Take Action! - Man Faces Execution After Grossly Unfair Trial (Saudi Arabia: UA
A Shi'a man is at risk of execution in Saudi Arabia after he exhausted all his
appeals. He was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial. He claims he
was tortured into "confessing", but his allegation has not been properly
Yussuf Ali al-Mushaikass, 42, was sentenced to death on 6 January by the
Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh, the capital, for offences that
included "armed rebellion against the ruler", "destabilizing security and
stirring sedition by joining a terrorist group" and "participating in riots".
Following his appeal on 1 February his legal representative learned that the
sentence had been upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. The
case was later sent to the Ministry of Interior on 20 April raising fears that
the sentence will be ratified by the King and Yussuf al-Mushaikhass might be
executed at any time.
According to the verdict the SCC seems to have based its decision on signed
"confessions" which Yussuf al-Mushaikhass claims were extracted under torture
and other ill-treatment. However, the court did not fully investigate such
claims. During the first three months of his incommunicado detention he was
held in solitary confinement and interrogated repeatedly. He told the court
that he was: subjected to sleep deprivation; hung from the ceiling and beaten
with a bamboo cane and electrical cable on different parts of his body; and,
handcuffed and forced to lay on the ground while he was severely beaten by 4
officers from the General Directorate of Investigation (GDI). Under
international law, statements elicited as a result of torture, ill-treatment or
other forms of coercion must be excluded from evidence in trial proceedings.
Yussuf al-Mushaikhass was arrested on 26 February 2014 in Ras Tanura City and
taken to the GDI prison in Dammam, both in the Eastern Province. He was placed
in solitary confinement and denied access to his legal representation
throughout his interrogations. He is still detained in the same prison.
Write a letter, send an email, call, fax or tweet:
-- Urging the Saudi Arabian authorities to quash the conviction and death
sentence against Yussuf Ali al-Mushaikass, given grave concerns about the
fairness of the trial, and, if there is sufficient admissible evidence against
him, to retry him in line with international fair trial standards without
recourse to the death penalty;
-- Calling on them to order a prompt, impartial, independent and effective
investigation into his allegation of torture and other ill-treatment;
-- Urging them to immediately establish an official moratorium on executions
with a view to abolishing the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.
Contact these 2 officials by 11 January, 2017: King and Prime Minister
His Majesty Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
The Custodian of the two Holy Mosques
Office of His Majesty the King
Royal Court, Riyadh
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Fax: (via Ministry of the Interior)
+966 11 403 3125 (please keep trying)
Salutation: Your Majesty
Ambassador Abdullah bin Fisal
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington DC 20037
Fax: 1 202 944 5983 -- Phone: 1 202 342 3800
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
(source: Amnesty International USA)
World is moving towards abolition of death penalty: Gopalkrishna Gandhi
140 of 195 countries have abolished the death penalty but it still looms large
over the world as the nations that have retained it -- including India --
account for the bulk of the global population, former diplomat and Governor
Gopalkrishna Gandhi says, urging that the punishment be removed from the
"The world is moving towards the abolition of death penalty... but the
countries that have retained this penalty are those which have the largest
populations. So, the majority of the world is still under the death penalty,"
Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, a former Bengal Governor, told IANS in an interview
ahead of the formal release of his book, "Abolishing the Death Penalty: Why
India Should Say No to Capital Punishment" (Aleph).
"It is curious that the countries that have retained death penalty are those
which have a certain punishment mentality like USA, China, Saudi Arabia, Iran,
North Korea and Pakistan. So we are in the company of China, Saudi Arabia,
Iran, North Korea and Pakistan. What are our compulsions? Why are we retaining
"Some argue that terrorism is the reason. Death penalty does not deter murder.
Does death penalty deter terror? We cannot say. But terror has continued. The
bizarre thing about terrorism is that the terrorists are prepared to die in the
act of terror itself. They are in a fitoor (craze), in which maut (death) is
regarded as a shahadat (martyrdom). So will it deter them?" asked Gandhi, who
has served as Secretary to President K.R. Narayanan and as High Commissioner to
South Africa and Sri Lanka.
Gandhi's book asks fundamental questions about the ultimate legal punishment
awarded to those accused of major crimes and is set to release on December 7.
"My emphasis is not just on the death penalty but on the entire mentality of
punishment, which includes the criminal investigation system where violence is
a known fact. Many of those under trial may or may not be innocent, but most of
them are subjected to violence. So my book is about the Indian attitude to
"Human evolution is towards the abolition of death penalty. But the states
which have given up on death penalty are also the states which are somewhat
reforming their criminal investigation system. In India there has been a lot of
reforms -- our jails today are not what they were 50 years ago, certainly not
what they were in medieval times, when anybody who was taken in prison was
bound to be beaten to pulp if not to death -- we are not in medieval times, we
live in a modern and civilised world," he added.
