[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Tue Oct 11 11:42:29 CDT 2011
Take Action on Featured Campaigns Against the Death Penalty at Change.org:
Iranian Government: Release Youcef Nadarkhani
End The Death Penalty: 130 Sent to Death Row Later Proved Innocent
Give Yong Vui Kong a Second Chance
Grant DNA Testing to Hank Skinner on Death Row
Urge President Obama to Free Mumia Abu Jamal
Tell Uganda to Back Off Extremely Anti-Gay Legislation
End Death Sentencing in LA County
Plea to cancel the death sentence wrongly given to innocent Tamils
Tell Walmart: Intervene Before Labor Activists Are Sentenced to Death
Human Rights Court for all
Chief Justice Marston Gibson says Barbadians need to see the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights as more than an institution that deals with death penalty
He made the comment during the formal opening of the 44th Extraordinary Period
of Sessions of the court in Bridgetown yesterday evening.
He said while Barbados was part of the important hemispheric system, Barbadians
usually heard about it when it was “juxtaposed to the death penalty”.
Over the years, a number of Barbadians sentenced to death have turned to the
court to get their sentences overturned. In 2007, the court found that the
mandatory death sentence imposed on all those convicted of murder violated the
right to life as it was arbitrary and failed to limit the application of the
death penalty to the most serious crimes.
(source: Nation News)
Encouraging Trend Towards Universal Abolition of the Death Penalty
Today as we commemorate the World Day against the Death Penalty, the European
Union would like to express its full support to the global endeavours towards
universal abolition of capital punishment. We are pleased to note the
encouraging results in this direction over the past years and pledge to
continue our steadfast support.
The worldwide trend towards abolition is clear: Between 1993 and 2010, the
number of countries that abolished the death penalty by law for all crimes grew
from 55 to 96. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly for the first time
adopted a resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The
resolution was later reaffirmed by the African Commission on Human and People's
Rights. Currently, 140 countries worldwide have abolished the death penalty in
either law or practice. In August 2011, the Republic of Benin became the latest
addition when its parliament voted to join the ranks of abolitionist countries.
Benin will become the 74th country to completely abolish the death penalty and
the 17th country in Africa. Other recent examples in Africa include Burundi,
Gabon, Rwanda and Togo.
Abolishing the death penalty is a prerequisite for joining the EU and has been
done by all 27 member states. Universal abolition of the death penalty is among
the main objectives of the EU's human rights policy. The death penalty is a
cruel and inhumane punishment. Its abolition contributes to the enhancement of
human dignity and progressive development of human rights. Where the death
penalty still exists, the EU calls for its use to be progressively restricted
and insists that it be carried out according to international minimum
The EU is encouraged by recent developments in Kenya towards formal abolition.
In 2009 we welcomed the decision by H.E. President Mwai Kibaki to commute all
existing death sentences in Kenya to life imprisonment. The verdict in June by
the High Court in Nakuru, reinterpreting the Penal Code's provisions on
mandatory death penalty for murder, is a significant step in the right
direction. The EU believes that the death penalty does not provide any added
value in terms of deterrence. Furthermore, any miscarriage or failure of
justice is irreversible when the punishment deprives one of his or her right to
life; a right that is safeguarded in article 26 of Kenya's Constitution and in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The EU remains strongly supportive of these positive developments in Kenya and
encourages the Government to take the necessary measures to join Kenya with the
growing body of abolitionist countries.
(source: Opinion; Marjaana Sall is the Charge d'affaires and deputy head of the
European Union delegation in Kenya. This has been authored on behalf of the
European Union----All Africa News)
Don't give me death, I was brainwashed like a robot: Kasab
Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab facing death penalty for the 2008 Mumbai terror
attack claimed in the Supreme Court he was brainwashed like a "robot" into
committing the heinous crime in the name of "God" and that he does not deserve
capital punishment owing to his young age.
Though at the outset claiming innocence, Kasab posed a rider that even assuming
he was guilty, death penalty cannot be awarded to him as he was brainwashed
into committing the crime and was not beyond reform owing to his young age.
In his special leave petition challenging the death penalty, Kasab through
counsel Gaurav Agrawal claimed that he was innocent and his so-called
confessional statement had no evidentiary value as there was no corroboration.
The 24-year-old lone surviving gunman from the Mumbai carnage that left 166
persons dead submitted that he had retracted the disclosure statements, but the
same was relied upon by the trial court and the high court for handing down the
"The High Court ought to have held that even if the petitioner was guilty for
the offences alleged this wasn't a fit case for imposing death sentence on the
petitioner inter-alia for the reason that the petitioner's mind was completely
brainwashed by the other co-accused.
