. In
fact, in 2007, India voted against a UN resolution that opposed the death
penalty. In the year 2015, more than 1600 executions were carried out across
the world. In India, it is estimated that since 2001, over 270 people have been
sentenced to death, but not executed.

Outside the metros and beyond the urban jungle live the sons and daughters of
India's heartland. The 101 Heartland series tells their stories. It celebrates
both unique communities and individual tales of hope, struggle, and reform.
From the village of bouncers just outside Delhi to the fascinating story of Ram
Kumar Tyagi, once a wanted man but now a coach for aspiring female wrestlers,
101 Heartland tells stories for the heart, from the heartland.

(source: youthkiawaaz.com)


Death penalty revival dropped from priority bills

Congress on Tuesday appeared to have dropped bills seeking the revival of death
penalty its priorities for passage this month.

Also excluded from the list of priority legislation were the lowering of the
age of criminal responsibility, tax reform and postponement of the 2017
barangay elections.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas explained leaders of the Senate and House
of Representatives identified only 14 bills that could be passed by the end of
May, in time for President Rodrigo Duterte's 2nd State of the Nation Address in

"We met -- the Speaker, the Minority Leader, the chairman of the [House] Ways
and Means Committee. We met with our counterparts, namely the Senate President,
Majority Leader Sotto, Senate Pro-tempore Ralph Recto and Minority Leader Frank
Drilon," Farinas said.

Farinas said that in the case of the death penalty bill, there was no consensus
among leaders of both chambers to make its passage a priority.

(source: abs-cbn.com)


Africa must reject the death penalty

On April 11, Amnesty International published its report on the global use of
the death penalty for last year.

The report indicates that at least some 1,032 people were executed in 23

Excluding China, which executed more people than the rest of the world
combined, some 87 % of all the executions took place in Iran, Saudi Arabia,
Iraq, and Pakistan.

In recent years, sub-Saharan Africa has stood out as a beacon of hope and
positive progress on the campaign for the abolition of the death penalty.

However, last year saw a mix of some good and bad news. The good news is that
there has been a significant reduction in the number of executions carried out
in the entire region.


The number of recorded executions went down by 49 %, with 22 executions
recorded last year compared to 43 the previous year.

In addition, 2 countries in the region abolished the death penalty.

In January last year, the Constitutional Court of the West African nation of
Benin ruled that in order to comply with the country's international human
rights obligations, all laws providing for the death penalty were void and
death sentences could no longer be imposed.

The landmark decision effectively abolished the death penalty. Later in the
year, Guinea introduced a new Criminal Code, which removed the death penalty
from the statute books as an applicable punishment for ordinary crimes.

While Guinea's Military Code still provides for the death penalty for some
exceptional crimes, a Bill to remove all the death penalty provisions from the
Military Code is pending in that country's National Assembly.


These positive developments in Benin and Guinea followed the trend from 2015,
when Madagascar and the Republic of Congo consigned the death penalty to

The pace of abolition of the penalty in sub-Saharan Africa has been steady and

In 1977, when Amnesty International started campaigning and advocating for the
worldwide abolition of the death penalty no country in sub-Saharan Africa had
abolished the death penalty for all crimes.

Today, some 19 have done so.

There was also good news for hundreds of people who had been condemned to death
and were reprieved last year when their death sentences were commuted in Kenya,
Nigeria, Ghana, Mauritania, and Sudan.

The commutations in Kenya were particularly remarkable. President Uhuru
Kenyatta commuted the death sentences of 2,747 prisoners - the entire death row
population in Kenya at the time.


Indeed, despite not having removed the death penalty, it is instructive to note
that Kenya has not carried out executions in 30 years and this move further
steers it away from the death penalty.

On the other hand, 2 countries that had not carried out executions since 2013
resumed. Botswana executed 1 person last year; and in December 3 people were
suddenly executed in Edo State of Nigeria.

A very worrying trend in sub-Saharan Africa last year was the sharp increase in
the number of death sentences handed down despite the fact that the number of
countries where death sentences were imposed by the courts fell from 21 in 2015
to 17 last year.

There was a staggering 145 % increase in the number of death sentences imposed
across the region.


Some 1,086 death sentences were confirmed last year compared to 443 in 2015.
This sharp increase was largely due to a massive surge in Nigeria, where the
courts imposed a total of 527 death sentences, the highest in the whole of

This high number of death sentences in Nigeria raises serious concern about the
real possibility of executing some innocent people, as unsafe convictions are

In fact, it is worth noting that the courts exonerated 32 wrongly convicted
people last year alone.

The death penalty is a violation of the right to life; it is the ultimate cruel
and inhuman punishment that has no place in the modern era.

The majority of the countries in the world, a total of 104, have accepted this
fact by completely doing away with the death penalty for all crimes.

It is, therefore, time for the countries in sub-Saharan Africa that are yet to
do so, to seriously consider joining them.

There is no reason why, in the foreseeable future, the region could not be
completely free of the death penalty.

(source: Opinion, Mr Popoola, Amnesty International's advocate/adviser on the
death penalty----nation.co.ke)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-05-03 14:45:17 UTC
May 3


Prisoner Hanged on Murder Charges

On Sunday April 30, a prisoner was reportedly executed at Hamadan Central
Prison on murder charges, and another prisoner was returned to his cell after
his execution was temporarily halted.

Close sources have identified the prisoner who was executed as Imran
Askardasht, 30 years of age. "He was charged with murder in 2010," a close
source tells Iran Human Rights.

On the same day, a prisoner in Hamadan Central Prison, who is on death row on
murder charges, had his execution sentence temporarily halted upon receiving
consent from the plaintiffs on his case file. Close sources have identified
this prisoner as Bakhtiar Leilinejad, 31 years of age.

Imran and Bakhtiar were both transferred to solitary confinement on Saturday
April 29 in preparation for their executions.

(source: iranhr.net)


Kishoreganj court sentences 4 to death for murdering 10-year-old boy

A Kishoreganj court has awarded the death penalty to 4 persons for the
abduction and murder of a 10-year-old boy.

On Aug 12, 2014, Sakibul Hasan Tutul was kidnapped from a village in the
district's Pakundia Upazila.

The abductors called the father Kamal Uddin on his phone and demanded Tk 1
million in ransom. 2 days later, Tutul's body was found near his home,
according to court documents.

On Wednesday, Kishoreganj's Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal
delivered the verdict with the convicts on the dock.

Those received the death sentence are 'Dulal', 'Shohag', 'Aminul' and 'Dalim'.

Prosecutor AM Afzal said Tutul's father started the murder case accusing the 4.

(source: bdnews24.com)


Egyptian authorities execute man convicted of raping and murdering 5-year-old
girl in Minya governorate

Egyptian prison authorities executed Wednesday a 22-year-old man convicted of
raping and murdering a 5-year-old girl in Upper Egypt's Minya governorate in
March 2014.

Investigations in the case revealed that the convict kidnapped the girl, before
taking her to an abandoned building in Maghaha village and raping her. He
choked her with a cloth and repeatedly hit her in the head.

The convict's death verdict was upheld by the Court of Cassation in February

The Minya governorate prisons department also executed Wednesday 5 people
convicted of murder in Qena and Gharbeya governorates under tight security

On Tuesday, an Egyptian criminal court referred to the Grand Mufti a death
sentence issued against a man convicted of raping a 20-month-old child in the
Nile Delta governorate of Daqahliya last month in a case known publicly known
as "the diaper girl's case."

The court is expected to confirm the sentence on 2 June after the Grand Mufti
gives his opinion, which is not legally binding, on the validity of the death
sentence according to Islamic law.

The most famous case of the rape and murder of a child happened in the coastal
governorate of Port-Said in 2013, when 2 minors kidnapped, raped and killed
5-year-old girl Zeina Arafa, provoking rage and public outcry across the

The convicts in this case were sentenced by a criminal court to 20 years in
prison. The court apologised to the public for not imposing capital punishment,
as Egyptian law forbids issuing the death penalty to people younger than 18
years old.

(source: ahram.org.eg)


Rapist of 2-Year-Old Girl Handed Death Penalty

An Egyptian Criminal Court gave a 35-year-old man, who had raped a baby girl in
March, a death sentence, referring the case to Dar al-Iftaa.

The final verdict is to be issued on June 2.

Being the survivor's neighbour, the rapist narrated how he took her as she was
playing in front of her house in Dakahlia governorate into an uninhabited room,
removed her diaper before he raped her, and ran away when he found her
bleeding. The year and 8 months old girl was transferred to a hospital to get a
reconstructive surgery due to major damages in her vagina.

"My daughter can't utter the words mama and papa yet and all of this has
happened to her. My heart is burning and there's nothing I can do for her," the
mother of the raped child said, according to Egypt Independent.

The deputy of Egypt's al-Azhar, the largest Muslim beacon had called for anyone
found guilty of molesting child to receive the death penalty, he told
state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

In Egypt, all capital punishment sentences are referred to Dar al-Iftaa, a
religious body giving rulings to the masses and consultation for the judiciary.

(source: egyptianstreets.com)


Somali boys executed killed for alleged terrorism

Somalia is under criticism following the execution of some children suspected
to be members of the Al-Shabaab terror group.

5 boys, aged between 14 and 17, have been sentenced to death in the
northeastern Puntland region for their alleged role in the killing of 3 senior
administration officials in February.

A military tribunal meted the sentences.

There are plans to execute 2 more boys Muhamed Yasin Abdi (aged 17) and Daud
Saied Sahal (15) also for their alleged membership of the Al-Shabaab and the
killing of government officials.

Rights group, Amnesty International, said the boys were executed following a
fundamentally flawed process during which they were tortured to confess, denied
access to a lawyer and additional protections accorded to juveniles, and tried
in a military tribunal.

"The lives of the remaining 2 boys must be spared," said Michelle Kagari,
Amnesty International's deputy regional director.

Kagari said authorities should halt the executions and retry the boys in fair
proceedings in a juvenile civilian court without recourse to the death penalty.

"The Puntland authorities must not allow more blood on their hands."

Amnesty nonetheless demanded those responsible for killing the 3 administration
officials be identified and be brought to justice.

"Torturing juveniles to confess, subjecting them to an unfair trial and then
executing them does not ensure this."

According to family members, the boys, who they denied were members of the
Al-Shabaab, were subjected to electric shock, burnt with cigarettes on their
genitals, beaten and raped into confessing to the murders.

(source: cajnewsafrica.com)


4 hardcore Taliban terrorists executed

4 hardcore Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists were sent to the gallows
on Wednesday morning.

According to Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the terrorists named
Barkat Ali, Muhammad Adil, Ishaq and Latif-ur-Rehman were involved in
committing heinous offences relating to terrorism, including killing of
innocent civilians, attacking Armed Forces of Pakistan and Law Enforcement

Barkat Ali an active member of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. He was involved in
killing of a civilian and was possessing fire-arms and explosives.

Muhammad Adil was also an active member of TTP and he was involved in
kidnapping and slaughtering soldiers of Frontier Constabulary (FC) and
destruction of a police station.

Ishaq was affiliated with Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan as well. He was involved
in attacking armed forces of Pakistan and law enforcement agencies which
resulted in death of a junior commissioned officer and injuries to a police

Latif Ur Rehman was a member of TTP and was involved in kidnapping and killing
security personnel and attacks on armed forces of Pakistan which resulted in
death of many soldiers.

All 4 terrorists were found guilty in possessing arms and explosives. They
confessed their crimes in front of a magistrate and were awarded death penalty.

(source: samaa.tv)


Death penalty for 3 in suicide attack case upheld

A Lahore High Court division bench on Tuesday upheld death penalty handed down
to 3 men for their role in Police Emergency Rescue Service-15 building suicide

The bench comprising Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan and Justice Shehram Sarwar
dismissed appeals against the sentence filed by convicts Abid Akram, Sarfraz
and Shabbir.

Counsel for the convicts argued that his clients were already in custody of law
enforcement agencies when the suicide attack took place in 2009.

He said the FIR of the incident was lodged against unidentified suspects while
the convicts were later implicated in the case.

The counsel argued that though prosecution failed to produce any direct or
independent evidence against the convicts, the trial court awarded death
sentence to them.

He asked the bench to set aside the conviction and acquit the convicts.

Opposing the appeals, a deputy public prosecutor argued that the convicts were
the facilitators of the attack. He said Shahdara police had arrested the
convicts on Dec 3, 2010 and during the interrogation they (convicts) confessed
to their involvement in the Rescue-15 suicide attack.

The prosecutor further stated that police had also recovered weapons from the
convicts' possession. He said the trial court had handed down the death penalty
to the convicts in the light of convincing evidence produced by the

After hearing both sides, the bench dismissed the appeals and upheld the
conviction of the appellants.

An anti-terrorism court had on Jan 30, 2015 handed down death penalty to each
convict on 23 counts. At least 26 people, including security personnel, had
lost their lives in the attack while over 300 were injured.

(source: Dawn)


Christian Mother Asia Bibi's Death Sentence Appeal Delayed Again by Pakistan
Supreme Court

Asia Bibi, the Christian mother imprisoned on death row in Pakistan, will have
her appeal hearing delayed yet again after the nation's Supreme Court rejected
a request for her case to be heard in early June.

Saiful Malook, Bibi's attorney, told the Pakistani news outlet The Express
Tribune that Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar declined his client's request for
an early hearing. As previously reported, Nisar, a Muslim lawyer, had submitted
the request in mid-April for Bibi's case to be heard in the 1st week of June.

"I have been informed that the plea was declined by the CJP," Malook told the

Bibi, who is also known as Aasiya Noreen and could become the 1st woman in
Pakistan to be executed over a blasphemy allegation, has spent nearly 8 years
in prison after local Muslim women accused her of insulting the Muslim prophet
Muhammad. The women got angry because she drank from the same water bowl as

As blasphemy, in some instances, in Pakistan is punishable by death or life in
prison, Bibi was sentenced to death in November 2010 even though she maintained
her innocence.

"This is very unfortunate. Her husband became quiet when he heard the latest
developments. We shall again apply for the hearing and keep struggling for
justice," Joseph Nadeem, executive director of the Renaissance Education
Foundation, told the Asia-based Catholic news outlet ucanews.com. "There are
many factors at work behind the slow pace of judiciary. Her case has been in
the doldrums due to huge pressure. There will be a strong reaction if Bibi is
freed, opposing groups have made it a matter of honor and ego."

Initially, Bibi appealed her death sentence to the Lahore High Court but her
hearing was delayed at least 7 times before her appeal was heard in October
2014 and her sentencing was upheld.

Last summer, there was optimism that Bibi might finally have her appeal heard
by the Pakistan Supreme Court. It was reported that Nisar had ordered Bibi's
appeal to be heard in the second week of October 2016.

However, the hearing was postponed. According to the American Center for Law
and Justice, the hearing was delayed after Justice Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman was
recused from the case because he was the chief justice on the Islamabad High
Court when that court upheld the conviction of the Muslim bodyguard who
assassinated Punjab Gov. Salmaan Taseer in 2011. Gov Taseer had spoken out in
defense of Bibi and against the nation's blasphemy laws.

Since Pakistan instituted blasphemy laws in the 1980s, the laws have been used
by Muslims to settle personal scores and target Christians and other religious
minorities. Bibi is not the only Christian to have been victimized by the
blasphemy laws.

Last October, it was reported that a 9-year-old Christian boy was accused of
burning the Quran. The boy and his mother were later arrested and claimed they
were beaten and tortured by police.

"Such atrocities have become routine. The plight of Bibi has had a dampening
effect on minorities. Their grief cannot be addressed because of religious
retrogressive and extremist groups. Islamists consider her freedom a defeat for
their movement," Christian lawyer Naeem Shakir told ucanews.com.

Pakistan currently ranks as the 4th worst country in the world when it comes to
the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA's 2017 World Watch

(source: christianpost.com)


Purge of 'anti-death' solons to continue

The leadership of the House of Representatives will continue the revamp of its
members who voted against the death penalty bill last March, Speaker Pantaleon
Alvarez said on Tuesday.

"The revamp will proceed," Alvarez said when asked if his leadership will still
declare vacant the positions of other majority allies who failed to support the
administration measure.

The Speaker implemented the overhaul immediately after the House voted on House
Bill 4727, the proposal seeking to reimpose the death penalty on drug-related
cases. The ruling coalition declared seats vacant for specific positions and
committee chairmanships.

Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the former president, and other
anti-death penalty lawmakers was removed from their posts. Arroyo was House
deputy speaker for Central Luzon.

But Alvarez said his leadership would respect the constitutional provision
where a party has the right to nominate a representative to the Commission on
Appointments, after Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Sato - a member of the
12-man House contingent to the powerful CA - of the Liberal Party voted against
death penalty.

Meanwhile, the death penalty bill is not likely to be enacted during the first
regular session of the 17th Congress that will end in June.

This came after Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, the House Majority Floor
Leader, identified 14 measures to be approved by both the Senate and the House
of Representatives before its sine die adjournment next month.

"These bills will be approved by both chambers until May 31. This is a joint
agreement between the House and the Senate," Farinas told reporters.

The death penalty bill that was approved by the House of Representatives last
March was not included in the list.

While the House managed to approved the death penalty bill, contained in House
Bill 4727 and principally authored by Speaker Alvarez, the Senate was cold to
the proposal and did not include the bill in its priority agenda.

Besides Rep. Arroyo, removed from their positions last March were Sorsogon Rep.
Evelina Escudero, chairman of the House committee on basic education; Batangas
Rep. Vilma Santos Recto, chairman of the House committee on civil service and
professional regulation; Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-Ao, chairman of the
House committee on people participation; Gabriela party-list Rep. Emmi de
Jesus, chairman of the House committee on poverty alleviation; ACT party-list
Rep. Antonio Tinio, chairman of the House committee on public information; Anak
Mindanao party-list Rep. Sitti Hataman, on Muslim Affairs; Buhay Hayaang
Yumabong party-list Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde, on overseas workers affairs.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, on natural resources; Batanes Rep.
Henedina Abad, on government reorganization; Democratic Independent Workers'
Association party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, on women and gender
equality; and Quezon City Rep. Christopher Belmonte, on special committee on
land use.

Congress resumed its session yesterday and will adjourn sine die on June 2.

(source: thestandard.com.ph)


Death penalty demanded

Strongly condemning the gang rape of 2 minor girls by seven youths on April 14
night and demanding death penalty for the 7 rapists, a large number of school
students took out a rally at Heirok, Thoubal district today.

The rally was organised by Social Youth Progressive Organisation and Youth
Forum for Protection of Human Rights.

The student protestors held placards,"Punish the rapists", "Justice delayed is
justice denied", "Stop ill-treating women", "Respect women" etc in the rally
which started from Heirok Part II welcome shed and passed through Heirok Part I
and III .

(source: The Sangai Express)


Supreme Court upholds death penalty for 55-year-old who raped, killed

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a review petition of a 55-year-old man
and sent him to gallows for raping and stoning to death a 4-year-old girl in

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said "no case is made out" and dismissed
the review petition.

The bench, which also comprised Justices RF Nariman and UU Lalit, said "the
aggravating circumstances and the barbaric manner in which the 4-year-old was
killed, clearly outweigh the mitigating circumstances."

The convict is currently lodged in Nagpur jail.

The court had on November 26, 2014 upheld the trial court as well as Bombay
High Court judgements awarding death sentence to Maharashtra resident Vasanta
Sampat Dupare in the 2008 rape-cum-murder case of Nagpur.

