"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ismael Arciniegas, el primer colombiano ejecutado en China

Ismael Enrique Arciniegas Valencia
Ismael Enrique Arciniegas Valencia
Antes de ser ejecutado, Ismael Enrique Arciniegas pudo hablar unos minutos con su hijo. “No es mucho lo que puedo decir por motivos de seguridad de mi familia, pero sí puedo decir que el flagelo del narcotráfico destruye familias”, dijo Juan José, hijo del Ismael, a través de su cuenta de Facebook.

Tras permanecer siete años preso en la ciudad de Guangzhou, China, el Tribunal Popular Superior condenó a Arciniegas a pena de muerte con inyección letal. Su crimen: introducir 4 kilos de droga al país asiático. Murió a los 72 años. Hace seis años su hermano, Luis Germán Arciniegas, murió en China por un derrame cerebral. Los dos estuvieron bajo custodia de las autoridades chinas por narcotráfico.

China inspira temor en los traficantes de droga. De acuerdo con datos de la Cancillería, 8.526 colombianos están presos por narcotráfico en el exterior. Mientras que en la mayoría de los casos reciben penas severas como la cadena perpetua, en China se ha consolidado la pena de muerte como sanción.

A la fecha, según la Cancillería, van 15 personas condenadas a pena de muerte en China, tres ya fueron ratificadas, dos están en espera de apelación y en 10 las autoridades otorgaron la suspensión de la sanción por dos años.

El mismo viceministro de Asuntos Multilaterales, Francisco Echeverri, admitió que el sistema penal en China es radical. “Hemos logrado algunos éxitos en la repatriación de connacionales pero eso se ha logrado por razones de salud”.

En el caso de Ismael Enrique Arciniegas, el viceministro aclaró que existía un agravante por los 4 kilos de droga que ingresó al país asiático. “El delito de narcotráfico se considera una falta gravísima por la cantidad de droga que encontraron. Esto nos ha dificultado las gestiones un poco más”.

La Cancillería agotó todos los recursos diplomáticos para evitar que Arciniegas fuera ejecutado. Envió notas diplomáticas, gestionó diálogos con el embajador de Colombia en China y con el embajador chino en Colombia y entregó “reiteradas peticiones de clemencia”.

El panorama en el mundo tampoco es favorable para la Cancillería. Según Amnistía Internacional, “en 2015 hubo un aumento increíble del número de personas ejecutadas —al menos 1.634—, el más elevado que habíamos registrado desde 1989”.

China es autónoma


Un punto en el que insistió el viceministro Echeverri es en que, pese a que Colombia esté en desacuerdo con la pena de muerte, China es autónoma en su legislación. “Es uno de los 34 países donde el narcotráfico es considerado un delito grave. Tenemos que desde 2010 se han ejecutado en ese país nacionales de Corea del Sur, Reino Unido, Canadá y Filipinas”.

Para Mauricio Reyes, experto en Derecho internacional de la Universidad Nacional, no sorprende la decisión del Gobierno chino: “Este país ha considerado los derechos humanos como una intromisión occidental. La mayoría de naciones consideran la pena de muerte como una violación de los derechos humanos porque no se resocializa, está sujeta a errores procesales y deja al estado como victimario”.

Desde una orilla distinta opina Enrique Posada, director del Instituto Confucio de la Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano: “La cantidad de droga y la forma cómo se trafica la droga son determinantes claves para un tribunal chino. La pena de muerte por tráfico de drogas también existe en países como Japón y Tailandia. Es una pena que inhibe por temor a los traficantes”.

Fuente: El Colombiano, 28 De Febrero 2017


Ismael Arciniegas, el primer colombiano ejecutado en China por narcotráfico


Otros 130 nacionales se encuentran en China detenidos, en su mayoría, por narcotráfico. De ellos, cuatro fueron condenados a pena de muerte. Colombia y China ultiman detalles para un tratado que podría evitar su muerte.

Juan José, hijo de Ismael, se aferra a una familiar minutos después de que la Cancillería confirmara que sus esfuerzos diplomáticos para intentar salvarlo fueron infructuosos.AFP.
Ismael Enrique Arciniegas Valencia se convirtió en el primer colombiano en ser ejecutado en China por el delito de narcotráfico. Tres kilos de cocaína sellaron su suerte. Otra colombiana, Sara Galeano, fue devuelta a Colombia hace una semana. A ella se le encontró un kilo de esta sustancia. A Arciniegas se le hallaron tres kilos y eso fue suficiente para que la justicia china decidiera imponerle la pena capital pese a los reclamos del gobierno colombiano. Dos destinos distintos: Galeano está viva para contar su historia; Arciniegas está muerto.

