[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Jul 18 15:58:00 CDT 2007
3 awarded death penalty in 1993 Mumbai blasts
The TADA court conducting the trial of the 1993 serial blasts case today
awarded death sentences for the 1st time to 3 persons who planted
explosives at various locations in Mumbai.
The special court here conducting the trial of the 1993 serial blasts case
today awarded death sentences for the 1st time to 3 persons who planted
explosives at various locations in this city.
Abdul Gani Ismail Turk, Pervez Shaikh and Mohammed Mushtaq Tarani were
sentenced to death by TADA court Judge P D Kode for placing
explosive-laden vehicles in various places on March 12, 1993.
i Turk, a former employee of prime absconding accused Tiger Memon, was
given capital punishment for parking a jeep filled with RDX at Century
Bazaar in Worli. This blast caused the maximum fatalities -- 113 -- and
injured 227 people.
Shaikh was convicted by the court for planting a RDX- filled scooter at
Katha Bazaar in south Mumbai that killed 4 persons and injured 21 and for
planting a bomb in Sea Rock Hotel in the northwestern suburb of Bandra
that damaged property worth crores of rupees.
The court sentenced Tarani to death for planting a vehicle filled with
explosives at Sheikh Memon Street in south Mumbai and a suitcase bomb at
Centaur Hotel in suburban Mumbai. Apart from the 3 death sentences, the
TADA court has sentenced 14 others to life imprisonment.
With today's death sentences, the court has so far sentenced 81 of the 100
people convicted in the case. Actor Sanjay Dutt, convicted under the Arms
Act, is among those who are yet to be sentenced.
The serial blasts killed 257 people and injured hundreds more.
(source: Deccan Herald)
Libya Cancels Death Sentences Against 6 in Alleged HIV Plot
Officials in Libya on Tuesday commuted the death sentences of 6 foreign
health workers convicted of intentionally infecting hundreds of Libyan
children with HIV, the latest in a series of steps aimed at closing a case
that has severely strained relations between a once-pariah state and the
United States and Europe.
The Judicial Council, the North African nation's highest legal body,
ordered that sentences be reduced to life in prison for 5 Bulgarian nurses
and a Palestinian doctor who have been on death row since their
convictions in December. Bulgarian officials immediately announced that
they would seek extradition of all 6 -- including the doctor, who has been
granted Bulgarian citizenship -- to the East European country on grounds
that they should serve out their sentences there. The six have become
national heroes in Bulgaria; on return, they would presumably go free
Foreign Minister Ivaylo Kalfin told reporters in Bulgaria that the
decision was a "big step in the right direction" but that his government
would consider the case finally over "when our compatriots return to
Zorka Anachkova, mother of one of the prisoners, nurse Kristiana Valcheva,
expressed a similar sentiment, the Reuters news agency reported:
"I feel good. But I will feel even better when I see them come at the
airport. The burden will not fall off my heart until I see them home."
In Europe, the commutation was widely seen as part of careful diplomatic
choreography toward freeing the six after more than 8 years in Libyan
prisons. The decision came in combination with a deal in which the family
of each of the approximately 460 infected children is receiving about $1
million, some of it from foreign sources.
The case has been an irritant in Libya's relations with the West since the
health workers were arrested in 1999. Leaders in European capitals and
Washington, along with Palestinian leaders and medical groups, have argued
for the health workers' release for years. During a visit last month to
Bulgaria, a new member of the NATO alliance and the European Union,
President Bush called settling the case "a high priority for our country."
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said that the United States was
"encouraged" by the decision, the Associated Press reported. "We urge the
Libyan government to now find a way to allow the medics to return home,"
Libyans have contended that the health workers were carrying out an AIDS
experiment that went wrong, resulting in the infections of the 460
children. More than 50 of them have since died.
The health workers have steadfastly professed their innocence, saying that
confessions they made were obtained under torture. Their supporters
contend they are scapegoats for infections caused by poor hygienic
conditions in the Libyan hospital where they worked. Independent medical
studies have concluded that the infections at the facility in the
Mediterranean city of Benghazi predated the workers' arrival by several
The decision to commute the death sentences was made after hundreds of
millions of dollars in compensation was paid to families of the infected
children, according to news reports. The money was paid through a fund
created in 2005 by the Libyan and Bulgarian governments, under the
auspices of the European Union.
Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgham told reporters last week
that the money would come from "certain European countries and charitable
organizations, and from the Libyan state."
On July 11, Libya's Supreme Court confirmed the death sentences. But on
Tuesday the council reversed that decision, hours after families of the
victims dropped their demand for capital punishment and said compensation
had been paid.
