March 6


Iraq orders execution of foreign women for IS involvement

Iraq is issuing death penalty and life sentences against foreign women found guilty of involvement with the Islamic State - and hundreds await trials.

Iraq has detained hundreds of foreign women allegedly affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) and has sentenced 17 Turkish women to death by hanging. Women from other countries, including France and Germany, also have received death sentences and Baghdad is now facing pressure from those countries to instead extradite the women to their home nations.

Humanitarian officials estimate Iraq is holding about 1,700 foreign women and children. Many of the women are accused of being affiliated by marriage to IS fighters or of providing aid. Trials began after military operations ended and the country declared itself liberated from IS on Dec. 9. Just last week, 16 Turkish women were sentenced to die. Others have been sentenced to life in prison. All of their sentences can be appealed.

France has on more than one occasion expressed its position against the trials. On Jan. 30, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet threatened to intervene in cases of its nationals, though she didn't specify what type of intervention. Belloubet's comment came after the Iraqi judiciary on Jan. 22 sentenced to death a German national of Moroccan origin for allegedly having joined IS.

Iraq has no universal law or convention providing for extradition. It does have bilateral extradition treaties with specific countries, but those treaties have yet to be put into action and don't cover terrorism-related crimes.

Human rights organizations, including the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights and the French Human Rights League, are pressuring the Iraqi government to extradite French suspects to face trials in France, citing a fear of "unfair trials" in Iraq.

"We are trying to retrieve our nationals to prosecute them in Paris," a French human rights official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. "The Iraqi government is incapable of ensuring them fair trials; we do not expect it to do so. 3 French women will be facing trial [soon], and we fear they will be sentenced" before France can reach a satisfactory solution with the Iraqi government. "We are against the death penalty," the official said.

The Iraqi penal code says people accused of committing crimes in Iraq must be tried there. However, once the prisoners have been tried, their countries can have them extradited to serve their sentences in their home countries.

But not everyone in France would welcome their return.

France wants to ensure that its citizens receive fair trials, but its judicial system is already overburdened. Some in the government also object to imprisoning jihadis in French jails for fear they will incite other prisoners. While it may be that there is less resistance to having female rather than male Islamic militants returned to France, the country has made its stance on jihadis clear in the past.

Hisham al-Hashimi, a researcher on extremist groups, told Al-Monitor, "There are 509 women of European nationalities who face trials in Iraq, including 300 Turks."

He added, "Iraq will not extradite these women ... before they are tried, [but] Baghdad wants them to serve their [prison] sentences in their countries. Iraq is trying to communicate with these countries, but it seems that the European countries and Turkey do not want these women back."

In a surprise move, Iraq handed over to Moscow 27 children and 4 Russian women alleged to be IS members whom Iraqi authorities claimed had been "brainwashed" or tricked into joining IS. Back in Russia, these women are to face charges of illegally entering Iraq.

Iraq appears to be speeding up trial proceedings against the foreign women, perhaps because it doesn't want to yield to foreign demands against the death penalty. And the government doesn't want to create a public uproar by showing leniency in some of the trials, or risk a political crisis with parties supporting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has said that people who commit crimes in Iraq will be tried in Iraq.

The women who have been sentenced may appeal their judgments before the Iraqi Court of Cassation. And it could be that international political pressure, particularly from European countries, may still lead Iraq to extradite women believed to have been merely affiliated with IS rather than directly involved in terrorist acts.

(source: Mustafa Saadoun is an Iraqi journalist covering human rights and also the founder and director of the Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights. He formerly worked as a reporter for the Iraqi Council of


LHC summons Zainab rape and murder case record on convict's appeal: report

A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Monday summoned the case record and a report from the superintendent of the Kot Lakhpat Jail on the appeal of Imran Ali against his conviction in rape-cum-murder case of 7-year-old Zainab of Kasur, according to a report by a private media outlet.

Haji Amin Ansari, the father of the victim girl, was present in the court along with his counsel when the bench, headed by Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan, took up the appeal of the condemned prisoner. The appearance of a convict before courts is not necessary for appeal proceedings.

The bench adjourned hearing till March 12, directing the jail superintendent to present the record of the case.

