Month: July 2015

India’s history of capital punishment in the last decade

According to the Article 21 of The Constitution of India, “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” Capital punishments have always been a point of contention in the Judiciary, not only in India but also in most developed countries. The state’s authority is both questioned and established after the execution of a capital punishment. India has made its stance clear on the matter in December 2007, when it rejected UN’s plea for a worldwide moratorium on capital punishment which was further.

Despite India’s stance on capital punishments, the judiciary saves it for extreme violations of law. According to the Article 21 of The Constitution of India, “no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” Capital punishments have always been a point of contention in the Judiciary, not only in India but also in most developed countries. The state’s authority is both questioned and established after the execution of a capital punishment. India has made its stance clear on the matter in December 2007, when it rejected UN’s plea for a worldwide moratorium on capital punishment which was further.

Despite India’s stance on capital punishments, the judiciary saves it for extreme violations of law. In the past 10 years the Indian Judiciary has sentenced 1,303 people to death but only four have been hung till death in this entire decade.

Dhananjoy Chatterjee:

Date of execution: August 14, 2004 (Alipore Central Jail, Kolkata)

Dhananjoy Chaterjee was accused of raping and then murdering a 14 year old girl, Hetal Parekh. Dhananjoy was born in a village 200 kilometres from the main Kolkata city. He left his village to work as a security guard. The victim lived in the same apartment that Dhananjoy was guarding. According to the official verdict, it was proved that he raped the girl and then choked her to death. The judiciary declared the crime as “rarest of rare” because the guard was responsible for the protection of the society and the people living in it. The accused was scheduled to hang on June 25, 2004 but his family filed a mercy plea, which was rejected by the then President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. He was finally hanged on his 39th birthday in Alipore Central Jail in Kolkata.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab:

Date of execution: November 21, 2012 (Yerwada Jail, Pune)

Ajmal Kasab was a part of the group that was responsible for the infamous 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. This case was closely followed by the media of our country which was probably the reason why case was expedited. An 11,000 page charge sheet was filed against Kasab which made a strong case against him. He kept changing his statement from time to time and moved up to the Supreme Court pleading for mercy. President Pranab Mukherjee upheld the judgement of capital punishment on the November 5, 2012 and he was hanged to death on November 21, 2012.

Afzal Guru:

Date of execution: February 9, 2013 (Tihar Jail, Delhi)

Afzal Guru was accused of being the master mind behind the attacks on the parliament on December 13, 2001. Five armed terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament which led to the death of 8 security personnel and a gardener. A media person was also shot amidst the attack and succumbed to the injuries later. The case was handed to a special cell of Delhi Police, which was able to track and arrest Afzal by December 15, 2001. He pleaded guilty in front of the media but took back his statement later claiming that he did it due to the pressure induced by the police. A special court was formed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act which finally sentenced him to death on December 18, 2002. Due to various pleads and protests the case went on till February 6, 2013, when his plea was rejected by the President Pranab Mukherjee. His execution was a carried out as a secret mission on February 9, 2013.

Yakub Memon:

Date of execution: July 30, 2015 (Central Jail, Nagpur)

Yakub Memon was accused of taking part in sponsoring the 13 blasts that rocked Mumbai in 1993. A charted accountant by profession, it was claimed that he sponsored the bomb blasts that were masterminded by his brother Tiger Memon and underworld mafia Dawood Ibrahim. The blasts claimed the lives of 257 people. Yakub pleaded repeatedly before the apex court claiming that his case was not dealt with in the correct manner. Two subsequent mercy appeals were rejected which ended in an unprecedented all-night court hearing. The court rejected the final appeal at 5a.m. in the morning. Yakub was woken up at 4:00 a.m. and was allowed to take a warm water bath. He read the Quran and offered his Namaz before being hanged before 7am and was declared dead at 7:01 am.

