[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Jul 31 10:39:55 CDT 2007
Death sentence to 2 in Beant Singh assassination case
Jagtar Singh Hawara and Balwant Singh, 2 of the 6 convicts, in the
assassination of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh, were today awarded
death sentence by a Special Court here.
Three others Shamsher Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh were
handed out life imprisonment by the court of R K Sondhi held inside the
high security Burail Jail here.
Naseeb Singh was given 10 years imprisonment which he has already
undergone during the trial spanning over 11 years.
The Court had yesterday reserved its verdict on the pronouncement of
quantum of sentence to the six convicts in the case after hearing the
argument of CBI and the defence lawyers.
Jagtar Singh Hawara, Balwant Singh, Shamsher Singh, Lakhwinder Singh and
Gurmeet Singh were convicted under Sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to
murder) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC while Naseeb Singh was
held guilty under the Explosives Substances Act.
The 7th accused Navjot Singh was acquitted by the Special Court.
(source: The Hindu)
SRI LANKA/SAUDI ARABIA:
Sri Lankan teen maid on death row
-Girl convicted of killing baby in her care in Saudi Arabia when she was
-Nafeek says the child died accidentally, choking on milk
-Girl's family displaced by December 2004 tsunami, renewed civil war in
Humble woodcutter Mohammed Sultan Nafeek's teenage daughter moved to Saudi
Arabia to work as a housemaid to support her family after they were
displaced by the 2004 tsunami. Now she is on death row, and all he can do
Rizana, who was 17 when she started work in Saudi Arabia, was convicted of
killing a 4-month-old baby boy in her care just 2 weeks into her job.
Nafeek says the child died accidentally, choking on milk.
His daughter was sentenced to beheading in a case rights groups say
underlines the vulnerability of many of the 1.5 million Sri Lankans who
work abroad -- nearly 400,000 of them in Saudi Arabia alone.
"Our family was suffering hardship, and so our daughter volunteered to go
and work abroad to send money home," Nafeek told Reuters by telephone from
his modest home in Mutur in Sri Lanka's war-torn northeast.
After the December 2004 tsunami forced them from their home, the family
was displaced again by renewed civil war between the state and separatist
Tamil Tiger rebels.
Nafeek visited Saudi Arabia with Sri Lanka's Deputy Foreign Minister this
month in a bid to secure clemency and met with relations of the dead
child's parents but came away empty handed.
Under Saudi law, a pardon is the gift of the family of the victim, and so
far the parents of the dead child have refused to meet either the family
or Sri Lankan officials.
"The cops told us: 'Go and pray to Allah. If you can get the forgiveness
of the parents, your daughter will be free,' " he said. "So I am praying
all the time."
"If we had been able to meet the parents, we are sure they would have been
willing to forgive our daughter after seeing our situation."
The Sri Lankan government is investigating the agency that sent Rizana to
work abroad when she was technically still a child but remains hopeful she
will be pardoned or exonerated.
"I am fairly confident," said Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Bhaila. "We
have spoken to tribal leaders of their particular tribe, we have spoken to
area officials... It is they who will now have to speak (to the parents)."
"His Excellency the President (Mahinda Rajapaksa) has been following this
case very keenly. This is an exceptional case because of her tender age,"
Rights groups accuse the government of failing to protect its expatriate
workers -- one of the main sources of foreign-exchange revenues for the
$23 billion economy -- with legal aid.
They also decry Saudi Arabia's legal system.
"This case raises many troubling questions about the treatment of children
and foreigners in Saudi Arabia's criminal-justice system," Human Rights
Watch said in a statement issued overnight.
"International law prohibits the death penalty for crimes committed before
the age of 18."
Saudi Arabia executed 4 Sri Lankans convicted of armed robbery earlier
this year, and did not inform Sri Lankan authorities beforehand.
Sri Lanka reinstated its own death penalty in 2004 after the murder of a
high court judge, but it has been dormant since 1976.
There is no indication any of the dozens of convicted murderers, rapists
and drug smugglers on death row in Sri Lanka and effectively serving life
prison terms will actually be executed.
