[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Mon Sep 5 11:57:57 CDT 2011
Readers have say on crime and punishment
With Barbados recording 2 more murders in the past week and police talking
about a breakthrough in last month’s St George double-murder, crime has
understandably been the hot topic for our online readers.
While some called for the death penalty to be enforced, others questioned
whether putting criminals to death was an appropriate punishment.
Many readers praised the Royal Barbados Police Force for its hard work in
Here are some of the edited comments made by our online readers:
Andrew Headley: Police said they made a breakthrough in the St George
double-murder. Great job, guys! What will the system do? Mr Government, you say
no hanging, so what is in store for those fellows? 10 years in prison with
meals and CXC courses so you can say you put them out with a skill? Give the
people some justice. Stop making the cops work in vain. People in Barbados want
to be peaceful in the comfort of their own homes.
Leonard Bee: I also supported hanging and other forms of the death penalty for
many years. However, as I became older (and hopefully wiser), I now question
whether it is in fact the most effective deterrent . . . . When I think of the
savage manner in which some murders are committed and compare that to the death
penalty, I believe that the death penalty pales in comparison . . . . I am
inclined to think that severe punishment and hard labour will hurt more. If I
severely flog a person every morning and night, put them to work all day long,
and subject them to no TV, access to friends and family and feed them less
sumptuous food, I believe that they will suffer much more.
Claire Battershield: . . . . It infuriates me that you can take a man’s or
woman’s life and then a lawyer will stand and defend a murderer. It’s amazing
that we shun people that have HIV/AIDS but embrace these murderers . . . .
Our fete and get-rich mentality has to end. We as a people need to be educated
and re-educated or else the tourist industry which we spend so heavily on will
be no more. Our streets and homes will not be safe.
Some Barbadians also expressed alarm that more teens were eating at the
Salvation Army (a report which THE NATION carried).
Here are some of their comments:
Kenneth King: I am always in favour of taking care of the needy but we have a
trend with young people who just have no interest in work whatsoever. Things
tight at the moment but still there are lots of alternatives where young men
can make an honest living . . . .
Pan Wallie: The policy of the Salvation Army must include some sort of
screening or means testing in conjunction with the social services.
Some of those who appear to be needy are a far cry from such and this relates
to all ages, not only the youth. . . .
(source: Nation News)
Abolish death penalty, say rights groups
In the wake of a court stay on the execution of 3 convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi
assassination case and the ongoing debate over the gains from capital
punishment, rights organisations have demanded that death sentence should be
“It's high time that parliament takes appropriate steps to abolish such
provision from our statute books," said a statement by People's Union for Civil
"The provision of death penalty was introduced by the British in the Indian
Penal Code in 1860 but the same has been abolished by them from their own
statute books - being incompatible with the values of a civilised society and
as done by a large number of countries," the PUCL said Sunday.
“Judgments of the courts are not always correct. The Supreme Court itself has
stated that its judgments are correct not because they always may be correct
but because theyare final,” it said.
The Madras High Court on August 30 stayed for eight weeks the hanging of the
three convicts sentenced to death for conspiring to assassinate former prime
minister Rajiv Gandhi. The three were scheduled to be hanged on September 9.
According to international rights organisation, Amnesty International, the
world is moving towards abolishing death penalty.
“Fewer countries than ever before are carrying out executions. As it did with
slavery and apartheid, the world is rejecting this embarrassment to humanity,”
said an official of Amnesty International.
“We are moving closer to a death penalty-free world, but until that day every
execution must be opposed,” the official added.
In a comparative graph of countries which gave death penalties from 1991-2010,
Amnesty said 23 countries carried out executions last year. Methods of
execution in 2010 included beheading, electrocution, hanging, lethal injection
In 2005, 22 countries had carried out executions, in 2006 it was 25, in 2007 it
was 24, in 2008 it was 25 and in 2009 it was 19.
“One more country, Gabon, abolished the death penalty for all crimes and the
president of Mongolia established an official moratorium on executions. For the
third time, the UN General Assembly adopted with more support than ever before
a resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty,” Amnesty said.
“Countries that retain the death penalty defended their position by claiming
that their use of the death penalty is consistent with international human
rights law,” it added.
Among the countries which still carry out executions are the US, Japan, China,
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Singapore and Nigeria.
(source: Daily News & Analysis)
Rajiv Gandhi case: Main investigator for commuting death penalty
Amid a raging debate on the issue of clemency for killers of Rajiv Gandhi, the
main investigator in the 20-year-old case DR Karthikeyan says that he will be
happy if the death penalty of the three accused is commuted to life sentence.
