Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Thailand dissociates itself from countries which insist on their right to use the death penalty

The representative of Egypt in the United Nations General Assembly has presented on 10th March the "right" of a group of countries to retain the death penalty.

Thailand is no longer amongst this group, a choice consistent with its proclaimed decision to abolish the death penalty, in respect of the right to life of all human beings

"(d) Capital punishment has often been characterized by some as a human
rights issue in the context of the right to life of the convicted prisoner. However, it is first and foremost an issue of the criminal justice system and an important deterring element vis-à-vis the most serious crimes. It must therefore be viewed from a much broader perspective and weighed against the rights of the victims and the right of the community to live in peace and security;
(e) Every State has an inalienable right to choose its political, economic,
social, cultural, legal and criminal justice systems, without interference in any form by another State. Furthermore, the purposes and principles of the Charter of the
United Nations, in particular, Article 2, paragraph 7, clearly stipulates that nothing in the Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State. Accordingly, the question of whether to retain or abolish the death penalty, and the types of crimes for which the death penalty is applied, should be determined by each State, taking fully into account the sentiments of its own people, state of crime and criminal policy. On this question, it is improper to attempt to create a universal decision or to prescribe to Member States actions that fall within their domestic jurisdiction, or attempt to change, by way of a General Assembly resolution, the stipulations under international law that were reached through a comprehensive negotiation process;
(f) Some Member States have voluntarily decided to abolish the death
penalty, whereas others have chosen to apply a moratorium on executions.
Meanwhile, many Member States also retain the death penalty in their legislations.
All Member States are acting in compliance with their international obligations.
Each Member State has decided freely, in accordance with its own sovereign right
established by the Charter, to determine the path that corresponds to its own social,
cultural and legal needs, in order to maintain social security, order and peace. No
Member State has the right to impose its standpoint on others.
The permanent missions to the United Nations listed below wish to request the
circulation of the present note verbale as a document of the sixty-fifth session of the General Assembly.
New York, 11 March 2011
1. Afghanistan
2. Antigua and Barbuda
3. Bahamas
4. Bahrain
5. Bangladesh
6. Barbados
7. Botswana
8. Brunei Darussalam
9. Central African Republic
10. Chad
11. China
12. Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
13. Democratic Republic of the Congo
14. Dominica
15. Egypt
16. Equatorial Guinea
17. Eritrea
18. Ethiopia
19. Grenada
20. Guinea
21. Guyana
22. Indonesia
11-26164 5
23. Islamic Republic of Iran
24. Iraq
25. Jamaica
26. Kuwait
27. Lao People’s Democratic Republic
28. Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
29. Malaysia
30. Myanmar
31. Niger
32. Nigeria
33. Oman
34. Pakistan
35. Papua New Guinea
36. Qatar
37. Saint Kitts and Nevis
38. Saint Lucia
39. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
40. Saudi Arabia
41. Sierra Leone
42. Singapore
43. Solomon Islands
44. Somalia
45. Sudan
46. Swaziland
47. Syrian Arab Republic
48. Tonga
49. Trinidad and Tobago
50. Uganda
51. United Arab Emirates
52. Yemen
53. Zimbabwe

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One more State in US abandons death penalty

Governor Pat Quinn signed into law on Wednesday 9th March 2011 legislation abolishing capital punishment in the State of Illinois, 16th State in the US to stop the death penalty. It seems that change in US must come one state at a time, such is the tenacity of the old way of vengence.
While signing the law, Quinn said: "Our system of imposing the death penalty is inherently flawed."
“It's not possible to create a perfect, mistake-free death penalty system."

Monday, March 07, 2011

Death Penalty persists in Asia


The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) says the latest executions of five men in Taiwan on 4 March 2011 calls into question the Taiwan government's stated intention to abolish the death penalty.

This brings the number of executions to nine since last year and goes against the global trend towards abolition.

The Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP), who are members of ADPAN, pointed out today that, "carrying out any executions at this point in time would violate both domestic and international law." Taiwan has legally committed itself to the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 2009, which includes the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence, and incorporated it into domestic law the same year.

The executions today of Wang Chih-huang, Wang Kuo-hua, Chuang Tien-chu, Kuan Chung-yen and Chong De-shu were carried out by shooting. None of the family members were informed before the executions took place.

