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Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    June 10, 2015

    The shameful execution in Pakistan of a man who was just 15 years old at the time of the crime for which he was convicted highlights the many serious concerns around the country’s use of the death penalty, Amnesty International said.

    Aftab Bahadur was hanged in a Lahore jail this morning. In September 1992, aged 15, he was arrested and charged with the murder earlier that same month of a woman and her two sons.

    Aftab Bahadur was implicated in the crime by his co-accused Ghulam Mustafa, who later maintained that he was tortured into “confessing” their involvement in the crime while in police custody. Ghulam Mustafa’s execution was also scheduled for today but it was halted at the last minute.

    “This is a desperately sad day – Aftab Bahadur has spent more than two decades languishing on death row even as evidence of his apparent innocence emerged, and has now faced the gallows. He has always maintained his innocence and that he was tortured into a ‘confession’,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    June 08, 2015

    Pakistan must immediately halt the imminent execution of a man whose lawyers maintain was a juvenile at the time of his alleged crime and who claims to have been tortured into a “confession”, Amnesty International said.

    The case of Shafqat Hussain, who was convicted of and sentenced to death for kidnapping and involuntary manslaughter in 2014, has caused enormous controversy in Pakistan. His execution has been stayed three times, and on the last occasion on 6 May was stopped at the 11th hour after a public outcry, pending an investigation into his age at the time of the crime and allegations that he had been subjected to torture.

    But despite serious questions about the fairness of this investigation, Shafqat Hussain is now set to be sent to the gallows on Tuesday 9 June.

    June 05, 2015

    The execution of six people in Taiwan today is a regressive decision that does not deliver justice, Amnesty International said.

    The six men were executed by firing squad at four different prisons in Taiwan earlier this evening. All had been convicted of murder.

    The executions were carried out amidst public outrage following the abhorrent murder of an eight year old girl in Taipei last week.

    “The public outrage at the horrific murder of an innocent schoolgirl is totally understandable and the perpetrators of such heinous crimes must face justice, but the death penalty is never the answer,” said William Nee, researcher at Amnesty International.

    “The decision to carry out the executions reeks of political calculations by a government attempting to gain points by quelling public anger. The government has today demonstrated a failure of political leadership.”

    The six men executed by firing squad were: Cheng Chin-wen, Wang Hsiu-fang, and Tsao Tien-shou at a prison in Taipei; Wang Chun-chin at a prison in Tainan; Wang Yu-lung at a prison in Kaohsiung; and Huang Chu-wang in Taichung.

    May 28, 2015

    Moses Akatugba, who was sentenced to death by hanging for stealing mobile phones, has been granted a total pardon by Emmanuel Uduaghan, the Governor of Delta State!

    UPDATE - JUNE 2, 2015:  THE RELEASE ORDER ARRIVED AT WARRI PRISON THIS AFTERNOON AND MOSES IS NOW FREE!

    Thank you to the thousands of you who took action for Moses and urged the Governor to show mercy.

    The news of his release comes days after thousands of Amnesty supporters sent Facebook and Twitter messages to Governor Uduaghan asking him to make sparing Moses part of his legacy before he steps down on 29 May.

    Tens of thousands of Amnesty supporters also signed petitions as part of Amnesty's global campaign to Stop Torture and wrote letters as part of Amnesty's global event Write for Rights. Together our voices really can make a difference – thank you.


    Tortured into a ‘confession’

    16-year-old Moses Akatugba was awaiting the results of his secondary school exams when his life changed forever.

    May 28, 2015

    Saudi Arabia today has carried out its 90th execution so far this year, equaling the number of people executed in the Kingdom during the whole of 2014, said Amnesty International.

    The death toll is one of the highest recorded by the organization during the same period for more than three decades and marks an unprecedented spike in executions for a country already ranked among the most prolific executioners in the world.  

    “With the year yet to pass its midpoint, the Gulf Kingdom has raced towards this shocking toll at an unprecedented rate. This alarming surge in executions surpasses even the country’s own previous dreadful records,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International.

    May 16, 2015

    An Egyptian court’s recommendation today to sentence ousted president Mohamed Morsi and more than 100 other defendants to death after grossly unfair trials shows the deplorable state of the country’s criminal justice system, said Amnesty International.

    “Condemning Mohamed Morsi to death after more grossly unfair trials shows a complete disregard for human rights. His trials were undermined even before he set foot in the courtroom. The fact that he was held for months incommunicado without judicial oversight and that he didn’t have a lawyer to represent him during the investigations makes these trials nothing but a charade based on null and void procedures,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.  

    May 14, 2015

    Released 00:01 BST 15 May 2015

    A 24-year-old man is at imminent risk of execution, for a crime which took place while he was below 18 years of age, despite the fact that his case is currently under judicial review, said Amnesty International, urging the Iranian authorities to halt all plans to implement the sentence.

    The organization has been warned that the execution of Hamid Ahmadi, who was convicted of fatally stabbing a man during a group fight that took place when he was 16 years old, could be imminent even though the Supreme Court has confirmed that an application for a review of his case is currently being processed.  

    April 28, 2015

    The execution of eight people in Indonesia today shows complete disregard for due process and human rights safeguards, Amnesty International said. The organization also called for any plans to carry out further executions to be scrapped.