With the demand for commuting their death sentence becoming an emotive issue in
Tamil Nadu, he suggested that Parliament should convene a special session to
discuss the policy with regard to capital punishment as decisions taken on
regional basis would set a dangerous precedent.
"I have nothing personal against them. I did my duty, let the government do
their duty now. I will be happy if their death sentence is reduced to life
imprisonment," Karthikeyan said.
Karthikeyan was asked to take charge of the Special Investigation Team, a day
after Rajiv Gandhi's assassination on May 21, 1991. Within a year on May 20,
1992, a day before the 1st anniversary of the assassination, his team filed the
charge-sheet naming 41 people as accused.
The former IPS officer said the commutation of Nalini Sreeharan's death
sentence may help the other three accused, whose mercy petition has been
rejected by President Pratibha Patil. The Supreme Court had sentenced Murugan,
Santhan, Perarivalan and Nalini to death in 1999.
The Madras high court had recently granted an eight-week interim stay on the
execution of the convicts which was scheduled for September 9.
"They have got a case, as one of the condemned prisoners' death sentence has
been commuted to life. Moreover, they have been in jail for 20 years, and their
mercy petitions have taken 11 years, which was a long period of uncertainty,"
(source: The Times of India)
SC allows Bhullar to amend his mercy plea
The Supreme Court has allowed Devender Pal Bhullar, who has been given a death
sentence, to amend his clemency petition. Bhullar was convicted in a Delhi car
bomb blast case and sentenced to death. Bhullar's counsel has been allowed to
plead that the death penalty should only be handed out by a constitution bench
of the apex court and there should be no death penalty if there is a split
verdict between the judges.
Bhullar was sentenced to death by a designated TADA court on August 25, 2001
for his role in the September 10, 1993 bomb blast in Delhi targeting the
cavalcade of then AIYC president Maninderjit Singh Bitta, who escaped with
serious injuries, though nine security personnel were killed.
The Supreme Court had earlier dismissed his appeal, review and also the
curative petition on March 12, 2003.
Devender Pal Bhullar was convicted in a Delhi car bomb blast case and sentenced
President Pratibha Patil had on May 25 rejected his mercy plea, 2 days after
the Supreme Court sought response from the Centre and the Delhi government on
the 5,700 days of delay in deciding on the plea.
How Draru Escaped Hanging
Lydia Draru, who confessed to killing former army commander Maj. Gen. James
Kazini, had earlier been arraigned for murder whose maximum penalty is death by
hanging, but on Thursday she survived the noose, due to prosecution's loopholes
that were never filled during the trial though convicted of manslaughter, a
lesser offense of killing a person unintentionally.
Saturday Monitor brings you some of the loopholes.
1. How Kazini sustained the deep injuries
The medical evidence adduced by the prosecution failed to establish the actual
cause of the deep cut wounds found on Kazini's head as there were different
accounts to that which was resolved in Draru's favour.
During the trial, Draru's niece Toboru, told court that her aunt hit the
deceased once on the back, and once again on the head. This account was similar
to Draru's, who said she hit the deceased once on the back and, when he turned,
hit him on the head. The pathologist in his testimony stated that each of the
deceased's injuries represented a blow and the deceased could have received a
total of 5 blows to the head.
In her defence, Draru told court that the deep cuts to the deceased's head
could be attributed to his falling down on pieces of broken glass that was
strewn on the sitting room during the brawl. Her testimony corroborated with
the testimony of her niece and the scene of crimes officer. The prosecution
failed to present any evidence that proved whether the deep cuts observed were
directly caused by repeated blows to the deceased's head so as to impute malice
aforethought on her part. According to the judge the probability of the hollow
metallic found at the scene of crime for causing the deep cut wounds on
Kazini's head that led to his death was remote.
2. Faulty forensic expert evidence
The prosecution failed to prove that blood droplets on a green blouse recovered
at the scene of crime, belonged to Draru. Draru rebutted this evidence when she
stated that as soon as she got home after a night out with Maj. Gen. Kazini,
she changed the clothes and wore a black and white T-shirt. Her evidence was
corroborated by her niece's testimony who testified that she wore a black
blouse with white writings on it at the time she committed the offence.
According to the judge, at the time the crime was committed, Draru was dressed
in a black but not a green T-shirt as stated by prosecution. And this piece of
evidence casts doubt on forensic expert's explanation that the blood stains
found on the green T-shirt were caused by Draru hitting a bleeding Kazini.
