Month: October 2012

Ghulam Anwar, Afghan Woman, Allegedly Killed By Husband For Wanting Job

October 22.2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com

KABUL, Afghanistan — A man in a western Afghan city has confessed to stabbing his wife to death to prevent her from taking a job outside the home, police said Monday.

Mohammad Anwar, who was arrested in the provincial capital for the murder, said he killed his wife during an argument over whether she should work at private company in the city, Herat province police spokesman Noor Khan Nekzad said.

The woman’s relatives disputed the account, saying her husband was a drug addict who killed his wife because she refused to give him money.

The killing comes less than two weeks after a woman was beheaded in the same city for refusing alleged demands by her in-laws to engage in prostitution.

Human rights activists say they are worried such incidents will become more common as Western forces who helped women gain rights in the conservative country draw down. Under Taliban rule, women were banned from leaving the home unless they had a male relative as an escort and wore a burqa robe that covered their faces and bodies.

Despite guaranteed rights and progressive new laws, the U.N. still ranks Afghanistan as one of the world’s worst countries when it comes to women’s rights.

The Taliban’s treatment of women has been thrust back into the headlines this month with the shooting of a 15-year-old schoolgirl in neighboring Pakistan. The militants said they targeted the girl because she was an outspoken opponent of the group and promoted “Western thinking,” such as girls’ education.

Girls’ schools have flourished in Afghanistan in particular in the years since the 2001 ouster of the Taliban, primarily funded by the U.S. and other Western donors.

There were conflicting accounts of what led to the fight between Mohammad Anwar and his wife Gulsom.

Gulsom’s brother, Ghulam Sarwar, said his sister’s husband had just returned from Iran and was pressing her to hand over money that she had earned weaving carpets and which she needed to support their two children. Sarwar said the two got into an argument and she fled the house. He followed her to her parents’ house and then went after her with a knife.

The couple’s two children – an 11-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old boy – have been taken in by Gulsom’s parents, Sarwar said.

The victim’s mother was shown on Afghan television crying and accusing her son-in-law of trying to sell her daughter’s children for drug money. She witnessed the murder but said she had no way of stopping it.

“My daughter was killed in front of my eyes,” said the sobbing Zahra, who family members said only went by one name.

Women’s rights activists have already been up in arms in Herat after the Oct. 9 killing of a young woman named Mah Gul who was allegedly being forced into prostitution.

Police arrested Mah Gul’s mother-in-law Pari Gul and her 18-year old cousin Najib, after the murder. Mabuba Jamshidi, head of the provincial women’s affairs department, said that Najib had confessed to beheading the victim after she refused to perform “immoral acts.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mah Gul, Young Afghan Woman, Reportedly Beheaded For Refusing To Become A Prostitute

October 22, 2012 http://www.huffingtonpost.com

A young woman who refused to be forced into prostitution was beheaded in Afghanistan last week, a murder that illustrates the continuing cycle of violence against women in the country, according to advocates in the region.

The murder comes as the world continues to track the progress of Malala Yousafzai, a14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by Taliban Islamists after advocating for women’s rights.

AFP reports that 20-year-old Mah Gul, who lived in Herat province in western Afghanistan, was killed after she had repeatedly rebuffed her mother-in-law’s attempts to force her into prostitution.

Four people were arrested in connection to the killing, AFP adds, including the alleged beheader, the 18-year-old nephew of Gul’s mother-in-law, Najibullah.

Najibullah, who has already confessed to the killing, said that Gul’s mother-in-law had alerted him that the girl was a prostitute and that he killed the girl with a knife with the help of her mother-in-law.

The brutal torture and murder of Mah Gul by her husband’s family is just “one more incident that highlights the violent atmosphere that women and girls face in Afghanistan and the region,” said Suzanne Nossel, executive director of Amnesty International USA, according to CNN.

Earlier in October, a 30-year-old woman was tortured and killed in the same province, the Atlantic reported. The woman was discovered missing her nose, ears, and fingers, and doctors who treated her at Herat regional hospital confirmed she had been tortured before being killed. Investigation in ongoing in that case.

Gul’s murder brings to 20 the number of women killed this year in Herat, the Atlantic adds reported. Family members were accused of involvement in most of the cases.

In a 2011 report on human trafficking in Afghanistan, the State Department wrote that some Afghan women and girls “are subjected to forced prostitution, forced marriages –- including through forced marriages in which husbands force their wives into prostitution, and where they are given by their families to settle debts or disputes.”

In her full statement, Amnesty International’s Nossel decried the ongoing violence inforceful terms.

“[Women] are raped, killed, forced into marriage in childhood, prevented from obtaining an education and denied their sexual and reproductive rights,” Nossel said. “The enduring view that women and girls are disposable and not equal increases the chronic suffering of more than half the population.”

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR: The proposal to replace the mandatory death sentence for drug offences with imprisonment has been lauded by the legal fraternity

october 21, 2012 http://www.nst.com.my

Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee said the Bar Council had always been against the death penalty.

