[Deathpenalty] [SPAM] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Oct 28 17:43:57 CDT 2008
Iraqi Court Sentences Man to Death for Murder of American Soldiers
We've covered attempts by the U.S. government to use the federal court
system to prosecute American soldiers for alleged war crimes abroad. Those
efforts haven't seen much success. So lets go to Iraq.
Today, an Iraqi criminal court held a local militant responsible for the
kidnapping, torture and murder of 3 American soldiers in 2006. Heres a
report from the New York Times.
Twenty-nine-year-old Ibrahim Karim al-Qaraguli who was part of a gang of
militants operating in an area south of Baghdad known as the "Triangle of
Death" was sentenced to death, while his two co-defendants were
acquitted. The NYT reports that al-Qaraguli appears to have been the
driver of one of the vehicles that was used in the soldiers abduction and
The kidnapping and killing of the 3 soldiers, who belonged to the 101st
Airborne Division, was one of the more horrific to occur in the course of
the war, reports the Times. The 3 victims were David J. Babineau, Kristian
Menchaca, and Thomas Tucker. They were attacked by a group of insurgents
as they sat in their Humvee under a bridge near the Euphrates River.
The Mujahideen Shura Council, a militant Sunni group affiliated with Al
Qaeda in Mesopotamia, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was
revenge for the rape of a 14-year-old girl and the subsequent killing of
the girl, her parents and younger sister. According to the Times, the
three soldiers were in the same unit as six that were charged with the
rape and murder.
(source: Wall Street Journal)
EUROPEAN UNION/UNITED NATIONS:
EU seeks approval of renewed resolution against death penalty
The European Union (EU) and other countries compiled a U.N. resolution
Monday calling for a temporary suspension of the death penalty.
The resolution was distributed to a number of member states the same day.
It will be submitted to the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly
in the near future, and the committee and assembly are likely to approve
The EU submitted a similar resolution last year which was accepted in a
majority vote in the General Assembly.
The proposed resolution, a copy of which was obtained by the Mainichi,
reaffirms the resolution adopted last year, and welcomes suggestions in a
report that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon recently presented to the
assembly. The report noted that abolition of the death penalty was
becoming a worldwide trend and called for a temporary suspension of
executions, adding that even in cases where it was difficult to suspend
the death penalty, countries should place tough restrictions on carrying
The proposed resolution calls for an examination of the state of the death
penalty worldwide in 2 years time, and seeks talks on how to influence
countries that maintain the death penalty at that time.
Following the U.N. resolution last year, Uzbekistan abolished capital
punishment in January. A U.N. report stated that as of July 1 this year,
there were 141 countries and regions that had abolished the death penalty
by law or in practice.
(source: Mainichi Daily News)
Japan applies death penalty at highest rate since 1975
Japan defied international opinion today by executing 2 men on the same
day as the UN was due to issue a report critical of its use of the death
The executions brought the number of hangings in Japan this year to 15 -
the highest since 1975, when 17 inmates were sent to the gallows.
The 2 men hanged were Michitoshi Kuma, 70, and Masahiro Takashio, 55, the
justice ministry said in a statement.
Kuma abducted 2 7-year-old girls as they walked to school in 1992 and
strangled them in his van. Takashio stabbed to death an 83-year-old woman
and her 55-year-old daughter at their home in 2004, and fled with 50,000
(334) in cash.
The justice minister, Eisuke Mori, said the men had "taken precious
"They were cases that caused grief and heartbreak to the victims' families
and so I humbly carried out my duty," he said.
Though domestic support for death penalty remains high, Japan is at odds
with a growing international trend towards abolition, despite having one
of the world's lowest crime rates.
According to a recent UN report, 141 countries have abolished the death
penalty, or at least no longer use it, while 56 retain its use, including
the US, Japan and China. Almost 90% of all executions in 2007 were carried
out in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the US.
Today's hangings took place as the UN commission on human rights prepares
to issue its first review of the human rights situation in Japan for 10
years. The report, which was due to be submitted to officials in Tokyo
today, is expected to be particularly critical of Japan's use of the death
"Choosing the same day to hang two men sends a clear signal to the UN that
Japan is not willing to listen to criticism or take on board
recommendations," Makoto Teranaka, the secretary general of Amnesty
International's Japan office, told the Guardian.
