[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Mar 24 10:25:37 CST 2005
Sulaimaniyah court hears how Kurdish man staged "insurgent" attack on his
3 men have been sentenced to death in Sulaimaniyah for the September 2004
murder of a Norwegian woman which was made to look like an insurgent
The court heard that 39-year-old Marita Strom was killed by hitmen hired
by her Kurdish husband Faraydoon Latif, who had apparently tired of her
liberated western attitudes, which he saw as a "lack of respect" for him.
Strom was travelling by car in Sulaimaniyah with her husband and two of
their children when they were ambushed by gunmen. She was shot dead and
her 5-year-old daughter was slightly injured in the attack.
After the murder, Stroms 3 children were taken back to Norway, where they
now live with her relatives.
9 months later, Latif was arrested and charged with hiring 2 hitmen to
carry out the attack.
After pronouncing a guilty verdict on March 10, the head of the trial
committee, Judge Farooq Abdul-Wahid, told IWPR, "The murder of the
Norwegian woman was carried out by 3 persons, one of whom was her
Latif, 32, met Strom after he was granted refugee status in Norway in 1995
under the name of Osman Omer Osman. The couple married during their first
trip together to Kurdistan in 1999.
According to evidence, Latif came back to Kurdistan in 2004 to plan his
wifes murder, arranging it to look like an extremist attack in the hope
that the local police would blame insurgents opposed to the presence of
United States forces.
Latif paid two men 4,000 US dollars each to kill his wife. One, Aras
Ibrahim, told the court, "Latif and I planned the scenario of the murder,
but I had second thoughts and said I wouldnt do it."
Ibrahim and Latif then hired a second man, Kamal Jalal Fattah, to pull the
Fattah told the court that Latif asked him to kill Strom because she did
not respect her husband and spent all his money, and admitted that the
three men had made 2 previous attempts on her life. On one occasion, they
took her to Kirkuk under the pretext of attending a funeral. They intended
to kill her along the way, but aborted the attempt after encountering too
many vehicles and passers-by on the road.
The husband denied the charges, claiming that an earlier confession made
by him had been extracted under torture.
However, the court found the defendants guilty, noting, "The incident is
clear and obvious and the investigations provide the evidence". All three
were sentenced to death.
Outside the courthouse after the verdict, Azad Ahmed, Latifs advocate,
said, "The court made its decision without taking my defence statement
into account. Of course Ill appeal against it."
An appeal was immediately lodged, and Latif also asked the government of
Norway to help.
Norwegian foreign ministry official Steven Everson, who came to Kurdistan
to monitor the trial, refused to comment on the sentence but told IWPR,
"The Norwegian government does not support capital punishment for any
There have been some calls for the Norwegian foreign ministry to seek
Latifs extradition back to Norway in order to save his life, but his
citizenship there is now under review because he provided a false name to
the authorities when he originally sought asylum.
But the presiding judge said, "There isnt anything about this incident
that would allow us to be lenient on the 3 men. It was a deliberate
murder, and the punishment is execution [as stipulated by] the Iraqi penal
Latifs laywer told IWPR that no death sentence has actually been carried
out in Kurdistan since it gained regional autonomy in 1991. There have
been 40 such judgements since then, each of which was commuted to life
(source: Kurdish Media News)
China charges gang with trafficking $5.5 bln of "ice"
A Chinese gang has gone on trial accused of trafficking more than $5.5
billion worth of methamphetamine, or "ice", in one of the world's biggest
narcotics cases, the China Daily said on Thursday.
The eight suspects appeared in court in the southern boomtown of Guangzhou
charged with manufacturing and trafficking 12 tons of the drug between
1999 and 2002, "almost equal to the amount of ice drug seized globally in
1999", the newspaper said.
The defendants, including suspected gang leader Chen Bingxi, 49, face the
death penalty if found guilty in keeping with China's hard line on drugs,
including forced rehabilitation of addicts.
Chen initially escaped to Thailand, but was tracked down in 2003 and
returned to Guangdong, one of three far southern provinces that are the
main front of China's battled against drugs, much of which is heroin
flowing across the border from Southeast Asia.
Last December, Chinese media reported the biggest ecstasy bust in the
country's history, also in Guangdong.
Vietnam court confirms death penalty for Australian national
The Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City has rejected the appeal of an
Australian man of Vietnamese origin who was sentenced to death last year
for drug trafficking.
Tran Van Thanh, 40, had his death penalty confirmed on Monday after a 1
The AFP news agency says two of his accomplices, who are also Australians
of Vietnamese origin, Tran Van Viet and Pham Martin, had their life
imprisonment sentences confirmed.
The 3 were part of a 7-member gang who trafficked heroin from Vietnam to
Vietnam has some of the toughest drug laws in the world.
Anyone found in possession of 300 grams or more of heroin could face the
(source: ABC Radio Australia News)
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