[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue May 20 21:15:34 CDT 2008
Death penalty revival shot down
SEVERAL members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and
a senator have joined a growing opposition to a plan to revive the death
penalty after the twin massacres in Laguna.
Pampanga Archbishop Paciano aniceto, chairman of then Episcopal Commission
on Family and Life, San Pablo Bishop Leo Drona, Basilan Bishop Martin
Jumoad and Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez called for a swift and
thorough investigation to bring to justice the perpetrators of the latest
killings. Aniceto said taking away the life of a convicted criminal will
not effectively solve the problem.
"We believe that [death penalty] is not the solution. In fact, detention
facilities are still crowded with inmates who are facing the maximum
penalty and yet crimes are unabated," the Pampanga prelate said as he
added: "The society is still the same, it is not changing."
Aniceto said the solution to preventing heinous crimes in the society is
by giving utmost importance to the moral fiber. He said it should start
with family and giving importance to the sacredness of life, the value and
the sacred character of life.
Drona, for his part, said that the latest violent attack was a work of
perpetrators who are worse than animals.
Gutierrez said death penalty should not be used again by the government to
revive its imposition as this is not the most effective way to solve
Echoing Drona's call for a speedy solution to the case, Jumoad said he was
"[knocking] on the door" of the suspects in the bank heist to listen to
their conscience and turn themselves in.
(source: Manila Standard Today)
A Yemen's leading opposition journalist facing death penalty
The Sana'a-based Specialized Penal Court will issue its final verdict
against jailed opposition journalist, Abdulkareem al-Khaiwani on
Al-Khaiwani, Editor-In-Chief of opposition news website al-Shura.net and
suspended weekly al-Shura, was sentenced to a year in prison last
September for "alleged" incitement, insulting President Saleh, publishing
'false news', causing sectarian discrimination and supporting al-Houthi
rebellion in Sa'ada governorate.
Based on these charges Al-Khaiwani may face death penalty.
The government cloned his newspaper, the opposition weekly al-Shoura in
2004 and blocked his website al-Shura.net for several times the last of
which was on Tuesday, just one perceding his trail.
Several local and international media and rights organizations expressed
their grave concern about the trial of journalist, charged with being a
member of a terrorist group and appealed to President Saleh to free
al-Khaiwani as he is prosecuted for expressing of opinion.
The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the French-based
Reporters sans Frontieres have both expressed concern about the media
crackdown in Yemen.
The (CPJ) noted recent statements by President Saleh in favor of democracy
and human rights.
'Those who embrace democratic values do not put journalists in prison for
what they publish,' it said. 'If Yemeni officials are serious about
democracy and human rights, they will free Abdulkareem al-Khaiwani
immediately, allow suspended papers back on newsstands, and cease their
harassment of the media.
Expectations of the ruling vary from some years in jai to a fine and event
to death penalty.
Tens of journalists, correspondents, rights activists and lawmakers are
expected to attend al-Khaiwani's final deliberation.
Al-Khaiwani's verdict concurs with the 18th anniversary of Yemeni
(source: Yemen Online)
Death sentence upheld for role in burying 2 alive
The Osaka High Court on Tuesday upheld the death sentence given to a
23-year-old unemployed man for his role in the group assault and live
burial of 2 men in 2006.
Presiding Judge Masaki Wakahara said the actions of Ryuji Kobayashi were
cruel and without a trace of humanity, upholding the ruling of the Osaka
According to the ruling, Shoji Fujimoto, 21, a student of Higashiosaka
College, and Tetsuya Iwagami, 21, unemployed, were lured to Okayama by
Kobayashi and several associates in June 2006.
The group assaulted the 2 men and then buried them alive at a waste
disposal site in the city, with Kobayashi playing a leading role. The 2
victims had previously clashed with 23-year-old Yuta Tokumitsu,
unemployed, 1 of 7 other people indicted over their involvement in the
The judge said there was no reason to withhold the death sentence and
dismissed an appeal from Kobayashi's defense counsel.
