[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Nov 3 22:24:18 CST 2005
Makfax: Death sentence for Bulgarian medics remains
Libya denied late Wednesday it plans to revoke the death sentence of five
Bulgarian nurses, convicted for alleged infecting some 400 Libyan children
with AIDS virus, the Macedonian Makfax reports, citing the publications
released by Reuters on the case.
"There is neither law nor bill on changing death sentence, and no such
move is anticipated soon", Libyan official told Reuters, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
The statement denies the paper Asharq Al-Awsat, which ran a story in
Wednesday's edition saying that Tripoli might revoke the death sentence of
Bulgarian nurses, if compensation is paid to the infected children's
The agency remainds that Reuters' source confirmed that Libyan President
Moamer Kadhafi made consultations with domestic legal experts over
possible amendment to the Criminal Code, adding however that it is by no
means connected to the Bulgarian nurses' death sentences.
(source: Focus News)
Hopes fade for death row Aussie
Supporters of convicted heroin smuggler Tuong Van Nguyen yesterday vowed
to keep fighting to save his life, despite Singapore insisting he will be
Singapore's Foreign Minister, George Yeo, wrote to the Federal Government
saying the Melbourne man would not be granted clemency. Nguyen suffered
another blow when his family failed to get the Queen to intervene.
Buckingham Palace said she would not act without approval from the British
Nguyen, 25, was caught with 396g of heroin at Singapore's Changi airport
in 2002. He could be hanged this month.
In response to mounting pressure from Australia, Mr Yeo said Singapore had
considered Nguyen's sad personal circumstances and his value as a
potential source of information against the drug trade.
"However, due to the seriousness of the offence and the need to hold firm
our national position against drug trafficking, we are unable to change
our decision," he said.
Mr Yeo said Nguyen's shipment would have supplied more than 26,000 heroin
But Nguyen's barrister, Justin McMahon, said: "That figure seems very
exaggerated to us."
Nguyen's other barrister, Lex Lasry, QC, said the campaign to save him
would continue until it was obviously futile.
Mr Lasry said Nguyen's mother, Kim, was crushed by Singapore's statement.
"It would be no surprise to any mother that she is struggling, and really
struggling very hard at the moment," he said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said he had spoken to Mr Lasry
and federal police to see if the Government could get more detail about
Nguyen's value as a witness in drug cases.
"We are looking at that and that really is our last hope, that we can find
some legal basis on which to appeal yet again to the Singapore
Government," Mr Downer said.
A multi-faith service will be held on Sunday in the hope the power of
prayer will persuade Singapore to commute Nguyen's death sentence.
Father Peter Hansen, who will jointly conduct the 45-minute service at St
Patrick's Cathedral, said: "We will pray for Van, his family, and that his
life be given the value life deserves, that he be spared.
"He is fully repentant and is now full of love."
The 2.30pm service will be conducted in English and Vietnamese by Fr
Hansen and the Venerable Thich Phuoc Tan of the Buddhist Congregation of
(source: Herald Sun)
New justice minister still not sold on death penalty
In private life, new Justice Minister Seiken Sugiura is unequivocal in his
condemnation of the death penalty: Under no circumstances should one
person be allowed to kill another, he says.
Under the present Penal Code, however, it is the justice minister who must
sign the documents approving executions.
"As the head of the Justice Ministry, I believe that I must act in
accordance with the present (death penalty) system under the rule of law,"
Sugiura, a former vice chairman of the Tokyo Bar Association, said in an
"There may come a time when I will be called on to sign (the execution
document) . . . but I cannot generalize and declare whether or not I will
actually put my name to it."
These remarks follow his apparent flip-flop on the issue Monday night,
just hours after he had assumed his new post.
During his inaugural news conference, he declared he would not sign any
such documents. Yet he retracted the statement an hour later, saying he
had only expressed his "personal view" on the death penalty.
"Although there are voices of protest, in reality, the death penalty
exists," Sugiura said Wednesday.
"And there is also the reality that there are people committing crimes who
deserve the death (penalty). . . . But I would like to aim for a society
in which (such heinous crimes) do not occur."
