Wednesday, June 20, 2007

This Horrendous Practice

This website is primarily concerned with the issue of the death penalty in Thailand. However the world is one, and what happens elsewhere affects thinking and decisions made in our country. At present three examples of the barbaric practice of Capital Punishment are pending. We list them as examples of the horrendous practice of the death sentence. In these three cases UCL will make strong protest to the countries concerned. Those who wish to follow our example can easily find avenues to submit protests.

1. Iran
A man and a woman are condemned to death by public stoning on Thursday 21st June, in Takistan, Ghagrin, on a charge of adultery . Both have been in prison since sentencing 11 years ago. The judge who passed sentence will throw the first stone and posters will invite the public to participate.

An Iranian source informs us that this sentence has been canceled

Meanwhile a Sri Lankan girl awaits beheading in Saudi Arabia while the Sri Lankan government hesitates to engage Saudi lawyers to launch an appeal to save her.

SAUDI ARABIA Rizana Nafeek (f), aged 19, Sri Lankan national

Domestic worker Rizana Nafeek was sentenced to death on 16 June for a murder committed while she was 17 years old. Saudi Arabia is a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which expressly prohibits the execution of offenders for crimes committed when they were under 18 years old. Rizana Nafeek is believed to have appealed against her sentence, but if her appeal is unsuccessful she could be executed within days.

She was arrested in May 2005 in Jeddah on charges of murdering an infant in her care. She had no access to lawyers either during interrogation or at her trial and was believed to have confessed to the murder during police questioning. She has since retracted her confession.

She apparently told the authorities that she was born in February 1988, but they seem to have ignored this on the basis that her passport indicated that she was born in February 1982. According to information available to Amnesty International no medical examination is believed to have been carried out to ascertain her age, nor was she given the opportunity to present her birth certificate, which reportedly shows that she was born in 1988.

2. Pakistan
Younis Masih, a Pakistani Christian was sentenced to death for blasphemy on May 30th. The case arose from an event on 9th September last when Younis went at midnight to protest the loud singing during a religious ceremony in a house near his Lahore home. Trial and sentence followed a complaint lodged by the Muslim cleric who led the service. An attempt has been made on the life of the lawyer, Pervez Aslam Choudhury, who acted for the defense of Younis.
3. Libya (17th July: The death penalty has been commuted to life imprisonment in this case)

PARIS, Tuesday, July 24 (AP) — Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to life in prison in Libya for allegedly contaminating children with the AIDS virus left Tripoli on Tuesday on board a plane with the French president’s wife, France’s presidential palace said.
The plane was heading to Bulgaria, the Elysée Palace said.

In the case of the six Bulgarian medical personnel charged with deliberate injection of the AIDS virus of 438 infants in 1998 , as reported in an earlier posting, the Supreme Court Attorney has requested confirmation of the death sentence by firing squad. Probably the Supreme Court will uphold the sentence, but a compensation deal would override the Court's decision. (12th July. The Supreme Court has indeed upheld the sentence. It was earlier reported that a compensation deal was accepted by the parents of the infected children) One of the condemned, a doctor of Palestinian origin who is now a naturalised Bulgarian, confessed to the crime under torture. However, top AIDS experts have exonerated the group affirming that AIDS infection was already prevalent in the children's hospital due to poor hygiene before the arrival of the Bulgarian medical team. After more than eight years of imprisonment and sentence to death the medical team are severely traumatised.
The three cases illustrate that all cases involving the death penalty are horrendous, whether in Iran, Pakistan, Libya, or Bangkwang prison, Bangkok.

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