Author: Claim Your Innocence

Claim your innocence is a blog for all news from Death row, I am against innocent people who are in death row, too many innocents have been executed, but I decided to talk about death row in general. but trying to highlight the case of obvious innocence, or if they have too many doubts and contradictions.

Indonesian death penalty laws to be softened to allow reformed prisoners to avoid execution

January 12,2018

Indonesian politicians have agreed to soften the nation’s harsh death penalty laws.The proposed new laws would impose a 10-year stay on executions, after which the death penalty could be commuted to a prison term.

“The legislation in the draft penal code is a small step towards abolition,” said death penalty critic Ricky Gunawan, the director of Indonesia’s Community Legal Aid Institute.

“It’s a compromise between groups who are for and against the death penalty.”

The changes would give authorities much greater leeway to avoid executing reformed prisoners, like Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran who were shot by firing squad in 2015.

Both men were model prisoners who were praised for helping their fellow inmates.

They were among 18 convicted drug smugglers executed in 2015 and 2016.

“There are so many death row prisoners who show transformation,” Mr Gunawan said.

“The issue at stake is how to ensure prisoners like Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran could be seen by the Government as eligible to have their sentence commuted.”

Change makes commutation decision ‘highly political’

The 10-year stay on executions would be followed by an automatic review of the penalty by Indonesia’s law and human rights minister.

The minister could recommend a death sentence be commuted to life in prison or a 20-year term.

Mr Gunawan said he would like to see the review done by an independent committee rather than a politician.

“The decision rests with the minister for law and human rights — therefore it’s highly political,” he said.

“There is a need for an independent body to advise the President.”

Legislators have agreed on the proposed law changes, but they are part of sweeping review of the nation’s criminal code that will not be enacted for several years.

Eighteen people have been executed under the rule of President Joko Widodo. Most were foreigners and all were convicted of drug smuggling.

The executions caused significant damage to Indonesia’s relationship with Australia, among other countries.


Iran suspends death penalty for some drug crimes, potentially sparing thousands on death row

January, 01.10.2018

Iran has lifted the death penalty for certain nonviolent drug offenses, relaxing some of the world’s harshest laws on drug crimes and potentially sparing the lives of thousands of death row inmates.

An amended narcotics law directs judges to suspend executions for 5,000 people convicted of drug-related offenses and review their cases, Mizan news agency, the mouthpiece of Iran’s judiciary, reported Wednesday.

Most of the 5,000 convicts would have their punishments “converted to life sentences,” Mohammad Ali Esfanani, assistant judge of the Iranian Supreme Court, told state media.

A spokesman for the judiciary committee of Iran’s Parliament, Hasan Nourouzi, told the Jam-e-Jam daily newspaper that violent drug offenders — including those who had committed murder in the course of drug crimes — would still be subject to the death penalty if convicted.

But the moratorium on executions for those found guilty of nonviolent crimes — such as drug smuggling — is a victory for reformists and human rights advocates who fought for years to change Iran’s draconian drug laws. Proponents of the changes say that 90% of those imprisoned on drug convictions are first-time offenders younger than 30 years old.

The amended law had been in the works for more than two years, ever since a majority of Iran’s 290 lawmakers said they endorsed a moratorium. After parliament approved the bill, it won approval from Iran’s all-powerful Guardian Council, a conservative body made up of Islamic jurists and theologians.

Hard-liners had long opposed the changes, but the influence of moderates and reformists in parliament, and a rising backlash against executions, has contributed to a softening stance.

Lawmakers have raised the limits on the amounts of drugs one can possess before it becomes a capital offense. An earlier law provided for the death penalty if someone was caught with an ounce of cocaine; the new limit is 4.4 pounds.

Iran is in the grip of a terrible drug abuse problem, mainly driven by easy access to cheap and plentiful narcotics, especially opium, coming over the border from Afghanistan. Health officials say there are more than 2 million drug addicts in a country of 80 million, but doctors say the actual figure is higher.

Iran puts more convicts to death per capita than any country in the world, most for drug crimes. Amnesty International says that since 1988, Iran has executed, usually by hanging, approximately 10,000 people for drug-related offenses.

“If implemented properly, this long-overdue reform will spare hundreds from the gallows, but that should be just the start,” Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director, said in a statement.

“The Iranian authorities must stop using the death penalty for drug-related offenses with a view to eventually abolishing it for all crimes.”

Saleh Nikbakht, an Iranian human rights lawyer, said that by making the new law retroactive, Iranian authorities could spare the lives of thousands.

“Now Iran won’t be the second country in the world, after China, for most executions,” Nikbakht said. “We will have a much lower ranking and that is good news.”

Chinese prisoner on death row says final goodbyes to his family

December 17, 2017

Li Shi-yuan said his final goodbyes to his family and children before being led away to his execution.

