[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Fri Sep 23 15:00:23 CDT 2011
UN human rights office voices profound regret after execution of US man
The United Nations human rights office expressed profound regret today over
this week’s execution in the United States of Troy Davis, saying that the
process that led to his death may have violated international law.
Authorities in the state of Georgia executed Mr. Davis by lethal injection on
Wednesday evening for the 1989 killing of a police officer, after his final
appeal was rejected.
Earlier that day, 3 independent UN human rights experts had called on the US
Government to stop the execution, citing concerns that Mr. Davis did not
receive a fair trial.
Many of the witnesses affirmed that they had been pressured or coerced into
testifying against Mr. Davis, or recanted or changed their testimony, according
to a news release issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for OHCHR, told journalists in Geneva today
that the Office understood there were serious concerns that the rights of Mr.
Davis to due process and a fair trial had not been respected.
She said that as a result, the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights (ICCPR) and other international laws may have been violated.
(source: United Nations News Centre)
Troy Davis Execution: Time for Britain to Adopt Death Penalty?
On Wednesday 21 September Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia for
the murder of policeman Mark MacPhail in 1991.
Despite serious concerns with the evidence the state of Georgia carried out the
execution and brought Mr Davis' 20 year stay of execution to an end. What the
state of Georgia showed was a complete lack of compassion, humanity and acted
in revenge, not justice. There is simply to justification for taking somebody's
life, be it that of Troy Davis, convicted of a heinous murder oranybody else.
There is simply no statistical evidence to say that introducing a death penalty
would deter people from committing crime. A report from the Death Penalty
Information Centre shows that those states in the U.S. that have the death
penalty have higher rates of homicide.
In September 2000 New York Times poll found that during the last 20 years the
homicide rates in the states that had the death penalty has between 48 to 101
per cent higher than those states that did not have the death penalty. FBI data
from the same year showed that those states without capital punishment in 2008
had homicide rates below the national rate.
What is clear from information from the U.S. is that the threat of execution at
some future date is unlikely to enter the minds of those acting under the
influence of drugs and/or alcohol or those who are in the grip of fear or rage,
those who are panicking while committing another crime (such as a robbery), or
those who suffer from mental illness or mental retardation and do not fully
understand the gravity of their crime. To try and argue that the death penalty
acts as a preventative force is simply untrue by the statistics released.
A study by Professor Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock of the University of
Colorado found that 88% of the nation's leading criminologists did not believe
the death penalty was an effective deterrent to crime., published in the
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, concluded,
"There is overwhelming consensus among America's top criminologists that the
empirical research conducted on the deterrence question fails to support the
threat or use of the death penalty." A previous study in 1996 had come to
similar conclusions," The study, Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates? The Views
of Leading Criminologists concluded.
The study also shows that just fewer than 78% of those surveyed said that
having the death penalty in a state does not lower the murder rate. The Public
opinion also reflects these findings. In a 2006 Gallup Poll, only 34% of
respondents agreed that "the death penalty acts as a deterrent to the
commitment of murder, that it lowers the murder rate." In 2004, 62% of people
said the death penalty was not a deterrent. By contrast, in 1985, 62% believed
the death penalty acted as a deterrent to murder.
What the Troy Davis case shows is a nation or state can't look for revenge in a
murder case. The primary aim must be justice, justice for the person murdered
as well as the family. Locking a criminal up for the rest of their days is a
far greater deterrent that the killing of a human being that may be found to be
If we look at serious miscarriages of justice the reality becomes stark. When
Barry George was convicted of the murder Jill Dando in July 2001, if Britain
had the death penalty Barry George could have been killed and Britain would
have that on its hands. Who would have been responsible, would they have been
accountable for the decision made. These areas are grey and we should never
look at introducing retribution into our legal system.
(source: International Business Times)
UN human rights experts condemn executions in Iran
Ahmed Shaheed and three other special United Nation Rapporteurs have condemned
the hanging of 17-year-old Alireza Mollasoltani and called for a halt to
executions in Iran.
A news release published on the UN High Commissioner’s website is signed by
Shaheed, Christof Heyns, Gabriela Knaul and Juan Méndez. On Wednesday,
17-year-old Mollasoltani was convicted of the murder of Ruhollah Dadashi, known
as the “strongest man in Iran.”
The UN announcement states that, so far this year, three minors have been
hanged in public in Iran, adding: “We are outraged at the execution practice in
Iran despite the international community’s and our own repeated calls for a
They go on to state: “Any judgment imposing the death penalty on juveniles
below the age of 18, and their execution, are incompatible with Iran’s
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child forbids the death penalty and life
imprisonment for any individual under the age of 18. The Islamic Republic
chooses to meet this commitment by delaying the execution of juvenile offenders
until they reach the age of 18.
