[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 23 16:05:00 CST 2005
Death sentence for Korean soldier -- The court said Kim had to pay for the
suffering he caused
A military court in South Korea has sentenced to death a soldier who shot
dead 8 of his colleagues in June.
Kim Dong-min threw a grenade inside his barracks near the border with
North Korea, and then opened fire at random at colleagues they slept.
Kim, 22, had complained of bullying by his fellow soldiers.
An inquiry into the incident found Kim had become so obsessed by computer
war games that he could no longer tell the difference between fantasy and
In a ruling quoted by Yonhap news agency, the 3rd Army's district court
said: "We can't help separating the accused from society permanently,
though we take into account his lack of a previous criminal record, his
youth and unease at being in a closed place.
"The victims, bereaved families and surviving soldiers have suffered deep
despair and unforgettable damage," it said.
According to one account, the attack was so ferocious that witnesses
feared South Korea was being invaded.
Kim's defence lawyer said he would appeal the ruling at a higher court.
The conscript was a university student before beginning his two years of
military service last December.
The BBC's Charles Scanlon says there are frequent reports of bullying and
violence against conscripts in South Korea's 600,000-man army.
One gets death penalty for Fatorpa double murder
The additional district and sessions judge, Mr Desmond S DCosta today
sentenced Sarvanand alias Soiru Gaonkar to death for committing double
murder of Rayu Faldessai and his wife, Saraswati Faldessai. Passing the
landmark judgment, Mr DCosta observed that the double murder were rarest
of rare cases for which extreme penalty of death sentence has to be
awarded to the 35-year-old resident of Basrai-Khaddem-Quepem.
In his 63-page order, the judge said clear message has to emerge that
those who take the lives of others in a beastly and inhuman manner would
receive no sympathy from a court of law. The accused has committed most
serious crime having committed the double murder of husband and wife by
causing their deaths by inflicting several stab wounds on their bodies. It
is definitely a heinous crime which has shocked the collective conscience
of the society.
"I have no alternative but to impose death sentence," stated the judge in
He observed that awarding of life imprisonment, no doubt, is a rule and
death sentence is an exception, for an offence under section 302 of the
Indian Penal Code. But in the facts of the present case it appears that
life imprisonment would be altogether inadequate punishment having regard
to the circumstances of the crime.
Mr D'Costa also observed that the nature and quantum of the injuries on
the dead bodies of Rayu and Saraswati bring out the extremely cruel and
beastly manner of commission of their murders.
The very fact that Rayu had been stabbed 15 times resulting in 15 stab
wounds and Saraswati had been stabbed 26 times resulting in 26 stab wounds
bring out the brutal nature of the 2 murders, said the order.
It has come on court record that accused Sarvanand had enmity with Rayu.
The accuseds wife, Ms Swati Gaunkar deposed that the accused suspected
that she was having an illicit relationship with Rayu used to shout at her
over it. All these bring out that the accused had pre-planned the murder
The order said that as required under section 28(2) of the CrPC when a
sentence of death is passed it shall be subject to the conformation by the
High Court. Accordingly, the said death sentence is subject to the
confirmation of the High Court and records and proceeding of the case
along with the judgment shall be forwarded to the Bombay High Court at
The order stated that as required under section 366 (1) of the CrPC the
death sentence shall not be executed unless it is confirmed by the High
Court. Under section 366 (2) of the CrPC the accused stands committed to
jail custody under a warrant. For the offence under section 302 of the IPC
the accused is also sentenced to payment of Rs 25000 or in default two
years rigorous imprisonment. Similarly for the offence under section 379
of the IPC the accused is sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment.
The then police inspector of Cuncolim police station, Mr Manjunath Dessai
had arrested the accused on 6 July, 2004 and later a charge-sheet was
submitted before the court. The charge against the accused was that on
June 28, 2004 the accused committed the murders of Rayu Faldessai and his
wife, Saraswati between 7 p.m. and 7.30 p.m. at Tiloy Vantem, Fatorpa.
Secondly, the accused was charged by Mr Dessai for committing robbery of
one gold chain and one gold bracelet from the body of Rayu.
The public prosecutor, Mr P S Hede, who appeared on behalf of the state,
argued that there is strong circumstantial evidence on record and chain of
circumstances are complete which bring out the guilt of the accused in
respect of both the offences under section 302 and 392 of the IPC.
He contented that accused had committed double murder and these are
cold-blooded murders calling for maximum sentence of death under section
302 of the IPC.
On the other hand, Mr P M Kantak, who appeared on behalf of the accu He
contented that there is absolutely no evidence to link the accused with
the said murders, and recoveries allegedly made at the instance of the
accused are hollow pieces of evidence. He prayed for acquittal of the
accused of both the offences.
The prosecution examined in all 21 witnesses in support of the case,
including the investigating officer Mr Dessai, who was instrumental in
detecting the case after arresting the hiding accused. The investigation
of the case was guided by then sub divisional police officer, Margao, Mr
Several police officers called on Mr Dessai and congratulated him for his
in investigation in the case.
