[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Jul 25 19:15:38 CDT 2004
No swift, painless death this
Sunil Pingale was 28 when a judge in Pune sentenced him to death by
hanging for murdering 2 relatives. 7 years later, Pingale is still in a
fetid death row cell, waiting to be marched to the gallows.
His is not an isolated case. There are about 170 such convicts across
prisons in India: 13 in Maharashtra; 11 in Punjab; 3 in West Bengal
(including Dhananjoy Chatterji, in the news because he appealed to the
president); 5 in Delhi's Tihar; and 3 Veerapan associates in Karnataka, to
name a few.
Indian prisons are among the most overcrowded and uncomfortable in the
world, but there are added problems in the crammed death rows. One, there
just aren't enough hangmen - 5 at best - and, 2, the legal procedures,
along with elaborate preparations for the gallows (according to
200-year-old British-made rules) take far too long.
80 % judges favour death by lethal injection
A vast majority of judges, who responded to the Law Commission on
execution of death penalty, feel that administering lethal injection
should be an additional mode for sniffing out a condemned prisoner's life.
The Law Commission's 187th Report on "Mode of Execution of Death Sentence
and Incidental Matters", which was tabled in Parliament recently, analysed
the responses it received from judges of different High Courts and
About 80 % of the judges, who responded to the Commission's questionnaire,
favoured an amendment to Section 354(5) of the Criminal Procedure Code,
which provided that when a person is sentenced to death he shall be
executed by hanging by neck till he is dead. "All of the 80 % judges, who
are in favour of amendment of Section 354(5) have suggested that
administering lethal injection should be the other mode of execution of
the death sentence," the report said.
However, 5 % of the judges had suggested that apart from the lethal
injection, 'shooting' could also be precribed as an alternative mode of
execution of death sentence, said the report presented to the Law Ministry
by Commission Chairman Justice M J Rao.
"Only approximately 19 % of the judges are satisfied with the present mode
of execution of death," the report, without giving the number of
The Commission had also sought the response of the judges that in case of
an alternative mode of execution of death sentence, who should be given
the discretion - the judge or the convict - to choose that particular
"45 % of the judges have opined that discretion should be given to the
convict while 36 per cent of the judges are of the view that discretion
should be given to the judge in choosing the mode of execution of death
sentence," the report said.
The Law Commission had also examined the question whether the convict,
facing the death sentence, should have right to appeal against the
sentence, which had been confirmed by the High Court, before the Supreme
"92 % of the Judges have supported the view that there should be a
statutory right to appeal to the Supreme Court in cases where death
sentence has been confirmed by the High Court. Only one Judge of a
subordinate court was not in favour of providing such right," the
However, to a specific question from the Commission, most of the judges
felt that there was no need for constitution of a 5-judge Bench of the
Supreme Court to hear an appeal filed by the convict challenging the High
"51 % of the judges have given their answer in the negative, while 41 % of
judges are of the view that cases relating to death sentence should be
heard and decided by a Bench of not less than 5 judges," the report said.
(source for both: The Times of India)
2 face death penalty for billionaire's slaying
A Chinese court has ordered the death penalty for 2 businessmen and life
sentences for three others who were accused of murdering billionaire Zhou
Zubao in East China's Zhejiang Province early last year.
The Intermediate People's Court of Wenzhou on Thursday sentenced Yang
Jinfu to death after a trial held on May 19 and 20. His younger brother,
Yang Jiafu, also received a death sentence, but he was given a two-year
The court ordered life imprisonment for Zhou's 3 business partners -- Wang
Weijian and Tu Jin'an from Zhejiang Province and Yu Cunjun from the
northwestern Shaanxi Province -- on charges of intentional homicide.
Zhou had planned to open a supermarket with Wang and Tu in Fengtai
District of southern Beijing in March 1998, said the court.
But conflicts emerged at the preparatory stage, so Wang and Tu wanted to
quit from the project and get back the 1.9 million yuan (US$229,750) they
had invested. Zhou rejected.
