[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at smu.edu
Tue Jan 17 23:06:24 CST 2012
Executions of Drug Offenders Skyrocketing
According to Amnesty International, the London-based human rights group,
Iranian authorities are executing hundreds of people every year, many of them
on trumped-up drug charges.
Last year, at least 488 people were executed in Iran for drug offenses, up from
166 in 2009. Many are poor, other are juveniles and some have been condemned to
death without even trial.
All told, 600 people are believed to have been executed in Iran last year.
Citizens of neighboring Afghanistan are particularly vulnerable to Iran’s
terrible justice – as many as 4,000 Afghans are in Iranian prisons awaiting
execution from drug-related convictions.
"To try to contain their immense drug problem, the Iranian authorities have
carried out a killing spree of staggering proportions, when there is no
evidence that execution prevents drug smuggling any more effectively than
imprisonment," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's interim Middle East
and North Africa deputy director.
"Drug offenses go much of the way to accounting for the steep rise in
executions we have seen in the last 18 months. Ultimately Iran must abolish the
death penalty for all crimes, but stopping the practice of executing drug
offenders, which violates international law, would as a first step cut the
overall number significantly."
A wide plethora of crimes are punishable by death in Iran, including murder,
rape, armed robbery, kidnapping and espionage (as in Hekmati’s case). However
it appears that the overwhelming majority of death penalty cases involved those
convicted of drug offenses.
Amnesty said it began receiving plausible reports in the middle of 2010 that
Iranian authorities were commencing with a massive wave of executions of
prisoners. One report indicated that at the Vakilabad Prison in the
northeastern city of Mashhad as many as 89 prisoners were killed in a single
“In almost all cases executions have followed grossly unfair trials and the
families and lawyers of those accused have often received little or no warning
that executions were due to take place,” Amnesty stated.
“Members of marginalized groups -- including impoverished communities, ethnic
minorities that suffer discrimination, and foreign nationals, particularly
Afghans -- are most at risk of execution for drugs offences.”
Amnesty cited the case of 38-year-old Mohammad Jangali, a truck driver from the
Kouresunni minority, who was executed in October 2011 after drugs were
discovered by police in the truck he was driving. Jangali apparently”confessed”
after he was tortured by intelligence officials.
“[Jangali’s] family were given no information about the case by the authorities
until they were contacted by the prison to say that he would be executed in 8
hours and they should come now if they wanted to see him,” Amnesty stated.
“He maintained until his death that he had not known that the truck contained
However, drug addiction is a serious problem in Iran, which is also a key hub
for illegal narcotics trafficking between Afghanistan-Pakistan and Europe.
"All countries and international organizations helping the Iranian authorities
arrest more people for alleged drugs offenses need to take a long hard look at
the potential impact of that assistance and what they could do to stop this
surge of executions," said Harrison.
"They cannot simply look the other way while hundreds of impoverished people
are killed each year without fair trials, many only learning their fates a few
hours before their deaths."
(source: IB Times)
Salty soapy syabu found----Customs catch drug smugglers with methamphetamine
hidden in sea salt soap bottle
They thought they could fool Customs by filling up a sea salt soap container
with syabu, but for the 2 Iranians who tried to smuggle in the drug worth
RM800,000, they now face the death penalty. On the pretext of bringing sea salt
soap for personal use, the duo tried to cheat KLIA Customs Department
enforcement officers but their suspicious behaviour gave them away.
Both the suspects had claimed to be students studying in a private college in
the city when they arrived on Sunday morning from Almaty, Kazakhstan.
"When their luggage was put through the scanning machine in the airport, the
suspects’ facial expression turned them in.
"The officers saw the bottles in their bag, and when we took the bottles out,
we knew we had to inspect the substance contained inside," said Customs
Department assistant director-general (Enforcement) Datuk Zainul Abidin Taib,
A run through a drug-test kit confirmed the powder to be methamphetamine.
The suspects, aged 23 and 30, had been remanded for 7 days from yesterday, to
facilitate investigations under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drug Act 1952, a
charge carrying the mandatory death penalty if convicted.
