Oct. 16


Islamic State foils planned revolt in Mosul, executes 58

The Islamic State (ISIS) militant group has put down a planned revolt against their rule in Mosul after one of their own commanders attempted to mutiny and support the Iraqi military's upcoming offensive.

Reuters reported that the militants killed 58 people who they suspected of taking part in the plot which they discovered last week. Residents still in Mosul reported that the suspected mutineers were drowned and then buried in a mass grave outside the city.

1 of the men suspected of the attempted mutiny was an aide of the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who infamously declared the formation of the Islamic States' so-called caliphate following the group's takeover of Mosul in June 2014.

The mutineers seemed to have attempted to weaken the group before the onset of the long anticipated Iraqi offensive, backed by the US-led coalition and Kurdish Peshmerga, which is soon set to recapture the city.

Their plot was reportedly uncovered after one of the mutineers was discovered to have a message on his phone discussing a transfer of weapons which he later confessed, under duress, were hidden in 3 houses across the city where the mutineers would acquire them and use them to support the incoming Iraqi Army.

ISIS raided those houses and seized those weapons on October 4.

"This is a clear sign that the terrorist organization has started to lose support not only from the population, but even from its own members," Iraq's Counter-terrorism Service spokesman, Sabah al-Nuamni told Reuters.

(source: rudaw.net)


Actions Speak Louder Than Words in Iran's Death Penalty Debate, Says Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi

Despite statements from some Iranian officials doubting the value of capital punishment, no action has been taken to end or reduce the high number of executions in the country, Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran.

"Unfortunately, for years Iran's judicial officials have repeated statements in response to protests by the United Nations and human rights organizations without really responding. In other words, whenever countries criticize Iran for having the highest number of executions in the world after China, the Iranian government resorts to repeating statements suggesting that they are trying to end capital punishment, but don't actually do anything about it," said Ebadi on the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, on October 10, 2016.

"I hope, unlike previous years, Iran will go further than words and introduce a practical plan to reduce executions."

Ebadi, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, was responding to comments made on October 8 by Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of the Iranian Judiciary's Human Rights Council, who supports the death penalty, but said he agrees with ending it for petty drug traffickers.

"I am in favor of changing the law, but that does not mean we should stop the fight against drug-trafficking," said Larijani, adding that 93 % of hangings in Iran were for drug-related crimes.

Larijani, the brother of Judiciary Chief Ali Sadegh Larijani, continued: "We have an 800-km border with Afghanistan and the production of opium in Afghanistan has increased 40 times since NATO's invasion. The death penalty should be limited to drug kingpins and if we do this, the number of executions will fall immediately. Of course, this is currently being debated [in Parliament], but if we are realistic we can make it happen. No one should think that Iran will weaken her resolve in the fight against drug-trafficking, but we are changing tactics to make it more practical."

However, Larijani also recently called for the executions of drug traffickers to be carried out with greater speed.

"Naturally, executions are not an ideal solution, but we need to act quickly and firmly against harms to society and the destruction of families [caused by drugs]," said Larijani on September 29, 2016. "I ask prosecutors across the country to carry out executions as soon as the verdicts are issued."

Ebadi, a lawyer who headed the now banned-Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC) in Iran before it was disbanded by the government and she was forced to leave the country, noted that if the Islamic Republic was sincere about ending capital punishment, it would not have condemned human rights activist Narges Mohammadi to prison for being a member of the DHRC.

"If Iran truly intends to end the death penalty for drug traffickers, then why have they condemned my colleague Narges Mohammadi to 10 years in prison for opposing capital punishment and being a member of DHRC? Aren't they just trying to deceive the international community with their words?"

In addition to drug traffickers, the execution of suspected political activists on national security charges have also increased, added Ebad.

"Unfortunately, the Iranian government uses the death penalty against individuals accused of national security and political crimes, and in the past year the number of these executions has increased. We have seen individuals being hanged for minor charges such as political opposition to the state, or for waging war against the state. There have been 2 mass executions of political prisoners this year," she said.

In 2015 Iran executed 1,052 people - the highest per capita execution rate in the world.

Policy Change?

According to Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi, a member of the Iranian Parliament's Legal and Judicial Committee, more than 150 members of Parliament have signed a proposal to amend the law to make it harder to condemn drug-related criminals to death.

"The large majority of those who have been executed or are on death row are petty [drug] dealers who are 1st-time offenders and their deaths harm families," said Jahanabadi on October 4, 2016. "In essence, we are proposing to add an amendment to the current law for fighting drugs which states that the death penalty would apply if certain conditions are met, such as carrying and using a gun, or being an international drug kingpin, or having a commuted death sentence and repeating the crime," he added.

"There are a lot of people waiting to be hanged right now and the question is whether all these executions carried out so far have stopped the spread of drugs or not? If there haven't been any benefits, we need to think of alternative punishments," he added.

In March 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, criticized the high number of executions in Iran for non-violent drug-related offenses in a report, noting that changes in Iran's drug laws in 2010 increased to 17 the number of drug offenses that could be punished by death.

Iran is also one among a handful of countries still sentencing people to death for crimes they allegedly committed as juveniles.

According to the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, it is illegal to execute someone for crimes committed under the age of 18. Iran is party to both treaties.