The apex court had on July 14 last year agreed to examine the plea of Dupare,
who had claimed he was not accorded a fair chance to put forth his arguments by
the trial court which sentenced him to death.

While upholding death penalty awarded to the convict, the top court had said
that the rape of a minor girl child is nothing but "a monstrous burial of her
dignity in darkness."

The court had referred to the sequence of events in the case and said that the
convict, who was a neighbour, lured the girl, raped her and then battered her
to death using 2 heavy stones.

(source: Hindustan Times)


Monmouth woman completes 178-mile challenge to help those on death row

A Monmouth woman has completed a 178-mile cycle ride to assist individuals
facing the death penalty in the United States.

Lucie Boase, 27, who grew up in Monmouth and now works in Bristol as a
paralegal, set off on 2nd May to New Orleans, Louisiana, to take up a 3-month
voluntary position providing legal assistance for prisoners who could otherwise
not afford it.

The trip comes after she completed Hadrian's Cycleway, a National Cycle Network
route which follows the course of Hadrian's Wall from Ravenglass on the west
coast to South Shields on the east coast in just 4 days, averaging 45 miles a
day. She has so far raised nearly 900 pounds of her 1,000 pounds target.

"I've always loved cycling but I've never done anything as arduous as this
before - at the moment I just do my daily four-mile commute", says Lucie.

"I wanted to raise some awareness about what I was going out to New Orleans to
do and thought that this represented a fitting challenge, both in terms of my
own ability but also because of the symbolism of walls themselves, creating
barriers and division.

"I'm excited by the prospect of using my skills as a lawyer to provide
representation to individuals who face the death penalty in Louisiana - in a
small way, helping to break down some of the walls which confine us."

Amicus, the UK-based charity which arranges work placements for law graduates
in the United States, was founded in 1992 in memory of Andrew Lee Jones who was
executed by the state of Louisiana, dubbed the 'world's prison capital'. An
internship with the charity was an unequivocal choice for Lucie:

"I oppose the death penalty and believe it plays no part in a progressive
society. It's been proven that it is disproportionately imposed on the most
vulnerable in society, violating their right to due process and the concept of
equal justice before the law.

"The significant problem in the US is that there is no minimum level of
experience required to defend a capital trial, leading to inexperienced lawyers
and poor representation.

"The quality of legal representation in a capital trial can therefore mean the
difference between life and death.

"Amicus, a tiny organisation with limited funds, works not through campaigning
but through active involvement in frontline work, sending legally-qualified
interns like me to support lawyers working in the US."

Lucie will spend her time in New Orleans supporting public defenders: lawyers
appointed by the state to represent people who are accused of criminal acts and
can't afford a lawyer to represent them.

Although it is now illegal to impose the death penalty upon people who are
under 18 at the time of their crime, courts still exercise a wide discretion in
sentencing children to life-long prison sentences, denying them the option of
ever being released or being rehabilitated back into society.

Lucie hopes to have a hands-on experience helping with all aspects, from
gathering evidence and building an effective defence, to attending court and
visiting prisoners.

"It's an extremely exciting - albeit daunting - opportunity and I can't wait to
start," she adds. "Although the US has a very different legal system facing
very different issues to those which we deal with here in the UK,

"I am confident that my experience with Amicus will prove instructive for my
practice back home, and inform my ongoing work as a lawyer, ensuring access to
justice for all."

Amicus internships are unpaid and Lucie must bear all of the costs of the trip

To donate to help with Lucie's trip, or to follow her progress in New Orleans,
visit her JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/lucie-boase-amicus

(source: chepstowbeacon.co.uk)


Should all convicts of capital offences get death penalty?

The spectre of unconstitutionality surrounding the handling of capital
offenders has widened to whether all convicts deserve the same penalty: death.

There are 5 crimes classified as capital offences in Penal Code: murder,
treason, oathing for criminal activities by proscribed criminal outfits,
robbery and attempted robbery with violence.

The law prescribes death as the only sentence for convicts of such offences.

And the debate on the controversial capital punishment and intrigues around it
could open the floodgates of court suits, leading to a constitutional crisis if
the majority support abolition of the penalty.


Experts say sometimes, the mandatory death sentence serves extreme punishment
to some undeserving convicts of the offences, and is therefore disproportionate
and unconstitutional.

Views are that there should be variations in penalties meted out on convicts of
capital offfences, depending on motivation for and degree of aggravation in
committing such crimes.

Also in question is whether the law should consider the circumstances under
which each offender commits the offences, and set a formula of determining
varied proportionate penalties.

Justice Jessie Lesiit, the principal judge in the High Court's criminal
division, says lack of distinction and clear definitions of the offences of
robbery and robbery with violence have led to disproportionate sentencing of

Lesiit said the sections that define robbery, simple robbery and robbery with
violence, and attempted robbery and attempted robbery with violence are

She said the limitations or the challenges the judicial officers face is not in
the sentence to give but in lack of clarity and lack of differentiation between
the manner in which the offence is committed and the kind of weapons used in
the offences of robbery.

That failure to clarify, classify and distinguish between the actions, the
weapons and what is done, even the execution of the offence, poses a problem,
Lesiit said.

She said there are crimes that would be deserving of a serious punishment, even
if it is death, because of the way in which they are executed and the kind of
weapons used.

And there are others that are not deserving at all because of the way they were
executed and the weapons the offenders carried.

"Those are the things we are saying, let us have a distinction in our law so we
can say in this case, aggravation was lacking; they didn't do a good thing but
they didn't come with a kind of force that would require a severe punishment.
Each should be in category of their own," Lesiit said.

"But ours is the same river that carries all of them, which is a mistake.
Because Kenyans said they want it [death sentence], let us have it for the most
serious of offences, the most aggravated ones. The person who uses gun, knives
and petrol bombs can get the death penalty."


A 3-judge bench chaired by Lesiit herself in September 2015 directed Parliament
and the state law office to amend some sections of the penal code to meet
constitutional thresholds.

12 death row convicts whose sentences were commuted to life were challenging
many issues, including the mandatory death sentence - the fact that because the
sentence is mandatory even if mitigation is given, it is of no use because the
sentence is already pre-determined by the statute.

Lesiit said the bench found that there is no distinct clarity to differentiate
between degrees of aggravation of the offence of robbery, the offence of
robbery with violence and attempted robbery with violence with sufficient

She said the problem is not the sentence but that the laws have not
differentiated the actions and the manner of executions of those offences, then
they go on to provide all of them with 1 sentence.

There is no distinct clarity to differentiate between degrees of aggravation of
the offence of robbery, the offence of robbery with violence and attempted
robbery with violence with sufficient particularities.

"What we found is that the definition section 295 gives of robbery is
inadequate and insufficient in its scope and also in application. The penalties
sections that are provided do not set out the required details in precision
that meet the constitutional threshold that requires certainty and clarity of
the offence charged on the accused person to be able to defend themselves,"
Lesiit said.

"We said those sections are ambiguous and are conflicted to such an extent that
they violate an accused person's right to a fair trial. Because under article
27 of the constitution, it requires that accused persons who are a special
category of persons facing criminal trial should be accorded equal treatment,
protection and equal benefits under the law."

Justice Lesiit said they asked Parliament to look at those sections to come up
with clarification and distinction in aggravation, "so that if you are 2 of you
and it is ngeta [using hands to subdue someone], that offence should have a

"If they can distinguish that and state here where you used firearms or
grenades or you have gone with knives, you have stabbed people and all those
things, then that one is an aggravated form of robbery. If it is where they
have shot everybody and the sentence is death, it will be proportionate to what
they have done," Lesiit said.

She said the offence should lead to an imprisonment of not more than 10 years,
with the court having discretion to determine exactly how many years they will
give, depending on the execution of the offence.

Lesiit said if somebody committed the offence while armed with a gun and
another person was armed with a stick, the two ought not be treated the same.


But Shatikha Chivusia, a Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
commissioner, differs with Lesiit on pegging the penalties on the types of
weapons and degree of aggravation used.

Chivusia argues that for there to be culpability, there must be an intention
and then the action - the 2 things that go hand in hand in the ingredients of
crime, irrespective of what kind of weapon is used.

"If this person left his house with a gun, the other left his house with a
knife and another with a stick, all of these items are able to cause bodily
harm, which means as the person is preparing to go and commit that crime, in
their mind the rationale is: should there be interference or should the victim
resist, then I am going to use what I have," Chivusia said.

"For the common chicken thieves, the aim is to steal and go away, but the
moment you are armed, you have an intention to cause harm should your plans be
interfered with."

She said said after a convict is sent to the hangman, there is a window for
appeal, which means that the due process is followed, and having listened to
both sides and evidence before the court, it is on that basis that capital
punishment is pronounced.

Lesiit says in the case where a gun is involved and is fired, that offence is
more aggravated.

She says a fired gun and a stick cannot be compared, and there should be
degrees of aggravation recognised under the law.

"We just have a definition of what a robbery is. It tells you if your intention
is to rob someone of something. For instance, if you are with another person
and maybe you are armed with something, which they don't specify to distinguish
levels of aggravation - they say now that is robbery with violence," she said.

"If you stole something from somebody and you were 2 of you, it doesn't matter
whether you used any actual violence or not. If you are 2 of you and you have
stolen something from someone, that is robbery with violence."

Lesiit added: "It cannot be that somebody who is not armed and is with another
one and they steal something, that that is the same level of robbery as the one
who comes armed with a gun and they are a huge number of people and they are
firing all over the place."

Attorney General GIthu Muigai supported the repealing of some sections of the
Penal Code to remove generalities that anchor inherent unfairness.

He said the law should be amended to distinguish between a person who is the
principal perpetrator of the crime and the person who is a victim of
circumstances by being at the same place at the same time with the person who
commits the crime.

"Our law must catch up with the most recent thinking globally, about crime and
punishment," Muigai said.

"Right now if you are with a person who intends to rob somebody but you don't
know his intention, then he uses violence, you are also an accomplice and you
will be charged with capital robbery."

(source: the-star.co.ke)


EU, Switzerland urge Nigeria to abolish death sentences

The European Union (EU) Heads of Mission in Nigeria and the Ambassador of
Switzerland on Tuesday condemned death penalty sentences in Nigeria.

This was contained in a joint statement released by EU Heads of Mission to
Nigeria Michel Arrion and Swiss Ambassador to Nigeria Eric Mayooraz in Abuja,
the Nation's capital.

The statement called on State Governors as well as the Nigerian Government to
comprehensively respond to the issue through a more transparent approach.

The envoys singled out the proposed executions in Lagos State, describing it as
'cruel, degrading and inhuman punishment.'

As of 2017, Nigeria remains one of the only countries in the World where
Capital punishment is legal.

The country has constantly faced backlash for failing to abolish the death
penalty. In 2O16 alone Nigeria recorded over 527 death sentences.

Human Rights group, Amnesty International says the country handed down more
death sentences that year than any other country except China.

In Nigeria, the Edo State Government executed 3 people in 2016, the 1st
executions since 2013.

According to information provided by Nigeria's prisons service, a total of
1,979 people are currently under death sentence.

The Statement by the EU said that death penalty fails to provide deterrence to
criminal behaviour and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and

?It maintains that death penalty is as barbaric as it is outlandish, adding
that globally 104 countries have abolished death penalty for all crimes.

According to the Statement, Nigeria and Gambia are countries in ECOWAS still
executing their citizens.

The statement also pledged the support of the EU and Switzerland in
strengthening the Nigerian judicial system and improving the rights and safety
of citizens.

"The EU and Switzerland are committed to contribute to the strengthening of the
Nigerian judicial system and the promotion of rule of law and justice for
Nigerian Citizens.

"We look forward to further supporting Nigerian authorities in adopting
appropriate legislation to improve the rights and safety of its citizens, in
accordance with our positions on death penalty," the statement read.

(source: tv360nigeria.com)


Death penalty of honour-killing uncles commuted

2 Palestinian brothers have been given a reprieve after being sentenced to
death for murdering their niece in a so-called 'honour killing' by forcing her
to swallow poison while pointing a gun to her head.

The Palestinian Criminal Court has commuted the death sentence with
imprisonment of 10 and 7 years after the victim's parents gave up their rights
in the case.

The 20-year-old victim - identified only as T.S. - fled home when her family
discovered she had agreed to marry a man she had fallen in love with. She
sought refuge at the house of a community leader in Nablus, who vowed to
protect her.

The court heard that the victim's father and his brothers visited the community
leader and asked him to hand over the woman. He initially refused but relented
after the father and his brothers promised that no harm would come to her.

The father handed over his daughter to his brothers, who accompanied her to
another house in Nablus, where they prepared a cup of juice for her. On the 1st
sip, the woman became suspicious but one of her uncles pointed a gun to her
head and threatened to shoot her unless she drank all the juice.

A senior court official told Gulf News that according to the confession of the
2 uncles, their niece took 2 hours to die after swallowing a large amount of
the juice. The uncles told police that the woman had committed suicide after
her father forbade her from marrying her sweetheart - a story backed up by the
father and mother.

However, after an extensive investigation by the police and public prosecution,
the uncles were arrested and confronted with the evidence. They confessed,
saying they killed their niece for insisting on marrying the man she loved.

The Palestinian Criminal Court had sentenced the 2 murderers to death but
reprieved them on Monday because of the decision of the victim's parents to
give up their rights in the case.

(source: Gulf News)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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May 4


Iran's Rajai Shahr Prison: 8 Prisoners Including Women Hanged in 1 Day

On Wednesday May 3, 8 prisoners, including 2 unidentified women, were
reportedly hanged at Karaj's Rajai Shahr Prison.

According to close sources, the majority of these prisoners were executed on
murder charges. 5 other prisoners, including Mehdi Bahlouli, were returned to
their cells after their execution sentences were halted.

The men who were executed were among a group of 11 prisoners who were
transferred to solitary confinement on May 29 in preparation for their
executions. Iran Human Rights had reported on these imminent executions.

Close sources have identified the men as: Maziar Alaie Bakhsh, Jabbar
Mollahashemi, Shayan Shaddel, Mohammad Jegarki, Mahmoud Bayat and Ali Maleki.

"In September 2012, Ali got involved in a group fight situation to defend his
little brother. At that time, he had accepted responsibility for the murder
that occurred, in order to protect his brother," a family member of Ali Maleki
tells Iran Human Rights."

The names of the 2 women who were also executed are not known at this time. A
prisoner has reported to Iran Human Rights that these 2 women were transferred
to Rajai Shahr Prison from Gharchak Varamin Prison. Close sources say that they
were sentenced to death on murder charges.

Execution Sentences of 5 Prisoners Halted

5 prisoners, including Mehdi Bahlouli and Majid Agharahimi, were temporarily
spared from execution.

Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not
announced any of the executions or imminent executions mentioned in this

(source: iranhr.net)


Death penalty for suspects charged with Islamic preacher's murder in Erbil

A court in Erbil has issued the death penalty for individuals charged with the
murder of Islamic preacher Hoshyar Ismail in November last year, the family's
lawyer said on Thursday (May 4).

Gunmen shot and killed Ismail at his home at around midnight on November 22 in
Erbil. He died at West Erbil Emergency Hospital as a result of the gunshot
wounds from the attack.

Following the attack, Erbil security forces detained 2 suspects on November 27.

The lawyer taking charge of the murder case on behalf of Ismail, Birzo Saeed,
told reporters that Erbil court had sentenced the perpetrators to death
according to Article 406 of Iraqi Penal Code.

The lawyer added that the case will remain open and a further investigation
would be launched to see if other people were behind the murder.

The brother of the Islamic preacher, Kamal Ismail, said the family was "happy
for the court's decision."

Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) representative, Bakir Qadir, who attended the
trial told NRT that the Erbil court had carried out its job.

The perpetrators in the case admitted to the murder of Ismail and said no one
else was behind the killing.

Head of KIU's Political Council, Hadi Ali, said last month that the
perpetrators were known and from the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP).

The murder of Ismail led to overwhelming reactions from senior Kurdish
officials and political parties at the time who called for a fair investigation
into the incident.

Ismail, who was 40 years old, had a doctorate in philosophy in the
interpretation of the Quran. He was a preacher for 13 years in the Kurdistan

(source: nrttv.com)


Murdered teacher's mother 'relieved' as Qatari court upholds death sentence

The mother of a British primary school teacher murdered in Qatar 4 years ago
has spoken of her relief after the killer had his death sentence upheld.

Badr Hashim Khamis Abdullah Al-Jabar was found guilty by a court in Doha in
2014 of killing Lauren Patterson, 24, in the Gulf state a year earlier.

His accomplice Muhammad Abdullah Hassan Abdul Aziz was jailed for 3 years for
reportedly helping burn the body of the Briton, originally from Chislehurst, in
south-east London.

Miss Patterson had been working at the Newton British School in the Qatari

She disappeared in Doha on October 12, 2013. Local media reported at the time
that she was last seen outside the city's 5-star La Cigale hotel.

On Sunday, an appeal court in Qatar upheld the death penalty, a spokesman at
the Foreign Office said.

In a statement on Wednesday, her mother Alison said the family remained
devastated but felt justice had been done.

She said: "Following Sunday's court hearing, I am feeling very emotional but
relieved that the trial is now over.

"The family remain devastated by the senseless and tragic events of October
2013, but due to the thoroughness of the judicial process in Qatar we now feel
that justice has thankfully prevailed for Lauren.

"I would like to thank all those who have supported me during this difficult
process and request that our family's privacy be respected at this time."

(source: aol.co.uk)


Indian court rejects death penalty plea in 2002 riots----Angry mob gang-raped
19-year old pregnant Muslim woman, killed 14 of her family members in 2002
Gujarat riots

An Indian court has turned down a plea seeking death penalty for three men
convicted of gang-raping a pregnant Muslim woman and murdering 14 of her family

The incident had taken place in anti-Muslim riots in the western state of
Gujarat in 2002. 12 people were awarded life imprisonment in the case.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had asked the Bombay High Court to
order death penalty for three of the accused -- Govind Nai, Shailesh Bhatt and
Jaswant Nai -- as it has evidence that they gang-raped Bilkis Bano, a
19-year-old woman.

According to CBI, Bhatt was involved in killing Bano's 3-year-old daughter by
crushing her head with a stone.

Bano had recognized her rapists during interrogation. The CBI had termed it a
"rarest of rare case" and demanded death penalty for 3 of the convicts.

She along with other Muslims was attacked by a mob on March 3, 2002 in Dahod
district. She was 5 months pregnant when she was raped by her fellow villagers.

She lost 14 members of her family including her 3-year-old child, 2 sisters and
mother. Only 2 family members of Bano survived after the violence.

However, the court accepted the plea of the CBI to reverse the acquittal of 5
police officers of Gujarat in the case. They were found involved with the
convicts in fudging documents.

A trial court in Mumbai in January, 2008 had sentenced 12 people to life
imprisonment. They later appealed in High Court against their conviction. 1 of
the convicts has died since then.

(source: aa.com.tr)


High Court says it reduced death sentences because convicts tried to save Rakib

The High Court has said it lightened the death sentences of 2 to life
imprisonment for killing Rakib Hawlader in Khulna in 2015 because the convicts
tried to save the life of the teenager after understanding the seriousness of
the crime.

The bench of Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain issued
the verdict on death references and appeals of convicts Omar Sharif and Mintu
Khan on Apr 4.

