[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Fri Oct 14 17:11:25 CDT 2011
President Kikwete Did Not Pardon Convicts - State House
President Jakaya Kikwete has no hand in the amnesty extended to two people who
were sentenced to death in 1998 after being found guilty of murdering the
former director of Tanzania Intelligence and Security Service, Lt Gen Imran
A statement issued by State House's Directorate of Communication said the
decision to pardon the 2 people was made before Mr Kikwete became President in
"The Directorate of Communication of State House wishes to clarify that
Honourable President Kikwete had no hand in the presidential pardon extended to
the people convicted of killing Lt Gen Kombe.
"All the decisions concerning the policemen who were sentenced for the murder
of Lt Gen Kombe were made before President Kikwete assumed powers on December
21, 2005," reads part of the statement.
Former Police Corporal Juma Mswa and Constable Mataba Matiku have been pardoned
after President Kikwete quashed the death penalty imposed on them in 1998. The
sentence was subsequently reduced to two years imprisonment for manslaughter, a
period which they had already served while on death row.
The President is empowered by section 15 (1) (c) of the Constitution to alter
any heavy sentence, including the death penalty for convicted murderers, to a
The news that the two people were set free after their hanging sentence was
reduced to two years imprisonment was received with mixed feelings.
While lawyers said there was no problem with the president extending such a
gesture as he is empowered to do so by the constitution they said it would have
been proper to make his decision public.
However, on the other hand, human rights activists hailed the decision and
noted that it was the right move, especially at a time when the world was
advocating for abolition of the capital punishment.
(source: The Citizen Reporter)
2 to Die for Killing Son of Ex-MP Muiruri
A high court judge has sentenced to death 2 people for killing a son of a
former assistant minister.The judge criticised President Kibaki who commuted
all death sentences imposed on convicted prisoners to life imprisonment, 3
years ago. While sending Dickson Munene and Alex Chepkonga to the hangman's
noose for killing Dr James Kariuki on January 24 2009, Judge Muhamed Warsame
said Kibaki's decision was in "utter disregard of the constitution".
Justice Warsame also condemned a Court of Appeal decision that declared death
sentence unconstitutional. "Anyone who takes someone's life should suffer death
as stipulated in law. It would be a miscarriage of justice to say death penalty
is unconstitutional. Every person has a right to life, but it can be deprived
as prescribed in law," he said. The judge said Section 204 of the Penal Code
provides that any person convicted of murder shall be sentenced to death.
In a statement to the public, Kibaki said no death sentence has been carried
out in the country for 22 years leading to an accumulation of more than 4000
convicted prisoners on the death row in prisons. Kibaki, however, clarified
that his decision did not in anyway suggest the abolition of death penalty in
the country adding that the sentence still remains a lawful punishment under
the Kenyan law.
Later, Court of appeal judges Riaga Omollo, Phillip Waki and Onyango Otieno
referenced a constitutional provision on protection against inhuman treatment
and declared section 204 of the Penal Code, which directs judges to sentence
convicted murderers to death, was inconsistent with the supreme law of Kenya.
Justice Warsame, who now heads the criminal Division in Nairobi, also faulted
Justice Anyara Emukule who recently nullified the conviction of a man who
killed 3 members of a family. Emukule jailed John Kimita for 30-years after he
found him guilty of murdering the three family members during ethnic clashes in
Molo District ahead of the 2007 General Election.
Warsame said both the court of appeal decision and justice Emukel's to him
,were insignificant steps towards justice said he "it is my duty ensure justice
for both parties . And as long as i find someone guilty of murder, the word
shall give me no option. The prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable
doubt and they shall suffer death as prescribed in law".
He also rejected an application to release Chepkonga and Munene on bail pending
appeal. Warsame said he made his decision based on facts adduced before him,
and he reached his verdict without any misdirection and error. Kariuki was the
son of former Gatundu North Mp Patrick Muiruri and he was shot several times at
dawn following a bar brawl at Crooked-Q nightclub in Westlands, Nairobi.
(source: All Africa News)
President unlikely to save Bali 9
Indonesia's president appears unlikely to show leniency towards the 2 Bali 9
members on death row despite having become personally involved in efforts to
prevent the execution of Indonesian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has sent 2 letters to the Saudi king,
including as recently as last week, in an attempt to stop the beheading of an
Indonesian maid accused of murdering her employer.