The condemned man, named as 30-year-old Li Shiyuan, is seen behind bars bidding a tearful farewell to his loved ones in Daqing, north-eastern China, according to Sina.

But after reportedly begging to hold his daughter for one last time, he meets his family outside by the prison van – before being driven away to die.

Li hugs his sobbing wife and mum as officers wait to drive him to Daqing Funeral House to be given a lethal injection.

The prisoner gets on his knees on the freezing ground and bows three times in a sign of respect for his mother.

But his little girl seems blissfully unaware that this will be the last time she sees her father.

She smiles and shouts “bye bye dad” as the officers lead him to the van in shackles.

Li was reportedly put to death shortly afterwards for the killing of three men in May 2015.

He is said to have got in an argument with the trio at a karaoke bar before chasing after them in his car.


Afghanistan – Death Row Prisoners Spending Years In Jail

Out of 750 prisoners sentenced to death some convicts have been on death row waiting for their execution orders to be signed for 16 years.

The Meshrano Jirga (the Upper House of Parliament) on Tuesday summoned officials from the directorate of prisons and detention centers, representatives of the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AHRC) to respond to a report provided by the senate on the conditions of Afghanistan’s prisons and detention centers. 

The director of the prisons and detention centers directorate Abdul Halim Kohistani said of the 750 prisoners on death row, some were sentenced 16 years ago but until now their execution orders have not been issued.

Kohistani acknowledged there were challenges in the prisons and detention centers labeling health and hygiene as the biggest one.

“Public health ministry tells us to provide health services (to prisoners) because we fall under the interior ministry and it is our responsibility. When we ask the health department of the interior ministry to provide health services for the 30,000 prisoners, they say that we offer health services to the police but not to the prisoners,” said Kohistani.

Currently over 30,000 people are in prisons and detention centers – over 900 are women and over 300 are children. About 200 are foreign nationals.

Prisoners are being held in 36 prisons and 190 detention centers in the country and over 6,000 employees and guards are employed at these facilities.

“Approximately 750 individuals have been sentenced to death and some have been in prison for 16 years following the issuance of their sentence to death and this is a problem. When we speak with their lawyers or meet them in the prisons, they ask to be executed or to be freed because (they say) by keeping them in prison two punishments have been implemented against them,” Kohistani said.

“The reason that the death sentence is not being implemented on time is that it is a heavy punishment and it ends the life of the criminal. Thus special attention should be paid in this regard,” Abdul Fatah Azizi, from the AGO said.

Meanwhile a number of senators said some people use their influence and get the contract for construction of prisons but they do not build the buildings and facilities as it should be and that following the completion of the construction, prisoners face numerous problems such as a lack of space.

“An individual and our friend in the Meshrano Jirga had contracted a hospital in Kapisa province, but it has been 12 years and the hospital has not been built. Such cases are in Badakhshan,” senate deputy speaker Mohammad Alam Ezedyar said.

Kohistani said the lack of facilities is a big challenge in terms of addressing prisoners’ problems. He said in the last 14 years the prisons structures have not changed, but the number of prisoners has increased.

Japan executes two murderers, including teen killer on death-row since 1992

December 19, 2017

Japan Tuesday executed two convicted murderers, including one who committed his crime while in his teens, the justice ministry said, ignoring calls from international rights groups to end capital punishment.

The hangings of Teruhiko Seki and Kiyoshi Matsui bring to 21 the total number of executions since conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came to power in late 2012.

Seki, 44, was convicted of killing four people in Chiba, southeast of Tokyo, in 1992 when he was 19, the ministry said.

It was the first execution of a death-row prisoner who committed crimes as a minor since 1997 in Japan, local media said.

People are considered adults at the age of 20 in Japan.

Matsui, 69, was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend and her parents in 1994.

Both were seeking a retrial, local media said. Though not unprecedented, it is rare in Japan to put to death those appealing for a fresh trial.

“They were extremely cruel cases,” Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa said.

“I ordered the executions after very careful consideration,” she said.

Japan and the United States are the only major developed countries that still carry out capital punishment.

The death penalty has overwhelming public support in Japan despite repeated protests from European governments and human rights groups.

Opponents say Japan’s system is cruel because inmates can be on death row for many years in solitary confinement and are only told of their impending execution a few hours ahead of time.

Australian man facing death row in Bali after he was ‘caught with 20 grams of meth’ is rushed to hospital ‘suffering shock’ – as his lawyer says the former top accountant is ‘a suicide risk’

December 19,2017

An Australian man facing the death penalty in Bali after being caught with crystal meth and ecstasy pills has been rushed to hospital apparently suffering from shock.

Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, (pictured) born in Toowoomba, south Queensland, was allegedly caught with the drugs hidden in his suitcase on December 4, but his arrest was kept hidden from the public until now

Isaac Emmanuel Roberts, born in Toowoomba, south Queensland, was once a high-flying accountant from Queensland who even ran for parliament.

