[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Tue Aug 30 17:16:26 CDT 2011
5 charged with kidnapping businessman
5 men were charged at the magistrate’s court with kidnapping a 45-year-old
The 5 are wedding planner R. Puspanathan, 24, factory worker S. Inderan, 19,
scrap metal dealer K. Subramaniam, 25, and unemployed duo A. Danees Kumar, 20,
and Wong Zhen Ning, 25.
They were charged with kidnapping Tey Moon Kim with the intention of getting a
ransom of RM500,000 in Taman Molek, Seri Alam at about 9.15pm on Aug 16.
They were charged under Section 3 of the Kidnapping Act 1961, which carries the
death sentence or life imprisonment, as well as whipping.
Deputy Public Prosecutor M. Vinodharan prosecuted before magistrate Nor Shahid
Abd Malik, who set Oct 6 for mention.
In a separate case, Puspanathan was charged along with M. Mohanaselvam, 24, and
S. Ganga Devi, 25, with drug trafficking.
Mohanaselvam was charged with trafficking 0.712kg of heroin at a house in Jalan
Bukit Kempas 2/15, Taman Bukit Kempas, Kempas at about 1.45am on Aug 19.
Puspanathan and his fiancee Ganga Devi were charged with trafficking 0.124kg of
heroin at the same location, date and time.
They were charged under Section 39B(1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which
carries the death penalty.
Nor Shahid set Oct 6 for mention. DPP Goh Sze Han prosecuted.
(source: The Star)
3 Months Before Papal Visit, Benin Votes to End Death Penalty
Benin took a step toward becoming the 17th African state to abolish the death
penalty, as Benedict XVI prepares to visit the nation in November.
On Aug. 19, Benin's national assembly voted to join an international protocol
that calls for the death penalty to be abolished. With the president's
ratification, it will be the 74th nation to join the agreement.
Benedict XVI will make a three-day visit to Benin in mid-November to celebrate
the 150th anniversary of the country's evangelization and to deliver the
apostolic exhortation from the 2009 synod on Africa.
Rwanda to Host Meet On Death Penalty
International experts from various countries, including 25 from Africa, will
meet in Kigali next month to discuss the elimination of the death penalty.
The 2-day conference slated for October 13, will launch a major debate on the
need to abolish the death penalty on the African continent.
Rwanda abolished the death penalty in 2008.
The conference is organised by the government in conjunction with "HANDS OFF
CAIN", an Italian organisation committed to the fight against the application
of the death penalty with support from European Union, African Union and the
World Coalition Against the Death Penalty.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times, the Minister of Justice,
Tharcisse Karugarama, noted that some African countries have scrapped the death
penalty, adding that it was imperative to share experiences on how the penalty
can be eliminated.
"This is a very important conference, not only for Rwanda, but for other
countries as well. Rwanda has benefited from abolishing the death penalty and
we want to share those benefits with other countries," Karugarama said.
"It's a joint effort between our government and these bodies to create a
climate for sound and intellectual debate on this issue".
All AU Member States are parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights, which came into force on October 21st 1986, and for many in Africa, the
death penalty is regarded as a violation of Article 5 of the Charter,
especially regarding the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment
Article 5 of the charter stipulates: "Every individual shall have the right to
the respect of the dignity inherent in a human being and to the recognition of
his legal status. All forms of exploitation and degradation of man,
particularly slavery, slave trade, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading
punishment and treatment shall be prohibited".
(source: All Africa News)
INDIA----impending executions delayed
No hanging on Sept 9; HC stays execution of Rajiv Gandhi killers for 8 weeks
The Madras High Court on Tuesday stayed for 8 weeks the execution of three
Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts.
The 3 -- Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan-- lodged in Vellore Jail, were
scheduled to be hanged on September 9.
