[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Aug 16 15:37:02 UTC 2006
Rwanda may review death penalty----Many of those responsible for the
genocide have yet to face justice
Rwanda is to consider a proposal to scrap the death penalty for genocide
suspects who are living in exile.
Many countries refuse to extradite criminal suspects to states which use
torture and execution.
Prosecutor General Martin Ngoga said he hoped the death penalty exemption
would encourage the transfer of suspects to Rwanda "to face justice".
Some 800,000 Tutsis and Hutu moderates were slaughtered during the 100-day
genocide in 1994.
Meanwhile, a man accused of committing genocide during the massacres in
Rwanda has been found in the UK.
But Emmanuel Nteziryayo, who has been living as an asylum seeker in
Manchester under a false name, told the BBC: "I am innocent and I'm ready
to prove that in court."
He however, refuses to return home to face trial "because the justice
system in Rwanda is not fair".
"We badly need to have those fugitives handed to Rwanda and special
exemption from the death penalty is the one sure way we can have them
brought to face justice for their crimes here," Mr Ngoga told the Rwandan
He said the draft law, which will be given to the minister of justice next
week, would need to be passed by parliament.
The new legislation would also encourage the transfer of those suspects
detained at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), based
in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, the prosecutor general said.
Most of the high-profile genocide cases have been tried by the tribunal,
which since 1997 has convicted 25 ringleaders of the genocide and
acquitted three people.
Frustrated at its slow process, Rwanda wants suspects transferred to face
trail at home.
The court is due to be disbanded in 2008.
Up to 100 people are being sought by the Rwandan authorities, who say they
fled abroad to "cheat justice" after the killings.
(source: BBC News)
Man gets death sentence for killing 4
A Chinese court has sentenced a mentally ill man to death with a 2-year
reprieve after he drove his car into a crowd, killing 4 people and
injuring 22, state media said on Wednesday.
In China, a reprieve means the death sentence will be commuted to life
imprisonment after 2 years of good behaviour.
Lin Qingqi, 38, a former driver for a government body in Kunming, in the
south-western province of Yunnan, "deliberately" steered his black
Volkswagen Passat into a crowd at a bus stop in February, Xinhua news
Lin was suffering from a mental illness which resulted in the tragedy, it
Lin was also deprived of his political rights, the agency said without
giving a specific date of his sentencing.
China's roads are the deadliest in the world. Traffic accidents killed
almost 100 000 people last year, or 270 a day.
Retrial call for accused Indonesian Christians
The lives of 3 Catholic Christians in Indonesia, due to be executed on
Saturday 12 August 2006 were spared at the last minute, following
international campaigning and calls for a retrial from both Muslims and
Fabianus Tibo, 60, Dominggus da Silva, 39, and Marinus Riwu, 48, were
accused of organising sectarian violence against Muslims in Central
Sulawesi and for allegedly leading a violent attack against an Islamic
school in 2000. All 3 men were sentenced to death. They deny the charges.
Prayer vigils were held in the region and around the world, while human
rights activists continued to plead their case before the Indonesian
Authorities. The European Union and legal action groups have opposed the
death penalty. Pope Benedict XVI also appealed to President Yudhoyono on
Official statements suggest that the stay of execution was granted to
allow preparations for Independence Day celebrations, claims Christian
Solidarity Worldwide. As such, it appears that the executions may be
re-scheduled for 20 August 2006.
Commentators are suggesting that the mens fate is linked to the
governments treatment of the three Muslim militants on death row for the
2002 Bali bombing. In Central Sulawesi relations between the faith
communities is very tense.
The case against the three Catholic Christians has been less than clear
cut. At their trial Muslim witnesses spoke out in their defence and both
Muslim and Christian leaders have called for the stay of execution and
A judicial review panel was set up by the Supreme Court due to substantial
evidence to support calls for a re-trial and after pressure from local and
national human rights groups. However, on 9 May 2006 the review panel of 5
judges upheld the verdict. Their final appeal for clemency was rejected by
the President of Indonesia.
Over the last 2 years, the Christian community has faced a series of
attacks by militants in the region, most notably the beheading of three
Christian girls in October 2005. Security officials have made a number of
arrests of militants responsible for the violence in recent months, but
some leaders still remain at large.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas declared:
"It is vital that pressure on the Indonesian government is maintained.
There is substantial evidence to support calls for a re-trial."
