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Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    June 17, 2018

    Iranian authorities must urgently stop the imminent execution of Mohammad Salas, a 51-year-old man from one of Iran’s largest Sufi orders, the Nemattolah Gonabadi order, and to immediately quash his death sentence, Amnesty International said today.

    “Amnesty International has received information that indicates a huge miscarriage of justice may be carried out if the Iranian authorities go through with this execution. We call on the authorities to immediately quash the death sentence of Mohammad Salas and to order a retrial that meets international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at ‎Amnesty International.

    Prison authorities phoned Mohammad Salas’ family on the evening of 16 June and told them to go to Raja’i Shahr prison where he is imprisoned in Karaj, near Tehran, to visit him for the final time at 3.30pm local time on 17 June. This indicates that his execution is imminent, and could happen within days if not hours.

    May 23, 2018

    The trial of an Algerian blogger who faces the death penalty on trumped-up espionage charges based on online posts is yet another stain on the country’s human rights record, Amnesty International said today ahead of the opening hearing on 24 May.

    Merzoug Touati faces charges relating to a Facebook post and YouTube video that authorities claim encouraged civil unrest. He has been in detention since January 2017.

    Amnesty International has reviewed the court documents which list as “evidence” the posts published by Touati before his Facebook account and website were deleted, and found that there was no incitement to violence or advocacy of hatred, rather his posts were covered by freedom of expression in relation to his work as a citizen-journalist. Amnesty International therefore considers Merzoug Touati a prisoner of conscience held solely for expressing his peaceful opinions.

    May 01, 2018

    Ahead of the scheduled execution on Thursday of Ramin Hossein Panahi, a 22-year-old man from Iran’s Kurdish minority who was sentenced to death in January for “taking up arms against the state” after a grossly unfair trial and amid serious torture allegations, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “Ramin Hossein Panahi’s case has been a breathtaking miscarriage of justice from start to finish. After appearing at his trial reportedly bearing torture marks on his body he was convicted in less than an hour.

    “During the investigation period he was denied access to both his lawyer and his family, as well as to any details of the evidence against him. In a complete mockery of the judicial process, intelligence officials also repeatedly pressured him to make a televised ‘confession’ in exchange for the quashing of his death sentence. His refusal to submit to this pressure has seen him languishing in solitary confinement.

    April 11, 2018
    Positive steps seen across sub-Saharan Africa, with Guinea becoming 20th abolitionist state, substantial decreases in death sentences and ongoing legislative developments Executions and death sentences recorded globally declined after record-high peaks of previous years Iran and Malaysia adopted legislative amendments to reduce the death penalty for drug-related offences Disturbing trends still rife, as many countries continue to violate international law

     

    Sub-Saharan Africa made great strides in the global fight to abolish the death penalty with a significant decrease in death sentences being imposed across the region, Amnesty International said in its 2017 global review of the death penalty published today.

    March 22, 2018
    In response to the decision by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to commute the death sentences of prisoners who have been on death row for more than 10 years, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, said: “President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s has taken a very progressive step in deciding to spare the prisoners from the hangman’s noose. His action is commendable, but he must build on this positive momentum by ensuring Zimbabwe abolishing the death penalty completely.   “Countries around the world, including in sub-Saharan Africa, are moving away from using the death penalty. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty has a greater deterrent effect on crime than imprisonment. We call on President Mnangagwa to move swiftly to establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing this cruel and inhuman punishment altogether.”   Background
    March 15, 2018

    Reacting to the news that the Aceh provincial administration in Indonesia is considering the introduction of beheading as a punishment for murder, Amnesty International Indonesia executive director, Usman Hamid said:

    “The Aceh local government must immediately drop any plans to introduce the gruesome punishment of beheading as a method of execution and should instead get rid of the death penalty all together. The Aceh administration’s argument that beheading could prevent murder is both baseless and unacceptable. There is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect on crime, no matter how shocking the method of execution is.

    “The Aceh administration cannot use its special autonomous status in order to introduce laws and policies that flagrantly violate human rights. The authorities need to focus on the root causes of crime and informed debates on the death penalty as a human rights violation, and swiftly move to abolish this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

    March 14, 2018

    The Singaporean authorities must immediately halt the imminent execution of a man who has been sentenced to death under the country’s cruel anti-drug laws, Amnesty International said today.

    The family of Hishamrudin Bin Mohd was told this week that his execution is scheduled to take place on Friday 16 March. He was sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for possessing nearly 35 grams of diamorphine for the purpose of trafficking in 2016.

    “This execution must be stopped immediately. The Singaporean authorities only have two days to do the right thing and ensure that yet another life is not lost to its callous anti-drug laws,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The death penalty is always a human rights violation, but mandatory death sentences make its use even more appalling. These laws deny courts the ability to take into account the circumstances of the crime or of the defendant.”

    Both the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences and the imposition of mandatory death sentences contravene international law and standards.

    January 30, 2018

    Amnesty International is outraged by reports that the Iranian authorities have executed a young man convicted of murder who was only 15 years old at the time of the crime.

    The organization learned that 22-year-old Ali Kazemi was hung earlier today in prison in Busher province. His execution was scheduled and carried out without any notice given to Ali Kazemi’s lawyer as required by Iranian law.

