[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Oct 26 10:49:44 CDT 2005
A-G Wants Death Penalty Abolished
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice yesterday joined other key
players in the administration of the countrys justice system in a call for
the abolition of the death penalty in the country.
The other institutions,the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative
Justice (CHRAJ),the Ghana branch of the Amnesty International and the
Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) made the
call at a public symposium in Accra.
The symposium was organised by the CHRAJ in collaboration with PRAWA Ghana
on the topic "Assessing the death penalty in Ghana."
They recommended that in its place should be an alternative such as long
sentences without parole.Mr Ayikoi Otto, the Minister of Justice and
Attorney General, and Ms Anna Bossman,acting Commissioner of CHRAJ,in
speeches read on their behalf described the death penalty as debasing of
human dignity and one which had failed to deter crime in the society.
"The death penalty was often promoted as a way to deter violence and make
society safer,yet scientific studies have consistently failed to find
convincing evidence that executions deter crime more effectively than
alternative sentences," they contended.
Mr Otto,in his speech read on his behalf,said the death penalty or
sentence of death was the ultimate punishment a person charged with murder
or charged with intentionally and unlawfully taking another persons life
suffered after being tried and convicted by a court of competent
He said the death penalty had been in the statute books since the
inception of English common law in 1874 in the country,and had
consistently been applied by the courts.
Mr Otto said it had been submitted, however,that the system was not
fool-proof,for not all accused convicted of death could be said to have
actually taken human life because circumstantial evidence could also lead
an innocent man to the gallows.
He said it was submitted that because of the seriousness of the offence of
murder and the emotional turmoil it caused the family of the victims,a
long term of imprisonment without parole could be a good substitute.
He said contrary to the opinion held some years back that the death
penalty would be a deterrent to the offence of murder,research in recent
times had shown that more people were beginning to call for its abolition
for it to be substituted with alternative kinds of punishment.
A speech read on behalf of the acting Commissioner of CHRAJ, Ms Anna
Bossman,said death penalty no longer had a place in humanity.
She said it took away the fundamental human rights and demeaned human
dignity.She said records at the countrys prisons indicated that 148
inmates were on death role even though since 1993 there had not been any
death penalty carried out.
She said in view of this, it would be proper to abolish it completely from
the statute books.On his part,Prof.Ken Attafuah of GIMPA said death
penalty defied human rights standards and that any law that clashed with
human right law must fall.
He observed that death penalty had not succeeded in deterring others from
committing murder and so had been abolished in more than half of the
countries in the world, both in practice and law.
Prof Attafuah cited executions during the days of the Armed Forces
Revolutionary Council (AFRC)and the Provisional National Defence Council
(PNDC)and said it never deterred people but rather violent crime
He said since then nothing had changed on the crime scene and the people
of Ghana were still those that they were.
He,therefore,suggested that governments must practise the tenets of good
governance and improve the economy for the people to live a decent life.
The Executive Director of the Prisons Ministry,Rev.Dr Chris Hesse,
speaking on the topic "assessment of prison conditions in Ghana," called
for improved conditions at the countrys prisons.
He said the prisons must be decent for keeping humans to enable its
objective of reformation and rehabilitation to be achieved.
(source: Daily Graphic)
Authorities asked to speed up execution of Amrozi
A group calling itself the Bali Antiterrorism Movement urged the
authorities on Wednesday to speed up the execution of the 3 convicts
sentenced to death in connection with the 2002 deadly Bali bombings.
The movement's coordinator, Pasek Suardika, urged related institutions
ranging from the Denpasar District Court, Bali High Court, Attorney
General's Office to the Supreme Court to execute the 3 convicts -- Amrozi,
Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron.
There was no reason to stop the process of the execution for the sake of
justice and the legal certainty in Indonesia, he said.
"We fully support the authorities' proactive measures to meet the convicts
at the Nusakambangan penitentiary (in Central Java to question the 3
whether they will ask for a presidentialpardon)," Suardika said.
The 3 convicts have been advised to ask for a pardon as their last chance
at clemency, but they refused to do so.
Suardika reiterated there was no need for the central government to delay
the process of the execution for political reasons, because upholding laws
was much more important than political reasons or other things related to
(source: Jakarta Post)
Human rights group urges Singapore to halt Australian's execution
An Asian human rights group has urged the Singapore government not to
execute a 25-year-old Australian sentenced to hang for heroin smuggling.