Iran sentences 2 Kurdish journalists to death
Iran has sentenced 2 Kurdish dissident journalists to death for mounting
an 'armed struggle against the system', a judiciary spokesman said on
'Adnan Hassanpour and Abdolvahed 'Hiva' Botimar have been sentenced to
death. But they have 20 days to appeal their verdicts,' Alireza Jamshidi
told a weekly news conference.
According to Iran's law, the verdict will be carried out if the Supreme
Court rejects the 2 journalists' appeal.
When asked for more details on the case, a judiciary official said: 'They
have taken arms to topple the system.' It was not clear what they were
initially arrested for or when.
Jamshidi said seven other convicted people would be executed on Wednesday
for various crimes, including adultery and rape in the eastern province of
'Possibly the executions will take place in public.'
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called the death sentences against
Hassanpour and Botimar 'outrageous and shameful'.
'A Revolutionary Court in Iran's eastern Kurdish city of Marivan sentenced
Hassanpour and Botimar to death on July 16,' RSF said, adding the pair had
written for a Kurdish magazine called Aso (Horizons) before it was banned
in August 2005.
RSF said the death sentences 'show how little Iran is bothered by
international humanitarian law. They also show how determined it is to use
every possible means to silence the most outspoken journalists and human
Iran's rights record is criticised by the West and rights groups often
report that Tehran imprisons pro-reform writers, journalists and
intellectuals without due legal process.
Defying rights groups' calls to abolish the death penalty, Iran's
judiciary hanged 16 men convicted for rape and other offences on July 22.
Iran says it is acting on the basis of Islamic sharia law.
The hanged men were among those arrested in a crackdown on 'immoral
behaviour', during which dozens of drug addicts, smugglers, bandits and
other criminals were arrested.
A newspaper said 2 assassins of a judge, who sentenced several reformist
dissidents to jail, would be publicly hanged on Thursday. Public hangings
are rare in Iran.
'The 2 men will be hanged in front of the judiciary complex where they
shot dead the judge 2 years ago,' the Iran newspaper said.
Ahmadinejad's Murder Machine: A Look at Tehran's Casualty List
As the U.S. wound up its 2nd meeting with Iran to discuss the security of
Iraq, the Iranian regime continued to face its own escalating insecurity.
The deterioration of Irans economy, increase in civil unrest and sharp
deterioration of human rights under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are 3
examples of a nation unraveling at the seams.
Ahmadinejad has taken desperate measures to reign in the escalating civil
unrest throughout Iranian society by closing newspapers, enforcing strict
dress codes and stepping up public hangings and stonings. The high
priority of implementing these new "security measures" was made clear in a
July 2007 interview with the director of Irans prison system, Ali Akbar
Yessaqi, who spoke with Iran's state-controlled news agency (ISNA). In his
interview, Yessaqi conceded the existence of the regime's secret prisons
[torture centers] for political prisoners, the execution of juveniles and
the policy of making arbitrary arrests, and also reported that Tehran is
building 41 new prisons in Iran.
The Iranian regime's rise in executions in recent weeks included a group
execution in Tehrans Evin Prison on July 22, where 12 prisoners were hung
simultaneously. 2 out of the 12 condemned men were political prisoners who
were transferred from another prison to be executed with the others an
all-too-common method of silencing dissidents in Iran. On many occasions,
political prisoners have been tagged with trumped-up convictions of drug
trafficking and other crimes in order to receive the death penalty.
Amnesty International has recorded at least 124 executions since the
beginning of 2007. 2 recent victims of the Iranian authorities' use of the
death penalty were those whose alleged crimes were committed before the
age of 18. In addition, the human rights organization reported that in one
case, an 18-year-old girl, Nazanin, was sentenced to be executed for
having, at age 17, stabbed to death 1 of 3 men in a park who were
attempting to rape her and her younger niece.