India Executes Yakub Memon, Man Tied to 1993 Mumbai Bombings

July 30, 2015

NEW DELHI — Yakub Memon, the “driving spirit” behind a series of bombings in Mumbai that killed 257 people in 1993, was hanged early Thursday morning at a prison in central India.
The bombings, a carefully coordinated series of a dozen explosions across the city, stunned India because of their level of sophistication and their unprecedented carnage. In addition to the dead, more than 700 people were injured and several neighborhoods were left in smoking ruins.
According to prosecutors, Mr. Memon was the bomb plot’s indispensable middleman, the one who arranged financing, made travel plans, stockpiled weapons and bought vehicles for car bombs. Of all those who have been convicted of crimes related to the bombings, including the men who planted the bombs, Mr. Memon is the only defendant to be executed.
As is the norm in India, journalists were not allowed to witness the execution, which was carried out at the Central Prison in the city of Nagpur. Under prison procedures, the condemned is typically offered a bath, a final meal, fresh clothes and a chance to pray before going to the gallows. Although death sentences are routinely imposed in India, actual executions are rare. Mr. Memon was only the fourth person executed in India since 2000.
He was hanged before 7 a.m. on his 53rd birthday.
While there was no immediate official confirmation, Mr. Memon’s death was widely reported by Indian news outlets citing government sources.
The execution took place amid tightened security, especially in towns and cities with large Muslim populations. The security measures reflected official concern that the execution of Mr. Memon, a Muslim in a predominantly Hindu nation, could serve as a flash point for religious strife and score-settling — the same dynamic present in the Mumbai bombings.
Over the past week, as the execution approached, a robust debate erupted here over whether Mr. Memon deserved to die. That debate gathered strength on Wednesday as India’s president rejected his final plea for mercy. By late Wednesday night, several hundred people opposed to Mr. Memon’s execution had gathered for a candlelight vigil at Jantar Mantar, a giant sundial that is this city’s preferred rallying point for public protest. Not until 5 a.m. on Thursday did India’s Supreme Court deny Mr. Memon’s final appeal.
The debate was fueled by last-minute questions about Mr. Memon’s supposed cooperation with investigators, by concerns about the treatment of Muslim defendants in India’s courts and by the uncontested fact that the actual masterminds of the bombings remain at large.

Click here to read the full article

Source: The New York Times, David Barstow, July 30, 2015

Iran: 14 Executions, 3 Carried Out in Public

Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015
Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015
Iran Human Rights, July 29 2015: Based on official and unofficial reports, Iranian authorities have executed at least 14 prisoners in the province of Alborz since Monday.
Close sources say seven prisoners with drug charges were hanged on Monday in Karaj Central Prison.
On Saturday the Iranian authorities had reportedly transferred the seven prisoners along with two more prisoners to solitary confinement.
The executions of the two others prisoners have reportedly been delayed for unknown reasons.
On Tuesday four prisoners at Ghezel Hesar Prison were hanged for drug charges, according to close sources.
The prisoners were reportedly removed out of their prison wards on Sunday and transferred to solitary confinement along with two more prisoners.
The executions of the two other prisoners have reportedly been delayed for unknown reasons.
Today Iranian authorities hanged three prisoners in a public area in the city of Karaj, reports state media Mehr News.
The report does not mention the names of the prisoners or their charges.
Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015
Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015
Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015

 

Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015
Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015
Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015
Karaj, Iran, July 29, 2015

Source: Iran Human Rights, July 29, 2015

Iran: Juvenile Offender Accused of Murder at 15 May Be Executed on Saturday

Amnesty International has issued a warning about the imminent execution of a juvenile offender in Iran
Salar Shadizadi is a juvenile offender in Rasht Prison who is reportedly set to be hanged to death on Saturday, August 1st for a murder crime he reportedly committed when he was 15.

Salar’s death sentence was confirmed by Iran’s Supreme Court.

In a recently published statement by Amnesty International the NGO urges Iranian authorities to stop Salar’s execution.
In April 2015 Iranian authorities executed Jamal Saberi, a juvenile offender who was 17 years old at the time he was arrested and charged with murder and drug possession.
Jamal was sentenced to death by Iran’s Judiciary and hanged in Rajai Shahr Prison along with 4 more prisoners charged with murder.
Jamal reportedly suffered from severe psychological disorders and was held in Omid Abad Psychiatric Ward for some time before his execution.
Iran is signatory to the United Nation’s International Covenant of Civil and Political rights where in Article 6 it states: “Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below 18 years of age…”
Source: Iran Human Rights, July 29, 2015

 

