Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    September 08, 2018

    Cairo Criminal Court today handed down 75 death sentences, 47 life sentences, and heavy prison sentences ranging from 15 to 5 years to 612 people, in a mass trial related to participation in the al-Rabaa sit-in on 14 August 2013. Among those sentenced was photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as “Shawkan”, who was sentenced to five years, which he has already served. Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said

    “These sentences were handed down in a disgraceful mass trial of more than 700 people, and we condemn today’s verdict in the strongest terms. The death penalty should never be an option under any circumstances. The fact that not a single police officer has been brought to account for the killing of at least 900 people in the Rabaa and Nahda protests shows what a mockery of justice this trial was. The Egyptian authorities should be ashamed. We demand a retrial in an impartial court and in full respect of the right to a fair trial for all defendants, without recourse to the death penalty.

    September 08, 2018

    In response to the news that three Iranian Kurdish men, Zaniar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi, were executed this morning in Raja’i Shahr prison, Karaj, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s  Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “We are horrified by the news that the Iranian authorities have executed these men, despite widespread condemnation of their death sentences and calls from UN human rights experts and other bodies to halt their executions.

    “The trials of all three men were grossly unfair. All were denied access to their lawyers and families after their arrest, and all said they were tortured into making “confessions”. In sentencing them to death despite these massive failings in due process, the Iranian authorities have once again demonstrated their brazen disregard for the right to life.

    August 31, 2018

    Amnesty International UK PRESS RELEASE

    39-year-old man executed by firing squad this morning - had originally received a life sentence

    First execution since 2016 is ‘a crushing setback to abolition hopes’

    Responding to the execution of a 39-year-old man in Taiwan today - the country’s first execution since President Tsai Ing-wen came to office in 2016 - Annie Huang, Amnesty International Taiwan’s Acting Director, said:

    “Today’s execution is a crushing setback to the abolitionist movement in Taiwan and an act that casts a shadow over Tsai’s presidency.

    “It is deeply disappointing that Taiwan has decided to resume the implementation of a cruel punishment, especially after President Tsai Ing-wen had stated clearly that her government aims to abolish the death penalty. That pledge now rings hollow.

    “We once again call on the Taiwanese authorities to establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty once and for all.”

    August 22, 2018

    Florida’s approach to the death penalty is deepening its outlier status on this human rights issue and has now added an extra layer of arbitrariness to its already discriminatory and error-prone capital justice system, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    “While several US states have embraced abolition in recent years, Florida remains a diehard proponent of the death penalty and one of a handful of states that account for the bulk of executions in the USA,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Despite its capital sentencing law being found unconstitutional two years ago, Florida still has the second largest death row in the country. Its response to that ruling has been to dig in and defend the indefensible, including the execution of people with mental and intellectual disabilities.”

    Florida shows few signs of joining the USA’s 19 states that have already abolished the death penalty or the others that are rethinking it. It is ranked fourth in the number of executions carried out in the USA since 1976, when the US Supreme Court approved new capital laws.

    July 26, 2018

    Japan’s recent spate of executions will not make the country safer and fails to address why individuals were attracted to a cult which orchestrated a series of horrific crimes, Amnesty International said, following the executions of a further six members of the religious cult Aum Shinrikyo (Aum) on Thursday.

    This July has now seen 13 people executed for their involvement in the deadly 1995 sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, which killed 13 people and injured thousands more, as well as other illegal activities. The last time Japan executed more than 10 people in a year was in 2008. It is also extremely rare for Japan to carry out two rounds of executions in the same month.

    “This unprecedented execution spree, which has seen 13 people killed in a matter of weeks, does not leave Japanese society any safer. The hangings fail to address why people were drawn to a charismatic guru with dangerous ideas,” said Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.  

    July 03, 2018

    Amnesty International Malaysia welcomes the 2 July announcement by Datuk Seri Nadzri Siron, deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Home Affairs, that the government of Malaysia has put the implementation of the death sentences of 17 prisoners on hold, pending the review of the country’s death penalty laws.

    The announcement comes only days after Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, Deputy Prime Minister, confirmed the government’s commitment to consider abolishing the mandatory death penalty for all crimes.

    “We have long waited for the suspension of executions in Malaysia and yesterday’s announcement of a reprieve for 17 people fills us with hope for a new chapter in the protection and promotion of human rights in the country. This first step must promptly be followed by the total abolition of the death penalty for all crimes,” said Gwen Lee, Interim Executive Director at Amnesty International Malaysia.

    According to figures revealed by the deputy director of the Prisons Department, 1,267 people are under sentence of death in Malaysia, including 442 who have had their legal appeals finalized.

    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

    Pages

    Subscribe to Death Penalty: Support Abolition