(source: Iran Human Rights)


Murder case: Ex-DSP, son awarded life term, death penalty

A former district superintendent of police has been awarded life imprisonment while his son sentenced to death for murdering a boy in Dera Ghazi Khan in January over a petty dispute. The judgment was announced by Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Fawwad Arif on Friday.

According to the prosecution, 15-year-old Usman Chandio was playing cricket with his friends near the former DSP Abdul Karim's house. During the match, the ball went into the policeman's house.

When Usman asked the DSP's son Muhammad Ali to return the ball, Abdul Karim and Ali got enraged and opened fire at him, killing the boy on the spot.

After the incident, Usman's father Ishaq Chandio registered a case against the retired DSP and his son at the City police station in January.

While announcing the verdict, the court awarded death sentence along with a fine of Rs400,000 to Muhammad Ali, while Abdul Karim was awarded life imprisonment and a fine of Rs150,000. The convicts will have to undergo another 6 months of imprisonment if they fail to pay the fine.

Earlier in September 2016, an anti-terrorism court in Dera Ghazi Khan had awarded death sentence to a notorious gangster from Punjab for allegedly killing 3 policemen after abducting them.

The court handed down death sentence on 3 counts and life imprisonment on 2 counts to Ibrahim Ladi, chief of Ladi Gang of DG Khan.

The judge also ordered confiscation of his movable and immovable properties. Ladi had killed 3 police officials and injured a DSP in 2014 after taking them hostage.

Similarly in January 2016, an anti-terrorism court in Gujranwala sentenced former SHO Shahzad Warraich to death four times for murdering Daska Bar president Rana Khalid Abbas and Advocate Irfan Chauhan. The court also awarded 30-year jail term to the convict for inflicting wounds to 5 other lawyers.

(source: The Express Tribune)


Aasia Bibi's case

The Supreme Court usually makes the right call on cases of alleged blasphemy. It has never upheld a death sentence for blasphemy before because the evidence is at best circumstantial and the accusations usually proved tied to personal hatred or an attempt to steal property from the accused. Will the Aasia Bibi case prove an exception? The accounts vary as to precisely what happened in the incident involving the poor Christian woman - the mother of 5 young children - from the Sheikhupura area, who was sentenced to death in 2010. A cleric in the area received a complaint that Aasia had committed blasphemy after some Muslim women expressed anger towards her for drinking from the same water source as them. Aasia Bibi herself has claimed this was revenge for a trivial quarrel. In November 2010, just over a year after the incident, a district judge in Sheikhupura sentenced her to death. The case against Aasia Bibi has been contested by many rights activists and according to legal experts, court records show numerous inconsistencies in the evidence presented. But in October 2014 the LHC dismissed Aasia's appeal and upheld the death sentence. A clemency appeal to the president of Pakistan was made by her husband and her lawyer appealed to the Supreme Court, which in July 2015 suspended her death sentence until the appeals process could be completed.

Aasia Bibi has already spent seven years in jail and there was expectation on Thursday that the case would be decided justly and wisely, even if the culture of intimidation that has always surrounded the case made itself felt once again with the orthodox Lal Masjid clerics threatening to take to the streets in case Aasia Bibi were to be released. With thousands of security personnel on alert in Islamabad, the Supreme Court punted on a possible release when one of the judges from the 3-member bench hearing the case recused himself from the case on the basis that he had heard the Salmaan Taseer murder case. The appeal has now been postponed indefinitely. The timing of the honourable judge's recusal is a curious one. He had known he would be part of the 3-member bench long before and could have withdrawn from hearing the case much earlier and allowed a new judge to be picked. One also wonders where exactly the conflict of interest comes in. One could have ruled for the death penalty for Mumtaz Qadri on the simple basis that murder has the punishment of death in Pakistan without having to give an opinion on Aasia Bibi's case. It is regrettable that the case of one woman has become so intertwined with political and religious sentiment that judges feel their verdicts will be seen as compromised. The blame for that lies in a society that has accepted the blasphemy laws being manipulated for personal ends and an extremist element that threatens, and in many cases commits, violence against those who merely want the laws to be amended so that false accusations are not so easy to make. It is now past time to develop the will and the courage to set right what is wrong.

(source: Editorial, The News)


92 suspected drug offenders arrested in 11-day operation

A total of 92 suspected drug offenders were arrested after an 11-day islandwide operation by the Central Narcotics Bureau from Oct 3 to Oct 14, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) said on Friday (Oct 14).

In its press release, CNB said it also seized about 315g of heroin, 136g of Ice, 113g of ketamine, 41g of cannabis, 232 Ecstasy tablets and 97 Erimin-5 tablets. The areas covered by the operation include Ang Mo Kio, Balestier, Bishan, Bukit Merah, Hougang, Jurong, Pasir Ris, Punggol, Senja, Tampines, Toa Payoh, Woodlands and Yishun.

The agency added that one of the cases involved CNB officers arresting a 28-year-old Singaporean man at Tampines Central who was a suspected drug trafficker. Officers recovered about 90g of heroin, a small amount of Ice, a weighing scale and numerous empty plastic packets from the man. Within the man's residence, 2 suspected drug abusers - a 26-year-old female and a 29-year-old male, both Singaporeans - were arrested, it added.

Investigations into the drug activities of all the arrested people are ongoing, CNB said. The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine, or pure heroin, trafficked exceeds 15g.

(source: channelnewsasia.com)

A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu

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