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Showing posts from February, 2008

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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

NETHERLANDS. AUTHORITIES BLOCK MEHDI’S TRANSFER TO UK

February 26, 2008: the Dutch authorities blocked the transfer of gay Iranian youth Mehdi Kazemi to the UK, where he could have been deported to Iran to face trial.

Hands Off Cain, Non Violent Radical Party and Italian Radicals issued a statement regarding the Dutch authorities’ decision:
“We mobilised to prevent Mehdi’s deportation from the UK to Iran. Mehdi is a 19 year old gay Iranian youth, accused of “lavat” (sodomy) by the Iranian regime and who, because of this, risks being put to death like his partner, Parham, was in April 2006.

After yesterday’s demonstration and the initiatives of the European and Italian Parliaments, as well as the intervention of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, tonight the Dutch authorities, evidently in absence of guarantees from London, blocked the transfer of Mehdi to England. In the past few months, he was denied political asylum in England and from there he could be deported in a few days to Iran to face trial.

We will continue to closely follow this event …

UK. NO TO DEPORTATION OF GAY IRANIAN YOUTH

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February 25, 2008: in the next few hours the gay Iranian youth Mehdi Kazemi will be transferred from the Netherlands to London and then deported to Iran where he risks execution for the crime of “lavat” (sodomy).

Mehdi, 19, arrived in England in November 2005 as a student. However, last year, following the refusal by the English authorities to give him political asylum, he fled to the Netherlands.

At the age of 15 in Iran, Mehdi had a relationship with another man, Parham, who was arrested for sodomy in the last few months by the Iranian authorities.

During interrogation in prison, Parham was forced, under torture, to provide the names and surnames of all the men that he had had relationships with, one of them being Mehdi.

Parham was then sentenced to death and was executed by the Iranian regime in April, 2006.

Following the execution of Parham, the Iranian police arrived at the house of Mehdi’s father in Teheran, ordering his son to be taken into custody to go before a judge, as had happe…

EU ATTACKS IRAN'S NEW PENAL CODE

February 26, 2008: the European Union criticised the new penal code being drafted in Iran, particularly a section that imposes the death penalty for giving up Islam.

The EU said this section and other parts of the code violated Tehran's commitments under international human rights conventions.

Death for apostasy already exists in Iran under Sharia - or Islamic - law. But the changes would for the first time bring the punishment into the criminal code.

An EU statement expressed deep concern about what it calls the ongoing deterioration in the human rights situation in Iran.

Source: BBC, 26/02/2008

SUDAN. FIVE MEN FROM NILE STATE EXECUTED IN KHARTOUM

February 24, 2008: five individuals from Nile State were executed in Kobar prison in Khartoum, Sudan.

Their names are: Yaser Sayed (27 years old, single, farmer), Esmaiel al-Hage (27, married, farmer), Ayoub Ahmed al-Misbah (30, single, farmer), Mohamed Abdalla Mustafa (25, single, farmer), Adil Bilal Daf al-Seed (25, single, farmer).

The men, from the village of al-Bouga, were convicted by the Berber criminal court for the murder of 30-year-old farmer Hassan Mohamed Hassan in 2004.

Defence lawyers had since exhausted all routes of appeal, including taking the case to Sudan's Constitutional Court.

Relatives had also failed in an effort to get the sentence delayed while they sought to reconcile with the family of Hassan Mohamed Hassan, who had rejected the option of accepting blood money instead of the death sentence.

Sources: SOAT, 26/02/2008

Books: “The Execution of Willie Francis”

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Author Gilbert King, in his forthcoming book The Execution of Willie Francis, details the story of a young African-American man who endured the electric chair twice before being executed for the murder of a white man in Louisiana.

In 1946, an all-white jury convicted Francis (pictured), who was 17, and sentenced him to death.

The first attempt to execute him by electrocution did not work, and Francis was returned to his death row cell where he remained for almost another year while the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether a second electrocution would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Noted death penalty author and activist Sister Helen Prejean describes The Execution of Willie Francis as “profound.”

She writes, Gilbert King transforms abstract arguments over Louisiana's right to re-execute a condemned youth into a profound story of flesh and blood.

His impassioned portrait of the unlikely bond between two young Catholics, Willie Francis and his undaunted lawyer, Bertrand …

UAE: man executed for murder

February 24, 2008: an Emirati man was executed by firing squad after being convicted of killing two compatriots in a rare implementation of capital punishment in the United Arab Emirates, a newspaper reported.

