[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Nov 24 20:47:08 CST 2007
U of R suspends professor as probe begins
University of Regina professor and author Jeffrey Pfeifer has been
suspended with pay from the university.
Pfeifer, a psychology professor who teaches in the justice studies
department, could not be reached for comment.
"Dr. Pfeifer has been relieved of his responsibilities at the University
of Regina while we undertake an investigation into complaints about his
conduct," said Barb Pollock, vice-president of external relations.
"To be fair to him, the process and the university, we need to let the
investigation roll out with no further comment."
She added it's an internal investigation that follows processes and
policies of the university.
While Pollock would not discuss the specifics of the complaints, she said
Pfeifer went on personal paid leave at the end of the day on Monday and
was suspended with pay on Thursday. He will remain on suspension until
Pfeifer, who co-wrote a book chronicling the history of executions in
Canada from 1867 to 1923 entitled Death by Rope: An Anthology of
Executions, has worked at the university since 1992. Besides authoring
numerous papers, the forensic psychologist has advised police departments
around the world on justice issues.
(sources: Saskatchewan News Network; Regina Leader-Post)
Opposition leaders urge commutation of death sentence
3 weeks after the Canadian government ended its long-standing policy of
seeking clemency for any Canadian facing the death penalty outside its
borders, opposition leaders to Canada's ruling Conservative Party are
asking Montana's governor to do just that.
They hope Gov. Brian Schweitzer will commute the sentence of state death
row inmate Ronald A. Smith.
Smith was convicted in the execution-style killings of Harvey Mad Man Jr.,
24, and Thomas Running Rabbit III, 20, about 25 years ago when the
Browning men picked up Smith, who was hitchhiking on the Blackfeet Indian
Reservation. Smith, convicted of 2 counts of deliberate homicide in
Flathead County, is the only Canadian on death row in the United States.
Liberal Party Leader Stephane Dion and New Democratic Party Leader Jack
Layton both wrote personal letters to Gov. Brian Schweitzer on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe was coordinating a
petition seeking commutation signed by members of parliament, the
Associated Press reported. The leaders say they, and not the Conservative
government, represent the majority of Canadians on the issue of capital
"Canada abolished the death penalty more than 30 yeas ago and the majority
of Canadians continue to believe that we must oppose its use, both
domestically and in cases where Canadian citizens face this punishment
abroad," Dion wrote to Schweitzer. "I share this belief and as leader of
the Official Opposition in our Parliament, it is my duty to convey to you
the conviction of millions of Canadians who want to see Mr. Smith's
The governor's spokeswoman Sarah Elliott said Schweitzer had not received
the letters as of Friday and may possibly get them sometime next week. She
pointed out that the Smith case has not been presented to the state Board
of Pardons and Parole.
"We're a long way from anything yet," Elliott said Friday. In Montana,
requests for commutation are made after an execution date is set. Requests
must be filed with the board. If a public hearing is granted, the board
makes a recommendation to the governor after that hearing.
Thomas Running Rabbit Jr., the father of Thomas Running Rabbit III, said
Friday that he had not heard of the letters. The Running Rabbit and Mad
Man families met with Schweitzer on Oct. 31 in Helena and asked the
governor to ensure that Smith's sentence is carried out in Montana.
"Regardless, I hope they keep him (Smith) here. He did the crime here,"
Running Rabbit Jr. said Friday.
Schweitzer received calls from the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs
asking for Smith's sentence to be commuted until the end of October. That
changed when reporters began asking the Conservative government questions
about Smith's case, according to Associated Press and Canadian reports.
During the Oct. 31 meeting with the victims' families, Schweitzer told
them he'd seek their consultation if he was ever asked to act in the case.
(source: Great Falls Tribune)
Iran hangs 2 drug traffickers
The hangings bring the total number of executions in Iran this year to
269, according to an AFP count compiled from press reports. Many are
hanged in public.
(source: Khaleej Times)
Saudi Arabia beheads Pakistani for drug smuggling
Saudi Arabia beheaded by the sword a Pakistani man found guilty of drug
trafficking, the interior ministry said.
Aslam Khan was executed in the Riyadh region for smuggling heroin into the
kingdom, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news
The latest beheading brings the number of people executed in the kingdom
so far year to a record 150.
The previous highest number of executions in a year was in 2000, when 113
people were beheaded. Last year 37 people were executed.
Executions are usually carried out in public in ultra-conservative Saudi
Arabia, which applies a strict form of sharia, or Islamic law.