    “By carrying out this unlawful execution, Iran is effectively declaring that it wishes to maintain the country’s shameful status as one of the world’s leading executers of those who were children at the time of their crime,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    “This is nothing short of an all-out assault on children’s rights, as enshrined in international law, which absolutely bans the use of the death penalty against someone who was under 18 years of age at the time of the crime.”

    January 19, 2018

    Responding to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s threat to “hang” death row prisoners as a crime deterrent after more than a decade without an execution in the country, Amnesty International’s Death Penalty Adviser Oluwatosin Popola said:

    “President Museveni’s threat to resume executions to ‘prevent crime’ is misguided since there is no credible evidence that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime. Rather, it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment and a violation of the right to life.

    "While the backlog of criminal cases in Uganda is something that needs to be addressed and expedited, resorting to the death penalty as some kind of 'quick-fix' is not the answer.

    “Uganda’s refusal to carry out executions in recent years has been a credit to President Museveni, but resuming them now would destroy more than a decade of progress, not to mention buck the global trend towards abolition.

    “Rather than talking of hanging criminals, the President must instead lead Uganda to fully abolishing the death penalty, just as 19 other African countries have done.”

    Background

    January 03, 2018

    Responding to the news that Huthi authorities sentenced 52-year-old Yemeni prisoner of conscience Hamid Haydara to death for allegedly collaborating with Israel and forging official documents, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director said:

    “The Huthi authorities must immediately quash the death sentence against Hamid Haydara. He is a prisoner of conscience who has been tried on account of his conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities as a member of the Baha’i community.

    “This sentence is the result of a fundamentally flawed process, including trumped up charges, an unfair trial and credible allegations that Hamid Haydara was tortured and ill-treated in custody. It is also part of a wider crackdown on critics, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i community that is causing entire families to live in fear for their safety and the safety of their loved ones.

    December 19, 2017

    The secretive judicial execution of two men on Tuesday reflects the Japanese government’s unrepentant contempt for the right to life, Amnesty International said.

    Teruhiko Seki, 44, who was convicted of murder and robbery, and Kiyoshi Matsui, 69, who was convicted of murder, were executed early on Tuesday morning at Tokyo Detention Centre. Seki was 19 years old when the crime was committed. Both were seeking retrials at the time of execution.

    "Today’s executions are an abhorrent and bloody stain on Japan's human rights record. Once again, the Japanese government has shown contempt for the right to life," said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    This month marks ten years since the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. As the global momentum towards abolition continues unabated, Japan continues to ignore the trend.

    December 14, 2017

    Commenting after the Kenyan Supreme Court declared mandatory death sentencing unconstitutional, Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Adviser on the Death Penalty, said:

    November 09, 2017
    In response to today’s Appeal Court ruling in Mauritania releasing a blogger who had been sentenced to death for writing a ‘blasphemous’ post on Facebook, Alioune Tine, Amnesty International’s West and Central Africa Director said:   “The release of Mohamed Mkhaïtir, who has been jailed for nearly four years simply for peacefully expressing his opinions on Facebook, is a huge relief. This really is a day of triumph for him and his family, as well as all those who campaigned on his behalf since 2014.”   “Now that Mkhaitir is released, Mauritanian authorities must ensure that he lives without threat of physical attacks so that he can regain his dignity”.   “This ruling provides a golden opportunity for the Mauritanian authorities to change tack on this sensitive issue and halt their brutal crackdown on human rights activists. The authorities must now release Moussa Biram and Abdallahi Matallah the two anti-slavery activists currently jailed in a remote prison where they have spent nearly 500 days .’’  
    October 23, 2017

    The Iranian authorities must urgently quash the death sentence against Iranian-born Swedish resident and specialist in emergency medicine Ahmadreza Djalali, said Amnesty International today.

    The medical doctor and university lecturer had studied and taught in Sweden, Italy and Belgium. Since his arrest in April 2016, several European officials have called for his release.

    Zeynab Taheri, one of Ahmadreza Djalali’s lawyers, told Amnesty International that he was sentenced to death for the charge of “corruption on earth” (ifsad fil-arz), and has been given a 200,000 euro fine. The court verdict, which was shown to one of the lawyers, states that Ahmadreza Djalali worked with the Israeli government, who subsequently helped him obtain his

    residency permit in Sweden.

    “Ahmadreza Djalali was sentenced to death after a grossly unfair trial that once again exposes not only the Iranian authorities’ steadfast commitment to use of the death penalty but their utter contempt for the rule of law,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    October 13, 2017

    The Iranian authorities must urgently stop the execution of a 17-year-old boy who was convicted of murder and rape, and commute his death sentence to imprisonment, said Amnesty International.

    Amirhossein Pourjafar is scheduled to be executed in a prison in Tehran on 19 October 2017. He was detained in April 2016 and sentenced to death six months later after being convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, Setayesh Ghoreyshi, from Iran’s marginalized Afghan community.

    “There is no question that this was a horrific crime and the perpetrator should be held accountable. Amnesty International supports the demands for justice voiced by Setayesh’s bereaved family and the wider Afghan community in Iran, but executing a 17-year-old boy is not justice,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed while they were under 18 is absolutely prohibited by international human rights law. If Iran goes ahead with the execution next week it will be another appalling breach of its international obligations.”

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