The full verdict entailing 69 pages was published on Wednesday.

Rakib used to work at a motor workshop owned by one 'Sharif' in Khulna's
Tutpara. 'Sharif' and his uncle 'Mintu' was mad at him after he had left the

On Aug 3, 2015, they inserted a high-pressure air pump nozzle into his rectum.
The high air pressure tore the 12-year-old boy's intestines, rectum and bladder
causing profuse internal bleeding in the stomach.

The incident shocked the nation and calls to bring the perpetrators to justice
reverberated throughout Bangladesh.

In November the same year, a Khulna court handed death penalty to Sharif and

Commuting the death penalty to life term, the High Court said, "From the
evidence of aforesaid witnesses it is found that the accused persons removed
the victim from the place of occurrence to the hospitals soon after incident."

"It is also evident ... that the accused persons were beaten by angry mobs
after occurrence meaning that the accused persons did not flea away rather they
tried to save the life of the victim when they felt that they committed serious
crime on the victim by pumping air into his belly by inflator," it added.

The High Court also slapped the duo with a Tk 50,000 fine each. They have to
serve 2 more years in jail in case of failing to hand over the money to Rakib's

The court also cited that the 2 convicts have no other criminal record.

Rakib's father Nurul Alam Hawlader expressed his frustration when the summary
verdict was issued.

After the full verdict was published on Wednesday, he told bdnews24.com that he
would challenge the High Court verdict in the Appellate Division.

Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights, which provided legal
aid to Rakib's family, has said it will continue to assist the family in the
appeal against the commutation of the death sentence.

Deputy Attorney General Zahirul Haque said the State will also contest the High
Court verdict.

After the summary verdict, the defence lawyers said their clients got 'partial

On Wednesday Md Chowdhury Alal, the counsel for Sharif, told bdnews24.com that
the convict was yet to decide about challenging the High Court verdict.


Law specifying death for disrupting civil aviation tabled in parliament

A draft law imposing death penalty and a fine of Tk 50 million for disrupting
civil aviation has been placed in parliament.

Civil Aviation Minister Rashed Khan Menon tabled the 'Civil Aviation Movement
Bill 2017' in parliament on Wednesday.

It was later sent to the parliamentary standing committee on civil aviation and
tourism ministry for vetting. The committee was given 4 weeks.

The Cabinet gave its final nod to the draft law on Feb 13. It approved the
draft on principle on Feb 29 last year.

The penalties for different crimes related to aviation have been increased in
the draft law.

The draft is an updated version of the 1960's 'The Civil Aviation Ordinance'.

Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam told reporters after the meeting.

According to the draft, any action disrupting smooth operation of aircraft and
jeopardising people's lives will be considered a crime.

The penalty for such action is death and a fine of Tk 50 million.

Anyone breaching the 'Air Navigation Order' (license for operating aircraft)
will be awarded 5-year jail term or Tk 10 million fine or both.

For misusing the light signals, which is considered a serious crime, the
penalty is life sentence or fine of Tk 50 million or both.

For carrying dangerous items in flights, the penalty is jail for 7 years and a
fine of Tk 5 million.

The law defines 'dangerous items' as any object that is hazardous to health,
property and environment.

The items flagged by the International Civil Aviation as 'dangerous' fall in
this category.

The proposed law imposes 7-year prison term and Tk 5 million fine for entering
Bangladesh's airspace illegally.

(source for both: bdnews24.com)


Lorry driver to hang for killing lover's husband

A lorry driver has been sentenced to death for strangling his lover's husband
after the woman refused to go on with the affair 3 years ago.

Judicial Commissioner Wong Teck Meng, in handing out the sentence to Jaafar
Ngamil, 45, at the High Court here, said the defence had failed to raise
reasonable doubt against the prosecution's case.

Jaafar was found guilty of murdering Jamingan Hambali, 44, in a car in the
vicinity of Kampung Banting in Sabak Bernam, Selangor, between 9.07pm on June
22, 2014, and 8.30am on June 23, 2014.

He was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory
death penalty upon conviction.

12 prosecution witnesses and 1 defence witness had been called to testify
during the trial, which began on Jan 11 last year.

In his ruling, JC Wong said the 10th prosecution witness, who is Jaafar's
nephew, testified that he was asked to drive the car while Jaafar sat in the

"The witness was then asked to stop near the victim's house to let him in,
where he sat in the front passenger seat.

"While the vehicle was moving, the accused quarrelled with the victim and the
witness saw the accused choking the victim's neck using both hands, causing the
victim to struggle and finally become still.

"The forensics specialist also testified that the cause of death was due to the
pressure on his neck that caused asphyxiation," he said.

Jaafar had argued in his defence that his action of choking Jamingan from
behind was in response to a sudden provocation, as he was trying to protect his
nephew from being beaten up.

"The accused also claimed that unpaid salary was the cause of the fight," JC
Wong added. "However, the accused could have filed a civil suit against the

"Also, the accused had undue advantage because he was sitting in the back while
the victim was in front, making it hard for the latter to escape during the
attack," he added.

JC Wong also said it was clear that Jaafar had the intention to murder Jamingan
and it was not due to any provocation.

Jaafar appeared calm and kept his head bowed while the sentence was pronounced.

Earlier, in mitigation, Jaafar's counsel, who did not want to be named, said
his client was a divorcee with three children and a 65-year-old mother to
provide for.

He said Jaafar had no prior criminal record.

A sobbing middle-aged woman and three teenagers were seen kissing Jaafar's hand
before he was led out of the courtroom.

(source: thestar.com.my)


Amnesty's concerns over 'diyat' for death row convicts

Amnesty International Malaysia says it has several concerns over the Pahang
Pardons Board's plans to adopt the Islamic law of "diyat" as an alternative to
granting pardons to convicts awaiting the death sentence.

AI Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said these concerns
included the "diyat" not being consistent with international human rights laws,
giving a private individual the power to decide on a person's life and the
"discriminatory nature" of the "diyat", which puts the poor at a disadvantage.

"Any alternative to hanging a human being is a welcome move. However, we need
to consider the roles of the pardons board and the state in deciding whether to
preserve or end human life.

"Amnesty International Malaysia believes that power to end life should never
lie in the hands of the state as much as it should not lie in the hands of
private individuals," she said, adding it was the discretion of state pardons
boards to offer clemency.

"The former Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary
Executions had noted that the 'diyat' may operate inconsistently with
international human rights law, in particular with the guarantees of
non-discrimination and due process when the death penalty is imposed," she said
in a statement to FMT.

She said the right to seek a commutation or pardon for a condemned prisoner is
a right recognised under international law as a safeguard of due process.

"When the death penalty is the mandatory punishment, as it is in our country
for several offences, the clemency process becomes an urgent and critical final
opportunity for a meaningful review of the circumstances of the case and of the
offender, which at the moment cannot be weighed by judges at sentencing."

Citing the case of former death row inmate Shahrul Izani Suparman for
possession of cannabis, Shamini said the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin
Idris Shah saw that Shahrul had fully repented and spared his life.

The pardons process, she added, must be a meaningful opportunity to review a
case, and where the "diyat" pardon is available, it should be supplemented by a
separate public system for seeking an official pardon or commutation.

Shamini also said death-row inmates from poorer backgrounds may be at a
disadvantage to give their victims the compensation requested and this would
strengthen the perception that the death penalty is a "lethal lottery" for
certain sections of society.

Meanwhile, lawyer Faiz Fadzil said the proposal was good but required
amendments to the relevant laws as the power to pardon was in the hands of a
sultan or the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, on the advice of a state's pardons board.

He added what was crucial was that the process must be transparent and the
families of victims aren't pressured by anyone to accept compensation.

Faiz said if a death-row inmate couldn't afford the compensation, it would fall
on the inmate's family to pay.

Yesterday, it was reported that the Regent of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan
Ahmad Shah, said the Pahang Pardons Board plans to adopt the Islamic law of
"diyat" as an alternative to granting pardon to convicts awaiting the death

(source: freemalaysiatoday.com)


Death penalty, religious intolerance focus at Indonesia's UN rights review

Executions for drug crimes, rising religious intolerance, and the repression of
activists and journalists in Papua were some major criticisms lodged against
Indonesia's human rights record at the nation???s Universal Periodic Review in
Geneva on Wednesday.

The delegations from around 100 countries lined up to comment on the condition
of human rights in Indonesia, with a slew of states from Europe, Africa and the
Americas recommending that Indonesia re-impose a moratorium on the death
penalty and steps towards the elimination of capital punishment.

The United Nations Human Rights Council conducts the UPR for each member state
every 5 years, providing an opportunity for other nations to analyse progress
and highlight concerns.

While states parties applauded Indonesia's progress in pursuing the protection
of rights for some vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with
disabilities, Indonesia's high-level delegation was faced with widespread calls
to better protect religious and LGBT minority groups.

Indonesia staunchly defends executions

Long a diplomatic sticking point with nations around the globe, Indonesia came
under heavy criticism from dozens of countries for its continued use of capital
punishment for people convicted of drug offences.

Indonesian Justice and Human Rights Minister Yassona Laoly pushed back against
the criticism, stating that continuing to implement the death penalty was
important for addressing the nation's drug problems.

"Each day 33 persons ... die because of drug abuse," he said. "If you are a
family member of the drugs victims, surely you will understand."

Yassona continued that "the rights of the offender must always be weighed
against the rights of the victims," but that without strict punishments to
contain drug use, "the future of the nation will become bleak."

"As a democratic country, public discourse on the implementation of the death
penalty is ongoing in Indonesia," he said.

(source: asiancorrespondent.com)


Belarus parliament discusses death penalty issues

Death penalty issues were discussed in the House of Representatives of the
National Assembly of Belarus on 3 May. Attending the meeting were MPs and
foreign experts, BelTA has learned.

Andrei Naumovich, Chairman of the Human Rights, National Relations, and Mass
Media Commission of the House of Representatives, stated that a working group
on death penalty was set up in the new-convocation parliament. The working
group will inform the public on the aspects of the punishment and provide a
full-fledged monitoring of the situation. MPs will hold meetings in
constituencies, study people's opinion in the regions. "The matter requires a
wide-ranging discussion with the people of the Republic of Belarus," Andrei
Naumovich said. He also mentioned that this issue was discussed during the
recent visit of Andrea Rigoni, Rapporteur on Belarus of the Political Affairs
and Democracy Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(PACE), to Belarus.

MPs and senators expressed their opinions on the matter during today's meeting.
One of the key speakers was member of the Death Penalty Expert Group at the UK
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Parvais Jabbar.

(source: law.by)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-05-05 14:16:17 UTC
May 5


Germany rules out Turkish death penalty referendum

The German government says it won't allow Turks living in Germany to vote in a
possible referendum on reviving the death penalty in Turkey. President Erdogan
is contemplating reviving capital punishment.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin on Friday that
letting such a referendum go ahead in Germany was "politically inconceivable"
because it "so clearly contradicts our basic law and European values."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan floated plans to bring back the death
penalty following his narrow victory in last month's referendum to expand his

Under Turkish law, Turkish nationals living abroad are eligible to vote in
referendums and elections in Turkey. But Germany's Foreign Ministry has pointed
out that all sovereign actions by other countries on its territory, such as
referendums, first need to be approved by the federal government.

Erdogan has called for the death penalty to be reinstated

Germany allowed polling stations for Turkish nationals to vote in the April
referendum on the presidential executive. No application for a referendum on
the death penalty has yet been made by Ankara. If such a request were to be
made, Seibert said the government would likely use its legal resources to
prohibit a vote.

His comments echoed earlier remarks from the leading Social Democrat candidate
in this year's federal elections, Martin Schulz. He told news magazine "Der
Spiegel" that "we cannot allow voting in Germany on an instrument that
contradicts our values and our constitution."

(source: Deutsche Welle)


Stop Execution of Young Man for Atheism in Saudi Arabia!


Saudi Arabia has condemned a man to death for being an atheist.

Ahmad Al Shamri is a young man in his 20s who did what many of us do - he used
social media to share his views on life, religion, and the world. But when he
shared that he was an atheist, the authorities took notice and immediately came
after him.

A Saudi Arabian court first sentenced Mr. Shamri to death in February 2015, but
he appealed the verdict and has spent years in prison while waiting for the
court to overturn the punishment. Now, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia has
issued its final verdict. And it has ruled against Mr. Shamri, confirming that
he will be killed for his beliefs.

We don't know when or how Mr. Shamri will be executed. We don't know how much
time he has left. But we do know that no one should be murdered for their
personal beliefs - whether those beliefs are about religion, politics, society,
or any other topic on the face of the earth. Murder is murder, even when it is
carried out by a government.

We are urging the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia to rethink its decision and to
spare Mr. Shamri's life! We must all band together and speak out strongly and
loudly. Only a chorus of voices from the international community can save Mr.
Shamri now.

(source: thepetitionsite.com)


Hangings Continue Unabated in Iran, Despite International Pressure

Over the past 5 years, there have been repeated calls by the international
community for Iran to institute a moratorium on all executions within the
country. Convictions were called into question based on faulty trials, lack of
legal representation, and confessions obtained under duress or outright

Individuals who are convicted of drug offenses are also at risk of receiving
the death penalty, despite the fact that these offenses do not meet
international standards for the death penalty.

"Iranian officials should end all executions and outlaw the use of the death
penalty for drug offenders, which does not meet international legal standards,"
said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch in January
2017. "Packing prisons with drug offenders and rushing to send them to death
row without due process in highly flawed trials will just worsen Iran's justice
problem while doing nothing to solve Iran???s drug problem."

Iran executed hundreds of people in 2016, with a majority of them for drug
offenses. Their drug law mandates the death penalty for the trafficking,
possession, or trade of as little as 30 grams of synthetic drugs or their
chemical derivatives.

"The death penalty is a cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment that violates
the right to life. Its use is abhorrent in any circumstances, but carrying out
these executions would be particularly tragic, given ongoing discussions in the
Iranian parliament that could lead to the abolition of the death penalty for
non-violent drug offenses," said Phillip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director
for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

This is just one example of the individuals receiving the death penalty.
Another group are juvenile offenders who are sentenced to death for crimes
committed while they were underage.

Yet these executions continue in Iran. Just this week, a 21-year-old was hanged
in public for killing another man in a fight. Another prisoner was hung for
drug related charges in Borojerd Prison. He was a husband and father of 2
children. Identified as Saied Papizadeh, he was in prison for 6 years prior to
his execution.

Another prisoner was hanged in Parsilon Prison after being convicted on drug
related charges. He had been held in prison for 3 years prior to his execution.

For those who have not yet been executed, urgent requests are being made by
human rights groups to the international community, in hopes of pressuring Iran
to stay or commute their sentences. One such individual is Peyman Barandah, who
was 15 years old at the time of his arrest. He is due to be executed on May
10th. In August 2012, he was sentenced to death after Branch 5 of the Criminal
Court in Fars Province convicted him of murder for the fatal stabbing of a
teenager during a fight in June 2010. Barandah has repeatedly maintained his
innocence, saying another teenager that was part of the fight inflicted the
fatal blow. His death sentence was upheld by Branch 6 of the Supreme Court in
September 2013.

This is just 1 example out of hundreds showcasing Iran's juvenile justice
system. For those who come in contact with Iran's judiciary, there is little
chance of a fair trial and the likelihood of a sentence that defies
international treaties and laws.

(source: themediaexpress.com)


Majority support for death penalty declines: Pulse Asia

Majority of Filipinos support death penalty, one of President Rodrigo Duterte's
priority measures, even as their numbers declined from last year, results of a
Pulse Asia Inc survey released Friday showed.

67 % said in March that they agreed to the imposition of death penalty for
heinous crimes, down from 81 % in July last year, the pollster said in a

During the same period, disagreement to capital punishment rose 14 points to 25
% from 11 %. The undecided stood at 8 % for both survey periods.

Pulse Asia sait it polled 1,200 adults from March 15 to 20. It had an error
margin of +/- 3 % at the 95% confidence level.

The pollster also noted that the largest decrease in support for capital
punishment was in Luzon, followed by Visayas. Citizens in the Class D, or lower
working class socioeconomic status, meanwhile, showed the most decrease in

Those who continue to support the death penalty, meanwhile, rate the top crimes
that should be punishable with capital punishment as follows: rape (97 %)
murder (88 %) drug pushing (71 %).

Meanwhile, most Filipinos prefer the minimum age of criminal liability to be
kept at 15 years old, Pulse Asia said.

55 % of Filipinos favor the retention of the current minimum age before
offenders can be penalized as adults for their crimes. If the age will be
lowered, however, about 20 % favor setting it at 12 years, while 9 % set it at
9 years, Pulse Asia said.

13 % want to raise it to 16 to 25 years old.

Those in Luzon excluding Metro Manila were found to be more in favor of
retaining the minimum age of criminal liability (63 %), compared with their
counterparts in Metro Manila (45 %) and the Visayas (47 %).

The survey period spanned Senate hearings hearings on the kidnap-slay of Korean
businessman Jee Ick-joo, killings allegedly perpetrated by the Davao Death
Squad, and the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison; the suspension of "Oplan
Tokhang"; and the advancement of the death penalty at the House; among others.


Palace: Death penalty important for PH

Malacanang on Friday underscored the importance of reimposing death penalty in
the Philippines amid declining public support for one of President Duterte's
priority anti-crime measures.

"The reimposition of capital punishment is an important component in building a
trustworthy government that protects its citizens and youth from crime,
especially the kind perpetuated by illegal drug traffickers and violators,"
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella made the statement after a Pulse Asia survey revealed a drop in the
number of Filipinos in favor of reviving the death penalty for heinous crimes:
from 81 % in July last year to 67 % in March.

Waning public support for the reimposition of death penalty could be another
stumbling block to President Rodrigo Duterte's pet measure.

The same survey also showed that 55 % of Filipinos prefer the minimum age of
criminal liability to be kept at 15 years old. Duterte is pushing to bring the
minimum age of criminal liability down to 9 years old.

Despite the 14-point decline, Abella said the remaining majority of Filipinos
supportive of death penalty "is a timely reminder that a progressive nation is
premised on law and order."

The spokesperson also expressed confidence that Congress will pass the measure.

The House of Representatives has already passed its version of the bill
reviving the death penalty, while the measure is expected to face rough sailing
in the Senate.

The United Nations has reminded the Philippines of its international obligation
not to reimpose the death penalty, given the country's ratification of the
Second Optional Protocol to the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which
prohibits the reimposition of the death penalty.

(source for both: ABS-CBN news)


Trio face death over syabu

2 brothers claimed trial at the High Court here Wednesday to trafficking
293.04gm of syabu.

Tan Chun Cheng, 41, and Tan Choon Hui, 39, pleaded not guilty before High Court
Judge Datuk Nurchaya Hj Arshad after the charge was read to them in Mandarin.

The duo were accused of trafficking the drug at 7.25pm on Dec 19, 2016 at the
Towering Industrial Centre in Penampang.

They face the death penalty if convicted under Section 39B(1)(a) of the
Dangerous Drugs Act.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Gan Peng Kun informed the court that the prosecution
has 5 witnesses for the case.

Both Tan were represented by counsel PJ Perira.

The court set June 2 for pre-trial case management.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old man also pleaded not guilty to trafficking 6,626gm of

Mohd Izzan Azhar Abdullah allegedly committed the offence at 10pm on Sept 14,
2016 in Kepayan here.

