Statement by the Spokesperson on Togo's accession to the Second Optional
Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty
Togo's official accession to the 1989 Second Optional Protocol to the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the
death penalty on 14 September is a welcome step.
In doing so, Togo reinforces the global trend towards the abolition of the
capital punishment, by becoming the 82nd state party to this important treaty.
Togo's accession should encourage other countries to follow this example and
also marks the remarkable abolitionist trend in Africa, as part of which many
countries have done away with the death penalty in law or practice.
The European Union reaffirms its objective of working towards universal
abolition of the death penalty.
Sudan bishop urges UN to intervene to save Christians facing death sentence
Sudanese Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, pictured in New York with actor George
Clooney, has called for international action to save the imprisoned pastors who
are facing the death penalty.
A prominent Sudanese bishop has appealed for the international community to
intervene to save the lives of pastors who are facing the death sentence in a
court in Sudan.
Bishop of Kadugli diocese, Andudu Adam Elnail, had to flee himself from Sudan
to South Carolina in the US in 2011 after his property was torched when he
refused to tell his Christian flock to endorse Sudan President Omar al-Bashir.
He called for the United Nations and the US to step in to help the 4 men on
trial in Khartoum.
Bishop Elnail told FoxNews.com the charges were "concoted".
Pastors Hassan Abduraheem and Kuwa Shamal, on trial with Czech Christian Petr
Ja???ek and human rights activist Abdulmonem Abdumawla face capital charges
including espionage and waging war against the state. Jasek is also charged
with the propagation of false news.
One charge against the pastors is that they propagated news about churches
being burned down in Khartoum and bombed in the Nuba mountains, where
Christians are classed as "atheists".
Bishop Elnail told Fox News: "We call for their protection and immediate
release and urge that the UN, US government - including Congress - and other
world communities demand the freedom of these two men of God and other
Bishop Elnail said the 2 pastors are being held in solitary confinement. He
said he had known Shamal, who has 7 children, for many years and described him
as a "humble and good man" in his mid-40s who has dedicated his life to God.
He said: "The government is not interested in the Christian religion. There is
no freedom for us, we cannot build churches, we are treated as second-class
citizens. We need the international community to pressure the government of
Sudan to give us our freedom of religion."
The US State Department has been tracking the case and is lobbying Sudan,
designated a country of "particular concern", to show greater respect for
"We are committed to working with countries to make tangible improvements in
respect for religious freedom and continue to look for opportunities to address
these issues with the government of South Sudan," a spokesperson said.
World Watch Monitor
Christian Today has followed the case of the pastors and the 2 other accused
men, and reported recently that their lives were at risk.
According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) which is campaigning on
behalf of the men, the charges against the Czech man are central to the case.
Part of the case against Jasek is based on the financial aid given for the
medical treatment of a young man from Darfur, Ali Omer, who was injured in a
demonstration in 2013. Jasek donated $5,000 towards Omer's medical treatment,
which was signed for by Abduraheem and Abdumawla. The Czech was arrested when
he left Sudan and the other 3 arrested 9 days later.
The prosecution alleges that the $5,000 Jasek donated to Omer's treatment was
in reality support for rebel movements in the South Kordofan, Blue Nile and
Darfur regions, according to CSW.
Shamal was not involved in fundraising for Omer but appears to have been
included because of his position in the Sudan Church of Christ.
Mervyn Thomas, chief executive of CSW, said: "The case against Rev Hassan
Abduraheem, Mr Abdumawla, Rev Kuwa Shamal and Mr Petr Jasek is an example of
NISS's manipulation of the criminal justice system to harass ethnic and
"The evidence clearly shows that Rev Abduraheem, Mr Abdumawla and Mr Jasek
attempted to provide medical care for Mr Omer. As a consequence of their acts
of kindness, these men have been detained in terrible conditions and are now
enduring an unjust trial.
"RevKuwa Shamal, meanwhile, is being targeted simply because of his position as
a senior church leader, his ethnicity and relationship to Rev Abduraheem. We
urge everyone who is as concerned as we are about this grave injustice to join
us in campaigning to see these men set free. CSW urges the government of Sudan
to drop the charges against these men without conditions or delay."
He also called for the end of targeting religious and ethnic minorities in
(source: Christian Today)
Vietnam drug kingpin, 8 henchmen get death sentence for heroin smuggling
A court in Vietnam sentenced to death a notorious drugs kingpin and 8
associates on Wednesday, delivering the maximum punishment in a single verdict
over the trafficking of more than 1/2 a ton of heroin.
The case centered on Trang A Tang, a 33-year-old leader of a network that
trafficked drugs from the infamous Golden Triangle area of northwestern Laos,
northeastern Myanmar and northern Thailand, and distributed them in Vietnam.
