[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Mar 4 13:22:52 CST 2006
60 British Parliamentarians condemn execution of political prisoners in
Following the execution of Hojjat Zamani, a political prisoner and a
member of the PMOI, in Gohardasht prison in February, and the threat of a
widespread mass execution of political prisoners in Iran, Lord Corbett of
Castle Vale initiated a joint statement condemning gross violations of
human rights in Iran. The statement which was signed by over 60 members of
both Houses of Parliament, called on the Prime Minister, Tony Blair to
take measures to end to the execution of women and children and the
torture and execution of political prisoners in Iran.
Text of the statement:
We welcome the strictures about human rights abuse by Irans theocratic
regime. Its gross and barbaric abuses have led to condemnation 52 times by
United Nations' bodies. There has also been a marked rise in public
executions including minors. On 16 January 2006, Amnesty International
called for an end to the execution of child offenders At least 8
executions of child offenders were reported in 2005.
Oppression has intensified since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and his
cabinet took office. In the last 6 months of 2005, there were more than
130 executions, over twice the number carried out in the 1st half of the
year. Harassment and abuse of women has also been stepped up. On 21
January 2006, an Iranian newspaper reported that a woman by the name of
Masoumeh had been sentenced to death by stoning.
Paramilitary forces such as Basij and Ansar-e-Hezbollah (a fanatical
Islamist group) have increased attacks on young women for mal-veiling by
throwing acid to them. On 4 January 2006, two female university students
in the town of Shahroud, north-eastern Iran, had acid thrown in their
faces for mal-veiling. President Ahmadinejad praises these attacks for
what he describes as "efforts to purify the Islamic Republic from the
vestiges of corrupt western culture."
The regime has also increased pressure and torture on political prisoners,
especially against the major opposition movement, the People's Mojahedin
Organisation of Iran. On 7 February 2006, Hojjat Zamani, a PMOI member who
had been physically and psychologically tortured since his imprisonment in
2001, was hanged in Gohardasht prison. Amnesty reported: "He was charged
with 'corruption on earth' and 'enmity against God', under Articles 183,
186 and 187 of Iran's penal code." It said that these were "vaguely worded
Other political prisoners have been tortured, threatened with execution
and denied of all contacts with the outside world. Amnesty International
on 24 February, 2006 reported: "Hojjat Zamani's execution has fuelled
fears that other political prisoners may be at risk of imminent
execution.Despite this, the political prisoners in Gohardasht prison have
begun a hunger strike in protest to the execution of Mr. Zamani.
Against this background, we urge the Prime Minister continue to condemn
human rights abuses in Iran and call for an end to the execution of women
and children and the torture and execution of political prisoners.
(source: Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance
Death Sentence on Mamburao 6 'Biased,' Says Farmer's Wife
The decision of Judge Teresita Yadao of Branch 81, Quezon City Regional
Trial Court on the case of the group of farmers now known as the "Mamburao
6" who were convicted - together with a former congressman - of killing
the 2 sons of a local landlord in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro was
"biased," says the wife of one of the convicted. The case, she said,
rested mainly on accounts by witnesses who were either tortured or paid.
Manolito Matricio, Eduardo Hermoso, Mario Tobias, Josue Ungsod, Ruel
Bautista, and Ruben Balaguer - who had been charged in 1998 of killing
Michael and Paul Quintos, sons of Mamburao landlord Ricardo Quintos - were
found guilty and meted out the death penalty in Yadao's 80-page decision
promulgated March 1. This, even as the Lucio de Guzman Command of the New
Peoples Army (NPA) had earlier admitted to the killing.
Meanwhile, Mamburao politician Jose Villarosa, who was charged together
with the 6 farmers, has yet to be sentenced. He is a known political
opponent of the victims' father. Villarosa is reputed to have beaten
Quintos in all elections where they were pitted against each other.
"We cannot accept the decision," said Cora Matricio, wife of Manolito
Matricio, in an interview with Bulatlat. "We didn't expect them to be
sentenced to death because when you really look at it, you can't find any
real evidence against them."
In an earlier interview with Bulatlat, lawyer Edre Olalia, counsel for
three of the convicted including Matricio, said the farmers - who were
locked in a land dispute against Quintos - ended up as "sacrificial lambs"
in a battle between the Quintoses and Villarosa.
"They could not have been the killers of the Quintos brothers," Olalia
added. "Aside from the NPAs public admission of the killing, there are
also testimonies pointing to the perpetrators as all young men. All of the
convicts are obviously middle-aged." Manolito Matricio, said his wife, was
born in 1952. This makes him 45 years old at the time of the killing.
In a separate phone interview with Bulatlat, Danilo Ramos - chairman of
the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP or Philippine Peasant Movement)
of which the 6 are all members - hit Yadao for relying too much on the
testimony of Hermoso - who, he said, had been "tortured by the goons of
Quintos." Likewise, he scored Yadao for giving "too much credence" to the
testimonies of 6 prosecution witnesses. He described them as "paid hacks"
Matricio identified two of the prosecution witnesses - couple Nenita and
Roel Bautista, who claimed to have witnessed the killings - as household
helpers of the Quintos family. Both Olalia and Ramos described the other
prosecution witnesses as connected to the Quintos family.