In his jail-appeal, Imran Ali pleaded that he had confessed to his crime and saved the precious time of the trial court. He said in developed countries the courts treated criminals with leniency if they made a confession but the trial court did not show leniency in his case despite the confession. The condemned prisoner urged the court to set aside his death penalty and also commute other sentences.

Talking to the media, Ansari expressed dissatisfaction with the police investigation and complained that justice had not been done in the case. He said he had made 2 telephone calls to Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar but his staff did not get him through to the CJ.

The chief justice, during the final hearing of suo motu case of Zainab's murder, had asked Ansari to feel free to call him in case of any complaint.

On Feb 17, an anti-terrorism court had awarded death sentence on four counts to Ali following a 4-day trial conducted in the central jail. The convict was also separately given life imprisonment and a 7-year jail term in addition to the death penalty.

The trial court had handed down the punishment on the basis of forensic, material and circumstantial evidence presented by the prosecution in addition to the confession made by Imran.

The convict had initially denied the charges against him and opted to contest the trial, however, he pleaded guilty the next day. The court had provided him with a state counsel after his private counsel refused to further defend him following the confession.


'Apostasy should not warrant death penalty': report

An amicus curiae on Monday stated before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) that an apostate should not be given capital punishment, reports a local English daily.

This was stated during the hearing of a petition concerning amendments to the Election Act 2017 regarding the finality of Prophethood.

Dr Aslam Khaki appeared as amicus curiae in the said case before Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqi of IHC.

He said that the extremist Hindu organisations in India are demanding a death sentence for converting to any other religion from Hinduism. According to Dr Khaki, if any such a legislation is adopted in Pakistan, it will only strengthen the demands of the extremist Indians.

According to Dr Khaki explained that there were 2 types of apostates: the one who is involved in anti-state activities should be dealt strictly in accordance with law, whereas changing one???s belief should not warrant a death sentence per se, since religion has no compulsion, he added.

(source for both:


Punjab should have death penalty for drug traders, says minister Navjot Sidhu----"On the lines of neighbouring Haryana, where it has been decided to have capital punishment for rape of girls aged 12 or below, Punjab should make such a law for drug traders."

Claiming that the Congress government in Punjab has reduced the problem of drug abuse, local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday suggested that the next step should be to have the provision for capital punishment to traders of narcotics.

Speaking at a rally at Zira, 35 km from district headquarters Ferozepur, he said, "Such anti-social elements should have more fear of law; hence, on the lines of neighbouring Haryana, where it has been decided to have capital punishment for rape of girls aged 12 or below, Punjab should make such a law for drug traders." Haryana's cabinet has okayed such a change in section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, but it needs further ratification.

"I will propose death penalty to drug traders in the next cabinet meeting," Sidhu said.

On other issues, such as encroachment of government land, Sidhu said he had asked chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to set up a "reinforcement wing" to tackle the menace. "To keep a check on illegal construction and loss of revenue, satellite mapping will prove very effective," he added, citing that, "in Ludhiana alone, earlier property tax was collected from 90,000 properties; but after satellite mapping the number increased to more than 3 lakh".

Meanwhile, in a political developement, Sidhu proposed the name of Inderjit Singh Zira, a former minister and the father of local MLA Kulbir Zira, as party nominee from Khadoor Sahib seat in the Lok Sabha poll due next year. On poll promises, he said, "The Congress government is trying hard within 10 months of its formation to give jobs to the youth, while, on the contrary, the Akalis and their goons snatched businesses, be it contracts, transport or liquor."

In response to a demand by locals to restart the sugar mill, Sidhu said he would take up the matter. He also gave a grant of Rs 6.1 crore for various areas of Zira assembly constituency.

(source: Hindustan Times)


Chandpur serial killer gets death for murder

A serial killer with a rally of 11 kills - all women and workers of readymade garments - has been awarded death for killing a woman in Chandpur's Faridganj back in 2010.

Chandpur's Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal Judge Abdul Mannan also found 2 others guilty and awarded them the same, our local correspondent reports.

