Sept. 16


South African engineer faces death

A South African electrical engineer found behaving suspiciously at the airport and later allegedly excreted capsules containing cocaine at the Penang Hospital, has been charged with drug trafficking.

Brits Shaun, 30, was indicted in a magistrate's court here with trafficking in 810gm of cocaine at a toilet in the hospital between 3.45pm on Sept 3 and 3.30pm on Sept 5.

No plea was recorded from Shaun who faces the mandatory death penalty if convicted.

Magistrate Mohamad Amin Shahul Hamid fixed Nov 23 for mention pending the chemist report.

It was reported recently that a South African gambled with his life when he swallowed more than 60 cocaine capsules to avoid getting caught.

He was earlier taken aside to be searched after being spotted behaving suspiciously by the airport police at about 9.30am on Sept 3.

An X-ray examination at the Penang Hospital revealed the capsules in his stomach and he subsequently passed them out in stages.

(source: The Star)


Mnangagwa rekindles call for abolition of death penalty

Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday rekindled his call for the abolition of the death penalty, saying those insisting that it be maintained need divine intervention.

The Constitution bars capital punishment for women, but men aged below 21 and 70 can be sentenced to death.

Addressing a constitutional advocacy meeting in Bulawayo, Mnangagwa said Zimbabweans must continue advocating for capital punishment to be struck off the country's statutes.

"We have reduced the age of majority from 21 to 18. What are we saying? We are saying anybody below the age of 18 cannot be sentenced to death. Those above 18 except women, women cannot be sentenced to death. Women cannot be hanged.

"But men, any men above age of 18 up to the age of 70 can be hanged. I am above 70 so I cannot be hanged again. I have no doubt that we will continue advocating for total abolishing of the death penalty, but we still have strong views both from men and women who want people to be hanged, but we pray to God so that they see the light," he told various stakeholders including legislators, residents and service chiefs who attended the meeting.

Mnangagwa has been at the forefront of the campaign against capital punishment after he faced the hangman's noose during the liberation struggle under the Rhodesian regime.

The push to abolish capital punishment is now at the Constitutional Court where Tendai Biti, who is representing death row inmates, seeks the court's intervention to drop the death penalty.

The case will be heard at the Constitutional Court on September 28.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa said the ministry had managed to translate the Constitution into 8 vernacular languages. The Constitution recognises 16 official languages and the VP said it will be translated in all languages.

"The government has made great strides towards the production of the constitution in vernacular languages. I am glad to report that we now have abridged versions of the constitution in Ndebele, Shona, Tonga, Chewa, Sotho, Kalanga, Venda and Braille for the blind," he said.

(source: Newsday)


Sierra Leone to apply death penalty once again

Sierra Leone's Internal Affairs Minister Paolo Conteh has told a local radio in Freetown that the death penalty should be reactivated for people found guilty of murder in order to curb gang violence.

Sierra Leone still has the death penalty by hanging for those found guilty of murder and treason. But no one has been put to death since 1998.

"I have given instructions to the prison officers to clean and ready the tools and machines used to kill people, as reckless killing is on the increase. We have lost a lot of people through reckless killing and ended wasting resources feeding such prisoners for several years. This is unacceptable," the minister told Radio Democracy in the capital Freetown.

The minister's comments come in the midst of an increase in gang and political violence in the country.

Last week, 2 Sierra Leoneans were sentenced to death by hanging after they were found guilty of murdering a popular radio DJ in Freetown.

Conteh, who is also a retired major in the country's military, said the death penalty will scare others who think taking others lives carelessly is justifiable.

"It's in the bible, an eye for an eye. Our local people say kill a dog in front of another to know that death is real," the Minister said.

This week, the Sierra Leone police issued a public notice to offer a cash payment of $400 to anyone providing information leading to the capture of any gang leader.

(source: World Bulletin)


Rep. Veloso says death penalty bill of Speaker Alvarez almost done

Representative Vicente "Ching" Veloso of the 3rd district of Leyte said the imposition of death penalty will soon be revived in the country under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the bill filed by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is almost done as a law.

Rep.Veloso, senior vice chair of the House committee on justice, said House Bill 1 which seeks to impose the death penalty on heinous crimes filed by Speaker Alvarez is almost approved and done as a law.