The president's personal involvement in the case comes after a public outcry in
Indonesia when another maid was beheaded by Saudi authorities in June this
Advertisement: Story continues below But Dr Yudhoyono's office has warned that
he remains steadfastly opposed to leniency for convicted drug traffickers,
delivering a major blow to the clemency hopes of Andrew Chan and Myuran
Sukumaran, as well as Schapelle Corby.
"He remains firm on the position that drugs are an evil crime because the
damage it creates for society is so huge," a spokesman for the president said
"The government, the legal enforcement and law enforcement (agencies) all have
similar objectives, positions and understanding that this is a crime and we
must make (the punishment) harsh, that the punishment is equal to the
repercussion of the crimes committed."
"There is no back-tracking on that position. It remains firm."
The spokesman said the fact that Dr Yudhoyono had intervened in the cases of
Indonesians facing the death penalty did not mean he had altered his stance in
relation to capital punishment.
"Any government, I think, is obliged to try seek clemency, to seek a pardon for
their citizens who commit crimes but this is not disrespectful to application
of law in that country," he said.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is likely to raise the issue of clemency for the
Australians in an expected meeting with the Indonesian president in Bali next
However, a source involved in capital punishment matters in Indonesia, and who
has met the president, has said that Dr Yudhoyono is reluctant to make a
decision on the Australian cases.
Instead, he passes the responsibility on to the next administration when his
term ends in 2014.
Chan and Sukumaran, the so-called ringleaders of a 2005 plot to smuggle more
than 8 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia, had their final appeals
against their death sentences rejected this year and must rely on mercy from Dr
Yudhoyono if they are to avoid a firing squad.
They are yet to submit their clemency applications.
The comments from the president's office also have implications for Corby, who
is serving a 20-year term for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of cannabis into
Indonesia, and who lodged her clemency request almost a year ago.
Corby is believed to be struggling psychologically after having now endured 7
years inside the squalid confines of Kerobokan prison in Bali.
The 34-year-old is not due to be released until April 12, 2024.
It is possible, however, that she may receive further remissions on top of the
17 months that have already been cut from her 20-year sentence.
(source: Sydney Morning Herald)
Saudi tight-lipped over death penalty for Indonesian workers
Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa says the government of Saudi Arabia had
remained silent on the fate of two Indonesian migrant workers facing the death
Earlier, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono sent a letter to Saudi authorities,
requesting an alternative solution for the 2 migrant workers.
"We have not received a reply yet," Marty said Thursday as quoted by
Marty added that the government would do everything it could to get the 2
workers home. He added that a team led by former foreign minister Alwi Shihab
had also been deployed to Saudi Arabia, in hope of being able to negotiate with
House deputy speaker Priyo Budi Santoso said the House would assist the
government in dealing with the Arab authorities by through negotiations with
the Arab government and parliament.
"Yesterday, it was decided at a meeting that we should assist the government in
efforts to save these workers lives," he said.
At present, 2 Indonesian workers - Tuti Tursilawati of Majalengka, West Java,
and Satinah binti Jumadi of Ungaran, Central Java - have been sentenced to
death after found guilty over murder charges.
(source: Jakarta Post)
Death Penalty Not an Effective Deterrent to Crime - Kagame
President Paul Kagame has called on African countries to scrap the death
penalty as it not only denies victims the fundamental right to life but is also
not an effective form of punishment.
The President was speaking at the opening of the Regional Conference on the
Abolition or Moratorium on the Execution of the Death Penalty yesterday.
The conference was co- organised by the government and Hands off Cain, an
International NGO that advocates for the abolition of the death penalty.
"In my opinion, the answer to whether the death penalty should or should not be
abolished lies in another question," Kagame said.
"Does the legal taking away of life really provide the most effective
deterrent, offering us enough substantial evidence to tie us to this form of
punishment? I believe it does not."
The Head of State said that Rwanda's experience has demonstrated that
abolishing the death penalty gave people a new lease on life - and this
contributed to the healing of the society especially after the 1994 Genocide
against the Tutsi.
