[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Feb 10 17:27:03 CST 2008
Japan MPs moot halt to executions
A cross-party group of Japanese legislators has said it has drafted a bill
proposing a 4-year moratorium on the death penalty.
The bill, a step towards abolition, will shortly be submitted to
parliament and introduces life imprisonment without parole as a
Japan and the United States are the only industrial democracies to
maintain capital punishment.
But the initiative is likely to meet stiff opposition.
Critics have long described Japan's use of the death penalty as unworthy
of a liberal democracy.
As much as the principle of it, the way the death penalty is administered
has been condemned both domestically and abroad: death row inmates are
executed at short notice, to deter appeals.
They are put to death by hanging, generally on a Friday and during
parliamentary recess to avoid media exposure or public opposition.
At the trial stage, defendants may not have easy access to a lawyer, and
the prosecutorial system tends to value confessions above evidence.
Abolitionist parliamentarians appear to think the time is right for
But the current Justice Minister, Kunio Hatoyama, is a vocal supporter of
capital punishment. He has signed off 6 executions since taking office
And surveys suggest a majority of Japanese want to retain the death
penalty for particularly heinous crimes.
The country's violent crime rate remains low by global standards, but has
risen considerably since the mid-1990s.
(source: BBC News
Amnesty appeals against Iran's anti-Arab executions
The following appeal was issued by Amnesty International.
Zamel Bawi, a member of the Iranian Arab minority, was executed on 29
January at 4am in Karoun Prison, Khuzestan province. On 28 January, the
eve of his execution, Zamel Bawi was allowed a family visit. Neither Zamel
nor his family nor his lawyer were informed of the imminence of the
execution, although Iranian law states that the authorities should inform
a detainee's lawyer at least 48 hours before a death sentence is due to be
Zamel Bawi, a businessman and shop owner, was arrested by security forces
on 11 August 2005 along with four of his brothers and a cousin. At the end
of October 2005, Zamel Bawi had been sentenced to death. On 10 June 2006
Branch 3 of the Abdulredha Nawaseri who were executed in 2007 (see UA
57/06 MDE 13/023/2006, 10 March 2006 and follow-ups). The 10 men were
accused of being "mohareb" (at enmity with God) which can carry the death
penalty. Other charges included "destabilizing the country", "attempting
to overthrow the government", "possession of home-made bombs", "sabotage
of oil installations" and carrying out bombings in Ahvaz, which took place
between June and October 2005. Zamel Bawi was further convicted of hiding
seven home-made bombs.
The remaining men are serving prison sentences varying between 10 and 25
years in exile within the country. Amnesty International believes that
Mohsen Bawi is detained in Konarak Prison, outside the town of Chabahar,
in Sistan-Baluchistan province and Imad Bawi is detained in Tabas Prison,
in Khorasan province. The two brothers were said to have been taken into
solitary confinement following the news of the execution of their brother.
Much of Iran's Arab community lives in the province of Khuzestan, which
borders Iraq. It is strategically important because it is the site of much
of Iran's oil reserves, but the Arab population does not feel it has
benefited as much from the oil revenue as the Persian population.
Historically, the Arab community has been marginalised and discriminated
against. There were mass demonstrations in April 2005, after it was
alleged that the government planned to disperse the country's Arab
population or to force them to relinquish their Arab identity. Following
bomb explosions in Ahvaz City in June and October 2005, which killed at
least 14 people, and explosions at oil installations in September and
October 2005, the cycle of violence intensified, with hundreds of people
reportedly arrested. There have been reports of torture. Further bombings
on 24 January 2006, in which at least six people were killed, were
followed by further mass arrests. At least 17 men have now been executed
as a result of their alleged involvement in the bombings. It is not clear
if another man was executed or died in custody.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible,
in English, French Farsi, Arabic, or your own language:
- stating that Amnesty International recognizes the rights and
responsibilities of governments to bring to justice those suspected of
criminal offences, but strongly opposes the death penalty as the ultimate
cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and violation of the right to
- deploring the execution of Zamel Bawi;
- seeking clarification as to why Zamel Bawi's lawyer was not informed at
least 48 hours before his execution, as he should have been according to
- seeking full details of the trials of Zamel Bawi, his brothers Mohsen,
Imad, Hani and Moslem; their cousin Asad Bawi, relatives Mansour Tayouri
and Hassan Boughedar; and Lefteh Sarkhi, including details of the charges
and evidence against them and any appeals they may have made;
- expressing concern at reports that these prisoners were not granted
access to a lawyer during some or all sessions of their trial, and as
such, their trial did not meet international standards for fair trial, as
laid down by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights to which Iran is a State Party.
- seeking assurances that those who remain in prison are not being
tortured or ill-treated in detention.
(source: British Ahwazi Friendship Society)
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