[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jan 9 22:49:46 UTC 2007
Melaku Tefera's death sentence stands
The Federal Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence passed on Major
Melaku Tefera, convicted by the Federal High Court after being found
guilty of genocide.
On December 8, 2006, the Federal Supreme Court had passed a death
scentence on Melaku who was administrator of the former Gondar Province.
He was found guilty of genocide while serving the military regime.
Melaku had appealed in hopes the court would reverse its decision or at
least reduce his sentence, but the court rejected the appeal and Melaku
will be executed at a date to be set later.
The courts had grounds to dismiss Melaku's appeal statement, repeating the
statement that said that he had ordered the deaths of people and that this
was supported by evidence.
The Federal Supreme Court upheld the verdict by stating that Melaku, a
major with the Derg, had ordered the unlawful execution of 971 citizens as
well as causing permanent disability on 83 others during his term in
office. Melaku was the most feared Derg official in the then Gondar that
people even wrote poems for him about how fierce he was.
The trial of former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Hailemariam and other
top-level officials from the former military junta came to an end 2 weeks
ago with the courts ruling that all the defendants including Mengistu were
guilty of genocide. Mengistu and his former officials could now face the
The case ran for an unprecedented 14 years before the courts decided that
Mengistu and all his junta, except one, were all guilty of genocide.
Mengistu, who was tried in absentia along with the other defendants was
accused of 210 counts of charges involving genocide, crimes against
humanity and systematic human rights violations.
Mengistu, who now lives in Harare, Zimbabwe as one of Robert Mugabe's
favored guests, took power in a military coup in 1974 by over throwing
Emperor Haile Selassie.Mengistu who seemed more intent on destroying his
enemies than building an economically strong state, started by killing the
former emperor and burying him under his office, and also executed about
60 imperial ministers and other civilians he believed were his enemies.
He set out to create a Marxist state in the Horn of Africa country, but
made few strides to pull the nation out of poverty.
His first few years in power were characterized by fierce opposition from
a group that initially supported his political ideology, the Ethiopian
People's Revolutionary Party, but then accused Mengistu and his coup
leaders, known as the Derg, of fascism.
Mengistu responded to their attacks by allowing his police and military
officers to arrest, detain and kill anyone suspected of being part of the
counter-revolutionary group. This campaign came to be known as Red Terror.
All the while, as the Cold War raged, Mengistu's power was supported by
the Soviet bloc, making Ethiopia one of the greatest beneficiaries of
communist money in Africa.
In 1991, after 17 years of military rule, the Derg was deposed by the
Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, a coalition of regional
and ethnic rebel groups led by current Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
Mengistu fled to Zimbabwe shortly before Addis Ababa fell to the rebel
The new government quickly set up an investigation into the Derg's crimes
and a trial began in 1994. Some 5,200 Derg collaborators were accused of
various charges and many have been tried in absentia.
Human rights groups say some half a million people were killed during
Mengistus rule. Efforts to extradite the former dictator from Zimbabwe
have proved futile.
GERMANY DISAPPOINTED WITH DEATH SENTENCES OF BULGARIA'S NURSES
The death sentences of the Bulgarian nurses sentenced for intentional HIV
infection in Libya affected German citizens, German ambassador to Bulgaria
Michael Geier said.
German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also was disappointed with
the verdicts as Libyan leader Muamar Gaddaffi promised a fair trial only a
few days before the death verdicts were confirmed, Geier said as quoted by
EU would make more efforts to guarantee the fair outcome of the trial,
Libya accuses 5 Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian medic of the deliberate
HIV infection of 426 children in Benghazi. The 6 were sentenced to death
in 2004 and the verdicts were re-confirmed on December 19 2006.
Bulgaria and the international community refused to accept the verdicts
saying that the Libyan court neglected scientific evidence proving the
(source: Sofia Echo)
Stay of Execution: Gov Obi Knows Fate Friday
An Anambra High Court in Awka presided over by Justice Umegbolu Nriezedi
has fixed hearing for Friday this week on an application for stay of
execution on the Judgement he delivered on the 25th of December last year
which voided the impeachment of Mr Peter Obi.
The defendants in the matter made up of key officers of the Anambra state
House of Assembly had after the judgement filed a motion for stay of its
execution, stating that the case had been transfered from Justice
Nri-Ezedi's court to an Ogidi High Court and as such not competent to
suppose not to deliver the judgement.