Este vallecaucano de 72 años de edad fue detenido en 2010 en el aeropuerto de Guangzhou. Llevaba la droga, por la que le iban a pagar $15 millones, adherida a su cuerpo. Puntualmente: a sus tirantas. Al verse descubierto confesó, pero no fue suficiente. En 2012 fue condenado. Y, en 2013, su sentencia fue confirmada: pena de muerte.

Ese mismo 2013, un hermano suyo también detenido por narcotráfico, Luis Germán Arciniegas, murió en una cárcel de Macao, donde se encontraba detenido por cuenta de una condena a 12 años de prisión. Ismael Enrique fue ejecutado en horas de la mañana (horas de la noche del lunes, en Colombia), así se lo informó el embajador chino, Li Nianping, a un grupo de periodistas. Luego la Cancillería lo confirmó.

“El Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, en nombre del Gobierno de Colombia, lamenta profundamente la decisión tomada por las autoridades judiciales de la República Popular China, de ejecutar a Ismael Enrique Arciniegas Valencia, detenido en ese país, a pesar de las reiteradas peticiones de clemencia y las varias solicitudes presentadas al gobierno chino para que su sentencia de muerte fuera conmutada”.

Se realizaron 28 visitas para comprobar su estado de salud y se enviaron siete notas, en las que el Gobierno colombiano reiteró su rechazo a la pena de muerte, y pidió que a Arciniegas se le conmutara la pena. Pero China no dio su brazo a torcer. Aunque en otros casos, como el de Galeano, ha decidido de forma distinta.

“Estaba por fuera de Colombia por bruta, porque cometí el error de irme con droga para China”, expresó Galeano a su llegada a Colombia, el pasado 23 de febrero. Y les hizo un llamado a quienes piensan llevar droga a China: “Por favor no arriesguen lo más hermoso que tienen, la libertad, el amor de la familia, el ver crecer a sus hijos, estar con ellos y no perder el amor, porque el amor de la familia es lo que más vale”.

En ese país hay otros 163 colombianos detenidos, 147 por narcotráfico. De ellos, cinco fueron condenados a pena de muerte; a tres de ellos ya les confirmaron la pena. Mejor dicho: ya no tienen margen de maniobra.

A los otros dos les queda apelar su sentencia y esperar a que la justicia china reconsidere su decisión. Otros 10 se encuentran con pena de muerte con suspensión por dos años y otros 15 fueron condenados a cadena perpetua.

Su suerte depende, entre otras, de que Colombia y China lleguen a un tratado para el traslado de condenados, que se viene discutiendo desde hace un par de años y, de acuerdo con el embajador Nianping, se encuentra en su recta final.

La Cancillería señaló, al respecto, que “el Gobierno de Colombia seguirá haciendo todas las gestiones que estén a su alcance para proteger los derechos de sus ciudadanos, pero no puede garantizar ni la repatriación en todos los casos, ni la no aplicación de la pena de muerte en aquellos países que tienen establecido este castigo”. Colombia ha logrado la repatriación efectiva de 172 connacionales, presos en prisiones alrededor del mundo. Seis de ellos fueron repatriados por razones humanitarias.

En el caso de China, ha habido dos repatriaciones: la de Sara Galeano y la de Hárold Carrillo Sánchez. Carrillo fue repatriado el 26 de noviembre de 2015. Había sido condenado en China a cadena perpetua.

Un tratado entre los ministerios de Justicia de China y Colombia que facilite las repatriaciones puede ser la diferencia entre la vida y la muerte. Porque la ley china no va a dejar de ser severa: se trata, para China, de una cuestión histórica.

Este es uno de los 34 países donde el narcotráfico es considerado un delito grave y es castigado hasta con cadena perpetua o pena de muerte. La ley china establece que el contrabando de más de 50 gramos de cocaína puede ser castigado con penas que van desde 15 años de cárcel hasta la pena capital.

La ley no distingue nacionalidades. No hay registros oficiales, pero se sabe que en ese país se ha ejecutado a ciudadanos de Corea del Sur, Reino Unido, Japón, Canadá, Filipinas, entre otros países. Hasta el hijo del actor Jackie Chan, Jaycee Chan, estuvo detenido unos meses por “proporcionar un espacio para el consumo de droga”. Una muestra de la severidad china en lo que a los estupefacientes se refiere. Una severidad, de nuevo, que tiene una razón histórica.

Todo se remonta a mediados del siglo XIX. El entonces Imperio Británico tenía inundada de opio a China. Ese país, al ver que el consumo de opio se había convertido en un problema de salud pública, tomó cartas en el asunto y prohibió su tráfico. El funcionario chino Lin Hse Tsu le escribió a la reina Victoria pidiéndole ayuda en ese sentido:

“Existe una categoría de extranjeros malhechores que fabrican opio y lo traen a nuestro país para venderlo, incitando a los necios a destruirse a sí mismos, simplemente con el fin de sacar provecho. Ahora el vicio se ha extendido por todas partes y el veneno va penetrando cada vez más profundamente. Por este motivo, hemos decidido castigar con penas muy severas a los mercaderes y a los fumadores de opio, con el fin de poner término definitivamente a la propagación de este vicio. Todo opio que se descubre en China se echa en aceite hirviendo y se destruye. En lo sucesivo, todo barco extranjero que llegue con opio a bordo será incendiado”.

