[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Tue Oct 4 23:18:08 CDT 2011
Nations queue up to query Thailand at UN hearing
Human rights activists will hold a live broadcast of the United Nations Human
Rights Council's examination of Thailand's human rights situation in Geneva
At least 6 countries have sent advance questions to the Thai mission in Geneva
for the three-hour session known as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
Thai ambassador to the United Nations Sihasak Phuangketkeow will lead the Thai
delegation to the council's UPR session.
The questions focus on hot-button issues including the Abhisit Vejjajiva
government's crackdown on protesters during last year's riots, the ongoing
insurgency in the South, reform of the lese majeste law and respect for the
rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.
Norway, for example, asked how the Thai government would ensure the Truth for
Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is given the needed resources and power to
bring human rights violators in last year's riots to justice. Oslo also asked
about justice and reconciliation in the South and how to set clearer criteria
in determining the lese majeste offence so that the law is not abused.
The Czech Republic also cited the excessive use of force against demonstrators
last year despite Thailand's ratification of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights which requires that force must be used in proportion
to a legitimate objective.
They also asked whether Thailand was willing to enact domestic legislation so
torture would become a punishable offence and when Thailand would consider
abolishing the death penalty.
Denmark asked about measures to safeguard print, broadcast, and digital media
and plans to safeguard the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
The Netherlands asked when Article 112 and the Computer Crime Act would be
reformed while Switzerland wanted to know about measures to strengthen the
independent and impartial role of the judiciary, ensuring freedom of
expression, ratifying the convention on refugees and also abolishing the death
A number of countries have queued up for a slot to question the Thai
"It's going to be a lively discussion - quite a rehearsal for the next heated
session on Syria on Thursday [tomorrow]," a Geneva-based source said.
(source: Banngkok Post)
PM reveals details of death penalty bill
Legislation that will soon be brought to Parliament, will outline the
circumstances under which a person convicted of murder should be sentenced to
death or life in prison, according to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who last
night addressed the nation on the country's growing crime trends.
Ingraham said the legislation woudl make it mandatory that when a person is
ssentenced to life in prison for murder, it would mean that person would serve
the rest of his or her natural life behind bars.
The prime minister said that the death penalty would be a mandatory sentence
for anyone convicted of killing a member of the floowoing organizations: The
Royal Bahamas Police Force, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Department of
Customs, the Department of Immigration, the judiciary and the prison services
The death penalty would also be mandatory if a person is convicted of murdering
someone in the commission of a robbery, rape, kidnapping or act of terorism,
said the prime minister.
A sentence of life in prison for murder would be applicable in the floowing
circumstances: Where the victim is a witness ora party iin a civil or criminal
action; where a member of a jury or a past jury in a criminal case is murdered;
where the offense is in relation to the murder of more than 1 person; where the
convicted person has previously been convicted of murder and when the murder
was committed on the direction of another.
Ingraham said in other cases where a death sentence is not applicable, the
penalty will be a term of imprisonment between 30 and 60 years.
"I note that such sentences are not applicable to convicts who are
(18-years-old) or younger at the time of their conviction," he said.
The legislation will come months after Ingraham promised to deliver it
following the Privy Council decision that quashed the death sentence of murder
convict Maxo Tido in June.
Tido was sentenced more than 5 years ago for the 2002 murder of 16-year-old
Donnell Conover. Her skull was crushed and her body burnt.
But the Privy Council, while recognizing that it was a dreadful and appalling
murder, said it did not fall into the category of worst of the worst, and
therefore the death penalty ought not apply.
The Law Lords said the worst cases of murder that may call for the imposition
of capital punishment would be those in which the murder is carefully planned
and carried out in furtherance of another crime, such as robbery, rape, drug
smuggling, human smuggling, drug wars, gang enforcement policies, kidnapping,
preventing witnesses from testifying, serial killers, as well as the killing of
inncents "for the gratification of base desires."
Even with murders being categorized, murder convcits still have the right to
appeal to the Privy Council.
In the case of Tido, his appeal was filed in October 2009 as the government was
preparing to read a death warrant to him.
It came a year after the Court of Appeal upheld his murder conviction and death
Even if the Privy Council had upheld his death sentece, under a previous ruling
of the Privy Council, he could not be executed.
