[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Jul 1 17:35:50 CDT 2007
The Hsichih Trio: a judicial disaster
The death sentence for the "Hsichih Trio" has been reinstated. It is the
first case in the nation's judicial history to go through 3 extraordinary
appeals, the first capital case to be granted a retrial, the first capital
case where a verdict was changed to not guilty in a retrial, and the first
death sentence not to be carried out within a year. The most bizarre
precedent that this saga has set, however, is that after the court again
issued a death sentence on Friday, the defendants were not detained.
For 16 years, the Hsichih Trio have hovered between a guilty and not
guilty verdict for a capital offense. The first trial, two verdict
reversals by the Taiwan High Court and a final verdict by the Supreme
Court all resulted in death sentences. After three requests for
extraordinary appeals by the state public prosecutor-general were rejected
and the "not guilty" verdict in the retrial handed down, the guilty
verdict has been reinstated all over again.
This life and death battle is a terrible ordeal for the Hsichih Trio and
the victims' families. It is also a never-ending disaster for the
The entire case against the men is built on their confessions -- allegedly
extracted through torture -- and the fingerprints of one Wang Wen-hsiao,
long since executed. No evidence placing the trio at the scene of the
crime has ever been presented: no fingerprints, hair, skin fragments or
3 knives were used, according to the court, but only one rusty kitchen
knife has ever been located. The police investigation left a lot to be
desired -- and that is assuming that they did not torture the suspects. No
matter how diligently investigators examine the case or how many forensics
experts they ask to testify, the process will be permanently tainted by
incompetence, if not malice.
Human rights organizations and lawyers representing the three say that
modern scientific technology and legal standards would require a finding
of not guilty.
But the Taipei High Court judge who reinstated the guilty verdict was not
interested in that argument, ruling that Wang's "confession" was credible
and that the confessions of the 3 men revealed congruent details that no
one else could have known. This apparently offset the lack of material
The original death sentence was never carried out because a series of
justice ministers, including Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) presidential
candidate Ma Ying-jeou back in the mid-1990s, wanted nothing to do with
Now, with President Chen Shui-bian's long-standing pledge to end capital
punishment, the ministry of justice has proven increasingly reluctant to
Therefore, even if the Hsichih Trio lose their next appeal, they will not
necessarily be executed.
The successive appeals and trials in this saga provide much food for
thought on the use of the death penalty when the legal system displays
manifest flaws. They have also eroded confidence in the judiciary among
When the Taipei High Court revoked the death sentence, many began to laud
the ability of the judiciary to begin healing after decades of collusion
with the KMT and police. With its change of heart 2 days ago, however,
some human rights and judicial organizations now say that "the legal
system is dead."
Some say a presidential pardon is the way to go if the final appeal fails.
It may save their lives, but the accused will never be able to clear
themselves of "guilt" based on the facts, or in this case, the utter lack
(source: Editorial, Taipei Times)
Soldier gets death penalty for killing company commander
A summary court martial of the Army's northern command has sentenced a
soldier to death for gunning down his company commander in Rajouri
district last year, in the 2nd conviction for fratricidal killings in less
than a week.
The SCM convicted Naik Ravi Kumar for killing his company commander of 34
Rashtriya Rifles in Rajouri district in September last year, a senior
officer at command headquarters at Udhampur told media over the phone
He said the martial court convicted the NCO last week.
Ravi had a verbal duel with his company commander and turned his AK
assault rifle on him, the officer said.
A signalman was recently held guilty for killing two hawildars and a Lance
Naik with his service carbine in October last year. An Army court is due
to deliver the sentence on July 7.
(source: Zee News)
Death penalty for 2 in murder case ---- Duo had strangled a youngster to
death and chopped his limbs off
The 3rd- and 4th-accused Priyan, 32, of Peediyekkal House, Palluruthy and
Sunil, 32, of Edathil House, Palluruthy, who were found guilty of the
murder of the 24-year-old youth Praveen two years ago, were sentenced to
death by hanging, by Kottayam Fast Track Court (II) Additional District
Judge M.K. Shaji on Saturday.
The 1st- and the 2nd-accused in the case R. Shaji, former Deputy
Superintendent of Police (Administration) at Malapuram, and his accomplice
and nephew Mevakkattu Binu had been sentenced to life imprisonment after
the first phase of the trial in a separately charged case by the Court on
January 4, 2006.
The case pertains to the murder of Praveen (Unni) on February 15, 2005.
According to the prosecution, the youth was strangled to death.
The body was later decapitated and the limbs chopped off with the
intention of throwing it away at different spots to avert identification.
The incident came to light when the local fishermen found the severed legs
under the Cheepumkal Bridge at Kumarakom 2 days later. Thorough
investigation had helped the police to book the 1st- and 2nd-accused
within a few days.
Sentenced to life
They were sentenced to life imprisonment 11 months later. It was following
this that Priyan and Sunil surrendered before the police on January 20,
Additional district judge M.K. Shaji had found the third- and
fourth-accused guilty of murder (Section 302), destruction of evidence
(Section 201), cheating (Section 417), among others. The court accepted
the contention that this was among rarest of rare incidents, considering
the cruelty involved and also that both had helped the 1st- and
2nd-accused to commit the crime and destroy the evidence.
Still at large
The 5th-accused in the case, Saji alias Container Saji, also from
Palluruthy, has remained untraced for the last 2 years. The prosecution
was represented by public prosecutor R. Vikraman Nair, additional public
prosecutor R. Jithesh, J. Babu and Arun K. Nair.
(source: The Hindu)
More information about the DeathPenalty