Estas fueron las palabras de Lin Hse Tsu. ¿Cuál fue la respuesta del Imperio Británico? Dos Guerras del Opio. La primera, entre 1838 y 1842. La segunda, entre 1856 y 1860. China fue derrotada en ambas ocasiones y, por ello, se le obligó a liberalizar el tráfico de opio. Mejor dicho: a que los británicos siguieran drogando a su población.

Y, aprovechando el momento, el Imperio Británico se quedó con un puerto que fue considerado, durante años, la joya de la corona: Hong Kong. Lo devolvió sólo hasta 1997. Hoy, Hong Kong es una región autónoma en constante pelea con Pekín, por una autonomía mayor.

Pese a la severidad de la ley china, decenas de colombianos siguen viajando a ese país con droga. En 2006 había, apenas, tres colombianos en cárceles chinas. Ahora hay 163 detenidos. Es una cifra menor si se tiene en cuenta que en el mundo hay 15.034 colombianos detenidos, el 56 % de ellos por delitos vinculados con estupefacientes.

La diferencia es que en China hay pena de muerte. Y la justicia de ese país no duda a la hora de imponerla. Si antes los narcotraficantes decían que era preferible “una tumba en Colombia que una cárcel en Estados Unidos”, ahora parece preferible una cárcel en Colombia que una tumba en China. O, mejor, nunca irse de “mula” a ese país.

Fuente: El Espectador, Martes 28 De Febrero 2017


Colombian Executed in China for drug trafficking


TODAY COLOMBIA – Ismael Arciniegas is the first Colombian to be executed in China for drug trafficking.The execution took place on 27 February 2017.

Colombia’s Foreign Ministry on Monday protested to China in a last-minute diplomatic effort to stop the death penalty from being applied against one of its nationals.

“He is very happy that he is going to heaven,” said Juan Herrera, Arciniegas’ son, who told the media he was able to talk to his father by phone.

“We already spoke with him, we had a half-hour conversation where we were able to say good-bye to him, we were very calm, very happy, because he said he was going to meet his relatives who had died,” said Herrera.

Arciniegas, 72 years of age, from Cali, Valle del Cauca was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to a death penalty in 2013 after he admitting that he was carrying almost four kilos of cocaine, in Guangzhou, China, enough to be sentenced to death, despite his confession.

Arciniegas was found carrying the illegal drugs strapped to his body.

This is the second time the Arciniegas Valencia lives tragedy at the hands of drug trafficking. Two years and five months ago, Ismael’s brother, Luis Germán Arciniegas, died in Hong Kong of a stroke while he was in detention the penitentiary centre in Macao province.

Luis Germán Arciniegas had been arrested on June 23, 2011 in with drugs and sentenced to 12 years and 3 months in prison. The ashes of Luis Germán were repatriated to Colombia and the Chancellery gave them to his daughter.

Currently, there 163 Colombians in jail in China, 147 for drug trafficking. Four other Colombians sentenced to death: Three, whose sentences have been ratified, one under appeal.

Some 15,000 Colombians are imprisoned around the world, the majority for drug trafficking. Of those, 15 in China have been sentenced to death and an equal number to life imprisonment.

Since November, China has repatriated two convicted Colombian drug traffickers for humanitarian reasons so they could complete their sentences at home.

Source: Q Costa Rica, February 28, 2017


Colombia pushes to stop China from executing drug smuggler


BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia's government on Monday protested to China over the impending execution of a convicted drug trafficker in a last-minute diplomatic effort to stop the death penalty from being applied against one of its nationals.

Ismael Arciniegas was arrested in 2010 for trying to smuggle four kilograms of cocaine into China in exchange for $5,000. 

He was later sentenced to death and Colombia's Foreign Ministry said it had learned the native of Cali would be executed in the coming hours.

Some 15,000 Colombians are imprisoned around the world, the majority for drug trafficking. Of those, 15 in China have been sentenced to death and an equal number to life imprisonment.

Since November, China has repatriated two convicted Colombian drug traffickers for humanitarian reasons so they could complete their sentences at home.

Source: Star Tribune, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Indonesian man faints while being publicly caned by religious officer

Indonesia: A man collapsed as he was getting caned by a religious officer.
AN INDONESIAN man collapsed while being publicly caned Monday for having sex outside of marriage.

Herizal bin Yunus, 27, fainted after being caned eight times in front of a crowd in Aceh, the only province of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country that imposes sharia law.