The 1993 ruling followed the Jamaican case of Earl Pratt and Ivan Morgan in
which the Privy Council ruled it was inhumane to prisoners to wait more than 5
years on death row.
Ingraham did not indicate whether the forthcoming legislation would specify
that appeals be filed within a certain period of time. In 2006, the Privy
Council ruled that the mandatory death sentence in the Bahamas was
Tido was the 1st murder convict in The Bahamas to be sentenced by a judge using
The death penalty has not been carried out in The Bahamas subce Davud Nutcgekk
was executed in 2000.
(source: The Nassau Guardian)
There Are Bad Eggs in the Judiciary
Yahaya Mahmoud SAN, before now was a chief Magistrate. He was awarded the title
of SAN August 2011, in this interview, he speaks on the Judiciary, democracy
and the National Judicial Council (NJC) and other topical issues.
How has the Judiciary/Courts developed democracy so far?
The 1999 Constitution is our Grundnorm. It's the Law that defines the entire
Structure of Government. Division of Powers between the 3 Tiers - Federal,
States and Local Governments. Separation of Powers between the 3 Organs -
Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. The Constitution gave power to make Laws
on the Legislature, execute on the Executive and interpretation on the
Judiciary. This role of the Judiciary allow us to understand functions, powers.
Boundaries and limits. Their role in defending the constitution and development
of our democracy has so far been tremendous and commendable.
There is still an ongoing debate over the age of serving judges on whether
their retirement age should be reviewed upward since many are retired but are
still being called upon to head/chair one commission or the other. What is your
position on this?
With the volume of work in the Judiciary I think retirement age of 70 should be
maintained. The fact that some who retired at 70 are still active
notwithstanding. They can be better utilised in the NJC, JSC at State Level, in
Commissions of Inquiry and in such bodies as EFCC, ICPC, Legal Aid and a host
Should the rank of SAN be abolished?
Practising Lawyers aspire to be SAN just as Judges aspire to be at the Head of
their Courts or the Apex Court. Abolition it will do more harm than good. The
complaint of those calling for its abolition has to do with methods,
transparency and impartiality of the process.
Nigeria is 1 of 58 countries to retain the death penalty, but it has not
carried out an execution since 2006, hundreds of prisoners remain on death row.
What do you think about the death penalty? Do you think it should be abolished?
The purpose of criminal justice system is define crimes, deter criminals,
punish offenders, compensate victims and have peaceful and orderly society.
Death penalty should not be abolished especially for cases of intentional
murder and robbery with violence. Despite the availability of Committee on
Prerogative of Mercy, in appropriate cases 20 years imprisonment should be used
as Maximum period.
Is it right for the NBA to continue to criticize the Government and at the same
time collect donations from them for their Conferences?
NBA, ASUU, NMA, NUJ etc should be able to offer constructive criticism on
unpopular Government actions and policies. That should not stop them from
collecting legitimate and unconditional donations.
How would you compare the activities of state legislators with those in NASS?
The activities of the NASS are more transparent. Most of it are shown on TV and
covered by Media. NASS can't be easily controlled or teleguided. It's not the
same with State Legislatures.
Are there constitutional differences in their powers? What are they?
Their powers are the same. Make laws for the peace, order and good government
within its authority. To approve appropriation, to make investigations and
confirm certain appointments.
Q. What are the implications of passing budgets without debates; poor oversight
on ministries; confirming commissioners without proper screening, etc?
The effects are that the Legislatures are failing in their duties and helping
in failure of governance.
Why is it that we do not have partnership in the Law Chambers as in USA/UK
where the chambers normally succeed the founders?
Rotimi Williams and Gani Fawehinmi Chambers are not dead. There are
Partnerships in several Chambers.
The removal of Salami was for political reasons. How do you react to that?
Justice Salamis case is in Court. It will not be proper for me to comment on
it. But to the extent that certain persons and press made it political, it is a
legal issue/matter given political coloration.
Since 2003 politics has brought the judiciary to disrepute (have the
politicians made rubbish of the judiciary?
Just as there are bad eggs in the other organs, there are in the Judiciary. If
it's the Politicians who are responsible, it is because of the winner-take-all
system we operate, making it 'do-or-die'.
