[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Apr 2 00:23:46 UTC 2007
Palestinians await death sentence for selling Hebron house to Jews
The Palestinian Authority arrested two Palestinians last week, one in
Jordan and the other in Jericho, after authorities learned that they had
sold property to Jews in Hebron.
Under an old Jordanian law that the Palestinian Authority has vigorously
maintained, the 2 now face a maximum penalty of death. The law prohibits
Arabs from selling land to Jews.
A group of young Jews moved into the unfinished house in question on March
19, sparking an international uproar. The settlers claimed, at the time,
that they own the house and have ownership papers to prove so.
However, an Arab resident of Hebron, Bayez Rajabe, told Ynetnews that he
was the lawful ownder.
Rajebe said, "The settlers say they bought the house from a Palestinian
living in Jordan. They can buy the house from whoever they want, but the
house is mine and I am the sole owner. I have never had any contact with
Rajabe filed a complaint with the Hebron police about the situation.
Oren Zach, one of the students who inhabited the home, dismissed Rajabe's
claims, saying that he claimed he did not sell the house "out of his fear
of revenge from other Palestinians."
It now appears Zach was correct. Hebron Jewish leaders said the arrest,
while despicable and racist in nature, provides ample evidence that they
are indeed the rightful owners of the property.
The leaders said, "The arrest exposes once again the anti-Semitic nature
of the PA. We call upon the government to accept the racial hatred
prevalent in the PA," Haaretz reported.
(source: Israel Insider)
Death sentence awarded in infant killing case
An anti-terrorism court in Karachi on Saturday handed down the death
sentence on two counts to a man having found him guilty of kidnapping an
infant for ransom and later killing her in cold blood.
Asadullah, 21, was prosecuted for killing his 2-year-old relative, Laiba,
after kidnapping her from North Nazimabad for ransom in April 2006.
Announcing the judgment, the ATC Judge, Ghulam Ali A Samtio, also ordered
confiscation of the convicts property worth up to Rs.1 million and imposed
a fine of Rs.1 million. The convict was also directed to pay Rs.1 million
as compensation to the parents of the victim.
The court observed that prosecution has proved its case against the
accused who first kidnapped infant of his relative for ransom and later
killed her in cold blood, beyond a shadow of doubt.
According to the prosecution, the accused demanded a ransom of Rs1.5
million. After negotiations, the family paid Rs.300,000 but the accused
instead of releasing the kidnapped, killed her and threw her body in a
nearby cricket ground.
"The court has appreciated the prosecution case which provided sufficient
evidence to prove the guilt of the accused," Special Public Prosecutor
Naimat Ali Randhawa said. "Accused was not entitled to leniency because he
committed a gruesome offence and he deserved maximum punishment," he
The prosecution placed 16 witnesses, including one eyewitness, to prove
the guilt of the accused. The court had constituted a medical board prior
to deciding the case for determining the age of the suspect whether he was
juvenile or adult.
The medical report regarding age of the accused was produced before the
court by the prosecution. As per medical board comprising five doctors,
the age of the accused is between 21 and 22 years.
US consulate-general blast case: Another ATC, meanwhile, adjourned hearing
into the US diplomat killing trial after concluding cross-examination of
the prosecution witness.
Osman Ghani and Anwarul Haq are facing trial for allegedly preparing a
plot for car bombing near the US Consulate-General in Karachi on March 2,
2006, in which 4 persons including US diplomat David Foy and three
Pakistanis killed and 48 others injured.
According to prosecution, alleged suicide attacker, later identified as
Mohammad Tahir, had rammed a car packed with explosives into a vehicle
carrying a US diplomat as soon as it emerged from the Consulate-Generals
During cross-examination by the defence counsels M.Ilyas Khan and Mushtaq
Ahmed, Inspector Mohammad Tariq, who was the 1st investigator of the case,
said neither the injured persons nor the security personnel deputed
outside the diplomatic mission deposed that they saw the accused while
sitting in the vehicle which was later used in the suicide bombing.
To another query, he asserted that all vehicles, which passed along roads
leading to the US Consulate-General, were checked by police but the
accused were not identified by the said security staff except 2
The ATC, headed by Judge Haq Nawaz Baloch, who is conducting trial inside
the jail, after examination of witnesses, adjourned the hearing to April
(source: The International News)
Mother Fights for Justice
5 years ago, Evangeline Hernandez was just an ordinary wife and mother of
4 living in Davao City on the southern island of Mindanao. But her simple
life was shattered when militamen allegedly shot dead her daughter, a
human rights worker.
