[Deathpenalty] [SPAM] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Nov 27 10:25:41 CST 2008
'Abolishing death penalty amid albino killings unrealistic'
The government has said the porposal to abolish the death penalty has come
at the wrong time because of the recent albino killings which have
tarnished public perception on the idea.
Constitutional Affairs and Justice minister Mathias Chikawe said this in
an exclusive interview with 'The Guardian' on Tuesday.
He was responding to the question whether Tanzania had plans to abolish
the death sentence in view of the fact that her neighbours had already
"The issue of whether to or not to abolish it is sensitive as it calls for
infomed public views.
In big issues such as this one, you have to carry people with you but
cannot simply sail alone," said Chikawe.
The minister said the government was under pressure from human right
activists but added that convincing the people was a hurdle because of the
mixed feelings associated with the issue.
"We have been collecting views from members of the public but the timing
is wrong as normal people think the sentence should remain.
Most of them are so disappointed by what is taking place with the albinos
that they don't want to hear anything about abolishing the penatly,"
According to Chikawe, the government had been under serious pressure from
activists from within and outside the country but insisted that the issue
"If changes were to take place they would be on Section 197 which calls
for a death sentence to a person charged with murder with intent," he
The government recently said the last time a person was hanged to death in
the country was in 1994 while the number of inmates on death row stood at
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Hamisi Kagasheki was quoted to have told the
National Assembly while responding to a question by Ponsiano Nyami (Nkasi,
CCM) who had wanted to know the number of persons legally hanged, those on
death row, and the time the longest saving inmate had been in the hanging
Ambassador Kagasheki said the longest saving inmate had stayed on death
row for 22 years.
He however insisted that the death sentence was a very controversial
"Killing someone is a serious issue and it is in no way embezzlement of
funds to feed someone on death row," said Kagasheki while clarifying a
supplementary question by Nkasi legislator.
The Nkasi MP had wanted to know why the government incurred costs for
inmates sentenced to death and whether that did not amount to embezzlement
of funds that could have been put to some other use.
A final report containing public views on whether or not the death penalty
should be abolished in Tanzania was due in May this year.
Former Law Reform Commission executive secretary now Judge Crecensia
Makuru told `The Guardian` in an interview in Dar es Salaam in March this
"We have been collecting views from wananchi.
We will conduct a consultative workshop with stakeholders on March 27.
We would like them to contribute to the report before we compile a final
report. If all goes well the report will be out by May, this year," Makuru
was quoted as saying.
Chikawe was quoted then as saying that the government had assigned the
commission to collect views from the people in Zanzibar and on the
Mainland, adding that the issue was sensitive and that it needed critical
analysis before reaching a conclusion.
Human rights activists have been putting pressure on the government to
ratify the convention against torture, and hence abolish the death
Saudi appeals court upholds death sentence
An appeals court in Saudi Arabia yesterday upheld the death penalty for
Dollard des Ormeaux resident Mohammed Kohail, 23, who was convicted of
killing a Syrian national during a school fight in 2007. His brother
Sultan, 18, was convicted of the same crime, along with a Jordanian.
Sultan's case is still before the courts after an appeals court threw out
a sentence of 200 lashes and a year in prison. He could also face the
death penalty. Mohammed's case was sent to the Supreme Judicial Council
for review, and if the ruling is endorsed it will be passed to the supreme
authority for final approval. The brothers are Canadians who returned to
Saudi Arabia to visit relatives.
(source: CanWest News Service)
Ant-breeding swindler executed death penalty in north China
The general manager of a bogus ant-breeding project that swindled 3
billion yuan (417 million U.S. dollars) from investors was executed for
his crimes on Wednesday in northeast China's Liaoning Province, a local
Wang was board chairman of Yingkou Donghua Trading (Group) Co.,Ltd. in
Liaoning. Wang and the company managers had appealed to the provincial
high court after the first trial last year. The Liaoning Provincial Higher
People's Court in February made a judgement upholding the death penalty
for Wang Zhendong on the charge of financial fraud. The judgment also won
the approval of the Supreme People's Court.