    Eight people, including Indonesian and foreign nationals, were today put to death by firing squad on Nusakambangan Island, off Java. All of them had been convicted of drug trafficking. The execution of a Filipina national, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, was halted at the last minute by President Widodo

    “These executions are utterly reprehensible– they were carried out with complete disregard for internationally recognized safeguards on the use of the death penalty,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “President Joko Widodo should immediately abandon plans to carry out further executions and impose a moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards abolition.”

    April 28, 2015

    Pakistan has today reached a “shameful milestone” with the 100th execution since a moratorium on executions was lifted in December 2014, said Amnesty International. The country is gaining a reputation as one of the leading executioners in the world.
     
    Amnesty International recorded the 100th execution in Pakistan today, since a moratorium was lifted on 17 December 2014 in the wake of the Taliban attack on a school in Peshawar. Munir Hussain, sentenced to death for murder, was hanged in Punjab province this morning.

    “In reaching this shameful milestone of 100 executions in just over four months, the Pakistani authorities are showing total disregard for human life. Our concerns are heightened by manifestly unfair trials in many cases that fall well below minimum standards set by international law. This conveyor belt of killing will do nothing to address the root causes of crime and terrorism, and must end immediately,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    April 27, 2015

    April 23, 2015

    "I believe my sister would not be alive today if it were not for all the people in China and across the world that spoke up for her. I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all the Amnesty International supporters everywhere who expressed concern and offered help to my sister, her life has been saved as a result"

    -Li Dehuai, brother of Li Yan 

    We are pleased to share the good news that the death sentence on Li Yan has been overturned!

    Li Yan had been sentenced to death in China for killing her abusive ex-husband. Her sentence is now commuted to the death sentence with a two-year reprieve. Under the Chinese law, death sentences with a two-year reprieve should be commuted to life imprisonment upon the expiration of the two-year period, as long as the prisoner does not commit another crime during the period of suspension.

    April 26, 2015

    Amnesty International Australia Release

    Amnesty International is calling for an immediate and urgent halt to plans to execute a group of prisoners in Indonesia, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, following confirmation of 72 hours notice until the state sanctioned killings take place.

    “If these executions go ahead, they'll be a serious stain on Indonesia's human rights record and Joko Widodo’s Presidency and damage relations between Indonesia and its friends, including Australia,” said Diana Sayed, Human Rights Lawyer and Amnesty International Australia Crisis Campaigner.

    “Hundreds of thousands of people from right around Australia and the world have continued to respectfully call for a halt to the executions and mercy for those on death row.

    "Despite their pleas, it’s deeply troubling the Indonesian government is apparently determined to push ahead with more killings, despite showing promise to move away from the death penalty until executions resumed in 2013.”  

    April 16, 2015

    The Pakistan Supreme Court’s decision to suspend death sentences passed by military courts is an important recognition of serious questions about the lawfulness of the country’s new military tribunal system, Amnesty International said.

    The Supreme Court today suspended death sentences imposed by military courts, after the Supreme Court Bar Association challenged a constitutional amendment passed in January that sped up the prosecution of terror cases and moved them from civilian to military courts.

    There are more than 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan. Since a moratorium on the execution of civilians was lifted in December, at least 76 people have been executed.

    “This ruling by the Supreme Court is a step in the right direction, which points to something being very wrong in the government’s relentless rush to execute death row prisoners since December,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    April 14, 2015

    Today’s execution of an Indonesian woman with a suspected mental illness is just the latest in the recent macabre spike in Saudi Arabia’s state-sponsored killings, Amnesty International said.

    Saudi Arabian state media reported that Siti Zainab Binti Duhri Rupa was executed this morning in Medina. She was sentenced to death in 1999 after she “confessed” in police custody to killing a woman who had allegedly mistreated her since hiring her as a domestic worker the year before.

    The authorities waited for more than 15 years for the youngest of the victim’s children to reach adulthood to decide whether or not the family would want to pardon Siti Zainab or demand her execution under qisas (retribution).

    “Imposing the death penalty and executing someone with a suspected mental illness smacks of a basic lack of humanity. This practice has been widely condemned on the world stage and Saudi Arabia should take this opportunity to reconsider its stance on the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    April 01, 2015

    Death sentences imposed on soldiers accused of participating in December’s attempted coup d’état in Gambia are a cruel violation of the right to life and the right to a fair trial, Amnesty International said today.  

    A military court handed down death sentences to three soldiers and sentences of life imprisonment to three others following a trial on Monday 30 March 2015. The trial was held in secret; media and independent observers were barred from observing the proceedings.

    "Gambia’s justice system is deeply flawed and we have concerns about the fairness of the trial, given that it was held in secret,” said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa. 

    “Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception. The death penalty is a violation of the right to life and the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Many countries in West Africa are moving away from the use of death penalty and it is disappointing that the Gambia has not followed this trend.”

    April 01, 2015

    By Aubrey Harris, Amnesty Canada's volunteer coorindator for the Campaign to Abolish the Death Penalty

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” boomed the Wizard… This scene in the Wizard of Oz can of course be applied to many situations but it is particularly apt when it comes to the death penalty. Despite continued global progression towards universal abolition – and progression in transparency in a few states, a number of the world’s death penalty states keep attempting to draw the curtain closed. They do not want their population to know how ineffective the death penalty is, or how many people are executed – or even HOW the state executes prisoners. Why the secrecy? In general the more the public sees and learns about the death penalty, the less they like it.

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