[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Jul 11 19:42:08 CDT 2004
Iraqi judge hands out 1st death sentences
An Iraqi judge has condemned to death 3 men in the Shiite holy city of
Karbala, even before a ban on capital punishment has been officially
Judge Saleh Shaibani said the sentences were the 1st to be handed down by
an Iraqi court since the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime 15 months ago,
after which the US-led occupation administration suspended the death
The caretaker Government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has said the ban
will soon be reversed.
The judge, praising his own decision, said the extreme nature of the
crimes for which the 3 men were convicted led him to pronounce the death
"It is a brave judgement given the situation in the country and the spread
of armed gangs," he said, adding that the people of Karbala, 110
kilometres south of Baghdad, had applauded the move.
The first case involved a 25-year-old man who confessed to killing his
father, mother-in-law and four brothers with a shovel and pickaxe after a
dispute over money, according to police chief General Abbas al-Hosni.
He said some of the victims were finished off by strangling and that a
nephew was found guilty of complicity in the case.
In another conviction, a 45-year-old-man was found guilty of incest and
murder, according to Mr Hosni. He had had sex with his 16-year-old
daughter and killed her after she became pregnant.
It was unclear when the sentences would be carried out.
(source: Agence France Presse)
TRINIDAD and TOBAGO:
THE DEATH PENALTY ----"Not every killer deserves to die"
Persons found guilty of murder in Trinidad and Tobago will be sentenced to
death. If the people want a change, then it will be up to Parliament to do
so. That was the plain and simple message handed down by the British Privy
Council last Wednesday in the long-awaited judgment to an appeal brought
by TT convicted killer Charles Matthew against his death sentence. A
sentencing judge has no option. Once someone is found guilty of murder,
the only sentence to be passed is death by hanging. The death penalty has
been a raging topic not only in TT, but throughout the world. For years,
the death penalty was debated in Trinidad and Tobago, but the law has not
For anyone to attempt to change the law now, may result in stiff
opposition from the public. Reason? There have been 129 murders so far
this year. With the increase in kidnappings and other crimes, the public
is running scared. The detection rate by the police is not attractive,
while murder cases are going down the drain in the courts. The State
effected several hangings in the 1970s. Among them were notorious killers
Abdul Malik and Stanley Abbott. Bobby Gransaul was the last man hanged in
October 1979. All during the 1980s, people were convicted of murder, yet
the death penalty was not implemented. Warrants were read on many
occasions at the Port-of-Spain State Pri-son. But the condemned men were
successful in having the courts grant a stay of their execution. The
constitutional motions went all the way to the Privy Council and death row
In 1989, the then President Noor Hassanali established a Commission of
Inquiry to look into the death penalty. The Commission was headed by
attorney Elton Prescott, and after sittings up and down the length and
breadth of this country, the Commission recommended that the death penalty
remain on the statute books. But the Commission recommended degrees of
murder - murder 1, murder 2, and murder 3. All killings are not murders.
The NAR Government under whose auspices the inquiry was held, went out of
office in 1991 without changes to the law. When the Patrick Manning
Government came into power, attempts were made to resume hangings. Russell
Hug-gins, as Minister of National Security, and then Attorney General
Keith Sobion had the system hopping but all their efforts came to nought
as lawyers successfully argued for a stay of execution. But a major blow
was struck in November 1993 when the Privy Council in the case of Pratt
and Morgan, ruled that the death sentence should not be carried out on
persons on death row for more than 5 years.
42 condemned men in Trinidad had to have their death sentences commuted to
life imprisonment because they had been on death row for more than 5
years. The authorities were able in July 1994 to "slip" 1 execution when
Glen Ashby was hanged while his constitutional motion was before the Privy
Council. There was heated debate as to whether his hanging was legal, but
the debate fizzled out with the passage of time.
The UNC Government came into power in 1995, and although he was one of the
lawyers in the 1980s who blocked hangings, Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj
promised to carry out the law as Attorney General. With Joseph Theodore as
Minister of National Security, warrants were read for the execution of
convicted prisoners who had lost all their appeals. Lawyers moved in and
saved the necks of some of the brutal killers. With the system frustrating
him daily, Maharaj pulled TT out of two conventions, ensuring that
condemned men had no right to take petitions to the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights and the United Nations Commit-tee on Human
But this became an issue for Darrin Roger Thomas and Haniff Hilaire who
were successful in the Privy Council. The Law Lords said it would be wrong
for the Government to execute condemned men who had petitions pending
before the human rights bodies. But not everyone escaped. Dole Chadee and
his gang of eight lost all criminal appeals, petitions to the human rights
bodies, and even a constitutional motion. The die was cast and Chadee and
his gang walked to the gallows in June 1999. One month later, Tony Briggs
was executed days before his fifth anniversary in the condemned cells.
Maharaj, as Attorney General, brought legislation to Parliament to change
the constitution to have different categories of murder. But that
legislation never saw the light of day.
With the Privy Council stating that the death penalty is mandatory, the
question will surface again. What about the categories of murder? During
the recent death penalty hearing in London, British Queens Counsel Edward
Fitzgerald summed it up nicely - "not every killer deserves to die."
Fitzgerald is correct in his submission. Persons convicted of cold blooded
murder should get the death sentence. Persons who kill during a robbery,
kidnapping, gang warfare, and during a botched drug transaction, are the
brutal ones. Those who kill while under the influence of drugs or alcohol,
those who kill when they are mentally challenged, and those who kill in a
fit of passion, do not deserve the death sentence. If there are categories
of murder, they can receive a sentence in prison for any number of years.
It is now left to see whether the PNM Government will bring legislation to
Parliament to effect changes with respect to the death penalty. It is also
left to see if this happens, what position the Opposition will take. Will
the UNC support the Government in Parliament? Only time will tell.
Attorney General John Jeremie, who is responsible for the laws, will have
to review the laws in light of the Privy Councils ruling and in light of
global changes. More than three months after hearing arguments in the
appeal brought by convicted TT killer Charles Matthew, the Judicial
Committee, by a 5-4 majority, restored the mandatory death penalty in
Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, but said it no longer applied in
Jamaica. It was the first time in the history of the Privy Council that
nine judges sat on an appeal. After hearing arguments between March 22 and
30, judgment was reserved. The Law Lords reversed their own judgment of
November 20, 2003, in another Trinidad case of Balkissoon Roodal in which
they ruled that the mandatory death penalty was no longer applicable.
(source: Column, Francis Joseph, Newsday)
Woman official gets death sentence for embezzlement
A female official, in Qingyuan City of south China's Guangdong Province,
was sentenced to death Friday on charges of embezzlement and all her
personal property was confiscated, according to the verdict of the
Guanzhou Municipal Intermediate People's Court at the 1st trial.
Bao Yufeng, 51, was former director of the city's office for economic and
technological cooperation and general manger of a local state-owned
Between April 1998 and Dec. 2002, Bao on a number of occasions abused her
power to trade for bribes of cash or directly embezzle public funds with
fraudulent finance tricks, according to the court.
She was accused of grafting a total of 9.6 million yuan (1.2 million US
dollars) and misappropriating 2 million yuan (241,000 US dollars),
according to the court.
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