[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Mar 4 10:42:33 CST 2005
Death sentence is okay - Nominee
Mr Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, Deputy Minister of Justice-Designate, on Thursday
said he did not see anything wrong with the imposition of death penalties
on armed robbers to ensure the freedoms of people and society.
Answering a question before the Appointments Committee about his views on
the introduction of death sentences to clamp down on armed robberies, the
nominee said: "My views on death penalty has not changed... I have no
sympathy for those who take lives....a little death sentence is okay...
perhaps we should start oiling the gallows to teach them a lesson."
On how to attract young lawyers to the Attorney-General's outfit, the
nominee said it was a real problem and suggested that some form of
encouragement could be given through instituting book and clothing
allowances for State Attorneys.
On some perceptions that there was corruption in the Judiciary, Mr
Owusu-Ansah said he could not deny that there was corruption in the system
because there were always bad nuts among every set of people. He expressed
satisfaction that Parliament had done some work on the matter of
corruption and sent a report to the Judicial Service. On delays in
prosecutions, the nominee said shortage of staff and low remuneration were
posing challenges, adding that there was the need to resource the Service
to ensure that the country had a good judicial system running.
In answer to the law on wilfully causing financial loss to the State, he
said once an individual had wilfully caused a loss to the State that
individual must face the punishment.
When Mr Joseph Nayan, Deputy Volta Regional Minister-Designate took his
turn before the Committee, he said he would work together with Regional
Minister to ensure that there was peace in the Region.
The nominee, who was briefly questioned, said there were various
committees set up to handle conflicts in areas such as Alavanyo, Nkonya
and Krachie and he would support the effort to bring peace.
Mr Nayan is the Member of Parliament for Nkwanta-North, the only NPP seat
in the Region.
Top court rejects appeal of killer's death sentence
The Supreme Court on Thursday turned down a final appeal from a
58-year-old man who was sentenced to death at a lower court for murdering
an 82-year-old woman and his partner in crime after they defrauded the
victim of 200 million yen in 1989.
The decision finalizes the death sentence given to Kaoru Okashita at a
Presiding Justice Tokuji Izumi said: "What he committed was premeditated
crimes for money. We can't even see he has a guilty conscience about his
According to the ruling at the court of second instance, Okashita, a
former used car dealer, defrauded Ume Endo of Suginami Ward, Tokyo, of
checks and cash totaling about 200 million yen by selling her land to a
real estate agent without her permission.
Okashita committed the fraud in conspiracy with a woman with whom he was
acquainted at the time and a man who worked as an insurance agent. After
obtaining the money, he strangled Endo and shot the man dead to hide the
(source: The Yomiuri Shimbun)
Briton 'may face execution'
A British terrorist suspect could face the death penalty or imprisonment
in Guantnamo Bay if he is extradited to the US, his lawyers said
The US authorities want to try Babar Ahmad, 30, from Tooting, south-west
London, for allegedly running websites and sending emails to raise money
for the fighting in Chechnya and Afghanistan.
The extradition hearing at Bow Street magistrates court, central London,
was adjourned to give US government lawyers more time to assess whether
there was a risk that he could be put into military detention, where he
could face the death penalty.
Thomas Loflin, a US civil rights lawyer and expert witness for the
defence, said there was no stipulation in the extradition treaty that Mr
Ahmad had to be tried in a civilian court, or as to where he would be
John Hardy, for the US government, did not concede that transfer to a
military jurisdiction would necessarily amount to a denial of a fair
trial, but accepted the defence argument that if Mr Ahmad were transferred
to a military jurisdiction there was no apparent bar to the death penalty
or transfer to a 3rd state.
The unprecedented nature of the case meant he needed more time to consult
on the issues.
Senior district judge Timothy Workman ordered a remand and review hearing
on March 24, with the full extradition case to continue on April 18.
(source: Guardian, UK)
PA set to resume executions
The Palestinian Authority is set to resume the execution of prisoners on
death row, with at least 5 sentences due to be carried out in March. Head
Palestinian Muslim cleric Sheikh Akrima Sabri said he was reviewing a
total of 51 death sentences at the request of PA president Mahmoud Abbas.
No execution will go ahead without a final green light from the
Palestinian president, Mr Sabri said.
The last PA death sentences were carried out in August 2002.
"Delaying the execution orders encouraged the phenomenon of revenge in the
Palestinian community," Mr Sabri said.
"Revenge is absolutely forbidden by religion and people should not take
the law into their own hands," he added.
Religious officials confirmed that the mufti had already recommended five
of the prisoners be executed.
In carrying out these executions, the Palestinian Authority "will be
sending a firm signal to the population which will contribute to the
reestablishment of security," said court official Saeb al-Qidwa.
About 1/2 of the 51 cases are alleged collaborators with Israel.