As well as drug smuggling, rape, murder, apostasy and armed robbery can
all carry the death penalty in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom.
(source: Agence France Presse)
Suspended death sentences exceed immediate executions for 1st time
The number of suspended death sentences handed down this year in China
surpassed that of immediate executions for the first time, reflecting the
policy of "applying the death penalty to only a small number of extremely
serious offenders", the Chief Justice Xiao Yang said on Friday.
Xiao attributed the shift towards what he called a more prudent use of the
death penalty to the supreme court's resumption of the right to review all
death penalty decisions made by lower courts.
That right resumed on Jan. 1, 2007, ending the court's 24-year absence in
approving many of China's execution verdicts.
"Generally, this significant reform has registered smooth progress in the
transitional period," said Xiao, president of the Supreme People's Court
(SPC), at a national work conference on judicial reform. He did not
provide any statistics concerning death sentences.
He said the reform ensured that "all defendants were equal before the law"
and unified the "judicial scale" in applying death sentences.
"It also strengthens the protection of human rights in the judicial
field," Xiao said, adding "those who could be absolved will not be given
any capital punishment and those who need not be executed immediately will
not get immediate executions."
"The court should ensure that the death penalty would only be imposed on
those who have committed extremely serious crimes" with extreme social
impact, he said.
Doing so had made immediate execution cases drop steadily, he said.
In China, death sentences fall into two categories: immediate execution or
a two-year reprieve.
All capital cases where the death sentence does not require immediate
execution should include a 2-year reprieve, according to an SPC document
released earlier this year.
"Death sentences with a reprieve can ... punish the guilty but also reduce
the number of death penalties," it says.
The SPC reviewed all capital cases until 1983. The provincial courts were
subsequently given final authority for cases involving crimes that were
considered to seriously endanger public security and social order.
The practice of provincial courts handling both death sentence appeals and
conducting final reviews, however, drew sharp criticism in the wake of
some highly-publicized miscarriages of justice.
Since the SPC regained the right of review, it has overturned a large
proportion of death sentences.
In the review of death sentences, some cases need lower-level courts, or
even prosecutors and police, to provide supplemental material and
evidence. Some cases require police to investigate suspects who are
identified by the accused.
Early this month, Jiang Xingchang, vice president of the SPC said: "As
people's courts across China have been strictly controlling and cautiously
applying the death penalty over the past dozen years, the number of death
penalty cases has kept declining and reached its lowest point last year."
Figures from the Beijing No 1 and No 2 intermediate people's courts
indicate that, in the first 5 months of 2007, the number of death
sentences dropped 10 % from last year.
More judges and judicial staff have been added to the SPC team that
exercises death penalty review rights. The supreme court has recruited
experienced lawyers and law school teachers as senior judges.
Open court sessions have become mandatory since July 2006, when a second
hearing of a death sentence is defended by a people's procuratorate.
Previously, most appeals -- even involving the death penalty --were not
heard in open court because of a lack of qualified personnel, and errors
in handling death sentences were not uncommon in China.
More than 1,900 more judicial staff were planned to be hired in June for
open court trials for 2nd hearings of death sentences, which are intended
to be a 2nd line of defense to prevent injustices and ensure that
judgments stand the test of time.
(source: Xinhua News)
Canadian's death sentence suspended in China car smuggling case
A court in southern China handed down a suspended death sentence to a
Canadian at the centre of the country's biggest car smuggling ring, state
press reported Saturday.
The gang smuggled 2,043 cars into China, mostly via Vietnam, over 18
months, avoiding 223.7 million yuan (29.8 million dollars) in import
taxes, the Beijing Morning Post said.
Canadian Chen Naizhi, 32, who is of Chinese origin, had his death sentence
suspended for two years, after which it would likely to be commuted to
Another 22 people in the smuggling network were sentenced Thursday to
between three months and 15 years in jail.
Chinese courts are increasingly handing down suspended death sentences
instead of immediate execution which once followed sentencing as a matter
of course, authorities have reportedly said.
Supreme Court president Xiao Yang said suspended death sentences had this
year for the 1st time outnumbered immediate executions, reflecting a new
policy of "applying the death penalty to only a small number of extremely
serious offenders," Xinhua late Friday quoted him as saying.
China does not release figures on executions.
Rights group Amnesty International has said that based on public reports
at least 1,010 people were executed in China in 2006, but that the actual
number was probably between 7,500 and 8,000 people.
(source: Agence France Presse)
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