Sept. 19


Supreme Court delays hanging of mentally-ill man

Supreme Court on Monday delayed for 1 week the execution of a man who had been declared insane by government doctors, after rights groups urged the government to halt the hanging.

"A mentally ill prisoner who was due to be hanged Tuesday morning has received a seven-day stay from the Supreme Court of Pakistan," Justice Project Pakistan, an independent rights group, said in a statement.

Imdad Ali had been scheduled to die at 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday in a prison in the city of Vehari despite having been diagnosed with schizophrenia, it said.

"His execution was stayed pending a hearing on 27 September, but he could still be executed as early as next week," it said.

Human Rights Watch also urged Pakistan on Monday to halt the hanging, saying the execution would violate its international legal obligations.

Ali, who is aged around 50, was sentenced to death for the murder of a religious cleric in 2002. HRW opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, its country representative Saroop Ijaz told AFP.

"But in this case it also violates Pakistan's international legal obligations," Ijaz said, referring to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which Islamabad ratified in 2011.

"Imdad (Ali) has no insight into his punishment or condition or the idea of penalty. Executing someone who does not understand the punishment he or she is being awarded is simply harrowing and serves no criminal justice aim."

(source: The News)


Imprisoned engineer invents his way off death row

Li Hongtao's love for tinkering landed him in prison.

It also aided in his jailbreaks. Facing a death sentence in Yunnan Province for fraud and several other offenses, Li leaned on his ingenuity to escape from police custody, twice.

But it was the last-minute success of an electric motor he developed behind bars that earned him a death row pardon in 1993 - and later a job as a police consultant.

A Kunming native and college educated engineer, Li was apprehended by police in 1992 on 180,000 yuan ($27,000) in forgery charges.

But while his arresting officers were having dinner that night, he gave them the slip. Li then stole a car, which he ditched for a squad car.

Police caught up with him, but didn't hold him long. He fled again by digging through a prison wall, then called police from the outside to rub it in.

He was caught again, but rather than make another escape attempt, he instead put in an unusual request.

The Zhejiang University graduate wanted permission to design and develop a brushless DC motor. The warden agreed.

Miraculously, the day before his death penalty - his invention worked. The success won Li a stay of execution.

In 1995, the motor earned Li awards, a patent and most importantly - a reduced sentence.

Before his release in 2009, Li helped the prison develop their surveillance system to prevent future jailbreaks.

(source: Global Times)


Iran official defends execution and torture

The Secretary General of Iran's "human rights" council has attempted to hit back at comments by the UN regarding "fundamental problems" in regime's judicial process, by defending the execution of prisoners including juveniles.

Mohammad Javad Larijani wrote an open letter to the UN Commissioner, dated September 16, in which he tried to justify the executions

He wrote: "It should be pointed out that the commitment to abolish the death penalty has not been accepted by the international community as a hard or soft commitment and there is no consensus in this regard."

He continued: "Besides, the international covenant on civil and political rights does not completely rule out the death penalty. Rather, it even allows the member states to use it under certain conditions."

Now, the UN's opposition to the death penalty should be applied fairly, across all countries that use it, so in that - and that alone - Larijani made a good point. However, Iran currently has the highest execution rate per capita in the world.

He goes on to claim that the death penalty is "not a human rights issue", despite the right to life and the right to freedom from torture being enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Zeyd Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, addressed the 33rd session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on September 13th.

He said: "Regarding the Islamic Republic, my office has not been allowed to have any kind of access from 2003 ... Our proposal to start technical talks about the death penalty has been, like other cooperation proposals, systematically ignored. This is unfortunate, especially considering the ongoing reports we receive on fundamental problems with the judicial administration of criminal justice, on the execution of so many people including juveniles, on prosecuting and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, on harsh restrictions on human rights defenders, lawyers, journalists and on discrimination against women both in law and in practice."

He criticized the number of executions in Iran under the rule of the Mullahs while expressing concerns over the ongoing execution of juveniles.

Ra'ad Al Hussein said: "Some countries may shut down UN (human rights) offices or refuse to cooperate with the international inspectors, but they should know that they can never close our eyes to the truth. We keep trying our best so that our reports on these countries remain accurate."



A Report about the Condition of 51 Sunni Prisoners in Rajai Shahr Prison

After the "Black Monday" when 37 Sunni prisoner under high security conditions were transferred to solitary confinements and the execution of at least 20 of them, currently 51 Sunni prisoners with different sentences including death row ones in ward number 7 are serving under stress and daily fear.

According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), currently 51 Sunni prisoners are being kept in hall number 21 of ward number 7 of Rajaei Shahr prison.

Of these 51 prisoners, 11 are under death-row and the supreme court is processing the sentences of 7 of them.

5 prisoners with long term sentences from 10 to 15 years and 35 with medium term sentences, from 5 to 10 years are being held in this ward as well.

Based on HRANA's reporters' findings, 5 prisoners are suffering from serious illnesses, including heart disease, despite the fact that medical facilities and access to medicine and proper treatment is limited.

Need to be mentioned on Black Monday of Rajaei Shahr prison, after unprecedented raid of black uniformed prison guards, 37 death row prisoners of ward number 10 were transferred to solitary confinements under top security condition with handcuffs, shackles and blindfolded. According to judiciary, the sentences of at least 20 of them were executed. However, some others unofficial sources estimated that up to 26 prisoners were executed.

HRANA had reported that Farshid Naseri, Barzan Nasrollah Zadeh, Seyed Jamal Seyed Mousavi, Farzad shahnazari, and Taimoor Naderzadeh are 5 prisoners who had been transferred to hall number 7 from solitary confinements later.

Also in another report, HRANA published a video of the defenses of 4 prisoners before their execution.

Need to be mentioned that at least 11 Sunni prisoners in Rajaei Shahr are in danger of being executed. Among them, only 2 prisoners, including one minor were saved from mass executions. Due to recent unprecedented mass executions they are serving along with 49 other prisoners, including 9 with death sentences, in fear of being executed.

Harassment and threatening have not stopped inside the prison, and after the mass execution the families and prisoners were pushed to a nasty game, even though some of the family members have seen the corpses of their beloved ones, Behesht-e-Zahra (cemetery) authorities in response to their request for normal services stated to some of the families that the graves were empty and "these people were just transferred here and have not died that you are looking for their graves".

(source: Human Rights Activists News Agency)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law

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