Japan has carried out executions approximately every 2 months since the
previous justice minister, Kunio Hatoyama, took office in August 2007.
No executions were carried out for 15 months until 2006 because the
then-justice minister, Seiken Sugiura, said his devout Buddhist beliefs
prevented him from signing execution orders.
Japan has also been criticised for the manner in which it carries out its
"secret" executions. Inmates, some of whom spend years on death row, are
told of their impending execution shortly before being led to the gallows
in an attempt to prevent eleventh-hour appeals. Their relatives and
lawyers are notified after the fact so they can collect the body for
Of the 101 inmates on death row in Japan, 42 are demanding retrials while
another 19 plan to follow suit, according to the pressure group Forum 90.
Though he stopped short of accusing the government of using the executions
to detract attention from Japan's economic woes, Teranaka said it was
pandering to public opinion.
"Crime is falling, and the murder rate is very low, but blanket reporting
of crime by the media has made people more afraid and less tolerant," he
said. "In that sense the Japanese government is indulging in penal
(source: The Guardian)
Plight of Iran's death-row youngsters
Mohammad Mostafaie has a burden probably unique in the world.
He is the defence lawyer for 25 young people, all facing the death
The files lie thick on his desk. The young clients all stare blankly out
in passport photos he spreads out on the table.
This is Iran, the world leader in the execution of juveniles.
It is one of the last remaining countries that still imposes the death
penalty on children, for crimes committed under the age of 18.
No-one knows exactly how many juveniles have been executed in Iran in
International human rights groups say at least 6 have been killed in 2008.
Mr Mostafaie says 26 juveniles have been executed in the last 2 years.
More than 120 are now under imminent threat.
Take the case of Mostafa Naqdi.
His mother Shahnaz will tell you he is a good Muslim, and an ideal son,
who gave up school and worked all hours to help support his family.
One day in 2004, he was riding his motorcycle when he stopped outside a
school in an area called Tehran Pars.
As children streamed out of the school, one of them grabbed the bike's
ignition key. It should just have been a silly prank. But a fight broke
out and then got out of control.
Mostafa says he grabbed a blunt instrument and lunged out at another boy
holding him. Tragically, the blow punctured the lung of the other boy,
Masoud, who died later that afternoon.
Mostafa may have been guilty of manslaughter, or possibly it was
self-defence. In any case he was only 15-years old at the time. But now he
is facing execution.
His mother is distraught, and bewildered.
"This sort of execution is for someone my age not for a 15-year-old boy
who can't distinguish between good and bad," she told me.
"How can a teenage boy, who just found himself in the middle of a fight,
be expected to understand what is going on?"
It is just the sort of case that Mohammad Mostafaie deals with all the
He said that none of his 25 clients had any intention to commit murder.
"They have done the crimes unintentionally," he explained.
"I have talked to all of these people face to face. They talk to me about
their childhood and they talk about what happened to them in their
"When you talk to them, there is no hint of criminality in their face and
in their thoughts.
"They can't conceive of the fact that they might be hanged. They are
pitiful. Most of the people who are killed by these people were bigger
than them, and stronger. They killed them because they were scared."
According to Mr Mostafaie, many of the children didn't have lawyers when
they were first arrested.
They make damaging statements, he says, and sometimes they are tricked
into making confessions. They appear in adult courts where judges are not
used to dealing with juveniles.
Listening to his accounts, it appears that much of the treatment of
juvenile offenders is as much the result of ignorance and indifference as
any actual policy.
Mr Mostafaie described how the parents of one of his other young clients
were only told that their son was about to be executed the night before.
No-one even thought to arrange a last meeting between them and their son.
And although there does seem to be strong support in Iran for the death
penalty as a whole, the lawyer does not believe most Iranians are in
favour of imposing it on juveniles.
"It is interesting when I tell people about these children, or release the
information in newspapers," he said.
"People don't want these murderers executed, they are sorry to see them
executed. There are lots of people who say they want to stop the
executions at any cost."
As for the Iranian government, it recently announced an end to child
executions. But a few days later a spokesman made it clear that did not
include so called "blood money" or "Qeisas" cases, which make up the vast
majority of executions.
"According to the Justice Ministry spokesman, these cases are not
technically "execution" but private "retaliation" sanctioned by Islamic
law. Something the Islamic Republic is powerless to prevent.
