[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Feb 16 02:08:15 CST 2008
Death Penalty V
There are lies, damn lies and statistics. This is, an oft quoted saying
because statistics are often quoted to mislead. The figures are true but
the conclusions are false. Here is a good example. The Human Rights
Commission has concluded that there is no correlation between the death
penalty and the incidence of murder. We don't know which countries have
been studied and the circumstances appertaining. This is important. For
instance, since 1957, the incidence of murder in Belize has increased
annually, dramatically so in the last 5 years. In 1957, there was 1 murder
and the murderer was convicted and executed. The penalty for murder is
death but, there has been no execution since 1957. So, a study of the
death penalty and the incidence of murder in Belize would show that there
is no correlation between the two. In fact, it would suggest that we might
be better off to abolish capital punishment. You can see the illogic of
it. In fact, it is absurd.
The fact is that our courts no longer sentence convicted murderers to
death. It would not matter if they did because the government will not
execute any one. For years now, the sentence for this crime has been life
imprisonment. Before this, convicted murderers were sentenced to death,
commuted to life imprisonment by the Governor General on the advice of the
Belize Advisory Council when the circumstances warranted this action.
Although the Judiciary is independent. It does not operate in a vacuum. It
is influenced by the fact that the Privy Council seems to be at pains to
find reasons to overturn the decisions of inferior courts, when cases of
murderers sentenced to death by our Supreme Court and confirmed by the
Court of Appeals, have been appealed to it.
And, therefore, the deterrent effect to the incidence of this crime, which
capital punishment must have, is totally negated.
It is not so in our sister countries of CARICOM (Why they are sister and
not brother, I cant say) where the final court of appeal is the Caribbean
Court of Justice. Why the Privy Council is the final court of appeal for
Belize alone amongst CARICOM countries is a question you may wish to
address to the government. This is a very serious question because our
governments seem powerless to act decisively in dealing with the rising
level of lawlessness in our society and, especially, with regard to the
Britain and the other First World countries have abolished capital
punishment. The British are an orderly and comparatively affluent society.
They have a welfare state, free education and health care. Their buses and
trains run on time. You can post a letter or newspaper to anywhere in
England in the morning and the addressee will be reading them the same
night. You can walk the streets of London in the day or night (except,
perhaps on Harrow Road) without anyone disturbing you. No one will smash
your car window to get at whats inside if you leave it parked for a short
while. Or kill you for an ideal, a bottle of Guinness, your bicycle or, if
they think they have been dissed. As, they do here. Why, then does the
Privy Council and the Human Rights Commission make it their mission to
impose their ideas on us about crime and punishment.
This is the syllogism on which the Human Rights Commission base its
(i) Based on studies of certain societies, it has been found that there is
no correlation between the death penalty and the incidence of murder.
(ii) All societies are alike.
(iii) Therefore, there is no correlation between the death penalty and the
incidence of murder in Belize.
(iv) Therefore, the death penalty should be abolished.
No. (i) is a fact but, there is something wrong with the second statement.
There are vast differences between first world and third world societies.
We are all human beings and share the same human nature, but, we are far
from the same in our behaviour patterns. Can you conceive of an Englishman
killing a compatriot for an ideal (soft drink).
97 murders were committed in Belize in 2007. In a population of 300,000
that is a rate of about 1 in 3000. We are a sick society. The Book of
Numbers say the blood of a murdered victim defiles the land. So, we are
swimming in a sea of defilement and we have become so accustomed to it
that our political leaders have not come to the realization that CRIME IS
OUR NUMBER ONE PRIORITY. So much so that they come up with band-aid
measures to fight crime.
First world countries have been sovereign states for many centuries.
Britain is more than 800 years old. Belize is 26. They all have orderly
and highly organized societies. Belize may be on the road to that happy
state but it has a long way to go. The socio/cultural state of first world
countries should not be the basis to establish norms, for penal systems in
third world countries. This is what the Human Rights Commission (HRC)
seems to have set out to do.
It is a great boon to anyone who has been imprisoned for his political
convictions or mistreated as a prisoner in a foreign country, that there
is an organization which is internationally respected like the Human
Rights Commission to come to his aid. Its track record of service to
suffering humanity is magnificent indeed.