Serial killer Rasu Kha was arrested from Tongi on October 2009. The 2 others are Jahirul Islam, Rasu's nephew, and the killer's associate Yunus. While Jahirul is behind bars, Yunus is on the run, Public Prosecutor Adv Habibul Islam told The Daily Star.

After arrest, he told the law enforcers that he had murdered a total of 11 female garment workers. He narrated to them about his life, how he went to become a notorious criminal from a petty thief.

Entrapping the victims by posing as lovers, he used to take the poor and needy girls from Savar and Tongi to Chandpur and kill them after rape, he admitted to police.

Previously, Rasu Khan was awarded death penalty in another case for murdering one Shahida, a garment worker, after rape in Chandpur Sadar in 2008.

(source: The Daily Star)


Serial killer Rashu Kha, 2 others to die for killing woman

A court here on Tuesday convicted 3 people including notorious serial killer Rashu Kha and awarded them capital punishment in a case filed over killing a woman after rape in 2009.

Chandpur Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal Judge also District and Sessions Judge Abul Mannan handed down the verdict after examining all records and witnesses, said Mir Kashem, sub-inspector of Chandpur Sadar Police Station.

The death convicts are - Rashu Kha, 45, a notorious serial killer of the area, his nephew Jahirul Islam, 35, and Yunus Miah, 42.

Parveen Begum, 35, was killed after being raped in Hasa village of the district on July, 20, 2009 by the accused.

Rashu Kha is also accused of 8 murder and rape cases in the area, the SI added.

(source: UNB News)


Israel's Security Cabinet to Discuss Bill That Would Allow Death Penalty for Terrorists----The legislation, promoted by Netanyahu and Defense Minister Lieberman, is facing sweeping professional objections from the security services

The security cabinet is scheduled this week to consider a bill that would permit the death penalty for terrorists. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are promoting the bill, though the prime minister is less enthusiastic about it. The legislation is facing sweeping professional objections from the security services, however, making it doubtful that the bill will be passed.

Lieberman and his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, have long supported the death penalty for terrorists, particularly in cases in which civilians are murdered. In early January, the Knesset gave its preliminary support for a bill sponsored by Knesset member Robert Ilatov (Yisrael Beiteinu) that would no longer require the unanimous support of 3-judge military court panels in the territories to sentence a terrorist to death. A regular majority of 2 would suffice. The bill would also eliminate the authority of the commander of the Israeli army's Central Command to overturn a death sentence.

The defense minister expressed support for the death penalty last month following the sentencing of Omar al-Abed for the stabbing deaths of 3 members of the Salomon family - a father, Yosef, his son Elad and his daughter, Chaya - and the wounding of Yosef's wife, Tova, in the West Bank settlement of Halamish last July. 2 members of an Ofer Military Court panel sentenced Abed to 4 life sentences, but a dissenting judge, Lt. Col. Dov Gilboa, said the only appropriate punishment was death.

Lieberman issued a statement of support for Gilboa's position. For his part, in the course of a condolence visit to the Salomon family, Netanyahu said he supported the death penalty for terrorists. Speaking in the Knesset session during which the bill received preliminary support, Netanyahu said: "We are not doing this [supporting the bill] absentmindedly, but [because] there is basic justice in extreme situations. Anyone who slaughters and laughs will not live out his days in prison."

At the suggestion of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit, Netanyahu decided to hold an in-depth discussion with the security cabinet on the implications of imposing the death penalty. The debate, which has been delayed for some time, is due to take place next week. Despite Lieberman's position, the professionals in the Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet security service have long objected to the death penalty for terrorists. There are several reasons for this.

For one, the security services fear that the death penalty would transform executed prisoners into popular heroes among the Palestinians, more than occurs currently with those in prison or who are killed in gun battles. Moreover, there is concern that terrorist groups will intensify their efforts to kidnap people whom they would use as hostages in an effort to obtain the release of terrorists sentenced to death, as well as concern that other Palestinians would seek to emulate the actions of terrorists sentenced to death. Such views were expressed at several meetings attended by senior political and security officials.

Given the broad opposition among the security services, it's doubtful the bill will ever pass. Nevertheless, one can assume that cabinet members and Knesset members on the right will continue to raise the issue because the public supports it, particularly for perpetrators of attacks in which civilians are killed.



