[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Nov 15 22:45:52 CST 2008
Pardon after 22yrs on death row
Nigeria's president on Friday pardoned a 57-year old convicted armed
robber who had been awaiting the hangman's noose for more than 2 decades,
an official said.
"President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua today pardoned a man who has been on death
row for the past 22 years," presidential spokesperson Olusegun Adeniyi
said in a statement.
Ibrahim Aliyu had been in prison for 25 years in a maximum security jail
His pardon came less than a month after rights watchdog Amnesty
International criticised Nigeria's criminal justice system for major
failings and called for a moratorium on capital punishment.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa with 140 million people, has
725 men and 11 women on death row, according to Amnesty International
35 of those had been on death row for more than 15 years and at least 22
executions were carried out between May 1999 and 2008, according to the
(source: Agence France-Presse)
Yemen sentences Iranian drug smuggler to death
A Yemeni court Saturday sentenced to death the head of a group of Iranian
sailors held with a cargo of about 1.5 tonnes of hashish.
The court also issued jail sentences of 25 years each against 11 other
Iranians and a crew member believed to be Pakistani, whose vessel had been
seized by U.S.-led naval forces and handed over to Yemeni authorities.
Both the prosecution and defense lawyers said they would appeal the
Iran is a major transit route for drugs from Afghanistan, a top producer
of opium and hashish, to the West and Gulf Arab states.
Malaysian court sentences two Indonesian to the death row
A Malaysian court has sentenced 2 Indonesian, Mohamad Idris and Jainuddin,
with death penalty for drug trafficking, Antara newswire reported
The Kuala Lumpur based court found the 2 defendants guilty of distributing
marijuana and were found to be in a possession of 5.7 kilogram of
marijuana when they were arrested in September 2002.
The 2 claimed that they were innocent and did not know the content of a
package that they were then delivering to a person they identified as
Tengku Yan, but they were never able to proof the existence of Yan.
(source: The Jakarta Post)
Former First Lady Tells Bittersweet Memory
Quite often, a wife's assistance is necessary for a successful husband.
But Lee Hee-ho, 86, the wife of former President Kim Dae-jung, epitomizes
her 46-year life with her husband as being a good "companion'' rather than
just a helper.
The former First Lady said that's why she named her new autobiography
"Companion.'' She was a former First Lady but at the same time an
individual feminist activist.
"We have respected each other as good fellows. We hang two nameplates side
by side on our front door, which symbolizes us. I think we are the first
to do it in our age. We have discussed everything together,'' Lee told
reporters in a press conference.
She said that her book not only sums up her life full of vicissitudes in
modern history from the Japanese colonial era (1910-45), the Korean War
(1950-53) to the politically turbulent period in the 1960-80s, but also
introduces the stories of people who sacrificed their lives for democracy.
"As a person who experienced historical moments, I want to introduce the
stories young people today don't know about,'' she said.
The 86-year-old Lee recalled the memory the bitterest moment as being the
time when Kim was sentenced to death in the 1980s under the Chun Doo-hwan
military regime while she was under house arrest.
Also, she recalled her most glorious moment when Kim was finally elected
President in 1997 and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000.
Born into a rich family in 1922, Lee's life turned tumultuous after she
first met Kim, a poor but promising politician in 1951. At that time, Lee
was an active leading advocate fighting for women's rights through various
civic groups such as the YWCA.
She writes that he proposed marriage to her in Pagoda Park in Jongno,
central Seoul, which she faintly remembered, was in "political and logical
"For him, politics was a way of making his dream come true and also a
reason for being, while for me, it was a way of making an equal and
harmonious society for both men and women. Rather than a burning love
between a man and a woman, a deep trust about each other's dream was a
knot tying me and him,'' she said.
In 1962, she married Kim, who lost his former wife with two sons, despite
the opposition of people around her. "I can't remember clearly. But I
thought this extraordinary man's dream should not end just as a dream,''
she says in the book.
But prior to meeting Kim, she confesses to having thought about marrying a
student activist named Gye Hun-je, before she went to the United States to
study in the middle of the Korean War (1950-53). She says that she has
felt guilty since she didn't stay beside a man who was sick at that time
and chose to study abroad.
She gives an impressive account of when Kim brought the couple's
doorplates, which was his idea to show the equal status between the couple
to make a good family together.
Lee is a devout Protestant while Kim is a Catholic, but they have never
forced others to follow their religion. "Although the 2 sectors have the
same root, we pursued a different pious life. When we have a meal, he
crosses and I bow and pray. He goes to Seogyo Catholic Church and I go to
Changcheon Church every Sunday,'' she said.
Her life was intertwined with the political turmoil around Kim when the
late President Park Chung-hee took power in a military coup. After Kim won
a seat at the National Assembly in 1963 and 1967 and rose to be an eminent
opposition leader, he faced numerous threats, torture, imprisonment and
Kim was kidnapped from a hotel in Tokyo in 1973 and almost was killed due
to his activities against Park's iron-fisted rule. After Chun Doo-hwan
took power, Kim was arrested and sentenced to death on charges of sedition
During his decades-old fight against the dictatorship for democracy, Lee
was never daunted and instead built up the support from people both at
home and abroad.
Under harsh censorship, they exchanged the letters secretly when he was
arrested or imprisoned. Sometimes she sent a letter through messengers who
were foreign reporters or hid the letters written in a piece of napkin or
toilet paper in parts of his clothes.
The letters include not only the family affairs but also philosophical,
theological and political debates along with her strong encouragement for
her he husband's activity for democracy.
Whenever Kim was behind the bars, she sent books and newspapers to his
prison, as he loved reading and studying.
"I collected newspapers including English language newspapers because it
was important to grasp the U.S.'s viewpoints on the international
situation This later became a good basis for the campaign to save his
life in international society whenever he was in danger of losing his
life,'' she said.
She expresses her personal impressions of Chun when she met him. "He was
facing the wife of a political enemy he was trying to kill through a death
sentence but he treated me casually as a realtor talks to a client. It was
odd when he was talking to me, he rolled up his pants to scratch his
Even after Kim was elected President and they moved to Cheong Wa Dae, she
was humble despite her position. She said that the first lady in Cheong Wa
Dae is the only person who was not elected nor appointed, adding that she
had no authority ruled by the law but could play an official and
"The first Lady has no fixed role. As I was there (Cheong Wa Dae) because
my husband was elected by the people, I focused on activities for human
rights and social services,'' she said.
Along with the glorious moments of the husband's presidency and the Nobel
Peace Prize, she also deals with her thoughts on her sons being indicted
on corruption charges in the later part of the book.
Lee earned a bachelor's degree in education from Seoul National University
and a master's degree in sociology in the United States.
After getting her master's degree, she continued to study at 3 other
universities in the United States and 1 in Japan, gaining honorary
She joined various female activity groups, including the Young Women's
Christian Association in Seoul and the Korean National Council of Women.
She was recognized for her devotion and received many awards, including
the "Woman of the Year'' award in 1984 from the State of California.
(source: The Korea Times)
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