Mr Dessai is a recipient of 2 police gold medals from the President of
India for meritorious and distinguished service. He is also a recipient of
police Gold Medal from the state Chief Minister.
This is the 2nd death sentence passed in Goa. One Kumar was awarded death
sentence some years back in a murder case.
(source: The Navhind Times)
Chee Soon Juan: To end death penalty, become a democracy
In the early hours of tomorrow week, Nguyen Tuong Van will be led from his
cell to the yard where he will be hanged. He may struggle or he may walk
with composure. He may be given relaxants to help him stay calm. The
hangman will place a hood over his head and the noose around his neck. At
6am, the trap door will open and his body will drop and hang until it
When his lifeless being is taken down, his face will be purple, engorged
with blood, his neck covered with lacerations, his swollen tongue
protruding out of his mouth and his eyes displaced. Involuntary ejections
of urine and faeces will stain his clothes.
Such is the gore awaiting Nguyen that no one, not even his family, is
allowed to watch the killing. Civility and human decency prohibits us in
Singapore from making such executions public. But hanging behind closed
doors doesn't make the violence go away, it merely conceals it.
Make no mistake: Nguyen is neither a hero nor a martyr. He is a felon
whose crime could have ruined, ended even, the lives of many. For that, my
Government says, his life must be taken. The logic follows that because a
drug courier's deed causes, or has the potential of causing, the death of
a fellow human being, the state has the right to, in return, take the life
of the perpetrator.
If such is the reasoning, why then does Singapore continue to allow the
sale of cigarettes?
Nicotine found in tobacco is a stimulant and its addictive properties have
been likened to that of opium and heroin. Its carcinogenic effects have
caused the deaths of millions and caused hundreds of billions of dollars
to be spent on health care. If we don't criminalise the sale of
cigarettes, much less hang producers and sellers of nicotine, why do we
execute peddlers of other types of drugs?
But executing drug couriers, proponents argue, deters others from doing
the same. And if these crimes are reduced, drug abuse will lessen.
Unfortunately, the evidence does not support this theory. Drug abuse rates
in countries such as Finland, Japan, Mexico, and Sweden, where there is no
death penalty (in Japan the death penalty is applied only in murder
cases), are not higher than the rate in Singapore's.
In the altercation over Nguyen's fate, the Singapore Government has
assumed the moral high ground: Drugs are a scourge on society and the
authorities have the sovereign right to protect its citizens from
criminals such as Nguyen. Such a stand makes perfect sense. It is also, in
the Singapore context, unadulterated hypocrisy.
Singapore is reported to be the biggest business partner of Burma, with
$US1.5 billion ($2 billion) worth of investments. Through a venture called
the Myanmar Fund, the Singapore Government invested in projects that
involved Lo Hsing Han, an established Burmese drug lord.
Former US assistant secretary of state Robert Gelbard says "over half of
[the investments from] Singapore have been tied to the family of
narco-trafficker Lo Hsing Han" since 1998. My Government has, however,
refused to give an account of how and where Singaporean public funds are
being invested in Burma, or for that matter anywhere else in the world,
despite my repeated questioning.
There are reports that Lo Hsing Han operates a deepwater port in Rangoon,
an express bus line into northern Burma, and a highway from the centre of
Burma's poppy-growing region to the China border. He also owns a wharf
with freight handling, storage and a customs yard, facilities well-suited
for exporting his drugs.
In addition, Singapore has been fingered in the laundering of Burma's drug
money. Bruce Hawke, a keen observer of narco-trafficking in Burma, wrote:
"The entry [point of drug money] to the legitimate global banking system
is not Burma but Singapore."
While all this goes on, does anyone expect to stop the drug trade by
executing a courier such as Nguyen? It doesn't make sense to keep mopping
the floor while leaving the tap running, does it?
Still, a law is a law and the one in Singapore clearly states that persons
carrying certain amounts of certain types of drugs will face the death
penalty. But laws are not immutable. In a democracy this would entail
citizens being able to freely choose their law-makers and by extension
have a say in the kinds of laws their representatives make or change.
Herein lies the problem. Singapore is not a democracy. Former prime
minister and now Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew still wields significant
power. His eldest son is the Prime Minister. Few expect anything to change
as long as the octogenarian Lee is around.
Protests and public gatherings continue to be outlawed. The broadcast and
print media remain completely in the hands of the Government.
No surprise, therefore, that Reporters Without Borders ranked Singapore
140th out of 167 countries in a global survey on press freedom, 2 spots
Elections are anything but free and fair. Our ballot papers are numbered
and the Elections Department works from out of the Prime Minister's
Opposition leaders continue to be sued by ruling party officials for
defamation and have to pay crippling sums of money in costs and damages.
J.B. Jeyaretnam and Tang Liang Hong are the latest victims. They were
ordered to pay millions of dollars and made bankrupt when they couldn't. I
was likewise sued on 2 occasions and ordered to pay a total of $S900,000
Given the circumstances, is it any wonder that Singaporeans live in a
climate of fear?