But, third world countries are having a problem with HRC when it comes to
the part it is playing in supporting the cause of convicted murderers. The
problem is that HRC believes they have a right to life, contrary to those
of us in Belize who are advocates of our Judeo/Christian tradition that
believe that the life of a murderer is forfeit.
I think that this is a fair question to ask. Should the Human Rights
Commission go so far as to frustrate the ends of justice in Belize by
retaining the services of one of our best attorneys to appeal cases of
convicted murderers to the Privy Council, thereby adding to the financial
burdens of government to defend the decisions of our courts? There are
more worthy causes for HRC to dispense funds in support.
A few years ago, a prominent journalist was commenting on the disorderly
state of affairs in our country, with particular reference to the
prevalence of murders and he said, "Things will get much worse before they
get better." I thought that was a very callous remark for him to make.
Other perceptive people felt the same way but they wouldn't give voice to
it. I don't think we need to have people making Columbus-like
pronouncements of the obvious. But, he was right! He was so right.
On Friday last, two men opened fire on party goers, presumably celebrating
the results of the elections at the Putt Putt Bar and Restaurant at the
old Newtown Club Site, killing one person and injuring ten others. There
were 3 other shooting incidents on the same night at different places in
the city. Another citizen was killed and 5 seriously injured.
What is striking about the 1st incident is that the murderers may or may
not have had a target but they did not care who were in their line of
fire. This speaks volumes about ATTITUDE. These individuals have no regard
for other people's lives, nor for our law enforcement agency, nor for our
justice system. Neither regard nor respect. They have the power of life
and death over their defenseless victims and can shoot them down like
pigeons. In their own minds and in the minds of their associates, they are
not mindless, senseless barbarians. They are friends and brothers because
they wear the same colours and belong to the same gang. The gangs are a
cancer on the body politic. They have been for sometime. I think it is
fairto ask what will the man whose sworn duty is to protect the lives of
our citizens do about this situation. Clearly, life imprisonment is not a
deterrent to murder.
The death penalty is not a deterrent in Belize because it is a punishment
which exists only in a book. To all intents and purposes it may as well be
abolished. If it were, what penalty should we impose for this crime which
will be more effective. Is there such a penalty?
I think that the lives of at least half of the 97 murder victims in 2007
would have been saved if murderers were executed. Perhaps, more because
many of these murderers have killed more than once. Our history supports
What is now to be done. Let our best minds be brought to bear on the
problem. The last Crime Commission was established in 1992. Since then,
the Minister of Home Affairs instituted a crime council composed of
himself, the CEO and senior member of the Police Department to deal with
crimes. According to their reports there has been a reduction in crime.
Statistics to the contrary, crime levels have got to the stage where
people no longer report them. They prefer to suffer in silence. We deserve
better. We deserve to have public safety and the protection of the lives
of our citizens given the highest priority by our government.
(source: Amandala (Belize) )
Japanese Supreme Court seals 5th death penalty for AUM member
The Japanese Supreme Court on Friday rejected an appeal against death
sentence filed by former AUM Shinrikyo member Yasuo Hayashi, who took part
in carrying out the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack in 1995.
Hayashi, the 5th one to be finalized death penalty among a total of 13
indicted Aum major members, was convicted of releasing sarin gas in a
crowded subway car in which 8 people died.
The ruling said Hayashi's unprecedented cruel and inhuman crime caused
grave and tragic result.
The 50-year-old criminal was sentenced to death by the Tokyo District
Court in June 2000. The ruling was maintained by the Tokyo High Court in
The Tokyo subway sarin gas attack on March 20, 1995 killed 12 people and
injured thousands. Death sentence for all the 13 convicted AUM members
were upheld by high courts.
(source: China View)
India seeks death penalty for hijackers
India says it plans to amend the Anti-Hijacking Act of 1982 and seek the
death penalty for hijackers.
The United Progressive Alliance government plans to amend the law to make
it much more iron-fisted, providing for a no-negotiation policy and the
death penalty to the hijackers, an Interior Ministry official said
He said after the new amendment, the government would treat hijackings as
acts of aggression and direct all domestic airports to immobilize a
hijacked plane if it lands. The Cabinet plans to take up the amendment at
its next meeting.
