[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sat Nov 29 12:28:22 CST 2008
China Abruptly Executes Convicted Spy----Family Is Denied Chance to Say
China on Friday executed a man convicted of passing sensitive military and
political information to Taiwan a day after notifying his relatives
through diplomatic channels that they would have a 2nd chance to visit
him, his daughter said.
Austrian Deputy Ambassador Stefan Scholz relayed the news of the execution
late Friday afternoon to the family of Wo Weihan, 60, according to Wo's
daughter Ran Chen. Chen is an Austrian citizen and had been appealing for
clemency through diplomatic channels since arriving in Beijing on Monday.
She said she had been told her father was executed by gunshot.
Wo was put to death even as Chinese and E.U. officials were wrapping up a
summit on human rights here in Beijing. The sequence of events raises the
question of whether the Chinese government had merely waited until the
summit ended to carry out the execution. Capital punishment is at the top
of the European Union's human rights agenda with China, Scholz said Friday
morning, before he learned of Wo's execution.
The news shocked Wo's family members, who at a Thursday afternoon news
conference had praised China's willingness to grant them a second visit
and said they had not lost hope that Chinese officials would commute Wo's
sentence based on what they said were numerous legal flaws in the case
Chen said that her father had not been told of his impending execution
when she met with him Thursday morning and that she never received written
confirmation that his final appeal to the Supreme People's Court had been
"Our father was a Chinese citizen and is subject to Chinese law," Chen
wrote in a statement released Friday evening. "But the Chinese law also
says that death row prisoners deserve the right to see their families
before execution, to say goodbye and to go in peace."
Chen said her parents had raised her and her sister to respect Chinese
values of gratitude to and love for their parents. "The legal procedures
in China, which we experienced in these last traumatic days, show no
regard for these values," she said.
The family expressed outrage at the breakdown in communication. "We're
extremely frustrated," said Chen's husband, Michael Rolufs, after hearing
word of the execution from private contacts but before receiving
confirmation through official channels.
Calls to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Embassy
on Friday night went unanswered.
John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, a human rights
group in San Francisco who has worked closely with Chen on the case,
reacted with anger and disbelief when reached by phone Friday evening.
"I have been doing this work for 19 years, and this is the absolute lowest
point of those 19 years," he said. "I am devastated."
(source: Washington Post)
Saudis set poor example for religious tolerance
If you are the undisputed monarch of a wealthy nation, you probably think
you can say or do most anything without repercussion. But when King
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia stood before the United Nations earlier this
month to proclaim his opposition to "religious intolerance," anyone
listening would have to think: Of all the gall!
Abdullah actually sponsored the event: a U.N. conference on interfaith
dialogue. The amazing thing is that any Saudi who advocates "interfaith
dialog" is likely to be arrested, tried and executed beheaded by sword.
President Bush was among the heads of state who attended Abdullah's
conference. Oh, the price we have to pay to assure an uninterrupted supply
of oil. Abdullahs "interfaith dialogue" is the most compelling recent
argument for launching a major new program to achieve energy independence.
Abdullah didnt simply wake up one morning and decide to promote religious
plurality. Even the conference's origins were cynical. Remember, last
spring, when a senior Saudi cleric who is a member of Abdullah's
government issued a fatwa calling for the execution of 2 journalists? In
their newspaper, they had suggested that religions other than Islam are
worthy of respect.
They haven't been killed, but not surprisingly the fatwa caused a stir
another case when the world happened to notice one of the unconscionable
acts in the name of religion that the Saudi government commits day after
day. (Remember another one, the court decision a year ago to administer
200 lashes to a woman who had been gang raped? The White House, ignoring
the oil for a moment, called the ruling "outrageous.")
Abdullah could not easily interfere with a religious edict. So instead he
decided to rise above the fray last spring and call for this conference.
No one at the United Nations chose to discuss Saudi Arabia's own record of
religious bigotry. So allow me.
Saudi Arabia, it happens, is the world's most intolerant state on
religious matters. Sure, many other nations are guilty of atrocities
committed in the name of religion. We humans have a long and sorry history
of that. Today, however, only in Saudi Arabia are these rules
institutionalized on such a broad scale and enforced. Consider a few
recent decisions both amusing and grave.
Last summer, the kingdom banned the ownership of cats and dogs. Why on
earth? It turns out that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and
the Prevention of Vice (a.k.a., the religious police) found that men out
walking their dogs were apt to chat with a woman they happened to pass in
Othman al-Othman, general manager of the religious police, told the Saudi
paper Al-Hayat that he wanted to staunch "the rising phenomenon of men
using cats and dogs to make passes at women." Imagine!
