[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Nov 11 12:03:54 CST 2004
Nigerian court quashes stoning death sentence for adultery
An Islamic court in northern Nigeria on Wednesday threw out a death by
stoning sentence against a pregnant 18-year-old girl who had been
condemned for adultery.
Judge Mohammed Mustapha Umar of the Upper Shariah Court in Dass, a rural
town in Bauchi state, said a lower court was wrong to have convicted
The judge said it was an error to sentence Ibrahim both to death for
adultery and 100 lashes of the cane - the punishment for pre-marital sex.
The accused also was not given a chance to defend herself, the judge said.
"Based on these reasons, this court hereby nullifies the lower court's
judgment," Umar concluded.
Ibrahim, now seven months pregnant, was convicted of adultery on Oct 5 by
an Islamic court in the remote town of Lere. A man she said was
responsible for the pregnancy was freed for lack of evidence.
Her lawyer, Abubakar Suleiman appealed, saying Ibrahim was never married
and, therefore, could not be guilty of adultery.
Ibrahim was one of two women sentenced to death by stoning by an Islamic
court in Bauchi state over the last few months. The sentences were the
first of their kind in more than a year in the mainly Muslim north, where
12 states have introduced controversial Islamic Shariah criminal codes
since 1999. None of the stoning sentences have been carried out.
The second woman, 25-year-old Daso Adamu, was sentenced on Sept 15. She
says she was impregnated by 1 of her 2 ex-husbands and is appealing on the
basis that the sentence was "unfair and unjust."
Under the Islamic code, sex outside wedlock is considered adultery if one
of the partners is or has ever been married. If neither partner was ever
married, sex outside of wedlock is condemned as fornication, punishable by
President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticized harsh sentences under Islamic
law but has not moved to ban them because states are empowered to make
laws in Nigeria's federal system.
The introduction of strict Islamic law in the northern states in 1999-2000
heightened ethnic and religious tensions across the country, triggering
violent clashes between Christians and Muslims that left thousands dead.
(source: Japan Today)
Ex-death row prisoner sues for trauma
A former death row prisoner, whose sentence was converted to an effective
22 years behind bars, is claiming R500 000 from the Department of
Correctional Services for emotional trauma.
Casper Kruger claims he suffered from trauma after he was subjected to
1210 days of incarceration in Pretoria's notorious C-Max Prison.
Kruger was sentenced to death in the early 1990s for killing 3 people at
the Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia, Johannesburg.
Testifying in leg irons, with guards watching over him, Kruger told the
Pretoria High Court on Wednesday that he was incarcerated unlawfully in
At first he was held at Pretoria Central Prison's Maximum division. On 27
May 1997 he and another inmate Jano Nortje, the notorious "suitcase
murderer" claimed they became ill after eating fish in jail.
They were taken to the Pretoria Local Prison hospital, where they escaped
by overpowering guards. The 2 were rearrested on the same day.
Kruger said upon his return to the prison, he was immediately placed in
leg irons and kept in a single cell. He was an A-grade prisoner at the
time, but was demoted to a D-grade after the escape.
He spent 30 days in solitary confinement and was chained at all times. He
was also not allowed to speak to anyone. After serving his 30 days of
punishment, he went back to his old section. He was steadily promoted
until he reached his A-grade status again.
Two weeks later, without any reason, he was transferred to C-Max, Kruger
said. He was introduced to Phase 1 - which meant no privileges at all. His
clothes and other belongings were taken away, he had to strip naked and he
got an orange overall to wear.
He was taken to a small single cell with one small window and a hatch
through which he received food.
He was not allowed to speak to anyone, he could only receive 1 visit every
6 weeks from family through a thick glass for 10 minutes and he was locked
up for 23 out of 24 hours.
Kruger said when he later asked the reason for all this, he was told that
he was a flight risk. He testified he could not understand this, as he had
served his punishment and he was back at his A-status before being taken
Kruger told the court in detail how he was cuffed and in leg irons at all
times when allowed outside his cell for short periods.
He was allowed to shower in "a cage" and was watched by guards armed with
stun-guns. The female head of the prison at the time walked passed as he
"I felt violated," he said.
Kruger went on a hunger strike in protest against being held in C-Max.
"I was not allowed to speak to or to see anyone, the music played loudly
for most of the time and I felt confused, bored and claustrophobic."
He testified that he could not escape the music.
"It was everywhere and I had no way of turning it down....It made me
crazy... I felt like a caged-in animal."
At the time Kruger launched a court application to be placed back in the
Central Prison, but he lost the case. It was only after spending 1210 days
in C-Max that the Supreme Court of Appeal stepped in. It was found that
his constitutional rights were being violated.
The Appeal Court ordered at the time that no inmate may be transferred to
C-Max without given the opportunity to state why he should not be placed
Kruger testified that he was never given the opportunity to state his case
to the prison authorities.
"Before I went to C-Max I was normal. After C-Max I was no longer normal,"
he told the court.
He explained that he could endure a lot previously, but since his ordeal
in C-Max he snapped at the slightest thing. He also cannot tolerate crowds
or a noise around him.
Correctional Services is opposing the application, saying that Kruger
belonged in C-Max because he was a flight risk.
The parties wanted the judge to inspect C-Max Prison and the maximum
security section in Pretoria Central Prison before hearing the case, to be
able to see the conditions first hand.
The court ordered that it would first listen to the evidence and later
inspect the jail.
Both Kruger and Correctional Services have their own psychologists in
court to later testify about the effects of being jailed at C-Max.
The designer of the prison is also expected to take the stand later.
The case continues.
(source: South Africa Press Agency)
Biblical reference no point for death penalty
Is it that local Christians use words to mean precisely what they want
them to mean orble is written in a special way susceptible to
interpretation only by those who claim enlightenment?
How else am I to take a guest column by Roger Marshall in the Barbados
Advocate November 9, 2004 on the scriptural basis for the death penalty?
How could an assertion that he who takes the sword will die by the sword
and a prediction that he who sheds man's blood, will have his blood shed
amount to a mandate or suggestion for the imposition of the death penalty
by the modern state? This is arrant nonsense. I do not recall Cain being
put to death for Abel's murder but I do remember the Commandment "Thou
shalt not kill." And it did not contain a special exemption for the State,
to the best of my belief.
Jeff Cumberbatch Faculty of Law, UWI
(source: Letter to the Editor, Barbados Advocate)
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