[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Nov 23 18:30:10 CST 2008
UN calls for moratorium on death penalty
A UN committee on Thursday called for the 2nd year running for a
moratorium on the death penalty around the world, a spokesman said.
The resolution was adopted by the UN human rights committee by 104 votes
in favor and 48 against, with 31 abstentions, said UN general assembly
spokesman Enrique Yeves.
It will now come before the plenary session of the UN of all 192 member
states, where it is expected to be passed without any obstacles.
Thursday's resolution reaffirmed that the call for a global moratorium on
executions first adopted in November 2007 was still valid.
The 2007 resolution, put forward by Italy and co-sponsored by 87 states,
called for the total abolition of the death penalty. In a stormy session,
it was finally adopted by 99 votes in favor and 52 against, with 33
It was then adopted in December by a plenary session of the UN general
Last year's text called on all states which still maintain the death
penalty "to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing
the death penalty."
It also urged them "to restrict its use and reduce the number of offenses
for which the death penalty may be imposed" and to respect international
standards that provide safeguards guaranteeing the protection of those
But UN resolutions are not mandatory and many opponents refused to
implement it, invoking their national sovereignty.
According to Amnesty International, a total of 133 countries had abolished
the death penalty in 2007 compared with 64 countries and territories where
it was still in force, although not all of them put it into practice.
(source: Agence France-Presse)
UN vote shows growing support of death penalty ban
The U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee voted Thursday for the
2nd year in a row to urge a global moratorium on the death penalty.
The United States sided with countries such as Iran, China and Syria in
opposing the resolution.
The 105-48 vote marked a slight change from the 104-54 vote in the full
General Assembly last December. About 30 nations abstained.
Supporters of the ban argue there's no conclusive evidence that the death
penalty serves as a meaningful deterrent to crime and the risk of
injustice is too high. Nations opposing the ban say the death penalty is
effective in discouraging most serious crimes and remains legal under
The vote in the human rights committee, though it includes all U.N.
members, is not the final vote. Next month, the General Assembly will hold
a final vote on the measure and the committee's vote is almost certain to
be closely replicated there.
Though not legally binding, the voting does carry moral weight coming from
the 192-nation world body that serves as a unique forum for debate and
barometer of international opinion.
Amnesty International, which has been campaigning for the resolution,
noted rising acceptance of a moratorium. In the 1990s, it was voted on
twice in the General Assembly and failed.
On Thursday, the committee vote picked up one more nation than last year
and six fewer opponents.
As of November, some 137 nations had abolished the death penalty in law or
practice, compared with about 80 in 1988, according to Amnesty
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been encouraged by the trend in many
areas of the world toward ultimately abolishing the death penalty, U.N.
spokeswoman Michele Montas said.
Last year there were at least 1,252 people put to death by 24 nations and
3,347 others sentenced to death in 51 countries, according to Amnesty
Terlingen urged nations such as Japan that increased the rate of
executions in the past year to "take immediate steps to implement the
The resolution has been spearheaded by Italy and supported by the Vatican,
a leading opponent of capital punishment. Also leading the campaign has
been the European Union, which requires its 27 members to outlaw capital
(source: Associated Press)
Vote on death penalty in Jamaica left hanging----International human
rights group Amnesty International has been urging politicians to reject
the death penalty, arguing that capital punishment is not the answer to
the country's crime problem.
Jamaican parliamentarians will have a few more days to decide where they
stand on the death penalty, after Prime Minster Bruce Golding postponed a
crucial vote on the matter.
The MPs had been debating the issue since last week and a conscience vote
had been scheduled for Wednesday. But when he closed debate on the matter,
the Prime Minister called for a suspension of the vote until next Tuesday,
November 25 when Parliament resumes.
"I do so for a number of reasons: I would like to allow time to have the
fullest possible attendance in the House," he said, with 45 of the 60
parliamentarians present. "Secondly, this issue is so important that I
don't think any harm will be done if a few days on the weekend is allowed
for members to think and, importantly, for persons to allow their
conscience to be shaped and formed and influenced by members of the public
and interest groups and so on."
International human rights group Amnesty International has been urging
politicians to reject the death penalty, arguing that capital punishment
is not the answer to the country's crime problem.
The group said in a press release that the government should instead focus
on implementing a strategic review of the police force and reforming the
Although the death penalty is still on the law books in Jamaica, there has
not been an execution here since the late 1980s.
(source: Caribbean 360)
Serial rapist gets suspended death penalty in Beijing
An unemployed man from northwest China was given a death penalty with a
reprieve of 2 years in Beijing on Thursday after being found guilty of
crimes including several rapes.
The ruling was handed down on Tuo Jianguo, 32 and a native of Shaanxi
Province, by the Beijing No.1 Intermediate People's Court in a 1st-instant
trial held on Thursday.