Tang has become well-known for his opulent lifestyle and for managing to evade
justice while spending lavishly on big houses and luxury cars.
The 4-day trial in Bac Ninh province heard how the gang had handled 2,181
heroin "cakes", weighing 350 grams (0.77 lb) each, between 2009 and 2013. That
works out to 763 kg (1,682 lb) of heroin.
Ton Trong Hung, secretary of the court, said by telephone that nine members of
the network had received the death penalty. Tang's wife and father were among 3
others jailed for life.
The judge called Tang "extremely dangerous" and said he "must be permanently
removed from society", state-run radio Voice of Vietnam reported on its
Trafficking of more than 100 grams (3.5 oz) of heroin is punishable by death or
life imprisonment in Vietnam.
Vietnam in 2014 condemned 30 people to death and jailed 69 others for
trafficking more than 12 tonnes of heroin in a what was the communist country's
largest-ever drugs trial, so big that it had to be held outdoors.
Calls to abolish death penalty grow louder in Japan----Country's legal
community will declare its opposition to capital punishment amid concern over
miscarriages of justice
Japan is expected to come under unprecedented domestic pressure over its use of
the death penalty when, for the first time, the country's legal community calls
for its abolition next month.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations, whose membership includes 37,000
lawyers and hundreds of other legal professionals, said it would declare its
opposition to capital punishment at a meeting in early October due to growing
concern over miscarriages of justice.
The declaration will put the federation at odds with the prime minister, Shinzo
Abe, whose administration has executed 16 people since it took office in late
Successive Japanese governments have resisted pressure from the UN, the EU and
human rights groups to abolish the death penalty.
"If an innocent person or an offender who does not deserve to be sentenced to
death is executed, it is an irrevocable human rights violation," Yuji Ogawara,
who heads a bar association panel on the death penalty, was quoted as saying by
the Kyodo news agency.
"There are still lawyers who support the death penalty, but I think we have
developed an environment that enables us to seek its abolition."
The federation will call for an end to capital punishment by 2020, when Japan
hosts a UN congress on crime prevention and criminal justice. It said life
sentences without the possibility of parole should be considered as an
Japan and the US are the only G7 countries that continue to execute prisoners,
while more than 140 countries have abolished the death penalty either by law or
Doubts about the safety of convictions grew in 2014 after Iwao Hakamada was
released having spent more than 45 years on death row. A court ordered a
retrial in Hakamada's murder case, amid suggestions that police investigators
fabricated evidence against him.
The former professional boxer had been sentenced to hang in 1968 for the
murders 2 years earlier of a company president, his wife and their 2 children.
In addition, 4 death row prisoners were found not guilty after being granted
retrials in the 1980s.
Japan has resisted calls to end capital punishment, citing opinion polls
showing high levels of support for its retention. Public backing for the death
penalty remained strong during the trials of people accused of taking part in
the 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, in which 13 people died and
thousands were injured.
In a damning 2009 report, Amnesty International accused Japan of subjecting
death row inmates to "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment. Prisoners
typically spend many years in solitary confinement, and only learn of the
timing of their execution, by hanging, hours before it takes place.
Amnesty recently criticised Japan for executing or placing mentally ill and
intellectually challenged prisoners in solitary confinement.
Legal experts welcomed the federation's decision. "Having Japan's largest human
rights protection body come out in favour of eliminating the death sentence
will have a huge impact," Prof Kana Sasakura from Konan University in Kobe told
the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
There are 124 inmates on death row in Japan, 89 of whom are seeking retrials,
according to the justice ministry.
(source: The Guardian)
Enforce the death penalty now
After the rape and murder of that 3 year old child, we now hear of other such
crimes, the latest being of a 12 year old being raped and murdered - no, we
cannot let this continue; yes let us recall the instance of the monster in
human form who raped, mutilated and killed little Seya. He has been
appropriately sentenced death, but he should be whipped in public, for fear and
shame would indeed be a deterrent and the whole country will benefit.
The 'death sentence' today is converted to a sentence to life in imprisonment,
where these monsters, who have been found guilty of taking the lives of others,
spend their days well fed, clothed and cared for at our expense, as long as
they live (and most of these monsters live long). Do these criminals deserve to
live after the crimes of taking the life of little Seya and others in a cruel
manner? Just imagine the fear and pain that Seya would have suffered at this
monster's hands - how if she was one of ours, would this not have haunted us
all our lives; just imagine the pain that her parents would be going through;
NO, this monster has no right to live, he must be put to death.
If the President feels squeamish to sign the final order to carry out the death
sentence, then he could refer it to a bench of three SC Judges to re-examine
the record of the case and make the order to carry out the sentence; there are
many of us citizens who are prepared to volunteer to see that the execution is
carried out. If hanging be considered unacceptable, then let us reintroduce the
system we had in ancient times - yes, let us reintroduce the barrel with nails
and role them down a precipice; let not the EU or the West which has killed and
are killing thousands of civilians with their sophisticated weapon systems and
Drones, (their Arms Bazaars are making billions) preach to us. Let us
reintroduce the death penalty and save our country.
