[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Thu Sep 22 23:12:11 CDT 2011
UN completes Singapore human rights review
The 1st review by the United Nations of Singapore's human rights record ends
today, after nearly 8 months, with the adoption of a report summarising the
process and the Republic's appearance before member states in May.
The UN Human Rights Council will adopt the Working Group report on Singapore's
review at its 18th session today in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Working Group report then becomes the basis for Singapore's next human
rights review, which is due in 5 years. This is under a process known as the
Universal Periodic Review, which subjects all UN member states to a peer review
of their human rights situation.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday said the Working
Group report to be adopted contains a summary of the proceedings from a 3-hour
interactive session with member states in May.
At that session, the Singapore Government's report on human rights in the
country as well as input from several local civil society organisations were
presented and discussed.
These organisations included the Association of Women for Action and Research,
the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Federation, and the Humanitarian Organisation for
They called for, among other things, Singapore to sign two UN treaties on human
rights - one for migrant workers and the other for disabled people.
At the May session, other member states urged Singapore to abolish the
mandatory death penalty and enact better protection for migrant workers and
victims of trafficking.
The Singapore delegation, which included officers from several ministries,
explained in response that the death penalty is imposed only for the most
serious crimes, and caning only in serious cases, and after due judicial
They also noted that the Republic has laws against human trafficking and abuse
of migrant workers, which the Government enforces.
Ambassador Ong Keng Yong said at the session that Singapore's approach to human
rights was the result of its unique historical, political and cultural
As for the pace and direction of change, that would be decided by Singaporeans
themselves and happen when a majority desires it, he added.
Singapore is the 168th country to go through the process.
Other countries reviewed at the same session included Belgium, Denmark,
Hungary, Sudan and Sierra Leone.
(source: Asia News Network)
Capital Punishment in China----The world's leading executioner is estimated to
kill about as many prisoners in 3 days as does the U.S., the world's
5th-ranked, in a year
Wednesday night's controversial execution in Georgia of Troy Davis has inspired
much deliberation and soul-searching on the U.S. retention of the death
penalty, which has been abandoned by the majority of the world's nations. One
particularly revealing, and often-cited, fact is that the U.S. ranks 5th in the
world by number of prisoners executed annually. Fellow top-10 nations include
Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Yemen, and North Korea. But what about the world's
most frequent executioner, the country that in 2010 put more prisoners to death
than the rest of the world combined? What is the state of the death penalty in
Research by Amnesty International found that 23 countries used the death
penalty in 2010. The U.S., ranked 5th, executed 46 prisoners. Iran, ranked 2nd,
executed at least 252. China, according to Amnesty International, executed
"thousands." The exact number is a state secret. The Dui Hua Foundation, a
U.S.-based human rights non-profit that focuses on China, estimates China kills
about 5,000 prisoners annually. In absolute terms, that would be about 14
executions daily, or in 3 days what the U.S. performs in an entire year. Most
executions in China are reportedly carried out by lethal injection or a single
gunshot to the head, although, as in the U.S., there does not appear to be a
uniform national policy.
The statistics are less unflattering for China when view per capita. China has
the largest population on Earth with 1.3 billion people; 5,000 executions would
mean one in every 260,000 residents. In the U.S., the rate in 2010 was one in
every 6.7 million. Iran and North Korea executed about one in every 300,000 and
2 of the factors apparently contributing to China's frequent use of the death
penalty are the troubled court system and a national policy that permits
capital punishment for crimes that are not considered capital in most other
countries. Corruption, embezzling, drug-related crimes, and even theft on a
large enough scale can all get you killed in China. Last month, a Chinese
telecommunications executive was sentenced to death for accepting bribes. In
March, China sparked a diplomatic incident by executing three Filipino citizens
on drug trafficking charges. Other non-violent crimes punished by death have
included, for example, 43-year-old Du Yimin, killed in March 2008 after he
borrowed $100 million for investment schemes that never panned out.
As for the courts that hand out the sentences, a 2008 Washington Post
investigation found "a largely closed legal system directed by party
committees" and marked by "secrecy, lack of due process, and uneven application
of the law." Policy change can sometimes come slowly in China, where the size
and density of the less-than-transparent political system can make it difficult
for leaders to push through reforms, especially when it comes to reforms that
carry little public popularity or promise of personal advancement. China's
policymakers may also be operating under a belief that the death penalty deters
future criminals. The deterrence effect of capital punishment has been the
subject of substantial political debate in the U.S., although a significant
body of academic research has found that no such deterrence effect exists.
But China's approach to capital punishment does appear to be changing. In 2007,
the Chinese Supreme People's Court was granted the power to review death
penalty cases. The court says it has overturned about 15 % of cases, although
there's no way to verify this. Earlier this year, China announced that it was
cutting back on the list of crimes that could receive the death penalty, the
first time it has done so since 1979. However, according to the Associated
Press, "In the past, people convicted of these crimes -- which include forging
invoices to avoid taxes and smuggling cultural relics out of the country --
rarely received the death penalty." The announced changes also banned the death
penalty for anyone over the age of 75.
While public dissent can be at times limited in China, the Washington Post
story reported that "prominent Chinese academics" have been calling for the
country to reduce or end its use of the death penalty for capital punishment.
The United Nations has passed two separate resolutions calling for a global
moratorium on the death penalty, although this does not appear to have altered
policy in China any more than it has in the U.S. Neighboring Taiwan, however,
has been embroiled in public debate over its own use of the death penalty. Some
analysts say that Taiwan's anti-death-penalty arguments and ideas could find
some exposure in nearby China, potentially increasing concern there over the
use of capital punishment.
None of this dulls any of the cases against the U.S. death penalty, of course,
nor does it cast it any more favorable of an international-comparison light;
the U.S. still executed more prisoners last year than Libya, Syria, and Sudan
combined. But it underscores the extent to which China's capital punishment
practices stand out.
(source: The Atlantic)
Lajpat Nagar blast: Police seek death for 3
Delhi Police Wednesday urged the Delhi High Court to confirm the death
penalties awarded by the trial court to 3 militants for the 1996 Lajpat Nagar
blast that killed 13 people.
Delhi Police counsel Pawan Sharma told the division bench of Justice S.
Ravindra Bhat and Justice G.P. Mittal that the trial court had rightly
convicted and awarded capital punishment to the 3 Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front
“They carried out the blast just to create terror,” counsel said.
Sharma sought confirmation of the death sentence awarded to the three as there
was ample evidence to prove their involvement in the terror act.
Documents seized from the accused after the blast showed their involvement in
the terrorist attack, he said earlier.
"The witnesses' statements also prove that all the accused were involved in the
blast. The trial court has pronounced its judgment rightly. So, their appeal
should be dismissed," said Sharma.
The court was hearing the appeals of the 6 convicted, of whom 3 are on death
row, for the blast in the crowded market.
The trial court in its 2010 verdict had termed the crime as a "dastardly act"
that fell under the "rarest of rare" category.
Of the 6 convicts, Mohammed Naushad, Mohammed Ali Bhatt and Mirza Nissar
Hussain were awarded death penalty. Javed Ahmed Khan, held guilty of murder,
conspiracy and attempt to murder, was given life imprisonment.
Farooq Ahmed Khan and Farida Dar, held guilty under milder penal provisions,
were sentenced to seven years' jail term. However, they were released as they
had already spent much more time than that in prison.
10 people were arrested and put on trial. Besides these 6, the others were
Mirza Iftikhar, Latif Ahmed Waza, Syed Maqbool Shah, and Abdul Gani.
(source: New Kerala)
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