[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Thu Apr 5 13:41:31 CDT 2012
1 prisoner was hanged in central Iran
1 prisoner was hanged in the town of Aran-Bigdel, reported the Iranian state
broadcasting today. The report that was quoting the security chief of Aran-
Bigdel Ali Babaei said: The prisoner was charged with keeping 760 grams of
crack, 4 grams of synthetic heroin and 11 grams of opium.
The prisoner was not identified by name.
According to IHR’s annual report on the death penalty in 2011in Iran, more than
80 % of those executed in Iran were charged with drug-related crimes, but only
9 % of them are identified by name.
(source: Iran Human Rights)
Death to Capital Offenders
The international non-governmental organisation, Lawyers Without Borders, which
has been approaching different nations to canvass the abolition of death
penalty, was in Abuja last week with its message.
At a 1-day conference organised by Lawyers Without Borders, France, however,
the Nigerian authorities expressed their helplessness in view of the existence
of section 33 of the Nigerian constitution that prescribes death for capital
Until the legislature amends the law governing the nation's criminal justice
system, said chief justice of Nigeria Dahiru Musdapher, the law remains. That
was also the view of the Nigerian Bar Association's president, Joseph Daudu.
But representatives of the attorney-general of the federation, Mohammed Bello
Adoke, and the National Human Rights Commission reportedly sat on the fence.
Lawyers Without Borders seems to be reigniting an old debate. But we have not
seen any need to change Nigerian law on the matter of capital punishment. In
fact, a seeming suspension on execution of death sentences could have
emboldened criminals in Nigeria. Since 1999, the Nigerian president and state
governors have hardly signed death warrants.
As a result, hundreds of convicts on death row are still held in our prisons;
there have been jailbreaks on occasion, leading to the escape of prisoners.
Abolishment of death penalty is largely western culture. Most Africans believe
that a killer deserves to be killed. Therefore, it is still too early to let
die-hard criminals stay alive, even in jail, in any crime-infested country.
Wouldn't it be nice for Lawyers Without Borders to also canvass the abolition
of capital crimes like murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, embezzlement of
public funds, drug trafficking and terrorism that plague our country today?
Otherwise, capital sins should attract capital punishment.
China, for instance, owes its greatness partly to its attitude towards certain
crimes: corruption as well as drug peddling attracts the capital punishment.
Had Nigeria toed the line of China, maybe incidences of treasury looting, armed
robbery and drug pushing would have been in decline.
Our statute books or the constitution should not be amended to accommodate the
views of Amnesty International, Lawyers Without Borders and other NGOs on this
matter of death penalty.
At least not now. Rather than abolish it, the list of capital crimes should be
expanded to include government corruption, arson and 419 fraud. Needless to
say, Nigerian lawmakers and other government officials will not be enthusiastic
about this proposal. It is their leniency to certain crimes that has helped to
institutionalise corruption in the country.
Where they cannot make corruption attract the death penalty, governors and the
president should, however, be compelled to sign death warrants, if only to
decongest our prisons.
(source: Editorial, All Africa News)
Bali bombing survivor wants Patek death sentence
Reporter: Matt Brown
Australians have testified at the trial of alleged Bali bomb-maker Umar Patek,
with one survivor calling for the death sentence.
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Survivors of the 2002 Bali bombing have appeared in a
Jakarta court to give evidence in the trial of the alleged bomb maker Umar
Patek is accused of building the car bomb used in the attacks, which killed
more than 200 people.
Today, Australian survivors confronted the alleged bomber.
Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown reports from Jakarta.
MATT BROWN, REPORTER: Umar Patek arrived in a good mood, undaunted by the
prospect of coming face to face with his victims. He showed no emotion, even as
Peter Hughes testified about the lasting impact of the twin blasts.
PETER HUGHES, BALI BOMBING SURVIVOR: I feel isolated. I feel lonely. I feel
depressed. I feel frustrated. I feel annoyed. Um, and very, very angry.
MATT BROWN: Patek is accused of mixing the explosives for the bombings. They
left Peter Hughes on death's door with horrific burns to much of his body and
nearly 10 years after the event, it's still hard to talk about.
PETER HUGHES: It's pretty tough to get through the mental trauma of it all.
MATT BROWN: This is the 1st time the alleged bomber and his victim have been in
the same room. And for Mr Hughes, it was an important confrontation.
PETER HUGHES: I think you have to. You've got to face the criminals that attack
not only myself, but many others back in Australia.
MATT BROWN: Former footballer Jason McCartney told the court the bombings had
also left him with lasting physical and emotional scars.
JASON MCCARTNEY, BALI BOMBING SURVIVOR: I do still have a great love for
Indonesia and Bali in particular, but I have much sadness with what happened,
not only to me, but many other innocent people. And anger.
MATT BROWN: Mr McCartney testified against the so-called "smiling bomber",
Amrozi, in 2003, and he says today was a stark contrast.
JASON MCCARTNEY: It was interesting because nine years ago Amrozi would not
look at any of us, so it was a lot different. He just - you know, you just
can't understand what goes through their minds. So, yeah, in a strange way you
feel a bit sad for them and what their thoughts are.
MATT BROWN: Umar Patek says early on in the plot he argued the cell shouldn't
attack in Bali and he didn't assemble the bomb. But he admits went along with
the whole thing anyway and helped mix the explosives.
Umar Patek could face the death penalty and Peter Hughes hopes it's applied.
PETER HUGHES: I think the death penalty is justified. I think this guy planned
it like Amrozi and Mukhlas and Samudra. I think he's got to go the same way.