The offence also framed under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act
carries the death penalty on conviction.

Counsel Zahir Shah, representing Izzan, told the court that he would write a
representation letter to the DPP's office.

Nurchaya fixed May 29 for pre-trial case management.

The court ordered both Tan and Izzan remanded further as the charge against
them has no provision for bail.

(source: Daily Express)


SC upholds death penalty for 4 convicts in Nirbhaya gangrape case; options
before them----There are only 3 options available before the 4 convicts --
review petition, curative petition and mercy petition.

In 1 step closer to justice for Nirbhaya, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld
the death sentence given by Delhi High Court to the 4 convicts in the brutal
gangrape and murder case of a 23-year-old paramedic on the night of December
16, 2012. Calling the act as brutal, barbaric and diabolic, the court said the
4 - Mukesh Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur - deserved death
penalty. The 3-judge Bench of Justices Dipak Misra, R Banumathi and Ashok
Bhushan said, "Taking the serious injuries, the severe nature of offence
committed by the convicts, we are upholding the sentence."

There are only three options available before the 4 convicts - review petition,
curative petition and mercy petition.

If the High Court confirms the death penalty and it is also upheld by the
Supreme Court, a convict can file a review petition within 30 days. In this
case, convicts can only challenge the sentence as they have done it earlier.
The review petition is heard by the same Bench in judges??? chamber and an
application has to be filed if hearing has to be listed for open court.

If the review petition is rejected, they can file a curative petition. This is
the last legal retort available to the convicts. The curative petition is heard
by the three seniormost judges and in this case, it will be heard by Chief
Justice of India JS Khehar, Justice Dipak Misra and Jasti Chelameswar. It is
heard in judges' chamber but if an application is filed then the petition can
be heard in the open court.

Given the number of evidences and dying declaration of the victim, it is very
unlikely that there would be any change in the judgement.

The last option is mercy petition which is filed before the President. Even
though a convict can appeal for the mercy till the last minute, but if it is
rejected, then there are no options available.

After the brutal gangrape and murder of Nirbhaya, changes were brought in the
law. On February 26, 2013, it was approved that the death sentence can be given
in a rape case if the victim goes into coma, in permanent vegetative state or
dies due to it.

6 men, including the 4 convicts, were found guilty of brutally raping a 23-year
old physiotherapist inside a bus on December 16, 2012. The victim succumbed to
injuries 13 days later in a Singapore hospital on December 29, 2012. One of the
primary suspects, Ram Singh, was found hanging inside a prison cell in Tihar
jail in March 2013, while another suspect, a juvenile at the time of the crime,
was given a sentence of 3 years inside a juvenile home. The juvenile walked
free out of the juvenile home on December 18, 2015.

(source: india.com)


Judgment announced: Convict gets death penalty, life term in triple murder case

A court awarded death sentence and life imprisonment to an accused in a triple
murder case in Sialkot on Wednesday. The judgment was announced by Additional
District and Session Judge Amjad Ali Bajwa.

The prosecution told the court that accused Shehzad had gunned down Afzaal,
Iftikhar and Ehsan a few years ago in order to take revenge of an old dispute
that was running between them. However, the police arrested him and registered
an FIR.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs0.5 million that would be paid to the heirs
of the victims.

Earlier on April 30, 2017, an additional and sessions court awarded death
sentence to a man in a murder case in Dera Ghazi Khan. Additional District and
Sessions judge Khizar Hayat handed down the death sentence to Farooq, who had
opened fire on Hasan and his sons Majid and Qasim. The victims suffered bullet
injures and Majid died at a hospital during treatment.

(source: The Express Tribune)

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Rick Halperin
2017-05-06 14:06:58 UTC
May 6


Does Gambia Need The Death Penalty?

Justice Hassan Babucarr Jallow, is back as the Chief Justice of The Republic of
The Gambia. It was he who, as Attorney General and Minister of Justice back in
the 1980s abolished the death penalty in The Gambia. I am sure he is poised to
do the same again, not least because the European Union will make abolition of
the death penalty a condition of financial support to the new government.
Abolition of the death penalty is also a matter of principle for many in
Gambia's new government, not least because of the disgraceful and atrocious way
that Yahya Jammeh killed those Mile 2 prisoners in 2012.

But the question must be asked: in a poor developing country like The Gambia,
can we afford not to have the death penalty?

The question was brought to my mind yesterday and today by two pieces of news,
one from Guinea when I saw a video of people killing three robbers who were
forcefully taken from police custody by the vengeful crowd; and here in London
when a man, who had already served 11 years for a previous murder, was sent to
jail today for 15 years - for a 2nd murder of a 21-year old young father.

The initial impetus for the abolition of the death penalty was the argument
that the conviction for murder may be arrived at wrongly (I think the last
person to be hanged in UK has been pardoned because his innocence has been
proved posthumously).

The 2nd argument against the death penalty is a simple moral one: the Bible
says "thou shall not kill" and some argue that this applies to the state itself

The 3rd argument is that "the death penalty is counter-productive" - look at
USA where the one Western country with the death penalty also has the highest
homicide rate.

And finally, the 4th argument against the death penalty is that even the worst
of people can be rehabilitated to lead a useful life and contribute to society.
There was a famous murderer in Scotland whom I met many years ago at his
Project working with youth offenders. He had married the daughter of a "Lord",
a doctor and prison psychologist who had fallen in love with this murderer and
did much to give him a new lease of life.

The 1st argument appears unanswerable - until we note that last month a USA
grandfather was shot dead, deliberately, on facebook. So there are
circumstances in which we can now be 100% certain that the murderer is the

The 2nd argument seems rather simplistic and has been defeated by theologians
themselves who have justified the concept of the "just war" - which involves
killing. It is interesting that NATO and the Western alliance have been the
biggest killers (mass murderers) of civilians around the world in the last 70
years or so.

The 3rd argument seems to conflate specific problems of the United States of
America - a nation founded on the genocide of the native "Red Indians", violent
and racist brutal slavery, and above all America's love of the gun culture. So
USA is not a good example. We should ask instead: does the death penalty in
Saudi Arabia, in Iran and China, for example lead to a less violent society?
Will the violent killings of so many drug-dealers in the Philippines today
rescue that country and save it from destruction at the hands of drug dealers?

The 4th argument may be answered by referring to today's sentencing in a London
court: should the man sentenced today to 15 years in jail (a second sentence
for a second murder) get a 3rd chance to kill someone else? Which brings me to
the lynching of those men in Guinea by the mob: the mob believed that if the
robbers had been left with the police and the courts, they would have bribed
their way out and continued to terrorise the community. Some 2 weeks ago, the
Kenyan police executed gang members in broad daylight in the area where I grew
up (and where Justice Jallow has visited to see my alma mater): enter utube
"police kill gang members in Eastleigh".

On a final note, looking after prisoners is an expensive matter - more so
dangerous ones who have been sent to prison for life (it costs something like
100,000 pounds per prisoner in UK - Dalasi 5,000,000 per prisoner). Can a poor
country like The Gambia be able to look after, let's say, 100 death-row
prisoners for life?

Like many Africans of my generation in the West I have been affected by the
fact that here in the West black people get a row deal when it comes to the
Justice System (or Injustice system!). Stories of black people wrongly
convicted, and therefore murder by the state, are legion in the USA. So, I have
a strong antipathy to the death penalty who whose abolition my life-long HERO,
Dr. Angela Davies, has committed her life. That said, if I were a Justice
Minister in The Gambia, I would probably have different considerations - not
least the security of society when violent crime and murder is on the rise.

I leave it to the readers - since as an old retired teacher now teaching simple
maths to teenagers I need not make any decision on the matter!

Dida Halake,

Notting Hill,

London, UK.

(source: Letter, sambagate.com)


Belarus Carries Out 1st Execution This Year; EU Urges Moratorium

Belarus is believed to have carried out its 1st execution of the year.

Homel resident Syarhey Vostrykau, who was found guilty of rapes and murders
involving extreme brutality, was most likely executed last month on either
April 13 or April 29, the Belarusian human rights center Vyasna said in a
report posted on its website.

"Representatives of the group Human Rights Activists Against the Death Penalty
in Belarus have learned that the death sentence handed out to Homel resident
Siarhei Vostrykau has been carried out. His mother has received a relevant
report from the Homel Regional Court," Vyasna said on its website on May 5.

Judges in the regional court in the southeastern city of Homel found Vostrykau,
33, guilty in May of last year of kidnapping, raping, and murdering 2 women in
2014 and 2015. The case was heard behind closed doors.

Belarus remains the only country in Europe which still applies the death
penalty. The execution is carried out by firing squad.

The European Union issued a statement reaffirming "its strong opposition to
capital punishment in all circumstances."

"The continued application of the death penalty goes counter to Belarus's
stated willingness to engage with the international community, including the
European Union, on the matter and to consider the introduction of a moratorium
on the use of the death penalty," EU spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said in a May
6 statement.

"The European Union urges Belarus...to commute the remaining death sentences
and to introduce without delay a moratorium on the death penalty as a 1st step
towards its abolition," Kocijancic said.

Belarus carried out four executions last year. Before 2016, an execution had
not been carried out under the Belarusian legal system since November 2014.

(source: rferl.org)


Tunisia court convicts 18 of 'terrorism'

A Tunisian court on Wednesday sentenced 2 people to death and 16 others to jail
terms for acts of "terrorism" in 2014 during which a security guard was killed.

Judiciary spokesman Sofiene Sliti told AFP that 9 of those sentenced were tried
in absentia.

The 2 death sentences were handed down for the murder of the guard in Kebili,
southern Tunisia.

The 16 others were condemned to prison terms of between 4 and 36 years for
"belonging to a terrorist group" and over a deadly clash with security forces
near Tunis.

Tunisia has observed a moratorium on carrying out executions since 1991.

Since its 2011 revolution, Tunisia has experienced an increase in jihadist
attacks that have cost the lives of dozens of members of the security forces
and 59 foreign tourists.

(source: news24.com)


Arrested at 15 and At Risk of Imminent Execution in Iran

Peyman Barandah, who was arrested by the Iranian regime at 15, is at imminent
risk of execution. On May 2, the prosecutor of Shiraz met with his family and
told them that if the check of 5.5 billion rails ($169,500 US) representing
"blood money" that was given to the family of the teenager that Barandah was
accused of killing did not clear by May 7, then his execution would be carried
out on May 10 as planned. When his family wrote the check, they didn't have the
funds and admit that they still do not have the money to pay the debt. The
prosecutor then acknowledged that there was not anything his office could do to
stop the execution.

His execution was originally scheduled for April 9, but was postponed to give
his family more time to raise the money. This is just another example of money
weighing heavier on the scales of justice than a young man's life.

His trial was a classic example of Iranian justice. He was initially imprisoned
for three months in solitary confinement without access to his family or an
attorney. During this time period, he was subject to horrific treatment,
including beatings and other forms of torture and ill-treatment. He met his
lawyer for the 1st time at his trial, which was roughly 4 hours long and
included no protections for his juvenile status. Instead, he was tried as an
adult, which violates the international rules regarding juvenile judicial

There was no investigation ordered into his allegations of torture during his
confinement. He was sentenced to death in August 2012 for stabbing a teenager
during a fight, which he steadfastly denies. His sentence was upheld in
September 2013 by Branch Six of the Supreme Court.

Amnesty International is campaigning to have his conviction quashed and to have
him granted a retrial with the proper protections that should be afforded a
juvenile, including taking the death penalty off the table as a possible
sentence. They also want to encourage the international community to call on
Iran to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the
death penalty for Iranian citizens.

They also noted that Iran's Article 19 needs to be amended to abolish the sue
of the death penalty for crimes committed by individuals under the age of 18,
in line with Iran's human rights obligations under the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention one the Rights of the Child.

Since 2016, Barandah has made 3 requests for a retrial under the juvenile
sentencing provisions of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code (IPC) and all three were
rejected by the Supreme Court. To date, no written decision has ever been
communicated to him, his family or his attorney. His family said the judge
presiding over Branch 35 of the Supreme Court told them, "His death sentence is
the will of God and the Prophet and must be carried out and nothing can be done
about it."

The minimal age of criminal responsibility in Iran is set at nine lunar years
for girls and 15 lunar years for boys. From this age, a child who is convicted
of murder or crimes that fall in the category of hodud (offenses that carry
inalterable punishments prescribed by Sharia law) is generally convicted and
sentenced as an adult. The burden of proof of his innocence was put on
Barandah's shoulders, which violates the presumption of innocence and the
prosecution did not prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a fair trial.

In January 2016, Iranian authorities claimed before the UN Committee on the
Rights of the Child that "all adolescents who were under the age of 18 at the
time of committing the crime are granted retrials...and their previous verdicts
are annulled by the Supreme Court." However, lawyers have told Amnesty
International that some branches of the Supreme Court tend to deny the
applications for an Article 91 retrial. Amnesty International has identified at
least 90 juveniles who are currently on death row. Many have spent prolonged
periods on death row, in some cases more than a decade. Some have had their
executions scheduled then postponed or stayed at the last minute on multiple
occasions, thus adding to their mental and emotional abuse.

(source: The Media Express)


'Revoking death penalty is injustice'

Confirming the death penalty for the 4 men convicted in the brutal gang rape
and murder in the Nirbhaya case in December 2012, the Supreme Court on Friday
threw out the defence counsel's plea for mercy, listing instead the "brutal,
barbaric nature of the crime", which made it the rarest of rare case.

The accused had reformed, repented and never misbehaved in jail, the defence
counsel had said.

Justice R. Banumathi, on the Bench with Justices Dipak Misra and Ashok Bhushan,
pointed out that the accused had used a public transport bus to lure in
passengers. The court agreed with the Delhi Police counsel and senior advocate
Siddharth Luthra that anything short of death penalty would be a "devastation
of social trust".

'Fear psychosis'

The court acknowledged Mr. Luthra's submission that the depravity of the crime
"invites indignation of the society and created a fear psychosis. This case was
indeed rarest of rare considering the brutal and diabolic nature of the crime".

To the accused, the court read out the "entire medical history of the victim -
the shattering of the intestine caused by the repeated insertion of iron rods,
the tearing of her clothes, looting of her personal belongings, aggravated
sexual assault".

Conscience shocked

"Where a crime is committed with extreme brutality and the collective
conscience of the society is shocked, courts must award death penalty. By not
imposing a death sentence, the courts may do injustice to the society at
large," Justice Banumathi observed.

"This sounds like a story from a different world where humanity has been
treated with irreverence," Justice Misra wrote.

Spelling out each of the arguments raised in the appeal hearings, the Supreme
Court gave primary emphasis to the victim's multiple dying declarations, the
last and 3rd one made in gestures. The judgment said the dying declaration
proved beyond doubt the guilt of the accused.

The court said there was no reason to disbelieve the CCTV images which had
confirmed the presence of the men in the vicinity of the crime on the fateful

(source: The Hindu)


Most Pinoys still back death penalty

Most Filipinos still support the death penalty although their number dropped
significantly in the last 8 months under the Duterte administration, the latest
Pulse Asia survey showed.

The poll, fielded from March 15 to 20, also showed more than 1/2 of Filipinos
want the minimum age of criminal liability to stay at 15 years old, contrary to
the proposal of administration lawmakers to lower it to 9.

The Pulse Asia poll used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 representative adults
and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 % points at the 95 % confidence
level. Support for the reimposition of capital punishment fell by 14 points
from 81 % in July 2016 to 67 % in March 2017.

Most of the respondents who favor the death penalty come from the National
Capital Region and Mindanao, both at 74 %.

It also received the backing of 66 % of respondents from the Visayas and 61 %
from balance Luzon.

Support for the death penalty was registered at 68 % for both classes ABC and
E, while it was at 66 % among class D or masa.

1 in 4 Filipinos (25 %) opposed the death penalty, while the remaining 8 % were
unable to say whether or not they support capital punishment.

Support for the death penalty dropped in the rest of Luzon (-21 % points) and
in Class D (-16 % points), Pulse Asia said.

On the other hand, opposition to capital punishment rose by 14 % points
nationwide, with the highest increase recorded in balance Luzon.

Among those who are pro-capital punishment, the most often cited crime which
should be made punishable by death is rape (97 %), followed by murder (88 %)
and drug pushing (71 %).

Fewer Filipinos supportive of the death penalty think kidnap-for-ransom (46 %)
and plunder (33 %) should be covered by such punishment.

However, most respondents from Metro Manila (55 %), the Visayas (59 %) and
those in Class ABC (57 %) support the imposition of capital punishment for
kidnap-for-ransom and plunder while a bare majority of those in Class ABC (51
%) are in favor of the death penalty in plunder cases.

Pulse Asia noted that more Visayans now support imposing the death penalty for
murder cases than in July 2016 - 91 % from 75 %.

As regards kidnap-for-ransom cases, support for capital punishment declined in
the rest of Luzon by 13 % points but went up in the Visayas by 20 % points.

With regard to plunder cases, more Visayans are in favor of having the death
penalty compared to July 2016 (40 % versus 27 %).

The House of Representatives passed the Death Penalty Bill last March despite
strong opposition from various sectors, including religious groups.

From an initial list of 21 crimes that included rape, treason and plunder, the
House leadership decided to limit the death penalty to drug-related crimes and

The same Pulse Asia survey found 55 % of Filipino adults who think the minimum
age of criminal liability in the Philippines should be retained at 15 years

This opinion was expressed by "big pluralities to sizeable majorities" across
geographic areas and socio-economic classes (45 % to 63 % and 48 % to 58 %,

Filipinos in balance Luzon (63 %) are more in favor of keeping the minimum age
of criminal liability at 15 years old than those in Metro Manila (45 %) and the
Visayas (47 %).

On the other hand, 20 % of Filipinos favor lowering the minimum age of criminal
liability to 12 years old while 9 % say it should be 9 years old.

13 % of survey respondents say the minimum age of criminal liability should be
between 16-25 years old, 2 % say it should be 10-11 years old and 1 % favor
having it at 13-14 years old.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro filed House Bill No. 2
or the "Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility Act," which seeks to lower the
minimum age for criminal liability from the current 15 to 9 years.

The lawmakers said the measure was meant to deter minors from being used as
accomplices, especially in drug-related cases.

March against death

Meanwhile, pilgrims against the reimposition of the death penalty will march
from Cagayan de Oro City to the Senate in Pasay City to drum up public
awareness against capital punishment.

The Lakbay-Buhay Laban sa Death Penalty caravan march started their journey
from Cagayan de Oro on May 4. They will travel to 13 cities and provinces
before reaching Metro Manila. From Cagayan de Oro, they will go to Cebu City,
Tacloban City, Borongan City, Catarman, Sorsogon, Legaspi City, Naga City,
Gumaca and Lucena City, San Pablo City, Lipa City in Batangas, Imus in Cavite.

They will go to Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City on May 19 and be in
CAMANAVA the next day. On May 21, they will proceed to the University of Santo
Tomas and stage a protest outside the Senate from May 22 to 24.

"Death penalty is inhuman as it runs contrary to the principle of restorative
justice and corrupts the universal value of life; it is unlawful as it violates
existing international treaties the Philippines is party to; it is ineffective
as deterrent to crime and drug abuse; it is unjust as it is anti-poor," said
Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the National Secretariat for Social
Action of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines.