5 Prisoners Hanged in Four Cities

5prisoners were executed at Ilam, Hamadan, Kermanshah, and Urmia central prisons on murder charges.

According to a close source, on the morning of Monday, March 5, a prisoner was hanged at Urmia Central Prison on murder charges. The prisoner, identified as Rahim (Abubakr) Salimi, was arrested and sentenced to death 12 years ago. The prisoner was transferred to solitary confinement along with another prisoner from ward 3-4. The 2nd prisoner, identified as Ahmad Kordestani, was able to gain the consent of the plaintiffs and returned to his cell.

According to a report by Kurdistan Human Rights Network, on the morning of Sunday, March 4, a prisoner was executed at Kermanshah Central Prison on the charge of murder. The prisoner who was 26 at the time of the murder was named Masoud Vakili. He wasn't able to meet his family for the last time before he was executed.

Moreover, on Wednesday, January 17, a prisoner was executed at Ilam Central Prison on murder charges, but the state-run media have not announced this execution so far. The prisoner, identified as Ehsan Yaqubi, from Abdanan, was charged with murdering a man named Amin Ayini in 2014.

A well-informed source told Iran Human Rights (IHR), "Ehsan and Amin were both shepherds, and they were friends. They got into a fight during which Ehsan shot and killed Amin."

According to another report, on the morning of Wednesday, March 1, another prisoner was executed at the same prison. The prisoner, identified as Mehdi Kazemnia, son of Ali, was also charged with murder.

A close source told IHR, "Mehdi Kazemnia killed a man from Haft Cheshmeh village during a fight."

According to another report by HRANA, on the morning of Thursday, March 2, a prisoner was hanged at Hamedan Central Prison on murder charges. The prisoner, identified as Hamid Imani, son of Mohammad Ali, was arrested 10 years ago.

None of the aforementioned executions was announced by the state-run media so far.

According to Iran Human Rights annual report on the death penalty, 142 prisoners were executed in Iran for murder charges in 2016. There is a lack of any classification of murder by degree in Iran which results in issuing a death sentence for all types of the murder, regardless of intensity and intent.


Tehran Police Chief Says Man Accused of Killing Policemen Will Be "Punished by Hanging"

The alleged driver of a bus that was driven into 3 policemen and 2 members of the Basij volunteer militia, killing them all during recent clashes between the police and Sufi followers of the Gonabadi Order in Tehran, could be executed within weeks.

"With the coordination that has taken place with the judiciary, the bus driver that drove over the policemen will be punished by hanging before the end of the [Iranian] year [March 20, 2018]," Tehran Police Chief Gen. Hossein Rahimi said on March 1 in an interview with the state-funded Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).

The bus driver has been identified as Mohammad Salas, a Gonabadi Dervish. On February 21, a man claiming to be Salas appeared on a video in a hospital room apologizing to the families of the victims for driving the bus that killed the 5 men.

The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) was unable to verify the veracity of the video, which was posted on Twitter by the Fars News Agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

"I don't know what I was thinking at that moment. I had no intention to kill anyone. I got angry and pressed the gas," said the man in the video. "It was out of my control ... It just happened. I give my condolences. What can I do?"

Clashes broke out outside a police station in the Pasdaran neighborhood of Tehran on February 19 and 20 after police forces attacked a rally of dervishes demanding the release of a fellow Gonabadi.

The Gonabadi Dervishes' interpretation of Islam differs from that of Iran's ruling Muslim Shia establishment. The Islamic Republic views any alternative belief system, especially those seeking converts, as a threat to the prevailing Shia establishment and has imprisoned members of the Sufi order and expelled them from university for their faith.

CHRI reported on February 26 that approximately 170 members of the Sufi order were being treated for injuries in 4 hospitals in Tehran. 2 of them, Mohammad Labbaf and Nematollah Riahi, were in serious condition.

During a previous press conference, Gen. Rahimi said the police contemplated using military-grade weapons against the protesters.

"Our tactful and moderate response should not be interpreted as appeasement," he said on February 22. "We could have destroyed the agitators' house with a rocket-propelled grenade but we acted tactfully and from a position of strength."