Groups Fight Uzbek Extradition
Russian prosecutors confirmed earlier this month that they will begin the
extradition of 13 people who authorities say were involved in a May 2005
uprising in Uzbekistan. Human Rights organisations are fighting the move,
saying many in the group could face torture or execution if they are sent
Instead, the 14 human rights organizations, including Civil Assistance,
Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, United Nations and the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) believe the 12
Uzbeks and one Kyrgyz are innocent and therefore should be seen as
They issued a joint statement urging Russia to act within the UN
conventions and international laws. These groups pointed out those
countries like Russia which have a moratorium on death penalty are obliged
to resist efforts to extradite people if they could face capital
punishment. Uzbekistan routinely violates fundamental human rights, they
"We are calling on you to state firmly and unambiguously that the Russian
government is obliged to observe the international agreements it has
ratified, in particular, the 1951 UN Convention relating to the refugee
status, the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and
Freedoms, the Convention against Torture and other norms of the
international law," the statement read.
The men are charged with funding and organising the uprising in Andijon,
Uzbekistan in May, 2005. They have been sitting in jail in the town of
Ivanovo, Russia, about 250 kilometres east of Moscow since June, 2005.
The Tashkent government charges the Uzbeks with providing financial
assistance to a religious extremist movement Akromiylar, which is a branch
of the international terrorist organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir, and were
actively involved in organising the Andijon uprising.
The men deny all the charges. They said they were among hundreds of
refugees who fled to Russia after Uzbek troops fired into an unarmed
According to an Amnesty International report, armed men attacked
government buildings and military barracks May 12, 2005. They overran
jails and released their prisoners. In the early hours of May 13,
according to Amnesty, thousands of unarmed civilians, but some of those
released prisoners, gathered in the city square demanding a more just
society and an end to their poverty.
The Amnesty investigation charged that government troops eventually broke
up the peaceful demonstration by firing indiscriminately into the crowd.
The government denies its troops killed ordinary civilians. It said,
however, 187 people died in the unrest. Amnesty puts the death toll around
A lawyer for the Kyrgyz citizen, Mamirzhon Tashtemirov, said his client
was in Turkey when the uprising in Andijon took place. He was arrested in
Ivanovo while on a business trip, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.
"These people are accused in fabricated cases and could face gigantic
prison terms in Uzbekistan and several could even face the death penalty.
The prosecutor in taking such a decision is breaking all imaginable laws,
all humanitarian norms," Yelena Ryabinina, east Asian specialist for Civil
Assistance, a rights group, told IPS.
All the detainees repeatedly have asked to appear before an independent
international commission that would investigate their case. Their request
has been denied.
An attorney for some of the men, Svetlana Martinova, told IPS the Russian
court has refused legal protection requested by the Uzbeks by giving them
political refugee status.
The Russian Prosecutor General's Office informed the lawyers, the Moscow's
office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the human rights
organizations earlier this month that it was "satisfied" with Uzbekistan's
assurances that it would not torture or execute the men, according to
Uzbekistan has pledged to abolish the death penalty by January, 2008.
Human rights groups, including Amnesty and the UNCHR said they fear
executions may take place before then. They base their concerns on
Tashkents long history of human rights abuses, an Amnesty report said.
Moreover, Amnesty said it has received reports of police detaining not
only people who reasonably can be suspected of criminal activity, but also
witnesses of the uprising, people who are believed to have spoken to
journalists, relatives of missing people and relatives of refugees.
"I call upon the Russian authorities to stop the extradition process,"
OSCE chairman Karel De Gucht said in a statement. Gucht, who is also
Belgium's foreign minister, urged Russia "to continue to work together
with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to resolve this case in a
manner consistent with international law."
Vera Soboleva of the UNCHR told IPS last week that her organisation, too,
is concerned about the fate of the detainees and described the extradition
as "an extremely serious violation of the international principles
stipulated in the 1951 Refugee Convention."
Kremlin authorities declined to comment on questions faxed by IPS on
Monday. But, the Uzbek Prosecutor General's Office said it was satisfied
with Russia's decision to extradite their citizens.
"The Uzbek side has explained that the matter involves the criminal
prosecution of people who committed especially grave crimes, and the
Russian prosecutor's office accommodated us," the Uzbek Prosecutors said
in a press release.
The Uzbek Prosecutor emphasised that the preliminary and judicial
investigation into the uprising were conducted in strict conformity with
national criminal procedural law.
"Along with a parliamentary commission, the preliminary investigation was
also monitored by a working group composed of members of the diplomatic
corps accredited in Uzbekistan," the press release said.
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