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi has worked aggressively in recent years to
repair his once-dire image in the West. Long designated by U.S. officials
as a sponsor of terrorism, Gaddafi agreed in 2003 to give up his nation's
nuclear weapons program. Last year, the United States restored full
diplomatic relations with Libya. Last week, Bush announced that he was
sending the first U.S. ambassador to Tripoli in nearly 35 years.
Continuing international outcry over the health workers' situation has
been an obstacle to Gaddafi's campaign to repair his image. But at home,
he had been under severe political pressure from Libyans angry at what
they saw as a foreign plot to infect Libyan children.
Gaddafi's son, Seif al-Islam, who heads the Gaddafi Foundation, played a
key role in mediating with the families. Reports said the final settlement
was about $1 million for each infected child's family; the Libyan
government had initially suggested about $13 million per child.
That figure was seen as closely linked to what the Libyan government
agreed to pay to each of the victims in the 1988 bombing of a U.S. jumbo
jet over Lockerbie, Scotland. Gaddafi's government accepted responsibility
for the bombing after a Libyan intelligence officer was convicted in the
case, in which 259 people on Pan American Flight 103 and 11 people on the
ground in Scotland were killed.
That settlement was also key in helping Gaddafi win an end to economic and
diplomatic sanctions imposed by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.
Scottish authorities ruled last month that the Libyan intelligence
officer, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, may have been wrongly convicted and
granted his request for a new appeal.
(source: Washington Post)
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
AI Index: MDE 19/011/2007 (Public)----News Service No: 135 ---- 17 July
Libya: Death sentences on medics commuted
Today's announcement that the Libyan authorities have commuted the death
sentences on 6 foreign medics is a very welcome, but overdue and
insufficient step, Amnesty International said. The 6 -- a Palestinian
doctor and 5 Bulgarian nurses -- have been in prison since 1999 and under
sentence of death since 2004 for allegedly infecting hundreds of children
"We are relieved that the threat of execution that has hung over the
health workers for so long has now come to an end, but we are disappointed
that they remain in prison under life sentences," said Malcolm Smart,
Director of Amnesty Internationals Middle East and North Africa Programme.
"This case has been a long and painful one for all concerned, the medics
who were twice sentenced to death after unfair trials, but also the
families of the children who contracted HIV in a Benghazi hospital."
Amnesty International, which will now continue to call for the 6 medics'
release, said that the case underlined the need for the Libyan authorities
to accelerate their tentative steps towards judicial reform.
"Lessons need to be learnt to ensure that nothing like this can ever
happen again in Libya, for the sake of victims legitimately seeking
justice and those who are accused of committing crimes," Malcolm Smart
"The Libyan authorities must ensure that legal safeguards intended to
protect suspects from prolonged detention without charge and torture are
implemented and that all accused receive fair trials."
The organization commended the mediating role undertaken by the Gaddafi
Development Foundation, headed by one of Libyan leader Mu'ammar
al-Gaddafi's sons, which was the only Libyan institution to repeatedly
raise concerns about the medics' trials and treatment. The Foundation is
said to have played a key role in helping the Libyan authorities, the
families of the children affected and foreign governments to find a
political compromise to the case.
Palestinian doctor Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a Al-Hajouj and Bulgarian nurses Valya
Georgieva Chervenyashka, Snezhana Ivanova Dimitrova, Nasya Stoycheva
Nenova, Valentina Manolova Siropulo and Kristiana Venelinova Valcheva have
been in detention since 1999. They were first sentenced to death by firing
squad in May 2004 after being convicted of deliberately infecting 426
children with HIV in al-Fateh Childrens Hospital, Benghazi -- a charge
which they have all consistently denied.
The death sentences were overturned on 25 December 2005 by the Supreme
Court, which ordered the health professionals to be retried after noting
"irregularities" in their arrest and interrogation. The retrial began on
11 May 2006 at a criminal court in Benghazi, concluding with the death
sentences of 19 December 2006. On 11 July 2007 Libya's Supreme Court
confirmed the sentences. Today the case was examined by the Supreme
Council of Judicial Authorities, which reportedly decided on the
commutation of the death sentences. By law all death sentences in Libya
have to undergo a final review by the Supreme Council of Judicial Bodies.
Since the medics have been in detention, some 56 of the 426 infected
children have died of AIDS. While an apparently substantial international
fund has been established to assist their families and those now forced to
live with HIV/AIDS, all have been denied a process which could have
established the truth about these tragic consequences.
(source: Amnesty International)
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