[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Sun Nov 30 19:52:09 CST 2008
World cities call for end to death penalty
Yesterday, more than 900 cities around the world celebrated the 'World Day
of Cities for Life Against the Death Penalty'. The Day was inaugurated on
on Saturday in a ceremony in Rome, in front of the Colosseum, which was
lit up for the occasion.
Just a few days after the Third Commission of the UN General Assembly
renewed its anti-death penalty stance, and Burundi abolished capital
punishment, on November 30 nearly 1,000 cities around the world, on five
continents, held rallies calling for a universal moratorium.
This was the largest international mobilization to date to put an end to
executions. The date November 30 was chosen as it is the anniversary of
the first abolition of the death penalty in the Western world, which was
declared by the Grand Dukedom of Tuscany, on November 30, 1786.
In addition to Burundi, this year Uzbekistan has also abolished the death
penalty. In Africa, other countries have embarked upon a path that leads
to a moratorium and abolition of the death penalty by law.
At the end of last year, Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda and Gabon wiped the death
penalty off their books. In the United States, another state, the State of
New Jersey, abolished the death penalty on December 17, 2007. In Asia,
China has taken some positive steps while still remaining the country with
the highest number of executions. Important changes in both legislation
and public opinion were detected in Lebanon, Pakistan, South Korea and
Taiwan. Last but not least, the Russian Federation renewed its moratorium
Major international human rights organizations and the World Coalition
Against the Death Penalty officially support the initiative. This year,
Barcelona, Toronto, Brussels, cities in the Philippines and in Africa,
along with Florence, Rome, Naples and most of the rest of Italy and Europe
Many leading players in the international campaign to end the death
penalty, witnesses, former death row inmates since proved innocent,
families of the victims took part in events in many European capitals.
For more information see: http://www.worldcoalition.org
(source: Independent Catholic News)
China dismisses EU criticism of 'spy' execution: state media
China on Sunday dismissed EU criticism of its decision to execute a
medical scientist accused of spying for Taiwan, saying the comments would
not help dialogue on human rights, state media reported.
In the latest issue to highlight Europe and China's differing views on
human rights, Beijing accused the EU of interfering in its judicial
"Chinese judicial organs made the verdict and this was completely a matter
within the Chinese judicial sovereignty," Chinese Foreign Ministry
spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement released by the Xinhua news agency.
"The trial procedure was just and fair and the rights of the accused were
well protected," Qin said. "The evidence of his crime has been verified.
"The accusation against the Chinese judicial authorities intervened
brutally into Chinese judicial sovereignty... and undermine the basis of
the healthy development of the bilateral talks on human rights," he said.
Scientist Wo Weihan, 59, was executed on Friday, prompting strong
criticism from Brussels and Washington, who had appealed to China to spare
The 27-nation European Union said the execution "seriously undermines the
spirit of trust and mutual respect required for this EU-China dialogue on
Wo, who lived in Austria between 1990 and 1997, was arrested in Beijing in
January 2005. He was charged with giving military information to Taiwan,
including plans for missiles.
The biochemist, who denied the charges, was sentenced to death in May 2007
after being convicted of passing state secrets.
His trial was criticised by non-governmental organisations, who said
evidence was vague and the process lacked transparency.
Last week China blamed France in a separate row, this time over Tibet,
that led to the unprecedented scrapping of a summit with European leaders.
Beijing on Wednesday decided to postpone the summit with the European
Union, scheduled for next week in France, in protest at plans by EU
leaders to meet Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
(source: Agence France-Presse)
Bruneian's Death Penalty Quashed By Appeals Court
A 28-year-old Brunei fisherman, caught in an anti-drug raid and condemned
to die, escaped the gallows when the Brunei Appeals Court set him free.
Kampong Mentiri fisherman Haji Mohd Seriwan bin Haji Sulaiman, whom
defence counsels Roy Prabhakaran and Yusof Halim represented, was
previously found guilty and sentenced to death by the Brunei High Court.
Haji Mohd Seriwan was charged with possession of 279.194 grammes of
Methylamphetamine, a Class A drug, at house No 12, Simpang 245-5-10,
Kampong Mentiri, Muara on March 9, 2004 and sentenced to face the
hangman's noose by the Chief Justice Dato Mohd Saied and Justice Dato
Steven Chong on May 13, 2006. But last week Appeals Court Judges P Power,
J A Mortimer and J A Davis freed the man saying that the conviction was
unsafe because it failed to give full consideration to defence evidence.
Also, the previous court had failed to allow prosecution witnesses to be
recalled for cross-examination "as to credit".
The Appeals Court noted that the prosecution case was that on March 9,
2004 at about 5.21pm some officers of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)
led by Chief Narcotics Officer Ng Thin Chiong conducted a surveillance of
Hj Mohd Seriwan's house.
Positioned in the compound of a neighbouring house was Assistant Narcotics
Officer Halimee who saw the suspect coming out of the house with his
father Hj Sulaiman bin Tangsar and both getting into the front seat of the
appellant's car. The suspect was seen driving the car out of the compound
of the house to the main road.
Through his walkie-talkie CNO Ng instructed Assistant Narcotics Officer
Mahmud Kashfi, who was driving a van of the bureau, to intercept the
appellant's car as it proceeded out of the junction onto the main road.
However, the appellant is alleged to have refused to stop and sped off
towards the town centre through the Mentiri Highway.
The NCB officers gave chase and tailed the car all the way to Bandar where
the fleeing man got stuck in a traffic jam in front of the Terrace Hotel
where the man and his father were arrested and handcuffed and taken to the
Mentiri house under guard.
Haji Seriwan was charged and subsequently found guilty by the High Court
and sentenced to death.
However, Haji Seriwan lodged an appeal and after a lengthy hearing by the
Brunei Appeals Court he was freed of all charges and his conviction
The Appeals Court in overturning the High Court's conviction said among
other reasons evidence essential to the defence was never considered.
(source: Borneo Bulletin)
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