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Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    May 19, 2016

    The Singapore authorities should immediately halt the execution of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national convicted of murder, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization calls on the President of Singapore to grant clemency immediately. Kho Jabing was granted a temporary stay on 19 May 2016, mere hours before he was scheduled to be executed the following morning.

    “Any execution would mark a regressive step at a time when Singapore has made significant strides in terms of reducing the implementation of the death penalty,” said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

    “By granting clemency, President Tony Tan would build on these gains and move Singapore closer to the global trend towards abolition of this cruel practice.”

    Kho Jabing’s next hearing will take place at 9am on 20 May 2016, when his lawyers will be presenting arguments for a constitutional challenge to elements of the mandatory death penalty.

    May 13, 2016

    President Joko Widodo should seize the opportunity to show that his government has the resolve to stand up for human rights by halting the imminent executions of up to 15 people, Amnesty International said today.

    The death row prisoners believed to at risk have been convicted of alleged drug offences and some did not receive a fair trial. Their cases are, like many others that Amnesty International monitored, emblematic of systemic flaws within the Indonesia justice system.

    “President Widodo has the chance to show true resolve by halting these executions and ordering a full independent review of all death penalty cases,” said Rafendi Djamin, Director of Amnesty International’s South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

    “It is unacceptable for a government to execute people, especially when they did not receive a fair trial and have been convicted of offences that are not among the ‘most serious crimes’ in clear violation of international law and standards.”

    May 12, 2016

    Amnesty International is alarmed at reports that Indonesia is planning to carry out executions in the immediate future. It urges the authorities to immediately halt any such plans and establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty. It also calls on them to review the cases of all prisoners currently under sentence of death with a view to the commutation of their death sentences and to address violations of international law and standards relating to the use of the death penalty in Indonesia.

    May 12, 2016

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the scheduled execution this Sunday of a teenager who was just 15 years old at the time of his arrest, said Amnesty International.

    Alireza Tajiki, now 19 years old, was sentenced to death in April 2013 after a criminal court in Fars Province, southern Iran, convicted him of murder and rape primarily on the basis of “confessions” extracted through torture which he repeatedly retracted in court. His execution is due to take place on Sunday 15 May in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison in Fars Province.

    “Imposing the death penalty on someone who was a child at the time of the crime flies in the face of international human rights law, which absolutely prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed under the age of 18. It is particularly horrendous that the Iranian authorities are adamant to proceed with the execution when this case was marked by serious fair trial concerns and primarily relied on torture-tainted evidence,” said James Lynch, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 11, 2016

    Amnesty International strongly condemns the execution of 22-year old Siarhei Ivanou in Belarus. He is the first person known to have been executed since November 2014.

    Siarhei Ivanou was executed on the night of 18 April. In March 2015 he was sentenced to death having been convicted of the murder of a 19-year old woman in 2013. The UN Human Rights Committee had requested a stay of execution while it considered his case.  Such requests are binding on state parties to the First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Belarus acceded to in 1992. Despite that, and in contravention of Belarus’ human rights obligations, Siarhei Ivanou was executed.

    Siarhei Ivanou’s family only learned of his execution in May, after the sentence had been implemented. They were not given any warning or granted a final meeting with him. In keeping with Belarusian law, his body will not be returned to them for burial, nor will his place of burial be disclosed. His personal belongings have not yet been returned to them. They are now required to collect his death certificate from the Belarusian authorities.

    May 10, 2016

    The execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami today is a deplorable move by the Bangladeshi authorities which will not deliver justice to the victims of war crimes, Amnesty International said today.

    Motiur Rahman Nizami, the current chief of Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami, was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail today. He was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh in October 2014 after he was convicted of charges relating murder, torture, rape and the mass killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

    “We are dismayed that Bangladeshi authorities have executed Motiur Rahman Nizami. The victims of the horrific events of the 1971 Liberation War are entitled to justice, but taking another life is not the answer,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director of the South Asia Regional Office

    May 09, 2016

    The death penalty will deliver neither the justice that victims deserve nor the security that Afghanistan seeks, Amnesty International said today.

    Six men were executed on 8 May 2016 after they were convicted for their  involvement in a series of high-profile violent attacks - including the 2011 killing of former President and head of the High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and an attack on a Kabul supermarket in the same year.

    The executions mark the first time the government of President Ashraf Ghani has resorted to this cruel, unjust and irreversible punishment this year. Since a bombing last month in Kabul that killed more than 64 people, the Afghanistan government has vowed to implement the death penalty more frequently.

    The families who lost loved ones in violent attacks deserve justice for these appalling crimes,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director. “But the death penalty merely serves as vengeance, perpetuates the cycle of violence, and fails to address any root causes.”

    May 05, 2016

    The Bangladeshi authorities should halt the imminent execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami and impose a moratorium on the death penalty, Amnesty International said after the country’s Supreme Court rejected his final appeal today.

    Motiur Rahman Nizami, the current chief of Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh in October 2014. He was convicted of murder, rape and the mass killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

    “We are dismayed that the Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and death sentence against Motiur Rahman Nizami. The victims of the horrific events of the 1971 Liberation War deserve justice, but the death penalty is not the answer,” said Jameen Kaur, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for South Asia.