He said that even if Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon gave assurance that
13 senators are likely to vote against the passage of the death penalty bill,
they are not discounting the possibility that there are some lawmakers who
might change their mind or be persuaded to vote in favor of the bill.

"We are worried because with just one wave of the administration, they could
railroad the passage of the law in Congress. We all know that this bill is
connected with the government's war against illegal drugs. This is a pet bill
of the government," he added.

Gariguez said there are also rumors circulating that there is a directive that
Congress should pass the death penalty bill before President Duterte's 2nd
State of the Nation Address in July.

(source: Philippine Star)

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Rick Halperin
2017-05-07 18:16:03 UTC
May 7


Calls for Indonesia to Abolish Death Penalty

Indonesia expressed its commitment to address challenges that hamper its
efforts to improve and protect human rights at home, during the 27th session of
the United Nations Universal Period Review in Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday

While the country was praised for the improvements it has made on human rights,
such as the ratification of various international conventions, the delegations
of several countries raised their concerns and recommended that Indonesia
should do more.

Indonesia accepted 150 of the 225 recommendations it received from 101
delegations during the review, while undertaking to examine the remainder.

The country is expected to state its position on the pending recommendations by
no later than September, during the 36th session of the Human Rights Council.

The recommendations touched on several issues, including the abolition of the
death penalty, preventing discrimination against religious minorities, ensuring
the right to freedom of expression, repealing existing laws on blasphemy and
promoting women's rights and the rights of vulnerable groups.

Capital Punishment

Dozens of countries, including Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom,
criticized Indonesia for its continued use of capital punishment for drug
offenders and the perpetrators of major crimes, such as murder and terrorism.

During Indonesia's review on Wednesday, Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly, who led
the Indonesian delegation along with Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, said the
"death penalty is still part of Indonesia's positive law."

"[...] It is our conviction that the rights of the offender must always be
weighed against the rights of the victims, their families and the broader
rights of their community to live in peace and security, as stipulated in our
constitution," Yasonna said.

He added that the firm action by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's
administration against drug offenders is based on the fact that narcotics
remain among the top-three on the list of major causes of death for the
Indonesian youth.

Death penalty has never been removed from Indonesian law, and that Jokowi is
just fast-forwarding the process of executing those already convicted for
drugs-related crimes.

Furthermore, the minister said Indonesia has always applied necessary
safeguards based on international standards, which are in accordance with a
strict due process of law. He added that Indonesia's current practice of
capital punishment does not contravene any international conventions.

(source: Jakarta Globe)


Death penalty for rape

Rape is a crime everywhere in the world, no country or culture is exempt.
Punishments for rape are invariably lengthy prison sentences and in some cases,
death. Rape is an under-reported crime everywhere and consequently rapists
everywhere go unpunished. It is a crime that happens so frequently that it
rarely merits headlines - anywhere. But there are some rapes that have the
capacity to shape the zeitgeist and the rape and appalling torture of a
23-year-old medical student in New Delhi in 2012 is one such in the modern era.
The victim died a fortnight later. 4 men were found guilty of the crime, a 5th
accused, the bus driver, hanged himself in his prison cell. The men were
sentenced to death and the Indian Supreme Court has now upheld the sentence on

This newspaper has consistently opposed the death penalty; but equally has
supported the rule of law. There is nothing to suggest that the sentence within
the canon of Indian law is anything other than legally sustainable. The father
of the victim has called for the sentence to be carried out swiftly but there
are going to be legal hoops to go through before the hangman does his job, and
it could be some time before there is a final resolution.

The head of the New Delhi Commission for women said that at least 6 rapes a day
were happening in the city alone every day, and that rapists were not afraid of
the consequences of their actions as the Indian legal system is so sclerotic.
The current case has taken 5 years to get this far and that despite being
fast-tracked. Countless other women, alive and still seeking justice, wait in
the wings of a system that is loaded against them. And what of Pakistan? There
has been no rape case here that has aroused the world in the same way as in
India but the same conditions pertain - women struggle to get justice, and not
just for rape but for every other type of crime.

(source: Editorial, The Express Tribune)


Reprieved death row mum's advice to accused drug smuggler Cassie Sainsbury -
'never make a deal'

A Victorian mum-of-6 who sensationally escaped the death penalty in Malaysia
has urged accused Aussie drug smuggler Cassandra Sainsbury to avoid doing deals
with police for shorter jail time.

Emma L'Aiguille, who was spared the hangman's noose in 2012 over drug
trafficking allegations, told the Herald Sun that the Adelaide personal trainer
needed to stick to her story and let her lawyers fight for her freedom.

"She should never make a deal because she would be saying that she is guilty,"
she said.

"If she is innocent she needs to remain strong and not be pressured into
pleading guilty."

Ms L'Aiguille, a mother of 6, spent 115 days in jail before she was set free
after she agreed to turn prosecution witness.

She was arrested in Kuala Lumpur's main tourist strip and police found 1kg of
ice under the driver's seat of the car she was sitting in.

The car belonged to her boyfriend, who did a runner when police surrounded the

Ms L'Aiguille said Colombian jails were tough and bride-to-be Ms Sainsbury
needed to "watch her back" from other inmates.

The former nurse said out of desperation and the extreme anxiety she would be
feeling, Ms Sainsbury might be tempted to cave in - even if she were innocent.

"The jails in Colombia are worse than in Malaysia," she said.

"She needs to keep positive - I didn't think I would ever get out but I did.
She needs to trust her lawyers and let them work it out."

Ms L'Aiguille was released after her defence successfully argued there was no
evidence she had any knowledge of the drugs.

But she had to remain in Malaysia for several months after being set free to
help police prosecute the case, give evidence against another male who was in
the car and help track her boyfriend down.

Ms Sainsbury, 22, has been locked up in El Buen Pastor women's prison after
being arrested while trying to leave Colombia to London with about 6kg of

Authorities found the drug hidden in her suitcase and concealed in 18 packs of
headphones on April 11.

But she maintains her innocence and told her Colombian lawyer that she was
set-up and given the headphones by a man called Angelo or Tom after she agreed
to buy them at a cheap price for presents for her bridal party.

Questions remain over her story and lawyers have asked her to consider
admitting to the charge for a shorter sentence.

If she continues to maintain her innocence and loses the case, she could be
jailed up to 20 years.

Australian diplomats are working with their Colombian counterparts to strike a
deal that would allow Ms Sainsbury to serve her jail sentence in Australia
should she be convicted.

(source: Herald Sun)


Legal options that may delay execution of death penalty to Nirbhaya
rapists----The main question is when the death penalty will be executed, public
prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said

Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the death penalty of 4
convicts involved in the Nirbhaya gang rape case, Maharashtra's public
prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam on Friday, however, expressed his apprehensions about
top court's order being challenged.

Nikam said the convicts still have the option of approaching the President and
can file a mercy petition asking him to revoke the order.

"I welcome the decision of the Supreme Court, but the main question is when the
death penalty will be executed. According to our law, every criminal, that is
the condemned prisoner, has a right to challenge to file a mercy petition
before the President of India, and unfortunately, our Constitution is silent as
to when the President should take the decision on such mercy petitions," Nikam

He also highlighted that a delay in issuing a mercy petition can convert the
death penalty case to one of life imprisonment.

"I have come across a number of cases wherein though the Supreme Court has
awarded the death penalty and the condemned prisoner had filed a mercy petition
before the President and since there was a delay in giving such mercy petition
the Supreme Court or the High Court has converted the said death penalty to
life imprisonment," Nikam said.

Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir has also welcomed the verdict given by
the Supreme Court.

The apex court earlier today upheld the conviction and death penalty of 4
convicts' -- Mukesh, Akshay, Pawan and Vinay awarded to them by the Delhi High
Court on December 16, 2012.

The matter was heard by the bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra after the
convicts challenged the Court order.

However, AP Singh, the lawyer for the accused, claimed that he would file the
review petition after reading the order.

"Justice is not done. We will file review petition after reading the order. You
cannot give a death sentence to anyone for a message to the nation. The meaning
of punishment is an improvement. There is a right to live. In this, the human
rights have been neglected, Mahatma Gandhi's ideology has been neglected,"
Singh said.

(source: business-standard.com)


I believe in the death penalty - Palo Conteh

As the rate of stabbings and violence by cliques and gangs increased, the
Minister of Internal Affairs, Rtd Major Alfred Palo Conteh, has disclosed, "I
believe in the deadly penalty."

According to the former Minister of Defense, during the "Good Morning Show" on
Radio Democracy 98.1, the solution to the current inhuman acts by these lawless
gangs is to implement the death penalty, which is still part of the laws of
Sierra Leone.

He said his statements were his personal opinion and not official government
position. According to Minister Conteh, there has been a sharp increase in the
cases of stabbings to death by members of cliques during the Easter and
Independence celebrations.

According to the Human Rights Commission, the death penalty should not be used
in Sierra Leone. They have advocated for the repeal of the capital punishment
laws, by encouraging the Government to pay special attention to the submission
made by the Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonnino, in addressing the issue of
death penalty.

The Government Pathologist, Dr. Owizz Koroma, confirmed that the death rate of
stabbing before the gallows was cleaned was very high and after the cleaning
process it cut down drastically from 40 to something like 11.

Seeking the opinions of people along the streets of Freetown on the use of the
death penalty, almost all of them are in support of the death penalty as the
fastest solution to the current situation.

According to Maseray a trader along the popular Abacha Street, most of them are
afraid of putting on coloured clothing at night because of fear of facing
untimely death by the clique guys who will deliberately perceive the person
wearing the clothes of belonging or supporting an opponent group. Confirming
the situation, the Deputy Head of Media of the Sierra Leone Police, Inspector
Michael Kelly Dumbuya, disclosed that they are presently investigating cases of
murder relating to stabbing during the Easter and Independence celebrations.

The Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review of
January to February 2016, stated that "Sierra Leone retains the death penalty
for treason and aggravated robbery and it remains mandatory for murder".

According to the report, there is currently a moratorium on capital punishment
in place and several death sentences have been commuted.

In May 2014, the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frank Kargbo,
told the UN Committee against Torture that Sierra Leone would shortly abolish
the death penalty through a revision of the Criminal Procedure Act, but to date
no action has been taken to that effect.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendation 54 calls for, "the
abolition of death penalty and the immediate repeal by Parliament of all laws
authorizing the use of capital punishment." It also notes, the right to life
should be enshrined in the Constitution and no one shall be punished by death.

During the consultation exercise on the Constitutional Review Process by
Campaign for Good Governance, majority of the respondents maintained the death
penalty should remain in the country's law books.

(source: awoko.org)

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Rick Halperin
2017-05-08 13:54:28 UTC
May 8


Singapore to enforce death penalty for nuclear terrorism acts

A person who commits a fatal act of terrorism using radioactive material or
nuclear explosive devices will face the mandatory death penalty under new laws
passed in Parliament on Monday (May 8).

The legislation paves the way for Singapore's ratification of the United
Nations' (UN) International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear
Terrorism (ICSANT).

Second Minister for Home Affairs Desmond Lee said that while the likelihood of
a nuclear terrorist attack in Southeast Asia was remote, the rise of terror
group Islamic State means Singapore cannot discount such a scenario and must
treat the threat seriously.

"Especially when many countries, including those in our region, use nuclear
energy, or are actively exploring the use of nuclear energy," he added. "In
February this year, Malaysian authorities arrested 8 people connected to the
theft of Iridium-192, a radioactive material which can be used to make dirty

It will now be a criminal offence to intentionally and unlawfully use any
radioactive material or nuclear explosive device, or use or damage a nuclear
facility leading to the release of radioactive material, to achieve the effects
of terrorism.

The penalties will be pegged at the same level as a murder offence in the Penal
Code and therefore, in the event of death caused, lead to the gallows, said Mr
Lee, adding that in any other case, life imprisonment will be the punishment.

The new laws also provide for extra-territorial jurisdiction - meaning any
person outside Singapore who commits an act which constitutes a nuclear
terrorism offence if carried out in Singapore, is deemed to have committed the
act here, said Mr Lee.

"If taken into custody, the person would be charged, tried and punished
accordingly in Singapore. This provision allows us to prosecute the offender in
Singapore, if it is not possible or desirable to extradite him," he explained.
"It ensures that perpetrators do not escape punishment, regardless of which
country they are from, and where they committed the offences."

But Singapore must also facilitate extradition requests by the 109 other
countries who are parties to the Convention, and provide mutual legal
assistance with its domestic framework.


Mr Lee later told the House that Singapore has, over the years, been preparing
and developing to deal with the risks of nuclear terrorism.

"Agencies such as NEA (National Environment Agency) and SCDF (Singapore Civil
Defence Force) have developed the necessary operational capabilities to deal
with illicit use of nuclear and radioactive material in Singapore," he said.
"MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) and NEA have also been working together to
tighten security measures at premises storing high-risk radioactive material."

To begin with, Singapore has a strict regulatory regime put in place by NEA to
make it hard for radioactive material to end up in the wrong hands, said Mr

"On import, valid permits are required for all cargo entering our port
checkpoints - if necessary they will be subject to X-ray screening and
radioactivity checks," he added.

"Thus far, we've not detected any breaches involving radioactive material in

An inter-agency committee continually assesses the threat of nuclear terrorism
in Singapore, and in the event of an attack, there will be processes to deal
with possible scenarios.

"Should such an incident occur, MHA will coordinate a whole-of-Government
response," Mr Lee outlined. "SCDF will render assistance to casualties and
contain the radioactive material, assisted by our armed forces where necessary.
NEA will provide technical advice to help mitigate harm. The police will
investigate the act, find the perpetrators and take them to task."

He added: "Beyond efforts from agencies, Singaporeans will need to be prepared
for an attack." Authorities may have to evacuate people from affected areas,
and members of public may also need to be trained on how to reduce inhalation
of harmful substances.

"There are no immediate threats, but we take the possibility seriously," said
Mr Lee. "It is timely we put in place the necessary legal framework now and
join the international community to combat terrorism in all its forms -
including nuclear terrorism."

(source: channelnewsasia.com)


Countries urge PH not to revive death penalty; In Geneva, UN member-states
remind a Philippine delegation that reviving the death penalty is against
international laws which the country had signed

United Nations member-states on Monday, May 8, urged the Philippine government
to abandon its plan to restore death penalty.

They reminded the Philippine delegation to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)
being held by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, that
the reimposition of the death penalty is against international laws.

Among those who declared their opposition to the plan are (this is list is
being updated):






Czech Republic




Holy See









New Zealand







United Kingdom

The member states said the Philippines ratified in 2007 the Second Optional
Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR),
which aims to abolish the death penalty.

The Philippines also abolished death penalty through Republic Act 9346 in 2006
under the administration of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. It became
a state-party to the ICCPR the following year.

But a bill seeking to revive it was one of the priority measures of President
Rodrigo Duterte, who has repeatedly said that criminals, especially those
linked to illegal drugs, should be punished with death.

Amid opposition from human rights organizations and the Church, the House of
Representatives approved on 3rd and final reading House Bill 4727 on March 7.

A total of 217 lawmakers voted in favor of the measure while 54 voted against
it and 1 abstained.

It will be a different story in the Senate, however. Senate Minority Leader
Franklin Drilon said at least 13 senators are set to reject a similar bill.

"It's dead and the chances of resurrecting it before we even bring it to a vote
are very slim, if not zero, at least in this [17th] Congress," Drilon said last

(source: rappler.com)


Is mob fury driving Indian judiciary?

India rejoices as the Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for the
rapists in the Nirbhaya case. The feedback about the verdict has ranged from
"It serves them right" ,"It will put the fear of God into rapists" and "I will
sleep better knowing that these individuals are dead". The merits of the
argument that in a country of 1.2 billion, taking the lives of 4 bad men leaves
the rest of us safer can be debated. But there is a larger question about our
tryst with the Death Penalty and the utility, if any, that it has served.

I am not for a second, trying to argue that the crime was not reprehensible. On
the other hand, even the Apex Court, I fear, did not fully comprehend the
depravity in mindset and the heinous nature of the crime in as much as the
convicts were held to be expressing lust through the perspective of violence.
On the contrary, rape is far worse and more complex than just lust gone wrong.
The clinical definition of rape, as defined by Nicholas Growth is that it is a
pseudo-sexual act that serves nonsexual needs. Power, anger, control, sadism,
violence, misogyny and a whole range of darker human emotions and beliefs, and
not lust, ultimately lead to an act as depraved as rape.

These dynamics were obvious in the Nirbhaya case. The altercation between the
victims (Nirbhaya and her friend) and the perpetrator, which culminated into
rape and murder, began with the question as to why a girl was with an unmarried
male companion late in the night. This question the convicts posed reveals the
mindset that a lady is fair game for society's judgment and, therefore,
vulnerable to disciplining through whatever means men deem fit. Throwing the
victim out of the bus unclothed - the need to inflict humiliation. The injuries
on the victim, demonstrating extreme anger and perhaps even sadism. There was
no lust in this crime- there were only misogyny, anger and the need to assert
male control over a woman who the convicts unreasonably perceived as bereft of
virtue and character.

The convicts are, therefore, a shining example of all that is evil about

While they ought to be punished and kept quarantined from society, it still
does not answer the debate around the death penalty. No doubt, the law has an
incredibly difficult challenge in trying to formulate a perfect policy around
the death penalty. On one hand, as John Douglas, the acclaimed FBI profiler has
argued, some people are simply beyond the reach of reformative systems that
mankind has designed.

On the other hand, the anti-death penalty proponents argue, with force, that
the state does not and should not have the power to take human life. Being able
to address both schools of thought with objective reasoning and outcome is too
tall a task for any system committed to the rule of law. Coming to India
though, we broke the deadlock between the contradictory schools of thoughts
around death penalty and concluded that it would be applied only in the "rarest
of the rare cases". But do all rarest of rare cases fitting this criterion
attract the death penalty?

Take for example the case of rape and murder of the Late Priyadarshini Mattoo.
Not only did the medical and forensic evidence show proof of rape, but the
victim had sustained 19 injuries. In what suggested the violent mindset and the
extreme anger of the convict, Santosh Kumar Singh had struck her repeatedly
with a helmet causing, among other things, the cracking of the rib cage. In the
infamous Soumya rape and murder case (the victim was raped and thrown out of a
moving train), the very same Apex Court once again commuted death penalty to
life in prison by holding that the link between the cause of death and the
convict's actions remain unproven.

In Santosh Kumar Singh's case, 2 contrary outcomes - acquittal by the trial
court and conviction by the high court proved to be the convict's saving grace.
How can the judiciary hold that he can be subjected to death when two
proceedings led to 2 different outcomes thus demonstrating uncertainty over his

In Soumya's murder case, true to the culture of restraint against the death
penalty, keen attention to detail and analysis of the cause of death and of the
evidence as to the actions of the convict led to the commuting of death
sentence to life imprisonment.

If the convicts in the Priyadarshini Mattoo and Soumya murder case, with their
lack of empathy and driven by a compulsive need to commit violence, could
continue to live - why should Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru, whose crimes were
driven by political ideologies be treated any different?