In a survey conducted by the state-run press in 2000, 93per cent of
Singaporeans indicated that they were afraid to speak up about government
policies they disagreed with.
It is hard to imagine what could be worse for Nguyen come December 2. But
there is. Nguyen's death, as with the deaths of hundreds before him, will
be in vain if we in Singapore do not fight to change this law. His
execution must be the start of the long struggle to abolish the law
mandating the execution of small-time drug couriers. And the starting
point is to build democracy in Singapore.
(source: Opinion, The Australian--Chee Soon Juan is leader of the
opposition Singapore Democratic Party)
Singapore rebuffs calls for death row reprieve
Singapore rebuffed calls on Wednesday to reprieve an Australian drug
smuggler who is due to hang next week, hours before a senior law officer
arrived from Melbourne to make a last-ditch plea for the mans life.
The move appeared to all but seal the fate of 25-year-old Nguyen Tuong
Van, whose Dec. 2 execution Australian Prime Minister John Howard said
earlier in the day could now only be stopped by the Singapore government.
In a letter to Australian members of parliament which was quoted by the
Australian Associated Press (AAP), the speaker of Singapores parliament
said Nguyen must be made an example of.
"He was caught in possession of almost 400g (0.9 lb) of pure heroin,
enough for more than 26,000 doses of heroin for drug addicts," Abdullah
Tarmugi wrote to his Australian counterpart, David Hawker. "He knew what
he was doing and the consequences of his actions."
"We cannot allow Singapore to be used as a transit for illicit drugs in
the region. We know this is a painful and difficult decision for Mr
Nguyen's family to accept, but we hope you and your colleagues will
understand our position."
Victoria state Attorney General Rob Hulls arrived in Singapore late on
Wednesday to plead for the Melbourne mans reprieve. He was due to meet
Singapore Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee on
Australia asked for clemency on the grounds that Nguyen had cooperated and
could be a witness in future drug cases.
Opposition Labor leader Kim Beazley said that while it was unlikely an
appeal to the International Court of Justice would be successful,
Australia should still proceed with the case.
"It's not simply just about winning-it's about putting on a bit of
pressure," Beazley told reporters on Wednesday.
(source: Khaleej Times)
Commission urges Catholics act on death penalty
Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission is encouraging Catholics
to take action to oppose the execution of Australian man, Van Tuong
Nguyen, which is scheduled to occur in Singapore on 2 December.
It has also asked Catholics to understand that opposition to the death
penalty is a part of the Christian witness to the Gospel of life.
The Commission's Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that it is important
for Catholics to defend the sanctity of human life unconditionally.
"We appreciate Prime Minister Howard's intense opposition to the execution
of Van Nguyen and commend the Australian Government's efforts to appeal
for clemency on behalf of Mr Nguyen," Mr Arndt said.
"We are very grateful to Mr Howard for his personal commitment and
intervention in this matter," he said. "However, as Christians, we should
understand that it is important to be defending Mr Nguyen's right to life
without condition," he said.
"When we appeal for his life, we do so because all human life is sacred
and not simply because there are some extenuating circumstances in his
particular case which deserve clemency from the Singapore Government," he
"Whatever the circumstances, we should seek to promote life as a right and
not as a privilege," he said.
"Van Nguyen made a bad choice to traffic in drugs which have serious
consequences for many other people and justice demands that he face
serious consequences for his serious wrongdoing," he said.
"But justice also demands that his life be protected and defended as a
basic human right," he said.
The Commission is asking that Catholics pray constantly for Van Tuong
Nguyen and for his mother and his family over the course of the next
"In addition to the powerful action of prayer, we also hope that Catholics
would add their voices to the Prime Minister's in appealing to the
Singapore Government for Van Nguyen's life.
"Heroin destroys human lives and we cannot condone what Mr Nguyen did,
whatever the circumstances," Mr Arndt said.
"But we cannot speak credibly for human life if we either stay silent on
Van Nguyen's imminent hanging or, indeed, support it," he said.
(source: Catholic News)
Death sentence upheld for 'exorcist' who killed 6
The Sendai High Court upheld a death sentence Tuesday against a woman
calling herself an exorcist for killing 6 of her followers by repeatedly
beating them on the pretext of exorcising evil spirits.
Sachiko Eto, 58, beat followers with drumsticks in her house in Sukagawa,
Fukushima Prefecture, where she lived with them, between January and June
1995 as a way of forcing demons from their bodies, the ruling at the
Fukushima District Court said.
As a result, 6 followers died and 1 was injured.
Eto was quoted as saying the ruling is "totally unacceptable," and
immediately appealed to the Supreme Court, according to her lawyers.
They argued during the high court hearings that Eto was not mentally
competent to take responsibility for her actions because she had believed
she was possessed at the time of the beatings.
Rejecting the claim, Presiding Judge Ryoichi Tanaka said: "Even if the
defendant was possessed, it was temporary.
"It is obvious that the defendant tried to maintain her authority in the
group," he said.
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