In December 2007, India voted against a United Nations General Assembly
resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. It reitereated its
stance in 2012 and 2014, and again as recently as November 21, 2016.
"Our jails are now called correctional homes and there have been a lot of
improvement in our criminal investigation system. But we are still keeping the
death penalty because the state does not want to lose its power over life. The
state thinks of itself as a kind of demigod, which it is not," he said.
"Now death penalty in India is awarded in the rarest of rare case and it is
almost exclusively for terror activities. The last Law Commission, headed by
Justice A.P. Shah, said that death penalty should be awarded only for acts
against the state. The death penalty is the ultimate form of torture.
"Even if the society is in favour of severe punishment and is shutting its eyes
to torture, does it mean that the state should also do that? Or, should the
state be one step ahead of the society? Should the state only reflect what the
society wants or should it lead? I think the state should lead. Our
constitution is not a mirror; it is a benchmark that inspires all kinds of
development, particularly moral development," Gandhi contended.
Through in-depth analysis, persuasive argument and the marshalling of the
considered opinion of jurists, human rights activists, scholars and
criminologists, among others, his book argues that the death penalty should be
abolished with immediate effect in India.
"Today a majority of Indians, in my opinion, are not against death penalty. It
does not mean that we are a blood-thirsty society, no we are not. We are a very
"There has not been much of a discourse on death penalty at the public level,
which is why I think people should talk about and deliberate on the issue. This
is not going to happen very fast but we are moving towards abolition," Gandhi
APHR Condemns Philippine Plans to Reintroduce Death Penalty
Plans to reintroduce the death penalty in the Philippines have been met with
condemnation by pro-human rights lawmakers across the region over concerns the
archipelago will take another step back in human rights and legal reforms.
Asean Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) issued a statement on Thursday
(01/12) calling on Philippine legislators and President Rodrigo Duterte to
ditch controversial plans to bring back the death penalty 10 years after it was
abolished in 2006, amid a deadly war on drugs which has seen up to 5,000
"As citizens of Asean, we have looked to the Philippines as a regional leader
in the global movement to abolish the death penalty since its decision to do so
in 2006," APHR chairman and Malaysian lawmaker Charles Santiago said in the
"Thus, it would be an incredible setback to our collective struggle if the
Philippines were to take the dramatic step backward of reinstating the death
penalty. The move would not only indicate a rejection of hard-fought progress,
but would cause other Asean nations to question the Philippines' commitment to
the full gamut of international treaties it has signed."
The bill, tabled earlier this week, enjoys widespread support among Philippine
lawmakers, with House Speaker Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez "confident" the bill
will pass before Christmas, according to CNN Philippines.
The bill targets criminals convicted of "heinous crimes" including rape,
terrorism, murder and drug trafficking, although some advocates are pushing for
the legislation to include crimes as diverse as piracy, treason and arson.
"We remind Philippine officials that human rights were never a Western concept
and that they are rooted in the anti-colonial struggles of developing
countries," APHR vice chairwoman Mu Sochua, a member of the Cambodian National
Assembly, said in the statement.
(source: Jakarta Globe)
Lagos state legalises death sentence for kidnappers
On November 30, 2016, the Lagos State House of Assembly proposed a bill
legalising the death sentence for kidnappers if their victims die in captivity.
The bill awaits approval from Mr Akinwunmi Ambode, the Governor of Lagos state.
Above all, the essence of this bill is to ensure zero tolerance for kidnapping.
Disturbed by the escalating cases of kidnapping in Lagos, Chairman of the House
Committee on Judiciary, Petitions, Human Rights and Lagos State Independent
Electoral Commission (LASIEC), Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, presented the bill
for a law to prohibit of the act of kidnapping.
The bill is the aftermath of the various report of kidnapping in the state. It
states that any person who kidnaps, abducts, detains, captures or takes another
person by any means or tricks with the intent to demand ransom or do anything
against his/her will, commits an offense, and is liable on conviction to death
The bill proposes life sentence for kidnappers if their victims do not die in
captivity. Also, it proposes a life sentence for attempted kidnap. Furthermore,
the bill proposes a 7 year jail term for abductors who refuse to release their
victims in person, instead using false representation, should they be
The legislators also affirmed 25 years imprisonment for whoever threatens to
kidnap another person through a phone call, e-mail, text message or any other
means of communication.
The bill provides that any person, who knowingly or willfully allows his
premises, building or a place or belonging under his control to be used for the
keeping of a kidnapped person is guilty of an offense under the law and is
liable to 14 years imprisonment without an option of fine.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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