[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Mon Aug 1 17:02:21 CDT 2011
Minsk bombing suspects 'risk death penalty'
The 2 suspects arrested over the deadly April bombing in the Minsk metro could
face the death penalty after being charged with terrorism, Belarus' deputy
chief prosecutor said on Monday.
"The maximum punishment envisaged under the grave charge of terrorism is the
death penalty," Andrei Shved told reporters, for the first time raising the
possibility the accused could face capital punishment.
Belarus is the only country in Europe to actively employ the death penalty and
local media reports said last month that 2 people convicted of a triple murder
had been executed.
The strike on the Minsk metro killed 15 people and wounded dozens more, in by
far the deadliest attack in the country in the two decades since the collapse
of the Soviet Union.
Shved confirmed that the authorities arrested 2 men -- named as Kovalyev and
Konovalov -- on suspicion of being behind the bombing as well as more minor
attacks in Minsk in 2008 and the city of Vitebsk in 2005.
He announced that the preliminary investigation was now over and the
authorities had charged the 2 men with terrorism. The first names of the
suspects were not given.
"The accused have started to acquaint themselves with the charges and according
to the law this will take a month. Afterwards the case will go to court," Shved
He said it appeared the 2 men acted alone and did not have any further sponsors
who could have ordered the crimes. Their criminal activities started in 2000,
The Minsk metro bombings stunned Belarus and coincided with a massive
government crackdown on the opposition following strongman President Alexander
Lukashenko's controversial re-election victory in December.
The authorities have never explained in detail the motivations of the suspects
in carrying out the bombings but some officials have pointed to nationalist
The state border committee of Belarus has confirmed the self-confessed
perpetrator of last month's massacre in Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, visited
the country in March 2005.
But Shved denied any link to the Norway attack, saying there was "no such
information" and any such speculation was "journalistic rubbish".
Belarus' continued use of the death penalty has earned it international
condemnation but is has so far shown no sign of imposing any moratorium.
The state-run Vecherny Grodno newspaper on July 20 reported that Oleg
Grishkovets, 28, and Andrei Burdyka, 29, were executed by shooting for a triple
murder. The pair were residents of the northwestern city of Grodno.
Executions in Belarus are carried out with a shot to the back of the head.
"If confirmed, these latest executions are another important setback to the
Council of Europe's aspiration to bring Belarus closer to European values," the
secretary general of the pan-European rights body, Thorbjoern Jagland, said
after the report.
Britain's Minister for Europe David Lidington said he "was gravely concerned to
learn that Belarus has recently carried out the death penalty on 2 of its
The previous last reported executions in Belarus were in March 2010, when two
men sentenced to death in 2009 for crimes including murder were executed by
shooting, according to Amnesty International.
Lukashenko, once labelled Europe's last dictator by the United States, has
faced increasing isolation by the West after the elections but responded by
jailing rivals and cracking down on opposition protests.
(source: Agence France-Presse)
Execution evidence stops Tadano selling in Iran
Japanese manufacturer Tadano has stopped selling cranes into Iran after
evidence emerged of the machines being used in public executions.
The company made the decision after a report, released in May by pressure group
UANI (United Against Nuclear Iran), condemned Tadano and Furukawa UNIC for
providing mobile cranes to Iran. The report included graphic evidence of the
cranes being used to hang Iranian citizens.
UANI is currently conducting its Cranes Campaign, a campaign to stop
manufacturers and local subsidaries from supplying Iran’s alleged nuclear
weapons programme. While the use of distributing pictures of the cranes being
used in public executions has proven to be controversial – and in the case of
accusations made against Terex in March, inaccurate - it has grabbed headlines
in the US and has led several companies to re-state and clarify their policies
towards the country.
Mark Wallace, the president of UANI welcomed Tadano’s move. He said that Tadano
officials informed UANI that it was ending all of its business in Iran,
including cutting ties with its distributor IER Iran and the Iranian company
Part Loader Co.
"Tadano is a responsible corporation and its decision is another example of an
international company taking the right action in the wake of UANI’s Cranes
Campaign,” he said. “UANI hopes that even more crane companies will end their
business in Iran as the bright light of world attention is cast on Iran’s
barbaric execution binge."
