[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu May 22 18:42:50 CDT 2008
Saudi Execution of Syrians Blasted
A Syrian human rights activist said Saudi execution of Syrian nationals
was illegal and politically-motivated, adding Saudi Arabia's judicial
apparatus was not independent.
The head of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, Ammar
al-Qurba, told Alalam on Thursday: "Two thousand Syrian nationals are kept
in Saudi prisons, 200 of whom have been sentenced to capital punishment
and four of them have recently been executed on charges of drug
"The move has incited protests in Syria and the Arab and international
legal circles," al-Qurba said.
Al-Qurba said many Arab and Western organizations believe the death
sentences issued against Syrian nationals were politically-charged and
based on Saudi laws and regulations the rulings are illegal and are a
clear indication that the country's judicial system is not independent.
He noted recent executions of two anonymous Syrian nationals in the
kingdom as cases in point.
"Contrary to claims of Saudi officials, the way the files of the 2 Syrian
nationals were treated and also their execution show that the cases have
not been investigated from judicial point of view and the proceedings are
"Several Arab and international judicial organizations too have testified
the point," said the Syrian activist.
Citing a judicial agreement reached between Syria and Saudi Arabia,
al-Qurba said Saudi officials should inform the Syrian Embassy in Riyadh
of personal status, health and judicial condition and the court verdicts
issued in case of all Syrian inmates in Saudi Arabia.
He added that Saudi officials should verify death sentences issued against
Syrian nationals so that the embassy could take necessary measures.
"Damascus has protested execution of two of its nationals, considering it
contrary to a judicial deal reached between the two countries. The Syrian
nationals had initially sentenced to seven and 10 years in prison and
prison terms of one of them was almost nearing an end," said al-Qurba.
Based on Saudi judicial rules, an inmate who could recite the Holy Quran
by heart would be released and some of the Syrian nationals had recited
the holy book by heart during their imprisonment but Saudi officials did
not reverse the death sentences, he charged.
(source: Alalam News)
We are studying the death penalty: NHRC chief
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is independently studying the
validity of the death penalty in India, says its chief, Justice (Retd) S.
Rajendra Babu. "Even though the government has not sought any suggestions
from the NHRC so far, the panel has undertaken research with respect to
the UN General Assembly's resolution against capital punishment, in the
Indian context," Babu told IANS in an interview.
The General Assembly has passed a resolution for abolishing the death
sentence all over the world, saying "it is not humane at all", he said.
Babu's statement assumes significance in the light of the mercy petition
of parliament attack accused Afzal Guru which is pending with the
On Dec 13, 2001, 5 gunmen stormed the heavily guarded parliament complex
and killed 9 people before being shot dead. Afzal was awarded the death
penalty, a verdict upheld by the Supreme Court. However, his hanging
scheduled for Oct 20, 2006, was put off after his wife submitted a mercy
petition to then president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Many international organisations have been rallying for removal of the
death penalty awarded to him and calling for a ban on capital punishment.
Babu, who took over as the 5th chairperson of the NHRC in 2007, said: "The
NHRC is studying the issue on its own and will give suggestions to the
government if asked for."
He also rejected recent claims by the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC)
that the Indian Army's human rights record had deteriorated.
Babu said: "The Indian Armys track record has not deteriorated. There have
been voices to scrap the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act -AFSPA - from
the northeast states, but the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the
"The armed forces cannot exploit the powers as the Army Act is also in
place in these areas. Sometimes some innocent people do get killed in the
crossfire between the army and militants. The situation is not as alarming
as it is made out to be," he said.
Babu, who retired as chief justice of India on June 1, 2004, condemned as
"hopeless" the state of prison affairs in the country and held Bihar jails
as the worst in terms of reforms.
"Hopeless! It is bad. Starting from Tihar, all jails in the country are
congested. Bihar's jails are the worst. The panel is not satisfied with
the prison reforms," Babu said.
Tihar, one of Asia's largest jails, has the capacity to house 6,250
prisoners, but the actual number lodged is nearly 12,000.
The NHRC chief also expressed concern at the violence carried out by the
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) of Raj Thackeray against outsiders.
'Article 19 of the Indian Constitution enables any person to move to any
place and work. The problem is that locals there have a concept that 'sons
of the soil' (Marathi manoos) should get all the benefits.
"We have intervened in the situation in Maharashtra. But we can do so only
to an extent. Migrants should be accepted locally," he said.
Jealous cousin kills bride at weddingFrom correspondents in Amman
A jealous Jordanian man has been charged with murder for stabbing his
teenage cousin to death during her wedding to another man, a security
"The 26-year-old suspect stabbed his 16-year-old cousin with a dagger 5
times in the chest and stomach inside the court as she and another male
relative were being married by a judge," the official said.
"She was rushed to hospital but died there. The man, who apparently killed
her because she refused to marry him, was arrested immediately."
If convicted, the man could face the death penalty over the incident in
the southern city of Karak.
Court permission is usually required for women under 18 to get married in
the Muslim kingdom.
