AFRICA

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.

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Mandatory death sentence ‘unconstitutional’ in Kenya

December 14, 2017

NAIROBI, Kenya

Kenya’s Supreme Court on Thursday declared the mandatory death sentence in the East African country as “unconstitutional”.

In a ruling, the Supreme Court’s judge Njoki Ndungu said a law regarding mandatory death penalty is “inconsistent” with the constitution of Kenya.

He was referring to Section 204 of the Penal Code, which states that that anyone found guilty of committing murder, treason and armed robbery shall be sentenced to death.

While abolishing the mandatory death penalty, Ndungu said: “The mandatory nature of the death sentence as provided under Section 204 of the Penal Code, is hereby declared unconstitutional.”

The ruling by the top court in Kenya came after Wilson Mwangi and Francis Karioko both death row convicts filed a petition to the court questioning the legality of the mandatory death penalty for the crimes such as murder, treason and armed robbery.

Meanwhile, Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s adviser on the death penalty, appreciated the judgment.

“This landmark judgment is a significant step towards complete abolition of the ultimate cruel and inhumane form of punishment,” Popoola said.

“It’s now time for the Kenyan authorities to take the required legal steps to abolish the death penalty fully and join the 105 countries that have completely consigned the punishment to history.”

No person has been executed in Kenya since 1987 despite many being handed the death penalties.

British tourist who could face death penalty ‘for taking 300 painkiller pills into Egypt’ faces trial on Christmas Day

November  18, 2017

A British tourist who faces the death penalty for allegedly taking strong painkillers into Egypt is due to stand trial on Christmas day.

Laura Plummer has already spent six weeks behind bars in the holiday result of Hurghada after being arrested at the airport on drug smuggling charges.

The 33-year-old has been told she will face a judge on the holiday date, as the Muslim country considers December 25 as a normal working day.

Her family were heartbroken to learn the official court date by Rasha Abdo Shorky, her Hurghada-based lawyer.

A family member told Mail Online: “We knew Laura was going to go on trial but on Christmas Day is just awful.

Chad executes 10 Boko Haram members 1 day after verdict

Chad executed by firing squad 10 members of Boko Haram on Saturday, the security minister said, marking the 1st use of the death penalty since the country bolstered its anti-terror measures last month.
The 10 men were sentenced to death on Friday after being convicted of crimes including murder and the use of explosives.
They were killed at around 11 a.m., Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, the security minister, said Saturday.
Those killed included Bahna Fanaye, alias Mahamat Moustapha, who Chadian officials have described as a leader of the Nigeria-based group.
Chad has vowed to take a leading role in a regional force to fight Boko Haram that is also expected to include soldiers from Cameroon, Benin and Niger in addition to Nigeria. Boko Haram has targeted Nigeria’s neighbors in regular attacks this year.
In June and July Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, was rocked by a series of suicide attacks that killed dozens of people – the 1st such attacks since Boko Haram threatened the country earlier this year.
In 1 attack, suicide bombers on motorcycles targeted 2 buildings in the capital. In another, a man disguised as a woman wearing a burqa detonated a bomb outside the city’s main market.
Last September, Chad drew praise from rights groups for a draft penal code that abolished capital punishment.
The International Federation for Human Rights said at the time that the country had observed a moratorium on the death penalty since 1991 with the exception of 9 executions that took place in November 2003. But anti-terror measures approved by lawmakers last month in response to the recent attacks brought the death penalty back.
Source: Associated Press, August 30, 2015

 

Egypt court sentences 12 IS supporters to death

An Egyptian court sentenced to death 12 members of the Islamic State group Thursday for planning attacks against police and soldiers in the country, a judicial official said.
6 of those who were on trial are behind bars, while the rest are still at large, the official said.
They were convicted of having joined IS — which has declared a “caliphate” in parts of Iraq and Syria under its control — and of plotting to attack members of Egypt’s police force and military.
In Egypt, death sentences are forwarded to the country’s grand mufti, the official interpreter of Islamic law, who then issues a non-binding opinion.
The sentences issued will either be confirmed or commuted on September 12 by the court in the northern province of Sharkia, a court official said.
In a separate trial, 2 cousins were sentenced to three years in prison in the same province for using Facebook to promote the ideology of IS, the official added.

Source: al-monitor.com, August 28, 2015

Burkina Faso: Opportunity to abolish the death penalty must be seized

Burkina Faso must seize the opportunity to abolish the death penalty, Amnesty International said on the eve of parliamentary sessions which will culminate in an historic vote.
Tomorrow the national transitional parliament will start a series of discussions with organisations and interested parties regarding the abolition of the death penalty before putting a bill to the vote on 6 September. The government has already approved the text of the bill which has been sent back to the transitional parliament.
“This is a critical moment for Burkina Faso to put itself on the right side of history by acknowledging the inviolable nature of the right to life”– Alioune Tine, Amnesty International West Africa director.
“The eyes of the world will be on the country’s parliamentarians to see whether they will join the steady global movement away from the use of the death penalty and abolish this cruel punishment once and for all.”
The last known execution was carried out in Burkina Faso in 1988. If the law is adopted, Burkina Faso will join the 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa which have abolished the death penalty.
Progress in the region has been good. Over the course of the last 20 years, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo in West Africa, alongside Burundi, Gabon, Mauritius and Rwanda, have all abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Earlier in the year Madagascar became the latest country in Africa to abolish the death penalty for all crimes.
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime, the guilt, innocence or other characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.
The death penalty violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. There is no convincing evidence to support the idea that the death penalty works as a deterrent to crime, or that it is more effective than other forms of punishment. This has been confirmed in many United Nations studies across different countries and regions.
Background
The parliamentary discussions will start tomorrow with the hearing of human rights organisations that have been campaigning against the death penalty in Burkina Faso. This will be followed on 4 September by the Report hearing. The plenary session for the parliament’s vote will take place on 6 September.
“The 1st article of the draft bill confirms that the country is an abolitionist in practice, the second introduces a reference to life sentence in respect of all texts applicable before the entry into force of the law.”– Amnesty International
The 3rd article states that death sentences already imposed are commuted into life imprisonment. The 4th article indicates that the law shall be enforced as a law of the State.
Burkina Faso’s laws currently provide for the use of the death penalty in the penal code, the military code of justice and article 4 of the railways police law.
Source: Amnesty International, August 27, 2015

 

Oscar Pistorius due to be released from prison after serving 10 months

Oscar Pistorius is set to be released from prison on Friday after serving just 10 months of a five-year sentence for the shooting death of his girlfriend, according to multiple reports.

Pistorius, the former Paralympic runner, was convicted of killing Reeva Steenkamp onValentine’s Day in 2013. Pistorius, who said he mistook his girlfriend for an intruder, was found guilty of culpable homicide after a trial.

According to CNN, the parole board often considers correctional supervision because South Africa’s prisons are overcrowded and underfunded. The board has the authority to place Pistorius on correctional supervision after serving one-sixth of his sentence because he was sentenced under a specific section of the Criminal Procedure Act.

He’s expected to serve the rest of his sentence at the home of his uncle outside Pretoria.

Pistorius served the 10-months at Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria, South Africa. Upon release, he will have to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Whether Pistorius will remain free is uncertain. Prosecutors pushing for a murder conviction against Pistorius filed papers Monday at South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal, according to court registrar Paul Myburgh. A Supreme Court appeal hearing is set to take place in November. If the conviction is elevated, the runner will be subject to at least 15 years imprisonment, according to the Library of Congress.