[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Apr 12 04:39:24 UTC 2007
WHO classified information on the case at Gaddafi's request----Bulgarian
Nurses in Jail for Gaddafi's Corruption
I explain how the dictator's regime deprives hospitals of syringes and
lays the blame on somebody else, says US film director Mickey Grant
American Mickey Grant makes documentaries. His film The Injection (2004)
tells of the drama of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya. In a broader context
of widespread reuse of disposable syringes in African countries, the
author convincingly proves the innocence of the Bulgarian nurses. The film
is available for free in the Internet at www.creativehat.com . Presently
Mick Grant tries to broadcast the film in Libya to make the public aware
of the real reasons for the AIDS epidemics in Benghazi hospital.
- Mr. Grant, we learnt that your film The Injection about the Bulgarian
nurses is available in Libya on the Internet. How would you explain this?
- It is a result of my efforts. Students help me by providing me with the
e-mails of Libyans where we send information they can find on the
Internet. I am doing this because I believe that if the Libyans knew the
truth about the healthcare in their country they would have known the one
to blame for the epidemics is Gaddafi. It is very important for the
Libyans to know that the paths for HIV infection are more dangerous than
they imagine and more than even the World Health Organization thinks. So
this is a chance to change things.
- Have you received help from Bulgarians?
- Yes, I respect the Bulgarian nurses' 1st lawyer, Vladimir Sheitanov. At
the start of the trial he had learnt that there were two other hospitals
suffering similar epidemics and told the court. The Libyan court, though,
decided not to accept this as evidence but he had been questioned about
where he had found this information. The practice of multiple use of
disposable syringes was widespread. The number of HIV-infected is by all
means greater than 100 000.
- How did you set about making this film?
- Thank you for asking, because it allows me to explain something that a
lot of Bulgarians do not understand. They do not see how the reuse of
disposable syringes I filmed in Kenya relates to the nurses' case in
Libya. The hygiene issue lies in the bottom of the case. I needed a
country as an example. I ended up choosing the case with the Bulgarian
nurses. One of the most important statements I looked for in doing
interviews was that the nurses objected strongly to the practice of
reusing syringes. I wanted all this to be in the context of what I
unearthed in Kenya. The context is global. When I went to Libya I brought
a presentation which I gave to the Gaddafi Foundation. My goal was to get
the Libyans to explore what was happening in the rest of Africa and apply
it to this case. Also my goal was to suggest to Gaddafi that he become a
spokesperson in Africa for safe healthcare.
Obviously I did not achieve these goals. When I got zero response and
wasn't allowed to interview the children ( I even suggested I make a
fund-raising tape for them) I became suspicious. Now my investigation
became different. Finding out all the horrific things that happened in
regard to how Gaddafi functions and handles this case really made me
angry. The more questions I asked the more I was outraged. But still
what's important is that the theme was the same.... Corrupt government,
corrupt dictator, need of money to maintain rich dictator lifestyle.
People have to realize how large the gifts of medical supplies are to
these countries. Gaddafi would have been relatively poor during the
embargo but avoided any loss of his lifestyle by selling everything he
could lay his hands on. His bureaucrats only stay out of prison by doing
exactly what he instructs them to do. The same is with his so-called
"courts." The investigation led me from Kenya to Libya. When I filmed the
syringe reuse in Kenya the public abroad did not understand the problem.
When you're in a country where people make less than a dollar every day,
then the price of a syringe becomes an important factor. Even if people
make a little more, it becomes a factor. In many countries such as Kenya
the richer people know to bring an unopened syringe with them which they
bought on the black market. Even the WHO tells it's new employees to bring
syringes when they come to work in Africa. When I was in Kenya I
experienced how bad the corruption was. I had to pay a bribe to get my
permit to shoot and my camera out of customs. It was $500. Imagine the
money that various bureaucrats can make by confiscating things like
syringes and selling them on the black market.
