[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Jan 29 19:39:56 UTC 2007
Dying for a Reason
Sergio Pelico, age 10. Alisen Akti, 12. Mubassahr Ali, 9. As we were on
break, these and other children across the world hanged themselves, in
imitation of Saddam Hussein's Dec. 30 execution by the Iraqi government.
Death follows Hussein even with his passing.
While most of these hangings occurred in heavily Islamic nations such as
Pakistan and Turkey, Pelico lived in Texas. Police believe his death was
accidental. He had watched footage of the execution the day before he
The combination of heavy media coverage and curiosity may explain some of
these hangings. In other cases, the reasons are clearer. Moon Moon
Karmakar, a 15-year-old Indian girl, was extremely disturbed by the
execution. Her father told reporters "She said they had hanged a patriot,"
and "she told us she wanted to feel the pain Saddam did during his
execution." On Jan. 3, she committed suicide.
Saddam Hussein was hanged on the first day of Eid al-Adha, a Muslim
holiday of sacrifice. It commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice
his own son to God - at the last moment God bade him to sacrifice a ram
instead, having proven his loyalty. Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt,
urged Bush not to allow Saddam to be executed during Eid al-Adha. Mubarak
declared that by killing him in this fashion, they "turned him into a
Killing Saddam on this holiday seems in poor taste. Imagine carrying out a
major political execution in a Christian nation on Easter. Moreover, the
circumstances of his death were problematic. He was taunted as it took
place, and killed before he could finish his prayers. Moreover, the
execution was recorded by a guard - now anyone with Internet access can
The fiasco of Saddam's death also drew condemnation from the president.
Bush declared that, while his trial gave him the justice he denied to
others, the execution "looked like it was kind of a revenge killing."
Whatever distinction lies between justice and revenge is blurred by
On the surface, men like Saddam Hussein are the prime example of those who
deserve to die. Hussein was tried and killed over just one of the many
massacres he authorized. He started two wars, and slaughtered thousands of
Iraqis; he infamously employed chemical weapons against both Iranians and
Iraqi Kurds.P> Yet Hussein's death has had unintended consequences. Some
view him as a martyr, despite his atrocious crimes - clearly not the
intention of the Iraqi government, or our own. Iraq needs no more martyrs,
no more incitements to violence. Moreover, some people were inspired by
his end to seek their own. One murder, in many ways sensible and
justified, has led to more senseless death.
"Senseless death" implies that there is such a concept as meaningful
death. This is a powerful idea - one viscerally appealing across cultures
and religions. Japanese kamikaze pilots plunging to their deaths;
Christians embracing martyrdom at the hands of the Romans; and Muslim
suicide bombers are all reflections of this same feeling. We see it even
in American popular media, a stronger vehicle for commercialism than any
ideology. The new season of "24" opened this January, with protagonist
Jack Bauer offering himself up to terrorists in exchange for their leader.
He accepts this fate, willing to "die for a reason" - all that had kept
him alive while in a Chinese prison was that it would be a meaningless
Death takes on the meaning that the living ascribe to it. Yet the
ideologies that aim to elevate human existence - primarily nationalism and
religion - all too often encourage the loss of human life. Life becomes
crass and base, a putrid state in comparison to the glorious paradise of
the hereafter - so believed many martyrs and holy warriors. Alternatively,
building a worldly paradise can seem more important than life itself to
nationalists and other utopians.
In truth, meaning comes from life. Dead men tell no tales, experience no
passion, enjoy no reward. Little can be accomplished in death - anything
can be accomplished in life. Any message conveyed with blood could be sent
through peaceful means; nearly any violent movement could accomplish its
goal bloodlessly. The life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr testifies to this;
his death was a setback to the Civil Rights movement, not a catalyst to
Hussein's execution, like so much else in Iraq, has not resolved anything;
it has not simplified the situation or improved it. Instead, it spawned
more problems, more suffering. Like the whole enterprise, it should give
us pause when we consider the meaning of sacrifice, and the value of life.
(source: The Massachusetts Daily Collegian)
Saudi Arabia executes woman for murde
Saudi Arabia on Monday executed a Saudi woman for murder, bringing to 5
the number of executions in the conservative kingdom this year, the
Interior Ministry said.
A ministry statement published by the official news agency SPA identified
the executed woman as Hala bint Marzouk Al Outaibi.
The agency said she was convicted of murdering a Saudi woman by pouring
boiling water over her and hitting her with a metal rod. SPA did not give
a motive for the murder.
Saudi Arabia follows strict Islamic law and executions are usually carried
out by public beheading with a sword.
Convicted murderers, rapists and drug traffickers are liable for the death
penalty in Saudi Arabia which executed 34 people in 2006, 36 in 2005 and
86 in 2004.
ITALY APPEALS TO AU TO HELP IMPLEMENT MORATORIUM
Italian prime minister Romano Prodi on Monday appealed to African leaders
to help Italy in its attempt to have capital punishment suspended
throghout the world. "We have to be for life and against death in the same
way as we are against injustice and suffering," Prodi said in a speech to
the African Union plenary meeting in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia.
Italy is trying to win support for an international moratorium on the
death penalty - a campaign which Rome launched in the wake of Saddam
Hussein's hanging on 30 December. Graphic video footage of the execution
which emerged on the Internet showing the dictator being taunted and
insulted at the gallows has provoked widespread outrage.
"I hope that on the issue of a moratorium on the death penalty, Italy
which has mobilised Europe can count on working together with Africa,"
Prodi told the AU meeting.
Turning to the the troubles in the Horn of Africa, Prodi said Italy would
be willing to host a peace conference on Somalia "once the conditions
allowing for a reconstruction of the country are in place."
According to unconfirmed reports Italian and US officials met with
moderate Somali Islamist leaders in Nairobi, Kenya. The Islamist who has
controlled the Somali capital and most of the country since last June were
driven out by Ethiopian troops and forces loyal to Somalia's weak
transitional government in lated December. With Ethiopian troops beginning
to withdraw from the country, there is concern that fighting between
government forces, warlords and the Islamists may resume.
At the AU summit the Italian premier also renewed what he said was his
country's committment to a UN global fund to combat AIDS.
"We are completing our contribution for the 2006-2007 period which amounts
to 260 million dollars, and we intend to continue to play a major role,"
DEATH PENALTY: SYRIA'S RED CRESCENT MINISTER SAYS HE'S AGAINST IT
A Syrian cabinet minister, Bashar al-Shiaar says he is "personally"
against capital punishment and hopes his country will move to abolish the
practice. " I believe human society is summoned to work hand-in-hand to
ensure this form of penalty is not applied," al-Shiaar who is minister for
the Affairs of the Red Crescent, told Adnkronos International (AKI).
"Personally I am against this penalty, however the officials stance in
Syria can only be determined by the constitutional institutions," he
Italy is heading a fresh attempt at the United Nations for an
international moratorium on the death penalty - a campaign launched in the
wake of the hanging of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"Syria is a civilised nation and one that more than any other responds to
humanitarian appeals and international judicial decisions," al-Shiaar told
In Syria, people facing the death penalty include those convicted of
murder, rape, terrorism, detention of weapons for attacks against the
state, treason, espionage as well as several political crimes including
membership of banned groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Human rights groups have repeatedly appealed to Damascus to abolish the
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