Month: April 2014

UN rights office condemns Maldives death penalty revival

April 29, 2014

he UN human rights office on Tuesday voiced concern over moves to revive the death penalty in the Maldives, including for minors, after a six-decade freeze on capital punishment in the Indian Ocean archipelago.
“We are deeply concerned about a new regulation adopted in the Maldives on implementation of the death penalty, which effectively overturns a 60-year moratorium on the use of capital punishment in the country,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Under new rules adopted by the Maldives government on Sunday, death sentences can now be handed down for murder even if the defendant is aged under 18, Shamdasani told reporters.
The age of criminal responsibility in the Maldives is 10, but children as young as seven can be held responsible for so-called “hadd” offences under Islamic law, she said.
“The new regulation means that children as young as seven can now be sentenced to death,” she warned.
“According to the new regulation, minors convicted of intentional murder shall be executed once they turn 18. Similar provisions in the recently ratified Penal Code, allowing for the application of the death penalty for crimes committed when below the age of 18, are also deeply regrettable,” she added.
Shamdasani stressed that international law stipulates that individuals convicted for offences committed before they turn 18 should not be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without possibility of release.
“We urge the government to retain its moratorium on the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, particularly in cases that involve juvenile offenders and to work towards abolishing the practice altogether,” she said.
Source: Agence France-Presse, April 29, 2014

Taiwan executes five death-row inmates

April 29, 2014

TAIPEI: Taiwanese authorities said they executed five death-row inmates Tuesday, nearly a year after six prisoners were put to death.

The justice ministry said the five were put to death in various parts of the island. They were the first executions ordered by Luo Ying-shay since she became justice minister last September.

The inmates were anaesthetised and then shot, it said. There are now 47 prisoners on death row, according to the ministry.

“The five were cold-blooded and cruel, devoid of conscience…they have left the family of the victims pains that could hardly be allayed,” deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang told reporters.

The five, separately convicted on charges of murder, robbery and forced sex, had caused 11 deaths and left four injured, he said.

The execution ruffled the feathers of the Taiwan Alliance to End Death Penalty, the group which has been active in pushing for the abolishment of death penalty.

It alleged that the execution was aimed to help the embattled Ma Ying-jeou administration divert the public’s attention away from the recent controversies of the service trade agreement with China and a new nuclear power plant that have prompted tens of thousands of people to take to Taipei’s streets.

Taiwan resumed executions in 2010 after a five-year hiatus, putting four people to death. There were five executions in 2011, six in 2012 and another six in 2013.

But the government has defended the long-standing policy, citing polls that show that more than two-thirds of Taiwanese support capital punishment, believing it is a strong deterrent to violent crime.

Taiwan reserves the death penalty for serious crimes including aggravated murder and kidnapping, but the political elite is divided about whether to retain it.

The abolitionist debate was revived after judicial and military authorities came under fire over the execution of a soldier wrongly convicted in a child murder case.

Chiang Kuo-ching, a 21-year-old executed by shooting in 1997, was posthumously acquitted in a military court in 2011 of the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl.

He had insisted on his innocence and said he was coerced by a group of air force intelligence officers into confessing. (AFP)

Frenchman Caught With Cocaine in Bali to Serve 10 Months

April 29, 2014

Denpasar. A French national was sentenced in Bali on Monday to serve 10 months in prison for possession of  112 grams of cocaine.

“The defendant’s actions were contrary to the government’s program to eliminate narcotics,” presiding judge Parulian Saragih said at a Denpasar district court hearing yesterday.

Police said they believed the cocaine could be worth as much as Rp 559 million ($48,600), although the authorities in Indonesian have been known to overestimate street values in the past.

Defendant Thierry Claude Joseph Verchere, 47, was found guilty of possession for personal use but not of intent to distribute, which carries a much steeper penalty. He arrived at court wearing a white shirt and black trousers and did not speak to reporters after the trial.

Prosecutors had sought a year in prison for Verchere, who was arrested at a rented villa in Denpasar on Jan. 9. 

Prosecutor Agung Bagus Kusimantara told the court last week the defendant had not intended to sell the drugs. If he had been charged with distribution, he could have faced 20 years behind bars.

Drug smuggling is punishable by death under Indonesian law.

