[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Mar 28 10:52:05 EST 2006
Kyrgyzstan's forgotten death row prisoners
Soyuzbek Kaldarov, sentenced to death in 1999 for the murder of 2
policemen, is trapped in a legal limbo.
His home country of Kyrgyzstan imposed a moratorium on firing-squad
executions in 1998 so he cannot be put to death, but the courts continue
to hand down death sentences, leaving Kaldarov and others with indefinite
stretches on death row.
Around 200 inmates are stuck in the same legal vacuum, waiting in
crumbling Soviet-era cells where tuberculosis and drug abuse are rife.
A bear-like 29-year-old with unsmiling eyes, Kaldarov says the thought of
death rarely leaves him.
"I wouldn't wish my enemies to die in such suffering," he says slowly,
staring blankly at the floor of his gloomy underground prison cell in the
Kyrgyz capital Bishkek.
A spate of riots in jails last year threatened to trigger a national
crisis when inmates shot a member of parliament who was visiting one
The mutinies in at least five prisons -- not including Kaldarov's --
lasted for 2 weeks in October, causing prison wardens to flee. The
violence was eventually quelled by troops who stormed the jails, killing 4
Although the unrest briefly drew attention to decrepit prisons in the
mountainous state northwest of China, Kyrgyzstan has lurched from crisis
to crisis since its former President Askar Akayev fled violent protests a
year ago, and the subject was soon forgotten.
President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who came to power after Akayev was ousted,
has vowed to replace the death penalty with life sentences. But critics
say the new leadership has largely neglected the issue.
"We have to decide on the death penalty once and for all: yes or no," said
Kubatbek Baibolov, a member of parliament. "We can't continue to hang
between heaven and earth."
Terrorism, murder and the rape of minors all still carry theoretical death
penalties that are not carried out.
Death-row convicts to mount appeal
Lawyers for 3 men on death row in Poso, Central Sulawesi, are planning to
seek a presidential pardon and a Supreme Court review of the case for the
second time because they have new evidence.
Lawyer Ignatius Iryanto said Monday the defense team would use the new
evidence to petition the Supreme Court to review the case a 2nd time.
Earlier, the President and the Supreme Court rejected the requests by the
three men, who are farmers.
Iryanto said the lawyers would present nine witnesses to testify that the
three Christian convicts -- Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da
Silva -- did not mastermind a series of attacks on Muslims between 2000
and 2001 in Poso.
Iryanto spoke after the defense team met People's Consultative Assembly
Speaker Hidayat Nur Wahid to ask him for his support.
"Pak Hidayat supports us in our bid to find the truth," he said.
If a stay of execution is not granted until the court hears new evidence,
the 3 men will face a police firing squad before the end of the month.
Attorney General Abdul Rahman Saleh recently said the arrangements for the
execution were almost ready.
A commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras)
spokesman said a quick execution of the convicts without following due
process would destroy people's trust in the authorities and make it more
difficult to find those behind other attacks in the area.
Central Sulawesi branch office head Leonardo said the executions of the
men could also trigger new conflict in Poso.
"We are worried about the government's indecisiveness in handling
terrorist and violence in Poso and the surrounding area," Edmond said.
The government had done little to end the violence, he said. The latest
bomb attack in Toini village, Poso Pesisir, on March 22, was already the
8th this year, he said.
Residents were doing a better job than security forces at finding hidden
bombs, Edmond said, also proof that their help and trust was vital in
ending the conflict.
The men were jailed in April 2001 after the Poso District Court found them
guilty of masterminding and carrying out 3 attacks on Muslims in the city
in 2000 at the height of the sectarian violence in the area. More than 200
people died in the attacks.
Lawyers for the men later presented evidence in the form of witness
testimonies, who said the 3 men were not behind the attacks. They gave a
list of 16 people they said were the true culprits to Poso Police.
(source: Jakarta Post)
Afghan Christian Convert Is Released
An Afghan Christian convert who had faced a possible death sentence for
abandoning Islam has been released from detention, the Afghan justice
minister said on Tuesday.
"I can confirm that he was released," said Justice Minister Sarwar Danish.
"He is not in detention. I do not know if he is with his family or where,
but he has been acquitted."
A senior judicial official said Abdur Rahman, 40, had been moved from
Kabul's main prison to a medical facility, but was still in the custody of
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