Officials carried him off stage after he collapsed during the punishment outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, which was carried out by a religious official dressed in an all-encompassing, hooded cloak.

But once he came to, a doctor examined him and said he was in good health, and he was taken back up on stage to be flogged another 14 times. 

A local religious court had sentenced him to be caned a total of 22 times.

The man had broken Islamic laws that forbid people in Aceh from spending time in close proximity with members of the opposite sex who are not their husband or wife.

He was one of eight people publicly caned on Monday for breaking the province’s Islamic regulations.

Public canings take place regularly in Aceh, and people can be punished for offences ranging from gambling, to drinking alcohol, to gay sex. However it is rare for someone to collapse.

Aceh, on the island of Sumatra, began implementing sharia law after being granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt by the central government in Jakarta to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.

Islamic laws have been strengthened since the province struck a peace deal with Jakarta in 2005.

Photos of the public caning:

Medieval and barbaric punishments.




Source: news.com.au, Agence France-Presse, February 28, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Malaysia to charge 2 foreign women for airport murder of Kim Jong-nam

Kim Jong Nam
Kim Jong Nam
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian prosecutors will charge two women - an Indonesian and a Vietnamese - with murder over their alleged involvement in the killing of the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, the Southeast Asian country's attorney general said on Tuesday.

Kim Jong Nam, who had criticised the regime of his family and his half-brother Kim Jong Un, was killed in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month after the two women allegedly smeared VX nerve agent, a chemical described by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, across his face.

Attorney general Mohamed Apandi Ali said the women will be formally charged on Wednesday under section 302 of the penal code, which carries the death penalty. "I can confirm that," he told Reuters in a text message.

South Korean officials believe the murder was carried out by North Korean agents, and Malaysia has identified eight North Koreans suspected of involvement in the killing.

Jong-nam, 45, was killed by two women, who wiped his face with a chemical at the KLIA2 departure hall on Feb 13.

He was about to leave for Macau.

The North Korean embassy continues to be a focal point for the media.

Source: Asia One, February 28, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Rise in Executions and Crackdown Against Iran's Youth

87 inmates were sent to the gallows in the month of January alone.
"87 inmates were sent to the gallows in the month of January '17 alone."
Executions and crackdown against Iran’s youth is increasingly on the rise.

Many inmates in their 20’s and 30’s have been executed or killed during the past months, while hundreds have also been arrested or mistreated. Wrote Donya Jam in ‘News Blaze’ on February 26, 2017.

Dozens of prisoners have been hanged during the first two weeks of February, including a mass execution of 12 prisoners in Gohardasht Prison, west of Tehran, on Feb. 15. 13 inmates, including prisoners aged 29 and 30, were executed between Feb. 11-13 in the prisons of Qom, Zabol, Jiroft and Mashhad.

87 executed in the month of January alone


On Jan. 29, regime authorities publicly executed four prisoners in the cities of Bandar Abbas and Mashhad. These prisoners were all in their early to mid 20’s. Reports indicate 87 inmates were sent to the gallows in the month of January alone. Many of those executed never received due process and some were hanged while their cases were still open.

Hamid Ahmadi, a juvenile offender, has also been reported to be at imminent risk of hanging. The United Nations and prominent human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have been campaigning to halt his execution. 160 juveniles are on death row in Iran, according to the United Nations. The number, however, could be higher.

On Feb. 9 in Shadegan (Khuzestan Province in southwest Iran), state security forces shot and killed a young Iranian-Arab man named Hassan Ablu Ghabish.

Arrested for absurd reasons


Alongside hangings and killings, regime authorities are also continuously arresting and attacking youths for absurd reasons.

230 were arrested for attending a mixed-gender party in December 2016.
In Shiraz, a teenage girl celebrating her birthday along with friends was brutally beaten and arrested for wearing ripped jeans. Two young women were arrested in Dezful for riding a motorcycle. And hundreds have been arrested between 2016 and January 2017 for attending mixed-gender parties. In some instances, the regime has also brutally punished the arrestees.

Back in May 2016, Iranian authorities arrested and flogged 30 students for attending a mixed-gender graduation party. Their flogging sentence was implemented within 24 hours of their arrest. Each student received 99 lashes.

Imprisonment for attending mixed-gender parties continues. It was reported on Jan. 28 that another 13 boys and girls were arrested in Gilan Province, northern Iran.

One may ask why is the regime increasingly targeting youths? If we recall the 2009 nationwide anti-government uprising in Iran, the youth took the forefront of the demonstrations. They played one of the most significant roles throughout the protests. Therefore, the regime is using suppression as a method to spread fear in society in order to prevent the youths from uprising.

And part of the reason why the regime is heavily cracking down on parties and get-togethers is because they fear people’s gatherings could turn into anti-government uprisings. The regime is doing everything in its power to prevent a reoccurrence of the 2009 demonstrations.

