[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Apr 29 12:29:11 CDT 2005
European Parliament censures Iran rights abuses
The European Parliament adopted a resolution yesterday, calling on Iran to
end its increasing human rights violations.
The EP resolution said that it was "very concerned that the human rights
situation has deteriorated in the last 2 years and calls on the Iranian
authorities to make a serious commitment to reversing this trend."
It condemned "the serious increase in human rights violations,
particularly the increasing number of reports of public executions, and
The EP called "on the Council (of Europe) and the Commission to closely
monitor the implementation of commitments made by Iran to moratoriums in
the 3 key areas of stoning, execution of minors and amputations."
It added that is was "concerned at the large number of arrests,
particularly of women and young people, on the basis of unclear or minor
charges" and expressed "its deepest concern, that a minor was recently
executed for sexual misconduct."
The European Parliament condemned "Iran's abject policy of arrests and
imprisonment of journalists and cyber-dissidents and the stifling of press
and media freedom," and called on the Iranian regime "to cease support for
The EP also expressed alarm at "the high number of executions in Iran, in
particular of minors, and Iran's refusal to release official statistics on
the death penalty."
(source: Iran Focus)
Killer appeals against death sentence
The ruthless gunman who killed retired Suffolk businessman Tony Fetherston
5 years ago has appealed against his death penalty sentence.
Joseph Hazel was told a year ago that he would hang after a jury found him
guilty of murdering 65-year-old Mr Fetherston at his holiday home on the
Caribbean island of St Kitts.
Hazel had denied murder but he was found guilty by a jury in the High
Court, Basseterre, on a majority of 10-2.
Hazel, a painter and decorator, has been inside the island's prison since
the death penalty was imposed.
He has now appealed against both the conviction and the sentence - but his
case is not expected to be heard for many months.
Dennis Merchant, director of public prosecutions, led the trial against
Hazel and Mr Merchant said yesterday: "The grounds of his appeal are both
the conviction and the sentence.
A notice of appeal has been filed and now it will have to take its course.
The court has to prepare its records and that could take between 9 and 12
months to be completed before the appeal is heard."
The use of DNA evidence for the first time in a court case in St Kitts was
a crucial factor in the jury's conviction of Hazel.
Mr Fetherston, of Woodbridge, was shot dead in the garden during a bungled
robbery while his wife, Margaret, was inside the couple's bungalow on the
outskirts of Basseterre.
She was talking on the phone to their daughter, Alex, in New York.
Hazel fled when Mrs Fetherston barricaded herself inside the bungalow and
refused to give him money. But he left a maroon mask in the garden.
Hazel's DNA was established by examining the roots of hair samples. Saliva
on the mask was tested for DNA but a profile could not be found.
However, a pair of trousers from which the mask was cut was discovered
outside the garden walls.
When the clothing was examined, Hazel's DNA was found and there were
smaller amounts of DNA from an unknown person.
The only firm evidence linking Hazel to the murder on January 26, 2000,
was the DNA.
The prosecution team then used several forensic scientists, including some
from England, to analyse the evidence.
A British policewoman was even flown on an 8,000-mile round trip for just
3 minutes in the witness box so that she could tell the jury she had taken
the vital evidence from Antigua to London.
(source: East Anglican Daily Times)
Death sentence for 43-time killer
A man convicted of murdering 43 people in a mad crime spree that included
rape and armed robbery was sentenced to death by a court in northern
China's Liaoning province, state media reported.
"Wang Qiang's crimes were especially odious, the aftermath serious, his
threats to society were huge. He must be severely punished so the verdict
is the death penalty," the Shenyang Daily said, citing the court decision.
Wang was convicted on Thursday by a Shenyang court for a crime spree that
began in January 1995 and ended in May 2003, the paper said.
The court concluded that Wang, acting alone or with accomplices, killed 42
people in 30 armed robberies in the Liaoning region, netting him some
130,000 yuan in cash and goods, it said.
He was also convicted of a separate murder as well as the rape of 9 women.
2 of his accomplices were sentenced to life in prison, while 2 others got
20 years in prison, the report said.
China is witnessing a shocking rise in violent crimes, with many linking
increased criminal activity, to growing unemployment and a widening gap
between the rich and the poor.
(source: Agence France Presse)
1,140 are awaiting capital punishment in India
Mobster Aftab Ansari and his 6 accomplices, sentenced to death in Kolkata,
join some 1,140 men and women across the country awaiting capital
punishment - or pardon.
Although Ansari and his collaborators, sentenced on Wednesday for the 2002
attack at the American Center that killed 5 policemen, still have many
levels of appeal, they have joined a burgeoning number of prisoners who
face the death sentence.
Figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) till 2003
indicate that over 1,140 convicts on the death row continue to languish in
Many of them have waited for as long as 10 years, using up all available
platforms of judicial appeal. While a few have had their sentences
commuted to life, many appeals have been pending before the higher courts
for years, say NCRB officials.
The maximum numbers of convicts are from Uttar Pradesh (240), followed by
Bihar (197) and Maharashtra (97).
But more significantly, the clemency petitions of over 40 people - whose
appeals against the death sentence have been dismissed by the Supreme
Court - are before the Indian president who has referred them to the home
"With no legal guidelines to follow or time limit fixed for their
disposal, some petitions have been pending for years now," says
Delhi-based lawyer Bikram Jeet Batra.
Some of the high-profile cases where courts have decreed the death
sentence include all the three accused - Murugan, Santhan and Perivalam -
in the 1991 assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
They sought clemency in 2000 and are still waiting for a response. The
death sentence of another accused, a young woman Nalini, was commuted to
life in 1999 after Congress president Sonia Gandhi appealed to then
president K.R. Narayanan to consider Nalini's plea sympathetically.
The much publicised case of Shobbit Chammar, 70, who has already served 12
years in Bihar's Bhagalpur central jail for murdering an upper-caste
landlord, is one of the five who lost a legal battle in the Supreme Court
and whose fate hangs on the president's decision.
Krishna Mochi, 32, Dharu Singh, 40, and Veer Kuer Paswan, 60 - all Dalits
- were convicted for killing members of Sunlight Sena, a landlord army in
Bihar in 1998.
"Their fate is still uncertain as they have lost their appeal in the
Supreme Court," says a civil rights lawyer.
Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar of the Khalistan Liberation Force was convicted
for masterminding a bombing that left 9 people dead and 31 injured,
including then Youth Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta here in
The Supreme Court rejected his appeal in 2002 and Bhullar filed a mercy
However, some mercy petitions that have been disposed of by the president
include that of 5 Latvians convicted in the arms dropping case at Purulia
in West Bengal and of a Norwegian convicted under the Narcotics Drugs and
Psychotropic Substances Act.
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