[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Mar 18 20:16:51 CST 2006
Belarus death penalty threat over rally
Opposition supporters in Belarus were warned they could face the death
penalty if they took part in a protest after tomorrow's presidential
Stepan Sukhorenko, head of the KGB secret service, accused the opposition
of planning to use the rally to stage a coup against President Alexander
Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet republic since 1994.
"We will not allow the seizure of power under the guise of presidential
elections," Mr Sukhorenko told a news conference yesterday.
"For those who take the risk of going out into the street and trying to
destabilise the situation, their actions will be qualified as terrorism" -
a crime, he added, that could result in life in prison or the death
His warning set the stage for a showdown tomorrow that diplomats say could
escalate into a confrontation between the West and Russia in Moscow's
debut year as president of the Group of Eight.
The US has branded Mr Lukashenko "Europe's last dictator".
The EU said yesterday it would tighten sanctions against Minsk if the
elections were not seen to be free and fair. It demanded Belarus release
dozens of opposition activists and journalists who have been detained.
"The new wave of arrests of opposition leaders in Belarus over the last 2
days is completely unacceptable," EU External Relations Commissioner
Benita Ferrero-Waldner said.
"Such arrests have no place in the conduct of free and fair elections."
Josep Borrell, the European Parliament president, also expressed concern,
noting that Belarus had refused to grant visas to a group of European
legislators who wanted to monitor the election.
The EU already imposes a visa ban on several Belarusian politicians.
Russia, however, is backing Mr Lukashenko in an attempt to stop another
former Soviet state from moving out of its strategic sphere of influence
and integrating with the EU and NATO.
Mr Lukashenko, who has resurrected Soviet-style economic and political
controls since coming to power, is certain to win a third five-year term
in the election.
A Russian poll predicted yesterday he would win 60 % of the vote.
But Aleksander Milinkevich, his main rival, says the result has already
been decided and is urging his supporters to rally in Minsk tomorrow
(source: The Times)
Govt tries to keep death penalty current
The government is pushing ahead with its plan to amend the Offences
Against the Person Act to close a loophole which it says allowed the Privy
Council to overturn a death sentence.
The amended legislation was taken to the Senate on Friday as the
administration attempts to fast track the changes.
Still stung by the recent Privy Council ruling in the case of Evon Smith,
Friday the government carried legislation to the Senate to amend the
Offences Against the Person Act.
In the Smith case the Privy Council ruled that if a person broke into a
house with the sole intention to kill the occupants this should not be
considered capital murder.
However if the person broke into the house to rob the premises and in the
process murdered the occupants this would be capital murder and could
attract the death penalty.
That ruling upset members of the government who argued that the Law Lords
Friday it was an obviously annoyed Justice Minister AJ Nicholson who moved
the bill through the senate.
In his presentation Mr. Nicholson castigated the Privy Council for what he
described as its consistent steps to abolish the death penalty.
Mr. Nicholson questioned the intention of the Privy Council as he noted
that 6 other judges, including two members of that body, had no difficulty
interpreting the Jamaican legislation.
While supporting the amendments to the bill, opposition Senator Dorothy
Lightbourne chided Mr. Nicholson for what she called his tirade against
the Privy Council.
According to the Opposition Senator, an attack on the country's highest
court was a dangerous ground to tread.
The bill was passed by the Senate without dissent.
(source: Radio Jamaica News)
SENTENCING DELAYED ... While protestors call for death penalty
2 more weeks to go before Al Laplace knows his fate. Laplace, whose
correct name is Charles Elroy Laplace, was scheduled to be sentenced
yesterday, for murdering his wife, Diana.
High Court judge, Justice Francis Belle, was forced to postpone his
judgment as, one of the reports he ordered for the convicted man, was not
"This matter has to be completed next week, after the receipt of the
psychiatric report. You have to come back to court on 30 March. I hope
that everything would be in place for the sentencing of this matter,"
Justice Belle told Laplace.
The social inquiry report which Justice Belle ordered was produced by the
Department of Probation and Child Protection Services, which revealed
Laplace's family composition and history, education, religious persuasion,
employment history, medical history, past offences and his general
At the sentence hearing, Laplaces mother made one last-ditch attempt to
save her son from a severe penalty.
"I'm asking you to be lenient and give him a lesser charge on behalf of
the children who dont have any mother right now. I don't think it's fair
to the children to take their father, too. I would appreciate if you would
give him a lesser charge - I don't think anybody in their right mind would
have done something like that, especially on the day when he was supposed
to attend his grandfathers funeral," Naomi Williams, of New Road Housing
Williams told the court, again, that her son weighed 4 pounds at birth
with a tumor on the side of his head and that at age 5, he had a nervous
Not given the chance to testify during the trial, Al Laplace got the
opportunity yesterday to tell the court his side of the story. "Diana and
I got married on 8 Sept., 1983. She was 16. The marriage had its ups and
downs," he said.
Recounting the events of 12 Feb., 2004, the day when he brutally stabbed
his wife to death, Laplace told the court that an argument erupted between
both of them.
"It got intense. She pulled a knife and said she would stab me. She let go
a stab and I got a cut in my hand. We wrestled for the knife and started
"Eventually, I got the knife from her and gave her a stab. We continued
fighting from the bedroom to the dining room downstairs. She got a next
stab. We continued fighting and I lost control from there. About a minute
after, she got the second stab. She tried to run outside. The door fly
over and she fell over the landing.
"I lost control and stabbed my wife," he said.
He claimed, though, that he has no memory of what else transpired. "How
could anyone lose control and have any recollection? I don't remember
anything downstairs. I don't remember anybody knocking me in my head with
a stick. I don't remember anything," Laplace said.
He told the court, further, that his marriage was doomed from the start
with the interference of his mother-in-law, Muriel Ritchie and his wife,
who always engaged other men at their home.
Al Laplace brutally stabbed his wife to death, in broad daylight, before a
crowd of villagers who testified, during the trial, that they tried to
stop him from committing the heinous act by hitting him with sticks and
stones, "but he continued stabbing her and then lifted up her head and cut
His lawyer, Reginald James, mounted a case of provocation and temporary
mental insanity, and had asked the jury to find Al Laplace guilty of
manslaughter, not murder.
The 6 men and 6 women for the jury, however, did not buy his argument and
on 30 Feb., they found the 38-year-old salesman guilty of killing his
wife. Meanwhile, a group of female employees from Kajola Kristada where
Diana last worked, took to the streets of Basseterre again, yesterday, to
show solidarity for the dead woman and called on the authorities to hang
Dressed in T-shirts printed with pictures of Diana, the women stood in
Independence Square, just outside of the courthouse.
"We Want Him Dead"; "Kill Him"; "We Need Justice"; and "Justice for All
Women" were some of the messages written across the placards the women
(source: Sun St. Kitts)
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