- Fear is a strong factor....
- I believe all these cases of children with HIV mainly come from a simple
fact. Libyans are afraid to do anything that might be construed as "going
against Gaddafi." If you are a Libyan medical official and your clinics
don't have syringes, then you enforce the policy of "no one is allowed to
complain." If anyone complains, then their life is threatened or they
disappear. No official will admit that they don't have proper medical
equipment, even in Kenya. When the WHO or some other entity comes to
"inspect" a hospital (inspect meaning visit, observation) they temporarily
clean things up and make things look right.
- What is the role of the World Health Organization?
- The most amazing thing of all regarding the Bulgarian nurses is that the
WHO had already investigated the outbreak and found it was from dirty
health practices. Often Libyans and others criticize me in that they feel
I am one-sided in favor of the nurses. Just the WHO study alone should be
enough to make anyone support the nurses. The shocking things is that
Gaddafi asked that the investigation be classified secret and the WHO went
along with his request. The WHO motivation is that they have a lot more
medical programs going on in Libya and don't want to jeopardize them. As
much as I attack the WHO about their 98% sex propaganda and 2% dirty
health care, I still use them as my prime source to defend the nurses.
That's the reason why I sound so biased in my film. It was clear even
before the nurses were charged that the reason for the outbreak was
syringe reuse and other reuse of equipment. Likely, I'll never get a
chance to do something like this in my life - help fight for the Bulgarian
nurses lives. I'm lucky that I've had the opportunity to investigate this
case. I hope my film may be heard. If it even helps save one life, then I
consider it a success.
(source: Opinion, Georgi Gotev)
China reforms its death penalty laws
Chief Justice Xiao Yang of the Supreme Peoples Court pledged at the
National Peoples Congress that in future the death penalty would be
exercised more cautiously.'
China is putting new emphasis on the need to rule the country through law
rather than by arbitrary decision-making by senior officials. A key reform
is to reduce the number of executions.
In a report last month to the National Peoples Congress (NPC), Chinas
parliament, Chief Justice Xiao Yang of the Supreme Peoples Court pledged
that in future the death penalty would be exercised "more cautiously for
only a small number of extremely serious offenders" and every case "will
be able to stand the test of time".
The exact number of capital punishment cases is a state secret but it is
believed to be in the thousands more than the rest of the world combined.
A former vice-president of the top court, Liu Jiachen, asserted that the
number of death sentences pronounced in China last year hit a 10-year low,
but he gave no figures.
Still, it appears likely that the number of executions will fall following
the more stringent review procedures instituted by the Supreme Peoples
Court that began on Jan 1.
On that day, the court took back the power to review and ratify all death
penalty cases after having delegated this authority to lower courts for 26
"We will never go back to the situation 26 years ago and retrogress," the
chief justice said at the NPC session.
"A case involving a human life is a matter of vital importance. We can
never be more careful in this regard."
The court has been embarrassed in recent years by a number of scandals
involving the death penalty. There have been cases where individuals were
tortured into confessing to murder and then executed, only to be found
innocent subsequently. In at least one case, the supposed murder victim
turned out to be alive.
China is a signatory to the Convention Against Torture, but the police are
believed to routinely torture suspects and, up to now, courts have
accepted confessions extorted through torture.
Last month, the country's 4 top law enforcement agencies issued a joint
document calling for more cautious handling of death penalty cases and a
reduction in executions.
The Supreme People's Court, Supreme People's Procuratore, or prosecution,
the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice also declared
that suspects should not be tortured, and condemned prisoners should not
be paraded through the streets.
Under the new procedures, all death penalty cases must be reviewed by a
bench of three judges of the Supreme People's Court, who will examine
written files to check the facts and the law and, if necessary, examine
defendants in person. The defendant can also be represented by a lawyer.
Any evidence extracted through illegal means will be declared invalid.
Judges can also visit the scene of a crime to verify details of the case.