“If it is wrong to take someone’s life, then the government should not do it either. It’s ironic (to have such a law) and not correct,” he said.

Lim said records had shown that despite having the death penalty, the number of drug trafficking offences had not been reduced.

“The numbers have instead increased. This shows that the death penalty has had a zero deterrent effect.”

He said the council hailed the move as a historic moment for the criminal justice system in Malaysia as it represented a significant step in humanising criminal law.

Syariah lawyer Nizam Bashir was also in favour of abolishing the death penalty and believed it should be repealed for offences that were out of sync with the public conscience.

“The argument has been that no matter how good a system is, it will never be error-free,” he said.

He said that in light of weaknesses in the legal system, innocent people could be found guilty of the offence and sentenced to death.

Nizam explained that when the sentence was first introduced in the country, it was to ensure that the law kept pace with changes in society.

“It was to show that Malaysia was serious about acting on drug offences by imposing the death penalty, given the harm caused by these drug traffickers and the number of lives they destroyed.

“Justice can be tempered with mercy and, where appropriate, offenders should be given a second chance.”

Nigeria: Oshiomhole Frees Two Prisoners Condemned to Death

october 20, 2012 http://allafrica.com

GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has granted amnesty to two prisoners condemned to death in exercise of his prerogative of mercy.

The governor said the prisoners, Monday Odu, who was sentenced to death for conspiracy and murder, and Calistus Ikem, convicted for conspiracy and armed robbery, were granted amnesty because they did not take the lives of their victims.

He also commuted to life imprisonment the sentence of death penalty for two others: Tijani Mustapha, convicted for conspiracy and armed robbery; and Zubem Abduramma, convicted for conspiracy and armed robbery; while Patrick Ojiefo, who was convicted for assault on a police officer while discharging his lawful duty and served 6-months jail term in 1973, was granted pardon.

Speaking after granting amnesty to Odu and Ikem, Oshiomhole said: “You have been condemned to death for murder but we have exercised the prerogative of mercy to release you from prison for the offence believing you have learnt your lesson. You can still be useful to society and useful to yourself.”

While addressing Odu, 32, and a minor when he was convicted in 1997, the governor said, “We are letting you off the hook to go and sin no more. We will find a way to find a job for you under the Edo Youth Employment Scheme. You have no reason to return to crime and that means if you do anything again you are completely on your own.”

He told Ikem, 52, and convicted in 1996, to be ready to work and cope with the rigours of life as he returned to his family in Imo State.

“You stole house hold items which could have taken your life. The government will give you N200,000 and another N100, 000 to Monday Odu to go and start all over. I hope you will be able to make something positive out of this your present condition,” Oshiomhole added.

The Comptroller of Prisons in Edo State, Mr. Ewuho Jimoh, who led the prisoners to Government House, said he was presenting the two inmates who had been granted amnesty in compliance with a letter granting them pardon to the governor.

 

 

 

 

China’s ‘New Judicial Reform’ Not What It Claims to Be

october 21, 2012 http://www.theepochtimes.com

China’s State Council recently released a white paper on judicial reform, lauding “new, more prudent death penalty rules.” But there’s a catch to it.

The notice, issued on Oct. 9, barely received any Chinese media attention except for an official announcement by state-run China Daily. 

You can’t really blame Chinese media for not caring or commenting, because the so-called reforms merely aim to provide more leniency for government officials involved in corruption cases, while common citizens still face execution.

However, the paper sanctimoniously stated, “the death penalty bears directly on citizen’s right to life, so it must be applied in a very prudent manner.”

It also cited past “achievements” of controlling and gradually reducing the use of the death penalty. For example, Amendment Eight to the Criminal Law, promulgated in 2011, eliminated the death penalty for 13 nonviolent, economics-related offenses, which accounted for 19.1 percent of total death penalty convictions. It also stipulated that the death penalty should generally not be used for people who are already 75 years old at the time of trial.

What the white paper did not mention is that these reforms mainly benefit senior officials charged with corruption, rather than ordinary citizens. The punishment for corrupt officials has been handled with more and more leniency in China. In recent years, probation has become the preferred treatment for corrupt officials.

 

Although the Chinese regime has taken extremely slow steps toward meeting international standards on many other rights issues, it has acted very fast in eliminating the death penalty for corruption. It justified its decision by arguing that curbing corruption with the death penalty is “regulatory laziness.”

For example, from 2001 to 2005, the increase in charges waived against officials, who had committed “dereliction of duty and infringement on citizens’ rights,” went from 53 percent to 83 percent, the Information Times said in 2006.

An Oct. 11 article on News.ifeng, citing prison sources, said that every year at least 20 to 30 percent of inmates receive sentence reductions, and almost all of them are former senior officials who are given probation or parole for medical treatment.