Iranian youth activists want their voices heard by the international community


Now that reform in Iran has been proven to be nothing but a myth, another question that may be asked is what is the true solution to bring an end to the suffering of Iran’s youth? This is where Iranian youth activists want their voices heard by the international community. They want to see an end to deals and negotiations with the regime, and instead yearn for the international community to recognize the Iranian people’s aspirations for freedom and democracy.

Sourosh Abouthalebi, an Iranian student in Belgium majoring in political science, expressed his deep concern about the executions. He called on the international community to end economic deals with Iran because the continuation of such agreements signals to the regime’s leaders to carry on with their human rights violations.

“Trading with this regime without raising any human rights concerns is perceived as a green light by this regime for even more executions,” he said.

Young people arrested in Iran for mixed-gender partying
Yearning for freedom and justice: Young Iranians held for mixed-gender partying
Abouthalebi added that countries should instead support the Iranian people.

“Each country has a unique opportunity to place itself alongside the Iranian people. Iranians will never forget those that have stood up for the rights of the Iranian people during the darkest period of Iran’s history,” he concluded.

Afshin Motevalli, an Iranian student studying pedagogy at the University of Oslo said the international community should end relations with Iran.

“I ask the international community to stop the appeasement vis-a-vis the Iranian regime. The regime in Iran gives nothing back to its people nor the international community other than terrorism, suppression, executions, and destruction,” he said.

Motevalli also mentioned that the world community should support regime change in Iran by the people and their resistance movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

“The international community should support the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), as well as the millions of men and women in Iran longing for freedom and democracy,” Motevalli added.

“Regime change is the only method to end suppression, torture and executions, and regime change is the only path to democracy, equality, freedom and harmony,” he finalized.

Iran’s youth are oppressed. They yearn for freedom and justice. The only way to bring an end to the executions and suppression of youth is through democratic regime change. Therefore, the international community should end all deals with Iran and instead support the Iranian opposition PMOI/MEK and people in their plight to establish freedom. This is the only way to put an end to the injustice and the only way the youth of Iran can be guaranteed a brighter, safer and hopeful future.

Ms. Donya Jam is an Iranian-American Christian and human rights activist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Shenandoah University.

Source: NCRI, February 28, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Nevada lawmakers introduce bill to end death penalty

Nevada's death chamber
Nevada's death chamber
Assemblyman James Ohrenschall and Sen. Tick Segerblom, both Las Vegas Democrats, on Friday introduced Assembly Bill 237, which would abolish capital punishment in Nevada.

If enacted, the bill will set life without the possibility of parole as the maximum punishment for crime. In doing so, any current sentences to death would be commuted to life without parole.

When asked to provide some background for the bill, co-sponsor Segerblom said it was submitted not only from a moral standpoint, but as a matter of practicality.

"It's costing the state millions of dollars to try to kill people, when in fact the system does not allow you to kill people," he said. "The fact is that given the way the process works, the number of appeals, no one is going to be executed in Nevada in our lifetime.

"Meanwhile, to try to execute somebody, the cost for prosecution doubles, you have to hire twice as many lawyers, a psychiatrist, and the legal fees just go from there."

According to 2016 statistics provided by the Death Penalty Information Center, Nevada had 80 inmates on death row in Ely but the last execution was in April of 2006. This high number can be attributed to 2 principle factors. The 1st is a lack of availability of lethal injection drugs. After the 2015 session allocated $860,000 for a new, ADA-compliant execution chamber, the state could not find a pharmaceutical company to supply the necessary drugs out of the 247 that were asked for proposals.

Many pharmaceutical companies have steered away from production of lethal injection drugs because of a series of lawsuits within the last 15 years, questioning not only the legality of the death penalty, but protocols for lethal injection and ethics of supplying the drug.

The 2nd reason is the unlimited appeals allowed upon being sentenced to death. Because Nevada Revised Statute does not enumerate a limit on appeals of an execution sentencing, the 12 individuals executed since 1979 have all been voluntarily executed. All other inmates have spent the remainder of their lives on death row submitting appeals.

With the strong Democratic majority in the Legislature, leadership is confident they will see the bill through to the desk of Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The Republican caucus declined to comment on the bill at this time. The bill was assigned to the Assembly Committee on Judiciary, where it will be heard within the coming weeks.

Source: Elko Free Press, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Malaysia: Death row inmate spared the noose thanks to royal pardon

Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah
Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah (center)
A man who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking in 2009 has received a 2nd chance at life after Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah granted him a pardon.

Shahrul Izani Suparman, 33, and his family were told of the news a week ago at the Sungai Buloh prison.

His mother, Sapenah Nawawi, 59, who had been working together with Amnesty International Malaysia to save his life, said she was very happy that her son got a second chance.

