Child trafficker kingpin gets death penalty
The head of a criminal gang that abducted and trafficked children was sentenced
to death with a 2-year reprieve in Guangdong's southwestern coastal city of
The verdict on the gang leader, surnamed Zhang, was handed down by the Maoming
Intermediate People's Court at the end of last month.
Meanwhile, the court confiscated all of Zhang's illegally gains, the verdict
In addition, 25 members of Zhang's gang received sentences ranging from a year
and 3 months to life in prison and fined from 50,000 yuan ($8,000) to more than
200,000 yuan, according to the verdict.
A woman surnamed Dong who used to be a key member of Zhang's gang was sentenced
to life behind bars. Dong used to be responsible for contacting buyers,
trading, negotiating prices and collecting money for the gang.
"The crimes of Zhang and his gang were serious and have done great harm to
society," the verdict said.
Zhang and his gang had abducted children since 2014 from rural Funing county in
Southwest China's Yunnan province and brought them to Guangdong to earn big
profits, the verdict said.
A child was typically sold for between 73,000 and 98,000 yuan, said the
But the verdict did not reveal how many children Zhang and his gang abducted
"Abducting children is a serious crime and usually causes serious damage to
society," said Ye Guiming, a lawyer from Guangdong Keyun Law Firm.
"The sentence for Zhang with a two-year reprieve is suitable if he did not
cause death and injury during his crimes," Ye told China Daily on Thursday.
He urged relevant departments to take effective and concrete measures to fight
such crimes, including targeting child traffickers and buyers.
Zhang and his gang members were detained when police uncovered a major child
abduction and trafficking case the previous year.
The case, which elicited a great deal of outrage from the public, was
supervised by the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public
A police officer from Guangdong Provincial Department of Public Security said
police across the province will continue to redouble their efforts in fighting
crimes involving abducting children and women.
"The police have zero tolerance for such crimes," said the officer, who did not
want to be named.
Guangdong, one of the country's economic powerhouses, is usually one of the
major destinations for abducted children.
Widodo under pressure to free dying death row convict----Indonesian church,
rights groups back plea for condemned Pakistani drugs prisoner Zulfiqar Ali to
spend last days at home
The Catholic Church in Indonesia has thrown its weight behind an appeal to
President Joko Widodo, by a terminally ill Pakistani national on death row, to
be repatriated to his home country.
Zulfiqar Ali, 54, was arrested in 2004 for being in possession of 300 grams of
heroin. An Indonesian court sentenced him to death a year later.
He escaped execution in 2016 following an appeal lodged by former president
B.J. Habibie amid claims he received an unfair trial.
Speaking to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn last week Ali said that doctors had
diagnosed him with advanced liver cancer, giving him only about three months to
He was transferred from Batu Prison on the notorious Nusakambangan Island to a
hospital in Jakarta following the diagnosis.
A senior Catholic official said Widodo has no reason to reject Ali's appeal.
"He must be allowed to return home for the sake of humanity," Azas Tigor
Nainggolan, coordinator of the human rights desk of the Indonesian bishops'
Commission for Justice, Peace and Pastoral for Migrant-Itinerant People, said.
He said the commission had written to the president in this regard and also
asked for a review of all death penalty cases in light of the church's
opposition to capital punishment.
Pakistan's President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
also appealed to Widodo during a recent meeting in Islamabad to let Ali spend
his last days at home.
Rights groups have also backed the call, saying repatriation is the humane
thing to do.
They also questioned the trial that saw him sentenced to death in the first
According to the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, Ali was subjected to abuse,
denied access to proper legal counsel during irregular court proceedings.
After his arrest, he was also denied the right to contact the Pakistani embassy
and forced to sign a confession, the rights group said.
Ali's lawyer, Saut Edward Rajagukguk also urged the president to seriously
review Ali's case. "It does not make sense to me that someone was sentenced to
death for the possession of only 300 grams [of heroin]," he said.
The government is currently deliberating the appeal, according to a senior
"President Widodo will surely consider his request and what is best for him,"
said Ifdhal Kasim an Office of the Presidential Staff spokesman told
ucanews.com on Jan. 31.
"The president will ask for opinion from related agencies ... But humanitarian
grounds will be the main focus," he said.
Rivers set to introduce death penalty for cultism, robbery, others
The bill prescribing death penalty for cultism, armed robbery, kidnapping and
light arms proliferation in Rivers is now at the committee stage, the News
Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The Executive Bill seeks to amend an existing law that assigned 10 years
imprisonment for cultism and related offences in the state.
During debate on Wednesday, members of the Rivers State House of Assembly,
expressed support for the amendment process, noting that death penalty was most
suitable to discourage perpetrators of such crimes.
Mr Ahiakwo Christian, representing ONELGA Constituency 1, also condemned
criminal activities across the state and sued for urgent steps by the
government toward ending the menace.
He said one of such actions was to prescribe stiffer punishment for culprits.
"Cultism has ravaged our society, we need to take urgent steps to avert the
danger ahead," he said.
