[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-------worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Apr 27 22:31:52 CDT 2007
Most Mexicans Favor Death Penalty
Most Mexicans favor the death penalty, according to a survey carried out
here when the country is going through its worst crisis of violence in
The survey, whose results were published on Friday, says that 71 % of
respondent supports the death penalty for convicted murderers.
The study, carried out by Ipsos-AP, says that 34 % of those in favor of
capital punishment expressed full support, while the remaining 37 % also
favors the death penalty, but not so emphatically.
The survey, carried out among 1,200 people in late February, says that
only 26 % of Mexicans oppose the death penalty and 43 percent voted for a
life sentence, while 7 % favored a lengthy prison term.
Capital punishment was abolished completely in Mexico in 2005, but until
then, the death penalty was only legal in the army. The last execution in
the country took place in 1961, according to legal statistics.
(source: Prensa Latina)
Freedom after 18 years on death row
Saudi Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has paid out nearly
$400,000 (BD151,200) in blood money to spare the life of a convicted
murderer who had spent 18 years on death row.
The prince, who is also defence minister, paid the money to the family of
the murder victim, Ismail Ali Al Zahrani, to spare the life of his killer
Salah Mussaed Al Zahrani, the Al Watan daily said.
Al Zahrani, who was held in a prison in the western town of Al Baha, had
spent longer on death row than any other convict in the kingdom, the paper
His detention had lasted so long because the victim's son Othman needed to
reach adulthood in order to decide whether to accept the payment to spare
(source: Gulf Daily News)
Japan executes 3 death row inmates
3 men on death row in Japan were hanged Friday, the Justice Ministry
announced, drawing criticism from Amnesty International, which demanded
that Tokyo take steps to abolish the death penalty.
The men were the 1st to be executed since 4 inmates were hanged in
December, and the 2nd group since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in
A Justice Ministry spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity
according to ministry protocol, confirmed that 3 executions were carried
out Friday. He refused to give further details.
Public broadcaster NHK identified the inmates as murder convicts
Yoshikatsu Oda, 59; Masahiro Tanaka, 42; and Kosaku Nada, 56.
Amnesty International Japan protested the executions and criticized the
secrecy surrounding them.
It said Japan is one of a handful of countries, including China and the
United States, that still carrying out executions.
"We hope Japan will discuss the death penalty from a human rights point of
view and takes a step toward abolishing the death penalty, which is the
ultimate form of human rights violation, in the near future," the group
said in a statement.
Until 1998, Japan refused to publicly acknowledge executions, which are
carried out by hanging.
Executions are rare in Japan. It was also rare for Friday's executions to
be carried out when Parliament is in session. Critics say executions are
usually carried out when Parliament is in recess, to avoid public debate.
Japan last executed 3 inmates during a parliamentary session in November
2000, a Justice Ministry official said on condition of anonymity, citing
The government lifted a four-year moratorium on capital punishment in
Friday's executions left Japan with 99 inmates on death row, the ministry
(source: Associated Press)
Japan on Friday hanged 3 inmates in its 1st executions this year, the
justice ministry said.
'3 inmates were executed today,' a justice ministry spokesman said.
In line with standard procedure, he declined to disclose details including
the names of those who were executed.
Kyodo News, citing unnamed sources, named the executed inmates as
Yoshikatsu Oda, Masahiro Tanaka and Kosaku Nada and said they were hanged
separately in prisons in Tokyo, the western city of Osaka and the
southwestern city of Fukuoka.
Japan is the only major industrialised nation other than the United States
to practice the death penalty.
Japan last carried out executions on Christmas Day last year when it
hanged 4 prisoners after a gap of 15 months due to a previous justice
minister's opposition to the death penalty.
Friday's executions were unusual in that they took place while parliament
was in session. Generally, Japanese authorities hang inmates when
parliament is in recess in an apparent move to avoid criticism from
Japan has also come under fire from human rights groups for the secrecy of
its executions. It gives inmates almost no prior notice that they will be
executed so as to prevent last-minute appeals.
Japan has one of the world's lowest crime rates. But courts have been
handing out more death sentences amid growing public concern about
In February, the number of death row inmates passed 100. The best-known
person waiting execution is Shoko Asahara, the guru of a doomsday cult
that attacked rush-hour trains in Tokyo with nerve gas in a deadly 1995
Justice Minister Jinen Nagase had vowed a day after last year's hangings
to carry out more executions.
'I am aware of various opinions on the issue, but nearly 80 % of the
people in this country have no objection to the existence of the death
penalty,' Nagase had said in December.
Former justice minister Seiken Sugiura refused to sign off on executions,
keeping the death penalty on hold for more than a year, saying that it
conflicted with his Buddhist beliefs.
Nagase replaced Sugiura when conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took
over in September.
