June 18


Jordan upholds death sentence for murder in Iraq

Jordan's military court on Wednesday upheld a death sentence it handed
down last year against an Iraqi convicted of murdering a Jordanian truck
driver inside Iraq 3 years ago.

The accused, Ziad Khalaf al-Karbuli, was extracted from Iraq in May 2006
in an operation Jordanian officials have said enjoyed US cooperation and
first sentenced to hang by the court in March last year.

Judges found him guilty of "carrying out terrorist acts that led to the
death" of the Jordanian Khalid Dassuki, who was shot dead in Iraq in
September 2005.

The sentence was overturned by the court of cassation on the grounds that
judges had rejected an application from Karbuli's lawyer for his client to
undergo psychiatric tests.

Two weeks later, the military tribunal placed Karbuli under a month's
psychiatric supervision, after which a report by three doctors on his
mental state was submitted to the court.

"Based on the report's findings, the court insisted today on upholding the
death sentence," a court official told AFP on Wednesday.

Karbuli, an Iraqi customs official who worked at the Jordanian border, was
paraded on Jordanian state teleivision confessing to the murder of

He also said he had abducted 2 Moroccans and an Iraqi civil servant in
separate attacks in Iraq on orders from Al-Qaeda.

However during his trial, Karbuli denied killing the Jordanian, although
he did not reject the accusation that he had been a member of Al-Qaeda.

Jordanian officials have always insisted that the military court has
jurisdiction in the case even though the alleged crime was committed
outside Jordanian territory on the grounds that the victim was Jordanian
and the case forms part of the wider war against Al-Qaeda.

The jihadist network carried out a series of suicide bombings against
Amman hotels in 2005 that killed 60 people and sparked a wave of antipathy
in the kingdom against the Iraqi insurgency.

(source: Agence France Presse)


2 indicted in death of Palestinian leader's son

A retired Lebanese police officer and a Palestinian were indicted Tuesday
for allegedly working with Israeli intelligence to assassinate the son of
a radical Palestinian leader, a senior court official said.

In his indictment, military investigating judge Samieh Haj accused Mahmoud
Kassem Rafeh, a retired police officer, and Palestinian Hussein Suleiman
Khatab, of involvement in the 2002 car bombing.

The attack killed Jihad Jibril, a 38-year-old son of militant Palestinian
guerrilla leader Ahmed Jibril, in Corniche Mazraa neighborhood in Beirut's
Muslim sector.

The 2 were accused of "collaborating with Israeli intelligence officers,
passing on information to them, establishing a criminal group with the aim
of carrying out terrorist acts, including planting a bomb in Jibril's
car," according to the indictment sheet. Israel denied involvement.

The indictment was confirmed by the court official who spoke on condition
of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

If convicted, Rafeh and Khatab face the death penalty.

The judge demanded that Rafah and Khatab, who are in custody, be tried by
a military court and he issued instructions for police to search for other
men suspected of involvement in Jibril's killing.

Ahmed Jibril's Syria-based Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine-General Command, had blamed Israel for his son's killing.

The PFLP-GC is on the U.S. State Department list of terrorist
organizations because of its opposition to the Israeli-Palestinian peace
accords and attacks on Israelis.

Rafeh is also facing death sentences in 2 other cases.

Earlier this year, Rafeh was indicted by a military prosecutor for being
behind a 2003 explosion in Beirut that killed Ali Hussein Saleh, an
official of the militant Hezbollah group.

In 2006, the Lebanese army arrested Rafeh, 60, on suspicion of killing 2
Lebanese brothers who were members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

Lebanon, which considers itself at war with Israel, bans its citizens from
having any contact with the Jewish state.

(source: Associated Press)


Man sentenced to death in Pak for blasphemy

A Pakistani court handed down the death sentence to a man convicted of
blasphemy on Wednesday, court officials said.

Shafeeq Lateef was charged with passing derogatory remarks against Prophet
Mohammed and desecrating pages of the Quran near the city of Sialkot in
Punjab province on March 17, 2006.

District and Sessions Judge Suhaib Ahmed Roomi of Sialkot awarded the
death sentence to Lateef following his conviction for blasphemy. The judge
gave him a separate life sentence for desecrating the Quran. The court
also directed Lateef to pay a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

Lateef was produced in the court amidst tight security. A conviction for
blasphemy in Pakistan carries the death penalty. Lateef has the right to
appeal in higher courts.

The prosecution said Lateef had thrown pages of the Quran in a dirty place
and passed derogatory remarks against the Prophet. Some persons caught
Lateef and handed him over to police, following which he was charged under
blasphemy laws.

(source: Express India) *************************

Abolish the Death Penalty----Immediate Moratorium Should Precede Abolition

The newly elected government in Pakistan should abolish the death penalty,
Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza

Until the death penalty is abolished by an act of Parliament, Pakistan
should announce an immediate moratorium while the government establishes a
commission to review the application of the death penalty, the offenses
for which it can be applied, and implements reforms to ensure that
international fair trial standards are met.

