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death penalty news----worldwide

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  • Rick Halperin
    Oct. 31 DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Death penalty for soldier charged with killing poll officials A military tribunal in the Democratic Republic of the
    Message 1 of 3392 , Oct 31, 2006
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      Oct. 31


      Death penalty for soldier charged with killing poll officials

      A military tribunal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's northeastern
      district of Ituri sentenced a soldier to death on Tuesday for killing two
      polling clerks.

      Sergeant Innocent Mamale on Sunday shot dead the 2 clerks from the
      Independent Electoral Commission in Fataki, 90 kilometres from Bunia, the
      largest town in Ituri.

      "In addition, he [Mamale] will have to pay an equivalent of US $30,000 in
      Congolese Francs as compensation to each of the families of the victims,"
      said Maj Innocent Mayembe, the presiding judge of the military tribunal.

      The tribunal also condemned Mamale to 3 years imprisonment for abandoning
      his post and fined him 15,000 Congolese francs.

      Mamale originally shot at 5 electoral commission agents in Fataki.

      "I saw as if someone left the electoral office then I opened fire," Mamale
      told the tribunal. "I do not know what happened to me and it is for the
      1st time in my life."

      Separate reports say eight agents were injured in the incident.

      The dead polling clerks were locals, with 1 woman (unnamed) coming from an
      area under the control of militia leader Peter Karim. Karim, who was
      appointed a colonel in the army in October, is the leader of the Front des
      Nationalistes Intgrationnistes (FNI).

      To avenge the deaths, the victims' families ransacked and burnt electoral
      offices in Fataki. "37 of the 85 offices in Fataki were ransacked," said
      John Ukunya, the head of the electoral office in Bunia.

      According to the Djugu territory Member of Parliament, Bura Pulunyo,
      elections should be repeated in Fataki. However, the electoral commission
      which has the sole mandate to decide on this, has not yet responded.

      Vote counting is continuing after Sunday's poll.

      The elections presented a special challenge for the government in Ituri as
      the area has remained an active militia zone since 1999.

      Spanning 65,000 square kilometres, the district has had 7 militia leaders.
      They include Thomas Lubanga, the leader of L'Union des patriotes
      congolais, who has since been arrested by the International Criminal Court
      based in the Hague, and Kahwa Panga Mandro of the Parti pour l'Unit et la
      Sauvegarde de l'Intgrit congolaise, who is imprisoned in Bunia.

      At least 15,000 militiamen have been disarmed in the Congo since April
      2004 according to the United Nations Mission in the Congo, MONUC, the
      national army, the UN Children's Fund and the militia groups themselves.

      In June, with the militias remaining active, and 1 month to the 1st round
      of the presidential elections, the government appointed the Ituri zone
      commander, Gen Mbuayama Nsiona, to ensure security during the elections. 6
      military brigades were also deployed for this mission.

      So far, Karim, the FNI leader, is still active in the region of Nioka, 120
      kilometres northeast of Bunia; along with Matthieu Ngujolo, the leader of
      the Mouvements Rvolutionnaires congolais, and Cobra Matata of the Fronts
      des Resistants Patriotiques en Ituri.

      (source: IRIN)


      STAGE REVIEWS ----Songs of Hangings and Redemptions; Of bandits and

      Director: Megan Choritz

      Cast: Graham Weir, Pitchie Rommellaere, Simon Fuzzy Ratcliffe

      Venue: Kalk Bay Theatre till November 25

      Don't be surprised if you find yourself tenderly rubbing the back of your
      neck as you leave the theatre after this short, sharp, well-executed show.

      Your involvement won't end when Graham Weir has finished his last song of
      the bandits, outlaws and sinners of Western folklore.

      Stirred by his words about the relish of public hangings, fear of the
      gallows and horror of lynchings, you'll be glad we've moved on. Yet you'll
      be left wondering if capital punishment isn't a better way of stopping the
      unstoppable violence than the often protracted and unsatisfactory trials
      of today.