"He was acting like a robot having been made to believe that he was acting in
the name of God when he was allegedly told to commit the aforesaid offences,"
the appeal said.
The petition claimed that the high court which confirmed the death penalty did
not consider the fact that at the time of the crime Kasab was only 21 years
which should have been considered as a mitigating factor for not awarding him
"For that the high court ought to have held that the petitioner was barely 21
years of age and being of impressionable mind has failed to see the difference
between right and wrong, he therefore, did not deserve the death penalty.
"It is respectfully submitted that even apart from the petitioner's age, the
prosecution's own case revealed that the petitioner was from an economically
deprived section of society, that he left school at a young age and also ran
way from home following a fight with his father.
"His mental ang moral faculties are not fully developed at such a young age and
hence it cannot be asserted that the possibility for reformation is
non-existent and that the alternative to the death penalty is foreclosed," the
According to the petition, the confessional statement was not corroborated by
any evidence and Kasab was also not conversant with the Indian laws vis-a-vis
statements made before the police and the judicial magistrate.
Further, the counsel said that there was no evidence to prove that Kasab had
joined a conspiracy to wage war against India.
(source: The Times of India)
Islamabad High Court stays Mumtaz Qadri's death penalty
Islamabad High Court has stayed the implementation on Mumtaz Qadri's death
orders Tuesday, Geo News reported. He was accused in assassinating former
Punjab governor Salman Taseer.
According to sources, the hearing of the appeal against the death sentence to
Qadri was heard by a 2-member bench led by Chief Justice of Islamabad High
Court Iqbal Hameed-ur-Rehman.
Former Chief Justice, Lahore High Court, Khawaja Muhammad Sharif is leading the
panel of lawyers defending Mumtaz Qadri in the appeal which he filed against
his conviction for killing former Governor Punjab Salman Taseer in Islamabad
Mumtaz Qadri was sentenced to 2-time death and Rs100,000 fine by the
Anti-Terrorism Court, Rawalpindi on October 1st.
(source: The News International)
Iwao Hakamada: Amnesty Urgent Action----The former boxer has been on death row
in Japan for 43 years and is suffering severe mental deterioration. Even one of
his trial judges believes his conviction for murder is unsafe
Iwao Hakamada, former boxer, now on Japan's death row. Iwao Hakamada is
believed to be the world's longest-serving death row inmate. He has spent the
past 43 years in prison in Japan, under threat of execution.
In 1968, Hakamada, a former professional boxer from Shizuoka prefecture, was
convicted of the murder of the managing director of the miso (soya bean paste)
factory where he worked, as well as the man's wife and his 2 children.
He was found guilty at an unfair trial, principally on the basis of a
confession he made after 20 days of interrogation by police, and without a
lawyer present. Hakamada later withdrew the confession, saying that he had been
beaten and threatened.
One of the judges who convicted him, Kumamoto Norimichi, stated publicly in
2007 that he believed Hakamada was innocent in 1968, but that he had been
outvoted by his colleagues.
Within months of being given a death sentence, Hakamada began to show signs of
seriously disturbed behaviour. There are grave concerns about his mental
health, but the prison authorities have refused his family and his legal
representatives access to his medical records.
In recent months, visitors to Tokyo Detention Centre, where Hakamada is being
held, have found him to be "confused, disorientated and rambling". The
75-year-old has been known to refuse his medication for hypertension and he
also suffers from diabetes.
His legal team, family and supporters are calling for Hakamada to be granted a
stay of execution and for him to be removed from death row. They also continue
to press his claim for a retrial, citing concerns about the soundness of
evidence against him.
Japan has not commuted a death sentence since 1975. Executions in the country
are by hanging and are typically carried out in secret. Death row inmates are
only notified on the morning of their execution and their families are usually
informed only after the execution has taken place.
Prisoners live in constant fear of immediate execution. Enduring these
conditions for years, or even decades, has led to extensive depression and
mental illness among those sentenced to death.
