[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Feb 12 14:30:29 CST 2008
The history of execution
AMERICAN researcher Dr Norwood Andrews will give a talk about the history
of execution in America and Britain tonight in Coventry.
Dr Andrews, who is a researcher with the Warwick University centre for the
history of medicine, studies the relationships between medicine and
The talk takes place at Drapers' Hall in Bayley Lane, city centre.
It is being organised by Triangle theatre company, as part of its latest
project The Last Women, which is inspired by the crimes of passion
committed by Ruth Ellis who was hanged in London in 1955 and Mary Ball who
was hanged in Coventry in 1849.
Iranian hangings 'hit new record'
Early morning in Tehran, and 2 mobile cranes are being manoeuvred into
place. They are to act as temporary gallows for a public execution.
Already the crowd are out in force, some of them in a remarkably cheery
mood. A few are getting ready to photograph the scene on their mobile
phones. There are even one or two young children around.
Amid this strangely everyday scene, the black-masked hangmen begin their
work. They attach nooses to the cranes, check they are secure.
As the sentence is read out, the two criminals are brought out.
"The philosophy of punishment is to prevent the people from committing a
crime ---- Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi
They have been convicted of bank robberies and murders, including the
murder of a senior judge, close to this very spot in Tehran.
But there is no sign of remorse. In fact, one of the 2 men can't stop
smiling, even as the noose is put around his neck. Then swiftly the stool
is pulled from under their legs.
The bodies are left dangling - a lesson for everyone to see.
Under the government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the number of
executions has increased dramatically.
Amnesty International says the figures are up from 200 executions in 2006
to about 300 last year, and there have been more than 30 in the 1st month
of this year alone.
The Iranian government says the executions are necessary to deter hardened
criminals - murderers, drug dealers and rapists.
Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi, a professor of Islamic law based in the holy city
of Qom, explained this interpretation of Islam.
"They want to use this to frighten people, to make people afraid of
voicing criticism ----Shirin Ebadi, Human rights lawyer
"In Islam, punishment is very harsh," he said. "Because the philosophy of
punishment is to prevent the people from committing a crime."
In future that may include fewer public executions. The most recent was
held in January.
But now Iran's chief judge has ordered that none should be held without
his personal authorisation.
However, a similar edict stopping the punishment of stoning to death does
not seem to have been obeyed.
One man was stoned to death in Iran last year, after being convicted of
Human rights groups say 2 sisters, Zohreh and Azar Kabiri, now face the
same penalty, after they were also convicted of adultery. Both are
mothers, each with one child.
To add to this challenging list of punishments, the Iranian Nobel peace
prize winner and human rights lawyer, Shirin Ebadi, has warned of a
revival of the practice of amputation.
177 people executed in 2006
Death sentences for drugs smuggling, armed robbery, murder, political
violence and sexual offences
Moratorium on stoning announced in 2002
[source: Amnesty International]
She said that several criminals in the remote province of
Sistan-Baluchistan had recently had hands and legs amputated.
The violation of human rights in Iran had found new dimensions, warned the
group of lawyers that she heads.
Ms Ebadi says she believes that there is a political dimension to the
growing number of executions: "I see this as way of putting fear into
society. They want to use this to frighten people, to make people afraid
of voicing criticism."
It's not a charge that's likely to concern President Ahmadinejad.
His government has turned to a strict interpretation of Islam as a way of
reviving the revolution and controlling the population.
It's hard to say how many people in Iran support these policies, though
they are certainly more popular with Mr Ahmadinejad's poorer, more
conservative, rural supporters.
On this 29th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, the government of the
Islamic republic is prouder than ever of its difference from Western
It thrives on a confrontation with the West, not just on matters of
foreign policy, but on basic questions of religious and social values.
Nowhere are these differences more stark than in Iran's increasingly tough
attitude to crime and punishment.
