[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Mar 20 14:05:17 CST 2005
INDONESIA-----female is executed
Firing squad execute woman convicted in mutilation murders
An Indonesian woman was executed by firing squad early Sunday for multiple
murders and mutilating her victims in East Java more than a decade ago,
"We confirm that the execution of Astini has been carried out early today
(Sunday)," said A.F. Darmawan, head of East Java's prosecutors office.
The execution of Astini, 49, took place in a secret location in East
Java's provincial capital of Surabaya, 600 kilometres east of Jakarta.
The state-run Antara news agency quoted Darmawan as saying that Astini was
executed by a 12-member firing squad from the Indonesian police.
The death row inmate's execution was carried out after the Indonesian
president and the country's Supreme Court turned down her appeal for
Astini was found guilty 8 years ago of murdering and mutilating 3 women on
separate occasions between August 1993 and September 1995. She killed the
3 because they were unable to repay their debts to her.
On August 5, 2004, Indonesia carried out its 1st execution in more than
three years. The execution of an Indian national convictedof drug
trafficking in 1994 was followed by the execution of 2 Thai nationals on
drug charges on October 1.
After the executions, London-based Amnesty International expressed concern
that the executions reflected an "increasing willingness by the
(Indonesian) authorities to use the death penalty to address crime".
The organization also called statements by the government that showed it
would step up executions in the near future "a setback for human rights in
Indonesia, which has rarely imposed this cruel and inhuman form of
Rights groups like Amnesty International particularly criticized last
year's executions of the three foreigners in particular, saying their
trials fell short of international standards.
Indonesia's attorney general's office said recently that it is preparing
to execute 7 other foreigners convicted of drug trafficking in the
country, after the president turned down their clemency pleas.
(source: Jakarta Post)
Chinese execute with 'death vans'
The death van is an inconspicuous blue-and-white police vehicle that parks
near the courtroom when its services are required by the Chinese judicial
Inside it is fitted with a couch that can be raised or lowered like an
operating table, set in the middle of the floor. There is space on either
side for the bailiff, the court medical expert and one or 2 policemen to
hold down the condemned man.
A lethal injection is then administered in a 2-stage process by the
medical expert, who in some cases may be a qualified doctor, and the
bailiff. The process is swift and efficient, according to a policeman who
has witnessed the vans in use in Liaoning province, northeast China.
This picture, which was handed to The Sunday Times outside China, was
taken in Liaoning by an official witness in violation of strict rules
against photographs of the death vans in operation.
"After judgment is pronounced the criminal will be taken somewhere near
the court, normally within 10 minutes drive," said the policeman. "He will
then be transferred to the lethal injection van. Its all over very
A rare newspaper account of an execution on January 19 in Liaoyang, the
provincial capital, says the convicted man, Li Jiao, was dead within 14
minutes of sentence being pronounced.
The vans, which cost 33,000 each, are fitted with closed circuit
television, which permitted Lis death to be watched by local members of
the National Peoples Congress gathered at the citys funeral parlour.
In the past, capital punishment was carried out by a single shot to the
back of the head at execution fields outside Chinese cities and families
of the dead were sent a bill for the bullet. Now the vans are circulating
in several provinces, their clean and discreet method of killing hailed by
officials as progress. Death by injection costs the state about 63 but is
free to the victims relatives.
The death penalty is inflicted for crimes ranging from murder to smuggling
and official corruption. China refuses to disclose the number of capital
sentences carried out each year but Amnesty International quoted a senior
legislator as saying up to 10,000 people a year die at the hands of the
However, the presence of the legislators monitoring Lis execution
signalled the fact that, for the first time since 1949, a serious debate
about capital punishment is under way.
Last autumn the Supreme Peoples Court announced that it would in future
review all death sentences. The government has also indicated it will
reduce the number of crimes that carry a mandatory death sentence.
2 months ago there was unprecedented discussion of the issue at an
academic conference in Xiangtan, central China. The participants heard
"powerful arguments over the possibility of abolishing the death penalty,"
according to accounts in the official media.
