[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Sep 7 20:44:31 CDT 2005
Sudan: Detainees Suffer Arbitrary Arrest, Execution
The Sudanese government has executed prisoners who were minors at the time
of their arrest, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite the human rights
commitments the government has made in the peace process with
southern-based rebels, death penalty defendants are routinely denied fair
trials, and arbitrary arrests and detentions remain commonplace in Sudan.
"The government promised that the North-South peace accord would usher in
a new day in Sudan, but we have yet to see it in the field of human
rights," said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
"Beyond the conflict in Darfur, Sudanese across the country still remain
at risk of arbitrary arrest, detention and torture."
Human Rights Watch called on the Sudanese government to commute death
sentences for all those sentenced to death, estimated at more than 300
persons, instead of executing them before the new government has time to
form. New parliamentarians were appointed only last week, and ministries
remain to be filled by new appointees under the Comprehensive Peace
Agreement. Khartoum should also ensure full and unimpeded access for
international monitors to all conflict-related and political detainees
throughout the country.
Mohammed Jamal Gesmallah and Imad Ali Abdullah, both in their 20s, were
executed on August 31 in Khartoum's Kober Prison. According to their
families, they were 16 and 17 years old at the time of the crimes for
which they were punished. Under international law, the death penalty must
not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below 18 years of age. The
Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty to which Sudan is a party,
also prohibits this.
Human Rights Watch opposes capital punishment in all circumstances because
it is inherently cruel and inhumane. In Sudan, death sentences are often
carried out without notice, and many of the trials leading to the
sentences lack basic fair-trial protections for the accused, in violation
of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which
Sudan acceded in 1986. Detainees continue to be arbitrarily arrested, held
in inhumane conditions, subjected to torture and denied access to legal
"Sudan has incorporated the Convention on the Rights of the Child and
other human rights treaties into its interim national constitution," said
Takirambudde. "But such steps will be meaningless if Sudanese citizens
continue to suffer arbitrary arrests, torture and death sentences after
In other cases, the death penalty is imposed on persons after denial of
their right to a fair trial. Al-Tayeb Ali Ahmed, a 36-year-old policeman
from Darfur, was accused of participating in the rebel insurgency in
Darfur in January 2004 and given the death penalty.
Based on a confession extracted through torture, he was convicted of
crimes against the state after a summary trial at the Special Court in
Fashir, North Darfur. At his trial, he had no lawyer and no opportunity to
call witnesses in his defense.
The day before his scheduled execution in Kober Prison in July, Al-Tayeb's
family was notified that they could collect his body the following day.
They instead called an attorney and filed an appeal to the constitutional
court. The execution was stayed only 10 minutes before it was scheduled to
"The death penalty cases are only one part of the problem," said
Takirambudde. "Politically-motivated arrests and detentions of individuals
in conflict areas or linked to opposition groups are an almost daily
Arbitrary arrests and detentions
Although Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir promised on June 30 to release
all political prisoners and lift the nationwide state of emergency, except
in Darfur and eastern Sudan, arbitrary arrests and detentions remain
commonplace in Sudan. This public commitment followed Sudan's signing of
the peace accord between the government and the southern-based rebels, the
Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army, in January, and the report of the
United Nations' International Commission of Inquiry for Darfur later the
The U.N. commission's report recommended that the International Committee
of the Red Cross and U.N. human rights monitors be given "full and
unimpeded access to all those detained in relation to the situation in
Darfur." The U.N. Mission in Sudan, established to support the peace
process, is to field international human rights monitors as part of its
work during the next 6 years of the CPA's term. Meanwhile, the Office of
the High Commissioner for Human Rights has dozens of international
monitors, mostly assigned to Darfur.
Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in Darfur
over the past few years, often simply on the basis of their ethnicity or
political affiliation. More than half of the estimated 150 people on death
row in Kober Prison are believed to be from Darfur, many of them detained
for politically motivated reasons. Arbitrary arrests and detentions,
however, are not only linked to events in Darfur.
On August 1 and 2, during the unrest that followed John Garang's
unexpected death in a helicopter crash, more than 1,500 people were
reportedly arrested in Khartoum. Many of those who were arrested have not
been charged, and there are fears that some may face torture and
ill-treatment in detention. The Sudanese government also has reportedly
detained dozens of individuals in eastern Sudan in early 2005 following
riots in Port Sudan that resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people. The
Sudanese government continues to use tactics like moving prisoners around
different facilities and detaining individuals in unofficial security
sites to divert scrutiny.
To view this document on the Human Rights Watch web site, please visit:
(source: Human Rights Watch)
Hussein Confessed to Massacre Order, Iraqi President Says
The deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has confessed to crimes in
meetings with investigators for the special tribunal that will try him
later this year, President Jalal Talabani said in a televised interview
Tuesday night. But a lawyer for Mr. Hussein's family dismissed the
statement as a "fabrication."