Also, the Speaker, Mr Ikuinyi Ibani, said there was the need for stiffer
punishment for cultism and related offences.
He said that until the issue of light arms proliferation was well regulated,
insecurity might continue to threaten humanity.
"It is our wish to live in a society where legitimate activities will remain
unhindered, this is the reason Rivers House Assembly must continue to support
laws and policies that will protect the people," he said.
The Speaker also constituted a committee that would collate contributions and
relevant reports that would enhance easy passage of the bill.
He urged members of the committee to allow contributions from stakeholders,
including Civil Society Organisations and the public to enrich its report.
Also at the committee stage is a bill seeking to establish the state security
outfit that will support the existing security agencies in the state.
3rd Juvenile Execution in a Month
IHR has identified the prisoner who was executed on Tuesday at Noshahr Prison
as Mahbubeh Mofidi. The juvenile-offender was 17 when she committed the crime.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) had reported the execution of a woman on Tuesday,
January 30. Further research revealed that the executed woman was named
Mahbubeh Mofidi who was 17 at the time of the crime.
Mahbubeh Mofidi murdered her husband with the help of her brother-in-law on
December 17, 2013, a month after their marriage ceremony.
The juvenile offender was arrested a few months after the murder when the
result of forensic toxicology was issued.
This is the 3rd execution of a juvenile-offender in January 2018 which is
confirmed by Iran Human Rights (IHR) organization. The executions of Ali Kazemi
and Amir Hossein Pourjafar, who committed murder at the age of 15 and 16
respectively, were also reported by the IHR.
The executions of Mahbubeh Mofidi and Ali Kazemi has not been announced by the
state-run media so far.
Death penalty for offences committed under 18 years of age is banned by the
international laws, but Iran refuses to stop the execution of juvenile
offenders. This is a violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
which Iran has ratified.
Iran Human Rights (IHR) demands the international community to condemn the
execution of juveniles in Iran and try to put an end to this inhumane
Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR says, "We expect the European
Union and Norway, which besides being the main opponents of the death penalty
on the international arena have good relations with the Iranian authorities, to
condemn the recent executions and to put the issue of juvenile executions on
top of their agenda in the talks with the Iranian authorities".
(source: Iran Human Rights)
Civil Society Urges UN to Launch Commission of Inquiry Into Iran's 1988
Massacre in Order to End Impunity and Prevent the Same Fate for Detained
On 1 February 2018, a civil society hearing in Geneva heard witnesses and legal
experts and offered an adjudication of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners
in Iran. The hearing was the first of its kind by NGOs in Geneva, and it urged
immediate action by the UN to address the current wave of mass arrests and
killings in Iranian jails following the recent anti-government protests.
International civil society and NGOs urged the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate the
months-long massacre during which the Islamic Republic of Iran executed an
estimated 30,000 political prisoners, mostly activists of the People's
Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).
During the Geneva hearing, former UN Judges, senior human rights officials and
human rights experts and advocates stressed that such an inquiry, long overdue,
is now especially crucial in light of the arrest of thousands of peaceful
anti-government protesters at the turn of the year, after which numerous
protesters died while in authorities' custody.
Beginning on December 28, two weeks of nationwide protests sent shock waves
through the Iranian regime. Thousands of Iranians have been arrested and
upwards of 50 killed, at least 11 of them under torture. Many more are at risk
of a similar fate.
Rights groups condemn Egyptian executions done by military
Human rights organisations have condemned Egypt's continued execution of death
sentences against civilians through military and anti-terrorism trials, and
demanded respect for law and human rights.
In a Friday press release, a number of organisations, under the umbrella
Committee for Justice (CFJ) group, condemned Tuesday's execution of Egyptian
Tayseer Odeh Suleiman after he was convicted in Ismalia's military court in
what they said was a flawed trial inconsistent with international legal and
human rights standards.
Suleiman, 25, was hanged after the Supreme Military Court of Appeals rejected
the defence put foward by his lawyer without explaining the reasons behind the
Suleiman's execution came two weeks after 13 human rights organisations sent a
letter to the UN Secretary-General, and the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights, asking them to intervene directly with Egyptian President
Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi and the Egyptian government to declare a moratorium on any
new death penalty cases and to ensure future defendents get a fair trial.
CFJ confirmed that there had been an unprecedented increase in the
implementation of death sentences in Egypt, based on illegal proceedings, with
26 people executed between the end of December last year and the present.
CFJ further asserted that the reason for the implementation of the death
penalties "under the guise of combating terrorism" were misleading and in
violation of basic standards of a fair trial indicating significant flaws in
Egypt's judicial process.
The signatories further asserted that the measures taken by the Egyptian
Government to combat terrorism and protect human rights were incompatible.
(source: African News Agency)
NGOs strongly condemn an "unprecedented wave of death sentences" in Bahrain
This statement was originally published on bahrainrights.org on 1 February
Bahrain has witnessed a dramatic increase in the use of capital punishment
since 2017, and recent executions mark a dangerous return to the death penalty
after a halt on executions since 2010. Our organisation strongly condemns this
tragic trend and urges the authorities to abolish the death penalty
Today a new death sentence confirmed the dramatic acceleration of death
sentences in Bahrain.