8 more murder convicts hanged in Pakistan

July 29, 2015

8 more death row prisoners, who were convicted for murders, were sent to gallows in different prisons of Punjab on Wednesday.
According to Samaa correspondent, three murder convicts were hanged in district jail in Attock city early in the morning. A father and his son were among the 3 condemned prisoners.
Officials said 5 other death row convicts were executed in jails of Sargodha, Multan, Kasur, Jhang and Gujarat.
Authorities on Monday resumed executions following a one-month break during Ramazan.
Over 180 people have been executed since December when the country ended a 6-year moratorium on the death penalty following a Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar that killed more than 150 people — mostly children — in the country’s deadliest ever terror attack.
Among those currently on death row are murder convict Shafqat Hussain who is scheduled to be hanged on Aug 4 in Karachi.
His case has drawn international criticism because his family and lawyers say he was under 18 at the time of the killing and claim he was tortured into confessing.
Amnesty International estimates that Pakistan has more than 8,000 prisoners on death row, most of whom have exhausted their appeals.
Source: Samaa.tv, July 29, 2015

 

Philippines bids to save Mary Jane Veloso from execution in Indonesia

July 29, 2015

Woman who says she was duped into smuggling drugs was given last-minute reprieve from firing squad but remains on death row
Officials from the Philippines arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday to discuss a case against drug traffickers that they hope can prove that a Filipino former domestic worker was tricked into smuggling heroin and save her from a firing squad.
Mary Jane Veloso was given a temporary reprieve by Indonesian president Joko Widodo just hours before she was due to be executed in April. Eight men were killed by firing squad that day.
Her alleged trafficker had handed herself in to the police in Manila, and the Philippines president, Benigno Aquino, made a last-minute appeal on the basis that Veloso would be needed as a witness in the case against her alleged recruiter.
“Primarily we are updating the Indonesian government on progress made in the case of Mary Jane Veloso,” Filipino department of foreign affairs (DFA) spokesperson Charles Jose told the Guardian.
The Philippines justice secretary, Leila de Lima, has set up a special taskforce to investigate the drug traffickers, which could prove the argument made by her supporters that Veloso is a victim of human trafficking, not a drug trafficker.
Key to the last-minute reprieve was that the Philippines invoked a regional treaty signed to fight transnational crimes in south-east Asia.
The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) obliges countries to help each other fight crime outside their borders – in this instance, by keeping alive a key witness in a potential human trafficking case.
Jose said officials in Jakarta on Wednesday “will also explore how we can use MLAT in our investigation”.
Indonesia’s attorney general, Muhammad Prasetyo, said later that the discussions were unlikely to save Veloso from death row.
“I reiterate that their demand to free [Veloso] is difficult. This is because she has been found guilty for drug smuggling in Indonesia,” he was quoted as saying by the Indonesian Kompas news website.
An online petition with more than 430,000 signatures says Veloso is from a poor area in the north of the Philippines. It said the single mother of two sons was seeking employment and had no idea heroin was in the lining of her suitcase.

 

Source: The Guardian, Oliver Holmes in Bangkok and Carmela Fonbuena in Manila, July 29, 2015

 

Pakistan hangs three convicted killers

July 28, 2015: Three murder convicts were hanged in Pakistan between July 27 and 28 as executions resumed following a one-month break during the holy month of Ramazan that ended last week.
Farooq and Karim Nawaz, were hanged in Multan on July 27 amid strict security arrangements.
“Two prisoners, Farooq alias Farooqa and Karim Nawaz, who had been awarded capital punishment, have been hanged in central jail in Multan today,” Chaudhry Arshad Saeed, a senior government adviser for prisons in the Punjab province told AFP.
“Both of these convicts were awaiting the death penalty for murdering people in separate cases. They have been executed today after resumption of hangings following a temporary moratorium because of Ramazan,” he said.
Another senior official of the prisons department who is responsible for all operations confirmed the hangings.
In 1988, Farooq had murdered a person over a transaction whereas Kareem Nawaz had killed another in 1999 due to old enmity.
Akhtar were hanged on July 28 at Attock District Jail. He had killed a man named Saeed over an old enmity in 1999.
Since the de facto ban on capital punishment ended on 17 December 2014 184 people, including 25 convicted terrorists, have been executed across the country.
Sources: AFP, July 27, 2015; Dunya, July 28, 2015