[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Feb 18 21:18:37 UTC 2007
Bulgarian nurses' defense team appeals Libyan death sentence
5 Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya for infecting hundreds of
children with the virus that causes AIDS have appealed against their
convictions, their Libyan attorney said Sunday.
Othman Bizanti said he lodged the appeal on their behalf on Saturday at
the court where they had been tried for deliberately infecting more than
400 children with HIV at a hospital in Benghazi. 52 of the infected
children have died of AIDS.
"I made the appeal on the last day because I needed to go through all the
papers," Bizanti told The Associated Press.
In Libya, an execution verdict is automatically referred to a higher
court, but defense lawyers have 60 days to submit arguments for an appeal.
Bizanti said he expected the Supreme Court to rule on the case by mid-May.
The nurses and one Palestinian doctor have been incarcerated since 1999.
They were sentenced to death twice in 2004 and again in 2006, following a
A lawyer for the Palestinian doctor lodged an appeal last week.
Following the Supreme Court's decision, it will be reviewed by the Supreme
Judiciary Council which has the final say in the case, deciding whether to
uphold the death sentence or make another ruling.
The European Union, which Bulgaria joined on Jan. 1, and the United States
have long pressed for the 6 to be released and have offered financial
support for the treatment of the HIV-infected children.
Libya has asked for financial compensation to be paid to each of the
families of victims, suggesting the death sentences could be commuted in
return. But Bulgaria has rejected the proposal, saying any payment would
be seen as an admission of guilt. Several European studies have suggested
that the HIV-AIDS virus was present at the Benghazi hospital before the
nurses began working there.
(source: Associated Press)
Convicted Pinay DH in Kuwait to appeal death sentence
The Filipino domestic helper convicted in Kuwait on Saturday for the
murder of her female employer will ask the Cessation Court to reverse the
Court of Appeals verdict that upheld a lower courts decision in 2005.
Marilou Ranario, 33, a teacher in the Philippines who went to Kuwait to
work as a household helper, still has one appeal left before the courts
ruling becomes final, the Arab Times reported in its online edition
The Kuwait appellate court upheld the lower courts ruling to years ago
that found Ranario guilty for the premeditated murder of her female
Kuwaiti employer who allegedly made fun of her and her country.
Ranario told the court that she meant only to harm" her Kuwaiti sponsor,
and did not have intention to kill her, the Arab Times said, quoting
Ranarios lawyer Abdul-Majid Khraibet.
The lawyer also said Ranario was abused by her employer and that she
overheard her employer saying she was going to arrange for men to rape her
But the court believed the version that Ranario prepared 2 knives from the
kitchen and went out at dawn and attacked her employer while sleeping in
The Department of Foreign Affairs has already made representations to the
Kuwaiti government to spare Ranarios life.
The report said the Philippine Embassy in Kuwait has been negotiating with
the family of the slain Kuwaiti woman to accept "blood" money.
It is legal and common in Kuwait and other Arab countries for victims to
accept blood" money, or payment in exchange for the pardon of a convicted
(source: GMA News)
Informing the debate on capital punishment----The following was submitted
by the Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights
There has been much public discussion about the death penalty lately,
since Mr Derrick Smith's statements earlier this month calling for
resumption of hanging and the proper equipping of the police to assist in
the restoration of peace and security in the society.
Smith. called for resumption of hanging
While it is important to debate the issue, the public must be informed
with facts and opinions. The Independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights
hopes to inform the debate on capital punishment by addressing the most
pertinent issues surrounding this complex societal issue.
The topic is very emotive and very important as it is rooted in the first
human right - the right to life.
It is important to take the time to deliberate rationally on this issue -
to base our opinions upon informed considerations, consistent with our
values, and not assumptions.
In the past few days, several persons have expressed their opinions and
set out some facts. In order to clarify the law, we state in brief, the
The 2005 amendments to the Offenses Against the Person Act have made
substantial changes in the sentencing of persons convicted of murders. The
amendments have the following effect on the law: . The terminology
"capital and non-capital" has been deleted, the circumstances that
describe "capital murder" however remain;
. The sentence for a murder committed in the circumstances that formerly
described "capital" is now death or life;
. The sentence for a murder committed in circumstances which would
formerly have been classified as "non-capital" is now life imprisonment or
a term of year, not being less than 15 years;
. The trial judge, when imposing a life sentence for an offence which
formerly would have been "capital" murder, shall specify a period, not
less than 20 years, before the convict is eligible for parole;
. The trial judge, when imposing life imprisonment for a murder previously
designated "non-capital", shall specify a period being not less than 15
years, which the person should serve before becoming eligible for parole
and 10 years for any other sentence;
. Before sentencing a person convicted of murder the court shall hear
submissions, representations and evidence from the prosecution and the
defence in relation to the issue of the sentence to be passed;
. Transitional provisions are set out for the re-sentencing of persons
sentenced to death on or after October 14, 1992, whereby a judge of the
Supreme Court shall quash their sentences of death and determine the
appropriate sentence - death or life imprisonment with a period to serve
before becoming eligible to apply for parole.