When the case came up yesterday, they lead counsel to the applicant, Mr
Adetokunbo Kayode (SAN) acknowledged receipt of a copy of the counter
affidavit and written submission from the defendant's counsel yesterday
morning. He requested the court to give his team time to study the
materials and make appropriate responses to them.
Mr Kayode further claimed that he had not seen the copy of the December
25, 2006 judgement and needed time to obtain and study it.
Also, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), Counsel to the defendant said he replied
the surmons of the applicant on the 5th of this month after it was
received on January 4, 2007.
He however prayed that court to look for an abridged for the hearing of
the motion based on its importance and urgency to the state.
(source: The Daily Trust)
DEATH PENALTY FOR PORN MOVIE AUTHORS
31 people arrested by Iranian police risk the death penalty for making and
distributing a porn movie they made with a cell phone, the president of
Tehran's criminal court, Saiid Mortazavi, has announced. The 31 arrested
in the past few days have also been charged with sexual violence on the
actresses in the movie. Mortzavi has announced he will sentence to death
all those involved in making amateur porn movies.
He has in the past few years has sentenced to jail dozens of journalists
and shut down around one hundred publications.
A parliamentary commission has also accused Mortzavi of being behind the
death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who died in
Iranian custody on 11 July 2003, almost 3 weeks after she was arrested for
taking pictures outside a prison during a student protest in Tehran.
Amateur porn films made with the video cameras of mobile phones have a
proseprous market in Iran and can fetch up to 30 euros each.
The market, tolerated for a long time, became a nationwide issue after a
porn film of popular television actress, Zohre Mir Ebrahimi, having sex
with her partner, was released.
Iran, 2nd in a world ranking of countries with the highest number of
executions per year after China, has already executed at least 3 people
since the beginning of 2007.
New video of Saddam's corpse on Internet
A new video apparently showing Saddam Hussein's corpse, with a gaping neck
wound, was posted on the Internet early Tuesday, the second leaked release
of clandestine pictures from the former leader's hanging.
The video appeared to have been taken with a camera phone, like the
graphic video of the hanging which showed guards taunting Saddam in the
final moments of his life.
The newest video leak was likely to increase the angry reaction over the
way the execution was carried out. There already has been a global outcry
about the undignified manner in which the Shiite-dominated government
hanged Saddam, a Sunni.
The Iraqi government has ordered an investigation into the events
surrounding Saddam's execution, including the leaking of the illicit
The footage pans up the shrouded body of the former leader from the feet.
It apparently was taken shortly after Saddam was executed and placed on a
gurney. He was hanged shortly before dawn on Dec. 30.
As the panning shot reaches the head region, the white shroud is pulled
back and reveals Saddam's head and neck.
His head is unnaturally twisted at a 90 degree angle to his right. It
shows a gaping bloody wound, circular in shape, about an inch below his
jaw line on the left side of his neck. His left cheek is marked with red
blotches, and there is blood on the shroud where it covered his head.
The 27-second video was posted on an Iraqi news website that is known to
support Saddam's outlawed Baath Party.
"A new film of the late immortal martyr, President Saddam Hussein," the
website said in a headline over a link to the video.
Voices could be heard on the video. As the shroud is pulled back, one
voice says, "Hurry up, hurry up. I'm going to count from one to four. One,
two .... Hurry up you're going to get us into a catastrophe."
Then another voice, apparently the man taking the pictures, says, "Just
one second, just one second, Abu Ali. I'm about finished."
Then a third voice says, "Abu Ali, you take care of this."
It was the second clandestine video to have leaked, the first showing
Saddam being taunted in his final moments. That clandestine video showed
the former leader dropping through the gallows floor as he offered chanted
prayers. It ends with his dead body swinging at the end of a rope.
The hanging video was in sharp contrast with an official video that was
broadcast not long after Saddam's execution which showed him standing
silently on the gallows as the noose was put around his neck. The official
video was muted.
The leaked hanging video, however, was shot from the floor of the gallows
chamber, looking up at Saddam. Voices could be heard taunting him with
cries of "Muqtada, Muqtada, Muqtada," referring to radical anti-American
cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia and a
key support of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
The prime minister pushed for Saddam to be executed before the end of 2006
and just four days after the death sentence was upheld by the appeals
court. U.S. official sought to delay the execution.
(source: Associated Press)
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