"The bill on the imposition of death penalty filed by Speaker Alvarez is almost done and approved by Congress as this will help in the anti-illegal drugs campaign of President Duterte," Rep. Veloso told Manila Bulletin.



Philippine bishops' head issues strong 'no' on restoring death penalty

The head of the Philippine bishops' conference set "ethical guidelines" against proposals to reinstate the death penalty as the country's war on drugs continues, with body counts increasing daily.

In a statement released Sept. 14, Archbishop Socrates Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, conference president, urged Catholic lawmakers not to support "any attempt to restore the death penalty" and called on Catholic lawyers to "study the issue and to oppose" it by filing legal cases against it. He also appealed to Catholic judges to "heed the teaching of the church and to appreciate every possible attenuating or mitigating circumstance" so the death penalty would not be imposed.

Less than a week after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was sworn into office, a staunch political ally and the new speaker of the Philippine House, Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte, filed a proposal to reinstate the death penalty. It was the first bill filed in the new congressional term.

Duterte ran, and won by a large margin, on a platform of ridding the country of criminals by having them killed and encouraging the public to kill them. He has repeatedly called for the death penalty to be reinstated and, in early September, again urged congress to pass the bill.

Since Duterte took office on June 30, more than 3,400 people accused of drug dealing or addiction have died at the hands of law enforcement and private citizens. In response to critics who have said the death penalty does not deter criminal activity, the president has taken the position that the death penalty is a means to make criminals pay for heinous crimes, not to keep them from committing them again.

In recent months, the church in the Philippines has held firm in its rejection of the death penalty. Archbishop Villegas emphasized its stance with the ethical guidelines.

"While it is true 'retribution' has been central to many theories of penalty, it is at best a nebulous concept that is hardly distinguishable from a stylized and sanitized form of vengeance," he said.

Citing a passage in the book of Genesis, Archbishop Villegas said, "In every human person is that incomparably precious breath of life from God himself. ... It is this divine gift of life, sublime and unsurpassable, that the death penalty takes away."

The archbishop also pointed out changing views on the death penalty in the last century, with more and more people, including St. Pope John Paul II, opposing it and questioning the need for it altogether. He said this was especially true with the evolution of more humane forms of punishment.

"You cannot, without contradiction, insist that the person is secure from cruel punishment," he said, "and at the same time open the possibility of inflicting upon him or her the most cruel punishment possible: the calculated, planned and deliberate deprivation of life."

Archbishop Villegas called Pope Francis' declaration in the exhortation "Amoris Laetitia" that the church "firmly rejects the death penalty" the "definitive teaching of the Catholic Church for the 3rd millennium."

"It is time then to rid ourselves of the obsolescent notion that a person who commits a heinous wrong 'forfeits his right to life,'" the archbishop said. "No one can forfeit the right to life, because life is at the free disposal of none, not even the state."



Jigisha murder: 3rd convict also challenged death penalty, court told

Ravi Kapoor, the 2nd death row convict in the 2009 Jigisha Ghosh murder case, informed the Delhi High Court on Thursday that he too has challenged the death penalty awarded to him by the trial court.

Ravi's counsel Amit kumar told the court that he has filed the appeal through the jail authorities and therefore, it will take some time to reach the court.

The court was hearing the death reference for confirmation of the death sentence awarded to him and co-convict Amit Shukla.

Both Ravi and Amit were produced before the court on Thursday. The High Court has fixed the case for hearing on September 25.

It has also directed the registry to prepare electronic form of all records in the case and supply the same to the lawyers in the matter.

Convict Amit Shukla had also approached the High Court, saying the trial court had awarded him the capital punishment by "wrongly holding that the case falls in the category of rarest of rare".

The trial court on July 14 held Kapoor, Shukla and Baljeet Malik guilty of the murder of 28-year-old IT executive Jigisha.

The court while sentencing Kapoor and Shukla to death on August 22, had said that the girl was killed in a "cold-blooded, inhuman and cruel manner" and "brutally mauled to death".

(source: The Hindu)


15 appeals in war crimes cases pending with court in Bangladesh

Although most of the top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders have been executed, the most recent being Mir Quasem Ali, 15 war crimes cases are waiting for appeal hearing before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court (SC) has so far disposed of 9 cases of crimes against humanity.

