[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Mar 6 17:59:06 CST 2005
Death penalty for rape convicts
A fast-track court has awarded death penalty to 2 persons, convicted for
raping and murdering a nursing student in 2003.
Ramniwas and Balbir were also sentenced to 10 years' rigorous imprisonment
in what the additional district and sessions court termed "rarest of rare"
The court acquitted another accused, Rajesh, who turned approver in the
According to the prosecution, Rekha, a nursing student at the city's
government RBM hospital was having an affair with Ramniwas.
On November 1, 2003, she was to meet him in his village, Peelva near
Nadbai, but reached late.
An infuriated Ramniwas, along with Balbir and Rajesh, took her to a nearby
field and raped her twice.
Ramniwas and Balbir then strangulated her, despite Rajesh's objections,
and dumped her body near a railway track.
Rajesh fled the spot and narrated the incident to villagers who called in
the police. Rajesh was arrested and later turned approver.
Sharansky opposes PA state executions
In an urgent plea to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Minister-without
Portfolio Natan Sharansky said the government must demand that the
Palestinian Authority immediately stop the execution of those alleged to
have collaborated with Israel.
"Israel must immediately demand of the PA that it stop the planned
execution of suspected collaborators," he wrote. "It is unacceptable that
the PA demands the release of terrorists from our jails, and we respond
affirmatively because of the hope for an opening to peace, while at the
very same time the PA is about to commit state executions of people
accused of helping Israel thwart terror."
He appealed to Sharon following a report that PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is
expected to approve the execution of collaborators. According to this
report, the director of the PA Military Court advised that between five
and 15 Palestinians are expected to be executed. The mufti of Jerusalem
has confirmed this report.
"It is impossible to build a peace process based on blood. Such a process
can only be based on the goodwill of both sides.
The cold-blooded execution of those individuals accused of cooperating to
deflect terror directly contradicts the gestures demanded of Israel,
tramples human rights, and with it any spark of hope for a better future
in the Middle East," Sharansky wrote.
(source: Jerusalem Post)
Russia hails U.S. ban on death sentences for minors
Russia expressed satisfaction on Saturday with a U.S. Supreme Court ban on
death sentences for criminals who are younger than 18 at the time the
crime is committed.
Russia's Foreign Ministry, in a commentary published on its website,
described the ban as "an important step" by the United States toward
"bridging the substantial gap between its own legal practice and
fundamental international standards."
Indian beheaded in Saudi Arabia for murder
An Indian man convicted of murdering his compatriot was beheaded on Sunday
in the Hafar al-Batin town in Saudi Arabia, an Interior Ministry statement
Malaya Maroti Bajantra killed Hakim Ahmed Pasha after striking him on the
head with a rock and slashing his throat before robbing him, it said
without mentioning from which state the convict hailed from.
Bajantra is the 2nd Indian to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia. A man from
Kerala was beheaded last month on charges rejected by the Indian embassy
The names of the experts on trial are first translated to Arabic from
their passport and then translated back to English when such statements
are issued. This, at times, results in total distortion of names making it
difficult to identify the person.
This execution brings to 21 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia
this year. In 2004, Saudi authorities executed 35 people, while 52 people
were received capital punishment in 2003.
Among those beheaded are mostly Asians as the Saudi government often sets
free western convicts because of political pressure.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people
convicted of drug trafficking, murder, rape and armed robbery can be
executed. Beheadings are carried out with a sword in public.
(source: Central Chronicle)
Former Fla. death row inmate brings crusade against death penalty to
Emboldened by his release from death row after more than 17 agonizing
years, Juan Melendez is confident the United States will abolish the death
penalty in the next decade.
Melendez is also convinced it will take Canada's help, among others, to
get the U.S. to reject a practice he says is better suited to the Stone
"Not only Canada, but any nation that doesn't have the death penalty, to
get involved in this issue," said Melendez.
"Canada got out of there, knew it was wrong, and showed all the world that
it was wrong. The United States should follow that example and get rid of
the death penalty."
Melendez, 53, spent 17 years, eight months and one day on death row in
Florida for a murder he didn't commit. He was exonerated in 2002.
Rage, depression and suicidal thoughts marked the passing of those years,
but so did hope, faith in religion and dreams.
"Dreams saved me," said Melendez in a phone interview before a Toronto
speaking engagement Saturday.
"Lots of times I wanted to commit suicide. Beautiful dreams of my
childhood took me out of those thoughts. That's God's work."
Melendez learned to speak and write English while on death row - his
tutors were other condemned men. Those skills allowed him to better
communicate with his lawyers and the Canadians who would post his story
online for the world to see.
"I tell them how much I appreciate the Canadian Coalition Against the
Death Penalty, because they put my case on the Internet when nobody else
would," said Melendez of the message he brings to Canadian audiences.
"I tell them about the suffering on death row and the problems with the
death penalty in the United States. I tell them to get involved in writing
lawmakers, governors and including the president of the United States, so
they know that it's wrong to kill."
Canada's last executions took place on Dec. 11, 1962. Ronald Turpin, 29,
was hanged for killing a Toronto police constable, while Arthur Lucas, 54,
was hanged for the murder of 2 people, one of whom was an FBI informant
working in Canada.
Both were executed outside Toronto's Don Jail, while a small group of
vocal protesters gathered outside.
Canada amended its Criminal Code in 1967 to provide for the death penalty
only if the victim was a prison guard or police officer. In 1976, federal
legislation was passed abolishing capital punishment in the country.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but raised in Puerto Rico, Melendez has moved back
to the Caribbean island and continues to campaign against the injustice he
"If we keep working hard like we're doing, and we get help from countries
like Canada, European countries, there's a possibility it can go away in
about 10 years," he said. "Maybe less, maybe more."
While that means the war against capital punishment is far from over,
Melendez says battles are being won.
Last Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the constitution forbids the
execution of killers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes,
ending a practice used in 19 states.
The decision threw out the death sentences of some 70 juvenile murderers
and bars states from seeking to execute minors for future crimes.
"We're winning battles. We've not won the war yet, but we're winning
battles," he said.
"I hope and I pray to god all the time that (the death penalty will be
abolished) in my time, that I get to see it."
(source: Canada Press)
More information about the DeathPenalty