Benjaline "Beng" Hernandez was only 22 when she was killed along with
three other human rights workers in April 2002. They were on their way to
research on the situation of peasants in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato in
''I had no idea at the time that going on a fact-finding mission could be
dangerous," the mother told IPS as she recounted the circumstances behind
An eyewitness account said the group was having lunch inside an isolated
hut when a group of armed men -- an army staff sergeant and members of its
recruited civilian armed helpers, officially-termed "militiamen" --
arrived and, without warning, started strafing the hut. One victim was
killed when he tried to run. The others were rounded up and one was shot
in the stomach. The man pleaded for his life, but was shot in the neck
Benjaline and another female companion were made to kneel before they were
shot several times, the eyewitness said. Hernandez was told that both had
their arms raised pleading to be allowed to take their companion to a
doctor when they were killed.
According to the human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the
Advancement of Human Rights), of which Benjaline was an official, the men
later boasted to village residents that the "girls were weeping loudly."
The families of the victims filed a case against the alleged perpetrators.
The case is still pending before the prosecutor's office. The suspects are
free on bail.
Five years might be a long wait for justice in most countries, but
Hernandez said she is resigned to the fact that in the Philippines it
takes about eight to ten years before such cases can even be brought to
trial. In fact, Hernandez said, they might not even win the case at all --
despite the testimony of witnesses.
There were only a few extrajudicial killings in 2002 and Benjaline's case
was so shocking at the time that it made news even abroad. "Then in 2006,
the killings escalated," Hernandez said. Karapatan has documented 839
extrajudicial killings since January 2001 (when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
took over as Philippine president) up to Mar. 14, 2007. But a police task
force, created by Arroyo in May 2006 to investigate these killings, said
there were only 118.
Extrajudicial killings -- or as some would prefer to call them "political
killings" -- are summary executions and assassinations carried out without
the sanction of law or a court. The left-leaning group Bayan (Bagong
Alyansang Makabayan, New Patriotic Alliance) says the perpetrators are
state agents and the victims are politically-engaged individuals. The
victims are mostly human rights workers, priests and pastors, teachers,
lawyers, farmers and workers.
The growing number of Filipinos summarily executed prompted Hernandez and
other relatives of victims of such killings to band together in September
2006. They set up their group Hustisya (literally: justice), and
Hernandez, after giving it a lot of thought, acceded to become its head.
Hustisya is one of several activist organisations which recently brought
charges against Arroyo at the Permanent People's Tribunal in The Hague.
The Tribunal is an international, independent organisation which publicly
examines complaints on human rights violations.
Hernandez was pinning hopes on the tribunal coming out with an equally
strong verdict condemning Arroyo as it did the dictator Ferdinand Marcos
in 1980. After hearing 4 days of testimony from witnesses to extrajudicial
killings and reviewing evidence, the jurors issued their verdict on Mar.
25. They found Arroyo and her government responsible for "gross and
systematic violations of human rights".
According to Renato M. Reyes Jr., secretary-general of Bayan, one of the
organisations which filed charges, they decided to go to the tribunal
after exhausting all legal means available in the country. "We tried to
use the small legal space we have here but we were not successful. That's
why we had to go to the international community to ask for help We know we
cannot do this on our own," he told reporters in Manila.
Hernandez said she believed the tribunal's verdict could play a role in
bringing further pressure to bear on the Arroyo government. But she added
that even the strongly-worded statement last month from Philip Alston, U.N
special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, "failed to affect the
"How many have been killed?" Alston asked in a statement at the end of his
10-day fact- finding mission in February. "Is it 25, 100, or 800? ...
Numbers are not what count. The impact of even a limited number of
killings of the type alleged is corrosive in many ways. It intimidates
vast numbers of civil society actors, it sends a message of vulnerability
to all but the most well-connected, and it severely undermines the
political discourse which is central to a resolution of the problems
confronting this country."
He said Arroyo must persuade the military to acknowledge the facts and
take "genuine steps" to investigate the killings. On Mar. 22 he also
called on the government to provide him with a copy of leaked military
battle orders which listed groups and individuals considered
"illegitimate" by the military, hinting that this organisation can expect
a devastatingly-condemnatory final report from him in some weeks.
But activist organisations believe it is Arroyo herself who must be made
to answer for the killings. As Hernandez put it: "Even a dim-witted mother
with no background in political science can tell that Arroyo, as the head
of state, has the power to dictate everything. Otherwise, it would mean
that she has no control over the soldiers."
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