Month: June 2012

British man facing death penalty in Abu Dhabi

June 26, 2012 Source :

A British man has been sentenced to death in Abu Dhabi after being caught selling cannabis worth just £250 to an undercover policeman.

The Briton was caught, along with a Syrian man, trying to sell 20 grammes of marijuana to a local police officer for 1,500 dirhams, Abu Dhabi criminal court was told. , Neither of the men has been named, but they were aged 21 and 19 respectively.

The men’s mothers were in court, according to local newspaper reports of the case, and the British mother broke down in tears as the death sentence was handed down.

Legal experts said however, that it was unlikely the sentence would be carried out – the only man to have gone before a firing squad in the United Arab Emirates in the last four years was a local man convicted of raping and murdering a four-year-old boy.

But the severity of the sentence for such a small amount of drugs brought new warnings about the risk of foreigners underestimating the risks of falling foul of the legal system in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

“We are very deeply saddened by today’s news reports,” said Radha Stirling, a lawyer who founded the group Detained in Dubai to help foreigners arrested in the UAE for a variety of offences from bouncing cheques to “indecency in public places”, all of which can carry jail terms

“Unfortunately, we are not surprised given the shocking developments regarding reports of police action and the state of the country’s judicial system over recent years.

“In response to this news in particularly, we call on national governments, including the UK, to finally take decisive action and properly warn their citizens about the real risks of visiting the UAE.” The two men were arrested along with a Sudanese man, who was sentenced to a year and deportation for consuming the drug, and a 17-year-old Emirati, who was sent for rehabilitation.

While the UAE is known to have strict laws covering many crimes, including drugs, the normal sentence for possession is one to four years, and for dealing small amounts of cannabis around seven years.

Dubai, which has a separate judicial system under the country’s federal structure, recently reacted to a wave of bad publicity by ordering those found with small amounts of drugs at the international airport to be deported immediately rather than jailed. On one occasion, a Briton was imprisoned after arriving with a poppy seed stuck to the bottom of his shoe.

In Abu Dhabi, the death sentence is more common for dealing drugs but in all recent cases has been overturned on appeal. Before being carried out, it has to be signed off by the emirate’s ruler, Sheikh Khalifa al-Nahyan, who is also unlikely to risk damaging the country’s close relationship with Britain.

His brother, the Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed, met David Cameron, the prime minister, in London on Monday.

A British Embassy spokeswoman said. “We will remain in close contact with him and continue to provide the appropriate consular assistance.” A Syrian embassy spokesman said he could give no details.


Iranian pair face death penalty following 160 lashes over ‘persistent alcohol consumption’

June 26, 2012  Source :

Two Iranians have been sentenced to death for persistent consumption of alcohol under the Iran’s Islamic Sharia law, which forbids the use, manufacturing and trading of all types of alcoholic drinks.

The two, who have not been named by the authorities, have each previously been lashed 160 times after twice being arrested for consuming alcohol. Being convicted for the third time makes them liable for the death penalty.

The head of the judiciary Seyed Hasan Shariati, based in Iran’s north-eastern province of Khorasan Razavi, told the semi-official Isna news agency that the supreme court had upheld their death sentences and that officials were preparing for their execution.

“Two people who committed the offence of consuming alcohol for the third time have been sentenced to be executed. The verdict has been confirmed by the Supreme Court and we are preparing to administer it,” The Guardian quoted Shariati, as saying.

Under Iranian Sharia law, certain crimes such as sodomy, rape, theft, fornication, apostasy and consumption of alcohol for the third time are considered to be “claims of God” and therefore have mandatory death sentences.

“We will show no mercy in finding, trying and punishing those breaking the law and we will punish them to the highest extent,” Shariati warned, referring crimes related to alcohol consumption.

Despite the ban, many people in Iran drink alcohol, usually a homemade liquor called araq, which contains 45% pure ethanol, which is usually mixed before consumption and can be dangerous because of the ethanol used in its distillation. (ANI)

Pakistan to Release Indian Prisoner on Death Row

June 26, 2012 Source :

A Pakistani official says the president has ordered release of an Indian prisoner on death row for more than 20 years for involvement in bomb attacks in eastern Pakistan.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said Tuesday that President Asif Ali Zardari commuted the death sentence of Sarabjit Singh to life in prison, the equivalent of time served in this case.

He said Singh would be freed after completion of paperwork.

Singh was jailed in 1990. A court sentenced him to death for his role in bomb attacks and espionage in Pakistan.

He was set to be hanged in 2008, but the government halted his execution after Singh’s family sought his release on humanitarian grounds.

Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed rivals, but relations between them have improved in recent years.

President defends mercy spree to death row convicts

June 26, 2012 Source :

NEW DELHI: Rashtrapati Bhawan has defended granting clemency to an unprecedented 35 death row convicts saying the power to pardon was not a private act of grace but a constitutional obligation. 

A statement from the President’s office said President Pratibha Patil had not acted in haste or played to the gallery and the clemency petitions had been commuted only after due examination and on the aid and advice of the home minister. “In all these backlog and fresh cases, the home minister has examined the mitigating and extenuating circumstances and spelt out specific reasons substantiating his considered advice. In turn, the President took well considered decisions after having fully satisfied that he government has tendered its aid and advice properly and constitutionally,” the statement said.

