[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jun 13 15:23:44 UTC 2006
Death penalty for Sunni militant -- Pakistan has a history of sectarian
A Sunni militant has been sentenced to death in Pakistan after he was
found guilty of killing six Shia Muslims during an attack in 1995.
Mohammad Aslam, also known as Muawia, was sentenced by an anti-terrorism
court on Monday. He pleaded not guilty.
He was a member of the outlawed Sipah-e-Sahaba, a Sunni militant group.
4 others have been acquitted over the attack which took place when gunmen
opened fire on a group of Shia Muslims in the town of Jhang.
One other person who had been accused in the case, Maulama Azam Tariq, was
shot dead in October 2003 by suspected Shia militants.
Mr Tariq was the head of the Sipah-e-Sahaba and also a member of
parliament from Jhang.
The trial was held in a prison amid heavy security.
Pakistan has a history of sectarian violence, especially between the
majority Sunni and minority Shia Muslim communities.
(source: BBC News)
Witnesses for Hussein Say They Lied----4 allege in sworn statements that
they were intimidated and bribed to make false statements at his trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein reached a moment of high drama Monday when
the judge read statements from four defense witnesses recanting their
previous testimony and swearing that the former Iraqi leader's defense team
had bribed them to lie in court.
Khalil Dulaimi, one of the lead defense attorneys, paid hundreds of dollars
and promised lifelong salaries to the witnesses in exchange for false
statements favorable to the defense, the statements say.
During clandestine meetings in Syria and Hussein's hometown of Tikrit,
Dulaimi and others conspired with the witnesses, telling them what to say
in court, according to the statements.
None of the four witnesses were named or appeared in court. The defense
quickly countercharged that they had been intimidated by the judge and
prosecution to change their testimony.
Hussein and seven co-defendants are accused of crimes against humanity in
connection with a crackdown on the Shiite Muslim town of Dujayl after a
1982 assassination attempt there on then-President Hussein. The
defendants are accused of participating in the torture and killing of 148
In recent weeks, the defense team has questioned the integrity of chief
prosecutor Jaafar Mousawi, charging that he appeared in Dujayl 2 years ago
at an anniversary celebration marking the attempt on Hussein's life. That
strategy appeared to backfire Monday amid the new and explosive testimony.
"I was promised that they will secure a job for me in Syria and that if I
would not give my testimony, they would kill my family," the 1st witness
said in the statement. The statement says Dulaimi told the witness to
testify in court that he had seen Mousawi in Dujayl and that the prosecutor
had tried to bribe him. The witness also said he was given $500 and told he
wouldn't be committing perjury because the tribunal had no authority.
The 2nd witness said his son had been kidnapped. He recounted that members
of the defense team told him: "You have three days to decide whether
to testify or not. Otherwise, we'll kill your youngest son."
Among other things, he was asked to say he had seen Mousawi in Dujayl at
the 2004 celebration. "They then made a rehearsal of that testimony so I
would not forget it," the witness said in the statement.
The 3rd witness said the defense team had rented an apartment for him in
Syria and that he was visited there by Dulaimi. The witness alleged that
the defense lawyer gave him money and promised a meeting with Hussein and
the former leader's wife. The witness also said he was promised a way out
of Iraq and a lifelong salary if he would place Mousawi at the
"They told us we had to say inside the court that this man is Mousawi," he
The witness also said in his statement that Dulaimi had given him a list of
names of 21 Dujayl victims and told him to testify in court that they were
The 4th witness said he had met Dulaimi in Syria and was given $500. He was
given room and board and told not to return to Baghdad until it was time
to testify, he said. He too said he was given a list of victims' names and
told to say they were alive, adding, "I don't know for sure that they are
Hussein looked despondent during the reading, resting his chin in his
hands. Dulaimi protested afterward, "We didn't reach out to anybody."
Hussein then stood up and argued that the changed testimony was taking
place in "an atmosphere of threats."
Chief Judge Raouf Rasheed Abdel Rahman said the statements proved that the
witnesses had given false testimony earlier.
They had previously said Mousawi tried to bribe them to testify against
Hussein. The defense had also provided a photograph allegedly showing the
prosecutor at the Dujayl event. However, Mousawi later brought a double to
court who testified that he, not the prosecutor, had attended the
The judge had ordered the arrest of several witnesses after they gave
contradictory testimony late last month. The witnesses were held for four
days while the court investigated.
The new allegations were not the only surprises Monday. An American
attorney appeared in court for the defense, criticizing the proceedings.
"As I'm sure any experienced judge will know, it is highly improper for
anyone other than the defense lawyers to speak to the defense witnesses,"
said Curtis Doebbler, responding to the court's investigation of the
witnesses. "We find it quite unfortunate that anybody is speaking with
them, even if they are authorized by the court, when it is not in open
The attorney is one of two Americans on the defense team; former U.S. Atty.
Gen. Ramsey Clark is the other. Doebbler is an international human rights
lawyer, author and visiting law professor at An Najah National University
in the West Bank city of Nablus.
Doebbler questioned the fairness and legitimacy of the trial.
"Please remember, your honor, the prosecution has had 2 years and more
than $200 million to prepare their case," he said. "We have almost no
resources, and you gave us less than one day after the charges were made
to prepare the defense."
Lawyers have been assaulted and witnesses intimidated, Doebbler said. In
addition, the defense hasn't had access to essential court records,
including transcripts of proceedings and witness testimonies, and cannot
call more witnesses, he said. Inside the courtroom, defense attorneys are
often not allowed to argue their case, he added.
On Monday, Judge Rahman got into an argument with defendant Barzan Ibrahim
Hasan, Hussein's half brother, after Hasan said one of his bodyguards had
been afraid to testify.
Rahman ordered guards to escort Hasan out of the courtroom.
The trial continues today.
(source: Los Angeles Times)
Saudi Arabia Beheads Man for Murder
Saudi Arabia beheaded a man for murder Monday, the kingdom's 2nd
execution this year, the Interior Ministry said.
Musfir bin Saad bin Abdullah al Qahtani was found guilty of shooting and
killing 2 Saudi men after a dispute, the ministry said in a statement.
He was executed in the capital, Riyadh.
Saudi beheadings are carried out with a sword in public to serve as a
deterrent. The kingdom beheaded 83 people in 2005 and 35 people in 2004.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people
convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery can be
(source: Associated Press)
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