(source: The Guardian)
Vietnam claims it makes the death penalty 'more humane'
Vietnam executes approximately 100 persons each year, mostly for drug-related
offences. This, at least, is the figure reported in the official media. The
real number can never be known. Since 2004, when the Vietnam Committee on Human
Rights, the FIDH and other international NGOs campaigned vocally against this
inhuman practice, Vietnam declared that statistics on death sentences and
executions would be classified as “state secrets”. Occasionally, information
leaks through to the international media, such as the Associated Press’ report
that 3 people were sentenced to death on 5th October 2011, just 5 days before
the global community condemns capital punishment on the World Day against the
Vietnam’s communist leaders refuse to abolish the death penalty, despite strong
international pressure. 22 offences in Vietnam’s Criminal Code are punishable
by death, including vaguely defined “national security” crimes that have been
roundly condemned by the United Nations. This year, however, Vietnam changed
the law. Following the Chinese model – as it also does for Internet censorship
and repression of political dissent – Vietnam adopted legislation to carry out
executions by lethal injections rather than the firing squad. The new law,
adopted in July 2011, also allows relatives of the executed to retrieve their
bodies for burial. Retired prison governor Nguyen Duc Minh justified the move:
“Lethal injection will cause less pain and the bodies of executed prisoners
will stay intact so it will reduce the psychological pressure on executors”.
According to the state-controlled media, many policemen suffered trauma after
completing their duty as “executioners”. So Vietnam continues to execute its
citizens. But in celebration of the World Day against the Death Penalty, it can
proudly announce that executions are “more humane !”
Iranian regime continues to execute in high numbers, do not forget the Iranians
Iran is currently the country with the most executions per capita in the world,
while China is ranked number 1 in the amount of overall executions.
In February 2011, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights released a
statement on the alarming amount of executions in Iran. She called on the
Iranian authorities to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to
abolishing the death penalty.
The statement was not only ignored by Iranian authorities, but it also did not
deter them from continuing executing people in unprecedented numbers.
Statistics from Iran Human Rights:
According to official reports, the Iranian regime has executed more than 340
people since January 2011. The real number is much higher. Last month, in
September, the Iranian regime executed 58 people. In October the Iranian regime
has already executed 13 people, and the number is feared to rise.
Among the recently executed were at least 3 minor offenders, under the age of
Vahid Moslemi and Mohammad Norouzi were 2 Afghan citizens who were 17 years old
when arrested. They were among 22 people executed in one day in Iran on
September 18th, for drug-related charges. A few days later, the Iranian regime
executed Alireza Mollasoltani for murder. He was 17 years old when killed.
Alireza insisted that he was acting in self-defense.
Among the recently executed were also 3 people convicted of sodomy, the charge
the Iranian regime issues to justify the execution of people who engage in
When the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or other members of the Iranian
regime respond to questions about executions in Iran, they always throw out
statistics on the United States of America’s execution track record. The
Iranian regime uses the USA as a scapegoat to evade responsibility for its own
Those who are against the death penalty find executions under any charge to be
unacceptable, regardless of the country conducting the execution, including the
USA. Nevertheless, it is important to note that executions carried out by the
Iranian regime very often violate UN conventions and international laws,
including the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran is a
Most of the people executed by the Iranian regime are not identified by their
full names and many of them are tried behind closed doors, without the public’s
awareness on what exactly caused the person to be issued the death sentence.
Many of the people executed by the Iranian regime also do not have access to
lawyers, and the executions are carried out in secret, sometimes the executions
are carried out in mass numbers in prison. All these actions are considered
illegal, according to not only international laws, but also Iranian laws.
The Iranian regime even breaks its own laws, but somehow has convinced the
world that these executions are legal. In Iran, the most popular charge for
execution is drug-trafficking. The Iranian regime has stated that executing
drug offenders helps control the country’s drug-trafficking problem. However,
since many of the people tried for drug-trafficking are tried behind closed
doors and virtually no information is released to the public on their case, it
is hard to know the real reasons behind the executions.
It is a fact that executions have increased significantly since the 2009
Iranian Presidential election when Iran saw massive uprisings of Iranian people
demanding for change, and the subsequent arrests of Iran’s students, lawyers,
doctors, journalists, celebrities, filmmakers, and human rights and political
A few months following the massive Ashura uprisings (December 2009), The
Iranian regime increased its use of executions as a tool to inflict additional
fear onto society. The executions of 5 political prisoners in May 2010,
including a well-respected Kurdish teacher, was aimed to paralyze those
Iranians who yearned for change.
Following the 2009 election in Iran, it became increasingly evident in the
media that the Iranian people want better lives. The present Iranian regime has
proven time and again that it is unable to introduce reforms within the
political system, and the Iranian authorities are unable to provide answers to
the people’s demands. The economy is also worsening each day, and the Iranian
government system is not short of corruption, including the recent 3 billion
dollar financial scandal, which has seeped its way into Canada. All this taken
into consideration, it is no surprise that the Iranian regime uses violence and
terror as a tool to silence the Iranian people from speaking or acting out.