The 36 year old was executed in the emirate of Ras al-Khaimah after refusing to show remorse during interrogation and court hearings, the English-language Gulf News said.

According to the paper, neighbours said the two victims reportedly taunted the man about his past. He surrendered to police after the shootings and handed over his gun.

Source: Alarabiya.net, 24/02/2008

TUNISIA. APPEALS COURT COMMUTES TERRORISM DEATH SENTENCE

February 20, 2008: a Tunisian appeals court commuted the death sentence of a suspected Islamic militant to life in prison.

Imed Ben Ameur, 42, was convicted on charges including incitement to killing and "provoking disorder and death" as part of a terrorist plot.

The defendant allegedly belonged to a group called the Soldiers of Assan Ibn Al Fourat that was involved in clashes with security forces last December and in January.

They were arrested following an attack on the group in Soliman, 40km south of the capital. A total of 14 people, 12 group members, a soldier and a police officer, died in confrontation.

Sources: International Herald Tribune, 21/02/2008

Drug mule Rush gives first TV interview

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Tuesday, 19 February , 2008 17:28:00

MARK COLVIN: One of the Bali Nine has spoken publicly for the first time on the electronic media about his situation and his hopes of being able to leave a Bali jail, despite that fact that he faces the death penalty.

Scott Rush, who was arrested on drug trafficking charges in Indonesia, has spoken to SBS Television from his prison cell.

He says he never realised the implications that his actions could have, or that it was even possible to be executed for smuggling heroin.

Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: These are dark days for Scott Rush. The 22-year-old from Brisbane is far from home in a foreign prison, with little to think of but impending death at the hands of an Indonesian executioner.

He was originally sentenced to life in prison for his role in an attempt to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin from Indonesia to Australia in 2005.

He appealed, but rather than being shortened, his sentence was increased to death.

Scott Rush spoke to SBS Television&#…

PAKISTAN. MURDER CONVICT HANGED IN KARACHI JAIL

February 20, 2008: a murder convict was hanged in the Karachi Central Jail in Pakistan at 6:30am after his mercy appeal was rejected by the President, and the complainant of the murder case refused to pardon him.

Malik Javed, 47, was hanged following issuance of black warrants by Anti-Terrorism Court-III in Karachi on February 15.

The warrants were issued after the convict's appeal for clemency was rejected. According to jail authorities, Javed gunned down a youth, Amir Kakar, in Gulshan-e-Maymar area on July 21, 1997. Police in Gulshan-e-Iqbal arrested him and the Special Anti-Terrorism Court awarded him the death sentence on Nov 29, 1997.

The President dismissed his request for clemency on January 21, 2008, the authorities added.

Sources: Pakistan Press International, 20/02/2008

RUSSIA. BILL ON ABOLITION OF DEATH PENALTY SUBMITTED TO DUMA

February 20, 2008: the Russian State Duma's Legislation Committee submitted a bill to the lower house of parliament officially abolishing the death penalty in Russia.

"Our Committee has made the positive decision to join the Sixth Protocol on the abolition of the death penalty and submitted it to the State Duma," Committee Chairman Pavel Krasheninnikov said at a news conference. "Also, the decision was made not to use 'party discipline' while debating this issue. Therefore, the deputies are making up their minds on their own. But it feels so far like the bill will not be passed," Krasheninnikov said.

Sources: Interfax, 20/02/2008

The captivity experience, l'expérience de la captivité

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The captivity experience

My name is Travis, I am 31 years old and I am sitting on Death Row in Texas.

Can the experience of relating how it feels to be in captivity be only understood thru actual confinement? With that in mind I feel my experiment is the next best thing to captivity, so a person can get a general idea of what it’s like to be in solitude. First thing is to pick a weekend, Saturday or Sunday, where someone will be at your home/theirs. The bathroom in the apartment is going to be used as your cell. At 6pm on a Friday take a book, magazine or newspaper to the bathroom for reading purposes. Also take a sheet and blanket to lay on the floor as your bed. Once you are inside the bathroom you cannot come out for any reason (not at all) until 6:00pm on Sunday. The person there with you, is to bring you 3 meals each day. Breakfast is to be at 3:00am of 3 pancakes (palm size), 4 ounces of oatmeal and 4 ounces of apple sauce. Lunch is at 10:00am. With 3 different vegetables of 4 oun…

SAUDI ARABIA. SAUDI EXECUTED FOR MURDER AND ARMED ROBBERY

February 19, 2008: a Saudi man, Rashed bin Rafia, was beheaded by the sword in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after he was found guilty of fatally shooting two men (an Indian and a Yemeni) during an armed robbery.

