Sept. 17


Sierra Leone to reintroduce death penalty as violent crimes spike

Sierra Leone's Minister of Internal Affairs has said the government would start implementing the death penalty to crack down on recent increase in gang-related killings in the country.

"We will kill when the state demands it," Palo Conteh said on Thursday. "I have called on the Director of Prisons to clean the gallows so that we will not be found wanting when the situation arises."

The gallows at the Male Correctional Center (Prisons) in Freetown have not been used since 1998 because President Koroma had put a moratorium on the death penalty, Conteh said.

"The death penalty is still in our law books and if any one is found guilty of murder we will not hesitate to enforce the law," he said.

Conteh pointed out that his ministry has instituted several methods to curb violence and the rampant killings in the country, in particular Freetown.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone police have started the "stop and search" raids in communities that are presumed to engage in violence activities. The ministry of internal affairs has also set up special units comprising Operational Support Division Officers together with detectives to go after thugs and cliques.

The minister also asked for the cooperation of the public with the police by informing them of any unusual activity in their community.

(source: Global Times)


Court Faults Penalty for Violent Robbery

The law stipulating the death sentence for robbery with violence is ambiguous, the High Court has ruled.

Judges Jessi Lesiit, Luka Kimaru and Stella Mutuku made the declaration Thursday in a suit in which 12 death row convicts had challenged the law that prescribes the death penalty for robbery with violence offenders.

The judges ruled that sections of the law do not meet the constitutional threshold of setting out precise and distinct differentiating degrees of aggravation of the offence of robbery and attempted robbery to adequately answer to charges as well as prepare a defence.

They argued that for one to be handed a death sentence, one has to defend oneself after the hearing before the final verdict is made in what is known as mitigation.

"Death sentence is not a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. However, it just cannot be meted to any person convicted of a capital offence," they said.

The judges pointed out that it was necessary for the mitigating circumstances to be considered so as to ensure the accused person's right is not violated in anyway and that there is a fair trial.

"If the court does not receive and consider mitigating factors and other statutory pre-sentencing requirements, it is not mandatory for the courts to pass a death sentence against persons charged with capital offences," they ruled.

In Kenya, offences with a death penalty, include robbery with violence and murder.

While noting that the verdict would consequently mean that several robbery with violence convicts would have to be set free, the judges temporarily suspended the decision for 18 months to enable the Attorney-General, the Kenya Law Reform and other relevant agencies to appropriately amend the impugned sections.

The court asked Parliament to take into consideration international good practices on sentencing so as to accord similar facts to similar charges of equal gravity.

But for those on death row after being convicted with the disputed sections of the law, the judges ruled that the AG with relevant authorities should find a remedy for the prejudice suffered and prescribe an appropriate solution in the same time frame.

Even though the verdict was in favour of the 12 filed the objection in 2013, after being handed the death sentence, the judges declined to grant a request to have their convictions looked again by the trial court.

They were all separately charged with offences of robbery with violence and attempted robbery.

With their petition, which challenged the death penalty as contrary to Bill of Rights, human rights and a right to a fair hearing, they first appeared before Justice Mohamed Warsame (now a Court of Appeal judge), who dismissed their suit.

The appellate court referred them back to the High Court to be heard on merit by a 3 - judge bench.

(source: Daily Nation)


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.

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.



21-yr-old barber remanded in prison for stabbing cousin to death

A 21-year-old barber has been remanded in jail for stabbing his cousin to death at their aunt's funeral.

The culprit, Ugbede Daniel, was remanded by a Lokoja Chief Magistrates' Court on Friday, September 16, for the death of the victim identified as Ebenezer Agada, aged 28.

According to the Chief Magistrate, Levi Animoku, Daniel's offence of culpable homicide contravened Section 221 of the Penal Code and attracts a death penalty.

Animoku added that the offence was not bailable, having Daniel remanded at the Federal Prisons, Ankpa.

