Sunday, April 30, 2006

Death Penalty Thailand ; Lethal Injection Unacceptable

In the United States, Thailand's model in introducing execution by lethal injection, evidence for the unacceptability of the method becomes stronger and protest against its use increases.
The following is an extract from an editorial in "The New York Times" of April 26th, 2006:

'In lethal injection, three different chemicals are administered in sequence. The first is an anesthetic, another paralyzes the muscles and stops breathing, and a third stops the heart. Improper administration of the anesthetic can have the ghoulish effect of leaving the prisoner able to feel the tremendous pain of being killed by the poison that is injected into him while rendering him unable to communicate his agony by sound or gestures.

In a "friend of the court" brief, Physicians for Human Rights warned that if the chemicals weren't used correctly, they could "cause an inmate to suffocate, while consciously experiencing the blinding pain of" a coronary arrest. Meanwhile, it said, "onlookers believe him to be unconscious and insensitive to any pain."

Lethal injection is used today in nearly every death penalty state, but it is facing increased criticism. In a recent report, Human Rights Watch declared that "there is mounting evidence that prisoners may have experienced excruciating pain during their executions."'

Thailand need wait no further to suspend the use of this very questionable method of execution

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Death Penalty and Sale of Body Organs

On 25th April ‘Le Monde’ newspaper published an article on the sale of body organs in China of which more than 80% are taken from executed prisoners:
An International Centre for transplantation in Shenyang, North-East China is advertising the availability of organs for transplant, especially in December and January, the period before the Chinese New Year when most executions occur. It appears that organs can be ordered before the executions are carried out. Analysis for compatibility of ‘donor’ and recipient are made in advance. Japanese are the most numerous customers. Koreans, Ukrainians and Israelis are also customers.

Prices quoted are:
Kidney $62,000
Liver $100,000
Pancreas $150,000 to $170,000
Heart $160,000
Cornea $30,000
Prices include the cost of the operation and hospital care.
Much cheaper transplants are available in other parts of China. A potential customer in Ningxia was offered a kidney for 10,000 euros and told to contact the police or doctors to arrange a place in a clinic.
20,000 transplants are carried out in China in one year
A Japanese intermediary commented “This business is to the advantage of everyone, the hospital, local functionaries; all make money from foreign patients”
Between 2004 and the beginning of 2006 seven Japanese patients between 30 and 50 years old, died after kidney transplants in Shenyang, Shanghai, and Changsha. Malaysians have also died soon after similar transplants.
In March of this year the Ministry of Health introduced a temporary ruling forbidding traffic in organs. Hospitals were also forbidden to use organs without the consent of the donor. Although it does not say so explicitly, the ruling attempts to regulate the use of organs from executed criminals.
A report of the American State Department states that there are many indications that organs are removed from prisoners who are still alive and that executions are timed to meet the timetable of transplants.
While the traffic in the organs of executed criminals is a taboo subject in China the Chinese Vice-Minister of Health, Huang Jiefu, who is himself a surgeon specialised in kidney transplant, admitted during a recent conference in Manila that 95% of transplant organs originated from executions.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Nazanin, teenager awaiting execution in Iran

The Iranian courts have sentenced Nazanin to death by hanging for having reportedly admitted stabbing one of three men who attempted to rape her and her 16 year old niece. She was 17 years old at the time of the attempted rape.
Her sentence is still subject to review by the Court of Appeal.
At least eight minors in Iran were hanged in 2005
A petitition to save her may be signed by clicking to the link on the right.
Allah is all merciful

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Death Penalty in Malaysia

A move to abandon the death penalty in Malaysia would have momentous effect on its practice in Thailand, just as a similar move in Thailand would surely affect practice in Malaysia. It is with great interest that we learn of a statement by a Malaysian government minister favouring abolition.

Cabinet minister in charge of law supports calls for abolishing death penalty
A Malaysian Cabinet minister in charge of law said he supports calls for abolishing Malaysia's death penalty, which is largely used against drug traffickers, a news report said Tuesday. Nazri Aziz, minister in charge of law in the Prime Minister's Department, was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times newspaper.
Nazri was responding to an announcement over the weekend by the Malaysian Bar Council that it would campaign for abolishment of the death penalty.
Nazri and his spokesmen could not immediately be reached for comment. The Malaysian Bar Council said the death penalty is barbaric, inhumane and an insufficient deterrent for crime.
Malaysia is one of 76 countries which still impose the death penalty. It is mandatory for murder, certain firearms offenses and for trafficking in heroin, cocaine, opium and marijuana, and for offenses against the king. Possession of drugs is presumed to be trafficking.
The death penalty, which is administered by hanging, can also be imposed at the discretion of a judge for kidnapping, associating with people carrying arms or explosives and waging war against the ruler.
Since 1970, Malaysia has hanged 359 people, 40 of them in the last 10 years. Most were convicted of drug trafficking.
There are 159 prisoners on death row.
The Malaysian Bar Council has also called for an immediate moratorium on all death sentences pending amendments to the law.
But Nazri said that was not possible.
"The death sentence has been part of our laws for a long time. It goes with the fabric of the whole system. After discussions are held, hopefully the attorney general will advise the government", he said. (New Straits Times)