    “Taking another life will just perpetuate the cycle of violence. We urge the Bangladeshi authorities to halt this execution immediately, and impose a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty with a view to its eventual repeal.”

     

    April 20, 2016

    Mauritania must quash the death sentence handed down to a blogger for apostasy and release him unconditionally, Amnesty International said today, ahead of his appeal court hearing in the south-western city of Nouadhibou tomorrow.

    Mohamed Mkhaïtir, 33, was sentenced to death in December 2014, after a year in pre-trial detention, for writing a blog that criticized those who use Islam to discriminate against certain groups in the society. It is the first time the death sentence has been imposed for apostasy in Mauritania since the country gained independence in 1960.

    “The death penalty should not be used in any circumstances, the sentencing of Mohamed Mkhaïtir to death for writing a blog that criticized those who use religion to discriminate is unjust and it shows how far the Mauritanian authorities will go to try and stamp out dissent’’, said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

    “The Mauritanian authorities must quash the death sentence and immediately and unconditionally release him.”

    April 12, 2016

    Amnesty International USA Release

    JACKSON, Ga. – The state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Kenneth Fults this evening at 7:00 p.m. despite concerns

    about Fults’ mental state, racial bias, and lack of adequate representation during his trial. Fults has an IQ of 74 and several jurors have said that his lawyer was sleeping during the proceedings.

    One juror signed a sworn statement eight years after the fact saying: 

    “I don’t know if he ever killed anybody, but that nigger got just what should have happened.

    Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what the nigger deserved.”

    “Mr. Fults’ death sentence is tainted by undeniable racism,” said James Clark, senior death penalty campaigner with Amnesty.

    “This case shows the fundamental flaws in the death penalty system. Georgia authorities must halt this execution immediately and end the death penalty once and for all.”

    Fults was convicted of murdering Cathy Bonds in her home in May 1997.

     

    April 08, 2016

    Releaed 08:00 BST 8 April 2016

    The scheduled execution of a 36-year-old man convicted on drug offences tomorrow, Saturday 9 April, demonstrates the Iranian authorities’ utter disregard for the right to life and their determination to continue with a staggering execution spree that saw nearly 1000 people put to death last year, said Amnesty International.

    Family members of Rashid Kouhi received a call from prison authorities yesterday informing them that they should go to Rasht’s Lakan Prison in Gilan Province, Northern Iran, to have a final meeting with him today before his execution tomorrow.

    April 05, 2016

    Released Wednesday 6 April 2016 00.01GMT

    Dramatic surge in executions globally– highest number recorded by Amnesty International in more than 25 years Three countries – Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – responsible for almost 90% of all recorded executions For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s countries were abolitionist for all crimes after four more countries abolished the death penalty in 2015

    A dramatic global rise in the number of executions recorded in 2015 saw more people put to death than at any point in the last quarter-century. The surge was largely fuelled by Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International found in its review of the global use of the death penalty.

    March 25, 2016

     The Japanese authorities’ reprehensible execution of two people today, continues to place the country on the wrong side of history, Amnesty International said. 

     Yasutoshi Kamata, a 75-year-old-man, was hanged in Osaka Detention Centre on Friday morning. Junko Yoshida, 56, was hanged in the early hours of Friday morning at Fukuoka Detention Centre, in southern Japan. Yoshida is the first woman to be executed in Japan since 2012.

     “These disgraceful executions demonstrate a failure of leadership by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe,” said Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.

     “It is long overdue for Japan to abolish this ultimate cruel and inhumane punishment.”

     The executions are the first to be carried out in Japan in 2016, and takes the total number of executions under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s current government to 16.

    Junko Yoshida was sentenced to death in 2010 for the murder of two people, in 1998 and 1999. Yasutoshi Kamata’s death sentence was confirmed in 2005, after he was convicted of the murders of five people between 1985 and 1994.

    March 25, 2016

    After Malaysia hanged three men for murder on Friday morning local time, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific Josef Benedict said:

    “The execution of these three men is a deeply sad development and an unspeakably brutal act that brings shame upon Malaysia. Neither the family nor the prisoners had a clue that their last two appeals had been rejected and the notification of the imminent executions barely allowed the families time for a final visit.

    “The fact that these state killings come at a time when the Malaysian government is actively discussing abolition of the mandatory death penalty makes them all the more shocking and disturbing.”

    “These hangings are a sickening reminder that the Malaysian authorities must redouble their efforts to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.”

    Despite international outcry, Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu and brothers Ramesh Jayakumar and Sasivarnam Jayakumar were executed at Taiping Prison in northern Malaysia at 5:30am on Friday.

    Background

    March 24, 2016
    UPDATE 24 MARCH: Three men to be hanged on Friday In addition to Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu's scheduled execution on Friday, Amnesty International has since learned that his two co-defendants – brothers J Ramesh and Sasivarnam A/ L Jayakumar – are also set to be hanged tomorrow for murder. When Gunasegar Pitchaymuthu’s mother went this morning to Taiping Prison to visit her son for the last time and make arrangements for his funeral, family members of his co-defendants were also present for the same reason. All three prisoners were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty, which gives no discretion to judges to decide on whether the circumstances of a case warrant hanging or imprisonment as punishment.   Following this development, Shamini Darshni, Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, said:

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