Granting the interim stay, a bench comprising justices C Nagappan and M
Sathayanarayanan observed there had been a delay of over 11 years in the
disposal of the mercy petitions filed by the convicts to the President seeking
The matter involved a question of law, the judges said and admitted the writ
petitions and issued notices to the Centre, the state and Tamil Nadu police.
Their case was taken up by senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani and others.
A crowd that had gathered outside the court welcomed the court order. MDMK
leader Vaiko, who strongly pleaded for the commutation of capital punishment,
was also present in the court.
Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday adopted unanimous resolution urging President to
consider review petition of 3 death row convicts in Rajiv Gandhi assassination
Their mercy petitions were rejected by the President and September 9 has been
fixed for their hanging.
Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan had sought to set aside the August 12 last
order of the President, rejecting their mercy pleas and commute their death
sentences to life on the ground of 'undue delay' in disposing of their mercy
Advocate N Chandrasekaran made a mention in the court of Justice N Paul
Vasanthakumar on Monday morning, seeking an early hearing of the petitions,
following which the Judge agreed to hear them on Tuesday.
In 3 separate petitions, the convicts also sought an interim injunction to stay
their executions till disposal of their petitions.
They contended that their mercy pleas were with the President for 11 long years
since April 26, 2000 before being rejected. They claimed 'an unwarranted,
illegal and unconstitutional delay is caused by the President and the Union of
India in the disposal of the mercy petition.'
"No explanation has been offered either for the delay in forwarding of the
mercy petitions by the state government to the President or the delay in
disposal by both the authorities," they contended.
They said they had sent fresh mercy petitions to the President on August 27.
Read: Rajiv Gandhi’s killers to be hanged on September 9
The 3 convicts referred to the Supreme Court ruling in 'Madhu Mehta versus
Union of India case, saying the Court had held that undue delay in execution of
the death sentence would entitle the condemned person to approach the court
under Art 32 (right to constitutional remedy) of the Constitution.
They contended that the Apex court had held 'the court is entitled and indeed
obliged to consider the question of inordinate delay in the light of all
circumstances of a case to decide whether the execution of sentence should be
carried out or should be altered into life imprisonment.
'Besides the Supreme Court had held 'speedy trial in criminal cases though may
not be a fundamental right is implicit in the broad sweep and content of
Speedy trial is part of one's fundamental right to life and liberty. This
principle is no less important for the disposal of a mercy petition, they
The mercy petitions were not placed before the council of ministers but only
before the home ministry, which rejected them, they claimed and said the
President should not have acted on the advice of the home ministry.
They contended that they had submitted letters to the President about the
pendency of their mercy petitiions.
They said in Javed Ahmad vs State of Maharashtra (1985) an over two year delay
in adjudication of the mercy petition was held sufficient to have the death
penalty commuted to life.
Stating that the key conspirators, including LTTE chief Prabhakaran, Pottu
Aman, Akila and Sivarasan had been killed, they submitted 'the crime as is well
known was a political crime and in the changed political atmosphere, there is
absolutely no possibility of recurrence of the crime' if they were permitted to
The convicted persons said the delay in disposal of the mercy petitions had
given them hope they may be given an opportunity to live. We had 'therefore
putting aside our agony and shadow of death equipped ourselves educationally so
as to be useful to society and to our families'.
They claimed they had exhibited exemplary conduct in the last 20 years in
prison.None of them had any previous criminal record and during the long
imprisonment had not only been socially useful, but also helpful to all other
inmates in the high security central prison at Vellore where they are lodged.
They said they have been living under the shadow of the hangman's noose for the
last 11 years,during which period they had been kept in a single cell.
They submitted that the Apex Court had found that in their cases the offences
for which they had been convicted were individual acts of crime and not against
society at large.
The proposed execution of the death penalty, therefore, 'is most inhuman and
shocks all canons of civilised norms', they claimed and said it was a fit case
for the High Court to direct that the death sentence imposed on them be
commuted to life imprisonment.
(source: Daily Bhaskar)
Abolish death penalty: Amnesty secretary general Salil Shetty
Amnesty International (AI) is putting its effort to make India sign the pact of
moratorium on executions with a view to abolish death penalty.