Some State Chief Judges have occupied those positions for 10-20 years and some
have argued that it encourages corruption and laziness, and frustrates others,
what's your view?
President, Governors and Speakers are elected on 4-year term. May be State
Chief Judges should be for 5 year term after which they should be given an
option to go to the Court of Appeal or retire. It is not monarchy or
What is your advise on way forward in Justice Salamis matter?
Without prejudice to the suit filed in Court, in the greater interest of
Nigeria and the Judiciary, retired Chief Justices Uwais, Belgore, Kutigi and
the likes of Justices Esho and Oputa, Chief Akinjide and Chief Ajibola should
intervene and explore the possibility of amicable and out of Court settlement.
How can the NJC be more strengthened?
It will not be a bad idea to reconstitute NJC and make a Rtd Chief Justice and
Rtd PCA as Chairman and Vice Chairman, and include Rtd Supreme Court and Court
of Appeal Justices, University Law Professors etc. Instead of having NBA
representatives participating in appointments and excluding them in the
disciplinary proceedings, NBA at National and State Levels should be in a
position to recommend/report to NJC or JSC as the case may be.
Why did the 30 newly sworn-in SAN ignore the NBA threat?
Legal Practitioners Priveleges Committee recommended 15 of us for 2010 and 15
for 2011. LPPC had no problems with NBA. In fact NBA members participated in
our screening, chambers inspection and interview. The only problem was that the
former CJN fixed 26th August for our swearing in, during vacation, and on the
last day of NBA Conference. If we are told what we did wrong by attending we
shall defend ourselves.
(source: All Africa News)
Iranian Political Prisoners: Don’t Mollify our Butchers!
Iranian political prisoner Sadegh Sistani from the Iranian opposition
organization MEK recently escaped. His report? “Hundreds waiting in the gallows
while the UN-US welcomes their butcher.”
As the motorcade of the Iranian President, Ahmadinejad moved towards the UN
General Assembly for a predicted venomous speech and a mockery of World
conscience, Iranian state-controlled media announced a new toll of death
sentences for a group of 54 activists.
The ruling Iranian regime is an oppressive one that mixes theocracy with
autocracy and extreme expansionist ideology that continues to defy the
international community. It has proven that it absolutely denies the people and
even members of its elite any form of Freedom.
I took the opportunity to ask a prominent veteran Iranian political prisoner
who escaped torture only last April about the situation of his fellow prisoners
back in Iran.
Sadegh Sistani, escaped Iran after enduring years of imprisonment under the
“There are thousands of political prisoners packed in hundreds of prisons in
Iran. Tens of families which include whole families at times affiliated to the
MEK, are in deploring inhuman conditions. Women are volatile, and suffer the
most. Sexual harassment and misuse have been routine for woman political
prisoners. During the 1980 executions of hundreds of MEK affiliates, a Fatwa by
Khomeini allowed rape of young girls in order to make sure their spirits would
not go to heaven. (They believed that sinned girls would not be allowed to
Others had their blood drained before death according to a separate Fatwa. The
present regime president, Ahmadinejad, was one of the tens of torturers in the
notorious Evin prison at the time. He is now shaking hands with his official
counterparts. It is the same hand who pulled the trigger that killed tens in
executions according to living witnesses.”
Sadegh Sistani, continued explaining the present situation; “The brutality of
this regime towards families of MEK in Iran has not limits. A young mother of
three toddlers is still paying the price of the “terror tag." Her name I will
disclose for her protection. She was abducted from her house as her little ones
were screaming out of fear. The mother was dragged away for no apparent reason
and has been in prison since. Her interrogator, a notorious torturer of the
1980s ‘Salavati’ told her: “You are paying the price of your sister and brother
(supporters of the MEK and executed earlier) *1. The interrogator had asked for
her children’s presence so that they would “cry their hearts out” to give him
Sistani said: “In a letter smuggled out, she has bravely disclosed her ordeal
and appealed to ‘World Conscience’:
“This is a FREE country, and its President Ahmadinejad claims there is total
FREEDOM, where Human Rights is respected and where people have no fear of
persecution. Indeed, a country in which “Breathing and being ALIVE” is a CRIME.
