[Deathpenalty] [POSSIBLE SPAM] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Dec 31 02:09:26 CST 2008
27 sentenced to death in Japan in 2008
27 people were sentenced to the death penalty during 2008, down by 19 from
last year, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has found.
The decrease apparently reflects a drop in the number of vicious crimes,
although the tendency for courts to impose heavy sentences on those who
commit these kinds of crimes remains unchanged, with the death penalty
being handed down to a defendant who was convicted of murdering 1 person,
and another found guilty of committing murder as a teenager.
Of the 27, 5 were sentenced by district courts and 14 by high courts,
while the 8 others saw their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme
The 27 include a man who was convicted by the Hiroshima High Court to
murdering a woman and her daughter in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in
1999 when he was 18; and Tetsuya Shiroo, convicted by the Nagasaki
District Court of fatally shooting Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito in 2007.
In 2007, a death sentence was handed down on 46 people, the largest number
since 1980. No figures are available before that year.
(source: Mainichi Daily News)
2008 shows record number of murders
With 2 days remaining in the year, 2008 will go down as the 2nd bloodiest
in the country's history.
Data obtained by the RJR News Centre revealed that 1597 persons have been
murdered since the start of the year, 2nd only to the figure recorded in
2005, when it was 1674.
This surpassed last year's murder figure of 1587.
Police sources told the RJR News Centre that based on the current trend
they expect the murder rate to reach the 1600 mark by Wednesday.
Since the start of 2008 the Police High Command has implemented several
crime fighting measures to stem the bloodletting which reached record
levels in 2007 during the run-up to the general election.
But marauding gangs and hoodlums have been killing and maiming men, women
and children throughout 2008 despite the measures.
In May, a record 202 persons were murdered, the highest in any one month.
The Bruce Golding led administration has been coming under increasing
pressure to find a solution to the crisis.
Earlier this month parliamentarians in both Houses of Parliament voted in
favour of retaining the death penalty for those convicted of capital
Of the 19 police divisions across the country, the divisions of St James,
Clarendon, St Catherine North and South along with St. Andrew South have
recorded the highest number of murders and other major crimes.
Sudan man denies helping Darfur war crimes court
A Sudanese man denied in court on Monday he had tried to pass sensitive
documents about a Darfur war crimes suspect to the International Criminal
Mohamed Alsary Ibrahim is the 1st person in Sudan to be prosecuted for
cooperating with the ICC, which is pursuing a number of cases against
Sudanese nationals relating to atrocities carried out in the country's
A Sudanese intelligence officer Omar Abdel last week told Khartoum north
court that Ibrahim had been caught in a sting operation receiving
confidential documents from a contact in one of Sudan's police forces.
The officer said Ibrahim had been trying to find documents to "fabricate a
relationship" between Ahmed Haroun, Sudan's state minister for
humanitarian affairs, and the pro-government Janjaweed militias that are
accused of war crimes in Darfur.
The ICC has already issued an arrest warrant for Haroun, accusing him of
masterminding killings in the region. Sudan, which has signed but not
ratified the treaty establishing the court, has refused to hand him over.
In July, the ICC's chief prosecutor also asked judges to issue a warrant
for Sudanese president Omar Hassan al-Bashir, accusing him of
orchestrating genocide in Darfur.
Abdel told the court last week Ibrahim meant to pass the documents to
Sudanese-American contacts who had promised to pay him for the papers and
pass them on to the ICC.
But Ibrahim told the court on Monday he had only asked his contact to
supply him with false travel documents, to allow him to leave the country
for medical treatment.
"He gave me the papers. But before I knew what was in the papers, about 6
men with guns came in and arrested me...I had no idea what was going on,"
Ibrahim told the court national security officers had tortured him after
he was arrested to try and get him to confess to working with the ICC. But
he had refused, he added.
Prosecutors last week told the court Ibrahim faced 7 charges, including
working to overthrow the constitutional government, spying and waging war
against the state -- all 3 of which carry the death penalty.
But the judge on Monday said Ibrahim would be formally charged with the
less serious offences of criminal conspiracy and passing on confidential
Those charges, lawyers told Reuters after the hearing, carried only prison
(source: Reuters Africa)
China court sentences 3 executives for bribery
3 former executives of the state-owned Yunnan Copper Group, China's
3rd-largest copper producer, were sentenced on Monday for bribery and
embezzlement, with 1 receiving the death penalty, Xinhua news agency said.
Yu Weiping, group vice chairman between 2000 and 2007, was sentenced to
death by the Intermediate People's Court of Kunming, in southwestern
Yunnan Province, for accepting bribes and embezzling a total of about
$10.3 million, said Xinhua.
The money has been recovered. Former board chairman Zou Shaolu was
sentenced to life, but received leniency because he turned himself in,
returned his ill-gotten gains and confessed, said the state-run news
Wang Jianwei was handed 20 years in prison. Yunnan Copper Group employs
about 20,000 people and had sales of 39.2 billion yuan ($5.72 billion)
last year, said Xinhua.