The pace of executions in Iran is stunning. In July alone, several public
hangings were carried throughout the country: in the northern province of
Mazandaran, the southeastern province of Sistan-va-Baluchistan, the
central cities of Arak and Isfahan, the southern province of Fars, and in
the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan, where three men were hanged
as a group. Another group hanging took place in an undisclosed city, as
witnessed in a shocking video smuggled out of Iran by members of Iran's
main opposition, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), this month that shows a
young woman and two men being hanged in a public square.
Hanging is not the only form of capital punishment routinely enforced in
Iran: in the first week of July, a man convicted of adultery was stoned to
death in Qazvin province, while senior Iranian officials defended this
One senior Iranian cleric, Ahmad Jannati, the leader of the regime's
Council of Guardians, defended the increased executions in religious
terms: "If it was Imam Ali (the first Shi'ite leader after Prophet
Mohammad), he would have executed more people because he was not a man who
would have compromised with those who disrupt [the] security of the
society." President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended the executions as a way
for Iran to protect society "with all its power."
Sixteen people were arrested on July 9, the 8th anniversary of the student
demonstrations in 1999 that were violently suppressed by security forces.
One of the student activists of the 1999 demonstrations who had once
served 6 months in prison in Tehran, and was recently rearrested by the
Iranian regime as a "street hooligan," was sentenced to death for
breaching the "security" of the country.
Security crackdowns in July also included an upsurge in arrests of women
and men who do not strictly follow the regime's dress code. Tehran's
police spokesman, Mehdi Ahmadi, stated on July 23 that the department had
hired additional officers for this push, including 100 women. The new
campaign, he said, would target women who "dressed like models," in other
words, those that were badly veiled or wore form-fitting overcoats or
trousers that showed their ankles. The expanded security force also goes
after men who wear "Western-style haircuts and clothing" and the
hairdressers and shop owners who outfit them.
Ahmadi emphasized that the plan was not just restricted to enforcing
Islamic dress rules, but also targeted all those who disrupt "security" in
society, exposing the desperation of a regime facing widespread dissent
from an extremely young population, 67 percent of which is under the age
Earlier in the year, in a hideous act, Haleh Esfandiari, director of the
Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center, was detained with other
Iranian-Americans by the regime on baseless charges.
Despite increased crackdowns on dissent during Ahmadinejad's presidency,
protests continue to spring up among Iran's workers, teachers and bus
drivers who repeatedly form demonstrations over their low and unpaid
wages. In March, officials arrested 1,000 teachers among the 10,000
protesting their salaries outside the parliament in Tehran; the income of
high school teachers in Iran even though higher than that of many
government workers puts them below the poverty line. Bus drivers have
gone on strike to protest the government's refusal to recognize their
union rights, and thousands of them have been arrested. The regime also
arrested the wives and children of union activists in order to compel the
activists to come forward. Workers' riots and demonstrations reveal how
profoundly Ahmadinejad has failed to deliver on his promises to be the
champion of the Iranian worker and put the countrys oil wealth "on peoples
University students, enraged at these actions and other "fascist" policies
of Ahmadinejad's "dictatorship," continuously form campus protests that
are met with bloody crackdowns by the authorities. Students carrying
banners demanding "freedom of expression" are routinely beaten with
chains, stabbed and arrested with no further word to their families.
People are increasingly frustrated with the economy's poor growth, rising
inflation and lack of distribution of oil wealth. In addition to rationing
gasoline in late June, the world's 2nd largest crude oil producer has seen
both inflation and unemployment soar to 30 percent, housing prices double
in one year and food prices skyrocket since U.N. sanctions were imposed
Looking to Iran for help in ending the chaos in Iraq, as the U.S. tried to
do in a second round of talks in July, is an untenable approach. Not only
is Tehran the main source of violence and insecurity in Iraq as it strives
toward its own expansionist goals, but it is also mired in domestic crises
that expose the failings of a grossly troubled and highly unpopular regime
seeking to guarantee its own survival at the expense of Iraq's demise. The
United States is better off exploiting Iran's internal vulnerability and
reaching out to not the Ayatollahs but the people of Iran, who are
already determined to replace the regime with a democratic, secular and
pluralistic system. This is the only way that Iraq would see peace,
security and stability as well.
