[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Mon Feb 20 22:13:43 CST 2012
Capital punishment for erring public office - holders
Going down memory lane, from the days of Honourable Salisu Buhari, Speaker of
the fifth House of Representatives, to the days of Honourable Patricia Olubunmi
Etteh, and to the immediate past Speaker, Honourable Dimeji Bankole, one thing
that has been phenomenal is its noisy and boisterous way of conducting plenary.
However, remarkable and progressive bills have suffered violent rejection on
the floor of the House in a manner reminiscent of children playing in a typical
village moonlight setting.
In the history of Nigeria, however, the July 10, 2008 sitting was not an
exception, as members unanimously rejected a bill at its second stage, brought
before the floor of the House by one of their own, the former speaker of Edo
state House of Assembly, Honourable Friday Itulah, seeking to establish capital
punishment for armed robbers.
Despite this, Honourable Itulah had sought, in the bill to amend the Robbery
and Firearms (special provision) cap, R 11, law of Nigeria, 2004, by replacing
it with life imprisonment.
His argument was that execution by hanging was obnoxious in a democracy, which
he said was a product of the military Decree No 5 of 1984, by General Buhari
and Idiagbon’s regime and has failed in its intended usefulness.
While supporting his argument, Itulah said that job opportunities should rather
be the alternative for youths and the provision of a virile atmosphere for
private sector to thrive. He cited Ghana as an example of countries where the
death penalty has already been abolished.
Meanwhile, the cacophony of noise that greeted Itulah’s submission was typical
of these lawmakers. Some members who thought they were doing this country a
service, argued that it was unfair to leave somebody who kills innocent people
unkilled. Therefore, they went further to urge Nigerians to reject the bill in
In this country, when a man steals a fowl, like a popular musician said, he is
made to die by hanging or firing squad. But when a politician kills, maims, and
enriches himself illegitimately, he is given chieftaincy titles.
However, since the lawmakers are asking Nigerians to reject a bill that says no
to capital punishment to armed robbers, Nigerians are hereby saying that
capital punishment should be extended to election riggers, political thugs,
political assassins and their sponsors.
It should also not leave out politicians, who impoverish the people, nor should
it exonerate those who fail to deliver democratic dividends to their people in
Afolabi Oluseyi Israel,
Department of Mass Communication,
University of Maiduguri,
(source: Nigerian Tribune)
No life or death sentence reductions under new law: Ghanem
Inmates sentenced to life in prison or to death will not benefit from a draft
law that reduces prison sentences from a year to nine months, the chair of
Parliament’s Justice and Administration Committee said Monday.
After a committee meeting in advance of Wednesday’s legislative session, during
which Parliament is set to vote on the new penal law and a number of other
issues, MP Robert Ghanem said inmates sentenced to less than one year will also
have their sentences reduced.
“A prison year in general would become nine months, for those who have
sentences of less than one year, every month would be counted as 20 days,”
Ghanem told reporters after he chaired a meeting of lawmakers who have been
working on the draft law since 2009.
“However, those who are convicted of repeating the same crime for which they
had served a sentence before would also not benefit from the new penal law,”
At least 4 prisoners were killed and nearly 10 were injured at Roumieh prison
last spring when rioters in the complex confronted the Internal Security Forces
and the Lebanese Army.
Inmates in the country’s prisons and their families have repeatedly protested
against poor conditions and overcrowding, staging hunger strikes and protests.
In addition to calling for the sentence reduction, prisoners, their families
and activists have called for a general amnesty.
To reduce the pressure on the overcrowded Roumieh prison, Lebanon’s largest,
Cabinet and Parliament have both held talks on the establishment of new
Deputy Prime Minister Samir Mokbel announced last week that an agreement had
been reached among the Cabinet ministers on the locations of two new prisons,
which are to be built in north and south Lebanon.
Ghanem said future verdicts should clearly specify whether a convict has
already committed the same offense to avoid any confusion in the implementation
of the new law.
“Based on Law 258 of the Penal Code, the verdict must specify whether the
convict is repeating a crime,” Ghanem said.
When asked whether Parliament would approve the draft law, Ghanem said reducing
the prison year to nine months is part of the new prison policy that Parliament
He added that after parliamentary approval the policy would be transferred to
the Justice Ministry for implementation because the ministry was set to take
over prison administration from the ISF in approximately 3 years.
(source: The Daily Star)
Controversy surrounds death penalty in Morocco
With the new Moroccan constitution, conditions are ripe for abolishing the
death penalty, participants in a recent Rabat conference believe.
The event, held by the Moroccan Coalition against the Death Penalty (CMCPM) on
February 10th, came as part of efforts to "develop public debate on the need to
protect the right to life and abolish the death penalty, and also to harmonise
local laws with international human rights mechanisms", according to CMCPM
co-ordinator Abderrahim Jamai.
But obstacles abound. Some of them are "ideological remnants that have a
religious and societal nature", Jamai pointed out.
"However, the biggest obstacle now is political decision," he argued. "The
amendment of constitution is an important step, but is not enough. There is
also the constitutional problem related to the interpretation of article 20.
The current challenge for us now is to continue to create dynamism in society,
with actors in public institutions and political parties in order to ensure
respect for human rights, foremost among which is right to life."
Article 20 of the constitution states: "Right to life is the first right for
every human being. The law protects this right."
According to Amina Bouayach, member of the consulting committee for the
revision of the constitution, "the wording of this article came as
reconciliation of multiple opinions that the committee reached".
"Such opinions included a demand by some non-governmental human rights
organisations to maintain the death penalty," she explained. "The fact that
this articles states for the right to life as the first right translates the
content of abolishing the death penalty."
Abdellatif Ouammou, MP in Morocco's Chamber of Councillors, said, "There is
lack of understanding on the part of Moroccan legislators of the abolition of
the death penalty. In addition, there is lack of awareness about the issue in
political parties that are indifferent to this aspect in their platforms, given
that no Moroccan political party has ever referred to the abolition of death
penalty in any of its platforms."
"Issuing the death penalty is a verdict against the right to life which is
protected under the constitution," he commented. "We're not calling for
abolishing the principle of punishment; rather, we're calling for limiting
violations of the constitution which protects the right of everyone to life."
Former death row inmate Ahmed Alhaou commented, "Morocco has been through all
gradual stages that lead to the abolition of death penalty, starting with the
suspension of this penalty since 1993, reduction of the number of crimes that
are punishable by death, and ending with the pardon mechanism. There's nothing
anymore that requires us to keep issuing this penalty while we can go for
Though the last execution happened in 1993, Morocco continues to issue death
penalty sentences in some cases. Marrakech bomb attack mastermind Adil Othmani
and drug dealer Najib Zaim were the latest to be handed down death sentences.
Zaim was convicted last month, whereas Othmani was sentenced last October.
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