Feb. 13


Iran Executions: Another Juvenile Offender on Death Row

Pouria Tabaei, who is sentenced to death on the charge of murdering his step-father, is scheduled to be executed at Rajai Shahr Prison.

According to a close source, Pouria Tabaei who was only 16 at the time of committing the crime, is currently on the death row at Rajai Shahr Prison.

He was born on July 17, 1992, and committed the crime on July 17, 2009.

Neither Branch 113 of the Criminal Court of Tehran -which issued Tabaei's sentence, nor the Supreme Court, agreed to send the juvenile offender to the forensics to estimate his full mental development. The mental development estimation is possible under Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code and can potentially save a juvenile offender's life.

It should be noted that two other juvenile offenders, Ali Kazemi and Mahbubeh Mofidi, who were executed in the last month, were not sent to the forensics to establish their full mental development either.

Iran has signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which bans the execution of juveniles. Moreover, based on Article 37 the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Iran has signed, execution and life imprisonment of juveniles is banned.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson for IHR, says, "It seems that Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code regarding the prosecution of juvenile offenders, has not been successful at reducing the number of executions of juveniles and some of the courts' judges still issue sentences as they please. Iranian authorities must stop death sentence for juveniles unconditionally.

(source: Iran Human Rights)


Parting words to the condemned It is easier if death row inmates accept fate, says monk who counsels them

'No one is born evil or bad to the bone. There are just people making mistakes. I strongly believe that all people can change for the better, no matter who they are -- drug kingpins, notorious hitmen, thieves," says Phra Kru Srinonthawat, abbot of Wat Bang Phreak Tai, who has taught dharma to death row inmates for 27 years.

Since 1991, the 53-year-old monk has been invited by the Department of Corrections to preach sermons and teach meditation to Buddhist inmates awaiting execution in Bang Kwang Central Prison.

On many occasions, he was also the last man to provide spiritual support to prisoners in the final moments of their lives before they faced a firing squad or lethal injection.

"Normally, death row convicts are happy when they see me. They would talk to me and ask questions about Buddhist doctrine because they all need someone to give them comfort and guidance. It's not easy to stay sane if you are waiting to be executed," the abbot said.

Phra Kru Srinonthawat said what he usually suggests to inmates is to practice meditation as this can help them find calmness and reflect on their crimes and accept the law of karma.

However, the atmosphere is quite different if the abbot shows up at prison at 4pm as it is a sign that the execution has already been scheduled and some inmates will not live to see tomorrow.

(source: Bangkok Post)


Fate of 5 death row prisoners hangs in the balance as nation bids farewell to Asma

As the nation bid farewell to Asma Jahangir, hopes of many awaiting justice will be buried alongside the human rights lawyer.

The human rights lawyer, known to stand by the underdogs and assuming cases free of cost, was the petitioner counsel in five cases challenging capital punishment handed out by military courts. The fate of whom now hangs in balance.

Asma was a death penalty opponent on principle, she always raised voice for democracy and civilian supremacy.

The review petitions filed by Asma were scheduled to be taken up by a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar on February 15.

However, Advocate Chaudhry Akhtar Ali, who has been filing cases on her behalf in the Supreme Court for last 4 decades, has moved an application to the SC, requesting to adjourn the case the petitioners' counsel has passed away.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Akhtar revealed that Asma was arguing their case without charging fees. "She contested almost 1/2 of her cases without charging a single penny, but very few know this aspect of her career because she never wanted to publicise her efforts for needy and deserving clients."

He added that the human rights champion had challenged military courts orders on different grounds.

Unlike many others, Asma was unafraid of going against the tide of popular sentiment although she largely avoided 'traditional' high profile cases.

According to Akhtar, Asma had filed dozens of missing persons cases in the recent past and did not charge anything for them. "We were under instruction that if the families of enforced disappearance victims cannot pay our (AOR) fees, then she will cover the cost," Akhtar further revealed.