Alireza Jafarzadeh is a FOX News Channel Foreign Affairs Analyst and the
author of "The Iran Threat: President Ahmadinejad and the Coming Nuclear
Crisis" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
Jafarzadeh has revealed Iran's terrorist network in Iraq and its terror
training camps since 2003. He first disclosed the existence of the Natanz
uranium enrichment facility and the Arak heavy water facility in August
Prior to becoming a contributor for FOX, and until August 2003, Jafarzadeh
acted for a dozen years as the chief congressional liaison and media
spokesman for the U.S. representative office of Iran's parliament in
exile, the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
(source: Fox News)
Rwanda drops death penalty for convicted war criminals
The Rwandan government has dropped the death penalty for convicted war
criminals, removing a major hurdle to the deportation of genocide suspects
hiding out in countries like Canada.
The decision could unblock the deportation of Leon Mugesera, a Rwandan who
remains in Canada more than two years after the Supreme Court ordered him
out for a 1992 speech inciting the massacre of Tutsis.
Leon Mugesera, seen in 2000, may face deportation back to Rwanda now that
the Rwandan goverment has dropped the death penalty for convicted war
Two prominent Canadians who push for war crimes justice say legal limbo
could end for many suspects in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
"Canada has taken certain actions, but there are undoubtedly other
individuals who could be extradited because the risk they would be
punished by capital punishment has disappeared," said Senator Romeo
Dallaire, a retired Canadian military commander who witnessed the massacre
and has become a prominent anti-genocide activist.
"There are cases in Europe and North America that could be unblocked by
this, where people could be moved to Rwanda to face justice," Dallaire
told the Canadian Press, adding that Mugesera could be among them.
Louise Arbour, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said
in a statement Friday that the decision should make "further progress in
bringing to justice those responsible for the heinous crimes of the 1994
Rwandan officials said the law proposed by President Paul Kagame was to
take effect last Wednesday.
Hutu extremist fled to Canada in 1993
Mugesera and his Quebec City lawyer, Guy Bertrand, declined an interview
request on Monday. Bertrand's secretary passed along a message, saying "as
long as the case is still pending, there won't be any interviews. We're
Mugesera and his lawyer have maintained in the past that Mugesera and his
family face persecution and death in Rwanda.
Federal officials in Ottawa said they can't comment on specific cases like
Mugesera's delayed deportation.
Marina Wilson, a spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, said
Canada does "not deport to countries that have the death penalty, where
the individual might face execution."
But Wilson pointed out a person can face other forms of persecution in his
home country that could delay deportation.
Human Rights Watch issued a report last week condemning Rwandan police for
killing 20 people in custody since November, including several suspects in
the 1994 mass slaughter of some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus by Hutu
Mugesera was a prominent Hutu extremist in 1992, when he gave a speech to
1,000 political supporters, telling them they faced a choice of
exterminating the Tutsis or being exterminated by them.
The Supreme Court of Canada found he suggested Hutus should send Tutsi
bodies to Rwanda via the Nyabarongo River, a process that was already
taking place on a small scale in 1992 and was ramped up dramatically in
The Supreme Court found that Mugesera knew he was inciting violence and
hatred because small-scale massacres of Tutsis were already taking place.
Officials in Rwanda had tried to arrest Mugesera for his speech, but he
fled to Canada in 1993.
Ottawa began proceedings to remove him, his wife and their 5 children in
1995 after officials learned of the speech. A series of appeals ended with
the Supreme Court ruling in 2005.
Wilson said there are sometimes long delays before deportations with
appeals and risk assessments of the country of origin. Federal officials
said Monday those final processes are not open to the public.
Canada has gone ahead with its own prosecution of a suspected Rwandan war
criminal. Dsir Munyaneza is on trial in Montreal for crimes against
humanity, including rape and murder.
His trial is expected to resume in September after a summer break. The
RCMP has several other investigations underway.
(source: CBC News)
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