      Weir, with his offbeat sense of humour and willingness to tackle the
      unusual (he was the chief songwriter for the cult a cappella show Not the
      Midnight Mass) trawled extensively through Irish, Scottish and American
      folk music to track down the vocal material for this show.

      Bleak the subject matter may be, but the intensity of his deliveries, the
      variety of stories and superb backing from musicians Pitchie Rommellaere
      and Simon Fuzzy Ratcliffe, keep the audience both entertained and

      Between them they play an astonishing variety of instruments. Five
      guitars, including an unusual slide guitar, concertina, double bass,
      clarinet, flute, diminutive pennywhistle and various things which are
      shaken and struck.

      This backing is always subtle and complementary, enhancing the old world
      atmosphere of the saloon as vividly as do the 4 large black and white
      photographs of old-timers, (one with a huge spade-length black beard), on
      the wall behind the trio.

      Weir, who is off everything and into yoga these days, looks younger and
      crisper than ever . He leads from the front, standing, sitting, singing
      well and reading aloud on two occasions as he brings to life some of the
      characters and their stories of those who lived in fear of "the hangman's
      rope thick and strong."

      Those sheriffs of old certainly didn't hang about. If you were arrested on
      Monday, you'd be tried on Tuesday, "hanged in the morning and cut down at
      night". Burial would be at right angles to everyone else to show that you
      were an outlaw.

      It's not all gloom and doom, though. One lucky guy was saved because his
      friend was prepared to pay his fine "rather than see you hang all day on
      the gallows line".

      Another convicted Scotsman had a fiddle everyone wanted. Dog-in-the-manger
      to the end, he was determined to break it rather than leave it behind.

      A moving rendition of Amazing Grace, as a redemptive song, provided a
      welcome contrast in this collection of anonymous vocals which inspired
      icons of the blues like Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen.

      Director Megan Choritz has produced a neatly packaged show, long enough to
      hit home but short enough to avoid being depressing. However, it could do
      with one strong final number rather than peter out.

      Perhaps move the Ballad of Tom Dooley to the end. Everyone knows the song
      and the true story of the young confederate soldier found guilty of
      murdering his former sweetheart Laura.

      Legend has it that he rode in a wagon through the streets of Statesville
      to the gallows sitting on top of his coffin with his banjo on his knee.
      When the rope was placed around his neck he joked with the sheriff that he
      would have washed his neck if he had known he was going to use such a nice
      clean new rope.

      (source: Tonight)


      Death is never justice

      It is 42 years since the last execution took place in Britain and 37 years
      since capital punishment for murder was permanently abolished. Some of us
      may have slipped complacently into thinking of the death penalty as an
      antiquated relic of the past like witch burning, slavery and the stocks.
      In fact, 22 countries use capital punishment regularly, employing a
      variety of methods including lethal injection, firing squads, mobile
      execution chambers, beheading and hanging. In addition, an estimated half
      dozen British people are currently on death row around the world including
      Mirza Tahir Hussain in Pakistan.

      Amnesty International published a global report on the death penalty
      earlier this year that revealed that at least 2,148 people were executed
      last year - the majority of these in China (1,770), Iran (94), Saudi
      Arabia (86), the USA (60) and Pakistan (31). More than 20,000 people are
      estimated to be on death row around the world, waiting for their
      state-appointed day of death. There are vigorous abolition campaigns in
      most of these countries, but the state continues to systematically murder
      on a regular basis.

      Mr Hussain has been on death row in Pakistan since 1989 when he was
      convicted of murdering a taxi driver. He has already endured four
      execution dates and 4 temporary stays of execution, the most recent of
      these after the Prince of Wales appealed for clemency.

      Mr Hussain is living a nightmare, as it seems he most likely did not
      commit the crime he has been convicted of. In 1988, he visited Pakistan
      and took a taxi to his familys village of Bhubar. He says that when the
      taxi driver tried to assault him, a scuffle ensued and a gun that was
      already in the car went off, fatally injuring the taxi driver. There are
      serious concerns about the lack of witnesses, about the standard of police
      evidence and about the charge Mr Hussain has been convicted on, but
      nevertheless Pakistans Supreme Court has upheld the sentence.