Bizarre reasoning of Taiwan spokesmen.
Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) said on Friday that the latest executions were of people “who had committed atrocious crimes and who had killed between three and five people.”
He added that the five people executed had exhausted all possible legal avenues and “there were no reasons not to execute them. We had to deal with them according to the law.”
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said he understood the dilemma of the government because of international pressure and the backlash from local civic groups, but said that if the government does not carry out executions, it will leave a bad impression on society and that it will not be fair for those on death row.
Wu expressed hope that the ministry would continue to execute death-row inmates and “complete the execution of all inmates this year.”
Entertainer Pai Ping-ping (白冰冰), whose daughter was murdered in 1997, said: “It is a good thing to execute them, because it helps to solve a lot of problems.”
“Isn’t it good for the government to save the money used to incarcerate them to take care of the underprivileged?” Pai asked.
James Lee (李光章), director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of European Affairs Lee said Taiwan has been trying to make European countries understand that the executions were carried out according to the law, as Taiwan followed the rule of law.
As Taiwan is a country that respects human rights, it has been working toward reducing the use of capital punishment before a consensus is reached on revising the laws to eliminate the death penalty, he added.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Appalling, but wonderful

Giving Life After Death Row
Published:NYT, March 5, 2011
EIGHT years ago I was sentenced to death for the murders of my wife and three children. I am guilty. I once thought that I could fool others into believing this was not true. Failing that, I tried to convince myself that it didn’t matter. But gradually, the enormity of what I did seeped in; that was followed by remorse and then a wish to make amends.
I spend 22 hours a day locked in a 6 foot by 8 foot box on Oregon’s death row. There is no way to atone for my crimes, but I believe that a profound benefit to society can come from my circumstances. I have asked to end my remaining appeals, and then donate my organs after my execution to those who need them. But my request has been rejected by the prison authorities.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, there are more than 110,000 Americans on organ waiting lists. Around 19 of them die each day. There are more than 3,000 prisoners on death row in the United States, and just one inmate could save up to eight lives by donating a healthy heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and other transplantable tissues.
There is no law barring inmates condemned to death in the United States from donating their organs, but I haven’t found any prisons that allow it. The main explanation is that Oregon and most other states use a sequence of three drugs for lethal injections that damages the organs. But Ohio and Washington use a larger dose of just one drug, a fast-acting barbiturate that doesn’t destroy organs. If states would switch to a one-drug regimen, inmates’ organs could be saved.
Another common concern is that the organs of prisoners may be tainted by infections, H.I.V. or hepatitis. Though the prison population does have a higher prevalence of such diseases than do non-prisoners, thorough testing can easily determine whether a prisoner’s organs are healthy. These tests would be more reliable than many given to, say, a victim of a car crash who had signed up to be a donor; in the rush to transplant organs after an accident, there is less time for a full risk analysis.
There are also fears about security — that, for example, prisoners will volunteer to donate organs as part of an elaborate escape scheme. But prisoners around the country make hospital trips for medical reasons every day. And in any case, executions have to take place on prison grounds, so the organ removal would take place there as well.
Aside from these logistical and health concerns, prisons have a moral reason for their reluctance to allow inmates to donate. America has a shameful history of using prisoners for medical experiments. In Oregon, for example, from 1963 to 1973, many inmates were paid to “volunteer” for research into the effects of radiation on testicular cells. Some ethicists believe that opening the door to voluntary donations would also open the door to abuse. And others argue that prisoners are simply unable to make a truly voluntary consent.
But when a prisoner initiates a request to donate with absolutely no enticements or pressure to do so, and if the inmate receives the same counseling afforded every prospective donor, there is no question in my mind that valid organ-donation consent can be given.
I am not the only condemned prisoner who wants the right to donate his organs. I have discussed this issue with almost every one of the 35 men on Oregon’s death row, and nearly half of them expressed a wish to have the option of donating should their appeals run out.
I understand the public’s apprehension. And I know that it could look as if what I really want are extra privileges or a reduction in my sentence. After all, in a rare and well-publicized case last December, Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi released two sisters who had been sentenced to life in prison so that one could donate a kidney to the other. But I don’t expect to leave this prison alive. I am seeking nothing but the right to determine what happens to my body once the state has carried out its sentence.
If I donated all of my organs today, I could clear nearly 1 percent of my state’s organ waiting list. I am 37 years old and healthy; throwing my organs away after I am executed is nothing but a waste.
And yet the prison authority’s response to my latest appeal to donate was this: “The interests of the public and condemned inmates are best served by denying the petition.”
Many in the public, most inmates, and especially those who are dying for lack of a healthy organ, would certainly disagree.
Christian Longo, a prisoner at Oregon State Penitentiary, is the founder of the organization Gifts of Anatomical Value From Everyone.