[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 28 01:10:23 CST 2007
Kuwaiti supreme court confirms Filipina's death sentence
Kuwait's supreme court on Tuesday confirmed the death sentence handed down
on a Filipina maid convicted of murdering her employer.
"Sad news," was how Vice President Noli de Castro prefaced his
announcement at a press conference in Manila of the decision by the
Cassation Court to uphold the ruling against Marilou Ranario.
"It appears that the 11-member Court of Cassation did not accept the
doubtful aspects of the case as presented by Ranario's panel of five
lawyers," he said in Filipino.
The court ruling is final and cannot be appealed. Her fate is now in the
hands of the ruler of the oil-rich emirate, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad
al-Sabah, who will decide whether or not to sign the order for Ranario to
Ranario was sentenced to death in September 2005 for killing her
46-year-old female employer, Najat Mahmoud Faraj Mobarak, over salary
disputes and maltreatment.
De Castro said he would go to Kuwait shortly to deliver President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo's personal appeal to the Kuwaiti ruler.
"If we need to kneel before the emir, we will do so in exchange for
Ranario's life," said De Castro, who described the emir as someone who is
"close to Filipinos."
Manila would seek "a full pardon, or if that is not possible, a
commutation of the sentence," De Castro said.
At the same time, he said four of the five relatives of the victim have
given their forgiveness (tanazul) and accepted the "blood money" (dia).
Under Islamic law, a killer can pay "blood money" to the victim's family
to avoid execution.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said the "blood money" already
given to the victim's relatives were donated by "kind-hearted" Filipinos.
He refused to divulge the amount. If the Philippine appeal fails, Ranario
will be executed within 4 to 5 months, De Castro said, quoting Philippine
Ambassador to Kuwait Ricardo Endaya.
Ranario, a teacher who left her two children (ages 11 and 13) in Surigao
Del Norte in December 2003 to work as a domestic helper in Kuwait, alleged
that her boss insulted her and people from the Philippines.
Some 73,000 Filipinos, mainly 60,000 women employed mostly as maids, work
in the Gulf state.
(source: Agence France Presse)
Death row inmate files lawsuit over policy reversal
Ronald Smith, the 50-year-old Albertan facing execution in the U.S., is
taking the Conservative government to court over its decision not to seek
clemency for him from Montana's death row.
Smith, sentenced to death by lethal injection for the 1982 killing of 2
Native American men, had been supported for more than a decade by Canadian
officials in his bid to be spared execution.
But a lawsuit filed by Smith's lawyers on Tuesday in the Federal Court of
Canada argues that the government's "unexpected" reversal last month
long-standing foreign policy on the clemency issue violates the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms and has sent as message of "indifference"
about Smith's fate to U.S. officials, placing him "in peril for his life
and at risk of cruel and unusual treatment."
Three federal cabinet ministers involved in making the decision or
defending it in the House of Commons - Justice Minister Rob Nicholson,
Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier and Public Safety Minister
Stockwell Day - are targeted in the suit.
A spokesperson in the justice minister's office did not respond to media
requests for comment.
The legal challenge, led by four top Canadian lawyers, also argues that
the government's decision - communicated in an e-mail to CanWest News
Service on Oct. 31 - was a "direct political reaction" to an earlier
CanWest News Service story about Smith's bid for clemency and violates a
"constitutionally-obligatory" practice of intervening to try to save all
Canadians on death row around the world.
"Although sparked by and directed at" Smith, the government's decision
"had not been formally communicated" to him or his lawyers, "who learned
of the decision entirely through the media," the lawsuit states.
"This announcement was a direct political reaction to media reports
describing the Government of Canada's long-standing efforts to seek
commutation for the applicant with the Government of Montana," the suit
argues. Smith "was never apprised" by government officials that they were
"considering abandoning their efforts on his behalf."
