[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Jul 20 13:36:08 CDT 2008
Public executions in Games lead-up
CHINA has reverted to public executions on the eve of the Olympics as part
of a massive security operation mounted to protect the Beijing Games from
what Communist Party authorities describe as an urgent threat of violence
and anti-government protest.
The Washington Post reported at the weekend that 3 young men were shot
shortly after dawn in the city of Yengishahar in Xinjiang - the mainly
Muslim region of northwestern China.
"The local government bused several thousand students and office workers
into a public square and lined them up in front of a vocational school,"
the Post reported. "As the spectators watched, witnesses said, 3 prisoners
were brought out.
"Then an execution squad fired rifles at the 3 point-blank, killing them
on the spot."
The men were among 17 people convicted in nearby Kashgar of being members
of the outlawed East Turkestan Islamic Movement.
They were seized during a raid by the Chinese authorities in January last
year on what they said was a terrorist training camp, when 18 others, and
a policeman, were killed.
Authorities said they were part of a campaign aimed at disrupting the
Beijing Olympics by the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Observers have
not been aware of public executions in China in recent years, despite no
official edict stopping the practice.
The reports at the weekend appear to show public executions had begun
again as the ruling party cracks down on any unrest before the Olympics.
"Especially as the Beijing Olympic Games draw near, a range of anti-China
forces and hostile forces are striving by any means and redoubling efforts
to engage in troublemaking and sabotage," Yang Huanning, a vice-minister
of public security and an anti-terrorism specialist, said in a declaration
to the Public Security Bureau's newspaper.
3 members of an international drug-trafficking gang, nicknamed "125", were
executed - although not in public - last Thursday in Fuzhou, the capital
of Fujian province in southern China. And 6 drug dealers were executed
last month on the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit
China's leaders have extended the scope of their concerns in the lead-up
to the Games to include peaceful political protests.
Chinese authorities arrested a human rights campaigner for "illegal
possession of state secrets" after he became an advocate for the parents
of thousands of children killed in the Sichuan earthquake when their
school buildings collapsed while neighbouring structures survived intact.
Huang Qi, aged 45, was detained by police in Chengdu, the capital of
Sichuan province, 6 weeks ago after he had posted articles on his website
about structural problems with the school buildings that had collapsed
when the quake struck on May 12.
He has previously spent 2 years in jail for similarly posting articles on
"sensitive" subjects. He was released in 2005.
It was only at the weekend that his family - his wife and mother - learned
from police of Mr Huang's formal arrest.
His wife, Zeng Li, said: "The police didn't say why, but we think it was
because of when he went to help in the quake area with food and money, and
met many parents who'd lost children."
The "net police" have also recently closed down a website, operated by
another rights activist, 36-year-old Lu Jun, that focuses on aiding
China's 95 million hepatitis B carriers.
(source: The Australian)
Palace: GMA intervention saved 24 OFWs from execution
Malacaang officials disclosed yesterday that President Arroyo's personal
intervention with kings and heads of state, particularly in the Middle
East, has saved some 24 overseas Filipino workers from execution and
secured the freedom of 11 other OFWs since 2006.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Presidential Management Staff Cerge
Remonde in separate statements thanked Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad
Al-Jaber Al-Sabah who signed a decree last July 8 that commuted the death
sentence of Filipina maid May Vecina to life imprisonment.
Vecina was convicted of killing her employer's youngest son Salem Sulaiman
Al-Otaib on Jan. 6, 2007. She was also accused of trying to kill the
victims 13-year-old brother and wounded his 17-year-old sister.
Vice President Noli de Castro on Friday said Philippine embassy officials
in Kuwait are still working to get a pardon for Vecina and another
detained OFW Marilou Ranario after the Kuwaiti emir saved them from
Ranario, 35, was convicted in 2005 for killing her female employer. In
2007, the Kuwaiti Supreme Court upheld the conviction. But in December
that year, the emir spared her from execution following a visit and plea
from Mrs. Arroyo.
It can be recalled that the President also personally appealed to King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to save Sara Dematera from death row. Dematera
was repatriated to the Philippines and reunited with her family in May
Officials said Mrs. Arroyo wrote a letter of gratitude to the emir for his
latest act of sparing the life of another OFW.
"You can see that we have a compassionate president," Ermita said. "Our
President goes out of her way to talk to prime ministers, kings and emirs
to save the lives of our fellow Filipinos."