The case has reportedly been transferred to Chief Magistrate Court in Ankpa, and adjourned till September 27 for mention.

The court heard that the crime was committed on Thursday, August 25, at Egahimotu-Ogugu in Olamaboro Local Government Area of Kogi State.

Prosecutor, Sgt. Tuesday Ganagana, said that the complainant, Joseph Daniel, had made a report stating that a quarrel had ensued between the accused and the deceased during the burial of their aunt, Rose John, at about 9pm on that fateful day.

Daniel who was armed with a dagger at the time dragged the deceased to the front of the house before stabbing him in the chest.

Agada was left in the pool of his own blood before he was rushed to the General Hospital, Okpo, where he was confirmed dead.

According to Ganagana, further investigation into the matter is underway.



Iraq executes Palestinian youth

Iraqi authorities executed a Palestinian youth yesterday after accusing him of collaborating with armed groups in Iraq, the Palestinian Safa news agency reported today.

Ahmad Husni Shwahneh was arrested by Iraqi authorities almost a year ago and charged with working with militant factions. However, reports were unclear as to whether or not these groups were related to Daesh, nor what evidence Iraq had against the youth.

Shwahneh, who also holds Jordanian nationality and lived in the Hashemite Kingdom with his family, was executed by hanging. An Iraqi court authorised his execution which was carried out before his family were informed.

His family have stated that they will be conducting his funeral in Jordan, with his extended family from the West Bank town of Qalqilya holding a remembrance service.

Iraq is known for its controversial anti-terror laws that have been criticised as allowing politically motivated executions. Amnesty International recently reported that Iraqi prisoners were routinely subjected to torture in order to extract "confessions" leading to unfair trials.



Indonesia awaiting Philippines case before execution ---- Attorney General says Filipina convicted of drug smuggling won???t be executed until legal process in Philippines concludes

Indonesia's attorney general reiterated Saturday that the possible execution of a Filipina convicted of drug smuggling would be held off until a legal process involving her alleged recruiters concludes in the Philippines.

Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, a single mother of two, had been seeking work in Malaysia as a maid when she was arrested with 2.6 kilograms of heroin in her luggage at Yogyakarta airport, Java island, in April 2010.

She was due to be shot by firing squad in April 2015 with seven foreigners, but was granted a temporary reprieve after her alleged recruiter surrendered to Philippines police.

Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said Saturday that his office would act according to a statement by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte in which he expressed respect for the legal process in Indonesia earlier this month.

"It does not mean that they gave the green light [for execution] ... We are still waiting for the legal process in Manila," quoted Prasetyo as saying.

He insisted, however, that it was "not possible" for Jakarta to comply with Manila's request that Veloso be allowed to travel to testify as a victim in the human trafficking case due to her status as a convict in Indonesia.

He reiterated the offer that Philippines officials could meet with Veloso in an Indonesian prison, from where she could also provide testimony via teleconference.

"They [the Philippines] have to accept what is our rule just as we accept to follow the legal process there," Prasetyo stressed.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian Migrant Workers' Network urged President Joko Widodo to call off the execution to some women suspected of being victims of human trafficking, including Veloso.

"Mary Jane is just a victim as well as dozens of Indonesian migrant women who are also being threatened with the death penalty abroad," its coordinator Sringatin, who like many Indonesians uses only 1 name, said in a statement Saturday.

"The decision to execute Mary Jane did not consider the fate of 209 Indonesian migrant workers [threatened with the death penalty], 63 of who are women who are awaiting execution abroad," she added.

Indonesia has some of the harshest anti-narcotic laws in the world. Widodo declared a "drug emergency" last year, on the grounds that such use reportedly kills around 40-50 people in the country daily.

In late July, Indonesia executed 1 national and 3 foreigners convicted of drug smuggling.

Last year's executions were heavily criticized by the international community, with some countries -- whose nationals had been put to death -- withdrawing ambassadors from Jakarta.