Chinese police said last month the country's richest man and chairman of
the country's top electronics retailer, GOME, was under investigation
after local media reported he had been detained in a probe into share
Huang Guangyu, the chairman GOME Electrical Appliances Holdings Ltd, was
the latest of a handful of super-rich Chinese entrepreneurs have run afoul
of the law as China's economy boomed and regulators struggled to keep pace
with market reforms.
In January, a Shanghai court upheld a 16-year jail sentence handed down to
Zhou Zhengyi, a property tycoon once named one of China's richest men. He
was found guilty of 5 charges including misappropriation of funds, bribery
and forging VAT receipts.
(source: Times of India)
2 more face trial in China milk scandal: state media
2 more suspects in China's tainted milk scandal were set to go on trial
Tuesday, bringing the number to 17 who are facing court over the nation's
worst food safety case in years.
Brothers Geng Jinping and Geng Jinzhu were scheduled to be tried for
making and selling food additives laced with the chemical melamine, the
China News Service said.
At least 6 babies in China died this year and 294,000 fell ill after
drinking milk laced with melamine, which is normally used to make plastic.
The chemical was mixed into watered-down milk to make it appear richer in
protein, but it caused severe kidney and urinary tract problems in babies
who drank contaminated milk powder.
The Gengs are accused of being "middlemen" who added melamine into milk,
which was then sold to Sanlu, the largest Chinese dairy producer to have
become embroiled in the scandal.
Officials at the court in northern Shijiazhuang city refused to comment on
the proceedings, but the China News Service said notices of Tuesday's
trials were posted at the courthouse.
On Monday, 9 people suspected of trading or producing the tainted
additives went on trial in Shijiazhuang and surrounding districts, while 5
others were tried on Friday last week.
In China, trials often last just one day and verdicts are announced soon
after. The verdicts in the milk trials will be "announced at an
appropriate time," state press reports said, giving no other details.
The scandal, which emerged in September after initially being covered up,
shook the foundations of a Chinese food industry that was already beset by
repeated safety problems.
It quickly became a major global concern after contaminated Chinese milk
products were found abroad, leading to recalls around the world.
The former head of the Sanlu Group, Tian Wenhua, is set to go on trial in
Shijiazhuang on Wednesday with 3 other top company officials.
The group was once one of China's leading dairy producers but last week
filed for bankruptcy due to the losses it incurred over the scandal.
Lawyers seeking to file lawsuits against the company have said Tian could
be facing a long jail term or even the death penalty.
Iraqi Murder Suspects Ask U.K. to Ensure Fair Trial
2 Iraqi men suspected in the murder of British soldiers asked a London
court today to reconsider plans to let Iraqi officials hear their case
because they could be tortured in custody or face the death penalty.
Faisal Attiyah Nassar Al-Saadoon and Khalaf Hussain Mufdhi, held by U.K.
troops in Basra, claim they are under British jurisdiction and European
human-rights law protects their right to a fair trial. The law also
prevents their transfer into Iraqi custody where they could be tortured or
hanged, Karon Monaghan, their lawyer, told the Court of Appeal.
"Hanging now can be regarded as degrading or inhuman treatment or
punishment," Monaghan told a panel of 3 judges at the start of the 2-day
hearing. The appeals court judges agreed to hear the case before the end
of the year, when the United Nations mandate for the presence of British
forces in Iraq is due to expire.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said British forces will leave Iraq in
early 2009 after a 6-year conflict that ousted Iraq dictator Saddam
Hussein. A total of 178 British armed forces personnel or Defence Ministry
civilians have died in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion, according to
the ministry's Web site.
Clive Lewis, who is expected to start his full argument on behalf of the
U.K. government tomorrow, told judges today that he isn't aware of any
international judgment that considers death by hanging to be torture or
degrading treatment in violation of human-rights law.
In lower court proceedings, the government argued that the Iraqi murder
suspects are criminal detainees held by the U.K. at the request of Iraq,
which is a sovereign nation.
The men are being held in connection with the murders of British Staff
Sgt. Simon Cullingworth and Sapper Luke Allsopp in 2003.
Kohail brothers' father summoned to court
The case of the Kohail brothers, 1 who is on death row and the other
facing the death penalty, has taken a new turn after Saudi police called
the father of the 2 and asked him to appear before a Jeddah court on Jan.
4 on charges of going to the press and criticizing government agencies,
according to a member of the family who did not want to be named.
"The Jeddah police have asked Ali to appear before court," said the
source, adding that the case has been further compounded since the head of
the family was summoned to court.
The family claims that they have yet to be officially told the charges the
According to a CBC News report, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs
confirmed that officials from both sides are discussing the fate of the
23-year-old Mohamed Kohail, who was accused along with his 17-year-old
brother Sultan of killing a Syrian student nearly 2 years ago in a school
brawl. Mohamed has already been handed down death penalty, while the fate
of Sultan hangs in balance.