AI secretary general Salil Shetty said that 135 nations in the world have
already established moratorium on execution. "AI opposes death penalty
worldwide because it violates the right to life and other human rights. We will
build pressure on India to sign moratorium pact on execution," he said
acknowledging the felicitation extended to him by Salil Shetty Felicitation
Committee here on Tuesday.
AI, which has 3 million members campaigning for human rights in over 150
countries, aims to work together with full spectrum of people's organisations
in India in new, innovative ways to effect real changes, Salil said.
"We are working towards the release of hundreds of prisoners in India,
including social activist Binayak Sen, who are being put behind bars without
fair trial. We also will launch battle against torture in police stations. We
do not have right code of conduct for police in India," he lamented.
India is a democratic nation, but that does not mean that our nation is free
from issues related human rights. China too monitors human rights violation,
even though it is not a democratic nation,'' he said.
Love for Tulu
Salil, who is a Mangalorean, did not forget his mother tongue even after
becoming the secretary general of AI. In the beginning of his speech, he said,
"organising committeegu solmelu panduth shuru malpuve (I shall start my speech
after thanking organisers).
Throughout his speech, he recalled his childhood and boyhood days of eating
'golibaje' and learning agriculture and culture. He expressed his desire to
watch Tulu movie of Vijayakumar Kodiyalbail "Oiryardori Asal".
"This land has produced several famous persons from underworld to Miss World. I
would like to call Aishwarya Rai my sister, but looking at my face people may
not believe it," Salil said in mirth.
(source: The Times of India)
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa deserves to be congratulated on passing
a resolution in the legislature, appealing to the President to commute the
death sentence of Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan, convicted in the Rajiv
Gandhi assassination case.
One is reminded of the saying “Hatred never ceases by hatred, but by love.”
S. Ramakrishnasayee, Ranipet
It is unfortunate that we, a nation of rich cultural heritage, still have the
death penalty in our statute book. It would be unfair to execute Santhan,
Murugan and Perarivalan after keeping them in jail for 20 long years. It would
be like a mother beating her child years after he or she commits a mistake.
M.V. Nahusharaj, Bangalore
The Madras High Court's decision to stay the execution of the three men is
welcome. Although their crime falls under the rarest of rare category, which
calls for the death penalty, the Supreme Court has also said that an inordinate
delay can be a ground for commuting the death sentence. The question is why the
President took 11 years to reject the clemency petitions of the Rajiv Gandhi
assassins. And why the government has decided to hang those who have been
living in the fear of death for so many years.
Uday Seth, New Delhi
An emotionally charged atmosphere prevails in Tamil Nadu. In fact, emotions are
running so high that young men and women are acting on impulse, to protest
against the decision to hang Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan. The impassioned
pleas by rights activists and tearful pleas by families of the convicts to
spare their lives should not go unheeded. The fact that the three have already
spent 20 years and conducted themselves well strengthens the case for clemency.
What they did in 1991 is now behind them. “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a
tooth” was a principle of the Dark Ages. Death sentence may appear to be
essential to meet the ends of justice. But it is retributive justice.
G. David Milton, Maruthancode
The President has already rejected the clemency petition of the three convicts.
Reopening a case after it has followed the full legal course is something
unheard of. The High Court order will start another round of legal battle in a
case which has taken 20 years to reach a conclusion.
Ramachandran Nair, Oman
It is shocking to see the extent of support for the three men in Tamil Nadu.
The show of support by students, who were very young when the crime was
committed, is not justified. They cannot possibly understand its gravity. It
was not just the killing of Rajiv Gandhi that was gruesome. The fact that the
LTTE executed the plan to take revenge on a Prime Minister of the largest
democracy to create panic in countries that opposed the outfit is unacceptable.