"Today Moosa Abdulla was sentenced to death, following the sentencing of Ali Al
Arab, Ahmed Al Malaly and Maher Al Khabaz earlier this week. 22 Bahrainis
currently remain on death row, which marks a record in the history of Bahrain,"
stated Maytham Al Salman, Special Advisor at the BCHR.
On 25 December 2017, a Bahraini military court sentenced 6 men to death on
charges of forming a terrorist cell and plotting to assassinate a military
The victims in this trial were subjected to torture, sleep deprivation,
electric shocks, solitary confinement and enforced disappearance.
Communications engineer Sayed Alawi Hussein Alawi, and Sayed Fadhel Abbas were
forcibly disappeared for nearly a year, and Mohammed Al-Shehabi and Mohammed
Al-Motaghawi were forcibly disappeared for several months. Some of the lawyers
and families of the defendants were threatened with reprisals if they revealed
their treatment to the media or international human rights organizations. All
the defendants were denied the right to meet their lawyers before the trials.
"We strongly oppose the death penalty in all circumstances and for all crimes,"
expressed Florence Bellivier, FIDH Deputy Secretary General on Death Penalty.
"The increased application of the death penalty in Bahrain is of high concern,
as it also reveals a discriminatory and inhuman practice, in addition to the
violation of the right to a fair trial and the instrumentalization of the death
penalty as a political tool."
The fact that the defendants were tried before military courts and not civil
courts is significant. These courts were condemned by the Bahrain Independent
Commission of Inquiry (BICI) in 2011 for their acceptance of confessions
extracted under torture and their failure to hold fair trials. The BICI
recommended halting trying civilians in military courts in 2011, which was
accepted by the authorities. However, Bahrain amended the constitution to grant
these courts the power to try civilians on 3 April 2017. This constitutional
amendment was regarded by Bahraini human rights organizations as catastrophic.
"The prosecution of peaceful dissidents in military courts is expected to
flourish if the international community remains silent," declared Maytham Al
Salman. "Mohammed Al Mitqawi, a peaceful activist who has been working with
human rights organizations and the BICI in reporting violations, is today on
A year ago, on 15 January 2017, the Bahraini authorities executed Ali
Al-Singace (21), Abbas Al-Samea (27) and Sami Mushaima (42) in such conditions
that the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Dr Agnes Callamard,
qualified the executions as "extrajudicial executions".
FIDH and BCHR condemn the latest wave of death sentences and executions in the
strongest terms, and urge the government of Bahrain to immediately abolish the
death penalty and accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the United Nations
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for the abolition of the
Furthermore, FIDH and BCHR call on the government of Bahrain to repeal the
constitutional amendment of 3 April 2017 and restore Article 105 of the
Bahraini Constitution to its previous state to ensure that civilians are not
tried in military courts. They also urge authorities to open an independent
investigation into all complaints of violations in all cases, particularly
those related to complaints of torture and ill-treatment, and adopt the Basic
Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary adopted by the United Nations
Centre against death penalty for those guilty of raping children
The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it was against death penalty
for those guilty of raping minors.
"Death penalty is not an answer to everything," Additional Solicitor General PS
Narasimha said after advocate Alakh Alok Srivastava - who has filed a PIL to
get justice for an 8-month-old rape victim - demanded that such offenders
should be given death penalty.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act provided for graded
punishment for offenders depending upon brutality of the crime, the ASG told a
bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
Meanwhile the child rape victim -- critical after being operated upon at a
children's hospital in the capital -- has been shifted to AIIMS for better
treatment, the court was informed on Thursday.
The decision was taken after a team of 2 doctors from AIIMS visited her at
Kalawati Sharan Children's hospital on the orders of the bench.
The Delhi Legal Services Authority has given Rs 75,000 as interim compensation
to her parents, the bench was informed.
Concerned about the well being of the 8-month-old child rape victim, the CJI's
bench had on Wednesday directed a team of 2 doctors from AIIMS to examine her
at the children's hospital where she was said to be in a critical condition.
After being raped allegedly by her 28-year-old cousin at her home on Sunday,
she has undergone a 3-hour surgery at Kalawati Sharan Children's Hospital and
is reported to be critical. The court directed that the Member Secretary of
Delhi Legal Services Authority should accompany the team of doctors during the
"The young child should get all necessary treatment and special care," it had
The CJI said while taking the decision regarding the child, the doctors should
keep in mind the concern expressed by the court. The bench directed the 2
doctors to submit a report to it by Thursday.
"In case they (doctors) decide that the child should be shifted, they shall
shift the child immediately to AIIMS under their personal supervision and make
suitable arrangements. We are sure that the parents of the child shall fully
cooperate," the bench had said.
A service courtesy of Washburn University School of Law www.washburnlaw.edu
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