[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jan 12 17:19:26 UTC 2007
PACE president hopes next Duma will abolish death penalty
Rene van der Linden, the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe (PACE), hopes that the next Russian parliament will be
able to abolish the death penalty in Russia.
Speaking at a press conference at Interfax's Central Office in Moscow on
Friday, van der Linden said he hoped that after elections the new
parliament will provide for abolition of the death penalty not only de
facto but also de jure.
Russia ought to fulfill obligations previewed in Protocol No. 6 on
abolition of the death penalty, he said.
Simultaneously he said that he was satisfied with the ruling of the court
that sentenced Beslan terrorists to life imprisonment rather than death.
It means the de facto abolition of the death penalty in Russia, he said.
Death-row Brit may be spared
A BEDWORTH man facing the death penalty in Thailand is likely to have his
sentence commuted - to decades in prison.
Convicted drug-runner Anthony Flanaghan, aged 36, has spent nearly 3 years
on death row in Bangkok after being sentenced to die by lethal injection.
He has now been told that the sentence could be commuted to 33 years in
prison, the final third of which can be served in England.
Flanaghan, who was born in Nuneaton and raised in Bedworth, was sentenced
to death in 2004 after being found guilty of illegal drug possession with
intent to sell.
He was arrested at Bangkok Airport after arriving with drugs from the Thai
tourist island of Koh Samui.
SC upholds death sentence on Mohammad Afzal
Mohammad Afzal Guru, awarded the death sentence for his role in the terror
strike on the Indian parliament on Dec 13, 2001, Friday had one more
avenue of clemency for him closed when the Supreme Court dismissed his
Despite confirmation of his death sentence earlier by the apex court,
Afzal had approached the Supreme Court yet again through a 'curative
petition' on the ground that he had no access to an able lawyer in the
earlier round of the adjudication of his case.
This time around senior advocate Kamini Jaiswal had represented Afzal in
Afzal had approached the court along with another convict Shaukat Hussain,
who faces 10 years jail term for the strike in which nine security
personnel and the 5 attackers were killed and at least 22 were injured.
The Supreme Court upheld his sentence as well.
Afzal's last hope lies in President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam pardoning him.
(source: Times of India)
Belgian Foreign Minister Urges EU to Impose Sanctions on Libya over AIDS
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht has called on the EU impose
sanctions on Libya over the case of 5 Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian
doctor who were sentenced to death on charges of having deliberately
infectied more than 400 Libyan children with HIV, the Dutch news agency
According to information of the Belgian news site www.flandersnews.be, De
Gucht met with Libya's ambassador in Brussels to express his protest
against the death sentences. The Belgian Foreign Minister stated that
trial was unjust and was dictated by political motives.
The National Federation of Belgian Health Workers (Fdration Nationale des
Infirmires de Belgique) initiated a petition against the medics' death
sentences. A total of 20,000 people have signed up by now.
(source: Focus News Agency)
Amnesty welcomes Ban's statement on death penalty
Amnesty International has termed as "positive" UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon's statement that he would encourage the growing trend to phase out
the death penalty.
"This is a positive step in the fight against the death penalty," the
human rights watchdog said in a statement.
"We now look forward to working with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to
achieve world-wide abolition," Yvonne Terlingen, Amnesty International's
Representative at the UN said.
"We also hope that all UN organs and agencies will now take concrete steps
in this direction.Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all
cases as a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman
and degrading punishment," it added.
The Implications of Saddam Hussein's Execution
Though undeniably guilty of a notorious series of crimes against humanity,
the execution of Saddam Hussein represents a major setback in the pursuit
His execution for ordering the killings of scores of people in the Iraqi
town of Dujail following a 1982 assassination attempt against him means he
will not face trial for even worse war crimes, such as the Anfal Campaign
against Kurdish civilians during the late 1980s and the brutal suppression
of the civilian populations in both northern and southern Iraq following
the 1991 uprisings.
Perhaps more significantly, the political implications of his execution
may set back efforts for peace and reconciliation in Iraq.
One problem was the trial itself. The prosecution failed to disclose key
evidence to Saddam's attorneys and denied the right of the defendant to
confront witnesses. 3 defense lawyers and a witness were assassinated. The
first presiding judge resigned in the middle of the trial and the second
engaged in a series of outbursts which undermined his impartiality.
However guilty Saddam may have actually been of the charges against him,
his execution without a fair trial allows Saddams supporters to continue
to deny his culpability.