The much criticised principle enunciated in the case of Pratt and Morgan
is that "a State that wishes to retain capital punishment must accept the
responsibility of ensuring that execution follows as swiftly as
practicable after sentence, allowing a reasonable time for appeal and
consideration of reprieve". Lord Griffiths, Pratt and Morgan v Attorney
General of Jamaica (1993) 30 JLR 473 at page 488.
This principle was embraced in the recent decision of the Caribbean Court
of Justice in the case of The Attorney-General, Superintendent of Prisons
and Chief Marshall v Joseph and Boyce (unreported) CCJ Appeal No CV 2 of
2005 (8/11/06). In the joint judgement of Mr Justice de la Bastide and Mr
Justice Saunders at paragraph 15 their Lordships state:
"....the Crown conceded that, even if this appeal by the Crown were
successful, it would not be appropriate for this Court to re-impose the
death penalty on Joseph and Boyce. This concession was, in our view,
rightly made. Over five years had elapsed since their conviction and
sentence and the Crown made no attempt to challenge the applicability to
them of the time-limit for carrying out the death penalty laid down in
Pratt and Morgan..."
The public also needs to know that contrary to the belief that there is a
"large holding population on death row", presently there are only seven
men who are sentenced to death. All these men have appeals pending and
cannot be hanged.
While the Caribbean region has retained the death penalty, except in those
territories that are still aligned to the UK, the rest of the Americas,
save for the US and Cuba, have responded differently. There are countries
in South America that abolished the death penalty more than a century ago.
Venezuela was the 1st modern state to do so in 1863! Costa Rica has been
abolitionist since 1887 and Ecuador since 1897. Brazil's last execution
dates back to 1855 and Uruguay's to 1905. Today, there are 88 countries
and territories that have abolished the death penalty for all crimes;
. 11 countries have abolished the death penalty for all but exceptional
crimes such as wartime crimes;
. 29 countries can be considered abolitionist in practice; they retain the
death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past
10 years or more and are believed to have a policy or established practice
of not carrying out executions, making a total of 128 countries which have
abolished the death penalty in law or practice.
. 69 other countries and territories retain and use the death penalty, but
the number of countries which actually execute prisoners in any one year
is much smaller.
When practiced legally, recourse to the death penalty is discriminatory in
that in Jamaica, as well as around the world, the largest proportion of
inmates comes from the most disadvantaged and poorest social groups,
without the financial means to purchase an effective defence.
The administration of justice is imperfect and the real possibility exists
that innocent persons can be hanged. There are true stories of Jamaicans
condemned to death who have later, thankfully before execution, been
Many people will remember the case of Randall Dixon, who was sentenced to
death in 1998 for the killing of a police officer during a robbery at a
bank. A video tape of the robbers was not handed over by the police and
when finally shown, it revealed that Mr Dixon and his co-accused, Mark
Sangster, were not even there!
Mistakes occur much more often than people realise. Once a life is taken
away, there is no possibility of returning it.
There are many relevant issues to consider with respect to the death
. The decisions affecting the death penalty - Pratt and Morgan, Neville
Lewis and Lambert Watson;
. The death penalty and democracy;
. The death penalty and the administration of justice;
. Murder victims' families and the death penalty';
. The death penalty and deterrence;
. Alternative sentences replacing the death penalty; and
. Consideration of international treaties and Jamaica's obligations.
The death penalty is degrading - it disrespects society's first human
right: the right to life. Yes, a killer does not respect this right, but
the authorities should not adopt the code of criminals by killing them in
turn in cold blood. Practicing the death penalty has a negative effect on
a society's sense of morality and constitutes a negation of the democratic
ideal founded on human rights.
The fundamental principle underlying human rights is that they are
inalienable. They are not granted for good behaviour and they may not be
taken away, even if a persons has committed outrageous and brutal acts.
The message of a society that believes in human rights is that these
rights should never be violated.
They apply to the worst of us as well as the best of us, which is why they
protect us all.
(source: The independent Jamaican Council for Human Rights--it will
address these issues over the next few weeks in an effort to fulfil its
obligation to inform the debate)
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