I, was for some years Chairman of a Committee which inspected Prisons, and I
have met many who had been sentenced to death for premeditated murder,
including a man who had been sentenced to death for the murder of that great
humanist Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, (they live happily in prison). When I asked
the man found guilty of Neelan's murder as to whether he regretted the horrible
crime he had committed, he laughed, and I have no reservations or regret in
saying that I had the monster given the treatment, unfortunately I could not
have him hanged.
I note that the now newly civilized persons and organization in the West have
called upon us to do away with the death penalty, but we, for our protection
MUST retain the death penalty for premeditated heinous crime. Countries that
retain the death penalty know what a deterrent it is, and how life has been
made safe for law abiding citizens. The government owes this to us, we must
hang or put to death by other means pre-meditated murderers in the interest of
our country and our people.
(source: K Godage; Writer is a former Sri Lanan Diplomat----slguardian.org)
How Verdict On Bageni Jump-Started the Katiba Debate
At a time when debate on the constitution is restarting ahead of the envisaged
second phase of Tanzania's constitution review process, the Court of Appeal has
delivered its verdict in the appeal filed against the acquittal of former Dar
es Salaam Regional Crime Officer Abdallah Zombe and three others.
While the court upheld the acquittal of Zombe and 2 other people, it sentenced
Christopher Bageni, former head of criminal investigation in Kinondoni
District, to death for ordering the murder of 4 people in Dar es Salaam in
January 2006. 3 traders from Ifakara District and a taxi driver were killed in
cold blood in a forest in Mbezi Luis in the city.
Last week's court verdict came at a time various sections of the citizenry were
calling on the Fifth Phase government under President John Pombe Magufuli to
restart the constitution review process and pave the way for inclusion of
issues that did not find their way into the Proposed Constitution passed by the
now-disbanded Constituent Assembly in 2014. One of the proposals that were
rejected at the time, despite intense lobbying for its inclusion, was the
outlawing of the death penalty.
At the moment, there is a very ambiguous constitutional regime on capital
punishment. The Constitution of Tanzania of 1977 provides for the right to life
in Article 14 but only in a weak and limited manner. On the other hand, the law
provides for the death sentence, which is the punishment for two capital
offences, namely murder and treason.
According to Section 197 of the Penal Code (Chapter 16), "Any person convicted
of murder shall be sentenced to death." This is a mandatory requirement that
leaves the court with no option but to pass the death sentence upon the
conviction of a person.
Only 2 categories of people are exempted - women who are pregnant and persons
under the age of majority, who face life imprisonment upon being convicted of
murder or treason in line with Section 26 of the Penal Code.
Unfortunately, none of the above grounds suit Bageni as he is neither an
expectant mother nor a minor.
While treason carries the death penalty in line with sections 39 and 40 of the
Penal Code, there is a relief for "misprision of treason" under Section 41.
The ruling has deeply divided the nation. There are those who argue that the
slain men had the right to life and that Bageni deserves to die by hanging
since evidence of his involvement in the murder was overwhelming and
irrefutable. They are of the view that the Court of Appeal has accurately
construed the capital punishment statutes. On the other hand, there are
advocates of the law as a corrective tool, arguing that death should not be
punished with death.
These human rights activists argue that meting out capital punishment to Bageni
amounts to committing another murder, albeit legally. As far as they are
concerned, murder is a wrong that cannot be righted with murder. Furthermore,
they contend that a person who commits murder should be helped to regret the
act and commit not repeat it by being given another chance. This line of
advocacy concludes that death should not be a statutory punishment. According
to this line of thinking, Bageni deserves nothing more than life behind bars.
Unlike murder, there is no record of a person in Tanzania who has been
sentenced to death for treason. All along, the courts have always interpreted
the phrase used for treason as merely setting the maximum punishment for the
offence, and that the death penalty is not mandatory. Unfortunately, the
wording used to describe punishment for murder is expressly mandatory and
authoritative. The Court of Appeal may have found itself limited to one option
only, which is the death sentence.
I wish to join those who have put the death penalty under intense scrutiny. In
the early 1990s, the Nyalali Commission recommended that capital punishment be
abolished for being a "barbaric form of punishment and therefore
unsupportable". Several years later, Justice James Mwalusanya famously held
that the death penalty was "inherently cruel, inhuman and degrading".
Last week's verdict by the Court of Appeal opened a Pandora's box and the
constitution review debate is once again sharply in focus. Let's engage in it.
(source: Deus Kibamba is trained in political Science,International Politics
and International Law----allafrica.com)
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