Feb. 2


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 Maoming.

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 said.

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 verdict.

But the verdict did not reveal how many children Zhang and his gang abducted and sold.

"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 Security.

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.

(source: ecns.cn)


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 live.

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 place.

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 official.

"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.

(source: ucanews.com)


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.

(source: dailytrust.com.ng)

IRAN----juvenile execution

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 punishment.

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 Protesters

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.

(source: ncr-iran.org)


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 rejection.

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 2018.

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 immediately.

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 official.

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 death row."

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 death penalty.

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 in 1985.

(source: ifex.org)


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 visit.

"The young child should get all necessary treatment and special care," it had said.

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.

(source: tribuneindia.com)

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