[Deathpenalty] death penalty news---worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Apr 23 19:19:39 UTC 2007
Army deserters to be executed
Iraqi soldiers who desert their units now face execution, according to a
decree by the countrys Presidential Council.
The offense is the latest of nearly 200 others convicted Iraqis are to be
punished with death penalty.
The council slapped 3-year imprisonment on absentee soldiers.
The harsh penalties come following reports of large-scale desertion from
army ranks in the wake of the latest surge in rebel attacks against U.S.
and Iraqi forces.
The penalties are also applicable to the cadets of military academies in
Turning desertion into an offense punishable by death comes amid mounting
criticism from human rights groups that Iraq has become one of the worlds
highest users of death penalty.
Amnesty International, for example, says that more than 100 people have
been hanged since mid-2004 after unfair trials and 270 others are on the
Iraq now one of world's leading users of death penalty
Iraq has become one of the world's leading users of the death penalty,
according to figures published last week by Amnesty International.
The human rights group says at least 65 people were executed by the Iraqi
authorities last year, a total surpassed only by China, Iran and Pakistan.
More than 270 people have been put to death in Iraq since the US military
handed authority to the Iraqi Government in August 2004.
Comparisons to the situation under Saddam Hussein are difficult because
his regime obscured the number of people it sentenced to death.
However, Amnesty says that, in some cases, the laws brought in by the new
Iraqi Government are even stricter than those from Saddam's time.
(source: Belfast Telegraph)
Tanzania to abolish death penalty
Tanzania is beginning to review its position on outlawing the death
penalty after being put under pressure from human rights watchdogs.
Tanzania's Justice Minister Mary Nagu said the process will include
collecting people's views on the matter and added that "the government
through the Law Reform Commission has already initiated the process of
reviewing the law relating to the death penalty."
She also said the government has been put under fierce pressure from human
rights groups to abolish the practice.
The state-run Kenya National Commission on Human Rights has called on the
Tanzanian government to change the law and abolish the practice, saying,
"The death penalty constitutes a violation of the most fundamental right,
the right to life".
The panel also calls on the Kenyan parliament to stop the practice.
Under Tanzanian law, murder and high treason are the only crimes
punishable by the death penalty. In Kenya, however, all capital offences
such as murder, attempted murder, robbery with violence and treason are
punishable by death. Nevertheless, the country hasn't executed anyone
(source: Press TV)
Death row medics await their fate
In Tripoli, a Libyan court is to hear final evidence next Sunday in the
slander trial of 6 foreign medics already on death row for allegedly
injecting more than 400 Libyan children with HIV-tainted blood, the
presiding judge announced.
Salem al-Hamri accepted a defence request for a week's adjournment to
study court papers in more detail at a new hearing in the Libyan capital
Defence lawyers had expressed concern that a 3rd police officer would join
the existing plaintiffs in accusing the 5 Bulgarian nurses and 1
Palestinian doctor of defamation over allegations that their confessions
were extracted through torture.
But in the event no new plaintiffs emerged at Sunday's hearing.
The six medics have been in custody for eight years and were condemned to
death in 2004.
The accused said their "confessions" in the HIV trial were forced from
them under torture, including beatings, electric shocks and being
threatened with dogs.
The slander charge carries a maximum penalty of 3 years in prison. The
nurses are Kristiana Valcheva, Nassia Nenova, Valia Cherveniachka,
Valentina Siropoulo and Snejana Dimitrova, and the doctor is Ashraf Ahmad
The medics, largely viewed as scapegoats by the international community,
maintain their innocence based on testimony by foreign health experts who
said the AIDS epidemic in Libya's 2nd city of Benghazi was sparked by poor
The 6 launched a last appeal against their death sentences on February 17.
EU parliament president Hans-Gert Poettering called on the Libyan
authorities on Friday to free the medics.
Doha court commutes death sentence
A DOHA court of appeal yesterday commuted a death penalty given to a
Philippine expatriate in a murder case to 10 years in jail.
The expatriate, Rolando Stanislaus Bildamin, had been sentenced for
killing his "girlfriend."
Legal sources said the appeal court reduced the sentence as it believed
the crime, which took place on August 4, 2004, was a "beating that led to
the death and not a premeditated murder as mentioned in the chargesheet.
Bildamin intends to appeal to Qatar's Supreme Court in a bid to further
reduce the sentence in the case that shocked the Filipino community in
The murder took place in a flat in the Najma area where Bildamin and
Roselyn Valencia Fernandez were said to be staying along with Roselyn's
The 34-year-old victim was employed at a perfume shop. The convict, now
37, was working as an attendant at a gymnasium.
According to the medical report, Roselyn succumbed to multiple knife
injuries to her right arm, chest and abdomen.
The defendant's lawyer, Noora Sarhan, considered the reduction of the
sentence as a great achievement as she had saved her client from the
Sarhan said she believed the killing was not premeditated, a point which
was adopted by the appeal court.