Professor Qiu Xinglong, dean of the law faculty at Xiangtan University,
who is seen as a leading advocate for abolition, told the conference he
had to speak up after visiting a youth of 18 condemned to death.
"At 7 on the last morning, he was eating with me. An hour later he was on
the execution field," the professor said. "From that moment on I have been
haunted by this question: why must we kill another human being?"
The remarks were published by the state media along with a highly
defensive response by the deputy minister of justice, Zhang Jun, who
promised reform. "My suggestion is to make sure they stay in prison for at
least 25 years and then release them," Zhang said. "A criminal who is
released at 55 normally will not commit a new crime."
The media also quoted opponents of liberalisation such as Xia Qingwen, an
online commentator with Xinhuanet, the official news agency.
"The notion of 'returning like for like' is rooted in China," Xia said.
"The majority of the public could not accept that some murderers could go
free after 10 years' imprisonment."
Despite the open discussion and the move towards "humane" killing, Amnesty
International monitors reported a surge in executions 6 weeks ago as China
marked the lunar new year, with almost 200 put to death.
(source: The Sunday Times)
N. Korea executions captured on video----Crackdown against defections
In a brutal new crackdown on defections and smuggling to China, the North
Korean regime has conducted public executions of at least 3 people and
possibly dozens more, according to human-rights advocates here who have
examined a recently obtained videotape.
The grainy footage is believed to show firing squads executing alleged
human traffickers in front of large crowds in Hoeryong, a North Korean
border town that has been a major transit point for tens of thousands of
people escaping their impoverished homeland. Many brokers work in Hoeryong
helping defectors cross the Tumen River into China and arranging illegal
marriages for North Korean women with Chinese men.
Broadcast earlier this week by the Japanese television network NTV, the
footage marks the first time that purported evidence of public executions
has been smuggled out of North Korea. The video apparently was shot with a
hidden camera and brought out by defectors. Human-rights investigators in
Seoul said they believed the footage is genuine.
Public executions would mark a change in approach by North Korean
authorities, who in recent years have tried to avoid giving fresh
ammunition to human-rights advocates.
"For the last two or three years, the North Korean regime has been very
conscious about criticism they've received from the international
community, and any executions they conducted were done quietly indoors,"
said Han Ki Hong, president of the Seoul-based Network for North Korean
Democracy and Human Rights. "I would guess by holding a public execution
like this close to the border, they wanted to get some publicity to send a
message to residents throughout the region."
Han's group believes there may have been as many as 70 people executed
around the border area in recent months, but there is no documentary
evidence to back up sketchy reports.
In the video aired this week, one scene shows hundreds of people, many on
bicycles, gathered on a grassy riverbank near Hoeryong's main market. From
a sound truck, officials order the crowd to stand back.
Men in the crowd can be heard complaining in North Korean accents that
somebody is blocking their view. In the distance, there are blurry figures
that seem to be two men being tied to wooden posts.
Then, the sound of 3 bursts of gunfire.
Children then rush forward, apparently to see the bodies being loaded into
the back of a military truck. 9 prisoners, who received lesser sentences,
can be seen being herded away with their hands tied behind their backs.
Another execution was apparently held the next day in the outskirts of
Hoeryong in front of a train station decorated with a large portrait of
North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung. Before the gunshots are heard on the
videotape, a judge reads the charges against the defendant, who was
accused of helping defectors escape.
"These criminal acts ... are most unpardonable anti-revolutionary acts of
betrayal," the judge says, according to a partial transcript released by
human-rights advocates. "Today's political situation demands that we be on
the alert ... to prevent imperialist ideological and cultural
Many North Koreans have told of public executions in the mid-1990s in
which the condemned were similarly tied to posts and shot with 3 bursts of
"It is exactly the way I remember the executions in the past," said Han
Young Jin, a 35-year-old North Korean defector who works with human-rights
groups in Seoul.
"They had stopped doing these public executions. I'm sad and angry to see
them coming back," he said.
(source: Los Angeles Times)
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