The minister added, however, that there is room for discussion on
alternatives to capital punishment, including the introduction of life
imprisonment without parole, although he believes that many Japanese would
be against the death penalty's abolition.
Ahead of the May 2009 introduction of a lay judge system -- in which
ordinary Japanese nationals will pass judgment in serious cases such as
murder and rape cases -- Sugiura said educating the public on such matters
He also voiced hope the system will eventually be expanded to cover civil
The lawyer-turned-politician recalled a case in which he defended a woman
who had fatally stabbed her common-law husband. The man had been beating
her for years until one day she was driven into a corner with no way out,
"I argued (in court) that she was innocent, or at most (should only be
accused of) inflicting injury resulting in death," Sugiura said. But the
court handed her a 3-year prison term, ruling there was intent to kill
because she had held the knife pointing upward.
"If I were (a lay judge), there is a strong possibility I would have
declared her innocent. But the judgment all depends on the eyes of each
person who views the case . . . and I believe the lay judge system, which
will have (civilians) hand down such decisions, will do good."
In respect of the government's stalled efforts to enact a human rights
protection bill, Sugiura stressed that the contents of the legislation
require further discussion.
One of the criticisms an earlier version of bill faced was that it
threatened to impinge upon the freedom of the press.
Sugiura said media controls should in principle be self-imposed, pointing
out that if the media thronged around a person said to be involved in a
case, he or she could wrongfully be seen as the culprit.
"Reporting is important, but (the media) needs to consider the human
rights aspect of reporting, too," he said.
(source: The Japan Times)
China Moves from Bullets to Mobile Execution Vans to Improve International
As part of its attempts to streamline the enormous number of executions
and improve its public image as a human rights violator, the Chinas
communist governmen has introduced mobile killing vans to execute
Recent visits from United Nations Human Rights investigators and a booming
economy seeking foreign trade have prompted the Chinese government to seek
methods of execution less offensive to Western sensibilities. A law was
passed recently that changed the most common method of execution from the
traditional bullet to the back of the head to lethal injection.
The execution vans are converted 24-seater buses in which those condemned
are strapped to a metal table in a windowless execution chamber. A police
officer then administers an automated lethal injection that works in 30 to
60 seconds. Until recently, the most common method of execution, the
bullet to the back of the head, was often administered in public,
sometimes in a stadium.
Intermediate Courts of the southern province of Yunnan were issued with 18
new execution vans on February 28.
Law reform was high on the agenda when Louise Arbour, the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights visited the country in September. Western
human rights monitors estimate that the Chinese execute about 15,000
persons a year - more than the rest of the world's judicial executions
combined. In addition, the role of defence lawyers is seriously
underdeveloped and they have little impact in court cases. When appeals
against the death penalty are rejected, the sentence is carried out
immediately, sometimes within hours.
In addition to the enormous number of death sentences, the Chinese legal
system makes use of the full array of traditional communist methods of
suppression of political dissent. This includes the use of police-run
"mental hospitals," and "re-education through labour camps" where the few
who have been released report regular use of torture.
Political dissident Wang Wanxing was held in a mental asylum for the
criminally insane for 13 years until his release in August. Wang told
Human Rights Watch that while incarcerated in the Beijing Public Security
Bureau's Ankang Hospital for the Custody and Treatment of Mentally Ill
Offenders he witnessed the regular use of electric shock acupuncture to
torture inmates. Wang was "diagnosed" with "political monomania" for which
he was administered chlorpromazine, a powerful antipsychotic drug, 3 times
After his release, shortly before Louise Arbours visit, Wang went into
exile in Germany where his family had been living for several years as
political refugees. Wang was the first ever to have been released out of
an estimated 3000 political prisoners held in the notorious Ankang system.
International trade relations are often cited as a motive for the Chinese
to clean up their image as human rights violators.
Canada's relations with China have been especially friendly recently with
a state visit from Chinese president Hu Jintao in early September. Among
the politicians who met with him was Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, who
has expressed his desire for closer business and cultural and personal
relations with the communist country.
This week, McGuinty said he wanted the government of Canada to start
thinking about a long-term relationship that involves a continuing effort,
and look for ways to establish some kind of relationship or connection
that has marks you as different from others."
(source: LifeSite News)
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