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Death Penalty: Support Abolition

    November 16, 2016

    Singapore must immediately halt the execution of Chijoke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian national on death row for possession of drugs, Amnesty International said today.

    On Wednesday, Chijoke Stephen Obioha’s family was informed that his appeal for clemency has been rejected. He is set to be executed on Friday 18 November 2016.

    “The Singapore government still has time to halt the execution of Chijoke Stephen Obioha. We are dismayed that clemency has not been granted in his case but remain hopeful that they won’t carry out this cruel and irreversible punishment against a person sentenced to the mandatory death penalty for a crime that should not even be punished by death,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    November 14, 2016

    The Singapore government must grant clemency to a Nigerian man set to be executed for drug trafficking next week, Amnesty International said.

    Chijioke Stephen Obioha will be hanged on 18 November unless President Tony Tan commutes his death sentence, which was imposed as the mandatory punishment for trafficking.

    “Singapore is a week away from brutally ending the life of Chijioke Stephen Obioha for a crime that international law and standards make clear should not be punished by death,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia.

    “Time is running out for President Tan to step in and prevent this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment from being carried out. He must use his power to grant clemency before it is too late.”

    Chijioke Stephen Obioha was found in possession of more than 2.6 kilograms of cannabis in April 2007, surpassing the amount of 500 grams that triggers the automatic presumption of trafficking under Singapore law.

    November 11, 2016

    Secretive executions can’t hide the fact that Japan is on the wrong side of history when it comes to the death penalty, Amnesty International said after a death row inmate was hanged on Friday.

    Kenichi Tajiri, 45, was executed at Fukuoka Detention Centre in the early hours of Friday. He was sentenced to death in 2012 for two murders committed in 2004 and 2011. 

    “The death penalty never delivers justice, it is a cruel and inhumane act. The Japanese government cannot hide the fact that it is on the wrong side of history, the majority of the world’s states have turned away from the death penalty.”

    The execution is the third to be carried out in Japan in 2016 and the 17th under Prime Minister Abe’s government.

    The hanging comes a month after the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations formally adopted a policy calling for an end to the death penalty. Among other things, the lawyers’ group highlighted the risk of wrongful convictions and the lack of evidence that the death penalty reduces crime.

    October 19, 2016

    In response to Canada’s announcement today that it will co-sponsor a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve said:

    “The announcement that Canada will, for the first time, co-sponsor the upcoming UN General Assembly resolution calling for a global moratorium on executions, is a welcome indication that Canada is indeed committed to the worldwide campaign against the death penalty. Canada’s refusal, on the five previous occasions that this resolution has come before the UN in the last nine years, has been deeply troubling.  Around the world, momentum is growing towards ending executions and abolishing the death penalty.  Canada is now well-positioned to take on a key leadership role with respect to this important human rights issue.”

    BACKGROUND:

    The draft 2016 resolution on a “Moratorium on the use of the death penalty” is expected to be introduced at the beginning of November.

    October 13, 2016

    Indonesia’s authorities must immediately repeal provisions that allow sex offenders to be punished by forced chemical castration and even the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

    “The sexual abuse of children is indescribably horrific. But subjecting offenders to chemical castration or executions is not justice, it is adding one cruelty to another,” said Papang Hidayat, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Indonesia.

    Chemical castration is a drug or hormone treatment to suppress sex drive. Imposing it by law without informed consent as a punitive measure would be a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

    “Forced chemical castration is a violation of the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment under international law,” said Papang Hidayat.

    “The expansion of the scope of the death penalty is inconsistent with  Indonesia’s international obligations which protects the right to life. Further given the serious flaws in Indonesia’s justice system the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated.”

    October 11, 2016

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt their plans to execute Zeinab Sekaanvand, a 22-year-old Iranian-Kurdish woman who was arrested when she was just 17-years-old and convicted of the murder of her husband after a grossly unfair trial, Amnesty International said today.

    She is due to be executed by hanging as soon as 13 October.

    “This is an extremely disturbing case. Not only was Zeinab Sekaanvand under 18 years of age at the time of the crime, she was also denied access to a lawyer and says she was tortured after her arrest by male police officers through beatings all over her body,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “Iran’s continued use of the death penalty against juvenile offenders displays the authorities’ contempt even for commitments they themselves have signed up to. The Iranian authorities must immediately quash Zeinab Sekaanvand’s conviction and grant her a fair retrial without recourse to the death penalty, and in accordance with principles of juvenile justice.”

    October 10, 2016

    Countries are increasingly resorting to the death penalty in a flawed attempt to combat terrorism-related crimes, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing ahead of the World Day Against the Death Penalty.

    At least 20 countries sentenced people to death or carried out executions for terrorism-related crimes last year (Algeria, Bahrain, Cameroon, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, UAE and the USA). Although the use of the death penalty for such offences is often shrouded in secrecy, in recent years Amnesty International has documented a notable rise in its use.

    September 26, 2016

    Pakistan’s authorities must not execute Imdad Ali, a death row prisoner with a history of mental illness, Amnesty International said today.

