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Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    March 11, 2016

    The families of three young men arrested for their involvement in anti-government protests while under the age of 18, fear their sons are among four people reported to be facing execution tomorrow, Amnesty International said today.

    The family of Ali al-Nimr expressed fears on social media that he, along with Dawood Hussein al-Marhoon and Abdullah Hasan al-Zaher, is among the prisoners referred to in a government-run newspaper article published today. The article said the scheduled executions will complete a wave of punishments for terrorism offences that saw 47 people executed on the same day in January.

    February 29, 2016

    The taking of another life is no way to ensure justice for the murder of Salman Taseer and Pakistan must immediately impose a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

    Mumtaz Qadri, the bodyguard of ex-Punjab governor Salman Taseer, was hanged today in Islamabad’s Adiala Prison, after he had been convicted of murder. Mumtaz Qadri admitted that he killed Salman Taseer in January 2011 over the governor’s opposition to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.

    “Salman Taseer was a brave voice for religious tolerance in Pakistan and his murderer should be brought to justice, but carrying out more killings is a deplorable way to honour Salman Taseer’s life and message. The death penalty is always a human rights violation, regardless of the circumstances or nature of the crime,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Regional Office Director.

    February 18, 2016

    The 40 death sentences handed down today in Iraq after a fundamentally flawed mass trial shows a reckless disregard for justice and human life, said Amnesty International and brings the total sentenced in 2016 close to 100.

    Iraq’s courts have imposed at least 52 death sentences since 1 January 2016. Today a further 40 individuals were sentenced to death as the verdict of a high-profile anti-terror trial is delivered in Baghdad.

    “For Iraqi courts to hand down 92 death sentences in just six weeks is a grim indicator of the current state of justice in the country,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    “The vast majority of the trials have been grossly unfair, with many of the defendants claiming to have been tortured into ‘confessing’ the crimes. These allegations must be urgently investigated and a re-trial that meets international fair trial standard should be ordered.”

    February 12, 2016

    By Nassra al-Ahmed

    Ali al-Nimr was just 17 when he was arrested on 14 February 2012, a few months after taking part in anti-government rallies in Saudi Arabia. He was sentenced to death, despite being a minor when he was arrested and following a deeply unfair trial based on “confessions” he says were obtained through torture. He now awaits his execution. His mother, Nassra al-Ahmed, tells their story.

    When I first heard the verdict to execute my little boy, I felt as if a thunderbolt was hitting my head. It rendered me bereaved and rid of the most cherished and beautiful things I have.

    His absence has exhausted my heart. My eyes shed tears automatically, yearning for him. I am overtaken by missing his angelic features. His smile never leaves my mind and memories prompt me to weep each time I see one of his pictures. 

    January 25, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT Tuesday 26 January 2016

    Scores of youths in Iran are languishing on death row for crimes committed under the age of 18, said Amnesty International in a damning new report published today. The report debunks recent attempts by Iran’s authorities to whitewash their continuing violations of children’s rights and deflect criticism of their appalling record as one of the world’s last executioners of juvenile offenders.

    January 08, 2016

    Saudi human rights activist Samar Badawi was released from custody on January 13. But her arrest provides further damning proof of the Saudi authorities’ intent to suppress all signs of peaceful dissen. One year after Raif Badawi was publicly flogged, he and many other activists across Saudi Arabia urgently need your support.

     

    by Ella Knight, Amnesty International

    A year after the international outcry over his public flogging, Raif Badawi and dozens of activists remain in prison and at risk of cruel punishments in Saudi Arabia. More and more are being sentenced under a harsh counter-terrorism law, while Saudi Arabia’s allies shamelessly back the Kingdom’s repression in the name of the so-called ‘war on terror’. Join the fight back today – here are six ways you can demand action from Saudi Arabia.
     

    January 02, 2016
    Members of the Shia Muslim community of Greece hold up placards and banners that show images of prominent Shiite cleric and activist Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration near Saudi Arabia's embassy in Athens on January 6, 2016, to condemn Nimr's execution by Saudi authorities. Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Image

     

    Saudi Arabia’s authorities have demonstrated their utter disregard for human rights and life by executing 47 people in a single day, said Amnesty International today.

    Those put to death earlier today included prominent Shi’a Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr, who was convicted after a political and grossly unfair trial at the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC). With the exception of the Sheikh and three Shi’a Muslim activists, the others were convicted of involvement with al-Qa’ida.

    December 17, 2015

    The Japanese authorities’ reprehensible use of the death penalty shows no sign of letting up as another two men were executed today, taking the total number of executions to 14 under the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Amnesty International said.

    Sumitoshi Tsuda, 63, was hanged in the early hours of Friday morning at Tokyo detention centre, the first execution of a person sentenced to death in a lay judge trial. He was convicted in 2011 of killing three of his neighbours. Kazuyuki Wakabayashi, 39, was executed at Sendai detention centre in north-east Japan. He was sentenced to death in 2007 for robbery and violence which left two people dead.

    “The Japanese authorities’ willingness to put people to death is chilling and must end now before more lives are lost. The death penalty is not justice or an answer to tackling crime, it is a cruel form of punishment that flies in the face of respect for life,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    “Japan should immediately introduce an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.”  

