[Deathpenalty]death penalty news---worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Mar 20 10:09:37 CST 2006
Darfur: Rape; Attempted Rape; Risk of Death Penalty
Monday 20 March 2006.
SOAT----Sudan Organisation Against Torture
Human Rights Alert: 20 March 2006
On 07 March 2005, two armed militias in military uniform attacked four
girls from Seraif IDP camp, Hay AlGeer, West Nyala, Southern Darfur. The
girls were attacked whilst collecting firewood outside the camp at 11:30.
During the attack, one of the men assaulted one of the girls and attempted
to rape her. The armed man touched the girls breasts and attempted to
forcefully remove her underwear. When she resisted, the man began to beat
her. In defence she grabbed a knife that she had been using to cut the
firewood and stabbed the attacker in the stomach. The details of the girls
are as follows:
Amouna Mohamed Ahmed, (17 yrs), Fur tribe, Student
Fayza Ismail Abaker, (16 yrs), Fur
Houda Ismail Abdel Rahman, (17 yrs), Fur
Zahra Adam Abdella, (17 yrs), Fur
Following the stabbing, the girls managed to escape and returned to Seraif
camp where they reported the incident to police officers inside the camp.
The police refused to file the case.
On the same day, 07 March 2005, in the afternoon, police officers inside
the camp were told of the death of a stabbing victim. Following the news
of the death, the officers immediately arrested the four girls inside the
camp on suspicion of murder.
The girls were initially taken to Nyala Shamal police station where they
were detained for five days and charged with murder under Article 130 of
the 1991 Penal Code. If convicted, the girls face death by hanging.
On 11 March 2006, the girls were transferred to Nyala Wasat (Central)
Police station, head quarters of the Police in Nyala where they remain in
SOATs network of lawyers in Nyala is providing legal assistance to the
In a separate incident, on 15 March 2006, fifteen armed militia men
attacked and raped five women (details withheld) from Kalma IDP camp. The
women (aged between 18 and 27) were attacked whilst collecting firewood
outside the camp, approximately 3 Km North East of the camp. During the
attack, the women were raped and flogged. SOAT partner Organisation in
Nyala, the Amel Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Victims of
Torture has referred the women to Medicines Sans Frontiers clinic in Kalma
IDP camp, where they are receiving medical treatment.
SOAT strongly condemns the continuing sexual violence against women and
girls in Darfur and the criminalisation of women and girls in Darfur for
merely defending themselves against widespread and systematic rape
perpetrated by armed militias operating with impunity in the region. SOAT
is particularly concern that women and girls continue to venture outside
IDP camps to undertake tasks including fetching firewood to sell to
subsides their income or to cook with despite the presence of AU
SOAT calls on the government of Sudan to:
Investigate the attack and attempted rape of the girls and the kidnapping
torture of the six men and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought
before an impartial tribunal and guaranteed procedural rights at all
Support the African Union forces to investigate the continual attacks on
IDPs around IDP camps in Darfur;
Immediately embark on the immediate disarmament of Janjaweed militias and
all armed militias operating in Darfur particularly outside known IDP
Immediately adhere to it commitments under the ceasefire agreement;
To comply with all UN Security resolutions and the UN commission on Human
Rights Resolution which explicitly condemns "the continuation of violence
against civilians and sexual violence against women and girls";
Guarantee respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms throughout the
country in accordance with national laws and international human rights
SOAT is an international human rights organisation established in the UK
in 1993. If you have any questions about this or any other SOAT
information, please contact us:
Argo House Kilburn Park Road London NW6 5LF, UK Tel: +44 (0)20 7625 8055
Fax: +44 (0)20 7372 2656 E-mail: info at soatsudan.org Website:
Christian convert faces death penalty in Afghanistan
A man could be sentenced to death after being charged with converting from
Islam to Christianity, a crime under Afghanistan's shariah laws, a judge
said yesterday. The trial is thought to be the first of its kind in
Afghanistan and highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and
reformists over what shape Islam will take 4 years after the fall of the
Abdul Rahman, 41, was arrested last month after his family accused him of
becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told Associated Press.
The accused was charged with rejecting Islam.
During the one-day hearing on Thursday, the defendant allegedly confessed
to converting to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid
worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the
Pakistani city of Peshawar, Judge Mawlavezada said.
"We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in
Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It
is an attack on Islam." He will rule on the case within 2 months.
Shariah law states that any Muslim who rejects Islam should be sentenced
to death, according to Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the
state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Repeated
attempts to impose a jail sentence were barred.
The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Mr
Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused. "He would have been
forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would
always remain one," Mr Wasi said. "We are Muslims and becoming a Christian
is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."
A Christian aid worker in Kabul, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
there was no reliable figure for the number of Afghan Christians. He said
few admit their faith because of fear of retribution and there are no
known Afghan churches. An old house in a war-wrecked suburb of Kabul
serves as a Christian place of worship for expatriates. The only other
churches are believed to be inside foreign embassies or on bases belonging
to the US-led coalition or a Nato peacekeeping force.
(source: The Guardian)
A&O team helps earn death row reprieve for Jamaican prisoner
Allen & Overy (A&O) has scored a rare success before the Privy Council on
behalf of a Jamaican death row prisoner.
The firm's head of death row work, associate Rainer Evers, and trainees
Camilla Mackenzie and Laura Baird acted pro bono for Shabadine Peart, who
was sentenced to death in 2000 for murder.