Van Nguyen is facing the death penalty after Singapore President S.R.
Nathan rejected appeals for clemency.
"Such action of the Singapore government is a violation of the right to
life, which is one of the most fundamental of human rights, as guaranteed
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," the Hong Kong-based Asian
Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said in a statement.
"Although a date has not yet been announced, it is likely the hanging will
be carried out within weeks," the AHRC said.
"We call on the president of Singapore for a moratorium on Van Tuong
Nguyen's execution. We also urge the Singapore government to abolish the
death penalty and, in the meantime, to establish a moratorium on all
Nguyen, who was sentenced to die for smuggling 400 grams of heroin into
Singapore in 2002, told police he was smuggling the drugs to Australia to
help pay off a debt owed by his twin brother.
Earlier, Australia's opposition Foreign Affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said
he had spoken to the Singaporean High Commissioner and made a plea for
"We find capital punishment in this case particularly abhorrent," he said.
"Death by hanging of a young man in these circumstances is also abhorrent,
and therefore it's important that we act on this and put our views plainly
and directly to the Singaporean government so that we can try and get this
young man's life spared."
Sydney's Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell has also asked Pope
Benedict XVI to intervene to save Nguyen's life.
The death sentence is mandatory for trafficking more than 15 grams of
heroin, 30 grams of cocaine and 500 grams of cannabis, as well as for
other crimes such as murder, treason, kidnapping and certain firearm
(source: Radio Australia News)
President calls for comprehensive policy on death penalty
Continuing the debate on pardon for death row convicts, President A P J
Abdul Kalam today said a "comprehensive" policy should be laid down after
all aspects relating to the death penalty and mercy petitions were
discussed in Parliament.
"All aspects should be discussed in Parliament and a comprehensive policy
be laid down," he said in response to a question from a reporter at
Rashtrapati Bhavan soon after the swearing-in of Chief Information
Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah appointed under the new Right to
The President's comments were sought on a spate of reports on the issue of
death penalty and mercy petitions following his communication to the
Government advising it that while making recommendations on cases of mercy
petitions of people in the death row, it should look into the
Kalam for Parliamentary debate on death penalty, clemency
President A P J Abdul Kalam today suggested a debate in Parliament on the
issues of death penalty and grant of pardon.
"All aspects should be debated in Parliament and a comprehensive policy
should be laid down," Dr Kalam told reporters on the sidelines of a
function at Rashtrapati Bhavan where he swore in Mr Wajahat Habibullah as
the country's first Chief Information Commissioner.
He made the remarks while replying to a question on recent reports on his
letter to the Home Ministry, suggesting that the government re-consider
its recommendations against granting pardon for some of the 20 convicts
sentenced to death, including those involved in the assassination of
former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
In the letter, Dr Kalam had asked the government to take a "comprehensive
view" on the merits of the mercy petitions before making its
According to the President, among the aspects that should determine the
decision on clemency are the age, physical and mental health and personal
and family background of such convicts.
The other factors that should have a bearing on the government's
recommendations are whether the convict seeking clemency can be reformed
and integrated with the mainstream of society.
However, the President's views do not pertain to any specific case and are
general in nature, virtually covering all the clemency petitions pending
with Rashtrapati Bhavan or the Home Ministry which takes the approval of
the Cabinet before sending its recommendations to the President for his
Of the 20 pending mercy petitions, about a dozen were received before Dr
Kalam took office in July 2002. In some of the cases, the Home Ministry
had already forwarded its recommendations, mostly expressing itself
against mercy, but the President had not taken a decision in view of
certain clarifications required from the government.
Article 72 of the Constitution has vested the power with the President to
pardon the convicts condemned to the gallows by the Supreme Court on the
basis of their clemency petitions. However, traditionally the Rashtrapati
Bhavan forwards such applications to the Home Ministry seeking its views.
The Home Ministry then goes into the merits of the reasons cited in such
petitions before finalising its recommendations and securing the approval
of the Cabinet for the stand taken by it.
The pending clemency petitions also include those from Punjab militants
and slain forest brigand Veerappan's associates.
(source: New Kerala)
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