It has handed down the death sentence against 6 war criminal - Abdul Quader Molla, Kamaruzzaman, Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, Ali Ahsan Mujahid, Motiur Rahman Nizami and Mir Quasem Ali.

They have already been executed after all legal procedures were carried out.

The SC also delivered judgment in the appeal petitions of Gulam Azam, Delwar Hossain Sayedee and Abdul Alim.

The SC awarded life in prison to Gulam Azam, Sayedee and Abdul Alim.

Gulam Azam and Alim died while serving their jail terms.

But both the defence and the state have pleaded for review of the SC judgment that had commuted the death sentence of Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer Delwar Hossain Sayedee to life imprisonment.

The state sought death penalty, while the defence appealed for acquittal of Sayedee.

The apex court is yet to hear the review petitions.

Apart from this, at least 15 cases are now pending before the apex court relating to war crimes.

Most of the convicted appellants were mid-level or even grassroots-level criminals, who terrorised their neighbourhoods.

The cases are against Jamaat nayeb-e-ameer Moulana Abdus Subhan of Pabna, fellow Jamaat man ATM Azharul Islam of Rangpur, Mobarak Hossain of Brahmanbaria, Syed Kaiser of Habiganj, engineer Abdul Jabbar of Pirojpur, Mahidur Rahman and Afsar Hossain of Chapainawabganj, Sheikh Sirajul Haque and Khan Akram Hossain of Bagerhat, Forkan Mallik of Patuakhali, Ataur Rahman Noni and Obaidul Haque Taher of Netrokona, Shamsuddin Ahmed of Kishoreganj and Mohibur Rahman, alias Boro Miah, and his cousin Abdur Razzak of Habiganj.

Of these 15 appeals, the state has pleaded for the death sentence for Jabbar, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Crimes Tribunal-1 (ICT-1) considering his age.

The other appeals were lodged by the convicts against their sentences by the tribunal.

2 tribunals have so far disposed of 24 cases in 6 years.

The 1st special court was set up on March 25, 2010.

Trials of more than 50 accused in 18 cases are going on at the single tribunal after the merger of the 2.

Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla was the 1st war criminal to be sent to the gallows on December 12, 2013.

This was followed by Mohamed Kamaruzzaman (April 11, 2015), Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohamed Mujahid (November 21, 2015) and Jaamaat supremo Motiur Rahman Nizami (May 10, 2016).

At least 62 new cases are going to be filed shortly, while hundreds are in the process of investigation, sources in the investigation agency of the tribunal said.

There are over 2,000 accused in at least 622 cases now being looked into by the investigation agency of the ICT.

The second bench (ICT-2), which was formed on March 22, 2012, was dismantled on September 15, 2015 and the ICT-1 was reconstituted.

The ICT-1 disposed of 10 cases, and the 2nd tribunal 11.

A Dhaka court yesterday acquitted wife and son of executed war criminal Salauddin Quader Chowdhury while it sentenced 5 people to different jail terms in a case filed over leaking the draft verdict of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) that sentenced him to death.

Dhaka cyber crimes tribunal judge KM Samsul Alam passed the order.

The court acquitted Salauddin Quader's wife Farhat Quader and son Humman Quader from the charges while sentencing his lawyer AKM Fakhrul Islam to 10 years' imprisonment and fined him ten mn taka, in default, to suffer 6 months' more rigorous imprisonment.

Besides, the court sentenced his manager Mahbubul Ahsan, Fakhrul's associate lawyer Mehedi Hasan, 2 staff of the ICT-1 Nayan Ali and Faruq Hossain to 7 years' imprisonment and fined them 10,000 taka each, in default, to suffer 6 months more rigorous imprisonment.

Earlier on August 28, the Dhaka court deferred its judgment until September 15.

On August 4, Judge of the tribunal KM Samsul Alam fixed August 14 for delivering the judgment on completion of arguments in the case.

The court also sent 4 accused - Fakhrul, Faruq, Nayan and Mahbubul - to jail when they appeared before the court while lawyer Fakhrul's associate Mehedi Hasan remains absconding.

On February 15, the court framed charges against 7 people, including wife, a son and a counsel for executed Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Salauddin Quader Chowdhury, in the case.