Human Rights Watch stated in its letter that crimes carrying the death
penalty have significantly increased in recent years under the government
of Pervez Musharraf, resulting in a much higher number of death sentences
and executions. Out of the more than 31,400 convicts in the country,
nearly a quarter  more than 7,000 individuals, including almost 40 women
have been sentenced to death, and are either involved in lengthy appeals
processes or awaiting execution. In 2007, 309 prisoners were sentenced to
death and 134 were hanged. Most of those sentenced to death are poor and
illiterate. Some face discrimination as members of religious minority
communities. Many were held without due process of law and faced trials
that did not meet international fair trial standards.

"The number of persons sentenced to death and executed every year in
Pakistan is among the highest in the world," said Brad Adams, Asia
director at Human Rights Watch. "If the new government is really
interested in justice, it would end this unacceptable state of affairs."

Human Rights Watch said that torture is endemic in Pakistan and can lead
to wrongful convictions and the execution of innocent people. Lawyers and
human rights activists believe that there are many cases where the person
executed was innocent or where capital punishment was used to settle
political scores.

Human Rights Watch also expressed concern at the use of the death penalty
by special courts like the anti-terrorism, narcotics and military courts,
all of which fail to deliver fair trials, not least because these courts
are not independent of the executive.

So long as the death penalty remains in force, Human Rights Watch urged
the Pakistani government to ensure reforms are put in place before any
death sentence is handed down or carried out. These include ensuring that
defendants in death penalty cases have prompt access to competent counsel;
that torture and other ill-treatment is not used to obtain confessions or
evidence; and that all trials meet international fair trial standards and
other relevant provisions of Pakistani and international law.

"There are serious weaknesses in the legal system that lead to unjust
executions," said Adams. "The new government should place reform at the
center of its agenda."

On December 18, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly passed a
resolution by a wide margin calling for a worldwide moratorium on
executions. In September 2008, the General Assembly will reopen discussion
on the death penalty.

"The new Pakistani government can distinguish itself from Pervez
Musharrafs military rule by telling the General Assembly in September that
it has put a stop to the death penalty," said Adams.

Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances because
it is a punishment of an inherently cruel, inhuman and final nature.

(source: Human Rights Watch)


Pakistan urged to end execution

The Human Rights Watch on Tuesday urged the new government to abolish the
death penalty and said that nearly a quarter of convicts in the country
were on death row.

Out of more than 31,400 convicts in the country, about 7,000 have been
sentenced to death, the New York-based rights group said in a statement.
Most convicts are poor and illiterate, it said.

Some face discrimination as members of religious minority communities, and
many are held without due process of law and faced trials that did not
meet international standards, the statement said.

The group said that 309 prisoners were sentenced to death and 134 were
hanged in 2007. "The number of persons sentenced to death and executed
every year in Pakistan is among the highest in the world," said Brad
Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "If the new government is
really interested in justice, it would end this unacceptable state of

The group claimed torture is endemic in Pakistan and can lead to wrongful
convictions and the execution of innocent people. The Ministry of Law and
Justice refused to comment on the report.

Human Rights Watch said crimes carrying the death penalty significantly
increased during the tenure of President Pervez Musharraf.

(source: Daily Times)


Man given death sentence for illegal fund-raising in E China

A company owner was sentenced to death for swindling 33.27 million yuan
(4.8 million U.S. dollars) from illegal fund-raising in east China's
Jiangsu Province.

Xu Guancheng, who set up Beijing Guancheng Company in 2003 and Nanjing
Guancheng Company in 2004, was sentenced to death with a 2-year reprieve.
He was found to have fabricated high returns and swindled 33.27 million
yuan from 829 people from Jan. 2004 to March 2005, a Nanjing Municipal
Intermediate People's Court Ruling said on Tuesday.

All of his wealth was confiscated.

Xu promised to return 640 yuan in one year if his prospective clients
invested 460 yuan in an ant farm he had started in 2002, a yearly return
of 39.13 %. The ants would be used for Chinese medicine products.

In Oct. 2004, he changed the return rate to 17.39 % and then failed to pay
back the money, the ruling said.

His accomplice, Xu Guanqing, general manager of the Nanjing Guancheng
Company, was jailed for life and also had all his wealth confiscated. Ma
Rumei, chief financial officer of the Beijing Guancheng Company, was
jailed 15 years and fined 500,000 yuan.

The seized 1.68 million yuan, as well as 1.25 million Hong Kong dollars
(160,095 U.S. dollars) and 393 calligraphies and paintings, was returned
to the former owners. The illegal gains were asked to be returned to the

(source: Xinhua News)

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