[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Jul 23 02:47:56 CDT 2005
Meeting hears calls for death penalty reform
Courts at all levels have been ordered to set tougher procedural standards
for trials involving the death penalty - a step legal experts have hailed
as a sign that China will reduce its use of capital punishment.
"Every procedure of the first trial, second trial and retrial, as well as
the reviewing of the death penalty, must be rigidly executed," Cao
Jianming, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court (SPC), said at a
recent seminar for senior justice officials in Dalian in Northeast China's
Courts are now also being urged to examine evidence more carefully to
avoid incorrect death sentences, he said.
"Lessons should be learnt from trials to perfect the system in the area of
capital punishment," the vice-president said.
"Cao's speech indicates that the nation plans to decrease the number of
capital punishment sentences in order to follow the policy to 'kill fewer,
kill carefully'," Chen Xingliang, a law professor at Peking University,
Recent examples such as the case of She Xianglin, who was wrongly
convicted and served 11 years in prison for murder, and the unjust murder
case of Nie Shubin have widened debate over the possibility of abolishing
the death penalty in China.
But there also exist some vague articles in China's Criminal Code that
have led to chaotic standards among the lower courts in doling out the
death penalty, Chen said.
For example, the code stipulates that the death penalty is to be imposed
for the most serious crimes, "but there is no detailed regulation on how
serious 'the most serious' has to be," he said.
China's current laws dictate that all death penalty rulings given by local
intermediate people's courts or above should be submitted to the SPC for
approval, but in cases involving violent crimes such as murder, rape and
robbery, provincial higher courts are empowered to approve executions.
China uses the death penalty for a wide range of crimes, from murder to
economic crimes such as corruption. Criminals who are not required by law
to be executed immediately would receive a two-year probation before
execution is carried out.
Believing the death penalty should be abolished in the long run, Chen
suggested that the court increase long-term sentences instead of using the
"When the long-term imprisonment system is set up, judges will be less
likely to resort to capital punishment," Vice-Minister of Justice Zhang
Jun said at another seminar earlier this year.
A survey by the ministry last year found that most serious criminals who
were sentenced to life imprisonment actually stayed in prison only for 15
years or so before being released.
"The focus of reforming the punishment system is not to abolish the death
penalty," he said, "but to set up more long-term prison sentences - for
example, 20- or 30-year sentences - to reduce the use of the death
(source: China Daily)
CHIONG CASE: Death sentence of 5 suspects upheld by SC
The fate of the convicted rapists and killers of sisters Jacqueline and
Marijoy Chiong 8 years ago is now in the hands of President Gloria Arroyo
after the Supreme Court reaffirmed its ruling last year imposing the death
sentence to 5 of the seven convicts.
SC spokesman Esmael Khan has confirmed that the SC en banc presided by
Hilario Davide Jr. ruled and denied the convicts motions to reverse its
February 3, 2004 decision because there is no new evidence to warrant its
But the SC decided to hold in abeyance its decision in the case of James
Anthony Uy who, although he claimed no guilt, said he was still 17 when
the Chiong sisters were kidnapped on July 16, 1997.
The SC has already ordered the National Statistics Office to submit a copy
of James Anthony's birth certificate to prove his claim that he was still
a minor at the time.
Uy's younger brother, James Andrew, who was only 16 when the sisters was
kidnapped, was meted 20 years in jail.
The SC insisted that death penalty should be imposed on convicts Francisco
"Paco" Larraaga, Josman Aznar, Rowen Adlawan, Alberto Cao and Ariel
Balansag whose motions to spare them from death were dismissed for lack of
Dionesio Chiong, chairman of the Crusade Against Violence and father of
the kidnapping victims was very happy about the development of the case
and said it is fine if the SC only imposes life imprisonment on the Uy
To recall, at least 3 lawyers' associations in Spain had appealed to the
Supreme Court to spare Larraaga "whose father has Spanish blood" from
death claiming that if the evidences were to be reviewed - a breach of
procedural safeguards could be found, which would invalidate the
Larraaga said the lower court erred when he was denied his right to stand
as witness for himself. Such a fact, Larraaga argued, would have merited a
"He was not allowed to personally answer the charges laid against him. He
was not allowed to reply to any question material to his case," his lawyer
William Chua said.