(source: National Council of Resistance of Iran - Foreign Affairs Committee)
1 year passes with no death-row executions / Justice minister shows
unwillingness to sign orders, draws fire for 'Overstepping authority'
There are now 120 prisoners on death row, the most ever, but more than 1 year
has passed since a prisoner has been executed.
Justice Minister Satsuki Eda has indicated he does not intend to authorize any
executions in the immediate future, but questions have been raised about
whether it is appropriate that executions have essentially stopped due to the
personal beliefs of the justice minister.
The most recent execution took place in July last year.
Early last month, Katsuyuki Nishikawa, chief of the Justice Ministry's Criminal
Affairs Bureau, and others entered Eda's office on the 19th floor of the
ministry building and presented the minister with documents showing the number
of death row inmates had reached an all-time high.
The documents referred to items in the Criminal Procedure Code that stipulate
the execution of death row inmates should be carried out at the order of the
justice minister, and take place within six months of the death sentence being
Nishikawa and the others wanted to get a response from Eda that would establish
if the minister actually intended to order executions.
According to sources, Eda stonewalled their implicit request. "An internal
study group [formed last August] is still discussing the matter," Eda said.
Eda has expressed reservations about the system of capital punishment.
In an exclusive interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun conducted on July 26, he
said, "False charges can be revoked in retrials, but this is impossible after a
person has been executed."
After the interview appeared on Thursday, the ministry received many calls of
protest from the public over Eda's remarks.
Few justice ministers have publicly indicated reluctance to authorize
Megumu Sato, who became justice minister in 1990, refused to sign any execution
orders, but disclosed this stance publicly only after having left the post.
When Seiken Sugiura took up the post of justice minister in 2005, he said, "I
won't sign [execution orders]." He later retracted the remark, but did not
authorize any executions during his 10-month tenure.
Role of minister under debate
During the past year, the number of death row inmates has risen by 13. In that
period, death penalties have been finalized in 16 cases, including 2 trials
conducted under the lay judge system. Three of those convicts died due to
illness, and no executions have been carried out.
The 120 prisoners on death row include Chizuo Matsumoto, 56, founder of the Aum
Supreme Truth cult; 11 senior members of the cult; and Masumi Hayashi, 50,
convicted over a case of curry poisoning in Wakayama.
The yearlong halt on execution orders is partly attributed to the frequent
replacement of justice ministers under the Democratic Party of Japan-led
Keiko Chiba on July 28 last year signed the order for the most recent execution
conducted in this nation.
She was replaced as justice minister by Minoru Yanagida, who was "in favor of
capital punishment," according to a senior official at the Justice Ministry,
but was ditched as minister only two months after being appointed.
He was replaced by Yoshito Sengoku, who was kept extremely busy as he also
doubled as chief cabinet secretary. He continued as justice minister for only 2
months before being succeeded by current Justice Minister Satsuki Eda.
A senior official at the ministry said Yanagida and Sengoku simply were not in
office long enough to order any executions.
"It takes several months to decide on executions, because the minister needs to
read up on the court documents about the inmate," the official said.
In August last year, Chiba--while she was still justice minister--set up a
study group to examine the application of the death penalty. However, the
group's discussions have not yet produced any significant results.
Eda said in the interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun that it would be difficult
to order any executions while discussions about the death penalty are under
The panel, the meetings of which are closed to the public in principle, has so
far solicited opinions from organizations that advocate abolition of the death
penalty, and groups that represent victims of crime. It has not been decided
when the panel will present its conclusion.
"The death sentence is the only penalty that is applied according to the orders
of the justice minister. The minister should consider global trends," Eda said
in the interview with The Yomiuri Shimbun.
Eda's remarks suggest he believes it is within the justice minister's
discretion to refrain from ordering executions, but some legal experts strongly
reject that idea.
Konan Law School Prof. Osamu Watanabe, an expert on criminal procedure, said:
"The Criminal Procedure Code stipulates that executions should be performed
within 6 months of the sentence being finalized. I think the justice minister
should act in line with the system and review the possibility of false
conviction within the set time limit."
Watanabe said adjustments to the current system should be made through
legislation after public discussion, and that in the meantime the current rules
should be upheld.
Tokyo Metropolitan University Prof. Masahide Maeda, an expert on criminal law,
said: "Recently, the death penalty has been handed down in lay judge trials. If
executions continue to be delayed because of politicians' personal views,
public confidence in the law will be shaken.