      The only hope for Mr Hussain now is that President Musharraf commutes the
      sentence, something you would think any head of state would do when there
      was a clear possibility of executing an innocent man and threatening the
      very credibility of the criminal justice system.

      The possibility of executing an innocent person must surely be the
      strongest argument against the death penalty. It was the execution of
      Derek Bentley in 1953 that turned the tide of the abolition campaign in
      Britain. Ted Heath, arguing in the Commons for abolition, said that the
      true test of a commitment to capital punishment was not a willingness to
      act as the executioner, but a preparedness to be executed by mistake.
      Since the death penalty was reintroduced in the USA in 1973, 122 people
      have been released from death row when evidence exonerating them came to
      light. Justice is always fallible; this is why an irrevocable penalty is

      Supporters of the death penalty commonly argue that it is a strong
      deterrent to crime. The US, as a country where 38 states have reintroduced
      the death penalty after a period of abolition, provides an interesting
      case study. There, executions and high murder rates go hand in hand.
      Texas, which uses lethal injection about once a fortnight, has some of
      Americas highest murder rates.

      Criminologists who have looked at the effect of executions on the public
      consciousness have concluded that, in fact, violence may breed more
      violence the example of state-sanctioned killing appears to lead to a
      lowering of the threshold of general respect for life.

      When you add to these concerns the fact that, again and again, around the
      world, the death penalty is found to be used hugely disproportionately
      against racial minorities, the poor and the mentally ill, we must agree
      that it is a penalty that no credible criminal justice system can afford.

      Abolitionists around the world are making these arguments and making
      change as we speak. The number of countries carrying out executions in the
      last 20 years has halved. Mexico, Liberia and the Philippines have
      recently abolished the death penalty. International support for these
      campaigns is essential, which is why Im a member of Amnesty, and why I
      participated recently in the Secret Policemans Ball (to be broadcast on
      Channel 4 tonight)

      The international campaign to abolish the slave trade will have its
      bicentenary next year. If more of us get involved in campaigns like the
      one to save Mirza Tahir Hussain we can maybe save some innocent lives and
      bring another great abolition closer.

      (source: Comment, Jeremy Irons, The Times)
    • Rick Halperin
      June 30 SAUDI ARABIA: Saudi execution caught on video The execution of a man convicted of raping and murdering a teenage boy in the Saudi Arabian desert has
      Message 3392 of 3392 , Jun 30, 2012
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        June 30


        Saudi execution caught on video

        The execution of a man convicted of raping and murdering a teenage boy in the
        Saudi Arabian desert has been caught on film and published by the Sharq

        Emirates 247 reported that the execution by beheading of a murdering rapist was
        caught on video and published by the Saudi Sharq newspaper, in spite of the
        Kingdom's ban on executions being filmed. The rapist had lured his victim to
        the desert and raped him, before forcing him to lie in the sand and crushing
        him with his vehicle.

        The video posted below contains graphic content.

        In 2009 RT ran a piece on Saudi Arabian executioners, noting the job is a
        respected profession in the Arab world. During a debate on debate on Abu Dhabi
        TV three Arab executioners agreed "there is nothing traumatic – or even
        distasteful – in executing those condemned to the sword or noose."

        Human rights organizations meanwhile condemn the number of public executions
        carried out in Saudi Arabia.


        (source: Digital Journal)


        Behram Khan’s hanging would prove to be a bad omen

        The European Union, Amnesty International and international human rights
        organisations term death penalty an unacceptable denial of human dignity and

        Today 139 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. Of the 58 countries
        and territories retaining the death penalty, 18 were known to have carried out
        executions in 2009 (China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the US top the league)
        while Pakistan has made no execution since 2008 and Brundi, Togo and the US
        state of New Mexico have abolished death penalty in their law and practice in

        Despite a marked trend towards abolition and restriction of the use of capital
        punishment in most countries, the numbers and manner of death penalty
        applications worldwide remain alarming.

        International human rights organisations are working to achieve universal
        abolition of death penalty. While 139 countries — more than 2/3 of the
        countries of the world — are abolitionist in law or practice, still at least
        8,679 executions were carried out in last 2 years.