MATT BROWN: For his part, Umar Patek left the way he came in, showing no
remorse. His trial's expected to continue for around two more months.
Matt Brown, Lateline.
(source: Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Progress Made On Contentious Issues in Draft Constitution
The MDC formations and ZANU PF have brought their positions closer over a new
constitution following differences on some contentious issues, a COPAC
co-chairman said on Wednesday.
The final draft of this new charter is expected to be unveiled next week.
Douglas Mwonzora, who is also the MDC-T spokesman, said partners in the
constitutional making process had reached a breakthrough in negotiations to
resolve the impasse on dual citizenship, devolution and the death sentence.
'We came up with solutions on the three issues that were in dispute. However
this tentative solution is pending approval of the management committee. But as
COPAC we have agreed on all the issues and we are now producing the final
constitution,' Mwonzora said.
The MDC-T MP for Nyanga North was careful to point out that the document will
only be final if the management committee gives it the green light. Work on the
constitution is already running 18 months behind schedule.
Drafters have targeted September for a referendum on the charter. Public
consultations began in 2009 after the unity government was sworn in, but the
process has been repeatedly disrupted by bickering between the political
Asked to elaborate on how they managed to bridge their sharp differences,
Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa that 'it (agreement) is consistent with what the
people of Zimbabwe want.'
'In our view on citizenship, the people of Zimbabwe do not want Zimbabweans by
birth to be prejudiced...and we have tried to incorporate that.
'On the issue of devolution we reached a fair compromise where the (provincial)
governor will be elected by an electoral college. The provincial government
will have limited powers specified in the constitution,' Mwonzora said.
On the death penalty, the MP said it has been outlawed except where it involves
aggravated murder. Aggravated murder is intentionally or knowingly causing the
death of another person.
'We are otherwise happy and satisfied at the progress of the draft,' he said. A
new charter is required before the next elections can be held. Robert Mugabe
wants the elections held this year while the MDC formations are looking at
March 2013, once other reforms have been carried out.
(source: All Africa News)
Japan Should Eliminate the Death Penalty
Japan’s decision to hang 3 prisoners after nearly 2 years without executions
has been severely criticized by Amnesty International, which calls it a
“retrograde step.” Justice Minister Toshio Ogawa authorized the executions of
three men, stating that this was his “duty” as Minister.
A 2009 government survey showed that 86 % of the public in Japan supported the
“Justifying acts, which violate human rights as a ‘Minister’s duty’ is
unacceptable. Rather, it is the responsibility of leaders to address crime
without resorting to the ultimate cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment,”
said Catherine Baber, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific deputy director.
Capital punishment has a long history in Japan. In the fourth century, under
the influence of the Chinese judicial system, Japan adopted a system of
different punishments for different crimes, including the death penalty. During
the Muromachi period, which ran from 1337 to 1573, extremely cruel methods of
execution were used. Among those methods were upside down crucifixion,
impalement by spear, sawing, and dismemberment with oxen or carts.
In 1871, following a major reform of the penal code, the list of the kind of
crimes that were punishable by death was reduced and cruel torture and flogging
were abolished. In 1873, the list of crimes punished by execution was further
reduced and methods of execution were limited to beheading or hanging.
Presently, the typical stay of prisoners on death row is between five and seven
years. For some, however, this period is much longer. Sadamichi Hirasawa died
of natural causes at the age of 95, after being on death row for 32 years.
According to the Japanese news agency Kyodo, there are 132 death row inmates in
There has been considerable debate in Japan about the death penalty, although
the public has overwhelmingly supported it. In the late 1980s, 4 high-profile
acquittals of death-row inmates after retrial shook public confidence in this
measure. Those cases “shook public confidence in the system and profoundly
embarrassed the Ministry of Justice, which until then had believed that the
execution of an innocent person was all but impossible,” stated Charles Lane, a
reporter for The Washington Post who studied the Japanese criminal justice
However, a government survey in 1999 showed that 79.3 % of the public supported
this measure. At a 2003 trial in Tokyo, a prosecutor presented the court a
petition with 76,000 signatures requesting the death sentence for his case. A
2009 government survey showed that 86 % of the public in Japan supported the
In the Group of Eight leading economies only Japan and the United States carry
out the death penalty. In the United States, there have been 1,289 executions
since 1976, most of them by lethal injection. In 34 states, the death penalty
is legal, and in 16 states it has been abolished. In the United States, over
130 people have been released from death row after their innocence was proved.
Both in the case of Japan and the United States, there is the widespread
perception that the death penalty can be a deterrent to further crimes.
However, according to a 2009 study conducted by professor Michael Radelet and
Tracy Lacock, both at the University of Colorado–Boulder, 88 percent of the
country’s top criminologists do not believe the death penalty acts as a
deterrent to homicides.
In addition, 87 % of leading criminologists think that abolition of the death
penalty would not have any significant effect on murder rates. More pointedly,
75 % of the respondents believe that “debates about the death penalty distract
Congress and state legislatures from focusing on real solutions to crime
All European countries except Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and Latvia have
abolished capital punishment. According to Amnesty International, 95 countries,
including Canada and Australia, have abolished the death penalty, while nine
other countries have it reserved only for extraordinary cases of espionage or
It is now time for Japan (and the United States) to heed Amnesty
International’s suggestion and join the more than 2/3 of countries worldwide
who have abolished the death penalty in law or practice, and declare a
moratorium on executions as a 1st step toward abolition.
(source: Commentary, Dr. César Chelala, a winner of an Overseas Press Club of
America award, writes extensively on human rights issues; The Epoch Times)
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