"If at all negotiations take place, it will only be tactical -- aimed at
preventing loss of life or bringing the incident to a swift closure," the
(source: United Press International)
Bali Bombers' Reprieve Likely To Be Brief
Lawyers for the 3 Islamist militants sentenced to death for their roles in
the 2002 Bali bombings have succeeded in winning an execution delay -- but
their last-ditch effort to save their clients from a firing squad is
likely to be only temporary.
Amrozi, Ali Ghufron, and Imam Samudra were sentenced to death in 2003 for
their roles in the 2002 bombings in Bali that left 202 people dead. 88
Australian holidaymakers on the Indonesian island were among the victims.
The execution date for the bombers was set in 2006, but has been delayed
On Jan 2, the 3 officially learned that the Indonesian Supreme Court had
dismissed their final appeals and they faced imminent execution. The
30-day period for seeking mercy from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang
Yudhoyono which began then has now expired, although the 3 had always
vowed they would never seek pardon.
But earlier this month, it was learned that their defence lawyers had
successfully applied for a last-ditch procedural review by Indonesia's
Supreme Court. "It's really only a hearing to determine the
appropriateness of the judicial process. It doesnt actually go to the
question of the sentence," Damien Kingsbury, Indonesia expert and
associate professor at Australias Deakin University, told IPS.
The review was expected to delay the execution date by at least 3 to 4
months. "I wouldnt expect it inside of that. It could be longer," he said.
Kingsbury expected that the capital sentence would be carried out after
the review. But he cautioned that absolute certainty was impossible as the
Indonesian judicial system was "enormously malleable and inconsistent".
Experts remain divided over whether the eventual executions of the Bali
bombers would result in a backlash by Islamic extremists, something the
bombers themselves have forecast.
"(The executions) would become the light for the faithful ones and burning
hell fire for the infidels and hypocrites," the bombers said in a joint
statement written last September.
Former Bali police chief, General I Made Mangku Pastika, has warned of
militant Islamists wanting to avenge any executions. This would damage
Indonesias broader counter-terrorism campaign.
"Are we capable of coping with the backlash? Are we ready to have the
execution inside Bali or outside Bali?" he asked in an interview published
by a Sydney newspaper in 2005.
But Kingsbury was sceptical whether many in Indonesia would find
inspiration in the bombers martyrdom. The number of "like-minded people"
was less than before, though these "could stage further bombings in
protest at the executions".
Some kind of public, non-violent display of solidarity was certainly
possible, he said. But the organisation Jemaah Islamiya (JI) had been
seriously weakened over the past couple of years and its capacity to carry
out attacks diminished.
JI, which the three bombers admitted to being members of, during their
trials, is an organisation purportedly linked to al-Qaida. It is believed
to have been behind a series of bombings in Indonesia and the Philippines.
JIs professed aim is to establish an Islamic state in Southeast Asia,
including Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and southern areas of the
Philippines and Thailand.
Sidney Jones, a senior advisor with the International Crisis Groups (ICG)
Asia programme, agreed that there could be a public show of anger over the
executions of the convicted bombers. But she doubted whether this would
escalate into planned violence.
"I think that there are likely to be demonstrations or large gatherings of
their supporters in their home town, especially if the bodies are returned
home for burial," Jones told IPS.
"But I dont think we should necessarily assume that there will be a
backlash in terms of some kind of terrorist actions in retaliation towards
the police or toward the Indonesian government."
She added: "The general assessment, particularly within JI ranks, is that
theyre too weak to carry anything out." This was the view of Abu Dujana, a
JI leader arrested in June 2007. Also, the rank-and-file who had called
for retaliation for their losses in police operations in Poso in central
Sulawesi had been told each time that the time was "not favourable".
Noor Huda Ismail, a Southeast Asia analyst with the Jamestown Foundation,
a U.S.-based think-tank, believed that the capture of Abu Dujana and other
supporters was "a major blow to the network". But he warned that JI
remained a threatening force. Executing the Bali bombers could be followed
by violence unless there were "meticulous" counter-terrorism measures
"Experience in the last 7 years has indicated that JI is a resilient
clandestine organisation and it has the ability to adapt to external rifts
and crackdown efforts by the authorities," Ismail wrote in the foundations
magazine, Terrorism Focus, last year.
"The continual arrest of JI members suggests that its numbers are
consistently greater than most security analysts speculate... Indonesia
and other countries may still suffer from new terrorist attacks, though
possibly not large in scale ...," he warned.
(source: IPS News)
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