"I am very grateful to God. I would like to thank His Royal Highness for granting him a pardon and thank you to everyone who has been fighting to save his life," she told a press conference on Monday.

In September 2003, Shahrul Izani, then 19, was arrested during a routine roadblock after being found in possession of 622gm of cannabis.

In December 2009, he was convicted by the Shah Alam High Court for drug trafficking, an offence that carries the mandatory death penalty.

Amnesty International Malaysia took up Shahrul's case, making calls to the Selangor Pardons Board to commute the death sentence.

More than 10,000 signatures from all over the world were collected in an appeals campaign that began in 2015.

Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni said that while this battle was won as a life had been saved, the use of the death penalty continues.

"The secrecy surrounding executions in Malaysia (further) tarnishes our eroding human rights record at the global level.

"Now that the Sultan of Selangor has granted Shahrul's clemency application, we hope that the Federal Government will exercise its political will and abolish the mandatory death penalty as a 1st step towards total abolition," she said.

Source: thestar.com.my, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

US Supreme Court snubs challenge to death penalty constitutionality

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a direct challenge to the constitutionality of the death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment, rejecting an appeal by a Louisiana death row inmate convicted of killing three brothers.

Liberal Justice Stephen Breyer objected to the court's decision not to hear the appeal by Marcus Reed, a drug dealer convicted in the 2010 shooting deaths of the three brothers, including a 13-year-old, over the theft of marijuana and an Xbox videogame console from his home.

The court's action came at a time of deep divisions among the eight justices over the death penalty, with Breyer and other liberals expressing doubt about whether capital punishment remains acceptable under the U.S. Constitution four decades after the court reinstated it.

Breyer, renewing his concerns over how the death penalty is administered in America, noted that Reed was sentenced to death in Louisiana's Caddo Parish, a county that he said has apparently sentenced more people to death per capita than any other county in the United States in recent history.

Breyer wrote that "the arbitrary role that geography plays in the imposition of the death penalty," with certain places much more likely than others to use it, helped him "conclude that the court should consider the basic question of the death penalty's constitutionality."

Reed, who is now 39 and was 33 at the time of the murders, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to determine whether the death penalty represented cruel and unusual punishment, forbidden by the U.S. Constitution's Eighth Amendment.

"The standards of decency have evolved since this court last considered the broad question of the constitutionality of capital punishment," Reed's petition said.

Reed's lawyers argued that capital punishment undermines human dignity and public confidence in the fair administration of justice, adding that its use by states has dropped to such low levels that it can hardly be considered an indispensable part of the criminal justice system.

The Supreme Court upheld the death penalty as constitutional in a landmark 1976 ruling, but has in more recent years imposed some limits in its application for juveniles and people with intellectual disabilities.

The justices' starkly contrasting views on capital punishment have been on display in recent cases. Last week, after the court turned away a death row inmate's challenge to Alabama's lethal injection procedures, liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a dissent saying lethal injection might be the "most cruel" method yet.

Reed was convicted in 2013 of murdering 18-year-old Jarquis Adams and his brothers Jeremiah, 20, and Gene, 13. The jury rejected his self-defense argument.

According to prosecutors, Reed believed Jarquis Adams had stolen his Xbox and marijuana from his home in a rural, wooded area outside Shreveport, and used an assault rifle to gun down the brothers, spraying their car with bullets. Police arrived at the scene to find blood and gasoline pouring down the driveway, court papers said.

The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld Reed's conviction and death sentence last September.

Source: Reuters, Andrew Chung, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Arkansas governor sets execution dates for 8 inmates

Executions have been set for (top row, from left) Kenneth Williams, Jack Jones Jr., Marcell Williams, Bruce Earl Ward, and (bottom row, from left) Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jason McGehee and Ledelle Lee.
Executions have been set for (top row, from left) Kenneth Williams,
Jack Jones Jr., Marcell Williams, Bruce Earl Ward, and (bottom row, from
left) Don Davis, Stacey Johnson, Jason McGehee and Ledelle Lee.
LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has set execution dates for eight death row inmates, even though the state lacks one of three drugs needed to put the men to death.

According to copies of proclamations given to the secretary of state's office Monday, the state will conduct the executions in pairs on four days between April 17 and April 27.

However, it remains unclear if the Department of Corrections is capable of conducting executions, as one of the three drugs in Arkansas’ current protocol expired last month.

A prisons spokesman said Monday the state's supply of potassium chloride has not changed since it expired last month. 

He also said he was not aware of any efforts to find another batch.

Arkansas hasn't executed an inmate since 2005.

Ongoing attempts to carry out executions in the state have been halted in recent years by court challenges and difficulty obtaining drugs.