The Saudi Interior Ministry announced the execution in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

Source: Agence France Presse, 19/02/2008

IRAN. TEN PEOPLE HANGED IN ONE DAY

February 20, 2008: Iran hanged 10 people convicted of armed robbery and murder, the Fars news agency reported.
Six people were executed in prison for armed robbery in the northern city of Zanjan while four convicted murderers were hanged in Tehran's Evin prison, the agency said.

Source: Agence France-Presse, 20/02/2008

SAUDI ARABIA. MAN BEHEADED AFTER BEATING HIS MOTHER TO DEATH

February 18, 2008: a Saudi man convicted of killing his mother after beating her to death was beheaded by the sword in the northern town of Hael, the Saudi Arabian interior ministry said.

Shalal bin Munawer al-Umari was found guilty of repeatedly beating his mother Dalilah bint Fadi al-Jaberi until she died, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

Sources: Agence France Presse, 18/02/2008

LIBYA. TWO GHANAIANS EXCUTED FOR MURDER

February 16, 2008: two Ghanaian nationals, Kojo Blankson and Samuel Ayi Ayitey, were executed by firing squad in Libya at the Kofiya Rehabilitation Facility in Benghazi. They had been held since 1998 over the murder of their Libyan employer and were said to be innocent.

Kojo Blankson, Daily Guide gathered from family sources, was on his way to work when Libyan security officers nabbed him.

"Even before the fatal bullets hit him, he was said to have uttered the words 'I don't know anything," a family source quoted a Ghana Embassy official as saying.

The two were said to have been implicated in the murder of a Libyan and Senegalese national respectively.

Source: Ghana Today, 18/02/2008, Ghana News Today, 16/02/2008

NIGERIA. SIX SHARIAH CONVICTS AWAIT STONING DEATH IN BAUCHI

February 15, 2008: six people convicted by Islamic Shariah courts in a northern Nigerian state are awaiting death by stoning, while 46 others are waiting for amputation, the official News Agency of Nigeria reported.

The men on death row in Bauchi state include a 52 year old sentenced in 2004 for getting his teenage step-daughter pregnant and another who was sentenced in 2002 for having sex 13 times with his friend's wife, the agency said.

The report did not say how many people were facing such penalties in 11 other northern Nigerian states that have criminal courts using Shariah law. Such data is not collated centrally.

The sentences have not been executed because the state government is yet to ratify them, the news agency said, quoting the acting secretary of the Bauchi state Sharia Consultative Council, Ishiaku Tijjani. Bauchi is one of 12 states in Nigeria's mainly Islamic north that adopted a harsh sharia-based criminal code eight years ago.

Sources: Reuters, 15/02/2008

22 North Koreans executed for defection attempt

February 17, 2008: twenty-two North Koreans, sent back to the North by South Korean authorities earlier this month after their fishing boats drifted into South Korean waters, were reportedly executed by a firing squad.

The group were shot dead last week by North Korean military authorities of South Hwanghae Province, which believed they had attempted to defect to the South, Yonhap News Agency reported, quoting an unidentified government source.

"The rumour was spreading out among locals. Local people have been shocked that all of the 22 were executed by a firing squad without distinction of age or sex,'' the source said. The group were spotted on the western waters off South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island on Feb 8 and interrogated by an investigation team of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Navy, NIS officials said.

The group included eight men, 14 women and three students.

Source: Korea Times, 17/02/2008

IRAN. RADICALS MOBILISED TO SAVE TWO GAY YOUTHS

February 12, 2008: the International mobilisation to save two youths sentenced to death in Iran for homosexuality continues.

In only a few days more than 12,500 people have signed the petition (www.petitiononline.com/irangay) to the Iranian authorities to save the lives of Hamzeh Chavi and Loghman Hamzehpour.

The two boys, 18 and 19 years old, were arrested in Sardasht, in Azerbaijan Iran, on January 23, 2008, charged with "mohareb" and "lavat" (being an enemy of Allah and sodomy). They confessed, under torture, to being in love and now risk being executed.