(source: Yomiuri Shimbun)
Inmates Plead for Deliverance
The common prayer of those on Zambia's jam-packed death row is for divine
intervention to end their hell on earth and let the waiting hangman carry
out his job speedily, according to a recently released inmate.
"It is so painful to be in suspense, we would pray to be hanged,"
Churchill Malama, 33, recounted to IPS. Malama spent 3 years on death row
in the Mukobeko Maximum Security Prison, located in the central town of
Kabwe. His death sentence for murder was overturned by the Supreme Court
The "torment and trauma" of life on death row were relieved only by
worship and the exchange of words between inmates. "There are no
activities there to relax your mind," Malama said.
He described as "painful and degrading" the living conditions for the
condemned, crammed into the 48 cells on death row: "Each cell -- measuring
just 2 1/2 metres by 2 metres -- is supposed to have just 1 or 2 inmates,
but there were 5 or 6 of us with 2 mattresses to share." There was no
sanitation or ventilation. "We improvised chambers (toilets) by cutting up
5 or 2 1/2 litre plastic containers for human waste. It was traumatic,"
During the day, death row inmates -- totalling 306 at the time of his
release -- were let out of their cells. But the space where they could
circulate was only 3 metres wide and 30 metres long, he said.
Malama recalled the traumatic day, Feb 10, 2005, when he was condemned to
death by the High Court in the capital, Lusaka, after being held for 4
years as a remand prisoner. He had been accused of murder and robbery
after being attacked by an armed gang while guarding a city electricity
sub-station with 6 colleagues from the Zambia National Service, a military
wing that carries out civilian projects. 2 officers died in the attack.
"I reported the case to the police. But the police turned against me. The
judge convicting me called me a conspirator, but I was innocent. I never
expected that pronouncement, 'You are sentenced to hang until pronounced
dead.' I felt the world had closed in on me. I blacked out."
>From that moment on the formerly friendly prison staff treated him as a
Malama was loaded onto a truck with 5 other inmates condemned that day and
taken at high speed to Kabwe. "Instead of the normal 2 hours to reach
Kabwe, the truck took just over an hour," he recalled.
Twice in the years afterwards he attended Supreme Court appeal hearings.
But his case was adjourned each time. On the 3rd occasion, this year, the
court set him free.
"I couldn't hold back my tears. I couldn't believe I was out of hell,"
Malama said. "When I arrived home there was disbelief. It was like I had
been resurrected. The whole family, including my father and my mother,
were in tears."
Malama now intends to join the country's anti-death penalty campaign.
Campaigners interviewed by IPS expressed scepticism that Zambia would soon
abolish the death penalty.
The majority of the petitioners reporting to the recent Mung'omba
Constitutional Review Commission were in favour of retaining the death
penalty in the country's new constitution, Kelvin Hang'andu, a prominent
lawyer, told IPS.
"I can confidently say that the new constitution will have the death
penalty as a legal form of punishment," he said.
Leonard Kalinde, also a prominent lawyer and anti-death penalty activist,
said this situation reflected on those lobbying for capital punishment to
be banned: "As campaigners, we have not done enough to communicate the
message. We need more education on the death penalty. As a civilised
nation, we should have abolished the death penalty and should now be
focusing on (penal) reform."
Bishop Enocent Silwamba, executive director of the Prison Fellowship of
Zambia, strongly criticised Zambia's failure to do away with the death
penalty. "With our imperfect criminal justice system, not everyone
sentenced to death has committed a crime," he told IPS.
A visiting delegation from the African Union's Commission on Human and
Peoples Rights recently called on Zambia to abolish capital punishment;
however, commissioner Pansy Tlakula also noted, Apr 18, that the
delegation was encouraged by the fact that the country had not executed
any prisoners in recent years (the most recent execution took place in
In response, Mike Mulongoti, minister for information and broadcasting,
said it was the National Constitutional Conference that would finally
decide the matter.
Since Zambia's independence in 1964, 53 people are believed to have been
executed by hanging.
In 2004, President Levy Mwanawasa promised not to sign any death warrants
while in office; he was re-elected last year for another 6-year term.
(source: IPS News)
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