(source: BBC News)
10 Years Passed Since Abolishment of Capital Punishment
The number of prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment grows every year
and more and more means are needed for their keeping
On 10 February, 1998 in Azerbaijan capital punishment was abolished and
replaced by life imprisonment. Last time capital punishment in Azerbaijan
was applied in 1992. Although no such kind of punishment as capital one
exists in many countries of the world, there are states where it is
applied, they are: China, Iran, some Arabian countries, African Muslim
states, USA etc.
World community ambiguously approaches the issue of abolishment of capital
punishment. The one assert that capital punishment is efficient measure
for prevention crimes, the others, following principle "God gives, God
takes", assert that only human relation to people and the good will help
to make the world a better place.
As Penitentiary service of Ministry of Justice of Azerbaijan informed
Echo, in Gobustan covered prison there are over 200 prisoners sentenced to
life imprisonment, of them 80 are former sentenced to death. Accordingly
to chairman of the Fund on protection of human rights and democracy
development, Murad Sadaddinov, as known, in Azerbaijan capital punishment
was abolished in connection with entry to the Council of Europe.
"But today not in all countries capital punishment is officially
abolished. In Russia, for example, moratorium is declared in this respect,
it is not just executed. There is no precise information on Central Asian
countries, but I can say in Turkmenistan capital punishment exists but
often it is not applied. In USA capital punishment exists, but not in all
states. In USA besides federal legislation there is legislation of states.
I spoke with prosecutor of state where capital punishment is applied.
Asked why capital punishment is not abolished he answered that such issue
is solved via population voting. If population of state vote for
abolishment of capital punishment, then be it so, and quite the contrary
occurs if population vote against. One of arguments of those who advocate
capital punishment is that people dont want to pay taxes for keeping the
persons sentenced to life imprisonment. I should stress that American
justice envisages certain kind of punishment without the right to be
released and with the right to be released", said human rights activist.
Accordingly to Sadaddinov the cruelest method of apply of capital
punishment is electric chair. By the way America gave up this method.
Accordingly to Sadaddinov in Azerbaijan number of persons sentenced to
life imprisonment is growing. It is connected with the fact that unlike
other sentenced persons those sentenced to life imprisonment seldom have
chance to get free.
"Several years ago number of persons sentenced to life imprisonment was
between 150-160, now it is over 200. Every year more and more money is
needed to keep the prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment. Penitentiary
system of Azerbaijan faces difficulty of keeping persons sentenced to life
imprisonment. In prison where they are kept there is no place. Amongst
them mainly there are persons of middle age, there are also aged persons
over 70. There are ones who have already been in prison for 16 years. It
is difficult to tell how much money is spent to keep these prisoners, but,
apparently less than in USA", he stressed.
As for the issue what is crueller life imprisonment or capital
punishment, Sadaddinov noted that jurists and psychologists are still
debating about it. There is fact that life imprisonment may safe person
from court error. In case of maniac-killer Chikatilo this fact took place.
Before he was arrested innocent person was taken and later shot. Only
after arrest of Chikatilo it was found out that error was made as executed
person earlier confessed in committing crimes under pressure."
"Today system of providing keeping conditions for prisoners sentenced to
life imprisonment doesnt comply with international standards. In developed
countries prisoners sentenced to life imprisonment use the same conditions
like the others, the only difference is that they are imprisoned for
lifetime", said human rights activists.
At the same time following to chairman of MM standing commission, Rabiyat
Aslanova, 10 years ago in Azerbaijan the issue of abolishment of capital
punishment was approached unambiguously, even she had such attitude.
"It seemed to me that it was too early to abolish capital punishment, but
decision was right. Heydar Aliyev was right when he said that evil
shouldnt be countered by evil. Person who committed crime should be given
chance to think over his deeds. Abolishment of capital punishment is the
sign of humanism. There is a view that if person committed crime then he
should be punished. But human life is given by God and nobody has right to
take it. On the other hand life imprisonment is cruel. If person realizes
that he will spend all his life in prison, not seeing his relatives and
friends, living life incomplete, it is sufficient punishment and ground
for not committing crime", R. Aslanova declared.
(source: R. Ibrahimkhalilova, The Echo)
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