Some human rights campaigners believe the misleading announcement was part
of an attempt by Iran to influence events at the UN, where delegates are
holding their annual discussion about human rights in the Islamic
Certainly, Iran is sensitive to any suggestion that its behaviour in any
way falls below the most civilised standards.
Iran has signed and ratified the International Convention on the Rights of
the Child, which explicitly bans such executions. But it has entered a
reservation, the government says exempts it from any provision that goes
against Islamic law.
Mrs Naqdi has impoverished herself defending her son Mostafa, though Mr
Mostafaie has now taken on the case for free.
In the one-room house she has now moved into, she showed me photos of
Mostafa, a proud member of several prison sports teams.
When he was first arrested, he was so under-developed that the authorities
did not believe he was 15. Even now, four years later, he is a gangly
youth, certainly not grown into a man.
Close to tears
As we looked at the photos together, Mostafa himself came on the phone
from prison, his voice firm yet emotional. A tear trickled down his
mother's cheek as she spoke to him.
His fate now depends on whether the family of the victim, Masoud, accept
blood money, or demand his execution as retaliation.
So, I asked him, did he have a message for the victim's family?
"I know I did something wrong, but I was just a child," he said.
"I did wrong and mankind is like that. But I want to live. I know they are
suffering. My family has suffered too. Not as much as them - they have
lost their son.
"I just want them to forgive me. I can't do anything else. Their son won't
come back by executing me. I can just say that I kiss their hands for
(source: BBC News)
Former Beijing vice mayor appeals against suspended death penalty
Former Beijing vice mayor Liu Zhihua has lodged an appeal against his
death sentence with a 2-year reprieve after being convicted on corruption
charges, 1-day before the appeal deadline, said his lawyer Mo Shaoping on
Liu, 59, was convicted and sentenced at Hengshui Intermediate People's
Court, in Hebei Province neighboring Beijing, on Oct. 18 and he lodged his
appeal at the same court on Monday.
He was found guilty of taking bribes totaling 6.97 million yuan (1.02
million U.S. dollars) when he was vice mayor and director of the
management committee of Zhongguancun Science Park from 1999 to2006.
In his appeal statement, Liu claimed that as the former construction
director of the 2008 Olympic projects, his useful advice on their planning
and construction was a "contribution" to the Olympics, and thus grounds
He claimed the confiscation of all his personal assets, including a bank
account with 200,000 yuan and his apartment, was improper as they were
The court ruling said Liu and his mistress Wang Jianrui had accepted
bribes offered in return for contracts, loans and promotions, which Liu
had the authority to grant.
Liu was removed from the post of Beijing vice mayor in June 2006 and
expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) 6 months later.
He had been head of the Beijing labor bureau, secretary of the CPC
Committee of Xicheng District and secretary general of the municipal
government. In 1999, he was elected vice mayor, with authority over
construction, real estate, sport and transport projects.
(source: Xinhua Net News)
Capital punishment...a deterrent for crime?
Just about every session of the Criminal Assizes causes questions to be
raised about the usefulness of capital punishment in the overall programme
of deterring criminal activities in individual territories.
Sessions this year have not been different especially with quite a few
people facing murder trials and another set sitting in prison awaiting
their execution dates.
Recently, all eyes have focussed on the Organisation of East Caribbean
States (OECS) and this follows on the numerous murder cases that are now
being tried on an annual basis. Statistics will indicate that these
figures have risen from just a handful per year as little as a decade ago
to almost two dozens in some recent instances. Indeed, this represents an
alarmingly high increase in violent criminal activity in the subregion. As
a matter of course, there will be much debate as topics related to crime
and its various forms of punishment are brought to the fore.
We believe this has much to do with living in small communities where
almost every crime and every related punishment affect families and
friends. Everyone knows just about everybody else. In view of this, some
crimes will appear more heinous because of these same reasons. The
punishment carries a similar effect on many of the same people. So on the
one hand, there will be some (those feeling aggrieved) clamouring for an
offender to be served what he has earned for himself while some of the
same community will be asking for leniency as they look to the
not-too-distant future and see the distinct possibility of losing a
relative at the hand of the judicial system.
Still, the debate rages as to whether or not taking the life of an
individual adds anything positive to the bad situation already created by
murder or even manslaughter.