If the court decides that the death penalty has been improperly applied,
it will send the case back to the provincial court for retrial.
In a reflection of the changing times, a substantial number of people were
executed by provincial courts in the week preceding the coming into effect
of the new, more stringent, rules. There are more than 60 crimes for which
the death penalty can be invoked, including serious economic crimes such
as bribery or corruption.
The requirement that all death penalty cases will require the endorsement
of the top court will, in all probability, bring about a drop in
executions in the country. That in itself is worth celebrating, but there
are other signs that China is putting renewed emphasis on the role played
This was also reflected in a new property law just passed by the NPC which
for the 1st time put the protection of private property on the same level
as protection of state property.
Reflecting the controversial nature of the law, the chief justice said
that the Supreme People's Court would "issue a series of key judicial
explanations relating to the nations economy and social justice",
including the property law, so that courts around the country would fully
understand the newly enacted legislation.
In another move to combat a looming scandal, China issued new regulations
to curb the illegal trade in human organs.
The new regulations prohibit organisations and individuals from trading in
However, they do not directly address the issue of harvesting organs from
executed prisoners but do say that medical personnel and institutions
caught illegally harvesting organs for transplant purposes would have
their licences suspended or revoked.
(source: New Straits Times)
More than 2,000 in St. Peter's Square protest capital punishment
More than 2,000 people protesting capital punishment marched through Rome
to St. Peter's Square on Easter morning.
The Easter March, as it was called, was designed to put pressure on the
Italian government to propose a moratorium on capital punishment at the
U.N. General Assembly April 23. The April 8 march was organized by the
Sant'Egidio Community, a Catholic lay community, and Hands Off Cain, an
international nonprofit organization that works to end capital punishment.
Various Italian political figures -- including Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni
and Marco Pannella, a member of the European Parliament -- participated in
the march. Pannella, founder of Italy's Radical Party, had been on a
hunger strike since March 21 to push the Italian government to take action
against capital punishment.
The marchers arrived in St. Peter's Square just moments before Pope
Benedict XVI delivered his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome
and to the world) in which he lamented the wars, disasters and horrors
that plague the world today. The pope also expressed his concern for all
those who suffer from exploitation, hunger, disease and terrorism.
Some march participants, who held banners in the square, were disappointed
that the pope did not recognize them in his greeting and did not speak
about capital punishment.
However, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi sent a message to the
organizers of the march saying the Italian government is fighting hard to
make the death penalty moratorium a reality, despite several challenges.
"There are still many obstacles, significant obstacles because, among the
powerful nations of the world, some still use capital punishment regularly
and react to any potential changes," he said.
The United States, China, Japan, Cuba and Iraq are among the 69 countries
that use capital punishment.
(source: Catholic News Service)
Ghanaian, Zambian face death penalty in Singapore
Singapore police said they arrested 2 Africans with 20,6kg of cannabis --
the largest drugs haul in several years in the country where those caught
trafficking over 500g face a mandatory death penalty.
Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau said that a Ghanaian man and a
Zambian woman are being investigated for drug trafficking after they were
caught on Monday with cannabis with a street value of about $270 400.
"If convicted, both will face the death penalty," a Bureau official said
on Wednesday, adding that the drugs bust was Singapore's largest since
2001 when 35kg of heroin was seized.
Singapore enforces strict anti-drug laws and anyone found guilty of
trafficking more than 500g of cannabis faces death by hanging. Human
rights groups have criticised the death penalty as inhumane, but the
government says this is needed to prevent widespread drug abuse.
2 African drug smugglers were hanged in the city-state in January despite
international appeals for clemency.
The Ghanaian man was arrested after officials, acting on a tip-off,
trailed him leaving a budget hotel with a black luggage bag that held 14kg
of cannabis slabs.
The cannabis was wrapped in newspaper and masking tape and hidden under
clothing, according to the bureaus website.
The woman was arrested at the hotel.
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