The Trans-National and Trans-Party Non Violent Radical Party, with Hands Off Cain, have joined the EveryOne Group initiative. A letter was sent to Abolfazl Zohrevand, the Ambassador in Italy to the Islamic Republic of Iran, asking for an urgent meeting to discuss the case of the two youths that has provoked outrage around the world, as well as concerns over the current violation of human rights in Iran.

Source: radi…

Scalia Says He Sees a Role for Physical Interrogations

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Justice Antonin Scalia (pictured) said Tuesday that some physical interrogation techniques could be used on a suspect in the event of an imminent threat, like a hidden bomb about to blow up.

In such cases, “smacking someone in the face” could be justified, Justice Scalia told the British Broadcasting Corporation. He added, “You can’t come in smugly and with great self-satisfaction and say, ‘Oh, it’s torture, and therefore it’s no good.’ ”

His comments come amid a growing debate about the Bush administration’s use of aggressive interrogation methods on terrorism suspects, including the widely condemned waterboarding, soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Justice Scalia, speaking in an interview with “Law in Action,” a program on BBC Radio 4, said it would be “extraordinary” to assume that the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment applied to “so-called” torture in the face of imminent threat. He said that the Constitution “is referring to punishment for c…

Saudi Arabia : citizen beheaded for murder

February 13, 2008: Saudi authorities beheaded a citizen convicted of killing a compatriot, the Interior Ministry said.

The statement, carried by the Saudi Press Agency, said Majed bin Abdullah bin Safeer shot and killed Abdullah bin Hameed following a dispute. It did not explain the nature of the argument between the two men.

The execution took place in Mecca, around 790 kilometers (491 miles) west of Riyadh, the capital.

Sources: AP, 13/02/2008

Guatemala lifts moratorium on executions

February 12, 2008: Guatemalan lawmakers gave the president the ability to pardon or commute death sentences, lifting a five-year hold on executions.

The law, approved 140-3, gives President Alvaro Colom the authority to decide whether the more than 30 prisoners sentenced to death in Guatemala are executed by lethal injection or have their sentences commuted to 50 years in prison, the maximum allowed under Guatemalan law.

"The floor took a decision of great responsibility to punish murderers and kidnappers" said Congressman Mario Taracena, of Colom's Unity of Hope party.

Guatemala is a signatory to the Inter-American Convention on Human Rights, which requires that those sentenced to capital punishment be given the right to appeal for a pardon from the president or other authority.

Executions were suspended in 2002 when a court determined that presidential reprieves on death penalty cases were unconstitutional, creating a legal gap that suspended all executions.
The last time G…

Japan: bill proposing a four-year moratorium on the death penalty

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February 10, 2008: a cross-party group of Japanese legislators drafted a bill proposing a four-year moratorium on the death penalty. The bill, a step towards abolition, will shortly be submitted to parliament and introduces life imprisonment without parole as a substitute. But the initiative is likely to meet stiff opposition.

The way the death penalty is administered has been condemned both domestically and abroad: death row inmates are executed at short notice, to deter appeals. They are put to death by hanging, generally on a Friday and during parliamentary recess to avoid media exposure or public opposition. At the trial stage, defendants may not have easy access to a lawyer, and the prosecutorial system tends to value confessions above evidence.

Abolitionist parliamentarians appear to think the time is right for reform. But the current Justice Minister, Kunio Hatoyama, is a vocal supporter of capital punishment. He has signed off six executions since taking office last September. A…

IRAN. LIFE OF A TEENAGER HANGS IN BALANCE

February 11, 2008: despite widespread international calls by humanitarian organizations for stay of execution sentence of a teenager, Behnam Zarei, Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi the mullahs judiciary chief ordered the youngster's family to try to get the victim's survivors consent otherwise the execution should be carried out as planned.

According to mullahs' regime penal code the only remedy to avoid facing capital punishment for murder is to pay blood money to the victims' survivors.

However if the victim's family does not agree, the execution should go on as scheduled.

Source: NCR-Iran.org, 11/02/2008

Young Iranian sentenced to death for drinking will not be executed

The Iranian judiciary acquitted a young man, identified only by his first name Mohsen, sentenced to death for repeated alcohol consumption, ISNA news agency reported.

The acquittal came after the man denied drinking alcohol and regretted previous incidents of alcohol consumption.

The 22 year old, who had already been arrested three times for drinking and disturbing the public peace, was once again been found drunk on the street in Tehran and was arrested by police.