Speaking on the state-run Iraqiya network, Mr. Talabani, a Kurd, said
investigators have told him the "good news" that Mr. Hussein had confessed
to ordering the Anfal massacre against the Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988
and to ordering other executions.
"He confessed about the Anfal executions, and the orders issued by his
name," Mr. Talabani said. "Saddam should be executed 20 times."
It was not clear from the interview whether Mr. Talabani was saying that
Mr. Hussein had acknowledged that his actions were criminal or that the
former leader had merely admitted he had ordered killings he believed were
proper. In the past he has not denied that he ordered people killed.
After the broadcast, a lawyer for Mr. Hussein's family criticized Mr.
Talabani's remarks and suggested in an interview with The Associated Press
that his statements had been false. Claims of a confession "comes to me as
a surprise, a big surprise," said the lawyer, Abdel Haq Alani. He said Mr.
Hussein had made no mention of a confession during a meeting with his
Iraqi lawyer on Monday.
Mr. Alani added, "Is this the fabrication of Talabani or what?"
Fighting against Sunni Arab insurgents continued in western and northern
Iraq. Some residents fled the northern insurgent stronghold of Tal Afar as
fighting continued between American and Iraqi forces and insurgents who
have controlled much of the city for almost a year. Residents complained
of severe food shortages, and news services reported that the fighting had
killed and wounded civilians and that residents had been bracing for a new
round of combat.
Insurgents used a large roadside bomb to kill one American soldier in Tal
Afar on Monday, the military said. American troops have been fighting
since May to wrest control of the city from insurgents who moved in after
the military largely abandoned Tal Afar last year.
In western Iraq, military jets launched 2 airstrikes against insurgents
near the Syrian border on Tuesday, the latest assault against militants
who control much of the desolate badlands of western Anbar Province that
are home turf to the most hardened elements of the Sunni Arab insurgency.
Shortly after midnight on Tuesday, jets bombed two bridges near the town
of Karabila that insurgents had used to transport foreign fighters and
weapons into central Iraq, a statement by the United States Marines said.
Hours later, jets flattened a "foreign fighter safe house" near the
bridges after a gun battle with marines there that killed two insurgents,
another statement said.
In contrast to the military's normally more upbeat assertions about
progress curbing the insurgency, the 1st statement noted that western
Anbar residents have "experienced an increased level of violence at the
hands of Al Qaeda in Iraq terrorists."
In central Baghdad, 2 American soldiers were killed Tuesday morning and
two more were wounded when insurgents attacked their vehicle with a large
roadside bomb. Another American soldier died Monday in Ramadi, the
provincial capital of Anbar, when his vehicle was struck by a roadside
In other violence, the Iraqi police found four bodies in a sewage duct in
southern Baghdad on Tuesday afternoon, according to an official at the
Iraqi Interior Ministry. The official also said that shortly after 9 p.m.,
attackers shooting from a car window opened fire on people gathered at a
Sunni mosque in northern Baghdad, killing three and wounding two. There
were also unconfirmed reports that the son of Anbar Province's governor
had been kidnapped from his college.
Iraqi officials say Mr. Hussein's 1st trial is expected to begin Oct. 19,
when he faces charges that he ordered the killing of nearly 150 men and
boys from the Shiite village of Dujail, 35 miles north of Baghdad, after a
failed assassination attempt against him there in 1982.
If convicted, Mr. Hussein could be hanged soon afterward, eliminating the
need for other prosecutions of charges of crimes against humanity, Iraqi
officials have said. Those charges include ordering the Anfal massacre,
where tens of thousands of Kurds were gassed or otherwise killed and
dumped into mass graves, and the suppression of the Shiite uprising in
southern Iraq in 1991, when 150,000 people were killed and bulldozed into
Across many parts of Iraq with heavy Sunni Arab populations - especially
in western Anbar - Iraqi security forces are far from being able to battle
the insurgency on their own. But in the Shiite-dominated south, a
battalion of 1,500 Iraqi troops formally assumed control of the holy city
of Najaf, where Shiite insurgents fought fierce battles with American
troops just last year.
The American 155th Brigade Combat Team handed over control of the main
military encampment in Najaf, Forward Operating Base Hotel, to Iraqi
troops during a ceremony on Tuesday.
The American commander, Brig. Gen. Augustus L. Collins, said the "Iraqi
Army in Najaf can control the area," according to a pool report of the
ceremony. But the general also emphasized that a contingent of American
troops would remain based nearby in case the Iraqi forces needed help.
"Although we are transferring authority at this F.O.B., we will still be
here to help the people of Najaf," he said.
(source: New York Times)
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