    “With this warrant to execute Imdad Ali, Pakistan is clearly in breach of international human rights standards that protect people with mental illnesses and ensure that they are never subject to this cruel and irreversible punishment,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    Imdad Ali was convicted of the murder of a religious teacher in 2002. In 2012, he was diagnosed a suffering from “paranoid schizophrenia,” a condition the doctor who examined him described as “a chronic and disabling psychiatric illness.”

    Dr. Naeemullah Leghari, the head of psychiatry at Nishtar Hospital in the central Pakistani city of Multan, added that Imdad Ali’s illness “impairs the person’s rational thinking and decision-making capabilities.”

    September 03, 2016
    Reacting to the execution on Saturday of Mir Quasem Ali - a key financier of Bangladesh’s Jamaat-e-Islami party, who was found guilty by the country’s International Crimes Tribunal in a flawed trial – Amnesty International said:   “The execution of Mir Quasem Ali, following a trial whose fairness was questioned by the UN, will not deliver justice to the people of Bangladesh. There is no question that the people of Bangladesh deserve justice for crimes committed during the War of Independence, but the death penalty is a human rights violation and will not achieve this. It is a cruel and irreversible punishment that most of the world’s countries have now rid themselves of,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

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    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn in media relations

    613-744-7667, ext 236

    email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    August 30, 2016

    The Bangladesh authorities must halt the imminent execution of a senior political leader who has been sentenced to death following a deeply flawed trial, Amnesty International said today.

    “The people of Bangladesh deserve justice for crimes committed during the War of Independence. The continued use of the death penalty will not achieve this. It only serves to inflame domestic tensions and further divide a society riven by violence,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    The Bangladesh Supreme Court today upheld the conviction and death sentence against Mir Quasem Ali, a key financier of the Jamaat-e-Islami party, after rejecting his review appeal. It follows an International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) judgement – a Bangladeshi court examining war crimes during Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence – that found Mir Quasem Ali guilty of committing crimes against humanity in November 2014.

    August 22, 2016

    The execution of 36 men in Iraq yesterday marks an alarming rise in the authorities’ use of the death penalty in response to the dramatic security threats the country is facing, said Amnesty International today.

    The men were convicted over the killing of 1,700 military cadets at Speicher military camp near Trikrit in June 2014, after a deeply-flawed mass trial which lasted only a few hours, and relied on “confessions” extracted under torture.

    “These mass executions mark a chilling increase in Iraq’s use of the death penalty,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Office.

    “Time and time again, Amnesty International has emphasized that victims’ families have the right to truth and called for justice for the atrocities committed by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State. However, executing men who were forced to ‘confess’ under torture and were not given a proper chance to defend themselves is not justice.

    August 08, 2016

    Responding to a speech yesterday by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which he said that “most of the world” has the death penalty and he would approve a decision of the Turkish parliament to reintroduce the death penalty in Turkey, Fotis Filippou Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director said:

    “Amnesty International is alarmed by statements that the death penalty could be reinstated retrospectively as a punishment for those responsible for the coup attempt. Such a move would violate international human rights treaties to which Turkey is a party, as well as Turkey’s own constitution.

    “The appalling violence committed by those behind the 15 July failed coup led to the tragic loss of more than 200 lives and the Turkish government must bring all those responsible for these crimes to justice. However, this should be done through fair trials not subject to the death penalty.

    “Turkey abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 2004 and is one of 103 countries to have done so. Reintroducing this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment would be a major setback for human rights.”

    August 02, 2016

    A teenager was executed in Iran after being convicted of the rape of another boy, the first confirmed execution of a juvenile in the country this year. Amnesty International, which has been carrying out extensive research into the situation of juvenile offenders on death row in Iran, found that Hassan Afshar, 19, was hanged in Arak’s Prison in Markazi Province on 18 July, after being convicted of “lavat-e be onf” (forced male to male anal intercourse) in early 2015. The execution went ahead even though the Office of the Head of the Judiciary had promised his family that they would review the case on 15 September 2016.

    July 26, 2016

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as ‘Jokowi’ will be putting his government on the wrong side of history if he proceeds with a fresh round of executions, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International received credible reports that at least 14 people could be executed this week, who consist of four Indonesian and ten foreign nationals, including a Pakistani, an Indian, a Zimbabwean, a Senegalese, a South African, and five Nigerians.

    “President Widodo’s era was supposed to represent a new start for human rights in Indonesia. Sadly, he could preside over the highest number of executions in the country’s democratic era at a time when most of the world has turned its back on this cruel practice,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    July 14, 2016

    July 1976 proved to be pivotal in justice systems on both sides of the Canada/US border. On the 14th of July, Canada took a significant step forward for human rights and justice by removing the death penalty from its Criminal Code.  Yet only twelve days earlier, the US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was constitutional (after a period of moratorium). Since that time, the United States has executed 1,436 people. After abolition, Canada’s per capita rate for homicide has steadily declined, it is now at the lowest murder rate since 1966. In contrast, the United States has not had a steady drop in the homicide rate until quite recently and it remains well above that of Canada. Notably, the homicide rate remains higher in states that execute than those that do not. When Canada abolished the death penalty in law it joined a small number of countries, but today they represent more than half of the world’s countries. More than two thirds of the world’s countries no longer execute.

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