A diplomatic source earlier told Gulf Times that a settlement between the
families of the convict and of the victim has been reached.
(source: Gulf Times)
Saudi executes 4 men for murder, drug smuggling
Saudi Arabia on Monday executed a Saudi for murder and 3 Iraqis for drug
smuggling, raising to at least 40 the number of people put to death in the
conservative Muslim country so far this year.
The number of death sentences this year has already exceeded the 34 people
executed in 2006 and 36 in 2005. Saudi Arabia put 86 people to death in
The sentences were carried out through public beheading, according to
strict Islamic laws applied to those convicted of drug trafficking, rape,
murder and other violent crimes.
Local and international human rights groups say the punishment is
draconian and reflects ancient tribal customs.
Iraqi nationals Amer Jassem al-Mishalany, Seif Saad al-Mishalany and Falah
Kazem al-Hasnawy were executed on Monday in the town of Arar on Saudi
Arabia's northern border with Iraq, the official news agency SPA said.
They were found guilty of smuggling hashish into the kingdom.
Abdullah bin Khalifa al-Enezi was also put to death in Arar over the
killing of another Saudi in a personal dispute.
ORGAN DONATION | Ethical issue in China shrouded by secrecy; Dark side of
transplants---- Citizens join critics who question organ harvesting
practices in Chinese prisons.
Meng Zhaoping is trying to argue her way past a security guard at the
provincial high court for the second day in a row.
All she wants is an audience with a court officer, she says. All she has
are 2 questions: Why was her son put to death? What happened to his body?
The answer to the 1st question is in the charge sheet: He knifed a man to
death in a brawl. The 2nd answer, she is convinced, lies in a
much-criticized Chinese practice: taking organs from executed prisoners
Since her son was executed in January 2005, Meng has been searching for an
explanation. She never saw his body, which was taken to a crematorium.
By then, Meng thinks, his body had been stripped of its organs.
She has no direct evidence, but the secrecy in which China has shrouded
the issue has long bred suspicions. Medical and human rights groups say it
is opaque, profit-driven and indifferent to medical ethics.
What's new is that these critics are being joined by ordinary Chinese such
as Meng, a 53-year-old apple farmer from the fringe of the Gobi Desert.
Much of the furor surrounds the use of organs mostly kidneys, livers and
corneas from executed prisoners who may not have given their permission.
Although few involved in China's transplant trade talk openly about it,
Beijing has begun to respond to criticisms.
This month, the State Council, China's cabinet, formalized Health Ministry
rules issued last year that ban the sale of organs and require donors to
supply written permission.
But the regulations do not mention prisoners.
Health officials say the country faces a severe organ shortage: 1.5
million people need transplants in China each year, and only about 10,000
operations are carried out.
Wealthy Chinese and foreigners are willing to pay hundreds of thousands of
dollars. Brokers can arrange transplants in weeks.
"Theres a very clear demand, and where there's a demand, there's a
market," says Henk Bekedam, head of the World Health Organizations China
office. "This is a market that needs to be very strongly regulated in
order to guide it properly."
Restrictions on U.S. inmates
In the United States, federal prisons ban inmates from donating organs
except to a close relative.
States ban the transplanting of organs from death row prisoners, and
occasional moves by some states to ease the ban have failed.
(source: Associated Press)
The Death Penalty
PERHAPS it caught him off-guard, but when President Mbeki was confronted
by a plea for a return to the death penalty his response was curious. On a
presidential imbizo in Soweto last weekend, he disagreed with a woman who
said capital punishment would solve high crime, reminding his questioner
of the death penalty's ugly history in South Africa. The problem with the
gallows, he said, was that it was mostly black people who were hanged in
It is true that comparatively few white people were executed pre-1989 when
the gallows at Pretoria Central fell silent. There were probably many
reasons for this, chief among them the country's demographics. And then
there was a criminal justice system weighted against the poor, the
ill-educated, and those who may have had difficulty with the language of
But is that now a reason to rebuff a call for the most drastic measure to
address an extraordinary problem? Not any more. If criminal justice was
being run by the same people, Mbeki's argument would have held water.
There is a new cast, however. Most of the investigators are different, as
are many prosecutors and judges.
Unpleasant memories are really no argument. Mistakes are. And the
probability of an innocent South African climbing the scaffold stairs to
the noose - even one mistake - is unacceptable.
There will be those who would argue, in their clamour to stop the crime
demon, that occasional mistakes would be acceptable for the greater good.
This "collateral damage" school of thought would evaporate, however, if
its disciples were confronted with the question: what if the innocent was
you, or your loved one?
Mbeki's argument does not carry. If he means to suggest poor people are
still disadvantaged in our criminal justice system, he might be right. But
special arrangements could apply in capital cases to counter this. He was
right, though, for the wrong reason.
(source: Opinion, Cape Argus)
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