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death in January last year after cocaine with an estimated street value of $2.4 million was found in her suitcase as she arrived on a flight from Bangkok.

At the time of his arrest, police described Verchere as an Iranian national and a member of an international drug syndicate.

Pande Putu Maya Arsanti, Verchere’s lawyer, said her client was a victim who deserved a more lenient sentence. She said he should enter a rehabilitation program rather than serve time.

“My client is just a victim and he had undergone rehabilitation but then relapsed,” she said.

Iran hangs three for killing prosecutor

April 26, 2014

Tehran: Iran’s official news agency has reported that three men convicted of killing an Iranian prosecutor in the country’s restive border region with Pakistan have been executed.

According to the Irna news agency, Omid Piri, Ali Reza Dahmardeh and Iman Galavi were hanged publicly on Saturday in front of the family of the victim and residents of Zabol, a town in southeastern Iran.

Irna reported that the executions took place at the same spot the men shot to death prosecutor Mousa Nouri in November.

Irna says the executions happened after Iran’s Supreme Court upheld the men’s death sentences.

The prosecutor had been considered one of the toughest lawmen fighting against opium and other drug smuggling networks that use routes leading from Pakistan and Afghanistan over Iran’s rugged hills and deserts.

The Highest Mountain Peak In Uganda Now Has A Gay Pride Flag On It

April 25, 2014

Uganda is among the most anti-gay countries in the world, and has received more attention than most during the five years it debated legislation that came to be known as the “Kill The Gays” bill. President Yoweri Museveni signed the bill — which replaced the death penalty with life in prison — into law earlier this year, sparking international outrage from the LGBT community and its supporters, and praise from the religious right.

One California man decided to protest in a unique way.

In an open letter to Uganda’s president titled, “What I did on vacation” and posted to Facebook, Neal Gottlieb writes:

April 22, 2014

Dear President Museveni of Uganda,

On April 16, 2014, after a 6-day climb, I summited your country’s tallest peak, Mount Stanley’s 16,753 foot tall Margherita Peak, and mounted a gay pride flag at its summit in protest of your country’s criminalization of homosexuality. Your country’s highest point is no longer its soil, its snow or a summit marker, but rather a gay pride flag waving brilliantly, shining down from above as a sign of protest and hope behalf of the many thousands of Ugandans that you seek to repress and the many more that understand the hideous nature of your repressive legislation.

The wiser of us understand that humans possess certain unalienable rights. These rights include freedom to express oneself, freedom to worship one’s god or none at all and freedom to live and love as one is born.

Despite this, you recently signed legislation into law that allows those born homosexual to be imprisoned for life. This is a disgusting, despicable act that threatens to ruin countless lives. If you had a son, daughter, niece or nephew that was homosexual, would you want her or him to be imprisoned for life? What if you have friends that are closeted homosexuals? Should they be locked up for the rest of their lives? If you were born gay, would you deserve to be imprisoned?

In a country that is dependent on the United States to fund the majority of its HIV/AIDS care, where less than 5% of those with cancer have access to treatment and where those with access to electricity is still a small minority of the populace, does it make any sense to devote precious and limited resources to imprison those who should be free? Does it make any sense that your administration never successfully prosecuted anybody from Amin’s reign of terror that resulted in over 100,000 murders, yet you wish to imprison for life those who have not committed atrocities but are simply born gay?

As the president of a nation you have the opportunity to be a great man and lead your country forward. Instead, you choose to hold your people back like the imperialists, the dictators and the warlords that have held Africa back generation after generation. The people that you wish to imprison are the same people who can help Uganda grow into a great nation.

When you choose to deny the people of Uganda their human rights, you are no better than Amin.

If you don’t like said flag on your highest peak, I urge you to climb up and take it down. However, you are an old man and surely the 6-day climb through the steep muddy bogs and up the mountain’s glaciers is well beyond your physical ability. Your days are more limited than most. Do you want your remaining days to be yet another blight on the history of your nation or will you find the strength to reverse your actions and allow all Ugandans to be free?

With all due respect,

Neal Gottlieb

P.S. This protest action is mine and mine alone. Neither my fellow climbers nor the Ugandan guides and porters had anything to do with it. The Ugandan guides present at the summit as the flag was mounted had absolutely no idea what the flag stands for, nor did they ask.

Gottlieb, aside from being a hero, brave, and wise, also has a day job.