Detective branch inspector M Shajahan submitted a chargesheet to the Dhaka metropolitan magistrate court against the 7 accused on August 28, 2014. On October 1, 2013, ICT sentenced BNP standing committee member Salauddin Quader Chowdhury to death after finding him guilty of committing crimes against humanity and genocide during the Liberation War in 1971.

However, some parts of the draft verdict were found posted on the internet several hours before pronouncing the verdict.

Later, showing the copy of the draft verdict, Salauddin's wife and son raised a complaint that the verdict originated from the law ministry.

On October 4, a case was filed with Shahbagh police station under sections 57 and 63 of information and communication technology act.

Salauddin Quader Chowdhury was executed in the Dhaka Central Jail on November 22, 2015.

(source: Gulf Times)


Drug agency arrests 2 dealers carrying 18 kg of meth

The National Drug Agency has arrested 2 drug dealers, who are members of a cross-provincial syndicate with 18 kilograms (kg) of methamphetamine (meth) in their possession in Medan, capital of North Sumatra province.

The Deputy of the Eradication division at the agency, Arman Depari said in Medan, on Thursday, that the arrest of both dealers with the initials BB and RP was a result of cooperation between the North Sumatra Drug Agency, the North Sumatra Police, Customs, and the Medan Police.

Both dealers were arrested during a transaction, which then led to a search of one of the suspects residence in the Medan Helvetia sub-district.

The arrest is also a result of a deeper investigation into an earlier arrest of a meth dealer in Jakarta in March, from whom 35 kg of meth was seized.

The initial bust also led to the capture of 11 suspected dealers in Medan with 5 kg of meth taken into custody at the end of March.

The National Drug Agency predicted that the contraband was transported from Malaysia into Indonesia through the Aceh province.

The syndicate's network is considerably vast as they take their illegal goods through to North Sumatra to be sold in Medan and its surrounding areas.

Some of the drugs are also taken to Jakarta to be sold in the Jabodetabek area, as well as a number of major cities in the Java and Bali islands.

From their working pattern, the syndicate is estimated to have been operating
for quite some time.

"Although when we arrested him, the suspect admitted that he had only sold drugs once," he added.

According to the agencys investigation, the suspect sold 6 kg of drugs to his network in Medan.

"He had already sold 6 kg of the contraband, we are trying to track it down," said the former Riau Islands Police Chief.

Based on the arrest chronology and the discovery of evidence, Arman thinks the suspect does not have any meth stored in his house, rather, it is placed in the residence of a family member, which is located a mere 4 houses away from his own.

However, 2 family members, whose house was used to store the drugs, escaped when they found out about the search at their relatives house.

The Agency then urged both family members to surrender as they have been identified by the authorities.

It would also help to solve the case sooner.

"We urge them to hand themselves in, especially given the fact that they left a 10 year-old child behind," he reiterated.

For the possession of 16 kg worth of methamphetamine, the suspect will be charged with Clause 112, 114 and 24 and the State Regulation number 35 of 2009 related to Narcotics and is looking at a death penalty.

(source: Antara news)


Bengkulu Gang Rapists, Murder Convicts Demand Death Sentence

4 of the 5 defendants in the gang rape and murder of 14-year-old Yuyun in Bengkulu are now pleading for the death sentence - the same sentence the prosecutor demanded for their alleged ringleader, known as Zainal.

"4 of the defendants have requested the death penalty, the same sentence demanded for Zainal," Kristian Lesmana, the defense team's spokesman, said in Rejanglebong, Bengkulu, on Thursday (15/09).

The 4 convicted rapists and murderers are 19-year-olds Tomi Wijaya, Suket and Faisal and 20-year-old Bobby. Prosecutor Arlya Novian Adam had demanded 20-year jail terms for all of them.

Kristian said this was an odd request, as the defense team has been pleading for leniency. The lawyers suspect the young men had been intimidated and forced to ask for the heavier sentence.

"So far we don't know why they [the 4 defendants] have asked for the death penalty, whether it's pressure from someone or if they are depressed. It doesn't seem logical to ask for a worse sentence than what the prosecutor demanded," Kristian said.

The defense team has given the judges the right to decide whether or not to meet the demand in the next trial.

Meanwhile, the Rejanglebong district attorney, led by prosecutor Dodi Wira Admadja and Arlya, said they will stick with the original sentences they demanded.

