[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Tue Jan 3 11:53:22 CST 2012
Death penalty is not the answer
New Zealanders were quite rightly ashamed and revolted at the brutal attack on
a 5-year-old girl at a Turangi holiday park before Christmas.
The violence of the attack on a defenceless little girl was shocking, the
timing heartbreaking, the suspected motive sick.
It is heartening to see the outpouring of support for the family in the form of
many emailed messages from New Zealanders. It helps restore one's faith in
It was also good news to see that she felt well enough to apparently farewell a
nurse with a hug as she left hospital after the attack.
The family apparently bear no ill will to the country as a whole and there is
even a suggestion they will continue their holiday. But make no mistake, this
incident has blighted their lives, leaving scars that will take a long time to
It was no surprise to hear outspoken Taupo Mayor Rick Cooper's colourful
comment that the person responsible "should not be able to pinch oxygen" from
others. The debate about capital punishment arises regularly - usually after
some horrific crime such as this.
Mr Cooper's comments have been reiterated in letters to newspapers around the
While the anger is justified and the desire for an eye for an eye
understandable, the death penalty is surely not the answer.
There is justifiable concern from middle New Zealand with our justice system -
particularly perceptions that many sentences are too light. There is also
concern about the ease with which bail, parole and name suppression are
granted. These issues need to be urgently addressed. But reintroducing capital
punishment is a whole different matter.
Those shocked by the brutality of the Turangi attack would be equally shocked
by the brutality of executions. Leaving aside the issue of whether capital
punishment is as effective as supporters say, has New Zealand not evolved
beyond the use of the death penalty?
Many of the emails sent to the European family by Kiwis were concerned that the
image of the country had been tarnished. They conveyed an overwhelming sense of
shame about such an incident in a country we are proud of. Bringing back
capital punishment will create nothing but more shame.
(source: Opinion, Taranaki Daily News)
Women’s movement against death penalty
The Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) says that in as
much as the women movement in Zambia abhors the killing of women by their
spouses as a result of gender-based violence, it does not support the death
NGOCC chairperson Beatrice Grillo was commenting on the sentencing to death of
Penias Mwanza of Chipata by the Lusaka High Court last week, for brutally
murdering his wife on suspicion that she was having an affair with another man.
Mrs Grillo said the women’s movement wants men who kill their spouses in
domestic quarrels to be given the stiffest punishment by way of life
“Death penalty is not the way to go. Just lock them up for life,” she said.
Mrs Grillo said the courts were merely following what the constitution of
“It’s a constitutional issue and we can’t question the court’s ruling. It’s
just that we feel life belongs to God and punishing someone who kills by death
is not the best thing to do,” she said.
Mrs Grillo said the death penalty is something the country has to deal with.
On Thursday, the Lusaka High court slapped the death sentence on 46-year- old
Penias Mwanza of Chipata.
After the sentence by Judge Nigel Mutuna, Mwanza told his relatives that he was
going to hang.
Mwanza brutally killed his wife from a neighbour’s house where she had gone to
The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has also expressed reservations against the
death sentence in a recent incident where a 46-year-old charcoal burner, who
raped a pregnant woman before he bludgeoned her with an axe, was slapped with
the death sentence by the Kitwe High Court.
HRC chairperson Pixie Yangailo said much as the commission supports stiffer
punishment for people who commit heinous crimes, it does not support the death
Ms Yangailo said the courts should sentence such offenders to life imprisonment
with hard labour.
She believes no-one has the right to take the life of another human being,
regardless of the circumstances.
“As a commission, we support stiffer punishment for people who commit serious
crimes, but we do not support the death penalty,” Ms Yangailo said recently.
(source: Zambia Daily Mail)
Ex-AUM cult member Hirata says cult leader Asahara deserves death penalty
Makoto Hirata, a former leading member of the AUM Shinrikyo cult who turned
himself in to police late Saturday after being on the run for more than 16
years, said Monday the AUM founder Shoko Asahara deserves the death penalty,
according to a lawyer who met Hirata in police custody.
Lawyer Taro Takimoto told reporters after meeting with Hirata, 46, who had been
on the wanted list since May 1995, that Hirata said he thinks that Asahara
"deserves the death penalty" and that he does not believe in the cult anymore.
Asahara, 56, whose real name is Chizuo Matsumoto, has already had his death
Takimoto met with Hirata at the latter's request for about 2 hours Monday
morning at Osaki police station in Tokyo's Shinagawa Ward, where he has been
kept since his arrest immediately after turning himself on Saturday.
