[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Nov 16 22:35:25 CST 2004
INDONESIA----female faces imminent execution
Family consoles convict before execution
Crushing sadness and wan smiles marked the last Idul Fitri for Astini as
she bade farewell to her family and fellow inmates in Malang women's
penitentiary, aware that she is likely to face the firing squad in the
Astini was seen mingling with hundreds of well-wishers and inmates after
the Id prayers on Sunday. Wearing the regular blue prison uniform,
together with a sarong of the same hue, the 49-year-old woman looked
relaxed and cheerful.
"Forgive me, Minal aidin walfaidzin," she intoned the Idul Fitri greeting
solemnly. Most of those she greeted sobbed.
The Surabaya District Court found Astini guilty of murdering and
mutilating three women on separate occasions between August 1993 and
September 1995. She killed the 3 because they were unable to repay their
debts to her.
The visit of her children and grandchildren, however, was more than a
consolation for Astini.
Astini hurriedly approached her son Fidianto, who arrived earlier than his
siblings, Sulastri and Teddy. The last 2 came along with their families.
Her husband remarried some years ago.
Astini's legal efforts to avoid execution were exhausted after former
president Megawati Soekarnoputri rejected her request to have her death
sentence commuted on Oct. 5.
Surabaya prosecutor's office director Dharmawan said Astini's execution
had been delayed until after Idul Fitri to honor the Ramadhan fasting
month. She will be the third person to be executed this year.
Astini and her family met in the warden's office. The 49-year-old woman
kissed her grandchildren repeatedly.
She even went back to her cell to fetch the cookies that she had prepared.
"These are for my children and grandchildren," she told one of the guards.
The family reunion was cut short by a guard announcing that afternoon
visiting time was up. It was a heartbreaking moment as Astini watched her
children and grandchildren leave.
"I don't know what to say. I'm leaving everything to God almighty,"
Sulastri, Astini's pregnant eldest daughter, told The Jakarta Post.
A tearful Sulastri said that she had faith in her mother's lawyer.
"I leave the legal matters up to my mother and her lawyer," she said.
Astini's second child, Teddy, said he had decided to pray and submit her
mother's fate to God. "We just pray to God for our mother's strength," he
He hoped that she would be able to accept whatever fate bestowed on her.
"We have been trying to comfort her," he said.
Astini's youngest child, Fidiyanto, preferred to keep silent.
Warden Purwanti Suyatni hoped the courts would review the sentence.
"I personally think the death sentence handed down on her is inappropriate
as she did it unintentionally," she told the Post.
Suyatni said that Astini had improved mentally and spiritually since she
had arrived in the penitentiary.
"She is well behaved, polite to her fellow inmates and guards, and almost
every day learns to recite the Koran from a teacher who comes here," she
Another inmate agreed with the warden. "To the best of my knowledge, Ibu
Astini is not a bad person," said Ratih (not her real name), an inmate in
(source: Jakarta Post)
Malaysian death sentence
It's very upsetting to see a young woman, Herlina Trisnawati sentenced to
death by a Malaysian court, after being found guilty of murdering her
What drove an 18-year-old girl to commit such a crime? The answer can only
be an act of despair after years of exploitation and possibly abuse by her
employer, as happens with many Indonesian workers abroad.
It is known, in her specific situation, that there had been constant
arguments. Was this investigated fully? There are likely "softening"
circumstances that could prevent the Malaysian government from hanging
this young woman, only a girl.
THEO VAN BREDERODE - Amsterdam
(source: Letter to the Editor, Jakarta Post)
417 Want Death Penalty Banned
Hopes by hundreds of condemned prisoners to survive the hangman were
temporarily ruined after the Constitutional Court said it could not hear
their case immediately.
About 417 prisoners, who were on the death row by mid 2003, want the court
to scrap the death penalty. Susan Kigula, Fred Tindigwihura and Ben Ogwang
The court panel of 5 judges chaired by Justice Elizabeth Alice
Mpagi-Bahigeine yesterday said their last session this year ended
yesterday, yet the petition needed more time.
Others are Justices George Engwau, Christine Kitumba, Constance Byamugisha
and Amos Twinomujuni.
The court adjourned the matter to January 17, 2005 after Mr John Katende
of Kantende & Ssempebwa Advocates, said the petitioners needed about three
days to make their submitions in court.
"This is a unique petition which constitute a historic moment in the
constitutional development of Uganda. It is the first time anywhere that
all prisoners on the death row in the whole world file a case," Katende
told the Constitutional Court.
He introduced to court two international human rights lawyers, Mr Saul
Lehrfreund and Parvais Jabbar, who flew in from the UK to attend the
hearing of the case.
The idea to challenge the death penalty was conceived by the Foundation
for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), according its executive director, Mr
(source: The Monitor)
THATCHER MAY FACE THE DEATH PENALTY
Mark Thatcher may face the death penalty in his absence if found guilty of
taking part in a guns--for-hire coup.
The son of the former Prime Minister was charged yesterday by Equatorial
Guinea with plotting to overthrow the government of the oil-rich nation.
Thatcher, 51, is currently under house arrest in South Africa and will be
tried in his absence, lawyers said in the capital Malabo.
Eight new names, including Thatcher's, were added to the indicment against
19 mercenaries, said to have been hired by ex-SAS Old Etonian Simon Mann.
Now the Malabo government are to seek Thatcher's extradition from his
Otherwise, they will try him in his absence.
Mann was jailed for 7 years in Zimbabwe for buying arms to help seize
power in the West African nation and oust President Teodoro Obiang.
The 7 other accused include Equatorial Guinea opposition figures in exile
(source: The Daily Record)
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