The 15 company managers were given jail sentences of between 5 and 10
years by the Yingkou Intermediate People's Court last February.
All of Wang's property was confiscated, while the managers received fines
ranging from 100,000 yuan to 500,000 yuan.
Investors in the fictitious massive ant-breeding project were promised by
Wang a return of 35 to 60 % under the name of Donghua Zoology Culturing
Co., Ltd and Donghua Spirit Co., Ltd. between 2002 and 2005.
Wang attracted more than 10,000 investors before the case was investigated
in June 2005, saying that the ants were to be used for making liquor,
herbal remedies and as aphrodisiacs, the court said.
Wang misused 798 million yuan raised from investors, buying himself luxury
goods and lending money to others, while continued to swindle investors
who visited the company and told them the business was doing very well,
the court said.
One investor committed suicide after realizing he had been duped and
Wang's actions also caused huge economic losses for investors and many
subsequently suffered depression, the court said.
(source: Xinhua News)
Trafficked Vietnamese women rescued in China
Police in the coastal Chinese province of Fujian have rescued 18
Vietnamese women who were allegedly kidnapped and then sold as wives, the
Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
The women, aged 18 to 33, were sold to Chinese farmers for 20,000-30,000
yuan (1,870-2,849 pound) each, Xinhua cited police in Fujian's Yunxiao
county as saying.
A man surnamed Zhang and his associates lured the women, who were working
in the border town of Dongxing in southern Guangxi, by telling them they
could offer them better jobs, it said.
China has said that it is making progress in fighting human trafficking,
especially from Southeast Asian nations. It has resorted to harsh
punishments to deter it, including the death penalty.
The trafficking in women is driven by poverty and a skewed sex ratio in
parts of the Chinese countryside, which make it difficult for many
peasants to find wives.
Int Football - Former international sentenced to death
A former China youth international football player has been sentenced to
death with two years' reprieve for killing a man over gambling debts.
Wen Junwu, 30, who played for the China Under-20 team and a top league
club in Guangzhou 10 years ago, pleaded guilty to murder and theft, the
China Daily said.
The midfielder lost nearly all his money gambling after being expelled by
his then club Guangzhou Apollo together with the coach and other 3 players
suspected of collusion with gambling groups in 1999.
Failing to pay a debt, Wen and other 2 friends stabbed the man they owed
the money to in June last year and stole some from him instead, the court
In the last two years, several Chinese football players have been involved
in serious crimes. Two Xiamen players were stabbed by a taxi driver, a
former national striker was attacked in Shenzhen and a Dalian midfielder
was stabbed and wounded on his way to visit his father.
A 2-year reprieve means the death sentence can be commuted into life
imprisonment after two years of good behaviour.
(source for both: Reuters)
Gambian court sentences police officer to death over murder
Local journalists said on Wednesday that a Gambian court has handed down a
death sentence against a police officer who killed a man during a police
raid in 2007.
The court on Tuesday found police officer Dodou Janneh, guilty of
murdering Sheriff Minteh during a police raid in Serrekunda, Gambia's
largest city. The killing of Minteh in May 2007 sparked riots and protests
in the town.
Judge Kumba Sillah-Camara, who handed down her verdict in a crowded court
room said Janned had committed a "heinous crime".
Gambia reintroduced the death penalty in 1996 several years after
Amnesty international calls the West African country abolitionist in
practice concerning capital punishment and notes that the last known
execution took place in 1981.
In 2007 2 people were sentenced to death by Gambian courts.
(source: South African Press Agency & Agence France-Presse)
PRESS RELEASE----More executions will not reduce crime
Jamaicas crime epidemic must be solved with reforms to the police and the
justice system, not with more death, said Amnesty International after the
Jamaican House of Representatives voted a motion to retain the death
"Supporting the death penalty to tackle Jamaica's spiralling violence and
crime is like trying to put out a fire with petrol," said Kerrie Howard,
Americas Deputy Director at Amnesty International. In order to put that
fire out, its root causes need to be tackled."
Amnesty International called on the Jamaican government to prioritize
policy changes to reduce crime and convert these changes into effective
action. These include implementing recommendations from the strategic
review of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Justice Sector Reform
Review and expediting the passage of legislation to establish an
independent commission to investigate police abuses and an Office of
Coroner to examine alleged police killings.