A 2nd was the decision to execute him rather than sentencing him to life
in prison. In virtually every country in recent decades where a
dictatorship was overthrown, one of the first acts of the new government
has been to abolish the death penalty. In Iraq, however, the dictator was
initially replaced by an occupation authority from the United States, the
only Western industrialized democracy that still executes its prisoners.
Not surprisingly, U.S. officials while unilaterally changing a plethora
of other Iraqi laws insisted that Iraq maintain a system of capital
A related problem is that Saddam Hussein was tried under a judicial body
set up by the occupation authority of a foreign government that illegally
invaded his country. Indeed, the rules governing the tribunal were drafted
largely by U.S. government lawyers. As a result, Saddam's conviction and
execution will be widely seen as a kind of "victor's justice," where the
former dictator will be perceived to have been executed not because of an
objective assessment of the seriousness of his crimes but because he was
on the losing side of a war.
Indeed, the United States has repeatedly demonstrated its lack of concern
regarding war crimes when the perpetrator is an ally. For example, the
United States has never called for the prosecution of the former
Indonesian dictator Suharto, who was strongly supported by the United
States during his 34 years in power and who was responsible for even more
civilian deaths than Saddam Hussein. The United States helped stymie
efforts to prosecute its one-time ally General Augusto Pinochet, who died
of natural causes earlier this month, despite widespread crimes against
humanity during his bloody rule in Chile. The Bush Administration also
provided strong diplomatic, military and financial support for Ariel
Sharon while he served as Israeli prime minister, despite his
responsibility for a series of war crimes over several decades.
Indeed, most of Saddams worst human right abuses took place during the
period in which his regime was supported by the United States.
The United States rejected calls by international human rights groups,
prominent jurists and many Iraqis to try Saddam Hussein in a United
Nations-sponsored international tribunal, such as the one currently
prosecuting former Liberian President Charles Taylor, the notorious
African warlord. Special UN-sponsored war crimes tribunals have also been
set up to prosecute leaders and perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide
as well as those responsible for ethnic cleansing and other war crimes in
the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s, including the late Serbian leader
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration has consistently sought to undermine
the International Criminal Court (ICC), established in July 2002, in the
apparently belief that the United States alone has the right to determine
who gets to be tried for war crimes and who does not. The message seems to
be that a war criminal will only be brought to justice if he challenges
U.S. foreign policy prerogatives. By contrast, if a war criminal is an
American ally, he is not only safe but will be openly supported.
As long as the United States opposes the International Criminal Court and
uses the prosecution of war criminals as a sinister political tool rather
than a universal principle of justice, the impact of his execution could
be to increase the polarization and resistance in Iraq rather than help
mend a nation which has suffered so much from dictatorship, war, sanctions
As a result of such American policies, Saddam Hussein may unfortunately
come to be viewed by many in the Arab and Islamic world not as the
notorious tyrant and war criminal that he was, but as a martyr and victim
of U.S. imperialism.
(source: Commentary, Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics at the
University of San Francisco in the United States; Zaman News)
Britain urged against Saddam execution
British officials conveyed to the Iraqi government their country's
categoric opposition to the death penalty on the eve of Saddam Hussein's
execution, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said in a letter disclosed
Beckett said high-level representatives of her government made the appeal
in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad the day before the former dictator was
hanged on Dec. 30.
"I can assure you that the British government repeatedly made clear to the
Iraqi government its opposition to the death penalty in all cases,"
Beckett said in a letter to lawmaker Andrew Mackinlay, published Thursday.
"This included lobbying at the highest level in Baghdad on 29 December,
the eve of the execution."
Beckett said that following the execution, the British government had
again contacted Iraqi officials to stress their opposition to imposing the
"We continue to urge the Iraqi authorities to abolish the death penalty,"
Beckett told the lawmaker.
Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday said the manner of
addam's hanging was unacceptable. An illicit cell phone video of the
execution that leaked out in the aftermath showed some of those present in
the chamber taunting Saddam as he stood with a noose around his neck on
"The crimes that Saddam committed does not excuse the manner of his
execution, but the manner of his execution does not excuse the crimes,"
Giving evidence to a joint session of parliament's scrutiny panels on
foreign and defense affairs on Thursday, Beckett insisted reaction to
Saddam's hanging had been largely muted though she acknowledged some in
Iraq had been angered.
"There is not strong evidence that it has caused a huge problem across the
board," she said.
(source: Associated Press)
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