(source: Agence France Presse)
State report denying torture said hogwash----Lawyers, rights groups say
Japan's U.N. submission glosses over facts
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations and human rights groups have
published separate reports countering the government's report to the
United Nations that Japan does not condone torture or cruel treatment.
The government states in its 2005 report, required under the Convention
against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment, that the infliction of torture or cruel punishment by any
public official is "absolutely" forbidden and any such acts are considered
As a U.N. committee in Geneva will review this 1st report in mid-May, the
bar federation and human rights groups recently issued their own reports
about how the state treats prisoners and detainees.
They charge that the government's report only notes the laws and rules on
the books but does not give sufficient proof they are being followed.
The state's report includes an explanation of the controversial police
detention facilities called "daiyo kangoku" (substitute prisons), which
are used to hold criminal suspects prior to indictment.
"In the so-called substitute prison system, the officials in charge of
detention, who belong to a department that is not in charge of
investigations supervise the detainees, take (their) human rights into
consideration in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations, and
they do not use treatments or punishments that may be deemed inhumanly
cruel by causing unnecessary mental or physical pain," the government
report claims. "Therefore, it is understood that the so-called substitute
prison system does not have any problems of cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment under the convention so long as it is operated
The bar group disagrees.
"Daiyo kangoku functions as a system to force confessions, intrinsically
breeds false confessions and works to uphold false confessions," the bar
federation's report says.
"No matter how well the division responsible for an investigation is
separated from that for detention, which is merely a separation inside the
same police station, intrinsically there is no change, and the system is a
breeding ground of confession coercion and false accusations."
Suspects can be detained in daiyo kangoku for up to 23 days for each
charge, and the 23-day period can be repeated over and over if there are
multiple charges. During that period, detainees are subject to repeated
interrogations, without access to counsel.
"Interrogation in one day sometimes exceeds 10 hours and continues until
late at night," the report says. "This kind of interrogation itself causes
heavy mental suffering to suspects and can be considered torture."
The bar federation gave as examples of coerced confessions four cases in
which people on death row were acquitted after receiving new trials.
"These cases all happened in the 1950s, but even now daiyo kangoku is
still the scene of confession coercion and a breeding ground for false
accusations," the alternative report says.
Sharing these views are three nongovernmental organizations, including the
Center for Prisoners' Rights Japan. Their joint report says the daiyo
kangoku system must be abolished and interrogations taped.
"Since we don't have any system of electronically recording interrogations
at police stations, defense lawyers can only examine the defendants and
interrogators (police officers and prosecutors) at the (trial) proceedings
to prove their clients confessed involuntarily," the report says.
The convention on torture was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in
1984. Japan acceded to it in June 1999 and then missed the July 2000
deadline for its first report on conditions in Japan.
The bar federation said the reason it took until December 2005 for the
state to submit its report was that "the Japanese government wanted to
avoid international scrutiny."
"This fact (of the late report) alone is sufficient grounds to doubt the
government's enthusiasm in meeting the challenge of banning torture and
other cruelty," the lawyer group said in its report.
The 2 reports also raise concerns about the practice of holding prison
inmates in solitary confinement for years, and sometimes decades.
According to the bar federation, 30 prisoners had been in isolation for 10
years or more as of November 2005, with one person serving a life sentence
confined alone for 42 of his 50 years and 11 months in prison.
There were 1,452 prisoners serving life sentences at that time, of whom
125 were in solitary confinement, the federation report says. "It is clear
that this long-term isolation is inhuman treatment that brings great harm
to prisoners both physically and mentally."
A law enacted in 2005 only states that isolation should be limited to 3
months as a rule, but there is no limit to how many times isolation can be
renewed, the group says.
"Therefore very long-term isolation continues even now," the group said.
On the premise that solitary confinement is severely damaging to
prisoners, the NGOs said, "detaining a deeply disturbed person for 30 to
40 years in solitary confinement is no longer effective punishment."
The NGOs said they considered solitary confinement exceeding 10 years to
be at minimum "ill treatment."
On the death penalty, the government's report says "it falls under the
lawful sanctions . . . and does not constitute the torture referred to in
And on the state's choice of hanging, the report says it is "not
considered to be inhumanly cruel compared to other methods, and does not
fall under cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment."
Of the four people hanged last year, two were in their 70s, and one of
them, a 75-year-old man, had a physical disorder that left him unable to
stand, according to a letter he wrote to his relatives.
"It would seem the execution of such an elderly person is an inhuman
punishment, but under Japan's capital punishment system, it is impossible
to obtain specific information on how executions are carried out," the bar
group said of the secrecy that shrouds hangings.
Maiko Tagusari, a lawyer who helped write the bar federation's report,
said the government's report did not disclose enough of what it was doing.
"The government seems to be reluctant to show the actual circumstances in
Japan," Tagusari said. "Its report does not fulfill its function."