Smith's lawyers had discussed the case with Canadian consular officials
"days before" the government's reversal of the clemency policy "and were
led to believe that the Government of Canada would continue to pursue its
commutation efforts" with Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer, the lawsuit
Liberal leader Stephane Dion quickly applauded the legal challenge,
issuing a statement urging the government to scrap its new clemency policy
before the lawsuit goes to court.
"This Conservative government can not pick and choose which Canadians
deserve to have their rights respected," said Dion. "By not seeking
commutation for Mr. Smith, this government is giving their tacit approval
for his execution, despite the fact that Canadians have rejected the use
of the death penalty."
Amnesty International's Canadian office also announced its backing of the
"It's time for the Canadian government to recognize that its new clemency
policy is hopelessly flawed," said Amnesty's secretary general Alex Neve.
"This shameful abandonment of basic human rights principles tarnishes
Canada's international reputation and endangers all Canadians detained
In October, CanWest News Service reported that Canada was working to save
Smith from execution as part of a decades-old policy rooted in Canada's
1976 abolition of capital punishment.
Days later, a Public Safety spokesperson told CanWest News Service that
the government had halted its effort to seek clemency for Smith.
And on Oct. 31, a Foreign Affairs spokesperson said Canada would no longer
seek clemency for Canadians on death row in "democratic countries, where
there has been a fair trial."
The federal opposition has been united in its condemnation of the policy,
and a host of international human rights advocates - including the Council
of Europe and the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, former Canadian judge
Louise Arbour - have denounced Canada's decision.
The newly filed legal challenge states: "Up until this decision, the
Government of Canada had actively sought commutation on humanitarian
grounds of all death sentences imposed on Canadians anywhere in the world,
a practice consistent with that applied by other Western states that have
abolished the death penalty."
Smith's new Canadian legal team - which includes University of Ottawa law
professor Craig Forcese, and high-profile defence lawyers Marlys Edwardh,
Lorne Waldman and Sarah Loosemore - argues that the government has ignored
Smith's rights under the Charter by "abandoning efforts" to seek clemency
on his behalf, "communicating to U.S. officials their indifference to his
treatment," and "at least tacitly signalling their approval of the death
In an interview on Tuesday, Forcese said "enormous damage has been done"
to Smith's bid for a reprieve from execution and that any Canadian who
ends up facing a death sentence anywhere around the world will also be
imperiled by the government's sudden shift in policy.
He said that the case could be heard as early as April.
Among those slated to file affidavits in support of Smith's challenge is
Gar Pardy, a former top consular official with Foreign Affairs who played
a key role in repatriating numerous Canadians imprisoned abroad.
Nicholson came under fire earlier this week in the House of Commons from
Liberal public safety critic Sue Barnes, who argued that Canada's hardline
stance on the Smith case could scuttle efforts to seek clemency for 2
Canadians being held in Ethiopia and China and facing possible death
The government has recently appeared to soften its stance on the policy,
indicating that it would review "each case on its merits" rather than
applying a blanket prohibition on seeking clemency in any democratic
Nicholson has also implied in various statements that "mass" or "multiple"
murderers would not be candidates for Canadian appeals for clemency.
Government officials have not responded to CanWest News Service requests
to clarify the policy.
(source: CanWest News Service)
Death penalty stand kills credibility: critics
The Conservative government's hardline position in the case of Ronald
Smith - the only Canadian on death row in the U.S. - is risking the lives
of 2 other Canadians facing possible execution in China and Ethiopia, a
Liberal MP charged in the House of Commons on Monday.
"Will they seek clemency for Chen Naizhi, a Canadian citizen convicted in
China, who faces a death sentence for car smuggling?" asked Sue Barnes,
the Liberal public safety critic. "How can they have any credibility on
this issue after choosing not to seek clemency for a Canadian citizen now
facing the death penalty in Montana?"
Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, who has emerged as the government's chief
defender of its recent decision to stop fighting for the lives of Canadian
death-row inmates in "democratic" countries, responded: "With respect to
the case in China, we'll have a close look at that."