Asma Jahangir censures SC

"We referred a number of poor litigants to her. She was not only willing to argue their cases but also made arrangements to house them," he added.

In a country "where people think twice before speaking for marginalised groups, and often they don't speak out at all, she risked her life and liberty and that of those near and dear to her to speak out for victims of domestic violence, religious persecution, political oppression and draconian laws. And it was never for personal gain," top jurist Makhdoom Ali Khan, who had known Jahangir since 1983, told The Express Tribune. "Always to keep the flame of liberty burning and further the cause of freedom."

(source: The Express Tribune)


Blind Welfare Association Secretary Killing----2 sentenced to death, four jailed for life

A tribunal in Dhaka yesterday sentenced 2 people to death and 4 others to life imprisonment for killing Khalilur Rahman, secretary of Bangladesh National Blind Welfare Association, in 2011.

Khalilur was shot dead at Janata Housing in the capital's Shah Ali Bagh on January 1 night in 2011 over a dispute over the association's fund.

Meantime, the tribunal directed the inspector general of police (IGP) to take legal action against Nibaron Chandra Barman, inspector of the Detective Branch of police and also the investigation officer (IO) of the case, for submitting defective charge sheet.

The convicts who received death penalty are: Md Ramzan Ali alias Ramzan and Tipu alias Hira, both members of the association.

The other 4 are: Md Minhaz, Hasanur Rahman Rubel, Md Shahid Mostafa and Zahidul Islam alias Zahid, also the association members.

Of them, Ramzan and Rubel are absconding while the others were present at the court yesterday.

The Speedy Trial Tribunal-4 also acquitted Ayub Ali, Nurul Alam Siddique, Md Sohag Hossain Howlader and Yakub Ali of the murder.

Punishment of the fugitives will be effective from the day of their arrest or surrender. The convicts can file appeal with the High Court within 30 days, Judge Abdur Rahman Sarder said.

Khalilur's wife Hasina Parvin filed the murder case against 10 people with Mirpur Model Police Station on January 2, 2011.

The tribunal directed IGP to take legal action against the IO for his negligence in investigation as he did not include Md Sagor, another member of the association, in the charge sheet even though his involvement in the killing was found.

It also directed the IGP for taking a necessary step to carry out re-investigation against Sagor as early as possible.

(source: The Daily Star)


South Sudan's Dak draws death penalty despite refugee status

In South Sudan, the SPLM-IO has called shameful the decision to condemn James Gatdet Dak, a former spokesman for exiled opposition leader Riek Machar, to death by hanging on charges of treason.

"When the regime should be working to create a conducive environment for negotiations, they are instead handing down a bogus death penalty," said chief SPLM-IO spokesman Mabior Garang Mabior.

The decision violates the current cessation of hostilities agreement, he added, while appealing to CTSAMM monitors as well as the African Union, United Nations, European Union and the troika nations - Norway, the United States and UK - to "intervene in this blatant violation of human rights."

Dak's case first drew international attention in November 2016 when he was deported by Kenyan authorities from Nairobi and handed into the custody of South Sudan's National Security Service and South Sudanese officials, despite the fact that he had valid refugee status.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights sent attorneys to act on his behalf but they were blocked by immigration officials at the Nairobi airport. OHCHR called Dak's return to South Sudan a violation of a "cornerstone of international refugee law."

Other organizations including Amnesty International have appealed for Dak's safety and release, and warned that Kenya's actions demonstrated a "chilling assault on refugee rights."

Machar maintained that the deportation was a violation of the Geneva Convention that put Dak's life in jeopardy. Dak's arrest followed a Facebook post press release approving of the 2016 UN decision to remove Kenyan Lt. General Johnson Mogoa Kimani Ondieki, the former head of UNMISS, following a report on the Juba attacks in July. The UNMISS decision touched off a diplomatic storm in the region.

