[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Jan 9 16:33:49 CST 2006
Rwandan Convicted of Killing Tourists
A judge convicted a Rwandan rebel Monday of killing 8 foreign tourists in
1999, including an Oregon couple and their guide who were on a
gorilla-watching trip. Jean-Paul Bizimana, alias Xavier Van Dame, was to
be sentenced at a hearing Friday and could face the death penalty.
3 other men were arrested in March 2003 in connection with the killings,
and have been sent to the United States to stand trial in the deaths of
the 2 Americans.
Rwanda rebels hacked and bludgeoned the travelers to death in a remote
rain forest near Uganda's borders with Congo and Rwanda where the party
had gone to see the rare animals. The rebels specifically targeted
English-speaking people in a bid to weaken U.S. and British support for
the new Rwandan government.
"Members of the gang shared a common purpose of attacking the victims.
Each of the members of the gang is guilty of murder," High Court Judge
John Bosco Katutsi said in his ruling. "This man was a member of that
gang, and he is convicted accordingly."
Defense lawyer Norris Maranga said he would appeal the verdict. "Simply
being part of the gang does not mean he carried out the killings," Maranga
The ruling went against the opinion of court assessors that prosecutors
had failed to prove their case against Bizimana. The assessors assist the
judge in the Ugandan legal system, but he is not bound to follow their
Bizimana, a member of the former Rwandan army -- which played a key role
in the 1994 genocide of more than a half-million people in his country --
was arrested in 2004 near the border with Rwanda and taken to Uganda's
capital, Kampala, to face 9 counts of murder.
The victims were Americans Rob Haubner and his wife, Susan Miller, of
Portland, Ore.; Rhonda Avis, 27, and Michelle Strathern, 26, from New
Zealand; Britons Martin Friend, 24, Steven Robert, 27 and Mark Lindgren,
23, and Joanne Cotton, a driver for the London-based outfitter that
organized trips to Africa, and Ugandan guide Ross Wagaba.
They had been in a group of about 30 tourists visiting Uganda's Bwindi
Impenetrable National Park.
The rebels invaded the tourist campground on March 1, 1999, and forced 17
tourists who spoke English to remove their shoes and begin marching, the
indictment said. It said the rebels killed a park guide by pushing him
under a truck and setting it on fire.
During the march, 8 people were killed with machetes and axes. Miller also
was allegedly raped by 1 of the suspects, the indictment said.
9 people survived, including one who was given a note by the rebels
warning the United States and Britain not to interfere in Rwanda. Similar
notes were found on the bodies of 2 of those killed.
The United States and Britain were the largest donors to Rwanda, which was
rebuilding after the 100-day genocide.
(source: Associated Press)
Libya Seeks African Support Over Bulgarisn Workers Case
LIBYAN Ambassador to Zambia Khalifa Omer Swiexi says his country will
never surrender over the issue of Bulgarian and Palestinian medical
workers who are alleged to have deliberately infected 426 children with
And Ambassador Swiexi said Africa needs true democracy that will bring
development. Commenting on the case where one Palestinian doctor and 5
Bulgarian nurses are believed to have infected 426 Libyan children with
the HIV virus in 1997, Ambassador Swiexi appealed to African countries to
stand by his country.
He said 50 children out of 426 had so far died and the rest were just
waiting for their results. "Unfortunately, the European Union and America
support the Bulgarians so we appeal to Africa to stand by us. We are under
pressure but we will never surrender," Ambassador Swiexi said. The 6
medical workers had been convicted of infecting 426 Libyan children with
the HIV virus in the Mediterranean port city of Benghazi.
However, on December 25, 2005, Libya's Supreme Court scrapped death
sentences against the medical workers and ordered a retrial of the cases
which have harmed Tripoli's efforts to build ties with the West.
The 5 nurses and the doctor, jailed since 1999 and convicted of infecting
children with the HIV virus, were to leave the death rows of their prisons
to wait for retrial.
They had been sentenced to death by firing squad after a conviction which
was condemned internationally and had undermined Libya's attempts to
reverse 3 decades of treatment as a rogue state by the West.
And Ambassador Swiexi said Africa needs to utilise resources correctly if
development is to start taking effect. He said the African continent was
moving in the right direction and that women, youths and children were
important people that could be bring about development.
Ambassador Swiexi said Africa had everything and was very rich with
natural resources, which needed to be fully tapped. "There is also need to
fight corruption because Africa needs true democracy that will bring
development to Africa as a whole. We need to strengthen the African Union
(AU) and end crisis and war in Africa throughout because if we stand
together, all the problems faced would come to an end," he said.
He said Africa had a better chance of facing big economies through
economic blocs like the AU. Ambassador Swiexi said there was need to
invest more in health, education and communication because it was not
possible to teach a nation that was sick.
"Low production in Africa is because of ill-health but if we provide good
health and good education, we can bring development," he said. He also
said women should be given an equal opportunity as men in politics because
they formed half of the communities and society.
(source: The (Lusaka) Post)
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