On the same day (February 9) Iran hanged a man for murdering four boys, Tehran Emrooz newspaper reported. The man, who was not identified, was to have been hanged in public in the central city of Yazd. Due to a curb on public executions imposed by the head of Iran's judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi, the execution took place in prison.

Source: Hands Off Cain

U.S. Said to Seek Execution for 6 in Sept. 11 Case

Military prosecutors have decided to seek the death penalty for six Guantánamo detainees who are to be charged with central roles in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, government officials who have been briefed on the charges said Sunday.

The officials said the charges would be announced at the Pentagon as soon as Monday and were likely to include numerous war-crimes charges against the six men, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the former Qaeda operations chief who has described himself as the mastermind of the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

A Defense Department official said prosecutors were seeking the death penalty because “if any case warrants it, it would be for individuals who were parties to a crime of that scale.” The officials spoke anonymously because no one in the government was authorized to speak about the case. More

Nebraska court bans the electric chair

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A child killer received a reprieve Friday from the Nebraska Supreme Court, which ruled that electrocution, the state's only means of capital punishment, is unconstitutional.

Death penalty experts said the ruling is likely to put an end to a form of execution rarely used in the United States in recent years.

Lethal injection is administered in 35 of the 36 states that execute condemned prisoners, with Nebraska the sole exception.

"It is the hallmark of a civilized society that we punish cruelty without practicing it," said the ruling from the seven-justice majority. "The evidence shows that electrocution inflicts intense pain and agonizing suffering. Therefore, electrocution as a method of execution is cruel and unusual punishment."

The case involved Raymond Mata Jr., convicted of the premeditated murder of 3-year-old Adam Gomez in 1999. The Scottsbluff child, who was the son of Gomez's former girlfriend, was kidnapped, murdered and dismembered.

Adam's m…

Iran: draft law proposes death penalty for religious conversion

February 5, 2008: the Iranian Parliament is reviewing a draft penal code that for the first time in Iranian history legislates the death penalty for apostasy.

"The draft penal code is a gross violation of fundamental and human rights by a regime that has repeatedly abused religious and other minorities," stated Institute on Religion and Public Policy President Joseph K. Grieboski. "This is simply another legislative attempt on the part of the Iranian regime to persecute religious minorities in the country and around the globe, especially Bahá'ís."

Two types of apostasy are set down in the legislation: parental and innate.

Innate apostates are those whose parents were Muslim, declared themselves as Muslim as an adult and then leave the faith.

Parental apostates are those whose parents were non-Muslims, who had become Muslims as adults, and then left the faith.

Article 225-7 of the code states, "Punishment for an Innate Apostate is death," while Article 225-…

Saudi Arabia: convicted murderer beheaded

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February 5, 2008: Saudi Arabian authorities beheaded a Saudi man convicted of killing a fellow citizen over a dispute, the Interior Ministry said. In a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, the ministry said Bandar bin Shabab al-Rashidi shot and killed Majed Bin Aqil al-Enzy.

It did not explain the nature of the dispute between the two men.

The execution took place in the kingdom's eastern region, the statement said.

Source: Jakarta Post, 06/02/2008

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals grants new punishment hearing for death row inmate

Convicted killer Jose Angel Moreno, who won a reprieve just hours before his scheduled execution last May, has now been granted a chance to get off death row.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on Wednesday ordered a new punishment phase of his trial, allowing Moreno to present evidence of a troubled childhood and other mitigating issues that might have influenced a jury to give him a life sentence.

The appeals court also ordered further consideration of a similar appeal from death row inmate Ricky Eugene Kerr, who, like Moreno, claimed he was unfairly denied the chance to present evidence that might have spared his life.

The Moreno ruling was the latest reversal for a court that initially upheld his conviction and death sentence throughout several appeals, then stayed the execution, then agreed that U.S. Supreme Court rulings should give him another chance.

"One thing this case has taught me, strange things can happen," said Moreno's attorney, Scott Sullivan. "It'…

John McCain on the Death Penalty

McCain supports the death penalty for federal crimes. As senator from Arizona, he voted to prohibit the use of racial statistics in death penalty appeals and ban the death penalty for minors. He also supported legislation to allow the death penalty for acts of terrorism and has said he would consider further expansion of capital punishment laws for other crimes.

Saudi Arabia: Three foreigners beheaded

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February 4, 2008: Saudi Arabia beheaded an Indian, an Iraqi and a Pakistani after they were convicted of drug smuggling, the interior ministry said.