"So far, there is no indication that the crime was an honour killing,"
another security official said.
Under Jordanian law, crimes of passion, those committed in the heat of the
moment, are not subject to the death penalty.
Killers often receive light sentences if convicted as the standard
punishment under these circumstances is normally 3 to 12 months in jail.
Parliament has twice refused to reform the penal code despite pressure
from human rights groups to end the near impunity of the perpetrators.
(source: Agence France-Presse)
New CHR chief vs restoration of death penalty
The new head of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Leila De Lima,
rejected on Thursday proposals to restore the death penalty, raised in the
wake of the spate of murders in Cabuyao and Calamba, Laguna last week.
"In our advocacy against the death penalty law, the Commission is not
against serving justice to the victim," De Lima said in a statement.
However, she noted that there is no proof the death penalty law deterred
crime from the time it was restored in the country in1993 until it was
repealed again in December 2006.
"What has proven to be a deterrent is the certainty, and not the severity,
of punishment to which the death penalty carries no room for human error,
no room for restoration. The effect of death penalty is irreversible," De
Various groups and senators have called for the reinstatement of the death
penalty following the bloody May 16 bank robbery in Cabuyao, Laguna, in
which 8 bank employees, a security guard and a client were executed by the
3 days later, a lone gunman shot dead 8 villagers in Calamba while they
were asleep in their houses.
"The CHR takes this opportunity to remind all stakeholders that the
re-imposition of the death penalty is a breach of international
obligations by virtue of our bounden commitments with international human
rights treaties," De Lima added.
(source: Philippine Inquirer)
Politicians renew debate on returning death penalty to Ukraine
Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko called for returning
the death penalty against those convicted of heinous crimes.
For more than a decade, Ukraines death penalty has been outlawed, but
interest in bringing it back was revived by the Minister of Internal
Affairs Yuriy Lutsenko a month ago.
"I am for re-instating shooting as capital punishment for especially
heinous crimes against citizens," Lutsenko said last month while answering
journalists questions during a parliamentary session break.
Lutsenko referred to the Soviet method of executing those convicted of a
capital crime. It's unclear what motivated the minister's suggestion as
his political faction favors aggressive EU integration. The EU opposes the
Until Lutsenko's comment, the Communist Party of Ukraine was the only
major political player advocating the death penaltys return.
Though about 51 % of Ukrainians support using the death penalty to punish
heinous crimes, according to a 2007 survey conducted by the non-profit
FOM-Ukraine, its not likely to make a comeback.
In February, a vote was held on a bill on renewing the death penalty but
only drew 49 votes in support, mostly from the Communists, who claim that
homicides nearly doubled since its abolishment, but offering no specific
figures or evidence proving one caused the other.
The Post was unable to independently verify these statistics.
The Soviet government employed the death penalty, typically by shooting,
for 17 types of crime, said Svitlana Poberezhna, the head of Amnesty
International in Ukraine. The death penalty was also used against
traitors, spies and saboteurs. Shooting was the sole technique used in
carrying out the death penalty in the USSR.
Executions were carried out privately, in the soundproof basements of
special shooting prisons. The basements of these prisons were equipped
with a special carpet upon which the condemned stepped on before receiving
a bullet to the back of his head. The carpet was cleaned by an automatic
In the 5 years before the Soviet Unions collapse, more than 2,000 people
were condemned to death and 276 were executed, Soviet Minister of Justice
Sergei Lyschikov revealed in January 1991. The Ukrainian SSR didn't
maintain separate statistics.
Since Ukraines independence in 1991, a total of 612 people were executed
under the death penalty, according the Vinnytsia Human Rights
Organization, all for premeditated murder.
Former President Leonid Kuchma put a moratorium on the death penalty in
1997. Reinstating it could harm Ukraine's Eurointegration efforts, since
the EU frowns on capital punishment among its members.
"This is a very important issue for the Council of Europe, of which
Ukraine is a member," warned Ian Boag, head of the European Commission in
Ukrainian human rights groups will fight any attempt to bring back the
death penalty, particularly through shooting, which they assert is
unconstitutional and a cruel punishment.
In response to Lutsenko's proposal to use shooting as capital punishment,
the Vinnytsia Human Rights Organization sent an official request to Prime
Minister Yulia Tymoshenko to dismiss the internal affairs minister from
his post, as well as a 2nd letter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with
a request to comment on Lutsenko's statement.
"This statement threatens Ukraine's international reputation," said Viktor
Rolik, assistant manager of Vinnytsia Human Rights Organization.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not commented.
Observers speculated Lutsenko raised the death penalty issue simply to
score political points, though he is not a candidate for the May 25
"Exclusively to collect populist points, Lutsenko posed an issue that a
responsible politician today wouldn't even raise, considering the
country's present problems, such as corruption in the ministry which he
heads and cant deal with," said Mykhaylo Prohrebinskiy, director of the
Center for Political Research and Conflict Studies in Kyiv, financed by
(source: Kyiv Post)
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