Turning to the pair of dark blue jeans recovered at the scene of crime, the
forensic expert in his account to court said the pattern of 5 blood droplets at
the front of the jeans suggested that the wearer thereof was standing offside
and not in front of a gushing artery. The judge held that this evidence does
not prove that Draru hit the bleeding person, neither was it proved that she
wore blue jeans.
3. Testimony of Draru's neighbour Tereza Irawo
There were also loopholes in the testimony of Draru's neighbour, Tereza Irawo,
who testified that at about 6am on the fateful day, as she prepared to start
her morning prayers she heard three loud bangs coming from the direction of
Draru's house across the road from her house. She did not see what exactly
caused them. The bangs heard by Ms Irawo were speculated to be among others,
further beatings by Draru ; sounds of Kazini falling repeatedly, suggesting
that after the initial blows he got up but was hit repeatedly.
4. Draru's conduct.
Having found that the manner in which the lethal weapon was used was not proven
to connote malice aforethought, the judge now addressed her mind on the conduct
of Draru, before, during and after the murder was committed.
During the trial, the testimonies of both Draru and her niece stated that
Kazini assaulted her aunt but she did not retaliate. Draru reaffirmed to her
earlier confession to killing Gen. Kazini and making calls to the area Chairman
and her sister, informing them of the deceased's death. Throughout her trial,
Draru also maintained she was guilty. Such conduct according to the Judge does
not commensurate malice aforethought inherent in an indictment of murder.
The prosecution in their case did not mention the existence of a fully loaded
pistol recovered in Kazini's car that was parked outside Draru's home on the
fateful day; yet he had drawn the same pistol at Draru threatening to kill her
after accusing her of theft and infidelity. The judge noted in her judgment
that Draru was very well aware that Kazini was armed and acted in the best way
she could though used excessive force.
(source: All Africa News)
Death Penalty Has No Place in Society-State Attorney
The Principal State Attorney, Frank Mwine Mugisha, has described the death
penalty as a horrible punishment that should not be applied in any African
society that values human rights.
He petitoned all countries to repeal it.
In an interview with The New Times, Mugisha described the sentence as
miscarriage of justice, saying that this was the reason behind its retraction
in the judicial systems of some countries.
Rwanda is among the countries that repealed the capital sentence from her penal
"Death penalty is a door of no return and one of the reasons why many countries
are against it, is the possibility of miscarriage of justice which can lead to
the end of an innocent human life," he said.
"Any single life is invaluable, yet the death penalty is nothing less than
murder carried out in a cruel and calculated manner by the state. Indeed, death
penalty is contrary and in violation of human rights norms."
After the Second World War, a new era of human rights and international law
first sought to lay down the foundations of human rights(UDHR 1948), to move
towards country by country to introduce suspension and later to universally
abolish the 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 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.
"Some countries still retain death penalty in their books arguing that, it is
constructional to take life for greater good and justice demands that criminals
receive punishment in keeping with their offence," Mugisha noted.
The principal state Attorney added having gone through the worst human
catastrophe and managed to cope up with the aftermath of the Genocide, and
having reconciled her communities which were torn apart by genocide, Rwanda
decided to abolish the penalty in 2008.
The head of Kigali Bar Association, Athanase Rutabingwa acknowledged that there
should not be death penalty not only in Africa but in the entire world.
"We punish people to rehabilitate them to come back to their normal life. So
how do you expect him to learn if you have killed him," Rutabingwa, a criminal
lawyer, said .
(source: All Africa News)
Death penalty is no solution to combating crime. But education is.
With the recent rise in the rate of crimes, the question as to whether death
penalty should be introduced in combating crimes has resurfaced and not
surprisingly, there are those who are for and against the introduction and
implementation of death penalty.
For a number of politicians, people committing serious crimes do not have the
right to live in this world whilst others want to introduce the death penalty
which they themselves have not always believed in. But then who knows what
politicians really believe in!
Debates as to whether or not it is morally and ethically acceptable for the
state to execute people and if so under what circumstances and for which
crimes, have been going on for many centuries around the globe.
At the heart of the debate are some very simple questions: (i) Do we have the
right to take the life of another human being and (ii) will the introduction of
death penalty reduce crimes in Mauritius? Is there a strong correlation between
death penalty and reduction in crime? Should we not investigate the reasons why
people commit crimes and deal with the source of the problems rather than
offering palliative solutions? According to Amnesty International, around 58
countries and territories retain the death penalty, although many never
actually use it probably because it has been found to be inefficient as a
deterrent. The United Nations adopted a resolution which reaffirmed its call
for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The resolution calls for
countries to freeze executions with a view to eventual abolition.
