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

 

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Hearing Monday to decide fate of Pakistani paraplegic on death row

A court hearing in Pakistan tomorrow (31st) could decide whether the government should be allowed to execute a severely disabled man.
Abdul Basit, 43, was convicted and sentenced to death for murder in 2009. In 2010, he contracted tubercular meningitis in prison, which left him paralyzed from the waist down. A Government-appointed medical board recently confirmed that Basit has no use of his lower limbs and is “bed bound with urinary and fecal incontinence.” Despite being unable to stand, and reliant on a wheelchair, the Pakistani authorities have issued a ‘Black Warrant’ for his execution – part of a wave of hangings in Pakistan that has seen over 200 prisoners killed since December 2014.
At a hearing in July, the Lahore High Court ordered a stay of execution for Basit, after his lawyers argued that his execution would constitute cruel and unusual punishment – violating the fundamental right to human dignity enshrined in Pakistan’s Constitution. Tomorrow’s hearing will decide whether the stay should be extended, or whether the Pakistani authorities should be permitted to execute Basit. There are no provisions for the execution of disabled prisoners in Pakistan’s execution protocol.
Pakistan has the largest death row in the world, at over 8,000 prisoners. The government has claimed that the hangings are necessary to deter ‘terrorists’, but recent reports have revealed that the vast majority of those already executed had no links to terrorism.
Commenting, Kate Higham, Pakistan caseworker at Reprieve, said: “There has, quite rightly, been an outcry at the Pakistani authorities’ insistence on hanging a severely disabled man. It is appalling that the government is trying to push through its plans to kill Basit, when the only result would be a grotesque, cruel spectacle – and the pointless loss of yet another life. It’s to be hoped that the court puts a halt to these grisly plans – but the international community must also step in and urge Pakistan to end this terrible wave of executions.”
Source: Reprieve, 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

EU Blasts Palestinian Use Of Death Penalty

European Union missions based in Jerusalem and Ramallah in the occupied West Bank condemned Friday a death sentence issued in the Gaza Strip earlier this week.
The sentence was the 5th issued since the beginning of the year by Palestinian courts.
On Monday, the Permanent Military Court in Gaza City – acting as a court of First Instance – sentenced a 37-year-old Palestinian from the al-Daraj neighborhood to death by firing squad after he was convicted of “collaboration with a foreign hostile entity,” the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported.
Under Palestinian law, wilful, premeditated murder and treason as well as collaboration with the enemy – usually Israel – are punishable by death.
The EU called on authorities in Gaza – run by the Hamas movement – to refrain from enforcing capital punishment on the grounds that the practice is cruel, inhumane, fails to deter criminal behavior, and denies citizens human dignity.
PCHR said that Monday’s sentence brings the total number of death sentences issued by the Palestinian courts since 1994 to 161, over 80 % of which were carried out in the Gaza Strip.
The remainder took place in the occupied West Bank in courts run by the Palestinian Authority.
The majority of those facing the death penalty in the Gaza Strip have been executed since Hamas took control on 2007, PCHR said, adding that 19 have been executed since 2007 without ratification by President Mahmoud Abbas.
Under Palestinian law, capital punishment may only be carried out with the approval of the Palestinian president.
As the Hamas movement broke from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 and does not recognize the legitimacy of Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip sidestep the president’s consent on cases of capital punishment.
The EU added that the authorities in Gaza must “comply with the moratorium on executions put in place by the Palestinian Authority, pending abolition of the death penalty in line with the global trend.”
While Hamas has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 and the Palestinian Authority rules in the occupied West Bank, the death penalty is carried out by both parties in both territories.
Hamas executed 18 men in August for alleged collaboration with Israel during the 50-day Gaza war.
Palestine is 1 of 22 countries that carried out the death penalty last year.
The practice has been abolished in 140 countries – nearly 2/3 of countries around the world – and in 2012 over half of United Nations member states voted for a UN resolution to be passed for a global moratorium on the practice.
In 2014, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United States carried out the largest numbers of recorded death sentences.
Rights groups have criticized Palestinian authorities in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip for implementing capital punishment without due process.
Source:eurasiareview.com, August 28, 2015

India: Law panel drafts paper, favours abolition of death penalty

The Law Commission is set to recommend abolition of death penalty in India except for terror convicts, media reports said on Friday, a move rights activists say is long overdue in the country.
India is one of 59 countries in the world where capital punishment is still awarded and activists have been demanding its abolition, saying death penalty had no place in civilised society.
The issue had generated intense debate before and after the hanging in July of Yakub Memon, the sole Mumbai blasts convict to be executed.
A 272-page draft report of the Law Commission was in favour of speedy abolition of the death penalty from the statute books, except in cases where the accused is convicted of involvement in a terror case, the Indian Express reported.
The Law Commission had recommended retention of death penalty in 1962.
“The Commission suggests that the death penalty be immediately abolished for all crimes other than terror offences. At the same time, for terror offences a moratorium as regards sentencing and execution be immediately put in place. This moratorium can be reviewed after a reasonable period,” the report quoted the draft as saying.
The panel also hoped that the “movement towards absolute abolition will be swift and irreversible”.
The commission, headed by justice (retd) AP Shah, is likely to submit its report next week to the Supreme Court which had asked the panel to study the issue.
A copy of the report will also be handed over to the Union law minister as any call on changes in penal provisions has to be taken by Parliament.
The panel’s term expires on August 31. According to the report, the commission is of the view that death penalty has not served its intended purpose of acting as a deterrent to crimes or criminals.
“The quest for retribution as a penal justification cannot descend into cries for vengeance,” the draft paper said.
The panel had held wide-ranging discussions with many different sections including political parties.
Former president late APJ Abdul Kalam is among the people who had earlier supported abolishing death penalty while responding to a consultation paper of the Law Commission.
Ahead of Yakub Memon’s hanging after a dramatic late-night rejection of his final mercy, a group of activists had written to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking a stay on his execution.
Source: Hindustan Times, 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

 

Pakistan hangs man convicted for multiple murders

Pakistan today hanged a death row prisoner convicted for multiple murders, taking the total number of convicts executed to 212 since the country lifted its moratorium on the death penalty in March this year.
Maqbool Hussain was hanged early this morning in Multan central jail in Punjab province.
Hussain was convicted for murdering 6 people in 1996 to avenge the killing of his brothers and his petitions were already rejected by higher courts.
Pakistan lifted its moratorium on the death penalty in all capital cases on March 10.
Executions in Pakistan resumed in December last year, ending a 6-year moratorium, after Taliban fighters gunned down 154 people, most of them children, at a school in Peshawar.
Hangings were initially reinstated only for those convicted of terrorism offences, but in March they were extended to all capital offences.
So far 212 convicts have been executed in total despite the criticism from United Nations, the European Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
More than 8,000 prisoners are on death row in Pakistan and about 160 convicts have been executed since the Nawaz Sharif government lifted moratorium on death penalty.
Source: Press Trust of India, August 27, 2015