Naizhi, 32, was given a suspended death sentence last week at a court in
southern China for his role at the centre of a massive car smuggling ring,
according to a report by Agence France-Presse.
His sentence is to be reviewed in two years, at which time it could be
commuted to life imprisonment, the report said.
The other case Barnes referred to involves former Toronto resident Bashir
Makhtal, a Canadian citizen who was initially arrested in Kenya and has
been held for nearly a year in Ethiopia - without charges or access to
Canadian consular officials - on suspicions of terrorist activity.
At a news conference Monday in Ottawa, Amnesty International demanded more
forceful action from Canada to defend Makhtal's rights and protect him
from possible torture in Ethiopia, where there is a "prevalence of torture
and ill-treatment of individuals in custody" and executions can be ordered
for a wide range of offences, the human rights group said.
"The Minister of Justice claims Canada still supports the UN's
death-penalty moratorium," Barnes said during question period. "Will Mr.
Makhtal be caught up in the Conservative government's betrayal of the
principle of the death penalty (moratorium)?"
Nicholson replied, "We will certainly look into it," and argued the
Conservative government is responsive whenever "there are any Canadians
anywhere in the world potentially in difficulty."
He added that when it comes to "standing up for human rights, this
government has a record second to none."
But the government has come under fire from a united federal opposition
and international human rights advocates over the recent decision to stop
seeking clemency for some Canadian death-row prisoners.
The uproar was sparked when CanWest News Service reported in October that
Canadian consular officials were quietly working to convince Montana
Governor Brian Schweitzer to grant clemency to Smith, a 50-year-old
Albertan who is facing a lethal injection for murdering two Native
American men during a drunken road trip in 1982.
Within days, the government had reversed Canada's long-standing policy -
rooted in Canada's abolition of capital punishment in 1976 - of lobbying
foreign countries to commute the death sentence of any Canadian facing
Initially, the government said it would no longer seek clemency for any
Canadian on death row in "democratic countries, like the United States,
where they have fair trials."
But last week, in responding to opposition attacks, Nicholson appeared to
soften Canada's stance by suggested the government would consider "each
case on its merits," although he repeatedly said "multiple" or "mass"
murderers - such as Smith - could not count on Canada to intervene with a
The government has not responded to requests by CanWest News Service to
clarify the policy.
Barnes said on Monday that the government's apparent "case-by-case"
approach to seeking clemency meant ministers would intervene "when it
John Tackaberry, Amnesty International-Canada's spokesman, told CanWest
News Service on Monday that the government's decision on the Smith case in
the U.S. has created a clear "double standard" that will undermine
Canada's efforts to protect Canadians in non-democratic countries.
"They've trapped themselves," said Tackaberry, arguing that countries such
as China will be able to point to Canada's position on the Smith case and
rebuff any petitions for clemency for a Canadian on death row there.
"They'll be able to say, 'You're not applying that standard to the U.S.,
why are you applying it to us?'" he said.
(source: CanWest News Service)
Mercy pleas delay couples death penalty
Had it not been for a mercy petition filed to the President, yesterday
could have been the last one for Sonia and her husband Sanjiv, who are on
death sentence at the Ambala Central Jail.
The Supreme Court had ordered the death sentence for the couple, for the
murder of 8 family members, including former MLA Relu Ram Punia. The death
sentence was to be carried out today. But the couple recently filed a
mercy petition with the President, following which their appeal is
Sonia and Sanjiv are lodged in solitary cells. Both of them are in
solitary confinement since they are facing a death sentence.
A jail official said the couple cannot leave their respective jail blocks.
Even if some medical requirement arose, the doctor had to visit their
According to the jail manual, the warder on duty over a condemned prisoner
shall be armed with a baton and provided with a rattle to give alarm when
He shall be posted in or immediately outside the door of the cell yard and
shall keep the prisoner constantly in view. The keys of the cell in which
the condemned prisoner is confined, shall be kept by the head warder on
duty, who on hearing the alarm shall proceed to search the cell.
(source: The Statesman)
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