"Executions should be carried out within the set period."
(source: Yomiuri Shimbun)
What does Cameron think about the death penalty?
Parliament could soon debate capital punishment but what does the PM think?
David Cameron is opposed to capital punishment but does not regard it as an
Parliament hasn't voted on the death penalty since 1994 but that could be about
to change with the launch of the government's e-petitions site. The site
promises that any petition that receives at least 100,000 signatures will be
"eligible for debate in the House of Commons".
Guido Fawkes has submitted a petition to reinstate the death penalty for "the
murder of children and police officers when killed in the line of duty." So
far, he's won the public support of 3 Conservative MPs - Philip Davies, Priti
Patel and Andrew Turner. Davies said: "It's something where once again the
public are a long way ahead of the politicians. I'd go further and restore it
for all murderers."
With this in mind, I thought it was worth investigating what David Cameron has
had to say on the subject. The PM is opposed to capital punishment but does not
regard it as an "unacceptable" view for Conservative MPs to hold. He told Dylan
Jones, the author of Cameron on Cameron:
[I]f someone murdered one of my children then emotionally, obviously I would
want to kill them. How could you not? But there have been too many cases of
things going wrong, of the wrong people being executed, of evidence coming to
light after the execution, and sometimes there is just too much of an element
of doubt. And I just don't honestly think that in a civilised society like ours
that you can have the death penalty any more.
If, like me, you regard capital punishment as state murder, you should relish
the prospect of a Parliamentary debate on the subject - the best arguments are
on our side. The death penalty is not a deterrent (the US murder rate has
risen, not fallen, since the penalty was restored in 1976), it can lead to the
death of innocents, and it has a brutalising effect on society. As George
Bernard Shaw put it: "It is the deed that teaches, not the name we give it.
Murder and capital punishment are not opposites that cancel one another, but
similars that breed their kind."
The last time Parliament voted on the subject the death penalty was rejected by
403 votes to 159. A separate attempt to restore the penalty for the murder of a
police officer was rejected by 383 votes to 186. The public, by contrast,
continue to support capital punishment, although in diminishing numbers. A
YouGov poll in September 2010 found that 51 % supported the death penalty for
murder, with 37 % opposed.
So long as Britain remains a member of the European Union there is little
prospect of the return of capital punishment - it is illegal under EU law. But
this is a debate, one suspects, that will run and run.
(source: New Statesman)
Mubarak facing death penalty in Egypt trial
An Egyptian court ruled today that former President Hosni Mubarak will go on
trial this week for human rights abuses.
The 83-year-old Mubarak has been confined for months to a hospital in the
seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh , where his supporters say he is too weak to
CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reports that the moment all Egypt had
been waiting for happened Sunday, when the head of the criminal court - hidden
behind a mountain of microphones -announced that Mubarak would stand trial,
live and on television, on Wednesday.
For months, rumors that he was too sick to appear in court had angered
Egyptians determined he should face justice.
"Our voices should be heard," says Mohamed Ashour. "I want to tell the
prosecutor to make Mubarak's trial prompt, as it's been so long in coming."
Even a year ago, it seemed impossible that the untouchable Mubarak, who'd ruled
Egypt with an iron fist for 30 years, would be brought so low, so fast.
But back in January, millions of Egyptians, sick of chronic corruption and
poverty, took to the streets demanding he step down.
More than 800 people were killed in what's become known as the revolution, but
in the end, the people - backed by the army - got their way.
For a few weeks, life seemed to return to normal, and the mood was upbeat with
fresh elections slated for the fall.
Gradually though, the crowds who hoped for political change saw only
foot-dragging by the generals in charge, and the demonstrations started up
This past Friday, there were tens of thousands of people back in Cairo's Tahrir
Square. One of their key demands was that Mubarak, his two sons and 8 other
cronies should face charges that include the killing of protestors back in the
spring, and corruption.
"He was the symbol of the regime that the Egyptians wanted to change. Bringing
him forward to justice in a transparent way depicts or at least symbolizes a
process of accountability and transparency," says Rabad el Mahdi, professor of
political science at American University Cairo.
Whatever the outcome, this is a watershed moment in the Middle East. If
convicted, one of the most powerful dictators in the region, and longtime ally
of America, could actually face the death penalty.
(source: CBS News)
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