Remonde said "the commutation of the death sentence of Vecina by the
Kuwaiti emir is another demonstration of the high standing and respect
President Arroyo enjoys in the international community."
"It is indeed a pity that a person is not a prophet in her own country.
When will we ever give President Arroyo the credit she rightfully
deserves," he said.
Citing a report from Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers
Esteban Conejos, Ermita said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has
handled 62 death penalty cases involving OFWs since January 2006.
He said the DFA is monitoring 30 death penalty cases in varying stages of
"Through the active intervention of the President in 24 death penalty
sentences, 11 OFWs have been freed and repatriated," Conejos said.
After a Filipina worker was saved from execution in Kuwait for killing her
6-year-old ward and injuring 2 others, Senate President Manuel Villar Jr.
called on the government to provide adequate assistance and equal
attention to other OFWs, who are detained abroad and awaiting execution.
Villar, also Nacionalista Party president, earlier filed Senate Resolution
No. 421 urging the Senate to inquire into the status of OFWs in death rows
In his resolution, Villar cited the latest statistics indicate that there
are 35 OFWs facing cases with capital punishment as penalty, including 1
in Brunei, 2 in China, 1 in the United States, 4 in Kuwait, 9 in Saudi
Arabia, and 10 in Malaysia.
Villar reiterated his call as he welcomed the news of the commutation of
the death sentence of Vecina.
Citing records culled by the Magna Carta for Migrant Workers and Overseas
Filipinos (RA 8042), the Labor Code of the Philippines, treaties on
international labor and human rights conventions of which the Philippines
is a signatory, and the guarantees of the 1987 Constitution on labor,
Villar noted that the government must extend full assistance to our
"We should avoid resorting to last-ditch efforts which compromise the
safety and security of our OFWs," Villar said.
In coordination with Migrante International, Villar has launched OFW
Helpline (0917-4226800), which aims to provide a channel where distressed
OFWs and their families can report their predicament.
(source: Philippine Star)
Murder convicts shot by firing squads
3 convicted murderers were shot by firing squads Saturday, including a
mother and son executed in Surabaya and a man executed in Banten.
Sumiarsih, 60, and her son Sugeng, 44, were shot by a firing squad at 20
past midnight Saturday in a remote field in the East Java capital.
They were blindfolded and shot by 20 police officers from a distance of 30
They were convicted of murdering a marine named Purwanto and the 4 other
members of his family in 1988 (not 1998 as reported Saturday) over a money
dispute and were sentenced to death in 1989. The murder took place in the
red-light district of Dolly in Surabaya.
Sumiarsih's husband, Djais Adi Prayitno, and her son in-law, Adi Saputro,
were also involved in the killing. Adi Saputro, formerly a member of the
police, was put to death in 1992. Djais died of illness.
Separately, Yusuf Maulana, who claimed to have the power to magically
duplicate money, was executed Friday at around 10:30 p.m. in Banten,
The bodies of all 3 convicts were returned to their families early
Saturday for burial.
Sumiarsih's last request was that her cell mates continue to care for her
flowers. Her son, Sugeng, asked to meet his old friend, Camelia. Both were
granted their last wishes.
Local and international human rights groups have repeatedly called for the
end to the death penalty, saying it does not necessarily stop people from
engaging in serious crimes.
A high ranking official of East Java's prosecutor's office, I Made
Suratmaja, said in Surabaya on Saturday that opponents to the death
penalty should propose to the government and the legislature that they
revise the criminal code and other laws justifying the punishment.
Soeteja Djajasasmita, Sumiarsih and Sugeng's lawyer, said he had tried to
spare his clients' lives, but had failed. He had argued that they had
served 20 years in prison and that they had both expressed remorse for
"I hope there will be no death penalty or executions anymore in the
future. Let this be the last one," he added.
The mother and son held prayers with priests before their execution.
Sumiarsih and Sugeng's body were buried at public cemetery Sama'an in
Malang, East Java. The burial attracted a small crowd as the cemetery is
close to a traditional market.
Hakim, spokesman for the Purwanto family, said they had forgiven the 2
Indonesia also executed 2 Nigerian nationals in June on drug trafficking
charges. Last year on June 10, the state executed self-professed shaman,
Ahmad Suradji, who killed 42 women to increase his magical powers.
Currently, Indonesia has 109 convicts on death row, including 3 terrorists
sentenced to death for their involvement in the 2002 Bali bombing.
(source: Jakarta Post)
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