At least violations of this new rule are not punishable by execution.
Satellite-television operators are not so fortunate. In September, the
state's Supreme Judiciary Council called for death by sword for satellite
TV operators who air "shows that contain obvious heresy and promote
licentiousness and wantonness," as one of the clerics put it. The programs
that so offended the sheiks, it seemed, were Turkish soap operas quite
popular in Saudi Arabia.
So far, no satellite television programmers have fallen under the sword
not because of any reticence in Saudi Arabia to use capital punishment for
religious "crimes." The kingdom, in fact, holds a lust for the death
penalty (much like Texas and some other states).
Amnesty International, in a report published last month, found that Saudi
Arabia has one of the world's highest rates of execution, as measured per
capita at least 158 last year. Many of the condemned are found guilty of
religious crimes. Amnesty cited several cases, among them:
Mustafa Ibrahim, an Egyptian working as a pharmacist in Arar, who was
arrested and beheaded because he had been observed carrying a copy of the
Quran to read in the bathroom.
Sabri Bogday, a Turkish owner of a barbershop in Jeddah, who was
overheard "swearing at the Lord in public." The court sentenced him to
An unnamed Indian woman, a mother of 4, who was convicted of adultery and
sentenced to death by stoning for getting pregnant after her husband died.
In his address to the U.N. conference, Abdullah implored: "We say today
with a single voice that the religions through which Almighty God sought
to bring happiness to mankind should not be turned into instruments to
If only the king would follow his own advice.
(source: Joel Brinkley is a former Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign
correspondent for The New York Times and now a professor of journalism at
Stanford University; McClatchy-Tribune News Service)
Iran court upholds stoning death sentence
Iran's Supreme Court upheld a stoning death sentence for a woman convicted
of adultery in the southern city of Shiraz, an independent newspaper
The daily Etemad Melli, or National Confidence, reported that the court
also upheld another death sentence, this one by hanging, against the
woman, who was also convicted of killing her husband with the help of a
The man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after he was convicted of
being an accomplice in the murder. He was also sentenced to 100 lashes for
adultery, but was not given the death penalty because he was married.
Judiciary officials were not immediately available for comment. It was not
known when the slaying took place or when the 2 were convicted.
While the ruling is final, Iran's judiciary chief or the country's supreme
leader are authorized to stop death sentences from being carried out.
Under Iran's Islamic laws, adultery is the only capital offense punishable
by stoning. A man is usually buried up to his waist, while a woman is
buried up to her neck. Those carrying out the verdict then throw stones
until the condemned dies.
In July, Iran stoned a man convicted of adultery to death.
Stoning was widely imposed in the early years after Iran's 1979 Islamic
revolution, but it has seldom been applied in recent years, though the
government rarely confirms when it carries out stoning sentences.
Reformist legislators have demanded an end to death by stoning as a
punishment for adultery, but opposition from hard-line clerics has
sidelined their efforts.
(source: Associated Press)
Iranian Court Finds Mosque Bombers 'Corrupt on Earth,' Sentences Them to
Iran's Revolutionary Court says it has convicted three men for involvement
in an explosion in a mosque that killed 14 people in April and sentenced
them to death.
The court says in a statement that the three, Mohsen Eslamian, Ali Asghar
Pashtar and Roozbeh Yahyazadeh, have been found to be "corrupt on earth"
and sentenced to be hanged.
A copy of the statement was made available to the AP Saturday.
Defense lawyers have protested the ruling and the case is now at the
Supreme Court for a final decision.
The court says the three are also charged with membership in a monarchist
group seeking to overthrow the government.
The April 12 bombing in a mosque in Shiraz, southern Iran, killed 14
people and injured more than 200.
(source: Fox News)
Mexican governor calls for restoring death penalty
A state governor from northern Mexico has proposed restoring the death
penalty to execute kidnappers who kill their victims.
Gov. Humberto Moreira of Coahuila state sent the proposal to the state
legislature Friday amid public outrage over a recent series of bloody
Because it involves changes to the federal Constitution, the bill would
only serve as a recommendation for the federal congress to take up the
Any changes to the Constitution require a 2/3 majority in the federal
Congress and approval by a majority of Mexico's 31 state legislatures.
Mexico amended the Constitution to formally outlaw capital punishment in
2005, but abandoned it in practice decades ago.
(source: Associated Press)
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