"We all agree that crime is an issue that must urgently be addressed.
However, executions offer only an illusion of effective action being taken
and do nothing to lessen suffering in Jamaican society," said Kerrie
The vote emerged in the light of discussions around the new Charter of
Rights and Freedoms Bill, which seeks to replace Chapter III of the
Jamaican Constitution dedicated to the protection of fundamental rights
and freedom of persons. The purpose of the vote was to decide whether
provisions allowing for the death penalty as an exception to the right to
life, should be retained or deleted from the Charter.
Following the vote at the House of Representatives, the Senate will also
shortly debate and vote the motion.
The last execution in Jamaica was carried out on 18 February 1988. There
were more than 190 prisoners under sentence of death at the end of 1988.
Currently there are nine prisoners on death row. This reduction is
principally attributable to 3 events:
In 1992 the Jamaican Parliament amended the Offences Against the Person
Act to classify some murders as non-capital. The amendment applied
retroactively and resulted in the commutation of sentences to life
imprisonment of a number people who had previously been mandatorily
sentenced to death.
In 1993 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (currently Jamaica's
highest court which sits in England) decided, in the case of Pratt and
Morgan v. the Attorney General of Jamaica, that executing a person who has
spent a prolonged period on death row violates Section 17 of the
Constitution of Jamaica, which prohibits "inhuman or degrading punishment
or other treatment".
In compliance with the guidance set out in this case, death sentences of
people who have served 5 years on death row in Jamaica are commuted to
life imprisonment. As a result of the 2004 decision of the JCPC in Lambert
Watson v The Attorney General of Jamaica, mandatory death sentences are no
longer allowed in Jamaica. Following this decision, new sentencing
hearings were held and many death row prisoners had their sentences
Jamaica, along with the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean nations,
voted against a global moratorium on the death penalty at the 62nd UN
General Assembly in December 2007.
The world is turning away from the use of death penalty. Since 2003, the
United States has been the only country in the Americas to carry out
executions and has dramatically decreased in the number of executions in
recent years. 137 countries have now abolished the death penalty in law or
practice and only 24 nations carried out executions in 2007. Huge swathes
of the world are now free from executions.
(source: Amnesty International)
Death penalty not our only recourse
The Editor, Sir:
I have been listening to the arguments for and against the death penalty
and, for the most part, find them amusing. Why? I have heard it is immoral
to hang a murderer. But I ask myself, what is the source of this moral
argument? I bet that the purveyors of the moral argument do not support my
moral argument on abortion, sex, gambling, gay marriage and the like. So,
for me, this sudden appeal to morality is one of convenience.
Can you imagine that we give our police and soldiers guns to go after
these same suspected murderers? Our Constitution tells these upholders of
the law that when they see these men, if they feel that their lives are
threatened, they should kill them. Now, can you imagine what may or may
not constitute a threat to a man with a legal gun? We are crying out for
more legal guns in the hands of our citizens. For what purpose? To prevent
the state from doing it for us.
The death penalty cannot be our only recourse to the high level of crime
and violence in the society. It may or may not be a part of the solution
but, where is the objective analysis? Sometimes we lift an argument from
out of its environment to make a point and end up with faulty conclusions.
I believe we need to look at our history and our demography quite
carefully to fully understand if we should or should not have the death
Remember our forefathers
I also share wholeheartedly Howard Hamilton's view that we need to get
back to volunteerism. Those of us born before Independence can very well
recall that we thrived on the shoulders of volunteers. It is now our turn
to return the favour. It is time for more of my generation (those born in
the 1950s) to help. We have a societal problem and we need to attack the
root, even while we go after the branches.
Thank God for the Church. I personally know young men who have turned from
a life of guns and drugs to serving Christ. Let us be honest with
ourselves, rid ourselves of the politicking, and unite to slay the dragon
or else we all will be consumed.
I am, etc.,
ROBERT A. STEWART
P.O. Box 405
(source: Letter to the Editor, Jamaica Gleaner)
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