Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Maldives Returns to Death Penalty

The President of Maldives, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, has decided to restore the death penalty in the Maldives, even for minors who, according to International Law are exempt from execution. In Maldives the age of criminal responsibility is 10 years of age in general, but for crimes such as robbery, fornication, consumption of alcohol, and apostasy the age of responsibility is 7 years of age.
The decision was announced by the Government on 27th April

The UN office of Human Rights has strongly condemned the decision and called for abolition of the death penalty. However, the President declares that "Killing must be countered by killing". The Republic of Maldives is an Islamic State and the law of charia, set aside for 60 years, is renewed.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Abolish the Death Penalty in Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar is a de facto abolitionist country; there has not been an execution since 1988. It is a small step to legitimise this status by removing the death penalty from the legal code, thus greatly promoting the observance of human rights in this onetime pariah state.

Burma: Open Letter to President Thein Sein on the abolition of the death penalty

Paris, Bangkok, 9 May 2014

Mr. President,

FIDH and its member organization, the Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma), urge you to take bold steps to abolish the death penalty in Burma.

Burma has not carried out an execution since 1988. As a result, it is among the world’s de facto abolitionist countries. However, during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 27 January 2011, the predecessor military government rejected recommendations made by numerous States to abolish capital punishment.

Despite the fact that courts continued to impose death sentences during your term in office, you took several important and welcome steps towards ensuring that executions would not resume. In May 2011, January 2012, and January 2014, you issued three presidential amnesties that commuted death sentences to life imprisonment. Now you can promote additional measures aimed at making Burma the third country in ASEAN to abolish the death penalty. As the Chair of ASEAN for 2014, your country has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the bloc by example and make progress towards transforming ASEAN into a death penalty-free region.

FIDH and ALTSEAN-Burma respectfully urge you to use your executive powers to instruct your administration to:

· Introduce legislation that amends Article 53 of the Criminal Code, removing the clause that prescribes the death penalty for various criminal offenses.
· Introduce legislation that ratifies the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and its second Optional Protocol, which aims at abolishing the death penalty.
· Vote in favor of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution that calls for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. The resolution will be introduced at the UNGA’s 69th regular session, which will convene in September 2014.

These historic measures would remain a key legacy of your presidency and mark a clear break from the country’s past. We express our sincere hopes that you will act on these recommendations, leading to the abolition of the death penalty before Burma hands over the ASEAN Chair to Malaysia in 2015.

We thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Karim Lahidji
FIDH President

Debbie Stothard
ALTSEAN-Burma Coordinator
FIDH Secretary-General

Thursday, May 08, 2014

When Executions Go Wrong

                      What is the problem? I have done the job
Lethal injection has become the preferred form of execution in states having some form of human sensibility to pain and torture. The pretence is that lethal injection is little different from anesthesia as a prelude to surgery. The simple act of initiating the flow of three chemicals into the veins of the convicted criminal can be entrusted to three persons who draw lots on who delivers each fluid. The intention of the procedure is that neither the person being executed, nor the executioner is subject to pain or stress. It is thought appropriate to invite the families of the person being executed and of his victims to witness the spectacle.
At 18h23 on 29th April last, the execution of Clayton D. Lockett at McAlester, Oklahoma, USA was initiated. After the flow of a powerful sedative the condemned man was declared unconscious by a prison doctor. The problem was that the two subsequent chemicals, an anesthetic and a lethal poison had never been tested before. Countries which manufacture these chemicals are refusing to export them to countries using them to carry out executions. Such is the horror of judicial killing in countries that have abolished the death penalty themselves that they refuse to provide the means or instruments of killing to countries persisting in use of the death penalty.
When the chemicals flowed into the body of Clayton Locket, his limbs began to tremble and his body was seized in convulsions. He began to murmur to himself, “Oh man”, clearly in severe pain, to the distress of observers. A curtain was drawn and an attempt made to halt the execution. At 19h06 Clayton suffered a massive heart attack and died. It had taken almost three quarters of an hour for death to come in consequence to a death penalty passed in the year 2000. A second execution scheduled to follow on the same evening has been postponed for two weeks.

The request of both men that they be executed by electrocution had earlier been refused. 
Last January a condemned person in Ohio had suffered visibly before horrified witnesses for ten minutes before death came.  Another was heard say that his heart felt that it was on fire. 

A commentator has declared that Clayton Lockett has not been executed, but tortured to death