A place in which, a mourning mother in black has no right to cry for the loss
of her darlings. Indeed, it is a role model for Freedom and Democracy!
I know very well that by writing this letter, I am accepting the worst to come,
but all I want to be to voice of the many innocent in these prisons, who are
suffering the cost of appeasement with the mullahs.”
“There is always hope in the dark dungeons, where your voice is not heard, and
all you have desired for seems remote. That hope builds on your perseverance
and resolve to stand firm on all you ever lived for: Freedom.”
Mr. Sistani said: “As this mother of three, MEK supporter has written “HOPE'”
is still there, but is this still a value for the US Administration and
The voice for change has been resonating in comments and speeches by US senior
officials supporting the movement and its struggle to establish democracy in
Dr. Sarah Sewall from Harvard Kennedy School of Government elaborated the
conflict of foreign policy interests and true American values during a
symposium in Washington DC and said:
“What is interesting for me concerning the issue of Democracy and Human Rights
in Iran is that often, for the United States we see a significant conflict in
our foreign policy between the values that America has held dear and, indeed,
was founded upon and the interests of the United States of America as it plots
its foreign policy and manages the affairs of state. The extraordinary issue is
values, and interests are joined in a common framework for approaching the
questions of Iran and democracy and human rights. Such clash in the conduct of
foreign policy; so often leading to inconsistency; reversals of fortune,
charges of hypocrisy; has now actually an opportunity to be reconciled.”She
referred to a “third way'” in the approach towards Iran.
Published in the New York Post, a recent appeal, by dozens of senior US
officials to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon to “Save Ashraf Now," Human
Rights has been the prior concern amidst all other pragmatic and long-term
We in America may have very different views about the relative success and the
cost-benefit trade-off of that kind of an approach, bearing in mind
Iraq-Afghanistan experience and its unintended consequences. The “third Option”
argued for the past years by the MEK is the inevitable remedy.
The “Third Option” was offered by the Opposition movement years ago as an
anti-thesis to “War” or “appeasement” mostly propagated by counter and pro
Iranian Lobbyists in Capitol Hill. It simply leaves the complex and expensive
challenge of resolving the clerical extremism, to the Iranian resistance
movement and the Iranian people.
Gen.Shelton in a symposium in Washington said: “The MEK is the most formidable
opposition to the regime in Tehran. It has challenged the worlds leading state
sponsor of terrorism for the past 32 years and provides hope for the current
Iranian people. It provides a degree of hope that far exceeds anything else
that we or our allies can offer short of direct intervention.”
So what more is left and why is there no change in the country while others in
the region will follow the Gale of democratic change?
The Reuters reported, “'The opposition (green movement) is leaderless and lacks
any strategy.. is following the Arab uprisings with a mixture of envies and
regret for its own failure.” The spirited youths who marched the streets during
the 2009 uprisings were betrayed by Moussavi as he cowed to the Supreme Leader.
They are pinning hope on yet a more reliable handle to grab.
However, there is a barrier that has blocked their path.
The US Foreign List of Terrorist Organization has for long favored the
Ayatollahs in Tehran by enchaining the only remaining organized and capable
“The List is a direct handshake with our butchers in Iran. The Mullahs managed
to massacre 120,000 of MEK supporters through a fatwa. The organization was the
exact anti-thesis to the clerical fascists in Iran. They believed in a tolerant
Islam that based “Democracy and Peace” as its corner stone for progress and
social change. It promoted complete Gender Equality, which is the landmark for
any progressive society. Women from the leadership Council in the movement and
recently in a democratic election, a new Secretary General was polled by
members.” Said Sistani.
Ironically, as much as the clerical regime is misogynous in nature, it is an
organization with “Women Leadership” which is the fear of its life and is an
As Sistani takes a deep breath, he insisted on fatal repercussions of the
“Keeping the 45-year-old movement in the US list, has provided a good excuse
for both the Mullahs and Maliki to kill, hang and massacre us anywhere and when
possible. It has enchained our ability to be used to reveal and prevent ongoing
vile Human Right violations by the mullahs. It has simply put the US on the
side of our butchers.”