He noted that despite bitterness in the hearts of the victims and their
families, 'historical circumstances' meant that Rwanda took a definite stand on
the subject and abolished the death penalty in 2007.
"Rwanda is committed to the protection of fundamental human rights for all.
There was a time in our history when some Rwandans were denied these rights,
including the right to life," Kagame said.
"Over the years, this denial culminated in the death of more than 1 million
people in the genocide of 1994."
The President pointed that after the Genocide, the laws that existed then
provided that those who killed should suffer the ultimate punishment - death,
which would mean that more lives, in addition to the one million, would have
"Regardless of the extreme circumstances, there is no doubting the social
consequences that would have accompanied such a mass execution," he said.
"What we needed most was a way to punish crime, end impunity, heal the physical
and emotional wounds of survivors of the genocide and deliver justice to all."
The President added that after wide consultations and debate, Rwandans came to
the conclusion that, under the then circumstances, execution of offenders was
not the form of justice that the people needed.
"The government could not become a mass executioner in order to correct mass
murder. So we chose to break with the past and abolish the death penalty in
order to move forward."
President Kagame pointed out that Rwandans have achieved an unimaginable degree
of unity and reconciliation because a culture of forgiveness - not vengeance -
has taken root.
Louis Michel, the co-chair of the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union
Joint Parliamentary Assembly (ACP-EU), said that holding the meeting in Rwanda
sets a good precedent, as it is among the few countries that have abolished the
"Rwanda scrapping the death sentence, a short time after the 1994 Genocide, is
something of great importance. Removing it did not only restore human values
but it also ensured that people are accorded their full rights to life," Michel
Michel commended 36 African countries, including those from Sub-Saharan Africa
which have scrapped or suspended the death penalty, calling upon those that
have not to expedite the processes.
He added that Rwanda decision to scrap the death penalty showed that the
country's leadership valued life.
The African Union (AU) Chairman, Dr. Jean Ping emphasised that the AU is
committed to global efforts to abolish the death penalty.
"As you might know, all African countries are parties to the Banjul African
Human and People's Rights and therefore are aware that the death sentence is a
violation of this charter," he said.
Aldo Ajello, the Honorary President of Hands off Cain, said that Rwanda, after
the Genocide, set the pace by abolishing the death penalty and opting for
justice that unites and reconciles the criminal and victim.
Ajello, who is also EU Special Representative for the African Great Lakes
Region, hailed Gacaca traditional courts for delivering justice where many
thought they would fail, observing that trying over one million cases
successfully, in a short period, is something that cannot be matched anywhere.
The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, said that the decision to
abolish the death penalty was built on the principle that avenging death by
death did not serve justice but rather increase the bitterness within the
hearts of both the perpetrators of the Genocide and victims.
(source: All Africa News)
Rights Group Criticizes Death Penalties in Gaza
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) Thursday criticized death
sentences issued by a military court in Gaza against 3 Palestinians who were
charged of terrorism based on the PLO revolutionary law of 1979.
The PCHR press release said 2 residents of the Gaza Strip were convicted on
Wednesday of detonating a bomb outside a café in Gaza which resulted in 1 death
and 5 injuries.
The 3rd was convicted on Tuesday of treason and was also sentenced to deaht by
'The Palestinian Revolutionary Penal Code 1979 is unconstitutional in the
Palestinian National Authority, and was not approved by the legislative
council,' said PCHR.
PCHR has demanded, since 1995, to stop abiding by the code, because it
contravenes international law.
It also called on President Mahmoud Abbas not to ratify the death sentences,
particularly one issued by a mlitary court in Jenin on Monday against a
Palestinian security officer convicted of killling a shopkeeper.
According to PCHR, the number of death sentences issued so far this year
reached nine -- 2 in the West Bank and 7 in the Gaza Strip.
The total number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian Authority has
amounted to 121 since 1994, of which 25 were issued in the West Bank and 96 in
the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 32 sentences were issued
PCHR called for 'an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty as a
form of punishment because it violates international human rights standards and
instruments, especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966), and the UN
Convention against Torture (1984).'
It pointed out that 'the call for the abolition of the death penalty does not
reflect a tolerance for those convicted of serious crimes, but rather a call
for utilizing deterrent penalties that maintain our humanity.'
(source: Palestine News & Information Agency - WAFA)
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