The court was told that starting in August 2003, Tuo committed 11 rapes
and 4 attempted rapes, in addition to 3 robberies and seven more
burglaries in western Beijing, including Haidian and Fengtai districts.
Public security departments found Tuo via DNA tests. He was seized by
security officers near Changxindian in Fengtai district on the evening of
Aug. 16, 2007.
The police also seized other tools used for committing the crimes from his
car, including a pair of white gloves, black scissors and a handheld
The court said evidence proved Tuo raped women using violence and
intimidation and was guilty of rape. With the purpose of illegal
possession, Tuo also broke into other people's homes and forced dwellers
to hand over property and valuables. He also stole cash and belongings.
The court concluded Tuo was convicted of rape, and theft, as well as
robbery, which is a serious crime in China, and decided to give him a
death penalty with a reprieve.
It is not known whether Tuo will appeal his case.
In accordance with the Criminal Law of China, criminals who are given
death penalties for having committed serious crimes are also given 2-year
reprieves if death sentences are not meant to be carried out immediately.
Normally, death penalties could be commuted to life imprisonment if
convicts do not commit new crimes during the reprieve.
Death penalties require approval from the Supreme Court to be executed.
Child offender facing execution for killing in self-defence after being
attacked with nun-chuks
Iranian child offender Reza Alinejad is at imminent risk of execution for
a crime he committed at the age of 17. He has been granted a month to
obtain the required diyeh (financial compensation) for the victim's
family. If he is unable to raise one billion Iranian rials (approximately
US $100, 000) it is likely he will be executed. Amnesty members around the
world are urgently appealing to the Iranian authorities to stop his
Reza Alinejad's family have put their house up for sale but are worried
that even if sold it will not fetch the amount required to meet the diyeh.
Reza Alinejad's father went to court in early November and was told that
they were required to raise the funds for the next meeting scheduled for
one month later.
On 26 December 2002, Reza Alinejad, then aged 17, was walking with his
friend Hadi Abedini in a street in Fasa, a city near Shiraz in central
Iran. They were attacked by 2 men, Esmail Daroudi and Mohammad Firouzi,
with a nunchaku (or nun-chuks) a martial arts weapon.
To protect himself and his friend from the attack, Reza Alinejad took a
knife out of his pocket. Reza claims to have held out the knife in front
of him with his right hand and with his left hand he protected his head
from being hit by the nunchaku. During the struggle, Reza Alinejad claims
he accidentally stabbed and killed Esmail Daroudi.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said: 'The death penalty is
brutal and wrong in all cases, but it's all the more shocking when it's
applied to someone who was so young at the time of the offence, and who
appears to have been defending himself from attack.
'Iran should look around at the rest of the world, which is moving away
from killing in the name of justice. As a first step it should stop the
execution of all child offenders.'
During the investigation, Mohammad Firouzi reportedly admitted that he and
Esmail Daroudi had started the fight and attacked Reza and his friend, and
that the latter 2 had been forced to defend themselves. Reza Alinejad and
Hadi Abedini were injured in the attack and needed hospital treatment. An
eyewitness to the attack also said that Reza Alinejad's actions had been
in legitimate self-defence to protect himself and his friend. In spite of
these testimonies and the claim by Reza Alinejad's that he stabbed the man
in self-defence, he was sentenced to qesas (retribution) for murder by the
Provincial Court in Fasa on 4 October 2003.
In December 2004 the Supreme Court quashed the death sentence, accepting
that Reza Alinejad had acted in self-defence. The court acknowledged that
the instigators of the dispute were the dead man and his friend and that
they had attacked Reza Alinejad and Hadi Abedini and that the stabbing had
not been intentional.
The Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court for investigation.
The case was heard by branch 101 of Fasa Provincial Criminal Court, which
on 15 June 2005 again sentenced Reza Alinejad to death. The court
concluded that Reza could have fled the scene and had therefore acted
unreasonably. On 9 May 2006, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence.
Reza Alinejad has been detained in Adelabad prison in Shiraz since his
Iran is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child both of which
expressly prohibit the use of the death penalty against anyone convicted
of a crime committed when they were under 18. However, since 1990 Iran has
executed at least 40 child offenders.
In Iran a convicted murderer has no right to seek pardon or commutation
from the state, though this right is protected by Article 6(4) of the
ICCPR. The family of a murder victim has the right either to insist on
execution or to pardon the killer and receive financial compensation. The
Iranian authorities contend that qesas - the sentence for convicted
murderers - is not execution, despite the face that people sentenced to
qesas are put to death by the state. This contention is not accepted in
international law. The vast majority of child offenders on death row in
Iran have been sentenced to qesas for murder.
For more information about executions of child offenders in Iran, see
'Iran: The last executioner of children' (June 2007),
(source: Amnesty International)
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