Yet, the Apex court with such a fine history of always taking the higher path
when faced with unclear evidence even if the crime was heinous adopted
different approaches in the case of Afzal Guru and Yakub Memon. After all, if
the convicts in the Priyadarshini Mattoo and Soumya murder case, with their
lack of empathy and driven by a compulsive need to commit violence, could
continue to live - why should Yakub Memon and Afzal Guru, whose crimes were
driven by political ideologies be treated any different? But one received the
death penalty for providing the financial backbone to the terror attack and the
other received the death penalty to "satisfy public conscience", a clear
departure from the Apex Court???s earlier approach to cases involving similar
dynamics. Therefore, we must accept that the death penalty for the Nirbhaya
rapists, though anticipated and inevitable, is the product of a jurisprudence
that is inconsistent, lacks integrity and is frequently a polished version of
mob fury. So why do we continue to apply it?

Deterrence is the 1st argument for the death penalty. However, people fail to
understand that for deterrence to occur, the death penalty must be imposed
consistently across all cases of rape. Yet, in a country with a conviction rate
of around 26 per cent for rape cases, forget the probability of the death
penalty, the probability of being held guilty leans in favour of rapists.
Further, with a police force and a criminal justice system that is perceived as
overworked, underpaid and lacking professionalism, specialisation and respect
for deadlines, deterrence continues to be a distant dream.

On the other hand, keeping convicts alive can potentially reduce the cost for
the state in terms of fighting the lengthy legal proceedings that arise in the
wake of a death penalty. It can enable law enforcement and researchers to break
down the psyche of the sex offender, identify patterns and motives in sex
crimes and develop investigation and prosecution tools necessary to quickly and
effectively achieve justice, just like the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI
did. Don???t the utilities of keeping these criminals alive outweigh the
utility of giving them the death penalty?

Undoubtedly, the debate around the death penalty has no easy answers. But
pending a clear resolution to the inconsistent approaches towards the death
penalty, reason and logic dictate that we suspend it until we have a clear idea
as to when and why we award death to an individual for a crime.

When the dust settles and the public emotions die their quick and natural
death- we as a society have a question to answer. How much safer and how better
off are we with the Nirbhaya convicts being put to death? The answer to this
question, I am afraid, is disappointing.

(source: Commentary; Ashok G.V. practises law in Bengaluru. He advises and
legally represents women and children affected by domestic and sexual
violence----WION news)


Belgium will not tolerate a Turkish referendum on the Death Penalty on its

Belgium does not intend to allow Turks in Belgium to take part in a possible
Turkish referendum on reinstating the Death Penalty.

"I won't tolerate it", Prime Minister Charles Michel said when asked by the
RTBF on Saturday. "I think it's unacceptable".

Mr Michel said Belgium will look into the "judicial possibilities" available to
stop the referendum happening on Belgian soil.

The Flemish parties of the Federal majority, the N-VA, CD&V and Open Vld,
already said they didn't want Turks in Belgium to take part in the referendum.

The Turkish President recently announced his intention to hold a referendum on
reinstating the Death Penalty in Turkey.

(source: brusselstimes.com)


Decision on Oishee Rahman appeal coming soon

The appeals court will soon decide the fate of teenager Oishee Rahman who was
sentenced to death by a trial court for murdering her parents -- police
inspector Mahfuzur Rahman and his wife Swapna Rahman.

At the end of a hearing on the death reference and the suspect's appeal on
Sunday, Justice Jahangir Hossain and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain of the High
Court issued an order, reserving their verdict until a future date.

Deputy Attorney General Jahirul Huq Jahir, alongside Associate Attorney General
Atiqul Huq Selim represented the state at the hearing. Sujit Chatterjee Bappi
represented Oishee.

"The issue has been discussed over 13 working days," Jahirul Huq Jahir told
bdnews24.com. "The decision can come any day now."

On Aug 16, 2013, Inspector Mahfuzur Rahman and his wife Swapna Rahman were
found murdered in their apartment in Dhaka in 2013.

The blood-stained bodies were found in a locked bathroom in their apartment.

Police said Oishee mixed sleeping pills in the coffee to render her parents

Later, she stabbed her mother and then her father to death.

After the killings, the teenage girl left the apartment with her younger

The slain police officer's brother started a murder case the next day. Oishee
surrendered to police the same day.

In March 2014, police pressed charges against Oishee, her 2 friends and the
underage house help.

In November 2015, a Dhaka speedy trial tribunal awarded the death penalty to

Her friend Mizanur Rahman was given a 2-year jail term for aiding and abetting.

The 3rd defendant Asaduzzaman Jony, another friend of Oishee, was acquitted of
the charges of abetment.

The house help is being tried at a juvenile court.

In November 2015, the trial court's order of Oishee's death sentence was
forwarded as the death reference to the High Court for it approval.

On Dec 6 of the same year, Oishee filed a petition challenging the trial
court's verdict.

The court started hearing the matters on Mar 12 this year.

On Apr 10, the High Court judges heard a statement in the judge's chamber to
assess the condition of her mental health.

(source: bdnews24.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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Rick Halperin
2017-05-09 13:25:04 UTC
May 9


Turkey Reinstating Death Penalty Would Mean End of EU Accession Talks -
Juncker-----If Turkey goes through with reintroduction of death the penalty, it
will mean the end of the country's talks on the accession to the European
Union, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview
with the Rheinishe Post newspaper on Monday.

Following Turkey's constitutional referendum on expanding presidential powers
over the judicial and legislative branches of the government, held on April 16,
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his readiness to reinstate the
death penalty if the measure was supported by the people. Turkish protestors
chant slogans and a man (C) holds a placard reading ''We want death penalty''
as former Turkish soldiers, accused of trying to assassinate Turkish President
during the July coup attempt, are escorted by Turkish soldiers towards the
courthouse in Mugla, western Turkey, on February. "It is the ultimate red line.
If the introduction of death penalty becomes more than a rhetoric, it will be
Turkey's clear renunciation of the European family. It will be equal to the end
of the negotiations, because our Union is based upon respect for democracy,
human rights and the rule of law, as well as upon the European Convention for
the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. These values exclude
death penalty," Juncker said.

Ankara signed an association agreement with the then-European Community in
1963, and submitted a membership application in 1987. Talks concerning Turkish
membership into the European Union began in 2005. On November 24, European
lawmakers voted in favor of freezing EU accession talks with Turkey until it
lifted restrictive measures in the country, set in place since a failed coup in
July 2016.

(source: sputniknews.com)


Opposition MHP calls on AKP gov't to swiftly reinstate death penalty

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli has issued a strong call
to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to swiftly reinstitute the
death penalty amid warnings from the European Union.

"Once again I declare my determination. The MHP is present with its full power
for a proposal or a draft that will be prepared and accepted in parliament
after discussions regarding the imposition of the death penalty," Bahceli said
in a parliamentary group meeting on May 9. "It is waiting for this issue to be
closed swiftly."

The reinstitution of the death penalty was brought to the agenda repeatedly
ahead of the April 16 constitutional referendum, particularly by President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised to approve any constitutional amendment that
would bring back capital punishment. Erdogan said the people were demanding the
penalty from the government, especially after the July 2016 coup attempt.

"Is the death penalty a social demand? Yes. Will the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP) support it? Yes. Will the president approve it if the
law is conveyed to him? That is a 'yes' too. Then we should not wait, sing in
someone else's tone or be late. Instead, we should show what Turkey is and will
be by declaring to everybody her independence," he said, eliciting applause
from party members in the group meeting.

The death penalty has not been implemented since 1984, while Turkey formally
abolished capital punishment in 2004 as part of reforms to ease Turkey's
accession to the European Union.

European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said in March that any return of
the death penalty in Turkey would be a "red line" in the country's stalled EU
membership bid.

Bahceli criticized Europe's position on the issue.

"Now some European countries say they will not allow a possible referendum
concerning the death penalty.

"So much so that they argue and state that capital punishment is against all
the values of European countries. So, is it a part of European values to give
support to terrorist organizations?" he said.

(source: Hurriyet Daiy News)


Garda assassinations and IRA executions during the Emergency----The IRA shot
dead 5 gardai during the 2nd World War. The State executed 6 IRA men

The 2nd World War was a conflict that claimed tens of millions of lives
worldwide. Although Ireland adopted a neutral stance during the war, it would
not be completely shielded from the effects of the brutal conflict. Rationing
of basic items, including tea, sugar, petrol and tobacco took its toll on the
Irish population, although this seemed like a small price to pay to keep
citizens far away from the horrors of the front line of war.

Not everyone agreed with the policy of neutrality, however. Certain people, TD
James Dillon foremost among them, argued passionately that Ireland was duty
bound to support Britain and the Allies against the evils of Nazi Germany.
Conversely, elements within the IRA stuck to the old mantra that "England's
difficulty is Ireland's opportunity" and believed that an alliance with the
Germans was likely to lead to a united Ireland in the event of them winning the

The republicans would make contact with the German military secret service, the
Abwehr, early in the conflict, even sending chief of staff Sean Russell to
Berlin to meet high-ranking members of the government there. At the same time,
they declared war on England and inaugurated the "S-Plan", a bombing campaign
across the Irish Sea to aid the German cause.

Although the whole of Britain had entered the war, the IRA decided that on the
basis of Celtic solidarity their campaign would be confined to England only,
Wales and Scotland being excluded. There would be more than 200 bombings, most
of which caused minimal damage. In 1939, however, a bomb was detonated in a
busy Coventry street that caused the death of 5 civilians. Peter Barnes and
James McCormack were convicted of aiding in the planting of the device and
sentenced to death by the Crown. Before their hanging the Eamon de Valera-led
Fianna Fail government made numerous overtures to the British, imploring them
to commute the men's sentences. It was to no avail, however, and both were
hanged and buried in unmarked graves in Winson Green Prison.

Despite their protestations about the hangings of Barnes and McCormack, Fianna
Fail were themselves growing increasingly worried about the IRA's behaviour.
The English had made clear their fury about the subversive group's conduct and
hinted that it threatened Ireland's neutral stance. Just before Christmas 1939
the IRA again caused the government a major headache when they stole more than
one million rounds of ammunition from the Phoenix Park Magazine Fort.

Although most of the loot was recovered swiftly, it would still prove a highly
embarrassing incident for the establishment. The government at this point
decided to clamp down hard on their former republican allies by introducing the
harsh Emergency Powers Act, draconian legislation re-introducing internment,
flogging and the death penalty for subversive activity. The stage was set for a
period of violence between the government, the Garda and the IRA as bad as
anything seen since the days of the Civil War.

The 1st Garda casualty of the Emergency period was Detective John Roche, who
was shot dead on Patrick Street in Cork City in January 1940. The detective and
2 of his colleagues had been attempting to arrest Tomas Og Mac Curtain. A
commandant in the IRA, Mac Curtain was the son of the Lord Mayor of Cork of the
same name who had been murdered during the war of independence by British
forces. He did not go quietly when the Garda attempted to put him under arrest,
however, instead pulling out a gun and shooting Roche. Mac Curtain was
sentenced to death under the new legislation but would receive a last-minute
reprieve, partially down to a spirited campaign fought by his defence solicitor
Sean MacBride, himself a former chief of staff of the IRA. Other IRA volunteers
would not be so lucky.

Patrick McGrath and Thomas Harte would be the 1st IRA members executed by the
State since the civil war. The men were in a safe house in Rathgar on August
16th, 1940 when Special Branch detectives came knocking. The door was
eventually opened and as Detective Richard Hyland and Patrick McKeown entered
the building they were shot down in a hail of machine gun fire. At least 3 IRA
men then ran from the house but McGrath and Harte were swiftly captured. They
were arrested, tried and found guilty of the deaths of the 2 detectives.
Justice was swift, the pair being shot by firing squad on September 6th, just
over 2 weeks after the crime.

George Plant was convicted in 1941, along with two other IRA men, of shooting
dead and burying Michael Devereux, a Wexford lorry driver and fellow IRA man
who was suspected of being an informer. Plant was the only 1 of the 3 to be
executed. George Plant was convicted in 1941, along with 2 other IRA men, of
shooting dead and burying Michael Devereux, a Wexford lorry driver and fellow
IRA man who was suspected of being an informer.

A volunteer named Richard Goss would be next to be put to death after a Garda
was shot outside a house in which Goss had been staying in Co Longford.
Although the Garda in question was not killed, the tribunal still sentenced the
IRA man to death and he was executed by firing squad in September 1941. George
Plant would face the firing squad shortly afterwards, although his crime did
not involve a dead or injured Garda. Plant was convicted, along with two other
IRA volunteers, of shooting dead and burying Michael Devereux, a Wexford lorry
driver and IRA operative that was suspected of being an informer. For reasons
known only to the government of the day, both of his colleagues would be
reprieved but the death sentence on George Plant would go ahead as planned.

Maurice O'Neill, from Caherciveen, was shot by firing squad on November 12th
for his murder Detective George Mordaunt, a father of 2, was shot dead
attempting to capture wanted IRA operatives in a house in Donnycarney on
October 24th, 1942.

Detective George Mordaunt, a detective and father of 2, was another member of
the Garda killed in a firefight with the IRA. The detective had been part of a
team attempting to capture wanted IRA operatives in a house in Donnycarney in
1942. The IRA men in question were armed, however, and an exchange of gunfire
ensued. Mordaunt would be shot in the confusion and 1 of the IRA men, Maurice
O'Neill, was captured. O'Neill, a native of Caherciveen, stood trial with a
familiar outcome. He was brought in front of the firing squad on November 12th
of the same year.

The IRA was in disarray towards the end of the Emergency, as a result of
internment and the death penalty being utilised on both sides of the Border.
Internally the organisation also found itself in chaos, even suspecting their
own chief of staff, Stephen Hayes, of being a paid informer. His successor,
Hugh McAteer, was arrested and the IRA needed a replacement quickly. Tralee
native Charles Kerins was deemed suitable and appointed to the position by the
IRA in July 1942, despite being just 24 years of age. In September 1942
Detective Sergeant Denis O'Brien was ambushed and shot dead outside his home in
Ballyboden in Co Dublin. O'Brien had been a thorn in the side of the IRA
throughout the Emergency and his death would cause outrage in the country.

Detective Sergeant Denis O'Brien was leaving his home at Ballyboden, Co Dublin
when he was ambushed and shot dead by the IRA on September 9th, 1942. Charles
Kerins, then IRA chief of staff, was hanged for his murder 2 years later
Detective Sergeant Denis O'Brien was leaving his home at Ballyboden, Co Dublin
when he was ambushed and shot dead by the IRA on September 9th, 1942. Charles
Kerins, then IRA chief of staff, was hanged for his murder 2 years later

Kerins was arrested for the crime almost two years later and stood trial. The
main evidence against him was a fingerprint on the frame of a bicycle left near
the scene of the crime. Although Kerins refused to recognise the court he was
found guilty regardless. Petitions for clemency were organised, attracting
thousands of signatures but the government refused to act on them. In a further
insult to the republican movement, Kerins was hanged rather than shot before
being buried within the grounds of Mountjoy. Kerins would be the last of six
IRA volunteers executed by the Free State during the Emergency. The conflict
would come to an end less than a year after his death but by that point the
Garda had effectively wiped out the upper echelons of the organisation by using
mass internment. Flogging and executions were also employed as methods of
halting the IRA's campaign of bank robberies, as well as its efforts to liaise
with the Germans. The morale of the IRA was broken, more than 80 per cent of
internees leaving the organisation after 1945.

The war would end, but the bitterness felt by many republicans at what they saw
as a grave injustice would live on. Hundreds of republicans had been interned,
dozens were flogged, 3 had been killed in fire-fights with Gardai, 1 man was
hanged and 5 others had met their death in front of a firing squad. Kerins'
death would arouse particular anger; the IRA had already been defeated by then
and it was felt that it had been a pointless act of revenge. On the
instructions of minister for justice Sean MacEoin the bodies of the IRA men
executed during the war were released to their families in 1948 and reinterred
in their own chosen graveyards.

The Emergency had not officially come to Ireland's shores although several IRA
volunteers would die as an indirect result of the conflict. The period also
took a heavy toll on the Garda, who found themselves on the front line in a
vicious conflict with the IRA.

(source: Colm Wallace is the author of The Fallen: Gardai killed in Service
1922-1949, which tells the story of 21 gardai who were killed in the line of
duty in the lifetime of the Irish Free State. It is available from
Historypress.ie ---- irishtimes.com)


Anna Hazare says ministers convicted corrupt should be awarded death penalty,
asks Arvind Kejriwal to step down as Delhi CM

Reacting to the turmoil within the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), anti-corruption
crusader Anna Hazare on Monday said he was deeply disappointed by the
allegations of corruption against Arvind Kejriwal and that the latter should
step down from his post.

"Arvind Kejriwal should step down as CM pending a probe. He should start a
probe into his dealings," CNN-News18 quoted Anna as saying.

"It is sad to see that founders of anti-corruption movement are facing
corruption charges," Anna said.

"It's proved that Kejriwal is involved in corruption and taken money from
Satyendra Jain, then he should immediately step down and face the law," Anna
told the Times Now.

In addition, the veteran social activist further demanded that laws should be
made that will hand out capital punishment to any minister who's convicted of
corrupt practice.

"Like in Nirbhaya's case, all the convicts have been given the death sentence,
all convict corrupt ministers should also be hanged," Hazare added.

Sacked Delhi Minister Kapil Mishra was today suspended from AAP's primary
membership after he levelled new allegations that Delhi Health Minister
Satyendar Jain settled a Rs 50 crore land deal for CM Kejriwal's brother-in-law
in south Delhi.

The decision was taken at a meeting of Aam Aadmi Party`s Political Affairs
Committee (PAC) at Kejriwal`s residence in Civil Lines here.

Earlier today, Mishra went to the Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) and claimed to
have evidence in support of his allegations that 2 people close to Kejriwal
tried to influence the probe in the water tanker scam.

Moreover, he also dared Kejriwal and Jain to undergo a lie detector test and
offered to subject himself to such a test.

Mishra had alleged that he witnessed Kejriwal taking Rs 2 crore from Jain.

The party has trashed all the allegations levelled by the former water minister
and accused him of being hand in glove with BJP and the central government.

(source: Zee News)


Kulbhushan Jadhav's death sentence: 5 things India can do to deal with Pakistan

With the death sentence awarded to former Indian naval officer Kulbhushan
Sudhir Jadhav by a Pakistani military court, India has now made it clear that
its focus, for now, lies on bringing Jadhav back, irrespective of the
repercussions it has on its ties with Pakistan.

Both External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Home Minister Rajnath Singh
called the death sentence "pre-meditated murder". Immediately after the news
came in, India's foreign secretary, S Jaishankar, summoned Pakistan's high
commissioner, Abdul Basit, and issued a demarche.

"If basic norms of law and justice are not observed, the government and the
people of India will regard it as premeditated murder," the Ministry of
External Affairs had said in the demarche. "It is significant that our High
Commission was not even informed that Kulbhushan Jadhav was being brought to
trial," it had added.

Undoubtedly, the Indian government is naturally very angry. But despite the
outrage, the government will have to calmly and objectively look at the options
available to bring Jadhav back.

The 1st and probably most important thing India needs to realise is that the
issue will not simmer down anytime soon. This issue will take time to be
resolved. After all, Pakistani authorities did not say when the sentence would
be carried out. Diplomatic manoeuvring, lengthy legal proceedings and the
possibility of appeal could mean the case will be contested for years, an
analyst told Reuters.

"Very often, they keep these guys on death row for years, if not decades, as
bargaining chips," said Ajai Sahni, executive director at the Institute for
Conflict Management in New Delhi.