The measure of punishment
As always, there are arguments for and against death penalty. Proponents of
death penalty argue that all those who are guilty deserve to be not only
punished but punished in proportion to the severity of their crime. In a
nutshell, real justice requires people to suffer for their wrongdoing, and to
suffer in a way appropriate for the crime. Each criminal should get what their
crime deserves and in the case of a murderer what their crime deserves is
death. The measure of punishment in a given case must depend upon the atrocity
of the crime, the conduct of the criminal and the defenceless and unprotected
state of the victim.
To many people the above argument fits with their inherent sense of justice in
supporting the argument ‘An eye for an eye’ which could be translated as
vengeance. Taken literally, an eye for an eye should mean only the guilty
should be punished and they should be done so neither too leniently nor too
severely. So, how can the system make sure that the guilty is punished fairly
and squarely when there is anticipatory suffering of the criminal who may be
kept in jail for many years? Does it not make the punishment more severe than
just depriving the criminal of life?
Another argument used to justify death penalty is the fact that by executing
convicted murderers, would-be murderers will be deterred from killing people.
Among social scientists and psychologists, there is no such research or
statistical evidence to confirm or inform that death penalty works as a
There is no denying that those who are executed cannot commit further crimes.
But is it a sufficient justification for taking human lives? Surely, there are
other ways to ensure the offenders do not re-offend, such as imprisonment for
life without possibility of parole.
Those who are against death penalty argue that everyone has an inalienable
human right to life, even those who commit murder. Sentencing a person to death
and executing them violates that human right.
One of the most fundamental and compelling arguments against death penalty is
that innocent people may get executed because of mistakes or flaws in the
judicial system. Judges, witnesses, prosecutors and jurors can all make
mistakes and these do happen. There is agreement among the legal circle that
miscarriages of justice do exist resulting in the conviction of innocent
people. This is the very reason why there are courts of appeal or judgements
allowed to be appealed. Where death penalty is implemented such mistakes cannot
be put right.
The risk of executing the innocent
According to Amnesty International, as long as human justice remains fallible,
controversial and weak, the risk of executing the innocent can never be
As yet, there are no evidence that death penalty is a deterrent. In fact, where
death penalty exists, an increase in murder rate is the norm. USA can be cited
as a classic example. While many countries are moving away from death penalty,
politicians at home are discussing the possibility of reintroducing it not it
seems, for the benefit of the population at large but purely for their own
political survival and political gain to enable them to “serve” another 5
years. With the introduction of death penalty, there will be only one group of
Is it not high time to ask why do we have so many crimes in a small island like
Mauritius? Should we not attempt to find out the root of these social problems
and provide appropriate and workable solutions rather than hastily come up with
palliative solutions which are short term?
Should we not re-examine an education system which encourages fierce
competition at a tender age not collaboration, which sacrifices moral and civic
education to academic learning? Should our leaders in all walks of life not
re-examine the example they are setting by their own behaviour and ways? Should
we not reexamine our police force and our judiciary system so often accused of
corruption, of complicity, of lack of professionalism and efficiency?
But before we find the cause of our problems, we must admit that there is a
problem. There will never be any solution if we keep saying nothing is really
wrong. Our island is screaming for help. But it does not look as if it will
come from our elected leaders.
(source: Le Mauricien)
Iran hangs 6 convicts in prison
Iran on Sunday hanged 3 people found guilty of "forbidden acts" as well as 2
convicted rapists and a drug trafficker in a prison of the southwestern city of
Ahvaz, ISNA news agency reported.
3 of the prisoners were hanged for committing "forbidden acts against
religion," the report said, without elaborating.
Other charges against the 3 included kidnapping and theft, Khuzestan provincial
judiciary spokesman Hojjatoleslam Abdolhamid Amanat was quoted as saying.
2 convicted rapists and a drug smuggler were sent to the gallows in the same
The latest hangings bring to 180 the number of executions reported in Iran so
far this year, according to an AFP tally based on media and official reports.
Iranian media reported 179 hangings last year but international human rights
groups say the actual number was much higher, ranking the Islamic republic
second only to China in the number of people it executed in 2010.
Tehran says the death penalty is essential to maintain law and order, and it is
applied only after exhaustive judicial proceedings.
Murder, rape, armed robbery, drug trafficking and adultery are among the crimes
punishable by death in Iran.
(source: Agence France-Presse)
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