[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Mar 22 23:02:50 CST 2005
Jordanian Court Convicts Three Iraqis
A military court convicted 3 Iraqis Tuesday of smuggling rockets and hand
grenades into Jordan in connection with a plot to attack U.S. and Israeli
targets in the kingdom.
The 3 were charged with crimes including the import and possession of
handguns, automatic rifles, hand grenades and rockets. However, the court
found insufficient evidence to convict them on a charge of "conspiring to
carry out terrorist attacks" in Jordan -- an offense punishable by death.
Only 2 of the men are in police custody; their 15 year sentences were
immediately commuted to 7 1/2 years with hard labor. They said they would
The 3rd, Muawiya Muhanna, was sentenced to 15 years in absentia.
The men were arrested Oct. 12, 2003 when police stopped their vehicle --
carrying concealed weapons -- at a roadblock on a highway just west of
2 of the men, Ahmed Mohammed Ali Ayed, 26, and Lawrence Hamid Rashid
Muhanna, 28, have been in police custody since they were arrested.
Authorities charged Lawrence Muhanna -- the fugitive's brother -- as the
chief conspirator and the one who purchased the weapons from Iraq.
The indictment alleged he'd contacted a Jordanian man identified as
Abu-Ali who agreed to the plan of carrying out "military operations
against Israeli and American interests on Jordanian land."
The charge sheet said Muhanna's fugitive brother dispatched the weapons to
Amman from the southern desert city of Maan, after smuggling them into the
country by truck.
Jordan, a moderate Arab nation with close ties to the United States and a
peace treaty with Israel, has been the target of several terrorist plots
in recent years.
(source: Associated Press)
Academics call for an end to death penalty -- Want focus switched to
nabbing 'big fish'
Academics and civic groups yesterday called for the abolition of capital
punishment arguing that curing social problems and bringing criminal
masterminds to justice would be much more effective.
Speaking at a seminar at Thailand's Journalist Association, Kittisak
Pokkati, a law lecturer at Thammasat University, said that capital
punishment was a mistake for society.
"Most death row inmates have convictions related to drugs and murder
cases. But to simply execute them does not stop the problem recurring," he
He urged the Corrections Department to investigate the cases fully and
bring the "big fish" to justice since only small-time drug pushers and
criminals were normally arrested.
Fewer imprisonments could be expected if the masterminds of such crimes
were apprehended, he said.
Director of the Human Rights Commission Protection Office, Sukchai
Methavikul, said many studies had shown capital punishment did not help
prevent serious crimes.
If the principle was to correct those who did wrong, he said the
punishment did not help the process.
"If we still want to correct these people's behaviour, then capital
punishment should not be used," said Mr Sukchai.
Since 1935, 323 inmates have been executed after being served with the
death penalty, with most of the cases related to murder, rape and drug
trafficking. However, fewer prisoners have been executed over the past 5
To minimise the number of executions, there were three ways to go about it
_ by amending the law, seeking royal pardons, or reducing the severity of
A Corrections Department officer agreed with the idea, saying it might
become possible in the future if the justice system was improved.
Countries where the death penalty had been successfully abolished had done
a lot to bring criminal masterminds to justice whereas the Thai police did
not usually keep a good database of criminals.
"The Human Rights Commission must also play a bigger role in monitoring
the justice system to ensure fairness to the victims," the officer said.
(source: Bangkok Post)
Clemency Sought for Brazilian on death row
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been urged to grant clemency to a
Brazilian man sentenced to death for smuggling 13.4 kilograms of cocaine
into Indonesia in a hang-glider frame.
The appeal was made by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in a
letter sent to Yudhoyono on Monday (21/3/05), the Associated Press
Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira (42), a hang-gliding instructor from Rio de
Janeiro, was caught at Jakartas Soekarno-Hatta International Airport with
the drugs hidden in his equipment in August 2003. Tangerang District Court
sentenced him to death in June 2004. He has since exhausted all avenues of
appeal, with the Supreme Court upholding his sentence last Wednesday.
The letter sent to Yudhoyono reportedly asked the president to change the
sentence to life imprisonment. Da Silvas spokesman Andre Singer told
Agence France-Presse that the message conceded Moreiras crime was serious
but that Brazilian law does not include the death penalty. Executing
Moreira would "cause enormous popular shock", he added.
Indonesia last year executed three foreigners for smuggling 12.29
kilograms of heroin into the country in 1994. Indian national citizen
Ayodhya Prasad Chaubey was executed at a golf course on the outskirts of
Medan, North Sumatra, on August 5. His 2 accomplices, Thai citizens Saelow
Praseart and Namsong Sirilak, were executed on October 1.
There are now about 45 people on death row in Indonesia, including three
militants convicted over the October 12, 2002, Bali nightclub bombings
that killed 202 people.
Only a few official executions have been carried out in Indonesia since
1995, mainly due to international pressure. Rights groups argue that
Indonesia, as a member of the United Nations, should comply with the world
organization's opposition to the death penalty for drug-related crimes.
Most of the more than 30 people now on death row in Indonesia for drug
offenses are foreigners, including several Africans. Critics complain that
Indonesia's notoriously corrupt courts have failed to mete out similar
harsh justice to members of the security forces allegedly involved in
narcotics trafficking. There are also complaints that children of powerful
military officers and politicians are rarely punished, let alone put to
death, for drug offenses.
Indonesia is among 90 countries that impose the death penalty, but data
from Amnesty International shows that most of the world's executions are
carried out by only a handful of countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and
Capital offenses in Indonesia include: terrorism, crimes against national
security, subversion, assassination of senior state officials, murder,
theft resulting in murder, gross human rights violations, maritime piracy
and drug offenses.
Prisoners sentenced to death by civilian or military courts have the right
to appeal to a higher court and then the Supreme Court. A request for
presidential clemency can be made immediately after the initial sentence,
but is usually made only if courts of appeal uphold the death sentence.
Legislator Demands Executions
Legislator Al Muzammil Yusuf, deputy chairman of the Islam-based
Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), on Tuesday said the government should
immediately execute convicted drug traffickers on death row as a form of
Yusuf, a member of parliaments Commission III on law, legislation, human
rights and security, noted that at least five drug traffickers sentenced
to death by Banten provinces Tangerang District Court had exhausted all
avenues of appeal - including requests for presidential clemency - but are
yet to be executed.
The five, all men, are: Nepali national Indra Bahadur Tamang (24),
Nigerian national Samuel Iwuchekwu Okoye (34), Nigerian national Hansen
Anthony Nwaolisa (37), Malawian national Namaona Denis (39), and Pakistani
national Muhammad Abdul Hafez (36).
"The Banten Provincial Prosecutor's Office has the authority to execute
them. The acceleration of their executions is a golden opportunity for
Indonesias anti-drugs campaign," Yusuf was quoted as saying by detikcom
online news portal.
"This is a necessary form of shock therapy," he said, adding the five
deserved the death penalty because their actions had brought suffering on
the Indonesian nation.
He said anti-drugs campaigns conducted by the National Narcotics Agency
(BNN) would not be effective if not supported by speedy executions of the
drug traffickers on death row. Indonesias reluctance to carry out swift
executions would make the country more appealing for international drug
trafficking syndicates, he added.
More information about the DeathPenalty