After being allegedly caught with the drugs and arrested on charges which carry the death penalty, he has since been rushed to hospital, according to the Herald Sun.

His lawyer said Roberts suffered from depression and had a risk of committing suicide.

The 35-year-old fell ill on Monday night after facing charges which carry a maximum of 20 years in jail or the death penalty.

Deni Sedana, one of Roberts’ lawyers, said his client fell ill late on Tuesday.

Roberts was apparently given medication and then returned to his jail cell.

‘He got sick. He was shocked after the press conference today,’ Mr Sedana said.

‘He has a big tendency to do suicide because he often feels depression. He has a mental disorder.’ 

Mr Sedana said Roberts had planned to fly from Bangkok, Thailand to Australia, but was convinced by a friend to go to Bali instead.

Roberts was allegedly caught with the drugs hidden in his suitcase on December 4, but his arrest was kept hidden from the public until now.

The 35-year-old chartered accountant confessed to being a prolific drug user and told waiting media he was a ‘f***ing addict’, but alleges he is not a dealer.

Roberts ran as a Liberal Democrat candidate in the seat of Higgins in Melbourne in 2009. He was unsuccessful, polling eighth out of 10 candidates.

His social media accounts reveal the alleged drug user to be a dedicated gym junkie who regularly visits the Indonesian island and Thailand.

Pictures on his Instagram show his frequent travels to Asian destinations such as Sukhumvit in Bangkok, Thailand.

Roberts was travelling from Bangkok into Bali when he was allegedly caught with the drugs.

He works as a professional accountant and was last registered as an employee of M-Tax Accountants in Queensland.

His career in accounting has taken him to Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Shocking photographs surfaced on Tuesday showing him sitting in a media conference wearing orange prisoner garb and a black balaclava over his head.

He was pictured beside two other suspects guarded by police officers who wore balaclavas and carried rifles.

Roberts was allegedly found with 6.22 grams of ecstasy, 14.32 grams of methamphetamine and 22 mils of a psychotropic substance.

Details of his arrest were kept secret until Tuesday, when the drug bust was announced by Indonesian officials.

‘We have arrested an Australian, IER, for bringing drugs into Bali,’ Customs and Excise Officer Husni Syaiful said.

Roberts reportedly arrived in Bali on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok on December 4.

The drugs were allegedly discovered when his luggage was X-rayed.

Indonesia carries the maximum death penalty for drug importation crimes.

Speaking to media after the conference, Roberts reportedly said he was invited to Indonesia by a customs officer.

‘I was working with a customs officer and they knew I was going to bring something,’ he told reporters in Bali.

‘I’m just a f*****g addict. They want to waste resources on addicts, they want to punish addicts? This is ridiculous. What about the f…..g importers? I wasn’t going to sell it to anyone here, no one was going to use it here. This is ridiculous. This is an embarrassment.’

Indonesian police alleged Roberts admitted to being a drug user, but denied he was a dealer.

Roberts is being held in jail at police headquarters in Denpasar, Indonesia.

When the police investigation is finished, he will reportedly be transferred to Kerobokan prison – where he will await trial.

Roberts describes himself as a Chartered Accountant and Registered Tax Agent on his personal website.

‘I specialise in personal income tax returns, however years of experience in corporate tax have given me the confidence to service many business clients,’ he said.   



Gantsi farm hands sent to death row

December 14, 2017

Lobatse High Court Judge, Abednego Tafa yesterday ruled that Kgalalelo, 31, and Mpe, 27, should be hung by their necks until they died for their roles in the robbery, murder and arson attack on Reinette Vorster. The sentence came after Tafa failed to find extenuating circumstances for the pair’s crimes in a recent hearing.

The Judge also sentenced the duo to 10 years for robbery, five years for theft of motor vehicle, three years for malicious damage to property and one year for abduction. The abduction and malicious damage to property sentences will run concurrently, while the two years of the motor vehicle sentence will run concurrently with the robbery sentence. The individual sentences for the robbery and motor vehicle theft are the minimum prescribed by law.

The High Court earlier this  year found that Kgalalelo and Mpe in January 2014 attacked Vorster, stealing her Toyota Hilux valued at P300,000, two cellphones and cash amounting to P11,000. The former employer had been driving from her farm to Gantsi at the time of the attack. The two then murdered Vorster and burnt her in the vehicle.  Kgalalelo was arrested on February 3, 2014 at Vorster’s farm and Mpe, the day after in connection with a separate incident.

The duo had also been charged with sexual assault, but the court acquitted them of those charges due to insufficient evidence.

In an emotional plea for extenuation late last month, the two farm hands told the Lobatse High Court that the incident stemmed from their anger at alleged slave conditions on the farms in the district.