While the Chinese government is showing increasing tolerance of official’s corruption, such leniency is rarely applied to ordinary citizens. One example is the case of Xia Junfeng, a street vendor who killed a “chengguan” urban management enforcement officer, when a group of them violently beat him up. Since Xia acted in self-defense, legal experts generally held that he should have been pardoned, but he was still sentenced to death.

Labor Camps

The White Paper said nothing about whether labor camps should be abolished.

The education-through-labor camp system was highlighted in August when Tang Hui, known as the “petitioner mom” was sentenced to labor camp because she demanded tougher punishment for people accused of raping and forcing her 11-year-old daughter into prostitution.

Tang’s sentence sparked nationwide calls for abolishing labor camps, but the white paper made no mention about it. When asked twice about the labor camp system at a press conference, Jiang Wei, Office Director of the Central Leading Group for Judicial Reform, would only say that, “the labor camp system has played a role in maintaining social order,” that there are “regulatory problems” within the system, and that relevant departments are experimenting with reforms.

The white paper’s failure to respond to the Chinese people’s strong opposition to the labor camp system is a very prominent issue, especially considering that even many deputies of the People’s Congresses, who are the official representatives of the people, have publicly called for abolishing the system.

Congressional Deputy and Chongqing University law professor Chen Zhonglin once suggested reforms for the labor camp system, stating, “The labor camp system must be changed, and the Illegal Behavior Correction Law is the way.” Chen said society agrees that the labor camp system needs to be reduced, but there is major disagreement as to which department should make the corrective decisions.

No Judicial Independence

The key to China’s judicial reform is judicial independence, which there is none in China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses the judicial system as a tool to maintain its dictatorship, rather than a corner stone of state politics.

The Chinese system adopts a multi-hierarchy and multi-type division of legislative purview under the unified leadership of the central CCP rule. In appearance, the power of legislation is given to the “supreme organs of state power,” the National Congress and its Standing Committee. At the same time, the State Council is entitled to issue administrative regulations, which are equally binding as laws. Provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, and Chongqing, as well as special economic zones, such as Shenzhen, also have legislative rights.

But in effect, the National Congress, as well as the provincial and municipal congresses, is nothing else but the CCP’s political tools; they must abide by the CCP’s command regarding the content and timing of legislation. That’s why China’s congress is referred to as a “rubber stamp congress.”

Starting in 2000, the CCP stipulated that Party secretaries at respective levels must assume leadership positions in all provincial, municipal, and autonomous regions’ congresses. The CCP-led trinity control over the legislative, judicial, and administrative systems has doomed Chinese legislation to solely reflect the CCP’s will. Important judicial positions such as court presidents and chief justices are appointed by the CCP, primarily based on their political loyalty to the Party.

As long as the Party is above the law and controls the legislation, judiciary, and administration, any so-called judicial reforms are no more than minor technical patches.

 

 

SOUTH KOREA – Victim`s brother threatens self-immolation if killer given life sentence

october 22, 2012 http://english.donga.com

“I will burn myself to death in front of the court if the killer of a woman on the Jeju Olle Trail is also sentenced to life in prison as (convicted rapist and murderer) Oh Won-chun was.”

The younger brother of the 40-year-old woman murdered on the trail in July this year wrote this on his blog Saturday under the title, “I will burn myself to death in front of the court.”

Oh, who killed a young woman in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, had his punishment recently reduced to life imprisonment. The brother of the Olle victim feared the same punishment for the killer of his sister. The victim was strangled to death by the assailant after resisting his sexual advances, and he cut her wrist after killing her.

The brother said, “I deeply understand how the family of Oh`s victim is suffering. My family underwent psychotherapy and is also under huge stress. I also quit my business.”

“Would you have given a life sentence as well to the murderer of your relative? Did you treat this case as a daily routine work thinking it`s a matter for other people? How horrible can a crime get for you to give the death penalty?”

EU urges Gambia to honour freeze on executions

october 22, 2012 AFP

BANJUL, Gambia — The European Union on Sunday urged Gambia to honour a freeze on the death penalty after the tiny west African nation’s supreme court upheld death sentences against seven officials for treason.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh last month announced a temporary halt to executions, bowing to international pressure after putting to death nine prisoners in August.

But on Friday, the Supreme Court upheld death sentences against the men, who were accused of having plotted a coup.

A statement published by the British High Commission representing the EU locally in Gambia said the EU “urges the Gambia to uphold its commitment to exercising its moratorium on the death penalty.”

The statement added that the High Commission was deeply concerned after EU representatives were denied access to the Supreme Court hearing Friday.

“The refusal of access is contrary to the provisions in the Gambian constitution that court proceedings should be in public,” the statement said.

Jammeh himself came to power in a coup in 1994. He has pushed aside all those who oppose him and is regularly accused of rights violations and of fostering a climate of fear.

On August 19, he said all prisoners on death row would be executed by mid-September. A week later, nine of them, including two Senegalese, were killed by firing squad, provoking an international outcry.

The EU is opposed to the death penalty in all cases.