[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worlwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Fri Oct 14 17:12:55 CDT 2011
Vatican asks Iran to spare pastor
The Holy See has “expressed its concern” to Iran over the death sentence given
to a Christian pastor for his conversion from Islam, reports the Catholic
A spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said: “We are
concerned at the reports from Iran about the death sentence for Youcef
Nadarkhani. The Holy See has expressed its concern through diplomatic channels
and we remain hopeful that the Courts will revoke the death penalty over the
coming days. Meanwhile, our prayers are with him and his family.”
Youcef Nadarkhani, 33, has been given fresh hope after his case was referred
back to the country’s lower court following a ruling that the conviction was
based on “insufficient investigations”.
The Protestant pastor was arrested in the northern city of Rasht in 2009 on
charges of refusing to reconvert to Islam, and sentenced to death. He was due
to die for his faith last week.
But following criticism from governments, human rights groups and Christian
leaders, the regime claimed that he had been condemned not for apostasy but for
“being a Zionist and a traitor, who had committed security-related crimes”.
(source: Catholic Herald)
Iran: execution of 6 prisoners in Orumieh and suppression of prisoners in
The clerical regime, in continuing the wave of repression and increasing
executions, has executed 6 others in Orumieh prison on Monday October 10.
The names of 6 victims who were hanged on Monday are: Farhad Islam-Doust,
Mohammad Jangali, Jamal Sheikh-Zadeh, Farhad Khalkeh, Reza Khalkeh, and Dehghan
In addition, the Iranian regime has tortured the prisoners in groups and in
front of each other to create fear and intimidation.
The regime's tortures took 12 prisoners out of the ward and transferred them to
the prison's information office. They forced the prisoners to go through the
guards who were equipped with plastic batons and sticks.
While passing through the tunnel of guards, the prisoners were beaten and
injured by the blows of the guards' batons and sticks. The prisons' deputy, Ali
Ameri, and The prison's information chief, Akbar Shahabi, ordered and
supervised these brutal actions.
EU publishes list of Iranian officials under sanction
The European Union has published the names of the 29 Iranian officials under
sanctions for “violations of human rights including acts such as torture and
carrying out executions ordered through vague charges and unfair trials.”
The 29 individuals are banned from entering EU countries, and all their assets
in European countries are to be frozen.
The list contains the names of Islamic Republic judiciary officials as well as
security forces, Revolutionary Guards and Basij senior members and commanders.
Iran’s Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi and Culture Minister Mohammad
Hosseiny are also on the list.
Previously, the EU published another list of 32 sanctioned top Islamic Republic
While the international community accused Iran of “violating human rights,”
Iran dismisses such reactions as meddling in the internal affairs of the
(source: Radio Zamaneh)
Death Penalty Upheld for 2 Kurdish Political Prisoners
The Supreme Court has upheld the death penalty for two Kurdish political
prisoners locked up in Rajai-Shahr Prison. Both prisoners, Zanyar Moradi and
Lughman Moradi, have been verbally notified of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
According to a report by Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), the public
defender assigned to these cases was unable to confirm the ruling although his
clients have already been notified verbally by the authorities.
Zanyar Moradi and Lughman Moradi have been accused of killing the son of Friday
Prayer Imam in Marivan and two members of his entourage on the orders of the
British Secret Intelligence Services (MI6) and with the help of a Kurdish
political party. After their confessions were aired on the state television,
Judge Abolqasem Salvati presiding over the Revolutionary Court, Branch 15,
sentenced them to be hanged in public.
When Zanyar Moradi and Lughman Moradi were transferred to Rajai-Shahr Prison,
they wrote a letter detailing the account of physical tortures endured by them
in prison and declared the confessions false and void since they were obtained
under means of torture. In their letter, Zanyar Moradi and Lughman Moradi
further explained that in addition to being severely tortured, they were
threatened to be raped using a bottle if they didn’t confess to the crime.
(source: HRANA News Agency)
Public Opinion Will Be Taken Into Account Before Abolishing Death Penalty
Public views and opinions must be taken into account concerning the proposal to
abolish the death penalty in this country, said Minister in the Prime
Minister's Department Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.
He said any move in this direction has to come from the public as was the case
when the Internal Security Act (ISA) was urged to be abolished.
"Like the ISA, when we have a lot of members of the public wanting to abolish
the act, then we follow the majority.
"Public opinion is very important to us, at the moment you cannot really see
whether the people are in favor of abolishing the death penalty," he told
reporters after delivering the keynote address at a public event to promote the
abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia, here, yesterday.
Nazri said although currently there was no discussion on the immediate
abolishment of the death penalty in Malaysia despite calls from some quarters,
the government was commited to re-evaluate, re-think and review the capital
Malaysia currently still practices the death penalty and as of last year, there
were 114 death sentences and another 744 person on death row, while 1 execution
Earlier in his speech, Nazri said in his opinion the death penalty review was a
timely effort, and was in line with ongoing efforts by the government to review
outdated laws and several emergency ordinances to introduce new laws which
complied with the principles of human rights.
"Our task in the government is to find the most humane and effective ways to
uphold justice for our citizens and humankind in general," he said.
The public event to promote the abolition of the death penalty in Malaysia was
jointly organised by a delegation of the European Union, the Bar Council
Malaysia and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia in conjunction with the
International Day against the Death Penalty, which is held the 10th of October
Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Malaysia, Vincent Piket in his
welcoming remarks said, the abolition of the death penalty worldwide was one of
the main objectives of the EU's human rights policy.
(source: Malaysian Mirror)
Bar wants death penalty abolishedBar wants death penalty abolished
The Bar Council called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to abolish the
death penalty as part of his reform agenda.