Zainul said this was not the 1st time smugglers were using the soap or
"They come up with new ideas every time. We have had suspects trying to bring
in drugs disguised as cosmetic products or hidden in containers bearing those
However, he said, this is the first time the suspects were coming from Almaty,
"Usually we will check the passenger list of those travelling from Doha, but
now it seems like the pattern is changing," Zainul said, adding that the Custom
Department is on their toes on the changes and the situation is being analysed.
He added that the 1st 2 weeks of the year already saw 6 arrests made at the
airport’s entry point.
"Since the beginning of the year we have seized a variety of drugs weighing
19.5kg and worth RM4.87 million."
Salem extradition no more legal, rules Portugal SC
New Delhi Portugal's Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's decision that the
extradition treaty with India was violated in Abu Salem's case, a decision that
is likely to provide impetus to Salem's case that India stop his trial for the
1993 Mumbai blasts.
The Central Bureau of Investigation, however, has said the Portugal court's
order will have no repercussion on Salem's trial in India. The CBI will also
move Portugal's Constitutional court against this order.
Soon after news of the Portugal order came through, Salem moved the TADa court
in Mumbai, seeking closure of the trial against him in the 1993 Mumbai blasts.
He contended that continuing the trial would be illegal.
The TADA court will hear Salem's plea tomorrow.
The Portugal High Court last September had terminated its government's
authorisation of Salem's extradition to India in November 2005 to face trial in
around eight cases.
Cancelling the extradition, the Portuguese court accused Indian probe agencies
(including the CBI) of violating conditions under which he was permitted to be
taken to India in November 2005 to face trial.
Portugal had extradited Salem with the understanding that he would not be tried
for death, but the high court noted that the Indian government had slapped new,
additional charges against Salem which entailed the death penalty. It said the
authorisation granted for his extradition had therefore terminated as it
violated the "rule of speciality".
Salem is wanted in various cases, including the murder of noted film producer
Gulshan Kumar. His extradition came after an assurance by the Indian government
to Portugal that he would not be given the death penalty, an important
requirement in extradition proceedings in Europe.
(source: Express India)
Report: Gay Saudi Man Arrested for Dating on Facebook
A Saudi Arabian man has been arrested for allegedly using Facebook to set up
dates with other men.
The unnamed 30-year-old man was arrested in late December by religious police
and faces corporal punishment, fines, or possibly the death penalty, according
to the website Gay Middle East. Conviction and punishment will depend on the
man’s social class, religious standing, and citizenship and will be determined
by a group of religious leaders.
News of the man’s arrest came to light during a recent visit by British prime
minister David Cameron to Saudi Arabia, and global human rights agencies
including Amnesty International have called for intervention in the arrest.
"Amnesty International considers the use of ‘sodomy’ laws to imprison (usually)
men for same-sex relations in private to be a grave violation of human rights,
including the rights to privacy, to freedom from discrimination, to freedom of
expression and association, which are protected in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights," Amnesty International said in a statement to Gay Middle East.
Any member of the Saudi religious police can use social media and gay dating
sites to entrap gay men, with officials encouraging citizens to report
(source: The Advocate)
Death Penalty Cases Rife With Evidence Flaws
The deputy chief of China’s highest court has criticised inconsistent adherence
to evidence standards in the country’s death penalty cases, whose annual number
is a state secret. From the South China Morning Post:
Supreme People’s Court Vice-President Zhang Jun, speaking at a conference
organised by the China Law Society, said the court had found the quality of
capital punishment cases to be worse than expected since authorities ordered
all such cases to be reviewed in 2007, according to report by Caixin online
The biggest problem was with evidence, Zhang said. Law enforcement authorities
lacked awareness about the importance of collecting evidence and rules
regarding evidence were not applied uniformly.
“For example, [evidence in] murder cases must be subjected to DNA tests,” Zhang
said. “But this is not always carried out.”
Investigators also tended to rely too much on verbal testimony as opposed to
physical evidence, he said.
(source: China Digital Times)
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