While visiting injured security forces at a hospital in the capital on March 2, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi threatened to "deal seriously" with "the perpetrators of recent disturbances."

He made no mention of a possible death sentence against the bus driver but said the drivers of 2 passenger cars who had also allegedly run over security forces on February 19 had been arrested and "confessed."

On February 23, a group of political prisoners held in Rajaee Shahr Prison in Karaj, West of Tehran, issued a statement condemning the use of excessive force against the Gonabadi protesters.

"During these incidents, a number of anti-riot forces and plainclothes Basij agents resorted to violence and beat and injured the dervishes, which could have ignited sudden anger and retaliatory action by the dervishes and led to unpleasant consequences," said the statement.

(source for both: Iran Human Rights)


Lawyer Jere Calls for Abolition of Death Sentence

The death sentence slapped on Chilanga Member of Parliament Keith Mweemba has reignited the debate about the sentence in Zambia.

Former Presidential spokesperson turned lawyer Dickson Jere pens his views speaking strongly against the death sentence.

Below are his thoughts:

Abolish Death Sentence

By Dickson Jere

The recent conviction and sentence to death of prominent politician, Hon. Keith Mukata, MP for murder has reignited the debate on capital punishment in Zambia. There is always sharp differences between 2 competing theories on death penalty and consensus almost impossible. Those for or against death sentence usually provide very convincing arguments, some backed up with religious overtones. Reminiscing the biblical scripture in Exodus 20:23-27 that teaches us the principles of "life for life" or "an eye for eye", are the comfort lines for those in support. But some of us the abolitionists argue that death sentence is not a deterrent and that people do need a 2nd chance. We equally find comfort in the biblical scripture in Matthew 5:38-39 when Jesus taught us that "I tell you do not take revenge on someone who offends you".

We further argue that miscarriage of justice is possible at times and an innocent person may get to the gallows on unreliable evidence.

In 2003, I was privileged to have been appointed as Commissioner by President Levy Mwanawasa to help gather views on the new constitution and the death penalty was one of the issues we considered. We received 1,661 petitioners who wanted death penalty abolished while 1,616 petitioned for it to be maintained.

It was a close call!

In Zambia, the sentence is imposed on very serious and few cases, namely, treason, murder and aggravated robbery. Zambian Presidents have been reluctant to sign the death warrants. Statistics show that between 1978 to 1987 and 1988 to 1997, only 7 and 12 convicts were executed in Zambia. There has been no execution from 1998 onwards, meaning President Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, Michael Sata and the current Edgar Lungu never appended their signatures on the death warrants. So effectively, we have a de facto moratorium on death penalty! When President Banda was given the warrants, he declined to sign saying he didn't "want to have blood on my hands". President Mwanawasa said: "I do not want to be a chief hanger".

And so when we finally sat as Constitution Review Commission (CRC) to decide the abolition of death penalty, we split into half and no consensus was reached. Thus our recommendation was that it should be kept on our statute book temporally while the final question should be decided by a national referendum. This explains why Zambia to-date has not ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Second Optional Protocol) that provides for the abolition of death penalty.

And so I join those calling for the abolition of death penalty and don't hang my friend! Replace it with life sentence or longer jail terms.

I wonder if we still even have a hang man. From 1998 no job and getting free salary!



Russian Deputy Proposes Death Penalty for Foreigners Guilty of Election Meddling

A Russian lawmaker has proposed to introduce the death penalty for foreigners guilty of interference in the country's electoral process, less than 2 weeks before presidential elections scheduled for March 18.

The Kremlin placed a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, enshrined in Russian law, over 2 decades ago to gain membership in the Council of Europe. Last month, 13 Russians were indicted by a special prosecutor for a widespread online influence campaign intended to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

"We should give 25 years [for interference in Russian elections]. Or the death penalty, because it's a [call to] change the constitutional order," State Duma deputy Leonid Kalashnikov told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Monday.

"That's the worst crime that there is, other than rape and murder," he added.

His comments came on the day that 2 senior Foreign Ministry and Federation Council officials claimed to have evidence that the United States was attempting to interfere in Russia's presidential elections.

(source: The Moscow Times)
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