It is not known whether the 5 prisoners due to be executed are
The majority of the sentences were passed by the Palestinian security
court, whose sentences cannot be appealed.
The death sentences have resulted in criticism from domestic and
international human rights groups.
According to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 9 executions have
taken place out of a total of 70 death sentences imposed by the courts
The centre called on Mr Abbas not approve the execution orders and to
"stop the application of this cruel punishment".
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has also written a formal letter
to Mr Abbas urging him to abolish the death penalty, Reuters news agency
(source: BBC News)
Village Gang-Rape Sentences Are Upset by Court in Pakistan
5 men sentenced to death in 2002 for their role in a gang rape that was
approved by a council in a remote Pakistani village had their convictions
overturned Thursday. A 6th man convicted in the case, which set off
worldwide outrage, had his death sentence commuted to life in prison,
lawyers in the case said.
The circumstances of the rape, in June 2002 in Meerwala, in southern
Punjab Province, brought demands for justice, and the government moved
fast to bring the case to trial.
According to the prosecution, the Meerwala council ordered the gang rape
of Mukhtar Mai, then 30, as punishment for the alleged illicit sexual
relations of her brother Shakoor with a woman from the rival Mastoi tribe.
It was later revealed that he had been molested by Mastoi men who tried to
conceal it by accusing him of illicit relations with a Mastoi woman. The
Mastoi demanded revenge. That was delivered when the council approved the
rape of Ms. Mukhtar.
14 men were charged in the case and 6 of them - the leader of the village
council, a council member and the 4 men suspected of carrying out the rape
- were convicted and sentenced to death in September 2002. The convicted
2 High Court judges, in their decision on Thursday, cited loopholes in the
prosecution case and faulty police investigations, Pakistani news media
Defense lawyers said the 2002 decision was "influenced by media hype and
Ms. Mukhtar said she was disappointed at the latest decision, and blamed
The case gained international prominence because the assault was approved
by the village council. The councils have no legal authority but are used
in remote areas because of the poor reach of central authority. Public
outcry led the government to place the case in an antiterrorism court and
give Ms. Mukhtar police guards and $8,300 in compensation.
She has won praise for speaking out after the rape and for using the money
to set up schools. Since the 1st trial, she said, she had faced death
threats. She said Thursday's ruling intensified her fear. "We are afraid
for our lives, but we will face whatever fate brings for us."
(source: Associated Press)
Change of review on death penalty vital
It is good to know that a brand new institutional layout is finally in the
works for the Supreme People's Court. This will allow it to reclaim
exclusive power over the review and approval of death sentences.
Reports suggest that the Supreme Court will submit a detailed plan for
finalization to the central judicial authorities later this year, and the
widely anticipated change can be expected sometime next year.
While this qualifies as a major reform, there is still a pressing need to
sort out the discord between existing laws.
A death sentence means the deprivation of a person's right to life, and so
affects all other rights.
With that in mind, architects of the country's judiciary have displayed
impressive prudence in the application of death sentences.
The 1st version of China's Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, and
Organic Law for People's Courts, all promulgated on July 1, 1979, shared a
same clause. That said that all death sentences, except those delivered by
the Supreme People's Court itself, should be reported to the Supreme
People's Court for examination and approval.
But the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the
State legislature, broke that link and decentralized power on this issue
in 1980 to facilitate a nationwide crackdown on criminal activity. It
codified the decentralization in 1983 with the revised Organic Law,
authorizing the Supreme People's Court to transfer to People's High
Courts, the judicial authority at provincial level, its power of death
sentence review for violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery and
setting off explosions, "when necessary."
In an authorization statement published that year, the Supreme Court
reduced its corresponding jurisdiction to crimes of anti-revolution and
serious economic crimes, such as embezzlement of public fund. In addition
to that, 6 High Courts in the country were entrusted to review death
sentences for drug-related crimes by Chinese nationals.
Passed by the NPC, the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Law have higher
authority as basic laws than the Organic Law, which was enacted by the NPC
Standing Committee. But the latter became more important on this issue.
Since the 2nd instance is the last instance in Chinese judicial practice,
and Intermediate Courts are designated first-instance courts for crimes
involving death sentences, appeals are sent to the High Courts.
High Courts often review death sentences made by themselves so their
supervisory role here is only nominal.
As different courts and judges may have different criteria in applying
death sentences, it is likely that a criminal sentenced to death in one
province might receive a different sentence in another.
That is not justice as we understand it.
The anticipated change regarding death sentences is not a simple return of
power to the Supreme Court. It represents a deeper understanding of the
spirit of modern jurisprudence.
To clear the ground for it, the NPC Standing Committee has decided to
revise the Organic Law of People's Courts in 2005. The revised draft will
reportedly abolish the 1983 addition that decentralized death sentences in
the first place.
That is a must for the unity and authority of our national laws.
(source: China Daily)
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