    December 17, 2015

    Released 17 December 2015 at 00.01 GMT 

    The devastating response of the Pakistani government in the wake of the sickening Peshawar school massacre has set the country on a relentless and reprehensible course of executions, said Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
           
    In an open letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today, the organizations urge the Pakistani government to immediately establish an official moratorium on all executions with a view to the eventual abolition of the death penalty. Over the past 12 months, more than 300 people have been put to death in the country.

    “In the space of one year, Pakistan has become one of the world’s top three executioners – a dark and shameful development. The authorities must ensure that the relentless push to send death row prisoners to the gallows ends now before more lives are lost,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director.

    December 08, 2015

    Iran cemented its shameful status as the world’s top official executioner of juvenile offenders after two young men were re-sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were under 18 years old, Amnesty International said today.

    Sajad Sanjari and Hamid Ahmadi, who had been granted retrials because of their young age when the crimes occurred, will face execution after trial courts presiding over their separate cases concluded they had reached “mental maturity” at the time of the crime.  

    “This ruling lays bare the Iranian authorities’ contempt for the human rights of children, coupled with their appetite for the death penalty – a toxic combination that leaves numerous juvenile offenders facing execution,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    December 04, 2015

    Mongolia’s parliament became the latest to consign the death penalty to the history books, in a major victory for human rights in the country, said Amnesty International today.  

    On Thursday, lawmakers voted in favour of a new Criminal Code that abolishes the death penalty for all crimes. The new Criminal Code will take effect from September 2016, and would bring the total number of countries to have completely abandoned this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment to 102.

    “Mongolia’s historic decision to abolish the death penalty is a great victory for human rights. The death penalty is becoming a thing of the past across the world,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    “Mongolia has set an example which we hope will quickly ripple across Asia. The countries that continue to execute have been shown a clear path to follow to end this cruel and inhumane punishment.”

    Three countries - Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname - have already abolished the death penalty this year.

    November 26, 2015

    More than 50 people are at increased risk of imminent execution following reports in national media outlets close to the Saudi Arabian authorities that they will soon be put to death in a single day, warns Amnesty International.

    The mothers of five Shi’a Muslim activists who are among the prisoners have implored King Salman for clemency, after learning that preparations potentially associated with impending executions have taken place.

    “Saudi Arabia’s macabre spike in executions this year, coupled with the secretive and arbitrary nature of court decisions and executions in the kingdom, leave us no option but to take these latest warning signs very seriously,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “These executions must not go ahead and Saudi Arabia must lift the veil of secrecy around its death penalty cases, as part of a fundamental overhaul of its criminal justice system.”

    November 23, 2015

    Released 00.01 GMT, 24 November 2015

    Pakistan will imminently have executed 300 people since it lifted a moratorium on executions, shamefully sealing its place among the world’s worst executioners, Amnesty International said today.

    On 25 November, Pakistani authorities are set to execute Abdul Basit, a man with paraplegia who developed tubercular (TB) meningitis while on death row. His execution has been postponed several times, since the prison has no rules on how to hang someone who cannot stand on the scaffold.

    Amnesty International said the executions are a serious stain on Pakistan’s human rights record, compounding repeated violations of fair trial standards and other safeguards that must be observed in all death-penalty cases.

    “Pakistan’s ongoing zeal for executions is an affront to human rights and the global trend against the death penalty. Even if the authorities stay the execution of Abdul Basit, a man with paraplegia, Pakistan is still executing people at a rate of almost one a day,” said David Griffiths, South Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    November 23, 2015

    The execution of a 25-year-old man who has been sentenced to death after an unfair trial lacking basic safeguards would be both cruel and an aberration of justice, said Amnesty International today following an announcement that he will be hanged at Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, near Tehran at dawn tomorrow.

    Alireza Shahi was sentenced to death in June 2012 under the Islamic legal principle of qesas (retribution-in-kind) for involvement in a fatal stabbing which took place during a fight among several young men in December 2008 when he was 18 years old. After his arrest he was placed in detention for two weeks where he says he was tortured and otherwise ill-treated to confess. He was also denied access to both a lawyer and his family.

    “It is always cruel and inhumane to take away an individual’s life by hanging but the cruelty is compounded when the execution follows an unfair trial which has relied on coerced confessions, and ignored allegations of torture and other ill-treatment,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    November 09, 2015

    At least 151 people have been put to death in Saudi Arabia so far this year –the highest recorded figure since 1995 – in an unprecedented wave of executions marking a grim new milestone in the Saudi Arabian authorities’ use of the death penalty, said Amnesty International.

    So far in 2015, on average, one person has been executed every other day. Annual execution tolls for Saudi Arabia in recent years have rarely exceeded 90 for the entire year. The latest execution took place on 9 November.

    “The Saudi Arabian authorities appear intent on continuing a bloody execution spree which has seen at least 151 people put to death so far this year - an average of one person every two days,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    According to Amnesty International’s records, the last time Saudi Arabia executed more than 150 people in a single year was in 1995, when 192 executions were recorded. In 2014 the total number of executions carried out was 90 – meaning that so far there has been a 68% increase in executions over the whole of last year.

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