Furnival Chambers' Stephen Leslie QC, Stephen Hellmann and Iain Cassie
were instructed, also giving their services pro bono. The team worked for
two years on the case.
In February, a Privy Council committee of Lords Rodger, Steyn, Carswell,
Mance and Sir Swinton Thomas overturned Peart's conviction, remitting his
case to the Jamaican Court of Appeal.
A&O head of pro bono Joanna Grant said: "To get a conviction quashed is
pretty uncommon. It's getting harder and harder to get cases to appeal."
Peart was arrested and charged with the murder of Kingston security guard
Delroy Parchment in 1999. Jamaican judges' rules state that suspects in a
crime should only be questioned after being charged in exceptional
circumstances. Peart was convicted partly on the evidence gained from an
interview held after he was charged with murder, which the Privy Council
held to be unconstitutional.
"[Their Lordships] cannot be satisfied that the jury would inevitably have
reached the same conclusion if the evidence of the questions and answers
had not been given," the judgment reads.
The Privy Council also took into account Peart's age - just 18 - at the
time of his arrest, and the fact that he had not had the services of a
lawyer before the interview took place.
Mackenzie says that working on the case was rewarding and useful. "It was
very, very different to anything else I've done in the firm and it was
great to work on a criminal case," she said.
Grant agreed that the skills young lawyers pick up on cases such as the
Peart appeal are valuable. "I think many of the skills are transferable,"
she said. "These are also cases where junior associates and trainees do
get quite a lot of responsibility."
She added that A&O felt it could offer a lot to those finding themselves
in Peart's position.
"I think it's incumbent on big firms to bring their expertise to bear in
such situations," said Grant.
A&O is also currently acting pro bono for 7 other Jamaican death row
prisoners and 4 death row prisoners in Trinidad.
(source: The Lawyer)
Algerian Under A Death Sentence Fights Deportation
Last Sunday, Robert Fisk spoke to non-government organisations and student
journalists at New Zealand's Auckland University of Technology. In the
audience was controversial Algerian academic and theologian Ahmed Zaoui
who has been a New Zealand cause clbre for human rights activists. Fisk
subsequently spoke to Zaoui.
Ahmed Zaoui, Algerian cleric and university professor, member of the
Algerian Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), sits back opposite a cluster of
statues of the Virgin, a painting of Christ's crucifixion and three
Catholic priests. In St Benedict's Dominican Priory in Auckland,
deportation hangs heavily over a man who has been condemned to death in
absentia in his own country and merits a clutch of doubtful convictions in
Europe, as well as an unpleasant and largely secret document from New
Zealand's security services who are trying to overrule the local refugee
authorities' decision that he can remain in the country.
"I am not a cynic - I am an optimist," Mr Zaoui says as his New Zealand
lawyer, Deborah Manning, produces sheaf after sheaf of documents recording
her client's odyssey through Morocco, France, Belgium, Switzerland,
Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea and -
eventually - New Zealand. "I enjoy being here among these Christian
people. I have talked about Islam in the church services. I talk to
university students in Auckland. I have spent much time comparing the
Koran and the Bible to find those things which they both share."
Time has certainly been on his hands. In all, Mr Zaoui spent 2 years in
New Zealand prisons - 10 months in solitary - without charge.
Pouring sweet tea for his guests, he does not look like the potential
"terrorist" that New Zealand's under-staffed Security Intelligence Service
claims him to be. In Auckland, the man from the FIS- whose election
victory was cancelled by the Algerian military in 1992 - has published an
Algerian cookery book and a selection of poems about his 10 months of
Mr Zaoui is also a very unlucky man. He used false passports to escape
from Algeria and moved through France and Belgium, and among the many
fellow countrymen he spoke to as a European representative of the FIS were
members of the far more disturbing - and violent - Islamic Armed Group
(GIA) responsible, along with the Algerian Army, for a vast series of
massacres which left at least 150,000 dead. Mr Zaoui's father, himself a
prominent imam, was imprisoned in an Algerian desert camp for 5 months
while his son was on the run.
Keith Locke, one of New Zealand's Green MPs, said: "New Zealand never had
a 'terrorist' on its shores, but it wants to show the world that it knows
what to do when it finds one," he says. "So Ahmed arrived here to find a
security service that wanted to prove its worth in the eyes of the
Americans. Now we've found our very own 'terrorist', but it's obviously
More than absurd. So keen were New Zealand's secret policemen to turf
Ahmed Zaoui out of the country that they persuaded their own Foreign
Affairs Ministry to get their diplomats in Paris, Brussels and Berne to
pester French, Belgian and Swiss officials for statements condemning the
findings of New Zealand's own refugee authority.
One of this country's parties, New Zealand First, this week demanded Mr
Zaoui's expulsion now that the Algerian government has declared an
amnesty. "The amnesty is a farce," Mr Zaoui says. "It is intended to
protect the security forces who took part in torture and killings from
prosecution. If I returned to Algeria now, the moment I spoke publicly
about freedom, I would be locked up."
Mr Zaoui sees the rise of "Islamism" as a natural event in Middle East
history. "I think the post-modern colonial state can't absorb the change
in the Arab world. The governments made many mistakes - corruption, no
freedom, intellectual failure. No force could challenge these governments
except that of the Islamists. They have an ideology and are more sincere
than the governments. Our governments failed to organise their society,"
Mr Zaoui insists he believes in democracy and that the FIS would have
continued to hold elections, had they been allowed to take power in 1992.
But for now, all this remains a dream.
(source: Independent News and Media)
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