"A senior Canadian official who visited the Kingdom early this month met
the Kohail family and had talks with senior Saudi officials, including the
minister of justice," said the source.
According to the report, Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to the
Canadian minister of foreign affairs, has spoken to several senior Saudi
officials about the situation during his trip to the Kingdom.
The report said that the Canadian officials were attempting to stop the
execution order against Mohamed. An appeal against the sentence was
Among Saudi officials, Obhrai met with were officials from Foreign
Ministry and chairman of the Riyadh-based Human Rights Commission.
The report said the Canadian diplomats based in Riyadh were now fully
engrossed in the case, as are senior officials in Ottawa. Also, consular
officials have been actively providing assistance and support and remain
in regular contact with the Kohail family and their legal counsel.
A diplomatic note has been sent to the Saudi government, said the report.
A Saudi appeals court upheld Mohameds death sentence in a verbal ruling
Mohamed's younger brother Sultan was convicted in April of similar charges
and sentenced to spend 1 year in prison and receive 200 lashes. However,
the prosecution was not satisfied with the sentence and asked the judge to
refer the case to an adult court.
Treating Sultan as an adult would be against the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child, which Saudi Arabia signed in 1997. Under the
convention, the age of adulthood is 18 and no person may be put to death
for any crime committed under that age.
(source: Arab News)
Mexicans Toy with Capital Punishment for Kidnappers
Coahuila Governor Humberto Moreira caused a stir across Mexico a couple of
weeks ago when he pushed through the state legislature a bill that would
legalize the death penalty in cases of kidnapping in which the victim is
That stir, rather than a change in policy, was likely Moreira's primary
aim; Mexico hasn't executed anyone since 1961, and the illegality of the
penalty is written into the Constitution. Any possibility of rewriting the
document so that Coahuila and other states could do away with prisoners
was squashed when the National Action Party and Party of the Democratic
Revolution came out against the proposal from Moreira, a member of the
Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
His proposal may be destined to disappear into the political ether, but it
was still a sharp political move on Moreira's part. A popular, young, but
largely unknown governor, Moreira increased his profile with a weeks worth
of headlines about the initiative. In associating himself with the death
penalty, Moreira has aggressively aligned himself with the right side of
the agreement, politically: 75 % of Mexicans favor its use.
But regardless of the political calculations, Moreira's plan would be a
step backward for Mexico. The arguments against the death penalty per se
are so familiar as to be almost clichs, but just for reminder's sake:
executing criminals appeals to societys basest instinct, it is the
antiquated relic of our unenlightened past, it is inevitably prejudiced
against the poor, it becomes a perverse goal for overzealous prosecutors,
it doesnt reduce crime, and it is costly, both in terms of time and money.
Even if you find the above unconvincing, Mexico remains uniquely ill
suited for capital punishment. The nations most pressing penal problem is
not insufficiently severe punishment; it is impunity. From jaywalking to
murder, between 98 and 99 % of crimes go unpunished.
Numerous studies have shown that crime rates don't drop when the severity
of the penalty is increased, but when the likelihood of its being applied
increases. This makes sense: for a kidnapper who could make $50,000 for a
week's work, a 1 % chance of being caught whether the penalty is 5 years
in prison, 50 years, the gas chamber, or the rack doesn't offer much of a
Mexico would be much better off leaving its criminal penalties untouched
but quadrupling the conviction rate. Moreira knows that addressing
impunity is much more complicated than increasing the penalties, so he
makes his name as a crime-fighter via the path of least resistance. That's
good politics, but it shouldn't be confused with actually addressing the
Not only would the plan fail to addresses the root cause of Mexico's
insecurity, it would also create a new ream of problems. Corruption and
abuse pervade the nation's criminal justice system. Jails have often come
under the de facto control of the criminals housed there. The trial
system, whose closed nature made it a logical target for bribery, is in
the midst of an uncertain transition to oral. To a degree far greater than
in the United States, poorer detainees are prone to suffering abuse and
being deprived of their basic rights. Given the dysfunction in its penal
system, how will Mexico protect the rights of victims? If the United
States, with its long-ingrained traditions of presumption of innocence and
rights of the accused, struggles mightily to avoid executing innocent men,
is it reasonable to expect that Mexico will have better luck?
The specific details of Moreira's plan, namely its proposed application to
kidnappers who murder their victim, are also problematic. Kidnappings are
almost never the work of one person; they are carried out by organized
syndicates. So is Moreira planning on executing a team of 6 (or 8 or 10 or
11) people for 1 murder? Does this mean that a 16-year-old girl charged
with giving the victim food is as culpable as the gang's leader? If
Moreira plans on executing only the triggerman won't that punish the peons
for doing their boss's dirty work?
Moreira is said to harbor presidential ambitions, and the death penalty
gambit surely won't hurt his chances of landing on the top of a future PRI
ticket. But if he wants to be considered a serious policymaker rather than
just a savvy politician, he needs to abandon such counterproductive and
populist security schemes.
(source: Mexidata.info----Patrick Corcoran is a writer who resides in
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