Sahni said there was "going to be a lot of posturing by both sides" but he
doubted it would lead to any direct military action.

Former foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal believes that New Delhi would raise
Jadhav's issue in all diplomatic forums and talk about the 'farcical' trial,
according to this Firstpost article. The fact that India was not granted
consular access to the prisoner will also be brought up in subsequent

Back channel talks are another option which India and Pakistan have used many
times earlier too. But in March 2016, after Jadhav's arrest by Pakistan, the
back channel diplomacy between the 2 countries had been threatened, PTI had
reported. News18 also reported that Indian agencies told the government to not
use back channel talks immediately.

Sibal had also speculated that apart from India making loud noise over this
issue, there could also be kidnapping of Pakistani soldiers from across the
Line of Control.

Besides these measures, Jadhav himself has a right to appeal against his death
sentence within 60 days. According to India Today, Jadhav can appeal in the
Military Appellate Tribunal under the Pakistan Army Act, 1952. But the chances
of getting a different verdict are low.

Another option for Jadhav is to appeal in a civilian court for 'review' of the
Field General Court Martial verdict. The report said that according to Section
7.2.3. of the Pakistan Army Act, military court convicts have the right to get
the judgment reviewed by civilian courts. The Indian government could also find
a lawyer to defend Jadhav if Pakistan gives him consular access.

News18 further reported that even after the first 60 days in which Jadhav has a
right to appeal, he has another 60 days to file a mercy petition before
Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain.

Top US experts have warned that even though the evidence against Jadhav is
flimsy, Pakistan wants to send a strong message to India.

"Apart from the gross irregularities in the Jadhav situation, such as the lack
of consular access and the secrecy surrounding the surprise court-martial, what
struck me the most is the contrast between the speed of Jadhav's trial set
against the endless postponements for that of the Mumbai attackers," Alyssa
Ayres, senior fellow for India, Pakistan and South Asia at the Council on
Foreign Relations (a top American think-tank), told PTI.

"At the same time, given how much India will want to ensure that Yadav isn't
executed, Pakistan now has a very large bargaining chip at its disposal.
Pakistan may want to use Jadhav as a trump card to get some type of major
concession from India," Michael Kugelman, deputy director and senior associate
for South Asia at the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Center, said.

"The bottom line is that India-Pakistan relations are on life support. We can
kiss goodbye any immediate prospects for resuming dialogue, though that wasn't
a very strong possibility even before the announcement about Jadhav's death
sentence. Ultimately, India and Pakistan face some very dark and dangerous days
ahead," he added.

(source: firstpost.com)


OSCE ODIHR urges Belarus to put executions on hold

Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE
ODIHR) Michael Georg Link has again urged Belarus to set an immediate
moratorium on executions as a 1st step towards complete termination of the
death penalty in the country, the OSCE ODIHR posted a corresponding statement
on its website on Monday.

Link voiced his concern over reports on a recent execution in Belarus.

"The use of the death penalty is completely out of place in a region where most
countries recognize the inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading nature of a
punishment that fails to act as a deterrent and makes any miscarriage of
justice irreversible," Link said.

"Once again, I urge the Belarusian authorities to consider abolishing the death
penalty in all circumstances, as all but 1 other of the OSCE participating
States have done, and to introduce an immediate moratorium as a 1st step
towards abolition," he added.

Link's statement comes after news of a possible execution of a Sergei
Vostryakov, who was found guilty of rape and murder. 2 more inmates sentenced
to capital punishment are reported to be expecting their executions.

(source: tass.com)


UNAMI urges senior officials to halt executions in Kurdistan Region

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) called on Kurdish senior
officials to halt executions in the Kurdistan Region.

NRT obtained a document on Monday (May 8), showing a letter from UNAMI's Chief
of Human Rights to Masoud Barzani, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Prime
Minister Nechirvan Barzani, Head of Judiciary Council, Judge Bangin Qasim, and
Chief Prosecutor, Judge Mariwan Burhan.

The letter, in response to a letter on May 4, 2017, says Barzani had signed
orders on April 20, 2017 for the execution of 3 individuals, Marewan Ali
Ismail, Bashar Abdullah Mohammed, and Neshwan Sabr Ali.

All 3 individuals were sentenced for their involvement in the death of
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Leadership Member and Head of Peshmerga
Frontlines in Khazir, Faraydun Jwanroyee, who police say was killed in a fight
between 2 families on August 25, 2015.

"I requested that these officials take all actions within their power to halt
these and any future executions of convicts sentenced to death, and to
re-instate the strict moratorium on carrying out executions under any
circumstances," the letter read.

According to the letter, the UNAMI's Chief of Human Rights Officer, which also
represents the U.N. High Commission for Human Rights, has informed the
commission in Geneva and U.N. Special Rapporteurs.

"The United Nations strongly believes that the death penalty does not serve the
interests of justice, neither in relation to the victims or their families, nor
is it an appropriate response to the perpetrators of such crimes," the letter

The UNAMI's Chief of Human Rights Officer said the U.N. cannot intervene
directly in the state administration but that the UNAMI office will "make every
effort to encourage" the Kurdish authorities to review the cases.

(source: nrttv.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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2017-05-10 13:33:01 UTC
May 10


Links Between Islamism and Executions

People have, it seems, often been arrested or detained on the basis of a rumor;
then convicted without trial, counsel or often even the chance to mount a

As Amnesty International points out, "In many countries where people were
sentenced to death or executed, the proceedings did not meet international fair
trial standards. In some cases, this included the extraction of 'confessions'
through torture or other ill-treatment".

The laws under which these people are sentenced to death are often not only
vague and open to interpretation. Charges that warrant the death penalty, for
instance, include being "corrupt on earth", "enemies of Allah on Earth", or
alleged "crimes against chastity". What exactly does "corrupt on earth" or
"enemies of Allah on Earth" mean?

Just how strict and brutal it is to enforce Islamic law, sharia, has now been
revealed by Amnesty International.

Amnesty's study, which details the number of reported executions around the
world, clearly maps out the most at-risk populations. Lands ruled predominantly
by sharia are apparently the most vulnerable to multitudes of executions
without fair trials. At the top of the list, with the most executions, are
those nations that enforce Islamic sharia law. Despite many human rights
violations, these nations, apparently undeterred, continue to execute their

Sharia makes those in authority infallible and untouchable. Therefore, whatever
the government or those in power deem to be "just" can be carried out without
question or consequence. Under sharia law and the Islamic penal code,
executions can be carried out in sickening forms. Those convicted may be
beheaded, hanged, stoned, or shot to death.

As disturbing as the numbers in the report may be, they do not represent the
reality that the citizens in these nations across the world face every day.
There is, evidently, a connection between radical Islamist governments and
extremist groups. The report does not include the gruesome executions that are
carried out on a regular basis by extremist Islamist groups and non-state
fundamentalists, such as members of the Islamic State (ISIS) and their
affiliated groups.

These executions include, as we have seen, slitting throats, burning alive,
drowning alive and crucifixion.

If these acts were included in the Amnesty International report, the total
number of executions committed under the authority of Islamist law would be far
higher. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, for example, pointed out that
the Islamic State executed 33 people in the 1st week of April alone.

The report also did not include the number of Westerners being shot, executed
and terrorized by Islamist groups. Many of these, such as ISIS, Asaib Ahl
al-Haq (AAH), Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH), the Badr Organization, Or Kata'ib al-Imam
Ali (the Imam Ali Battalions), are funded and trained by Islamist governments
and oil-rich, unaccountable leaders.

Mass executions are evidently also being carried out by both extremist Islamist
governments and Islamist groups. A culture of executions, often extra-judicial,
as in Pakistan, seems to run rampant within the borders of these countries.
Without any consequences for this horrifying disregard for human life, the
numbers will only increase.

In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row for "blasphemy." Asia's
"crime" was to use the same water glass as her Muslim co-workers. "You defiled
our water," the Muslim women told her.

Both Islamist governments and Islamist groups justify their brutal acts by
referring to the "religious" Islamist legitimacy of their murders. Members of
fundamentalist Islamist governments, to legitimize these types of atrocities,
also exploit the right of "sovereignty": they point out that they belong
independent state with a fully operating and "legal" judiciary.

In the Amnesty International report, the Iran ranked number one, per capita, in
executing people. It also accounted for 66% of all officially recorded
executions in the region. Again, this amount only represents those executions
that were officially registered.

It is also critical to point out that the statistics Amnesty International
provides were given by the very governments that carried out the executions.
This method means that those in power were the ones to calculate and decide
what number should officially represent their country. The unofficial number is
thought to be even higher. There is nothing to stop governments from simply
keeping the true number to themselves.

Executions carried out under the strict governmental laws of sharia and
Islamist judicial systems can have even more grotesque characteristics. The
high number of executions included children, some convicted before the age of
18. Death sentences may frequently have lacked due process and what many would
consider acceptable standards of proof. People have, it seems, often been
arrested or detained on the basis of a rumor; then convicted without trial,
counsel or often even the chance to mount a defense. As Amnesty International
points out, "In many countries where people were sentenced to death or
executed, the proceedings did not meet international fair trial standards. In
some cases, this included the extraction of 'confessions' through torture or
other ill-treatment".

Prisoners' vulnerabilities also had no bearing on their executions. Even those
seriously ill were executed. Mass executions or stoning could be ordered and
then carried out within a very short time, sometimes within days, giving those
convicted no time to mount any form of appeal.

The laws under which these people are sentenced to death are often not only
vague and open to interpretation. Charges that warrant the death penalty, for
instance, include being "corrupt on earth", "enemies of Allah on Earth", or
alleged "crimes against chastity". What exactly does "corrupt on earth" or
"enemies of Allah on Earth" mean? There are no guidelines to establish guilt or
innocence. Those in power are therefore able to decide who has violated what
laws on what can only be a capricious basis. Islamist sheikhs, imams, or judges
can subjectively interpret charges any way they like. A charge of being
"corrupt on earth" can apply to having fun at a party or writing poetry that
government decides is critical of it. A charge of being "corrupt on earth" can
apply to someone who is homosexual, someone who is claimed to have committed
adultery, or who has simply declined to accepted an unwanted advance. It can
mean anyone who has done anything that the ruling leaders dislike.

These Islamist laws, moreover, also serve as a perfect tool for exploitation. A
woman finding herself accused of breaking a law may be assured that if she
agrees to sleep with a judge, for instance, he will interpret the law in a
lenient way and protect her from the death penalty. After a woman submits to
this, she can be executed nevertheless. Sometimes girls are forced into sighah
-- the Shiite Islamist law of temporary marriage -- with a cleric, or a
governmental official; after "consummating" it, they can also be put to death.

What does a charge such as "crimes against chastity" mean under sharia? This
accusation can apply to a girl who has been raped. Instead of the law providing
protection for the victim and consequences for the rapist, the victim is
accused of the crime of "adultery", convicted without a fair trial, and swiftly

When Islamist laws enter a land, it seems the number of stonings, beheadings,
and executions goes up.

Leaders of these nations can use this flexibility to terrorize and control
entire societies, expand their power, export their ideology, and ensure that
there is no opportunity to resist. More disturbing is that those numbers are
just a portion of the truth.

(source: Dr. Majid Rafizadeh, political scientist and Harvard University
scholar is president of the International American Council on the Middle


2 Prisoners Hanged on Murder Charges

On the morning of Monday May 8, 2 prisoners were reportedly hanged at Mashhad
Central Prison.

According to the Iranian state-run news agency Rokna, 1 of the prisoners, who
was not identified by name, was 35 years old, while the other prisoner, who was
identified by the initials M.M., was 27 years old.

(source: Iran Human Rights)


Specter of death penalty haunts Egypt???s Brotherhood----Egypt's highest court
for the 1st time has upheld the death penalty against a member of the Muslim
Brotherhood, prompting fears that it won't be the last time.

An Egyptian court issued the 1st death sentence against a member of the Muslim
Brotherhood, Sheikh Fadl al-Mawla, in what some fear will be a precedent for
the regime.

The Court of Cassation ruling April 24 prompted objections from human rights
groups and politicians.

Since July 2013, when current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi led a coup to
overthrow then-President Mohammed Morsi, the only related death sentences
upheld have been against individuals alleged to have belonged to jihadi
movements - but not against actual members of Morsi's Sunni Islamist
organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, or even against Morsi himself.

In this context, the final ruling issued against Sheikh Fadl al-Mawla, an
Islamist cleric accused of killing a taxi driver during the Rabaa Al-Adawiya
sit-in strike in 2013, has prompted many people to ask the most important
question to be raised in four years: Will the regime officially carry out death
sentences issued against the Brotherhood's members?

"Many of the Muslim Brotherhood members are awaiting the decisions that the
Court of Cassation will soon take regarding their death sentences," said lawyer
Khalaf Bayoumi, the head of the El-Shebab Center for Human Rights.

Part of the motive behind the question is the nature of Mawla's case. Bayoumi,
who has been closely following Muslim Brotherhood cases, said the ruling is
"shocking and contrary to all legal norms and traditions." He called the ruling
"a continuation of the judiciary politicization that is taking place in Egypt,"
and expressed concerns over the "political exploitation of the ruling, which
could set the stage for similar verdicts."

Bayoumi explained to Al-Monitor what he considers to be "legal shortcomings in
the verdict" and said, "The verdict was based on the testimony of one witness
only, and this testimony was abnormally contradictory." The court disregarded a
request by Mawla's lawyer to nullify the arrest because Mawla wasn't caught in
the act. The court also disregarded the defense's information about the arrest
operation that was "quite different from the story told by the criminal
investigation agent," Bayoumi said. He also pointed out, "The death sentence is
only applicable when there is an aggravating circumstance behind the
intentional murder, and this was not the case."

Many Muslim Brotherhood leaders and activists told Al-Monitor they have been
expecting such an escalation as the 2018 presidential elections draw nearer. So
far, they said, all deaths among former Brotherhood leaders were extrajudicial
because of medical neglect or torture in prison. However, some people believe
that even the sentences handed down by the Criminal Court should be considered
"extrajudicial," alleging that politics, not justice, is the motivating factor.

"This issue reflects the mobilization practiced by the head of the regime,
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, for the 2018 elections," Yasser Fathi, a political
observer close to the Brotherhood, told Al-Monitor. "This is a trend in public
policies, and it has been made clear by Sisi's desire to show more dominance
and rigor in dossiers related to the judiciary and Al-Azhar, which are
institutions affiliated with the state."

Fathi believes all indicators show the Muslim Brotherhood is being used as a
scapegoat, especially at the political level. "The Brotherhood is always the
category that is easy to target and blame for the failure to combat terrorism
and other matters. We fear that Mawla might be executed at any time, and we
feel that the danger will be more serious moving forward, especially amid the
state of great anger within the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood at what is
happening," Fathi said.

Al-Monitor spoke to Mawla's wife, who said her husband was targeted due to his
"beard, religious appearance, advocacy activity and activity against the coup."
This, she said, would "help distort his image in the state media." She believes
her husband is a scapegoat, especially as none of those arrested with him
received a death sentence. She said she was "shocked" when she heard the news
with her 5 children.

Though the court upheld Mawla's death sentence, Ashraf Sharif, a comparative
politics professor at the American University in Cairo, said, "It remains to be
seen whether the sentence will be executed, especially considering that the law
does not compel the authority to immediately implement the sentence and its
execution could be delayed for years."

Sharif said judicial decisions in Egypt are often subject to individuals'
motives and conspiracies, which could mean the court's decision "was not issued
under the direct guidance of the regime." However, "This does not negate the
fact that the regime's decision to take escalatory measures against the
Brotherhood has been indeed ongoing for some time." The evidence of that
escalation, he said, is the regime's rejection of reconciliation and "its
repressive measures against what it calls 'radical groups within the

Sharif, who researches Islamic movements, said there are 2 approaches within
the Egyptian state when it comes to dealing with the Brotherhood. "The 1st is
based on eradication and is represented by Sisi, who wants to succeed in the
areas that [Gamal Abdel] Nasser failed in and completely eliminate the Muslim
Brotherhood, while the other approach favors the traditional [Hosni]
Mubarak-state style, which is based on containment and calculated repression."

Al-Monitor asked Sharif if Egypt might be feeling less pressure regarding its
use of the death penalty because of the new US administration. The previous
administration would have been likely to criticize Egypt strongly, but perhaps
Egypt feels its relations with the United States have improved under President
Donald Trump. There have been Brotherhood reports of links between Sisi???s
visit to the United States and the ruling, but Sharif said the Trump
administration is unlikely to have affected the ruling.

The United States has been under pressure to decide whether to officially label
the Brotherhood a terrorist group, but so far it has not weighed in on its

"Trump's administration has not yet decided on the Brotherhood matter,
especially given the practical difficulty of declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a
terrorist group and having such a declaration serve as a reason to accept ...
executions against the group," he added.

Meanwhile, Mawla's family lives in hope that the ruling will be disrupted. His
wife said, "We submitted a petition to the prosecutor general to quash the
ruling amid the ongoing constitutional dispute over the law."

Bayoumi said his legal center and lawyers submitted several complaints to the
African Commission to stop the sentence from being carried out: "In a joint
statement with several human rights organizations, we called on the
international community to intervene and place pressure on the Egyptian regime
to stop the implementation of the sentence."

Although it remains to be seen if the regime will weigh in publicly on the
execution, there are Brotherhood activists who believe the regime could
threaten to implement the ruling at any time, sending a political message to
the group whenever it might consider supporting any presidential candidate
running against Sisi.

(source: al-monitor.com)


Sudanese activist faces death penalty over apostasy case

Police officers in Sudan's capital, Khartoum Monday have arrested a human right
activist over allegations of Apostasy.The arrest came 2 day after the guy went
to a court in Ombada area, asking a judge to allow him change his Aslamic
religion that written in his national identity card to Atheism.

The 27-year -old wrote to the court a long letter explaining why he wanted to
leave his religion.

According to reports, the activist, Mohamed Al-dossogy will be transfered
tomorrow from his jail in Khartoum to a court to face the charges that
including disturbance and apostasy.

Article 126 of the 1991 Sudanese Penal Code imposes death penalty for any
person found guilty of apostasy, Which is defined "crime that is committed by
any Muslim who advocates for the renunciation of the creed of Islam or publicly
renounces his or her faith."

In May 2014 court in the country jailed and convicted Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, a
27-year-old woman in her 9th month of pregnancy, but she Was released after the
case brought criticism to the government.

(source: journalducameroun.com)


Kill the death penalty: UNHRC to India----In a periodical review, UN has given
250 recommendations

4 days after the Supreme Court ordered capital punishment for the 4 accused in
the Nirbhaya rape case, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has
recommended that India do away with death penalty.

Following the Universal Periodic Review of India's human rights track record,
conducted by the UNHRC every four years, the country has received 250
recommendations, some of the crucial ones being abolishment of the death
penalty, ratifying the convention against torture and other cruel punishments,
and criminalising marital rape. India has decided to review the recommendations
and report to UNHRC by September.