President’s office spokesperson Archana Dutta argued that it was common knowledge that all death convicts seeking mercy had committed ghastly and heinous crimes of the rarest of rare category. “Nevertheless, the Constitution confers on them the right to seek clemency,” Dutta said.

The President’s office, however, did not explain how a convict, Bandu Balarao Tikade, dead since 2007, had been granted clemency.

Two Iranians on death row for drinking alcohol

June 25 , 2012 Source :

June 24 – Two Iranians are on death row for drinking alcohol, the head of judiciary in the Khorassan Razavin province in north-eastern Iran said Sunday.

“Two persons who have for the third time been convicted of consuming alcoholic drinks have been sentenced to death,” ISNA news agency quoted Hassan Shariati as saying.

“The death sentence will be effected as soon as it is confirmed by the Supreme Court,” the provincial judiciary head said.

Murder, rape, armed robbery and trafficking of drugs in quantities in excess of five kilogrammes are among crimes punishable by death in Iran.

Although consumption of alcohol is strictly prohibited in Islamic Iran but there have so far no reports of death sentences for offenders but cash fines or at most flogging.

“We will not differ drinking alcohol form other legal offences and consider it as capital crime,” Shariati, a cleric, said.

Despite the strict ban on alcoholic beverages, they can be easily obtained in the black market at however high prices./-

INDIA – Documentary will offer glimpses of death convict’s life

June 21, 2012 Source :

The People’s Movement Against Death Penalty, headed by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer, is making a documentary that focusses on the life of Perarivalan, the convict facing death penalty in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The one-hour film christened ‘1096, a Symbol of Reformation’, is expected to be screened in the first week of July, barely days ahead of the final hearing in the Supreme Court of the case, in which the three condemned prisoners are seeking relief on the grounds of inordinate delay in disposal of their mercy petitions by the President.

“Perarivalan emerged topper among prison inmates who appeared for the Plus Two examination. The ‘1096’ in the title is a reference to his marks and symbolises his resolve. We want to showcase the achievement of this convict who braved the threat of impending gallows and excelled academically. He has done post-graduation in MCA. The Plus Two appearance was only to facilitate his admission to M.Phil course,” co-producer of the documentary Selvaraj Murugaiyan told The Hindu.

The documentary has short interviews with legal luminaries such as Justice K.T. Thomas, who delivered judgment in the case.

“We have also interviewed police/prison officials, the kin of those who died in the May 21 blast that killed Rajiv Gandhi, and some inmates who knew Perarivalan in Vellore Central Prison.”

Directed by Pragadeeswaran, the documentary will have some original clips of Perarivalan at the time of his arrest or court visits. The effort is also to portray how prisons in Tamil Nadu are providing a conducive environment for inmates to reform.

Asked if the initiative was intended to whip up sympathy for Perarivalan and two other convicts on the death row, Mr. Selvaraj said the film was only a presentation of truth. Every aspect of the documentary would be backed by evidence or interviews of relevant people.

“However, the statements of some of those whom we interviewed might seem to be sympathising with the convicts, but it is their own view. For instance Justice Krishna Iyer says: “Let there be no killing in the name of Rajiv Gandhi. For God’s sake don’t hang them…even Sonia Gandhi or Priyanka Gandhi don’t want it, then why…”

Young woman gets death penalty for drug trafficking

June 21 2012 Source :

A former schoolgirl, 23-year-old Tran Ha Duy, who has been charged with drug trafficking, saw her life sentence increased to the death penalty at yesterday’s appeal hearing in Ho Chi Minh City.


The hearing was opened by the appeal court of the Supreme People’s Court in HCMC, since the Supreme People’s Procuracy had protested the life sentence given to Duy by the City People’s Court on March 27, 2012.

The Procuracy claimed that the sentence was inappropriate in light of the nature of her crime.

According to the indictment, in October 2010 Duy, then a student at HCMC-based Hong Bang University, engaged in a transnational drug trafficking ring run by foreigners.

She later lured her younger sister, 21-year-old Tran Ha Tien, also a student, to join the ring’s activities. They were paid US$500-1,000 for each international trafficking trip.

Tien was arrested at Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC in July 2011 after being caught carrying 4 kg of methamphetamine hidden in the bottom of a suitcase from Doha, Qatar. After Tien’s arrest, Duy surrendered herself to police.

Duy confessed that in 2007 she happened to meet a Kenyan man, named Francis, on a bus in HCMC. The man later suggested that Duy deliver sample goods, including garments and footwear, from Vietnam to other countries for his company, which would pay her US$1,000 for a delivery to Benin, a West African country, and $500 for delivery to Malaysia.

Francis said he would pay for all expenses related to Duy’s trips abroad. She said that after taking a few trips she knew that drugs had been hidden in the goods sent from Vietnam, but she continued working for Francis to enjoy the high reimbursements.

At the first instance hearing, Duy and Tien told the court that they had decided to work for the drug ring since they wanted money for their daily needs.

Tien was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, and the sentence was not protested by the Supreme People’s Procuracy.