Rashid Akbar Hussein Eddin of India and Wassee-Allah Rafee-Allah Khan of Pakistan were found guilty of trafficking opiates, while Iraqi Ahmed al-Khazali was convicted of smuggling hashish, the ministry said in separate statements carried by the official SPA news agency.

Sources: Inquirer.net, 04/02/2008

Arabie saoudite : business as usual

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Le 8 janvier, Saleh bin Ali bin Abdallah bin Hassan Bani Hamim a été décapité au sabre dans la région de Najran. Le supplicié avait été condamné à mort pour meurtre.

Le 14 janvier 2008, un ressortissant saoudien a été décapité au sabre dans la ville de Hail, au nord du pays. Abdullah bin Mashari a été exécuté pour avoir tiré des coups de feu mortels sur Mansour al Kharir, à la suite d'une violente dispute causée par "un différend familial".

Le 15 janvier 2008, les autorités saoudiennes ont fait procéder à la décapitation au sabre d'un ressortissant étranger condamné à la peine capitale pour l'assassinat de sa mère. Selon l'acte d'accusation, Misahri al-Enizi avait tué sa mère à coups de couteau à d'Arara, une ville située dans le nord du Royaume saoudien. La nationalité du condamné n'a pas été révélée.

Le 16 janvier, les autorités saoudiennes ont fait procéder à la décapitation au sabre de trois personnes condamnées pour viol et pour meurtre. Nashaat…

Iran: two sisters face stoning

February 4, 2008: two Iranian sisters convicted of adultery face being stoned to death after the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences against them, the Etemad newspaper quoted their lawyer as saying.

The two were found guilty of adultery, a capital crime in Islamic Iran, after the husband of one sister presented video evidence showing them in the company of other men while he was away. "Branch 23 of the Supreme Court confirmed the stoning sentence," said their lawyer, Jabbar Solati. The Penal Court of Tehran province had already sentenced the sisters identified only as Zohreh, 27, and Azar, 26, to stoning.

Solati explained that the two sisters had initially been tried for "illegal relations" and received 99 lashes. However in a second trial they were convicted of "adultery."

The pair admitted they were in the video presented by the husband but argued that there was no adultery as none of the footage showed them engaged in a sexual act with other men.

&quo…

Iran: Nine minors waiting to be hanged

February 4, 2008: nine minors condemned to death in Iran are waiting in prison for their 18th birthday when they will be executed.

Benjamin Rasouli, Behrooz Shojaii, Morteza Feizi, Massoud Kafishir, Saiid Gazi, Hossein Taranj, Mehdi Azimi, Hamed Pour Heydari and Mostafa Naghdsi are all minors that committed crimes during their adolescence.

All were found guilty by Islamic courts and condemned to death. The teenagers are being detained in prison in Rajaishahr, around 100 kilometres from Tehran.
Iran is a signatory to all the conventions that ban the death penalty for minors.

Source: AKI, 04/02/2008

Iran: man sentenced to death by stoning

February 1, 2008: An Iranian music teacher, Abdollah Farivar, has been sentenced to death by stoning, for having relations with one of his students.

Forty-nine year-old Farivar is married with two children.

The family of Farivar, insists that he did not commit adultery, since the teacher signed a timed marriage contract.

A timed marriage contract, or 'Sigheh' means a man and a woman enter into a legally binding, but temporary union, after agreeing on the length of the contract and the amount of compensation to be paid to the woman.

The contract has a background in Shia law and has been used as a measure for curbing prostitution and provides a way around Iran's restrictive laws that prevent pre-marital sexual relations.

The incident reportedly happened in the city of Sari, located in the northern Iran.

Source: Aki, 01/02/2008

Iran : un jeune "alcoolique" risque à la peine de mort

Adnkronos International, Téhéran, 31 janvier - un jeune Iranien risque la peine de mort après qu'une cour l'ait jugé "buveur endurci et incorrigible", a annoncé hier le quotidien Etemad Melli. Une branche de la cour criminelle de Téhéran décide actuellement si le jeune homme de 22 ans, connu sous le nom de Mohsen, devra être exécuté ou non.

Mohsen a été arrêté après avoir été interpelé pour la quatrième fois en possession d'alcool et en état d'ivresse. Il a déjà été condamné à être flagellé.