The issue of making marital rape punishable has met with lacklustre political
will. In the recent past, Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Chaudhary
went on record in Rajya Sabha to say a move to amend the Indian Penal Code to
undo the exclusion of marital rape from the definition of rape would be

Merely a year later, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka
Gandhi went on to say the 'concept' of marital rape "as understood
internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to
various factors such as level of education/illiteracy, poverty." The preference
given to social customs over the protection of women from crimes is not just
limited to laws on rape. India???s ratification of the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, comes burdened with

While ratifying the Convention, in 1993, India declared, "With regard to
Articles 5 (a) and 16 (1) of the Convention ... the Government of India
declares that it shall abide by and ensure these provisions in conformity with
its policy of non-interference in the personal affairs of any Community without
its initiative and consent."

Article 5 (a) pertains to eliminating prejudices and customary practices that
hinge on the idea of inferiority of women; while 16 (1) asks States to
eliminate discrimination against women in matters related to marriage as well
as family relations - giving equal rights to choose spouse, choose the number
of children, to own property, and have a job, besides others.

Some of the other recommendations include, preventing inter-communal violence;
eradicating all forms of caste-based discriminations and violence; and
strengthening the national mechanisms to combat human trafficking.

(source: thehindubusinessline.com)


International Court of Justice stays death sentence given to Kulbhushan Jadhav
by Pakistan Army court----The ICJ observed that Pakistan failed to offer a just
trial to Kulbhushan before awarding him the death penalty.

International Court of Justice (ICJ) stayed the execution of Kulbhushan Jadhav,
the former Indian naval officer who was sentenced to death in Pakistan. Jadhav
was awarded death by Pakistan's Army court last month, evoking sharp reaction
from India. The verdict against Jadhav was termed as a 'premeditated murder' by
India, accusing Pakistan of violating the guidelines of Vienna Convention on
Consular Relations.

The ICJ observed that Pakistan failed to offer a just trial to Kulbhushan
before handing him the death penalty. The Hague-based court further questioned
the Pakistani civilian government for rejecting India's plea for consular
access 14 times in a row. At the ICJ, India is being represented by senior
Supreme Court advocate Harish Salve.

India's application before ICJ was accepted on May 8. In the plea, Pakistan was
accused of agreeing to provide consular access to Kulbhushan, only if India
assists in the probe being conducted against him. "Linking assistance to the
investigation process to the granting of consular access was by itself a
serious violation of the Vienna Convention," India said in the petition
submitted to ICJ.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj confirmed the stay put by ICJ on
Kulbhushan's execution. She tweeted about her conversation with Jadhav???s
mother, apprising her about the order issued by the ICJ to stay the hanging of
her son.

With the ICJ admitting India's application to review the subject, the
Kulbhushan Jadhav row is no longer a bilateral subject. Defence expert Maroof
Raza lauded the efforts of Narendra Modi government to seek justice from the
ICJ. "Government of India has used its diplomatic skills in the most efficient
manner. This shows India's desire to approach the international court on
disputes with Pakistan. So far, only Pakistan has been using global forums for
legal battles against India," he said, while speaking to Times Now.

The respite for Kulbhushan comes in the backdrop of major diplomatic efforts
taken by India to stay his execution. The Indian Ministry of External Affairs
reached out to their Pakistani counterparts on multiple occasions, seeking
consular access for Kulbhushan. However, Islamabad has denied consular access
to Kulbhushan for 14 times in a row.

Pakistan's Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had so far defended the death verdict
of Kulbhushan, saying, "The execution of Kulbhushan is completely justified
under the laws of the land." The Indian national was charged for espionage and
convicted under Official Secrets Act, 1929.

(source: india.com)

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May 11


Numbers of Africans Sentenced to Die Soars

More than 1,000 Nigerians languish on death row.

Governments in sub-Saharan Africa sentenced at least 1 083 people to death in
2016 - more than double the 443 people condemned to die in 2015, according to a
recent report by international human rights organisation Amnesty International.

The research shows that rising numbers of people sentenced to die in the region
are largely driven by an upswing of such judgments in Nigeria, which handed
down death sentences to almost 500 people in 2016.

Although the number of death sentences more than doubled, the region saw fewer
actual executions - 22 people. The executions took place in 5 countries, the
bulk of which were in Somalia. The other countries included Sudan and Botswana.

"Countries in sub-Saharan Africa that continue to hold on to the death penalty
are showing utter disregard to the right to life of people and are on the wrong
side of history as the world is moving away from the punishment," says Amnesty
International's death penalty adviser Oluwatosin Popoola.

Amnesty's latest global survey on the use of the death penalty was released in
April and shows that, globally, fewer countries are prescribing death
sentences. It also argues that fewer people were executed in 2016 than in the
previous year but cautions that reported rates of death sentences and
executions are likely to be under-reported because many governments do not
publish statistics on their use of the death penalty.

In Southern Africa, Botswana was the only country to execute anyone in 2016. It
was that country's 1st state-mandated killing since 2013.

"Botswana's step backwards must not be replicated elsewhere in the region,"
Amnesty International's Southern Africa director Deprose Muchena warns in the

About 300 people across the Southern African region were sentenced to death by
the end of 2016, the overwhelming majority of whom were in Zambia - 157 -
followed by Zimbabwe - 97.

"African countries that still retain the death penalty can reduce this by
abolishing mandatory death sentences, reducing the number of offences that
provide for the death penalty and restricting the imposition of death sentences
to the 'most serious crimes' as provided for by international human rights
law," Popoola explains.

The report does not investigate the effects of capital punishment on the
families of death-row prisoners, but says it can prolong the suffering of the
victims' families and those condemned to die, says Popoola.

He says countries should ideally restrict the use of the death penalty with the
aim of abolishing it in the future.

Popoola argues: "The death penalty diverts resources and energy that could be
better used to work against violent crime and assist those affected by it.

"It is a symptom of a culture of violence, not a solution to it."

(source: allafrica.com)


India carried out no executions in 2016, Amnesty reveals in its annual death
sentence report

India did not execute a single person last year despite the country imposing a
total of 136 death sentences, which was significantly higher than the previous
years, according to a report released on Tuesday by Amnesty International.
"India recorded a total of 136 death sentences imposed in 2016, significantly
higher than the previous years, whereas a significant decrease in the
implementation of death sentences was recorded in Pakistan, by 73 %," Amnesty
said its annual report on 'Death Sentences and Executions'.

India carried out no executions last year, but was among the few countries to
hand out capital punishment for drug- related crimes and also amended its laws
to introduce the death penalty for hijacking when it results into death, the
Amnesty report said. "More than 400 people were believed to be under sentence
of death at the end of the year. In May, the National Law University, Delhi,
published an extensive study showing that most prisoners on death row were from
economically vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups," the report noted.

The human rights group recorded 1,032 executions in 2016, a 37 % drop
worldwide, with China believed to have executed more than all countries
combined but the figures remain a classified state secret. Despite the
significant decrease world-wide, the overall number of executions in 2016
remained higher than the average recorded for the previous decade, the Amnesty
report said.

Of the total 1,032 executions, 87 % took place in just 4 countries - Iran,
Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan. Pakistan's execution rate dropped from 326
recorded deaths in 2015 to at least 87 the following year. The high number
reported in 2015 followed the lifting of a 7-year moratorium on executions in
December 2014 in response to a deadly Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar.
The country then created military courts to try civilians suspected of
terrorism-related offences. In 2016, at least 4 of those executed in the
country were convicted by the military courts.

"The death penalty was used in contravention of international law and
standards, including on people with mental disabilities, for crimes that did
not meet the threshold of the 'most serious crimes' to which the use of the
death penalty must be restricted, such as 'blasphemy'; and in violation of the
defendants' right to a fair trial," the report noted. However, the biggest
rebuke is directed at China for its execution record and failure to disclose
the true nature of capital punishments in the country.

A new in-depth investigation by Amnesty International claims that the Chinese
authorities enforce an elaborate secrecy system to obscure the shocking scale
of executions in the country, despite repeated claims it is making progress
towards judicial transparency. For the 1st time since 2006, the US is not among
the world's 5 biggest executioners and the number of executions (20) in 2016
reached the lowest level recorded in any year since 1991.

Amnesty collects its statistics using official figures, media reports and
information passed on from individuals sentenced to death and their families
and representatives.

(source: firstpost.com)


Upholding majesty of international law----India's moving the International
Court of Justice to seek justice for Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer
who was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court vindicates the majesty
of international law. It also vindicates the need for India to take
international law more seriously across the board as an instrument of state

Upholding majesty of international law

India has made a deft move to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) seeking
justice for its national, Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former naval officer, who was
sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court. This is the 1st such action
by India as it had hitherto refrained from taking any bilateral issue to
international forums or judicial bodies (courts and tribunals). This action has
been triggered by the consistent denial by Pakistan of "consular access", a
minimal courtesy exercised by all civilised states, to Jadhav as a national of
India. India expressed determination to rescue Jadhav from the Pakistani
custody as it viewed the case as stage-managed abduction, slapping of false
espionage charges and secretive military trial leading to imposition of death

Notwithstanding lack of "compulsory" jurisdiction of ICJ, India sought to tap
the legal remedy available under Article 36 (1) of the ICJ Statute (all matters
provided for in treaties and conventions in force) and Article 1 of the
Optional Protocol Concerning the Compulsory Settlement of Disputes (1963) to
the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (1963). The Optional Protocol
provides that "unless some other form of settlement has been agreed upon by the
parties...Disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the
Convention shall lie within the compulsory jurisdiction of the International
Court of Justice and may accordingly be brought before the Court by an
application made by any party to the dispute being a Party to the present
Protocol". As of May 2016, the Protocol was ratified by 51 states and,
amazingly, included both India and Pakistan!

This represents a growing trend, wherein a state party seeks to raise issue of
breach of specific treaty obligation by another state. For instance, Ukraine
has taken the Russian Federation to ICJ for breach of Convention for the
Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the Convention on Elimination of
all Forms of Racial Discrimination.

It is the 1st such resolute support provided by India to rescue a national,
accused of violations of local law in another country. Due to the unusual
situation prevailing in Pakistan as well as regular incidents of aiding and
abetement of cross-border terror chain of pin-pricks, India has been forced to
bypass time-tested rule of "exhaustion of local remedies" as they are in any
case not available due to the current impasse.

The Indian action has been buttressed by turning down of more than 15 requests
for consular action by the Pakistani authorities. In a petition filed in the
registry of the ICJ in the Hague, India underscored the urgency of this
situation. It referred to the provisions of Article 75 of the Rules of Court,
asked the Court to indicate forthwith, and without holding any hearing,
provisional measures proprio motu. As laid down by the ICJ in Vienna Convention
on Consular Relations case (Paraguay v. USA case; April 9, 1998), the Court
could order interim measures if there is possibility of "irreparable
prejudice...to rights which are the subject of dispute ...". As a corollary, in
a swift move, the President Rony Abraham issued an order to Pakistan to "act in
such a way so as to enable the court to enforce any decision it takes on the
Indian plea."

As a founding member of the United Nations, India has been forced to move to
ICJ not for violations of sovereignty per se but breach of an international
treaty obligation - the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963. India
has otherwise consistently denied efforts of countries like Pakistan to drag
her to ICJ on the basis of the "Commonwealth Clause" in declaration under
Article 36 (2) of the Statute of ICJ. Pakistan's steadfast refusal to allow
consular access to Jadhav has lent credence to Indian claim about "fixing" of
Jadhav, circumstances of his alleged abduction and "sale" in early 2016 to
elements in Pakistan and slapping of "espionage" case even though it was proved
he was carrying an Indian passport. This, as India argued, "has prevented India
from exercising its rights under the Convention and has deprived the Indian
national from the protection accorded under the Convention". The issue at stake
has been the nationality of Jadhav and the prevalent right of India to provide
diplomatic/consular protection to Jadhav. The case has assumed grim proportions
since efforts were stonewalled by Pakistan to allow consular access to him.
Demarche issued to the Pakistan High Commissioner were ignored and all pleas at
the highest level fell on deaf ears. It has placed bilateral relations in
serious jeopardy.

The Indian contention in the Jadhav case is rooted in Article 36 (1) of the
Vienna Convention that guarantees unimpeded consular communication, access and
providing of legal representation by a 'sending state' to its nationals who are
arrested or committed to prison pending trial or detained in any other manner.
Pakistan's consistent and wilful denial of India's right to provide consular
protection to Jadhav has led to the ICJ to underline sanctity of the Convention
as well as efficacy of the remedy available under the Optional Protocol. Indian
legal recourse is a cogent step to obtain judicial restraint of Pakistan's
aberrant conduct resulting in not only gross violation of India's consular
right but also basic human right of Jadhav under Article 6 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This provides every human being the
inherent right to life.

Generally, the UN member states take matters to ICJ on issues concerning
territorial integrity and sovereignty like delimitation of land and maritime
borders or other violations. It is rare that states contend before ICJ issues
concerning rights of a corporate entity (Interhandle case by Switzerland
against USA) or individuals (Asylum case by Columbia against Peru). In 1980,
the USA also had to ICJ against Iranian revolutionary guards' seizure of the US
Embassy in Tehran. In the famous LaGrand case (1999), the ICJ upheld German
contention that the USA violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations by
not advising its national Karl and Walter LaGrand on their right to consular
access that prevented Germany from obtaining effective trial counsel for them.
In spite of repeated German assertions Karl La Grand was executed in the state
of Arizona on February 24, 1999. The ICJ did grant urgent provisional measures
and stayed the execution of Walter LaGrand that was slated for March 3, 1999.

India had no choice amidst the groundswell of domestic public opinion as well
as to counter Pakistan's compulsive "irritation" campaign to ward off
international isolation. The decisions given by the ICJ are binding on the
parties to the dispute. There are glaring cases of defiance in the past by
countries such as USA (Nicaragua case) and Iran (Hostages case). Still Pakistan
can defy ICJ only at its own peril and at the cost of irreversibly damaging
India-Pakistan relations. In this grim scenario, Indian recourse to this
international law remedy has brought about a glimmer of hope. It provides a
robust message that it will work wonders if India takes this vital instrument
more seriously in internal governance structure as well as in the conduct of
external affairs and, in turn, for maintenance of international peace and

(source: Bharat H Desai is Chairman of Centre for International Legal Studies,
JNU. Balraj K Sidhu is faculty member of RGSOIPL, Indian Institute of


TTP terrorists convicted by military courts executed

4 more Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) terrorists convicted of "heinous"
terror related offences by military courts have been executed today
(Wednesday), the Pakistan Army announced.

The terrorists were involved in killing of innocent civilians, attacking a
mosque, destruction of communication infrastructure, attacking Law Enforcement
Agencies and Armed Forces.

All the 4 convicts including Qaider Khan, Muhammad Umar, Qari Zubair Muhammad
and Aziz Khan were active members of banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. They
had admitteded their offences before the Magistrate and trial court, Pakistan
army s media wing Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

Military courts were restored in March for another 2 years after their initial
2-year term expired in January. The courts were established after a
constitutional amendment following a terrorist attack on Army Public School
(APS) in Peshawar in December 2014 which left more than 150 people dead.

Pakistan has been fighting various extremist groups for over a decade.
Terrorist attacks have killed tens of thousands of people. The military courts
have handed down the death penalty to more than 160 terrorists.

(source: Dunya News)


International court halts Pakistan execution of Indian convicted of spying

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Pakistan not to carry out
the execution of an Indian man convicted of spying while his case is being

Kulbushan Jadhav was arrested in March 2016 "for his involvement in espionage
and sabotage activities against Pakistan," and sentenced to death last month.
On May 8, India initiated proceedings at the Hague against its regional rival,
accusing Islamabad of "egregious violations of the Vienna Convention on
Consular Relations" in the sentencing of Jadhav, according to a statement
released by the ICJ.

India requested the ICJ order Pakistan not to execute Jadhav until the court
can issue a judgment based on India's claims.

The ICJ is the principle judicial arm of the United Nations and settles
disputes between member states in accordance with international law.

'Premeditated murder'

India alleges Jadhav was "kidnapped" from Iran where he was on business after
retiring from the Indian Navy. He was arrested by Pakistani authorities in
Baluchistan on March 3 last year.

Indian authorities say they learned of his arrest through a press release
nearly 3 weeks later and were refused consular access multiple times, in
violation of the Vienna Convention.

A military court charged Jadhav on April 11 under the Pakistan Army Act 1952
and the Official Secrets Act 1923, both of which provide for the death penalty.
India described the sentencing as an act of "brazen defiance" of the Vienna
Convention and warned executing Jadhav would be an act of "premeditated

In a statement, Amnesty International said military courts, which were used in
Jadhav's case, have been linked to coerced confessions and unfair trials.

(source: CNN)


HRCP recommends abolition of death penalty

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has recommended reinstating
moratorium on death penalty with an aim of abolition, as the country remained
one of the highest executioners in the world in 2016.

HRCP while releasing a report 'State of Human Rights in 2016' said that while
the pace of execution in Pakistan slowed significantly in 2016, the country
remained one of the highest executioners in the world with 87 persons executed
in 2016, most in the first 6 months of the year. According to the report, 426
persons were awarded death penalty in 2016 while 496 in 2015. The report
further said that the trials were often characterised by the lack of access to
impartial legal counsel. The fate of the accused was sealed in the initial
stages when they were given a state-appointed lawyer who was often
poorly-trained and lacked competence, the report lamented.

According to the report, Punjab witnessed an increase in the cases of rape,
gang-rape and abduction. Bank robberies, theft and snatching of motorcycles and
mobile phones witnessed a sudden rise in 2016 in Karachi. 3 human rights
defenders were killed. Punjab police said that they killed 340 criminals in at
least 291 'encounters.' Sindh police said 248 robbers and other criminals, 96
terrorists and 11 kidnappers were killed in encounters. Law enforcers claimed
to have killed at least 229 suspected terrorists and kidnappers in different
raids in Balochistan, 315 in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), 40 in
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and 4 in Gilgit-Baltistan, the report said.

On the issue of military courts, the report said that 275 cases were referred
to the military courts which convicted 274 of them. The fate of one remains
unknown. The military courts awarded the death sentence to 161 prisoners while
113 were imprisoned.

On enforced disappearances, it said that another 728 Pakistanis were added to
the list of missing persons in 2016, the highest in at least six years, taking
the toll to 1,219, according to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced

On the issue of 'Female Prisoners and Juveniles,' the commission quoted a
report by the Ministry of Interior published in October, which stated that of
the 939 women incarcerated in jails in Punjab at the time, 110 were accompanied
by their children. Out of these 110 women, 60 were under-trial, 45 had been
sentenced while 5 were facing the death penalty. HRCP recommended that efforts
should be made for maintenance and protection of children of incarcerated
mothers outside the prison once they are of school-going age. The report said
that torture remained the foremost instrument of evidence collection in the
criminal justice system of the country. It further stated that around 14,628
Pakistani migrant workers were incarcerated abroad between 2005 and 2015.

The watchdog welcomed the enactment of new laws to protect women but decried an
uptick in religiously motivated vigilantism.

"People have been given impunity if they kill in the name of religion, if they
cheat in the name of religion, if they lie in the name of religion. The state
has to end this," said Asma Jahangir, the commission's chairman while
addressing a news conference. "It is doing no service to our religion."

Pakistan has never executed anyone convicted of blasphemy, but the mere
accusation is enough to ignite mob violence and lynchings.

The report said that about 3 million cases were pending in the country's courts
in 2016. It said 15 people, 10 Muslims and five non-Muslims, were booked for
blasphemy. 2 Muslims and as many Christians were sentenced to death for
blasphemy. 1 person charged with blasphemy who had been languishing in jail for
4 years was acquitted by the