(source: National Council of Resistance of Iran - Foreign Affairs Committee)
Iran's Death Penalty for Christian Pastor Violates the Quran
In Iran, Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani faces the death penalty for the "crime" of
leaving Islam as a teenager and converting to Christianity. A translated
Iranian Supreme Court brief from 2010 states that 32-year-old Nadarkhani "is
convicted of turning his back on Islam, the greatest religion, the prophesy of
Mohammad at the age of 19." While there is widespread public outcry of support
for his specific case, some are speaking broadly about the punishment for
apostasy. Many -- Muslim and non-Muslim -- mistakenly believe that Islam
supports this barbaric practice.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Islam prescribes absolutely no
punishment for apostasy. If one were to assume that Islam prescribes some sort
of punishment for a person who chooses to leave Islam, that would invariably
mean that Islam forces one to be a Muslim against their will. But chapter 2 of
the Holy Quran emphatically denies this possibility, stating "there shall be no
compulsion in religion." This is an unambiguous declaration protecting freedom
of conscience and choice.
Sadly, there are unfortunate souls within the Muslim world arguing that this
verse only applies to non-Muslims, thereby meaning that only a non-Muslim
cannot be compelled, whereas a Muslim can be compelled or coerced in matters of
religion. This argument is patently absurd. Islam affords its followers freedom
of conscience and religion, with no threat of coercion or compulsion in matters
of faith. They are not answerable to any person or government in regards to
The Quran is replete with this instruction that everyone has the fundamental
freedom of religion. In Chapter 18, it says, "This is the truth from your Lord;
then let him who will, believe, and let him who will, disbelieve." Why is this
so difficult for these so-called Islamic "scholars" to understand? They spit in
the face of the religion they claim to defend by not only violating these
teachings but then falsely attributing their vile sense of justice to the
tolerant faith of Islam. The allegation that Islam advocates the use of force
to spread or maintain itself does not originate from a study of the sources of
Islamic teachings. Rather, it originates from a study of the conduct of some
so-called "Muslim" states.
In fact, we read more about this principle in Chapter 10 of the Holy Quran when
God speaks to the Prophet Muhammad and instructs him to say to all people: "O
mankind, the Truth has indeed come to you from your Lord. Then whoso follows
the guidance, follows it only for the good of his own self, and whoso errs does
so only to his own detriment. I am not appointed a keeper over you." So if the
Prophet himself is not appointed as a keeper to enforce faith over people, then
who in the world do these governments think they are to appoint themselves as
keepers over people? The only example of those killed were not because they
left Islam but because they joined an opposing army at war with Muslims.
In addition to violating Islamic law, Iranian courts are also in violation of
international law. In 1975, Iran ratified the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 18 of which states: "No one shall be
subject to coercion which would impair his freedom to have or to adopt a
religion of his choice." The U.N. Human Rights Committee recognized in 1993
that Article 18 ensures the right to replace one's current religion or belief
with another and forbids coercion that would impair this right.
As a state party to the ICCPR, Iran is obligated to defend the right of
individuals to practice the religion of their choice and to change religions if
they so choose. Even the Iranian Constitution states in Article 23: "The
investigation of individuals' beliefs is forbidden, and no one may be molested
or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief." Apostasy is not a crime
under any of these codified laws.
Unfortunately, some jurists, including Ayatollah Khomeini (whose teachings hold
a privileged position in contemporary Iranian courts), have ruled that the
penalty for apostasy is death. But Islam, as well as international law (and
even general human decency), dictate that Iran is committing injustice. I call
upon the government of Iran to live up to the true principles of Islam and to
let Mr. Nadarkhani go free, and then to repent for making a mockery of not only
their authority but also of Islam.
(source: Harris Zafar.National Spokesperson, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Jordanians stage protest over Saudi death rulings
Scores of Jordanians demonstrated in front of the Saudi embassy in Amman
yesterday to protest rulings by Saudi courts to behead 29 Jordanian truckers
found guilty of drug trafficking. “There are 29 Jordanians ... mostly truck
drivers, who have been condemned for drug trafficking and they are awaiting
execution by beheading,” lawyer Abdul Karim Shraydeh told reporters. The
protest was arranged by groups campaigning for the annulment of the death
penalty. One of the convicts was beheaded a few days back. According to
judicial sources, drug traffickers use Jordan as a transit country for
smuggling narcotics to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations.
(source: Gulf Times)
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