'Will take steps to ensure death penalty for the culprit'

A day after the Supreme Court refused to confirm capital punishment to Govindachamy in the Soumya rape and murder case, the state government on Friday assured that it would take all steps to ensure that he gets the death penalty.

Law minister A K Balan said that rape, robbery, violence and injury all have been proven in the case. The only point of contention is over the killing of Soumya and whether the killing was intentional, he said. "There's no doubt on what has led to the killing of Soumya. Now the government is committed to proving this before the court,'' he said.

Balan said he was holding discussions with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and advocate general Sudhakara Prasad on the need for changing the state's counsel in the apex court. The government is also debating whether to submit a rectification petition or a review petition.

. The law minister who reached New Delhi on Friday said the government has decided to seek opinion from the best available legal experts in the country before submitting the petition in the Supreme Court. There will be no delay in submitting the petition, he added.

"The minister, however, ruled out reports that the CPM stand on capital punishment was causing a hindrance in this case. "This should not be clubbed with cases in which the LDF has been against capital punishment. In this, we are committed to getting capital punishment to the accused," he said.

Meanwhile, former chief minister V S Achuthanandan said that the CPM is against capital punishment. But it was natural that public sentiments will be aroused in cases like the Soumya murder cases and these should be treated as a form of protest by the people, he added.

(source: The Times of India)


Supreme Court sets aside death penalty in MP girl murder----The court handed out a jail term of at least 25 years, stating that although the crime could not qualify as 'rarest of rare', the convict did not deserve to be given any chance to be released.

The Supreme Court Friday set aside the death penalty of a man convicted of murdering a 7-year-old girl after attempting to rape her. The court, however, handed out a jail term of at least 25 years, stating that although the crime could not qualify as 'rarest of rare', the convict did not deserve to be given any chance to be released on remission after 14 years.

Tattu Lodhi was sentenced to death by a trial court in Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh for killing the girl in 2011. The High Court had later upheld the punishment.

"Considering the fact that the ... helpless child fell victim of the crime of lust at the hands of the appellant and there may be probabilities of such crime being repeated in case the appellant is allowed to come out of the prison on completing usual period of imprisonment for life ... we are of the view that he should be inflicted with imprisonment for life with a further direction that he shall not be released from prison till he completes actual period of 25 years of imprisonment," said a bench led by Justice J Chelameswar.


Surat hooch tragedy: 3 held, police register 4 FIRs----Gujarat ATS has invoked Section 65 (A) of Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Act, which stipulates maximum death penalty on conviction, against all the 3 persons arrested

Gujarat ATS Friday arrested 3 persons in connection with the hooch tragedy in which at least 23 persons were killed in Vareli village of Surat. Notably, the probe agency has invoked Section 65 (A) of Bombay Prohibition (Gujarat Amendment) Act, which stipulates maximum death penalty on conviction, against all the three persons.

Police said this was for the 1st time that they had to invoke Section 65 (A) in a case of hooch tragedy after it was first introduced in 2009 by Gujarat government, in the wake of Ahmedabad hooch tragedy, by an Amendment Bill. Nearly 160 persons were killed in Ahmedabad hooch tragedy.

The 3 arrested have been identified as Ramu Yadav, Kailash Tiwari and Manoj Verma. While Yadav is a native of Uttar Pradesh and a resident of Vareli village, Tiwari is a resident of Mumbai and Verma lives in Ahmedabad. With these arrests, the total number of arrests in the case has reached 10. Surat police have registered 4 FIRs.

Yadav has been named as the main accused in the case by ATS, said Gujarat ATS officer IPS Himanshu Shukla. Police claim that Yadav was making hooch with methanol and selling it to bootleggers in Surat city and district while Tiwari and Verma were tanker drivers working with Amit Roadlines, a transport firm in Mumbai. Yadav was earlier involved in bootlegging activities.

Police said that methanol, loaded in tankers, was on its way from a firm in Mumbai and was likely to be delivered to another firm in Bharuch.