They will seek the death penalty for Zainal and 20 years imprisonment for the rest of the group.

"We will stick with the original sentences, even though these 4 defendants have now requested for the death sentence, just like what we demanded for Zainal. The judges will deliver their decision at a hearing on Sept. 29," Dodi said.

The 5 men will be sentenced for violating Child Protection laws and for premeditated murder.

The Yuyun case shook Indonesia - and the world - with its brutality, exposing other child rape and murder cases around the country and highlighting the need for more effective child protection laws.



An eye for an eye is the wrong response to attacks on humanitarians ---- I survived the attack in which South Sudanese soldiers murdered and gang raped aid workers - but executing the perpetrators will not bring justice.

It has been 2 months since I was brutally attacked along with more than 30 other individuals by armed soldiers at the Terrain compound in Juba, South Sudan. The incident resulted in the death of a dedicated and inspiring friend, John Gatluak Manguet Nhial, repeated sexual and physical assaults, and the lingering pain from the physical and psychological injuries we sustained that day.

The international community has made a loud and united call for this incident to be properly investigated and for the government of South Sudan to prosecute the perpetrators and ensure justice for survivors. In August, Ban Ki Moon called for the government to "prosecute those involved in these unspeakable acts of violence".

I have spent many years working on the other side of such reports, speaking to victims and perpetrators, and making similar calls. But as I find my role transformed, I can't help but feel that this "justice" we ask for is as elusive as ever.

If the ongoing presidential investigation into the attack is thorough and soldiers are indeed found guilty of the crimes committed against us, there is a high chance they may be sentenced to death. Recently, 2 soldiers in Wau found guilty of committing murder and other crimes were executed by firing squad.

I can only speak about my own reaction to the events that followed the attack against us. I know very well that not everyone will agree with what I am about to say: but after 2 months of healing, I am wondering what "justice" even looks like.

In the decade since the 2003 UN Baghdad bombing, aid worker casualties have tripled to more than 100 deaths per year. This question of justice is not only asked by the survivors of the Terrain attacks, it is a question asked by humanitarians affected by violent war crimes all over the world.

Causing suffering in others does not alleviate my suffering

Yes, I am angry. I am angry because I feel that the UN failed to do anything to protect us or to rescue us after the attack. I am angry at a nation that has a large armed force but no funds to pay them - soldiers that in many cases joined this army as children, trained and initiated into a life of destruction, fear and anger. I am angry at those soldiers who during the event clearly coerced younger troops, some who could not have been more than 16, to rape foreigners while they watched and cheered. The lives of those young soldiers have also been changed forever.

Yes, I am angry. Yes, we need justice. But the death penalty does not give life to John Gatluak Manguet Nhial. Causing suffering in others does not alleviate my suffering. Instead, the death penalty only further erodes society's respect for the sanctity of life. It builds scar tissue to coarsen our culture, diminish our humanity.

As a humanitarian, I moved to South Sudan to support a population that has endured war for generations. As humanitarians, we lived in South Sudan to use whatever skills we had to try and save lives. The thought of people being killed on my behalf makes me feel sick.

Are we as humanitarians left with the choice to either report crimes against us and participate in an unjust system, or simply not report these crimes at all?

It is too soon to say whether this investigation will be taken seriously by the government, by its army and their military court, or to say whether any investigation will result in the execution of perpetrators. But this discussion needs to happen before that call is made, before the trigger is pulled.

We need to work towards better implementation of international humanitarian law and accountability for those who violate it. But these efforts must work hand in hand with the need to continue work to strengthen judicial systems and encourage governments to stop the use of capital punishment immediately.

How can we call for justice when we know the consequences of that justice offend our moral code?

South Sudan has continued to use the death penalty despite well-documented weaknesses in the country's legal system, which prevent it from ensuring the basic legal rights of people accused of crimes. How would we be sure the right people were being punished?

This week I will speak to investigators from South Sudan's government who will play a role in deciding the fate of these soldiers. I will tell them my story in unflinching detail so that the full consequences of these violent actions can be understood. And I will call for justice - a justice that encompasses the dignity and respect survivors deserve as well as the dignity and respect for human life that we, as humanitarians, should demand

(source: anonymous, The Guardian)

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