Its president, Lim Chee Wee, said Najib must have the political will and not
adhere to popular opinion on the matter.
“Some political figures may think we need public opinion to move ahead first
before a political decision is made," he told a press conference after a public
forum on the abolition of the death penalty yesterday.
"Some will say there is need for a referendum but I think the Prime Minister
should have the strength and courage to lead us on this issue."
Lim said governments had repealed capital punishment without resorting to
He said the discussion on the death penalty must be done objectively as
research showed it had not been a deterrent for crime prevention.
“What are the reasons for people to be still in favour of the death penalty? A
lot of the reasons are emotive and emotional. People don’t realise statistics
show that when we introduced mandatory death penalty for the Dangerous Drugs
Act, drug addiction actually went up.
“So we need to raise issues such as these for public understanding and
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz stressed the
importance of public movement against the death penalty.
“I must tell you this (abolishing death penalty) has not been discussed in the
Cabinet. If there is any move towards it, then it has to come from the public,"
he told reporters earlier.
"Just like the Internal Security Act (ISA). When you have members of the public
wanting to abolish ISA, then we (the government) will follow the majority.
Public opinion is important. At the moment, you can’t really see whether they
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told the Dewan Rakyat recently
441 people had been sentenced to death since 1960. As of February this year,
696 were on death row awaiting execution.
(source: The Malay)
Car Repossessor To Hang For Drug Trafficking
A car repossessor was today sentenced to death by hanging after being found
guilty of trafficking in 1.614kg of cannabis.
High Court Judge Datuk Abdul Alim Abdullah imposed the penalty on Andi Idham
Mohamed, 32, after deciding that the defence had failed to cast any reasonable
doubt on the prosecution''s case.
Andi Idham committed the offence in a Honda Civic car (BEH 6063) along Bandar
Utama highway in Damansara Utama, Petaling Jaya, about 10.30pm on March 10,
The charge under Section 39B(1) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, punishable
under Section 39B(2) of the same Act carries the mandatory death sentence on
Deputy Public Prosecutor Harris Ong Mohd Jeffery Ong represented the
prosecution while counsel Mohd Nazri Yahya and Farah Atikah Hasnan defended
Mohd Idham in the trial which saw 6 prosecution witnesses and 1 defence witness
Work On Death-Row Syndrome
This week began with both the world day against the death penalty and world
mental health day (October 10). Furthermore, it marks nearly 4 years since the
Ugandan Supreme Court delivered their landmark ruling on the death penalty.
The lead petitioner in that case, Susan Kigula, arrives at Kampala High Court
today for her mitigation hearing resulting from the 2009 judgment. The
coincidence of these events provides a unique opportunity for Uganda to re-open
the debate on a frequently overlooked aspect of the Supreme Court decision.
As well as declaring the mandatory imposition of the death penalty to be
unconstitutional, the Supreme Court identified the concept of death-row
syndrome as a key determinant in the lawful application of capital punishment.
The syndrome describes the onset of psychological illness as a result of the
emotional distress of prolonged detention on death row. Dr Julius Muron,
visiting forensic psychiatrist (Butabika) to Luzira Prison, explains.
"Death-row syndrome is not a psychiatric classification, but a description of
behaviour associated with an environment of extreme anxiety."
Dr Muron described the factors affecting those on death-row. "Those who have
been awaiting death or confirmation of their sentence for a long period of
time, experience a unique set of stress factors.
Not every death-row inmate necessarily fits the criteria for a medical
diagnosis of a particular mental illness, but this doesn't negate the fact that
they are experiencing an extreme psychological condition. They see the gallows
all the time. They live in constant fear. Even a small shift in the daily
prison routine can trigger thoughts of 'tomorrow, will it be me?'"
This was echoed by a former death-row inmate, John, who spent over 20 years in
the Condemned Section of Luzira's Maximum Security Prison.
"Mental illness is common in Condemned and the longer a person stays, the worse
it gets. It is torture, waking up every day thinking you may be hanged. It
could happen whenever. Before the last execution, the inmates got just 3 days'
notice," says John.
In the judgment of Susan Kigula & 417 others, the Supreme Court, held that
inordinate delay in death-row conditions constitutes cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment prohibited by Articles 24 and 44(a) of the Constitution of
Uganda. Evidence submitted demonstrated that some prisoners had spent up to 20
years waiting for the Executive to exercise its prerogative of mercy. The court
subsequently imposed a three-year maximum period on the exercise of the
prerogative for prisoners who had exhausted all rights of appeal.
Crucially, however, the Supreme Court failed to impose any time limit on the
judicial process itself. Consequently, death-row inmates still experience long
delays while exercising their right to appeal - sometimes up to 10 years. This
breaches Article 28 of the Constitution, which provides for the right to a fair
hearing, including the delivery of a fair and speedy trial. There is little
doubt that such delays in both the Executive and Judiciary contribute to the
onset of death-row syndrome in the Condemned Section.
Dr Muron emphasised this point. "The main stress-factor affecting inmates on
death-row is the criminal justice process. For those with mental illnesses,
delays in the trial process often lead to relapse. It is frustrating for the
prison staff and health workers to watch this happen."
For mental health experts, the need for further urgent action is plain. As Dr
Muron summarised, "what we need, is a fair system and the resources to
investigate and provide justice in the courts of law. Highlighting the issue of
death-row syndrome is a starting point. It sends a long-awaited message calling
(source: Opinion; This article was co-authored by Anisha Patel and Ciaran
Cross, both of Basic Needs Foundation Uganda (BNFU); All Africa News)
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