Larraaga, a relative of the famous Osmea clan in Cebu, also accused the
police of planting evidence against him. He said the court disregarded the
testimony of his classmates at the Center for Culinary Arts that he was in
Manila when the incident happened.
But the SC ruled that Cebu is only an hour away from Manila by plane and
there are four airline companies plying Cebu-Manila route everyday.
Larraaga said that their case "described by the Supreme Court as Cebu's
trial of the century" was so influenced by the gruesome allegations,
publicity, politics and many other factors that the judge "molded the
facts and law to reach a publicly acceptable, but unfair and unjust
The Chiong sisters were waiting for a ride for home at Archbishop Reyes
Avenue on the evening of July 16, 1997 when a group of men came and forced
them into a vehicle.
Before they were brought to Carcar, the sisters were brought first to a
house in Guadalupe where they were raped. From there, the group brought
the sisters to the south bus terminal and met Cao, whose van-for-hire was
used by the suspects in bringing the victims to Carcar.
Marijoy's mutilated body was recovered the following day at the bottom of
a cliff in Guadalupe, Carcar town. Until now, Jacquelines has not been
(source: The Freeman)
SECRETARY RICE URGED TO CONDEMN EXECUTION OF GAY IRANIAN TEENS
'Atrocities committed by foreign governments against all people must be
condemned swiftly and forcefully by the worlds greatest democracy,' said
HRC President Joe Solmonese.
The Human Rights Campaign sent a letter today to Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice asking her to condemn the recent execution of two gay
teens in Iran as well as other horrific human rights abuses against gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender people across the globe. The text of the
July 22, 2005
Dear Madam Secretary:
This week, the world learned of a horrific case of brutality against two
young Iranians. This crime warrants an immediate and strong condemnation
from the Department of State.
This week, two Iranian teenagers were hanged in a public square after
being tortured for 14 months, simply for being caught having consensual
sex. Pictures of their execution have been published in various newspapers
around the world and can be found at the following Internet link:
Unfortunately, images like these are all too common in parts of the world
where gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals are persecuted
and treated with gross injustice by their governments. Just 2 weeks ago, a
Nigerian man was sentenced to be stoned to death for admitting past sexual
acts with men.
Atrocities committed by foreign governments against all people must be
condemned swiftly and forcefully by the world's greatest democracy. We
urge you to do so.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was signed by the UN
General Assembly in 1948, declares that every human should be guaranteed
the fundamental right to life, liberty, and security of person and every
human should be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment. Tragically, this guarantee of basic human rights
does not exist for GLBT individuals in certain regions of the globe.
According to research done by organizations such as the International Gay
and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Amnesty International, human
rights abuses are perpetrated against the GLBT community in all corners of
the globe. As we have seen in recent weeks, the barbarous punishments for
sexual acts in these countries run contrary to the letter and the spirit
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For that reason, these acts
must be condemned.
We hope you join us in our belief that every inhabitant of this world,
regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, has the inherent
right to be free from human rights abuses, and will take action to
highlight these injustices and condemn those countries that commit such
(source: The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout
the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support
and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest
and safe at home, at work and in the community)
2 Adolescents Hung in Iran for Rape
2 adolescents were hung in public, Tuesday 19 July, at Machhad
(northeastern Iran). On of them, Mahmoud A., was 16 at the time of the
crime. He was executed along with another adolescent, 18 years old, for
the kidnapping and rape of a 13-year-old boy in 2004.
Both were also sentenced to 228 lashes each for consumption of alcohol,
theft, and disturbing the peace. According to the boy's lawyer, Ruhollah
Razaz-Zadeh, quoted in the press, the Supreme Court, the highest court in
Iran, approved the death sentence in spite of his youth. The daily
newspaper "Shargh" had already talked in January about the execution at a
Tehran prison of a 17-year-old who had stabbed a soldier to death.
In spite of international criticism, the Iranian courts claim that minors
are not executed and say that they have submitted to the parliament a bill
forbidding the death penalty and flogging of defendants who were minors at
the time of the crime. Under Iranian law, a boy can be executed after the
age of 15, and a girl after the age of 9. At least 42 people have been
executed in Iran since the beginning of the year. Amnesty International
counted at least 159 executions in Iran in 2004, including one minor.
(source: Le Monde (Paris) )
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