Yadav used to purchase methanol from them and mix it with spurious liquor and sell it to bootleggers, police said. Shukla said, "Today, we have made 3 arrests and in future as the investigation progresses, we will arrest more people. We have seized methanol barrels from them and have sent them to FSL for lab analysis." He added: "We are also probing whether (other) employees of both firms in Mumbai and Bharuch are involved in this racket. We will question the company officials and if they are involved, we will take strict action against them."

(source for both:


Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Samia Shahid 'honour killing'----Samia's ex-husband confessed to strangling her, but her father 'denies' any involvement.

The prosecutor in the murder of a British woman Samia Shahid will seek the death penalty for her father and ex-husband. Samia's father Chaudhry Muhammad Shahid and her first husband Chaudhry Muhammad Shakeel are accused of killing the 28-year-old from Bradford while on a visit to Pakistan.

The pair appeared in court in Jhelum in Pakistan's northern Punjab province on Saturday (17 September), but it was a brief hearing after prosecutor Najful Hussain Shah applied for more time to gather evidence.

He said Samia's mother and sister tricked her into visiting Pakistan in July by saying her father was gravely ill and that the women fled to Britain after her murder, according to AP reports.

Shah added that the Pakistani government is trying to bring them back for questioning.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, he also confirmed he will seek the death penalty for both men.

When Samia died on 27 July, her family declared she died of a heart attack and buried her in eastern Pakistan.

However , when her second husband Syed Mukhtar Kazim suspected it was an "honour killing" following their marriage, he urged Pakistani authorities to investigate and publicly accused Samia's family of being responsible for her death.

A Pakistani police investigation concluded that Samia's father stood guard while Shakeel raped her, before the two men strangled her to death. A post-mortem examination confirmed she died from strangulation.

Police sources in Pakistan claim Shakeel admitted the murder in an interview saying, "I strangled Samia to death using a dupatta [a scarf]."

Both men are yet to enter pleas however, BBC Pakistan correspondent Shaimaa Khalil said Shahid "flatly denied" any involvement in his daughter's death as he entered court on Saturday (17 September).

"For the 1st time since his arrest, Muhammad Shahid responded to media questions about her death," Khalil said, according to the BBC. "He said, 'It was all lies' and that he loved his daughter very much."



UK woman's murder case delayed in Pakistan

A Pakistani court has adjourned the case of a British-Pakistani woman's murder until September 23 to give police more time to submit charges against her father and ex-husband, who are accused of slaying her in the name of honour, police and lawyers say.

Police brought both men before the court in Jhelum as they covered their faces and did not respond to questions from journalists.

After the brief hearing on Saturday, Najful Hussain Shah, the lawyer for the deceased woman's husband, told reporters that he will seek the death penalty for 28-year-old Samia Shahid's father, Mohammed Shahid, and ex-husband, Mohammed Shakeel.

He said Shahid's mother and sister tricked her into visiting Pakistan in July by saying her father was gravely ill and that the women fled to Britain after her murder. He said the Pakistani government is trying to bring them back for questioning.

Also on Saturday, defence lawyer Mohammed Arif dismissed the police allegations as baseless, saying his clients have been wrongly accused. He said he will appeal another court's recent rejection of bail for Mohammed Shahid.

Shahid's murder has shocked many Pakistanis since a government-ordered police probe concluded that she was strangled by her father and her ex-husband. Police allege that the father also stood guard while the ex-husband raped her.

The woman's father initially informed police that she died of natural causes. But Shahid's second husband, Mukhtar Kazim, publicly accused her family of killing her.

The case was reopened and a police probe quickly concluded that Shahid's death was a "premeditated, cold-blooded murder", according to a police statement.

Shahid married her 1st husband in February 2012 but stayed only briefly in Pakistan before returning to England where she obtained a divorce 2 years later. She later married Kazim and moved with him to Dubai.

(source: Associated Press)

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