That many islands still have the death penalty on the books is reason
enough to believe that the majority of people in the area believe that
capital punishment is useful and should be maintained. This they see as
useful in an effort to have people seeing that justice is done and would
therefore try their best to keep out of the pitfalls of violent crime.
Recently, however, there have been several advocates for the abolition of
capital punishment and not without some excellent reasons. We suppose the
thing to do is to look at the arguments advanced by both groupings and
seek to come to some sort of common ground in relation to the matter.
Many will quickly advance that even the Bible speaks to capital punishment
as a proper means to punish criminals and to warn others about delving
into similar activities. A very modern and sensible argument, however,
asks that consideration be given to a situation in which an innocent man
might be executed mostly through some flaw in the system.
Some would suggest, moreover, that the death penalty does not allow for
any possible rehabilitation which should be sought in the case of certain
crimes. Besides, it is added, the victim is already quite dead and taking
another human life will serve absolutely no purpose.
Those who advocate using capital punishment as a deterrent come up against
arguments that claim the deterrent issue is for crime in which people can
think and plan before executing. Most murders, they will say, are done in
a heat of passion and when a person is usually not in full control of his
All of these things will usually add to the stirring debates, and the
arguments will last until the proverbial cows come home. It is simply one
of those subject areas where it is so difficult to get any clear-cut
answers. One thing is for sure, people will continue to be greatly
affected whichever way the argument goes. Further, it depends on who is
debating the matter. A family that has suffered at the hands of a murderer
will scream for the death penalty.
Any guesses who will be anti-capital punishment?
(source: Antigua Sun)
Indonesia tightens security ahead of execution of Bali bombers
Indonesia has stepped up security at major installations across the
country to guard against possible attacks ahead of the execution next
month of three Bali bombers, police said on Monday.
"National police issued an order for all regional police across Indonesia
to boost security in vital installations to anticipate possible sabotage
or terror attacks," national police detective chief Susnoduaji told AFP.
Officials have said the three extremists convicted for the 2002 Bali
bombings would be executed in early November.
Extremists Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra face a firing squad over the
attacks on packed nightspots on the resort island which killed 202 people,
mainly foreign holidaymakers.
They were sentenced to death in 2003 but their execution has been
repeatedly delayed by a string of failed appeals and religious
Susnoduaji said the vital installations under increased security included
major contributors to economy such as power plants and fuel depots of
state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina.
An official at major power plants in Cilacap in central Java, close to a
prison island where the convicted bombers were being held, confirmed that
security in the area had been tightened with more paramilitary police
Elite anti-terror police have also reportedly stepped up security near
Amrozi and Mukhlas' village in East Java province in anticipation of their
Executions in Indonesia are by firing squad, usually carried out at night
in undisclosed locations after the prisoner receives at least 72 hours'
(source: Asia Pacific News)
Japan hangs 2 prisoners----Hangings are 1st since 3 inmates were executed
9 inmates were executed in 2007
Stepped-up executions in past years have brought protests from advocacy
There are about 100 people on death row in Japan
Japan executed 2 death-row inmates Tuesday, bringing the total number of
prisoners hanged this year to 15, a news report said.
The hangings, reported by Kyodo News agency, were the 1st since 3 inmates
were executed in mid-September.
Japan in recent years has increased the pace of its executions, which are
not announced beforehand and are carried out in secret. 9 inmates were
executed in 2007.
The 2 hanged on Tuesday were Michitoshi Kuma, 70, and Masahiro Takashio,
55, Kyodo reported, citing the Justice Ministry. The report did not detail
The stepped-up pace of executions over the past few years have brought
strong protests from advocacy groups such as Amnesty International, though
capital punishment has public support in Japan.
There are about 100 people on death row in Japan.
(source: Associated Press)
Japan executes 2 inmates: official
Japan on Tuesday executed 2 death-row inmates, a justice ministry
"2 people were executed today," the spokesman said. He did not immediately
release other details.
Jiji Press said the executed inmates were aged 70 and 55.
The executions are the 1st since conservative Prime Minister Taro Aso took
office last month.
Japan, the only major industrial nation other than the United States to
use the death penalty, has been stepping up the pace of executions, which
enjoy wide public support.
(source: Agence France-Presse)
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