The executions are set to be carried out as followed, according to the governor's proclamation:

  • Don Davis and Bruce Earl Ward are scheduled to die on April 17.
  • Ledelle Lee and Stacey Johnson are scheduled to die April 20.
  • Marcell Williams and Jack Jones Jr. are scheduled to die April 24.
  • Jason McGehee and Kenneth Williams are scheduled to die April 27.


Source: Arkansas Online, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

US Supreme Court refuses appeals from 3 on Texas death row

HOUSTON (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to review appeals in three Texas death row cases, including one where a man pleaded guilty to a triple slaying in South Texas.

The high court's rulings moved two inmates closer to execution: LeJames Norman, 31, condemned for the 2005 shooting deaths of three people during a botched robbery of a home in Edna, about 100 miles southwest of Houston, and Bill Douglas Gates, 67, condemned for strangling a Houston woman in 1999.

Neither has an execution date.

Norman and an accomplice also now on death row, Ker'Sean Ramey, were convicted in the slayings of Samuel Roberts, 24, Tiffani Peacock, 18, and Celso Lopez, 38, inside the home they shared in Edna, in Jackson County. Roberts' parents discovered the bodies Aug. 25, 2005.

Court records indicated Ramey and Norman believed there was 100 kilograms of cocaine in the house and hoped to steal it, but they never found any drugs. Norman was arrested trying to cross a bridge into Brownsville from Mexico about five months after the killings. He pleaded guilty to capital murder, leaving a jury to decide only on punishment. Norman's appeal raised questions about the competence of his trial attorneys.

Texas prison records show when Gates was arrested for the slaying of Elfreda Gans, 41, at her Houston apartment, the Riverside County, California, man was on parole after serving six years of two life prison terms in California for robbery, assault on a peace officer and possession of a weapon by a prisoner. His appeal also questioned whether his trial lawyers were deficient.

The third case refused by the high court involved prisoner Michael Wayne Norris, whose case was returned by a federal district judge in 2015 to his trial court in Houston for a new punishment hearing. A federal appeals court last year upheld that decision. Norris has been on death row nearly 30 years for fatally shooting a Houston mother and her 2-year-old son.

Patrick McCann, Norris' attorney, said Monday the ruling involved legal procedural point related to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Norris is awaiting his new punishment trial and Monday's ruling had no effect on that, McCann said.

Norris was on parole after serving time for murder when he was arrested for fatally shooting Georgia Rollins, 38, and her 2-year-old son, Keith, at their Houston apartment in 1986. His appeal challenged the instructions provided to his jurors during the punishment phase of his 1987 trial in Harris County.

At the time, trial courts were wrestling with evolving jury instructions about mitigating evidence, like mental impairment or dysfunctional childhood, and how it should be applied to punishment in capital murder convictions. The Supreme Court visited the issue several times, refining trial procedures through its rulings, and several cases of Norris' era were returned to trial courts for new punishment hearings.

Source: The Associated Press, Michael Graczik, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Monday, February 27, 2017

South Korea says "enraged" Kim had 5 security officials executed

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea executed five senior security officials with anti-aircraft guns because they made false reports that “enraged” leader Kim Jong Un, South Korea’s spy agency said Monday.

The comments by the National Intelligence Service in a private briefing to lawmakers come as Malaysia investigates the poisoning death of Kim’s estranged elder half brother, Kim Jong Nam.

That investigation is still going on, but South Korea says it believes Kim Jong Un ordered the assassination, which took place Feb. 13 at Kuala Lumpur’s airport.

The spy agency told lawmakers that five North Korean officials in the department of recently purged state security chief Kim Won Hong were executed by anti-aircraft guns because of the false reports to Kim, South Korean lawmaker Lee Cheol Woo said. It’s not clear what false reports they allegedly made, and the NIS didn’t say how it got its information.

South Korean spies have a spotty record when reporting about high-level events in authoritarian, cloistered North Korea.

North Korea fired Kim Won Hong in January, presumably over corruption, abuse of power and torture committed by his agency, Seoul said earlier this month. The fallen minister had been seen as close to Kim Jong Un. North Korea has not publicly said anything about Kim Won Hong or about the alleged executions in his department.

Lee also cited the NIS as saying that Kim Won Hong’s dismissal was linked to those false reports, which “enraged” Kim Jong Un when they were discovered.

Since taking power in late 2011, Kim Jong Un has reportedly executed or purged a large number of high-level government officials in what rival Seoul has called a “reign of terror.”

Source: CBS News, The Associated Press, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Court schedules deposition of Mary Jane Veloso in Indonesia - lawyers

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
The Nueva Ecija trial court hearing the trafficking case against the couple who recruited Mary Jane Veloso has scheduled the deposition of the Filipina in death row in Indonesia, her lawyers said Saturday.