Takimoto, who was helping AUM members flee from the cult from 1989, was
attacked by cult members on May 9, 1994, when they placed sarin on the
windshield of his car in Kofu, Yamanashi Prefecture.
According to Takimoto, Hirata told the lawyer that he gave himself up as he
"reconsidered my position after seeing so many absurd things in the (March)
disasters in the Tohoku region" in northeastern Japan. He also gave as a reason
his wish to do so within 2011.
Hirata was arrested on suspicion of involvement in a conspiracy with AUM
founder Shoko Asahara and other followers to abduct Kiyoshi Kariya, chief clerk
at a notary office in Tokyo, in February 1995. Hirata is also charged with
conspiring to place Kariya in confinement and inject him with a chemical, and
causing his death on March 1, 1995.
As Hirata had participated in shooting competitions as a sport before entering
AUM, the police also suspect he may have been involved in the shooting in 1995
of Takaji Kunimatsu, then chief of the National Policy Agency.
But Hirata told Takimoto that he decided to turn himself as he thought there
was no longer a possibility of being wrongfully arrested for the shooting
incident as the statute of limitations on the crime has expired.
Hirata was one of three former cult members still on the run in connection with
a series of heinous crimes carried out by the group, including the 1995 sarin
gas attack on the Tokyo subway system. The last trial of those already in
custody concluded late last year.
Makoto Hirata hides under a jacket, center, as he's driven out of the
Metropolitan Police Department's Marunouchi station in Tokyo on Jan. 1.
(Mainichi)Hirata came to the Marunouchi Police Station in downtown Tokyo at
11:50 p.m. Saturday and was identified by a fingerprint match, the police said.
Hirata was quoted as saying that he turned himself in because he wanted a sense
of closure after being on the run for a long time.
(source: The Mainichi Daily News)
Warning Sounded Iran May Kill Condemned Christian Pastor in Secret
An Iranian pastor facing death a death sentence for refusing to renounce his
Christian faith and embrace Islam is expected to spend another year in jail,
awaiting an appeal on his death sentence, while government authorities try to
force him to convert to Islam.
However, the delay could be a ruse and the Iranian government could kill him in
secret, warns the founder of Present Truth Ministries, which was the 1st to
report on Pastor Yosef Nadarkhani’s arrest in October 2009.
That’s the most recent development in Nadarkhani’s religious and political
nightmare of more than two years, according to The Christian Post.
Nadarkhani, who has been jailed since he was arrested and charged with
apostasy, came within 2 days of being hanged in September until Iranian court
officials — perhaps influenced by international outrage from the Rev. Franklin
Graham, House Speaker John Boehner, and other notables around the world —
decided to let him appeal the sentence.
The 34-year-old Nadarkhani, who became a Christian at the age of 19, was tried
and convicted in December 2010. The pastor of several home congregations in a
small Christian community called the Church of Iran, he has refused repeatedly
to recant his faith.
The apostasy charge stems from the government’s allegation that he converted
from Islam to Christianity, while his defense claims that he had not been a
Muslim before becoming a Christian. The government contends that he was a
Muslim because he was born into a Muslim household.
He refused 3 times during the 3 days running up to his execution date to
recant, and his death appeared to be imminent until he received a reprieve of
The evangelical pastor’s lawyer was confident at one time that his conviction
would be reversed. But he was told that Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani, the head of
Iran’s judiciary, asked the presiding judge to delay judgment on his appeal and
keep him in prison for another year, the Christian Post reported last month.
The deliberate delay is meant to let the case “slip away from international
attention” even as the authorities continue to “use whatever means necessary to
cause him to convert to Islam,” the Christian Post quotes Present Truth
Ministries’ Jason DeMars as saying.
The case has taken several outrageous turns since Nardakhani’s arrest,
including the arrest of his wife in an attempt to force him to recant, as well
as the addition of other trumped-up charges of rape, security violations, and
Zionism that Iranian officials added around the execution date. That was the
first time in the 2-year process that such charges had been mentioned, and many
observers regarded the additional charges as an effort to rationalize the death
Various reports have indicated that his health is deteriorating in prison.
Although the Iranian court very well could wait another year before deciding
Nadarkhani’s fate, “there are no assurances that he will not be executed,”
DeMars warned. “It could happen at any time. This is the way that the Iranian
government operates with executions. They do not give advance notice, and it is
done in secret.”
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