[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Aug 30 16:19:24 UTC 2006
Nurses and Doctor Again Face Execution in H.I.V. Trial in Libya - New York
TimesNurses and Doctor Again Face Execution in H.I.V. Trial in Libya
A Libyan prosecutor on Tuesday again demanded the death penalty for five
Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor being tried a 2nd time in Libya
on charges that they infected hundreds of Libyan children with H.I.V.
"The evidence has been established, and after the confessions of the
accused and the witness statements, I am calling for the most extreme
penalty, which is the death penalty," the Libyan prosecutor told the
court, according to Agence France-Presse, before the trial was adjourned
to next Tuesday.
The retrial, which began May 11, has heard only from prosecution witnesses
so far. A verdict in the case is expected next month.
The complex legal action is one of the final kinks left in Libya's
once-tangled relations with the West. The country has sought in recent
years to abandon its anti-Western policies, give up its nuclear weapons
program and pay compensation to past victims of its terrorist attacks. As
a result, the State Department removed Libya from its list of nations that
But the country's leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, has argued that he
cannot intervene in the medical workers' case, because that would
interfere with the independence of Libya's justice system.
The medical workers were jailed in 1999 and later convicted of infecting
426 children with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS. More than 50 of
those children have died. Two of the nurses reportedly confessed during
earlier police interrogations, but later testified in court that they had
done so under torture. All 6 defendants say they are innocent.
In 2004, the medical workers were sentenced to death by firing squad, but
the Supreme Court overturned their convictions last December and sent the
case back to a lower court.
Bulgaria has rejected Libya's offer to release the nurses in return for
millions of dollars in "blood money" for the families of the infected
children. Last year, the European Union, the United States and Britain
helped establish a fund that now holds millions of dollars to pay for the
children's medical care.
All 6 defendants were in court on Tuesday, and they heard testimony from a
young girl who was among those infected, the French news agency reported.
The girl said one of the nurses "forcibly administered an injection"
without saying what the injection was.
The original trial and the retrial have pitted international specialists,
including Luc Montagnier, a French researcher and a co-discoverer of
H.I.V., against the Libyan medical authorities. The international experts
say that the virus was already circulating in the hospital and that it was
unintentionally passed on to the children because of lax sanitary
practices. The Libyans say that the virus was deliberately introduced to
The court has repeatedly refused defense requests for bail, citing
The Bulgarian authorities have said that if the nurses are again found
guilty and sentenced to death, they will ask Libya to commute their
sentences to life imprisonment and allow them to serve their sentences in
Bulgaria. It is not clear who would intervene on behalf of the Palestinian
(source: New York Times)
3 Christians on death row unlikely to get pardon: minister
3 Christians on death row for killing Muslims during religious clashes in
eastern Indonesia are unlikely to be granted a presidential pardon, a
minister said Wednesday, noting that they must wait 15 months before
submitting a request.
The men - Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva - were
scheduled to go before a firing squad earlier this month but received a
last-minute stay of execution following an appeal byPope Benedict XVI.
Their lawyer this week asked that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
pardon the men, even though a similar request made 9 months ago was
"I have received their appeal ... and will give it to the justice and
human rights minister for consideration," said State Secretary Yusril Ihza
Mahendra. "But as far as I know, the law stipulates that a prisoner must
wait 2 years to submit a newrequest for a presidential pardon."
The 3 Christians are accused of instigating attacks on Sulawesi island in
2000, including a massacre at a Muslim boarding school in the town of Poso
that left nearly 200 unarmed students dead.
No new date has been announced for their executions, though the attorney
general said recently they would face the firing squad eventually.
(source: Associated Press)
Death Row Inmates On Strike
A crisis is looming at Kamiti Maximum Prison after about 200 death row
convicts reportedly went on a hunger strike.
A source at the facility said the prisoners have been on strike since
Saturday after the authorities allegedly ignored their pleas to frisk them
in a humane manner.
The inmates, who have been convicted of murder and violent robberies, and
are confined to the prison's block A, also reportedly resisted an
impromptu search organised by the authorities.
The source said the search was prompted by claims that the inmates had
hidden weapons, including hacksaws, and other items in the block.
An anonymous caller alerted Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
(KNCHR) officials who went to the facility to investigate the matter.
KNCHR Commissioner in-charge of prisons, Mr Kitur Tirop, said the inmates
had complained of indecent body searches by the warders.
"Some complained that the officers assaulted them in the name of
Kitur said the officer in charge of the prison had assured them that the
searches would be conducted in a decent manner.
Kitur said he told the prisoners that searches were mandatory.
He said the hunger strike had not been brought to KNCHR's attention.
The source said that about 2 months ago, another 600 inmates in Block G
resisted a similar search.
An inmate almost stabbed a warder with a kitchen knife during the June
incident when about 100 officers attempted to carry out an impromptu
"The authorities suspected that the inmates had hidden bhang and mobile
phones in the block," said the source. The officers are said to have
called off the exercise after the inmates began shouting and poured urine
and faeces on them.
The latest incident comes barely a week after it was revealed that some
inmates were running extortion rings in prisons using mobile phones.
(source: The East African Standard)
Chinese tomb raiders get suspended death sentences
A Chinese court has handed suspended death sentences to 2 people for
stealing from an ancient tomb, a state newspaper said Wednesday, as China
tries to crack down on the theft of cultural artifacts.
In January, 4 people dug into tombs, dating back about 1,000 years to the
Northern Song dynasty, in the central province of Shaanxi near Xian, home
of the Terracotta Warriors, the official China Daily said.
They stole 119 items, it said, without giving details.
"For years, these tombs have attracted criminals from home and abroad," it
quoted Chen Xianqi, an official at the Shaanxi Provincial Administration
of Cultural Heritage, as saying.
The court gave death sentences to 2 of the criminals, which were then
suspended, and 15-year jail terms to the other two, the newspaper said.
The court also confiscated the personal property of the 2 sentenced to
death, it added.
"The punishment shows our authorities' determination to fight against this
crime," the report quoted Zhang Zaimin of the Shaanxi Cultural Relics
Protection Centre as saying.
Thousands of tombs have been raided in China since the country first
started opening up to the outside world again in the late 1970s, state
media has said, as people look to profit from a fascination with Chinese
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