In December 1998, Wang and Tu pretended to transfer their shares of the
supermarket to Yang Jinfu and asked Yang to extort the sum from Zhou, and
promised Yang he would be well paid if the money was drawn back.
After failing to get the money back, Yang and his brother hired thugs who
attempted to take over the supermarket by force in November 1999.
Zhou's nephew Zhou Jianbo, vice-manager of the market, was killed in the
conflict. Yang escaped from the area.
Wang and Tu paid Yang and his men more than 300,000 yuan (US$36,280) after
the incident. The three decided to slay Zhou Zubao in November 2002, as
Zhou had demanded repeatedly that local police deal with his nephew's
Yang Jinfu, who was promised 500,000 yuan (US$60,460) for the killing,
stabbed Zhou to death on February 12, 2003 in collusion with Yu Cunjun and
Zhu Zhijin was sentenced to 20 years of jail term, according to the court
The court also sentenced Lin Yuwei and Yang Yaoxin to 10 years and 3
years, respectively, for being accessories to the crime.
The seven defendants were also ordered to pay a total of 274, 526 yuan
(US$33,075) in compensation to Zhou's family.
Zhou, 50, was former chairman of the board of Beijing-based Zhaodisheng
(source: Xinhua News)
Nicholson wants death penalty consensus----'It's time we decide whether to
hang or not to hang'; NICHOLSON. we are wasting our energies in this
flip-flop way in which we have to be dealing with the death penalty
Justice Minister and Attorney-General A J Nicholson says he is hoping for
political consensus on the controversial issue of hanging.
"I am looking for consensus on both sides of the House," he told the
Sunday Observer after his address to the official opening ceremony for the
inaugural American/Caribbean Law Initiative Conference at the Jamaica
Grande in Ocho Rios on Friday.
The conference, which is the 1st of its kind, attracted the participation
of law students from across the United States and the Caribbean.
The Government has long made it clear that it is in favour of the death
penalty, but the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party has tended to appear
undecided, opting for a conscience vote on the issue.
After leaving the conference, Nicholson said he had not ruled out the
possibility of a referendum.
"It could, at some point, come to a referendum beyond that," the justice
minister said, but made it clear that his first option would be to have
the issue settled via a 2/3 majority vote in the House of Representatives.
"If we decide that the death penalty should be no more, I think we should
just have a vote and put it to the people and let it be done," Nicholson
"We might very well, in the not-so-distant future, here in Jamaica, have
to decide whether we are keeping the death penalty or not," he said. "I
don't want to put a time on it. But. we are wasting our energies in this
flip-flop way in which we have to be dealing with the death penalty."
Hanging remains on the law books although no one has gone to the gallows
here since 1976. Chapter 3 section 14 of the constitution, addressing the
issue of capital punishment, says "No person shall intentionally be
deprived of his life save in execution of a sentence of a court in respect
of a criminal offence of which he has been convicted".
One of the most common responses to any upsurge in crime is usually a call
for the resumption of hanging, which international and local rights groups
have urged the Government to resist.
The PNP campaigned on the resumption of hanging during the October 2002
general election, saying it would use the vote to get a mandate from the
people to push through the constitutional changes to make it easier to
enforce the death penalty. But earlier this month, the UK-based Privy
Council ruled that automatic death penalties are unconstitutional.
Nicholson described the move, which was welcomed by rights activists, as
one that would reopen the debate on the future of capital punishment. It
was an issue, he said yesterday, that needed to be settled "once and for
all, if the health of the island's laws and rule of law are to be
"I think if we concentrated our energies on going one way, (for or against
the death penalty), it would be healthier," he said. "We cannot just be
going in this see-saw manner. It is not healthy for the laws or the rule
of law in the country."
Whatever the decision, Nicholson said, the Government would need the
Opposition's support, as any legislative changes would need a two-thirds
majority vote in the House.
"If we decide that we are going to keep the death penalty, it means that
the Opposition would have to be co-operative. to make the constitutional
changes, (as has Barbados), to make that possible," he said.
(source: The Jamaica Observer)
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