James Christopher, Mysore
What we see now in the name of campaign against the death penalty is an
emotional outburst. As for the argument that an eye for an eye is no solution,
a punishment should not be confused with vindictive action. The state is not
taking an eye for an eye. It is only trying to prevent future offenders from
taking away the lives of many more. Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan have
exhausted all the legal means at their disposal. Has any new evidence surfaced
in these 20 years to prove their innocence?
B.N. Kapali, Chennai
If the death penalty is substituted with life sentence even in the rarest of
rare cases, jails will be filled with hardcore terrorists like Ajmal Kasab. The
need of the hour is to send a strong signal to the world.
P.S.S. Murthy, Hyderabad
(source: Letters to the Editor, The Age)
Death-row convicts sense hope as courts intervene
The Madras High Court order to stay the execution of death sentence — the 3rd
such intervention in recent times — to the killers of former Prime Minister
Rajiv Gandhi could be a ray of hope for the likes of Parliament attack convict
Mohammad Afzal and others on death row.
The HC order coming in the wake of an 11-year delay by the Centre to decide on
mercy pleas of the 3 convicts — T Suthethiraja, alias Santhan; Sriharan, alias
Murugan; and G Pasarivalan, alias Arivu — could serve as a precedent for Afzal,
whose plea for clemency is pending with the President since 2006.
Tuesday’s intervention by the Madras High Court follows those by the Supreme
Court in the case of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and by the Gauhati High Court
in the case of MN Das. The judges in all the 3 cases have taken the executive
head on for the lapse on their part to expeditiously dispose mercy petitions as
it relates to the matter of life or death.
Legal experts justified the intervention by courts and cited even other
instances in the past where the apex court had converted death to life
imprisonment in cases where execution of death penalty was delayed by 2 years.
They termed it a double punishment for the convicts and questioned the reason
behind the Government’s delay in disposing such petitions which are less than
25 in number.
Senior advocate PP Rao, speaking to The Pioneer, said, “Living in the shadow of
death causes sufficient mental agony and trauma. A convict suffers a lot
waiting for execution of his sentence and a long delay in disposal of his mercy
petition is a good ground to quash his death sentence.”
The Supreme Court recognised this right of a convict in a 1983 decision in TV
Vatheeshwaran vs Tamil Nadu, where it held, “Prolonged detention to await the
execution of a sentence of death is an unjust, unfair and unreasonable
procedure and the only way to undo the wrong is to quash the sentence of
death.” It treated the two years’ delay to dispose the mercy petition as
sufficient ground to commute death sentence to life.
It was in this spirit that on July 7 this year, the Supreme Court issued a
notice on a PIL seeking guidelines for timely disposal of mercy petitions.
Four days later, it entertained a petition by death row convict Devender Pal
Singh Bhullar challenging the eight-year delay to decide on his clemency
petition as a ground to commute his death sentence.
Even the Gauhati High Court had exactly a month earlier issued notice to Centre
staying the death sentence of one MN Das, whose mercy petition was decided
after a delay of 12 years.
Holding the judicial intervention to be perfectly in line with protection of
citizen’s fundamental rights, senior advocate Jayant Bhushan argued, “Mercy
petitions require to be decided in a matter of days, if not months. Imagine the
plight of the convict who is to be hanged but owing to the delay on his mercy
appeal is made to spend each day in solitary confinement, without asking for
such prolonged incarceration. He has no real life,” Bhushan added.
As a rule there is no time limit to consider on mercy petitions, but the SC in
1989 held in Triveniben vs State of Gujarat, “Undue delay in execution of death
sentence entitles the condemned prisoner under Article 32 of Constitution of
India to approach court that his death sentence be commuted to life
imprisonment.” It, however, failed to quantify the period of “inordinate
In September 2009, the SC reiterated the concern expressed by it in a 1971
case. “It seems to us that the extremely excessive delay in the disposal of the
case of the appellant would, by itself, be sufficient for imposing a lesser
sentence of imprisonment for life under Section 302.”
(source: The Pioneer)
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