[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Dec 30 01:05:59 CST 2005
AI to Campaign Against Death Penalty in Korea
An international human rights organization has decided to launch a
full-scale campaign next year to force South Korea to abolish the death
The Korean branch of Amnesty International (AI) said Tuesday that the
human rights advocacy group plans to designate the country as its priority
target for its 2006 anti-death penalty campaign.
The organization, founded in 1961, is headquartered in London and operates
branch offices in 150 countries around the world with 1.8 million active
Abolishing capital punishment has been one of AIs key goals and it is the
1st time for the group to name a specific country as its main subject of
its anti-death penalty movement, the Korean branch said.
"We have staged a wide array of activities around the world to urge
countries to discontinue capital punishment in general, but we have never
designated one country as a year-long campaign target," an official at the
"If Korea does not carry out executions for 10 years, it will obtain
international provisional status as an anti-death penalty state. This is
why we have decided to concentrate our efforts on the country next year,"
the official added.
But it is unlikely that Korea will end the death penalty any time soon
because more than two thirds of the public opposes to its abolition.
A number of national surveys have shown that about 60-67 % of respondents
oppose scrapping the punishment saying that it must be maintained for
social peace when serial killings and other brutal crimes are on the rise.
The Ministry of Justice has also vowed to keep capital punishment intact,
saying the Constitutional Court's ruling on the death penalty is in
accordance with the Constitution.
South Korea has executed 902 prisoners since its foundation in 1948.
Currently there are 59 on death row.
But the death penalty has not been carried out for the past 9 years since
December 1997 when 18 men and 5 women were executed under the Kim
As part of the campaign, the group's secretary general Irene Khan,
directors of worldwide branches, and others would send official letters to
the Korean government to discontinue capital punishment, according to the
Parliaments of European countries, Australia and other nations that ban
the death penalty are also expected to send such requests to the National
Assembly of South Korea.
In February, 175 lawmakers out of the 297-member legislature put forward a
special bill aimed at abolishing the death penalty.
Rep. Yoo In-tae of the ruling Uri Party, who received the death sentence
under the Park Chung-hee regime in 1974 for his anti-government
activities, submitted the bill in cooperation with religious and civic
In addition, the National Human Rights Commission indicated Monday that it
would recommend abolishing the death penalty as part of its national
action plan to be submitted to the United Nations next February.
(source: The Korea Times)
Scrap death penalty!
A DEFIANT Shura Council member yesterday urged the government to scrap the
death penalty. Others called for capital punishment to be introduced for
rapists whose female victims are younger than 16.
They also called for life sentences for convicted rapists whose victims
are aged 16 and above.
However, council member Faisal Fulad said capital punishment was already
disapproved by international organisations.
"This punishment should only be applied in 2 cases - treason or mass
murder," he said.
"There are many countries that have hanged innocent people, but only
discovered that fact after executing them."
Mr Fulad was speaking yesterday during Shura Council discussions on
amending the penal code.
Other councillors called for the death sentence to be applied to rapists
whose victims are younger than 16.
They also urged Justice Minister Dr Mohammed Al Sitri to imprison those
who rape other men for up to 7 years - or impose a life sentence if the
boy is younger than 16.
However, the minister asked for the matter to be postponed to allow
representatives from the ministry to meet councillors to draft amendments
to the existing law.
"We are currently studying the whole law, so we hope councillors will
postpone their discussions until we present our amendments," he said.
(source: Gulf Daily News)
Court Sentences Zarqawi to Death in Absentia
Jordan's military court sentenced Iraq insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi
and 2 others to death for the second time in connection with a failed
suicide bombing along the Iraqi border a year ago.
Zarqawi and one of the other defendants were sentenced in absentia. A 3rd
man, Fahd Noman Suwelim Feheiqi, a Saudi, is in custody.
The military court previously sentenced the Jordanian-born Zarqawi, who is
believed to be in Iraq, to death for the October 2002 slaying of U.S. aid
worker Laurence Foley, who was gunned down outside his Amman home.
(source: Los Angeles Times)
IPI Outraged by Death Penalty Suggestion for Afghan Journalist Ali Mohaqeq
According to information provided to the International Press Institute
(IPI), Ali Mohaqeq Nasab, editor of the monthly Haqooq-I-Zan ("Women's
Rights") now faces the possibility of the death penalty for alleged
In May, Haqooq-I-Zan published a series of essays that questioned the
discrimination of women, as well as harsh penalties for criminals,
including adulterers, and intolerance of those leaving the Islamic faith.
While the essays caused little comment at the time of their publication,
an influential Muslim cleric later gave a sermon in which he called Nasab
an infidel. Police arrested Nasab on 1 October and he was convicted of
blasphemy and sentenced to two years' imprisonment on 22 October. During
the trial, Nasab was hindered in his attempts to enter a full and
Nasab has since appealed conviction to a higher court, but so have the
prosecutors who argue that the lower court's sentence was too lenient. The
prosecutors also argue that, if Nasab fails to apologise for his
blasphemy, the editor should be hanged.
The head of the public security division of the Attorney General's office,
Abdul Jamil, was quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "According to
sharia law, if he does not repent and if he does not return to his
religion, he should be executed." In interviews, Nasab has refused to
offer an apology.
Speaking about the case, IPI Director Johann P. Fritz said, "The threat to
use the death penalty against an editor is not only a travesty of justice,
but undermines the claims made by President Hamid Karzai, who has shown
support for press freedom in Afghanistan."
"With this in mind, I would invite President Karzai to do everything
possible to resolve this issue immediately. By doing so, he will be
showing the international community that press freedom is of central
importance to the new, democratic, Afghanistan."
(source: International Press Institute)
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