2 other South Sudanese leaders, Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri Ezibon, disappeared from Nairobi more than a year ago. They remain missing, Amnesty said last month.

(source: Africa Times)


Death penalty for child rape-murder

A local court on Monday sent a 30-year-old Gumla native to the gallows for the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in the state capital 4 years ago.

This is the 2nd time a court in Jharkhand has awarded capital punishment for rape and murder under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act, said counsel Ashok Kumar Roy who argued the case on behalf of the prosecution.

The court of additional district judge Shivpal Singh had, on January 31, held Gandhi Oraon guilty under Sections 376 (rape), 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) of the IPC, besides various sections of the Pocso Act.

"The child was brutally raped and killed on March 19, 2014. It is a rarest of rare crime. The guilty man was an acquaintance of the victim's family," said counsel Roy, adding that the convict had been forwarded to Birsa Munda Central Jail in Hotwar.

Oraon, a native of Khora in Gumla, worked as a cleaner with a private bus service at Khadgarha here and was a colleague of the child's father. "He (Oraon) often visited their house at Bhuiyantoli near the bus terminus. On the fateful day, he took the child out for lunch, but raped and killed her in a graveyard," Roy said.

The body was discovered a day later. The child's face was battered with a boulder to delay identification, but police launched a manhunt and detained Oraon on March 21, 2014, based on suspicions. He managed to flee from thana lock-up on March 22 the same year only to be arrested on his way to Bengal 4 days later.

"On being grilled, he confessed. Police recovered his bloodstained clothes that also yielded sperm samples. Medical examination and forensic tests further confirmed his involvement," Roy said.

Police submitted a chargesheet on June 18, 2014, and produced 14 witnesses against Oraon who was finally convicted this year.

The victim's parents were not present in court when the death sentence was awarded on Monday. "After recording their statements in court and cross-examination, the bereaved parents never came to court. They are also natives of Gumla district," Roy said.

In 2016, a Giridih district court had similarly awarded a death sentence to one Mathura Mahto for the rape and murder of a minor girl.

(source: telegraphindia.com)


Indian-origin Malaysian avoids death penalty after acquitting from drug charges

Gopu Jaya Raman, a 32-year-old Malaysian man of Indian origin escaped the death row in Singapore for possessing drugs as he was acquitted by the country's Apex Court. The judgment released yesterday stated that Gopu Jayaraman was not aware of the hidden illicit drugs in the motorcycle which he rode into Singapore.

The incident associated with the case happened on March 24, 2014, when Gopu Jaya Raman entered Singapore through the Woodlands Checkpoint with three black bundles of diamorphine hidden in his motorcycle. Upon routine checkup, Police officials found the illicit substance, and Gopu Jaya Raman was soon arrested.

Upon questioning, Gopu said that he entered Singapore to visit his girlfriend and another friend to celebrate his birthday. Gopu continuously denied the ownership of diamorphine and claimed that it might have hidden in his motorcycle without his knowledge.

The alleged convict also claimed that he has stopped on his way to fill the fuel in the motorcycle, and at that time drugs were not there in his vehicle.

Later when questioned by officers of the Central Narcotics Bureau, Gopu admitted that he has carried drugs two times in the past, but on March 24, 2014, he was not aware of the illicit substances in his motorcycle.

Gopu even justified the act of transporting drugs on 2 past occasions stating that he was on debt during those times, and a man has compelled him to deliver drugs, and if not the man reportedly threatened Gopu's family if he did not comply with the smuggling operation.

After recording Gopu's statement, Police instructed him to contact his associates aiming to arrest them too. Unfortunately, the operation was called off as nobody turned up at the scheduled meeting. During the follow-up operation, Gopu asked one of his associates why he placed the drugs without his knowledge, and interestingly, the associate did not deny it.

While reading the judgment, the Apex Court stated that there were no material pieces of evidence to connect Gopu with the drugs he possessed, and thus he was acquitted from the case.

(source: ibtimes.cg)

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

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