Nenita pointed to Manolito Matricio as one of the gunmen, while Roel
identified Ungsod as among the killers.
Nenita and Roel could not have seen the incident, Matricio said, as they
were not at the scene of the killing when it happened.
"Michael and Paul were killed while drinking in a friend's house at the
Mamburao town proper," she said. "Quintos' home is far from the town
proper. We know Nenita and Roel to have been at home when the killing
happened." Meanwhile, she related, when Hermoso was arrested by National
Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operatives a few days after the killing, he
was not turned over to the Philippine National Police (PNP) as should have
been done but instead brought to Quintos house.
"By his own account, he was tortured there," Matricio said. "They even
intimidated him further by killing one of the local farmers - Balbin
Fernandez - in front of him. That was how they exacted his testimony."
"That testimony was obviously exacted under coercion and without the
benefit of counsel," Olalia said. "It should not have been used in court."
"Without these testimonies, the case would collapse," Ramos said. "This is
all that the case rested mainly on."
Ramos and Matricio said that they plan to contest Yadao's decision before
the Court of Appeals and, if need be, the Supreme Court.
"We will definitely fight this out," Ramos said. "We will exhaust all
legal, paralegal and meta-legal means to secure their freedom."
Manolito Matricio has been detained for almost 9 years. In all those
years, his wife said, she alone had to fend for herself and their 6
children - the eldest of whom is now aged 25 while the youngest will be
turning 6 this year. 3 of them are still studying, she said.
She sells vegetables at the Mamburao public market and her earnings from
these were what sustained her and their children through the nearly 9
years that her husband was detained.
The way things are, she will still be fending for herself and their
children on her own. Fighting the case out in the higher courts "could
take years and years," Olalia said.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO:
35 years in prison for woman who murdered stepchildren
Angela Ramdeen was yesterday sentenced to 35 years in prison for murdering
her 2 stepchildren and burying their bodies in a cow dung heap almost 13
Following the sentence, the children's father, Vishnu Brichnu Dass, said
he was not satisfied. "I didn't get no kind of justice.
"I would prefer she stay in prison and die rather that she come out here
and walk in society," he said.
Dass added that he was aware that nothing could be done to bring his
"Now I have to pull myself together and move forward. But the hurt and
pain is still there and that can't change."
Passing sentence in the Fourth Assize Court,San Fernando, Justice Joan
Charles said she felt troubled by the fact that Ramdeen has shown no
remorse for the killings.
"I have noted the unrepentant and un-remorseful attitude," Justice Charles
"It is a basic principle which any offender must demonstrate for any
offence committed. This is totally absent (in this case) and the court
finds this to be very troubling".
The 35-year sentence will take effect from Ramdeen's date of conviction on
January 14, 1997, which means she has 26 more years to serve.The matter
had come up for re-sentencing after the death sentence against her was
Ramdeen, 44, murdered the children on October 25, 1993 at Richmill Road,
8-year-old Tulsie Varum Dass and his seven-year-old sister, Sabrina
Hemwatee Dass, were beaten with a blunt object and their bodies were
placed in bags before being buried under the dung heap in Ramdeen's
Ramdeen was found guilty of murder and sentenced to hang.
Her appeal was dismissed by the Appeal Court in October 1997 and the Privy
Council rejected her appeal in December 1999.
The two-year time frame, within which the local appeal process should have
been completed, elapsed on January 14, 1999.
Ramdeen, in June, 2003, filed a constitutional motion seeking to save
herself from being hanged.
High Court Judge Justice Peter Jamadar declared that the death sentence
imposed on Ramdeen could no longer be lawfully carried out and ordered the
State to pay compensation to her for keeping her on death row after the
State's time to execute her had expired.
Justice Jamadar also ordered that Ramdeen be taken before a judge for
re-sentencing on a date to be fixed by the Registrar and that the maximum
penalty to be considered shall be life imprisonment.
Ramdeen was represented by attorneys Peter Carter QC and Anand Ramlogan
while attorney Gillian Lucky appeared on behalf of the State.
Lucky had suggested that a term of 15 to 20 years in prison was an
appropriate sentence to be passed by the court while Carter suggested a
term of no more than 10 years bearing in mind that Ramdeen had spent 9
years in custody awaiting sentence.
(source: Trinidad & Tobago Express)
COUNCIL OF EUROPE:
Council of Europe expects Russia to abolish death penalty
A senior official from one of Europe's leading human rights organizations
said Saturday he hoped that Russia would abolish death penalty soon. Terry
Davis, the secretary-general of the Council of Europe, said in an
interview with RIA Novosti that the abolition of death penalty was one of
the conditions of Russia's accession to the organization 10 years ago.
Davis said Russia usually complied with its obligations.
He said he had already discussed this issue with Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov. The latter said the parliament was discussing the issue but
gave no exact date of the voting.
Davis said using death penalty meant using methods of terrorists, adding
that the Council of Europe would help Russia, which assumes the rotating
presidency in the Council of Europe in May 2006, to abolish it as soon as
(source: RIA Novosti)
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