[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 3 10:05:22 CST 2004
Pak. national gets death penalty
A Pakistani national was today sentenced to death by a Delhi court for
causing a bomb explosion in 1997 in a crowded blue line bus here, killing
four persons and injuring 24.
Additional Sessions Judge O P Saini found convict Mohammed Hussain alias
Zulfiqar alias Abdul Hassan, a native of Jindrakhar village at Okara in
Pakistan, guilty of the crime and handed down the punishment after terming
it as "rarest of rare" case. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on
On December 30, 1997, a bomb exploded at Rampura near Punjabi Bagh in West
Delhi in a bus plying between Ajmere Gate and Nangloi injuring 28. 4 of
the injured later died of wounds in a hospital, police said.
A city court had discharged accused Abdul Rehman, Azhar Ahmed and Maqsood
Ahmed in the case for want of evidence. Another accused Abdul Karim alias
Tunda is absconding, police said.
(source: The Hindu)
Whither the death penalty?
Since 1988, in Jamaica, the judicial sentence of death has not been
carried out. The judges complain regularly that they pass the sentence but
do so in vain, as it appears the executive lacks the will or competence to
impose it. Initially, the government blamed the Judicial Committee of the
Privy Council (JCPC) and constitutional lawyers for delaying the process,
now it argues that the Opposition is holding up the process. What
Incompetent men and weak leaders will always contrive excuses for their
inaction and failure.
>From as far back as 1991, I said publicly that during the tenure of this
government the death penalty will be de facto abolished and, I can safely
predict, that it will not be carried out for at least the next three
years, certainly while this government is in power. If Jamaicans are not
by now aware, it is time you are, this government talks the talk, makes
announcements ad nauseam, promises the heavens perennially, and uses
public relations as the main tool of governance, but when it comes to walk
the walk, to implement anything worthwhile, or translate talk to action,
The government's incompetence to execute the law, to implement legislative
enactments effectively, and to distinguish announcements from
achievements, has affected every area of national life and is largely
responsible for the failure to carry out the judicial sentence of death.
In the area of the death penalty, no one can factually or sensibly accuse
the Opposition of impeding or opposing the execution of the death penalty,
as the Opposition's policy is to leave it to an individual's conscience.
To my sure knowledge the Opposition Spokesman on National Security,
Derrick Smith, has repeatedly called for it. The last time the death
penalty was carried out in 1988, it was under a JLP Minister of Justice,
Oswald Harding, who was and is passionately against the death penalty but,
as a member of government, knew his duty and executed it.
Personally, I am against the death penalty and will do my utmost best to
have the legislature remove it as a judicial sentence even while fully
acknowledging that once it remains the law the executive has a duty to
enforce it. Recent legislative discussions have bolstered my hopes that
the death penalty will soon be abolished de jure, as it should. The
government has entered into International Conventions and Treaties that
have stymied its ability to create any new offences for which the sentence
of death can be imposed, which means that this talk about repatriating our
sovereignty, by removing the Privy Council, is nothing but talk. Thus,
under the Terrorism Prevention Act, which is now before a parliamentary
committee, no act however dastard, premeditative and deliberate that
endangers life and causes death can attract the death penalty.
In the recent case of Lambert Watson, the JCPC ruled that the 1992
amendment to the Offences Against the Person Act was unconstitutional,
which required another amendment. In the House, I cautioned that aspects
of the new amendment would be deemed unconstitutional if it seeks to
remove the mandatory death sentence and re-impose the discretionary death
sentence on convicted capital murderers, which would be retroactive
punishment. Notwithstanding that the convicted men were already sentenced
to death, the new discretionary sentence of death was not in existence
when they were convicted of capital murder. I can only hope good sense
will prevail and all the men on death row under the unconstitutional
Amendment will have their sentence commuted. The new amendment should
start de novo and only from hereon should the new discretionary sentence
of death be imposed, and after hearing sentencing arguments for newly
convicted capital murderers.
Worldwide nations are removing the death penalty as a judicial sentence.
Its barbarity and finality cannot be justified. The lack of evidence that
the death penalty deters or reduces violence is another telling argument
against it. In the USA, DNA evidence showed that many murderers and
rapists had been wrongly convicted and, if executed, redress would have
been impossible. More persuasively, witnesses and human judgment are
acutely susceptible to grave error and in such circumstances an
irreversible punishment should never be imposed.
(source: Commentary; Delroy Chuck is an attorney-at-law and Opposition
Member of Parliament; Jamiaca Gleaner)
Judge fumes over death sentence cases
4 prisoners sentenced to death more than 10 years ago have had their
application to be released rejected by the Johannesburg High Court.
Willie Aaron Sibiya, Purpose Khumalo, Jacobus Petrus Geldenhuys and David
Nkuna had taken the director of public prosecutions, the country's
president and the ministers of justice and correctional services to court,
challenging their imprisonment.
The applicants, who were all sentenced to death for murder between 1991
and 1993, were challenging their continued incarceration since the death
penalty was repealed in 1997.
After the abolition of the death sentence, the state commuted the
sentences of some of those who were given capital punishment.
The prisoners had wanted the respondents to release them on the basis that
the abolition of capital punishment did not warrant their continued
imprisonment, because their respective warrants of detention were "issued
strictly for the death sentence and nothing else".
They questioned the constitutional validity of their continued
imprisonment as being "without a lawful warrant of detention". In
addition, the men wanted the court to order that authorities provide them
with a changed warrant of detention.
In her judgment yesterday, Judge Kathy Satchwell launched a scathing
attack on the incompetence of the Justice Department, in terms of failing
to respond to the application for several months, thus causing an
unnecessary delay. The application was first set down for June 2002 but it
was later allocated to February this year.
"The history of this application is indicative of the incompetence which
has frustrated access to justice in this particular application, but which
plagues the Department of Justice.
"The office of the state attorney failed to inform clients of a
constitutional challenge which could conceivably have resulted in an order
being granted on an unopposed basis, setting aside certain important
legislation," the judge said.
Refusing the 4 men's application for release from prison, she said each
applicant was free to pursue resentencing in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
In addition, the court ordered the respondents to furnish each of the
applicants with a written warrant for their detention on or before
(source: The Star)
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