L'article 179 du code pénal iranien punit de la peine de mort toute personne ayant fait l'objet de trois arrestations pour consommation d'alcool (récidive).

"Grâce aux nouveaux systèmes informatiques utilisés en Iran, les récidivistes n'ont plus la moindre chance d'échapper à la sanction", a déclaré le procureur Jalil Jalili, qui a requis la peine de mort contre Mohsen.

L'Iran est l'un des pays où l'on exécute le plus. Selon le dernie…

Iran: les pendaisons publiques soumises à l'accord du chef du pouvoir judiciaire

TEHERAN (AFP) 30/01/2008 12h02

L'Iran a décidé de soumettre la décision de pendre publiquement un condamné à l'accord du chef du pouvoir judiciaire, et de ne plus autoriser la diffusion d'images de ces exécutions publiques.

"L'application publique des sentences de pendaison est permise uniquement avec l'accord du chef du pouvoir judiciaire", l'ayatollah Mahmoud Hachémi Shahroudi, a affirmé son porte-parole Alireza Jamshidi dans un communiqué reçu par l'AFP.

Par ailleurs, le décret de l'ayatollah, entré en vigueur au 29 janvier, interdit désormais toute publication dans les médias d'images des pendaisons publiques.

Cette décision pourrait diminuer le nombre d'exécutions publiques, dont le chiffre exact reste inconnu faute d'information précise des autorités.

Sur les 28 exécutions tenues dans le pays en janvier, au moins six l'ont été en public, selon un décompte de l'AFP à partir d'informations de presse.

Le décret de l…

Sanctioned Killings, and the Very Many That Aren’t

“Under Pain of Death,” a show at the Austrian Cultural Forum about capital punishment, approaches its theme with such timidity and indirectness you might conclude that contemporary art is just not equipped to deal with the topic. Buried within it, however, are glimmers of what a more daring show could entail. (For the record, Austria has banned capital punishment.)
One problem is that some of the works selected by the curators, Gerald Matt and Abraham Orden, are not clearly on topic. Andres Serrano’s portrait of a hooded Klansman might call to mind lynching, and Steven Cohen’s spike-heeled platform sandals with real human skulls as part of their soles might evoke human sacrifice. If you think of the Unabomber as a kind of self-appointed executioner, then Constanze Ruhm’s ghostly color photograph of his cabin qualifies. But you have to stretch to make these connections.
Is Artur Zmijewski’s short film showing a group of naked people playing tag in the dank gas chamber of a former Nazi co…

Japan executes three prisoners on death row

February 1, 2008: Japan executed three men convicted of murder, the Justice Ministry announced. Prison officials hanged Takashi Mochida, 65, in Tokyo, Masahiko Matsubara, 63, in Osaka in the west, and Keishi Nago, 37, in Fukuoka in the south, the ministry said in a statement.

The executions were the second since the government started disclosing the identities of the executed and details of their crimes, following calls for more transparency. Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama told a news conference his support for capital punishment is unchanged.

"We carried out the executions solemnly after carefully examining each case," Hatoyama said.

Source: PR-Inside.com, 01/02/2008

Texas: Jesus Flores, 25, commits suicide on TX death row

HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A convicted killer sent to death row for killing a sheriff's deputy apparently committed suicide in his cell, prison officials said Tuesday.

The body of Jesus Flores, 25, was found by a corrections officer about 4 a.m. Tuesday. Flores was pronounced dead about an hour later, said Michelle Lyons, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

"He had lacerations on his throat and forehead," she said.

Flores apparently tried to use his own blood to scribble a message on the wall, but it was illegible, Lyons said.

Flores was convicted of capital murder for the May 2001 death of Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Dennis, 35. Flores was 19 at the time of the shooting.

Flores had been on death row since December 2001. His case was still on appeal before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which had already upheld his conviction and death sentence.

An execution date was never set.

On a Web site devoted to prisoners seeking pen pals, F…

U.S. Supreme Court halts Alabama execution

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Supreme Court blocked a scheduled execution at the last minute, keeping in place a de facto moratorium on capital punishment while it considers the constitutional question over how lethal injection is administered.

The justices without comment Thursday delayed indefinitely the Thursday evening execution of James Harvey Callahan, who sits on Alabama's death row for a 1982 murder. The high court announcement came about an hour before he was scheduled to die at Holman prison.

A federal appeals court in Atlanta, Georgia, had lifted a previous stay of execution Wednesday, saying Callahan missed crucial deadlines to file briefs challenging the method of execution.