Following widespread protests by human rights activists, Ayatollah Shahroudi,
the former head of the judiciary, issued a directive forbidding judges to issue
death sentences to minors. However, the directive was never taken to Parliament
and, therefore, has been overlooked, especially since Ayatollah Larijani took
over as leader of the judiciary in 2009.
The UN announcement goes on to state that in 2011, 200 people were executed in
Iran, mostly on drug charges, adding that: “Execution is common for people
charged with drug-related offences, which do not amount to the most serious
Expressing grave concern regarding fair trials and access to lawyers and family
for the accused, the Special Rapporteurs emphasize: “We reiterate this clear
message to the Government of Iran to immediately implement a moratorium on the
death penalty, particularly in drug-related and juvenile cases.”
(source: Radio Zamaneh)
BJP not to support Akali Dal on Bhullar clemency
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday said it would not support a resolution
proposed to be brought by the Shiromani Akali Dal, the senior partner in
Punjab's alliance government, seeking clemency for Khalistani terrorist
Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, who is on death row.
'There is no change in our policy on terror. It is very clear. We will not
support any resolution brought by the Akali Dal (in the Punjab assembly) to
seek clemency for Bhullar,' BJP senior vice president Shanta Kumar told the
Party general secretary Jagat Prakash Nadda was also present on the occasion.
'Our stand (on this issue) does not fluctuate or change on terror. Our stand is
consistent on this,' Shanta Kumar said.
But he added that the stand of the BJP had no bearing on the party's ties with
the Akali Dal or on the alliance government in Punjab.
'The (BJP) stand will not cast a shadow on our age old ties with the Akali
Dal,' he clarified.
'It happens in a coalition. Parties can differ over an issue. This will not
have any impact on our ties. These (ties) will remain strong as ever,' Shanta
The Akali Dal has indicated it would bring a resolution, on the lines of the
one passed by the Tamil Nadu assembly seeking clemency from the death penalty
for the conspirators in former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination,
seeking clemency for Bhullar.
The Akali Dal move is being seen in a political colour as assembly elections
are due in Punjab in February-March, 2012.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had last month sought personal
intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in securing early pardon for
Bhullar, who is on a death row for a terror attack on former Indian Youth
Congress president Maninderjit Singh Bitta.
Badal had said that this was essential 'for the sentiments and feelings of the
entire Sikh community'.
A member of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) terror outfit, Bhullar was
sentenced to death for masterminding a 1993 car bomb attack in front of the
Youth Congress office in New Delhi that killed 12 people.
(source: Indo Asian News Service)
Olson case renews death penalty debate 20
With child-killer Clifford Olson near death at a hospital in Quebec, many
Canadians are wondering why the monster is still breathing at all.
When Olson terrorized British Columbia in the early 1980s, he murdered 11
He has taunted the parents of his victims ever since with vile letters and
phone calls, claiming to have killed 100 people.
Olson, sadist Paul Bernardo and serial murderer William Pickton are often cited
as key reasons to reinstate the death penalty in Canada – but no politicians
close to power are willing to talk about it.
Former Public Safety minister Stockwell Day thinks it’s time to have a debate.
“I do think there are times, though they would be rare, where a crime is so
horrific, and Clifford Olson epitomizes that, where capital punishment is
justified and in fact necessary,” Day told Sun News Network Host Charles Adler.
“In those cases where it’s absolutely proven that they are doing it, especially
towards children, personally I think there is a case for capital punishment.”
“I don’t think there’s words in the English language that appropriately
describe the disgust and the revulsion we feel towards Clifford Olson, and the
heartbreak we feel towards the parents.”
Day says terrorists who plot attacks such as those on 9/11 should also be
considered for capital punishment.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quoted prior to the last election as saying
he personally supports the death penalty in some extreme cases, but would not
bring the issue forward for debate or consideration in the House of Commons.
The death penalty was abolished in Canada in 1976, under prime minister Pierre
During the 1984 election, shortly after the Olson murders, Brian Mulroney
promised to hold a free vote in the House of Commons on the issue. In 1987 the
vote was held, while Mulroney argued passionately against it, pledging to
commute any death sentences while he was prime minister. It failed 148–127.
(source: Toronto Sun)
A referendum on capital punishment
The imminent death of the "Beast of B.C." from cancer instead of hanging
reboots the longstanding debate on the return of capital punishment.
Sun Media is no shrinking violet on this, and we took this stand long before
Clifford Olson began his killing spree in 1980 and would argue today that he
should hang before cancer gets to claim him.
We have always championed the death penalty as a just punishment -- and a
visceral deterrent -- to serial killers, the killers of children, and the
killers of police and security officers, including prison guards.