The lawyer group also said there should be improvements in the
government's refugee certification process and immigration detention
facilities as well as demanded the striking of laws that allow for young
children to be detained and charged with crimes.
(source: The Japan Times)
Pakistan 'tops death row league'
Pakistan has more people imprisoned facing execution than any other
country in the world, human rights group Amnesty International says.
Nearly 1/3 of the world's 24,000 death row prisoners are in Pakistan -
"often held in extremely over-crowded conditions", Amnesty says.
Its annual report on the death penalty said the number of people executed
in 2006 fell by 25%, compared with 2005.
But Pakistan was one of a few countries where executions rose sharply.
Pakistan's interior minister has dismissed any suggestion of abolishing
the death penalty.
Map of executions in 2006
The Amnesty report said that at least 1,591 people had been executed in 25
countries last year, compared with 2,148 people in 2005.
-- Capital punishment is always cruel and unnecessary and doesn't deter
crime -- Kate Allen, Amnesty International
Death row man's freedom
It said the vast majority of those executed in 2006 were in China (1,010),
followed by Iran (177), Pakistan (82), Iraq (65), Sudan (65) and the US
The figure in Pakistan had nearly trebled from 31 the previous year,
The group's UK Director, Kate Allen, said: "Last year saw a slight drop in
execution numbers but it was another grim death toll around the world.
"We are particularly concerned about a disturbing 'revival' of executions
in countries like Iraq, Sudan and Pakistan.
"We urgently need to see 'death penalty governments' issuing bans on all
imminent executions, especially President Musharraf in Pakistan."
However, Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao told the BBC: "We
have our own laws, inherited from British times and they are applied very
"We feel that the death sentence is a deterrent, without it maybe there
would be more cases of serious crimes like murders."
Amnesty says 91% of all executions take place in the 6 countries listed
above. Many are sentenced after torture and unfair trials, the group says.
Amnesty says that more than 7,200 people are on death row in Pakistan, a
figure which was roughly similar 6 months ago.
But the sharp jump in numbers of people being executed makes this a
particularly deadly combination, the group says.
It criticised death row conditions in Pakistan.
"In some cases 12 death row prisoners are reportedly being held in
4m-by-3m cells designed for one person," the group said.
It said wealthier convicts were often able to escape execution under laws
which allow relatives of murder victims to accept compensation and pardon
Amnesty said its execution figures were "minimum only" and that co
untries like China killed far more people than official statistics showed.
Briton Mirza Tahir Hussain spent years on Pakistan's death row
But the report did note new safeguards in China meaning that all death
sentences now had to be approved by China's Supreme People's Court.
And it said "the underlying global trend is towards less frequent usage
and lower numbers of death sentences being imposed".
To date 128 countries had abolished the death penalty, with the
Philippines the latest of 30 states to do so in the past 10 years.
"While 69 countries still retain the punishment less than half that number
are currently carrying out executions," the report said.
(source: BBC News)
Reprieved Briton calls for ban on executions
A British Muslim who spent 12 years on death row in Pakistan has urged
President Musharraf to halt all executions, as a report reveals that the
country has more prisoners awaiting execution than any other.
Mirza-Tahir Hussain, who escaped the gallows last year after 4 stays of
execution, said that the death sentence fails to deter criminals and is
often handed down to people who like him believe they were wrongly
"I spent 12 years of my life on death row and had four separate execution
dates," Mr Hussain, 36, from Leeds, said. "I was lucky, I survived
Pakistan's death row. What about the thousands who may not?"
Amnesty International is due to publish today a report on global
executions that says Pakistan has the worlds largest death-row population,
with more than 7,000 condemned prisoners waiting to die.
82 convicts were hanged last year, making Pakistan the 3rd-highest state
executioner behind China and Iran, according to the London-based human
rights organisation. Iraq came in at number 4 after Iraqi authorities
executed at least 65 people including 2 women in 2006.
The Amnesty International UK director, Kate Allen, said: "We urgently need
to see 'death penalty governments' issuing bans on all imminent
executions, especially President Musharraf.
In 1989 Mr Hussain, then aged 19, was sentenced to death for a murder he
insists that he did not commit. His brother, Amjad, campaigned tirelessly
for his release. Mr Hussain returned home when Mr Musharraf commuted his
sentence to a life term. Prince Charles and Tony Blair both raised the
case personally with Mr Musharraf after The Times gained exclusive access
to Mr Hussein in Rawalpindi central jail.
Mr Hussein, in a statement issued by Amnesty, said: "Accused of killing a
taxi driver who'd actually attacked me and who'd died when his own gun
went off in our struggle, I was trapped in Pakistan's underresourced
"President Musharraf should demonstrate the political courage to freeze
all executions in Pakistan."
(source: The Times)
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