Via email, Gottlieb told The New Civil Rights Movement, “I am the Founding Twin of an ice cream company called Three Twins Ice Cream that sells ice cream at our California scoop shops and nationwide through groceries.”

He adds that he’s “just a recreational climber,” but this epic act should entitle him to a far more important title.

Was this a dangerous act? Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality law provides for jail terms, some 14-years, some life in prison, for various act of homosexuality or homosexual “propaganda.”

Was Gottlieb worried?

“I was definitely concerned about the consequences, as promoting homosexuality, however that is interpreted, can result in some serious time in Ugandan prison…5-7 years I believe.”

He says he “concealed the flag within a decoy flag (Republic of California) in a pocket in my backpack that a search wouldn’t necessarily reveal and was prepared to play dumb if caught. Knowing that there would only be a handful of Ugandan guides at the summit, I figured that they wouldn’t know what the flag stood for…”


Iran – Human Rights: Regime approves death sentence for 4 Kurdish political prisoners

April 25, 2014

NCRI – The Iranian regime’s ‘Supreme Court’ has approved the death sentence for four Kurdish political prisoners held in a prison in western Iran.

Mohammad Abdulahi, Mostafa Salimi, Ali Afshari and Habib Afshari have been sentenced to death for their alleged link to Kurdish groups opposing the regime.

All four men are being held in a prison in city of Orumiyeh in western Iran.

The imminent threat of execution of the four political prisoners comes as many political prisoners are on hunger strike in Tehran’s Evin Prison.

On April 17, A large number of the clerical regime’s suppressive forces raided the ward 350 of notorious Evin Prison, savagely beating up and insulting the prisoners. The excuse for the raid was inspecting the ward.

Ward 350 is the ward of political prisoners in Evin Prison, including those who are imprisoned on the charges of affiliation with the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The Amnesty International condemned the raid in a call for Urgent Action on April 17.

The assailants were in particularly focused on prisoners who are charged with being affiliated to the PMOI/MEK and beat them up more severely, and wounded a number of them.
The henchmen in Evin transferred a number of political prisoners to solitary cells despite their injuries and their need for medical treatment and there is no news on their conditions.

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi has called for an independent international probe by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on Iran, into the barbaric raid of Evin Prison on April 17, 2014.

She also called for regular visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross to prisons in Iran similar to the end Shah’s era.

Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran- 2013

March 2014

With more than 687 executions, the number of the executions in 2013 in Iran were the highest in more than 15 years.  More than 68% of the executions have taken place after the Presidential elections of June 14th.  

For the full version of the report please click on the link below:

PDF – Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran 2013

Iran Human Rights, March 12, 2014: Iran Human Rights (IHR) launched its sixth annual report on the death penalty in Iran at the British Parliament (House of Lords) on Tuesday March 11th. The report was launched with the support of the  All–Party Parliamentary Groups on the Abolition of the Death Penalty and Human Rights,  and Together against the death penalty (Ensemble contre la peine de mort – ECPM).


The sixth annual report on the death penalty in Iran gives an assessment of how the death penalty was implemented in 2013 in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The number of executions in 2013 is the highest reported in more than 15 years, and the trend continues in 2014. Public executions remain high and possession and trafficking of narcotic drugs remain the charges the most commonly used against those executed in Iran in 2013. Moreover, there are several juvenile offenders among those executed, and more than 40% of the executions either were not announced by the authorities or they were conducted secretly. Ethnic minorities  were over-represented in the latter group. Many of those who were executed were subjected to unfair trials, torture and forced confessions .

The sixth annual report on the death penalty in Iran is being published at a time when the international community is improving its relation with the Iranian authorities. After the election of M. Hassan Rouhani, and the following provisional agreement about Iran’s nuclear program, several high-ranking political delegates from several EU countries expressed their optimism or visited Iran. 

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR  states: “it is a paradox that the relations between Iran and the international community are improving while the number of the executions in Iran increases. The election of Mr. Hassan Rouhani has not improved the situation. Improvement of diplomatic relations should be conditioned into concrete steps from the Iranian authorities to comply with the international obligations regarding the use of the death penalty.”– “Situation of the human rights in general, and the death penalty in particular, must be at the top of the agenda in the dialogue between the international community and the Iranian authorities”.


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