Canada has been far too lenient for far too long when it comes to the
sentencing of murderers, especially serial killers.
Only recently did phase one of new tough-on-crime legislation end the
faint-hope clause for earlier parole from 25-year life sentences for murder.
Only now has the kill-one-get-one-free idiocy of concurrent sentences been
struck down for multiple homicides.
But this legislation, unfortunately, is not retroactive.
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper has expressed favouring capital punishment,
the reality is no politician wants the prospect of candlelight vigils,
countdowns to the appointed hour, or the responsibility of 11th-hour stays that
are today gripping headlines in the United States.
Yet poll after poll indicate millions of Canadians want the return of capital
punishment -- whether it be by hanging or lethal injection -- as punishment for
the most heinous crimes against our society.
Does Paul Bernardo deserve to still be alive? Or Russell Williams?
The new legislation affects them not an iota.
But would Williams, the former air force colonel, and now a convicted rapist
and murderer, have killed the second time if he knew that murder would see him
dangling from a rope?
In other words, would 27-year-old Jessica Lloyd still be alive?
The Harper Conservatives have their majority, and they could table legislation
Monday that would see the likes of Clifford Olson dealt with the way many
Canadians would like to see.
If they don't not have the guts to do introduce such a bill, then bring on a
referendum to let the people decide once and for all.
No politics. No party lines.
Just the people.
(source: Opinion, The Calgary Sun)
Lethal justice from 2 nations poles apart
The 2 executions were carried out in separate continents on the same day.
They took place for different reasons, but both the deaths of Troy Davis in the
US and teenager Alireza Molla-Soltani in Iran sparked international debate on
the question - should there be capital punishment?
There are 58 countries in the world that have the death penalty, according to
23 of them carried out executions in 2010.
China topped the list with an estimate of at least 1000 executions, following
by more than 250 in Iran and more than 60 in North Korea.
Australia abolished the death penalty in 1973, but Australian Bali Nine members
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran face the firing squad in Indonesia for drug
Almost one million people signed a petition calling for clemency for Davis, who
was convicted of killing an off-duty police officer in 1989.
Former deputy attorney general under US President George W. Bush, Larry
Thompson, said for death penalty cases, moral certainty and not just due
process was needed, especially where there was a lack of evidence or
conflicting witness testimony.
"There are legal standards and the judge [who reviewed the case] who is a very
good lawyer applied the legal standards and concluded that he couldn't change
the sentence," he told Reuters.
"Given the moral certainty that you should have before you execute somebody, I
have concerns about this case. ... I am not opposed to the death penalty and
I'm not saying that this person was innocent."
But while Davis's case attracted international attention, including a plea from
France to halt the execution, there was little comment from US politicians,
Reuters noted - perhaps reflecting the American public's more than 60 per cent
support for capital punishment.
One of the frontrunners of the Republican presidential nomination, Texas
Governor Rick Perry, called executions the "ultimate justice". He has overseen
the most of any governor, Reuters reported.
In Iran, Alireza Molla-Soltani's execution by public hanging was carried out in
front of a large crowd of people, Agence France-Presse reported, quoting the
official IRNA news agency.
Although he was only 17, Iranian prosecution spokesman Ali Ramezanmanesh said
he had reached "religious maturity" according to the Islamic lunar calendar,
which is about 11 days shorter than the solar calendar - which countries like
The execution was criticised by numerous foreign governments, including the
British Foreign Office, which said it was an "abhorrent" punishment that "has
no place in the modern world".
"Iran's own President Ahmadinejad has previously declared that Iran does not
execute children under 18 years of age," Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt
said in a statement.
"To do so contravenes the international obligations Iran has signed up to. I
call again on the Iranian authorities to end these inhumane practices."
Writing in The Guardian overnight, columnist and editor Michael White said the
issue remained complex and held no black-and-white answers.
"States and societies have reserved the right to execute people for a variety
of crimes - from treason to stealing a loaf of bread - down the ages, and some
still do. The pendulum of intellectual fashion, if I can call it that (I think
I will) moves both ways over time, allowing everyone to take a turn at feeling
superior," White wrote.
"During the course of the 20th century, we [Britain] seem to have executed
nearly 700 people. Were mistakes made? Of course ... But the other side can
argue, and does, that mistakes that allow killers to kill again also results in
the deaths of innocents. It's a powerful point too.
"It's never wise to second-guess learned courts which have been through the
evidence [in the Troy Davis case] as the US supreme court - African American
members included - has done and upheld the verdict of lower courts. Why has
this case become a cause celebre when others do not?
"Perhaps because the weight of evidence against a safe conviction is ... so
heavy. But perhaps for other reasons."
(source: Kiama Independent)
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