The National Union of People's Lawyers, which is helping prosecute Maria Cristina Sergio and Julius Lacanilao and also in efforts to convince Indonesia to take Veloso off death row, said Judge Anaarica Castillo-Reyes of Sto. Domingo Regional Trial Court Branch 88, who took over the trial after the inhibition of the original judge, had scheduled the taking of Mary Jane's testimony on April 27 at the Yogyakarta prison where she is detained.

"During the scheduled deposition, Mary Jane will answer the exhaustive written questions prepared by her Filipino private lawyers which will be directly propounded to her by a Philippine consul with the facilitation and cooperation of Indonesian authorities," the NUPL said.

The human rights lawyers' group noted that "the deposition will be taken at almost the exact date 2 years ago when Mary Jane was magnanimously granted by the Indonesian government a last-minute standing reprieve from the death penalty after furious and intense efforts and overwhelming clamor to save her life."

Veloso was intercepted as she arrived in Jakarta in April 2010 with 2.6 kilos of heroin in her luggage and subsequently sentenced to death later that year. Spared by a moratorium on executions by fomer President Susilo Bambang Yudhiyono, she was scheduled for execution in January 2015 after the election of President Joko Widodo but earned the last-minute reprieve, in part due to the fierce lobby of Indonesian workers' rights advocates.

Veloso maintains her innocence saying she was duped by Sergio and Lacanilao and a member of a foreign human trafficking ring into carrying the luggage containing the drugs.

The NUPL said Castillo-Reyes' order allowing Veloso "to freely tell her whole story and cruel ordeal which will be officially considered by the ... trial court" was "another legal vindication" for the worker and her family.

"Being the victim, Mary Jane is the most credible and competent witness that could prove not only the guilt of the accused in these Philippine cases but, eventually and more importantly, the full and unabbreviated circumstances that led to her conviction in Indonesia," the group said.

Source: interaksyon.com, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Egypt parliament rejects abolition of death penalty

Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, Egypt
Egypt MPs said the death penalty cannot be abolished because doing so would contradict Islamic Sharia

The human rights committee of Egypt's parliament said it will never recommend that the death penalty be abolished, responding to repeated calls from foreign rights groups to end capital punishment.

"Western human rights organisations that lobby for the abolition of the death penalty should know that this goes against both Islamic Sharia and the country's constitution," read a statement by the human rights committee on Sunday.

Alaa Abed, head of the committee, told reporters that the abolition of the death penalty would violate Islamic Sharia, which is based on the "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" doctrine.

"As long as Egypt's constitution states that Islamic Sharia represents the main source of legislation in Egypt, parliament can never accept that the death penalty be abolished," he said.

"The imposition of the death penalty in Egypt takes place only after all legal measures are pursued and after the mufti of Egypt gives final approval.

"Not to mention that the death penalty primarily targets murderers who shed the blood of citizens on purpose, and as a result should be sentenced to death in accordance with Islamic Sharia."

Abed indicated that "parliament also stands against Western organisations which demand that homosexuals and gay marriage be allowed in Egypt."

"Again, I state that this neither goes in line with Islamic Sharia nor with the deep-rooted religious traditions of the Egyptian people," he added.

Abed said the Human Rights Council affiliated with the United Nations has recently lobbied Egypt to abolish the death penalty.

"But we said in our response that this penalty can't be abolished because this violates Islamic Sharia, which represents the backbone of legislation in Egypt," said Abed.

MP Khaled Hammad, a member of the human rights committee, said: "The death penalty is a necessity in a country that is facing a ferocious war against terrorists and criminals."

"It is incomprehensible that terrorists who kill innocent citizens and who bomb buildings do not face the death penalty. Egypt's parliament does not support the radical liberal agendas of Western human rights organisations, which show less interest in national security and religious values," he added.

Atef Makhaleef, deputy head of the human rights committee, said: "Courts in Egypt have always been keen that the death penalty be imposed on a very limited scale."

"Many death penalty verdicts had been issued since 2011, but none of them was imposed because they were revoked by supreme courts," said Makhaleef, adding that "It is better that the death penalty be implemented on a very limited scale rather than abolished altogether."

Makhaleef also said the number of executions implemented in Egypt decreased largely in recent years.

"I think that those who were executed were just two or three criminals who were found guilty of drug trafficking and espionage," said Makhaleef.

Nabil Polis, a Coptic MP, said: "The death penalty has become important in recent years because it proved to be a highly effective tool in stemming the tide of terrorist crimes."

Polis said although some Western countries have abolished the death penalty, they still implement other fatal penalties such as gassing murderers or injecting them with poison.

"It is a death penalty but in a different form," said Polis.

Demands for abolishing the death penalty in Egypt have gained momentum in recent days after the Cassation Court upheld on 20 February death sentences that had previously been handed to 11 defendants in the Port Said stadium massacre case of February 2012.

Source: ahram.org.eg, February 27, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!