Especially now, since the Arab spring, the Iranian authorities are better able
to see how the young people in the middle east are getting empowered. They fear
the same will happen in Iran. That is why the Iranian regime terrorizes the
Iranian people by executions, public hangings, and severe crackdowns on the
Recently, human rights activist and top-ranking university student Kouhyar
Goudarzi was subjected to an enforced disappearance. It has been over 2 months
and the Iranian authorities have still not admitted to knowing Goudarzi’s
condition or whereabouts, even though there are unofficial reports indicating
that Goudarzi is currently held in solitary confinement at Evin prison.
Just yesterday student activist Peyman Aref was lashed 74 times by the Iranian
authorities before he was released from prison for finishing his 11-year prison
sentence. The lashings were also part of his sentence, for “insulting” the
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
There are many people like Kouhyar and Peyman in Iran who are abused and
tortured by the Iranian regime.
Aware citizens around the world should do what they can to help the Iranian
people. By sending an email to Iranian authorities or to your local government
can be a great help- even keeping the Iranian people in your thoughts helps. We
should not allow the Iranian people to be forgotten.
The Human Rights House of Iran Launches “Anti-Death Penalty Committee”
As the World Day against Death Penalty approaches, the Human Rights House of
Iran has launched its “Anti-Death Penalty Committee”
The Anti-Death Penalty Committee of the Human Rights House of Iran has been
established in order to record and prepare statistical reports on execution of
death penalties and punishments which lead to an individual’s death and to
follow-up on the condition of death row prisoners.
On the website of the Anti-Death Penalty Committee, all the instances where
death penalty has been carried out have been collected from official and
unofficial sources. The statistics will be gathered based on the location where
the penalty was carried out, the crimes for which the execution took place,
gender and age of the executed individuals, and the date and the location where
the execution occurred, on a monthly basis.
Islamic Republic of Iran is a country with one of the highest rates of
executions in the world. Iran has the 2nd highest execution rate in the world,
second to China and has the highest execution rate in the world based on
At the beginning of the current year, the World Congress against Death Penalty
proposed the abolishment of death penalty all over the world within the next 5
years. In the past 40 years, the percentage of countries which have abolished
death penalty has risen from 20% to 70%. 137 countries have abolished death
penalty and Iran is among the 60 countries which still carry out executions.
The United Nations adopted the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights in 1966. The covenant strongly suggests that all countries which are UN
members shall abolish death penalty or at least restrict its application to the
most serious crimes. Article 6 of the Covenant states that its standards shall
not postpone or prohibit death penalty. However, the Convention against Torture
and several other covenants abolish torture and cruel and inhumane punishments.
Many standards have been set in several international covenants and treaties
for death penalty such as “providing death row inmates with appropriate prison
conditions, setting proper time period between court sentencing and the
execution of the sentence which allows for the appeals process, postponement of
the execution while appeals or request for amnesty are pending, informing the
relatives of the death row inmate, prohibition of public executions,
preparation of accurate statistical reports and abolition of death penalty for
children under 18.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran undermines all the aforementioned standards and
carries out the execution sentences suddenly, without informing the families
and the lawyers, carries out public executions, executes children under 18 and
fails to provide a statistical report.
It is even more unfortunate that many executions in Iran take place for
political reasons. In these cases, the execution does not take place for a
crime committed, has political motives behind it and is aimed at satisfying the
political goals. One example is the execution of Arash Rahmanipour who was
arrested before the disputed presidential elections but was executed after the
2009 elections and in connection to the post-election protests.
The aforementioned factors persuade us in the Human Rights House of Iran to
collect and to record the information on execution in Iran and to offer our
support to death row inmates. As previously stated, one of the standards
requires providing accurate statistical reports on executions and the
irresponsible government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has failed to do so.
In the Anti-Death Penalty Committee of the Human Rights House of Iran, we aim
to prepare a complete statistical report on the executions based on official
and unofficial reports even though they do not include all the instances where
death penalty has been carried out.
It is important to note that all the statistics prepared in this site relate to
the executions since the beginning of the Iranian New Year (March 21, 2011) and
have been collected from official sources. The part for unofficial statistics
has not been completed yet and will be prepared in the upcoming days.
Mojtaba Sameinejad, Secretary of the Human Rights House of Iran
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