        And wherever capital punishment remained in force, there are serious problems
        with regard to the respect of international norms and standards. This makes
        abolitionist initiatives the more important.

        UNO is also playing pivotal role to abolish death penaly. However, while
        figures of death penalty application around the world are decreasing, they
        remain much too high where capital punishment remains in force.

        There are serious problems with regard to the respect of international norms
        and standards, notably in the limitation of the death penalty to the most
        serious crimes, the exclusion of juvenile offenders from its scope, and
        guarantees of a fair trial.

        In countries like Pakistan justice is delayed and the influential elite try to
        overshadow the justice system by unfair and underhand methods. In statute laws
        of Pakistan there are 32 different crimes for which the death penalty is
        awarded, though at the time of creation of Pakistan capital punishment was
        specified for only 2 different crimes.

        It means 30 more categories are included in capital punishment laws. The death
        penalty envisaged in the fundamental documents of Islam is not for more than
        two or three crimes.

        The current democratic government of Pakistan has been trying to make some
        initiatives to abolish this punishment. No execution since 2008, is also a part
        of the policy to abolish this law.

        For this both government and human rights organisations of Pakistan have to
        play a vital role.

        Death sentence causes psychological trauma and many death row inmates suffer
        from mental illness and mental disabilities because of abominable conditions in
        prisons. It is beyond any shadow of doubt that death penalty is a cruel,
        inhuman and debasing punishment.

        In Pakistan, justice is delayed and, furthermore, our justice system at lower
        courts is blemished and unfair methods are used. Knowing all these facts and
        figures, Pakistan’s govt has had a moratorium on the death penalty since
        October 2008.

        Measures taken by the government are truly praiseworthy but only one case of
        Behram khan, who, after spending 9 years in jail for killing a lawyer in court,
        is waiting for the day the executioner will tighten the noose around his neck,
        will prove stigma to govenment’s positive measures.

        In my opinion, government ought to abolish the death penalty in both law and
        practice forever.

        (source: Dr. Saif Ur Rehman, blog, The News Tribe)


        'Witches' pardoned 400 years after executions

        Cologne City Council has pardoned 38 women nearly 400 years after they were
        sentenced to death for suspected witchcraft, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

        Katharina Henot - Germany's most notorious "witch" - stood accused of having
        entered into a pact with the devil, conjured up a plague of caterpillars, sown
        strife and encouraged sexual deviancy. In 1627 she was sentenced to death by
        torture by the Cologne Court.

        385 years later, in a symbolic gesture by the Cologne City Council, Henot and
        37 other "witches" executed by local authorities are to be pardoned and
        rehabilitated, wrote Die Welt newspaper on Saturday.

        Councillors voted unanimously to pardon the former Cologne inhabitants in a
        vote on Thursday, rejecting "any violation of human dignity and human rights,"
        wrote the paper.

        The move was not a judicial act - authorities in modern day Germany do not have
        the power to overturn rulings made under the Holy Roman Empire. Instead, the
        move was intended to highlight how easily a person can be defamed to the point
        of no longer being seen as human, but a demon that deserves to die a horrible

        Hartmut Hegeler, a retired pastor from Unna who had submitted a citizen
        proposal to pardon the "witches" was said to be "very relieved" following the
        vote on Thursday. He is now hoping a mass will be held in the Cologne Cathedral
        as a gesture of reconciliation by the diocese, according to the article.

        The decision makes Cologne the 14th local authority in Germany to distance
        itself from historical witch trials. But not all rehabilitation gestures have
        been agreed without opposition, wrote the paper.

        When a citizen from Dusseldorf proposed that two women burned at the stake
        there in 1738 be rehabilitated, there was an objection from a citizen who
        claimed pardoning the women would amount to challenging his Catholic faith,
        wrote the paper. His objection was overruled.

        Historians estimate the total of 25,000 women and men were sentenced to death
        in Germany in the past for having entered into a pact with the devil, according
        to the article.

        (source: The Local)
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