That prompted his lawyers to submit an emergency application with the Supreme Court.

Several lower federal courts have been divided over the statute of limitations question in these kinds of last-minute capital appeals, and the high court has put off consideration of two similar pending cases from Ohio unti…

IRAN. JUDICIAL CHIEF MUST NOW APPROVE PUBLIC EXECUTIONS

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January 30, 2008: Iran announced that the powerful head of its judiciary must in future approve any executions to be carried out in public and ban all pictures of the events.

The new decree was issued by judicial chief Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi after a year which saw the number of executions soaring to almost 300 under a government campaign to improve security in society.

"Public executions will be carried out only with his approval and based on social necessities," judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi said in a statement.

"Publishing photos or images regarding the executions in the media is prohibited based on this decree," he added. The ruling could reduce the number of public executions in Iran, although their number is not known.

Previously, it was the presiding judge in the case who decided whether the convicted criminal would be subject to public execution, while the Iranian supreme court gives the final word on a sentence of capital punishment.

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IRAN. FIVE HANGED FOR MURDER

January 30, 2008: Iran hanged five convicted murderers in Tehran's Evin prison, the Fars news agency reported. A man identified only by his first name of Faraz was hanged for killing his girlfriend Andia in February, 2004.

"This morning Faraz begged Andia's father to forgive him, but the father reminded him of how he had murdered his daughter and refused to pardon him," Fars said in the report.

Ramezan, 29, was executed for stabbing his brother's wife to death after suspecting she had had affairs with other men, while Mohammad Abedi and a man named Mohsen were hanged for killing friends.

A fifth convicted, Mohammad, 32, killed and robbed a passenger of his taxi in 1999, the agency said.

Source: Independent Online, 30/01/2008

SAUDI ARABIA. NIGERIAN WOMAN AND PAKISTANI BEHEADED

January 29, 2008: a Nigerian woman and a Pakistani man were executed in the Muslim holy city of Mecca for drug trafficking, the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry said.

Ghulam Nawaz was beheaded by the sword after being found guilty of drug smuggling according to a ministry statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

In a separate statement, the ministry said Tawa Ibrahim, a Nigerian woman, was beheaded for cocaine trafficking.

Source: Agence France Presse, 29/01/2008

SAUDI ARABIA. TWO MEN BEHEADED FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING BOY

January 30, 2008: Saudi Arabia beheaded two men convicted of sexually assaulting a young boy after kidnapping him.

Muhammad Hosawi and Majid bin Jaber were executed by the sword near the holy city of Medina, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

Source: Times of India, 31/01/2008

IRAN. RARE EXECUTION FOR CORRUPTION CARRIED OUT

January 29, 2008: Iran has executed a customs contractor for corruption and three customs employees have also been sentenced to death, the judiciary said, a rare use of capital punishment for economic crimes in the country.

Judiciary spokesman Alireza Jamshidi said he did not know whether it was the first time an execution for such crimes was carried out in the Islamic Republic, whose leaders have vowed to root out graft.

Jamshidi told reporters that three customs employees at Tehran's Mehrabad airport and one contractor were sentenced to death for "office corruption and other economic crimes" but did not give details.

"The execution sentence for one of them has been carried out," he said, adding the three others had appealed for their sentences to be commuted to life imprisonment and that this was being studied by the judiciary authorities.

"The main thing in their case was receiving a bribe of more than 10 billion rials (about $1.07 million)," Jamshidi …

LIBYA. TWO GHANAIANS EXECUTED FOR MURDER

January 28, 2008: Two Ghanaians have been executed in Libya for allegedly killing a citizen of that country.

The Ghanaians, together with another compatriot and a Nigerian have been on death row since 2002 after being convicted of murder under Libyan Sharia law.

Attempts to secure their release through the intervention of President John Agyekum Kufuor were not successful, as the Libyan authorities stuck to their guns that the convicts must face capital punishment.

The Libyans indicated that under Sharia law, it is only the relatives of the dead who can pardon the killers and therefore the President’s request could not be granted.

Daily Guide has learnt that the two Ghanaians, the Nigerian and another Ghanaian called Blankson were sentenced to death in 1998 for killing a Libyan, and were expected to be executed in 2002.

Daily Guide has also learnt that relatives of the executed Ghanaians are demanding their bodies for proper burial.

Sources: Daily Guide, 28/01/2008