This is the monthly death penalty report thanks to Lesley.
- 19th Sept – A Death Row Pop Up Restaurant offering a ‘last meal without the nasty execution bit’ was due to open in Hoxton, London. Condemned by Amnesty as ‘in appallingly bad taste’, the owners initially issued an apology but later withdrew it, saying ‘all over the world there are attractions that have the potential to offend’
- LC spoke with Kate Allen at the recent Stop Torture Campaign Skills Day and raised the Group’s concern that the Death Penalty was no longer a distinct campaign. Kate noted our concern, but said AI needed to look more to local groups to take the campaign forward.
- Pakistan – Mohammed Asghar, the British Pakistani 70 year old with paranoid schizophrenia, sentenced to death for ‘blasphemy’ was shot and badly injured in his prison cell by a prison guard. There is an on-line 38 Degrees Petition calling on David Cameron to press his case with the Pakistan Government.
- 21st September – the third anniversary of the execution of the execution of Troy Davis. An excerpt from the statement issued by the National Coalition for the Abolition of the Death Penalty reads: ‘……. I am Troy Davis. And we are 90 million strong. You, Xxxxx, are Troy Davis, and we are 90 million stronger – because of you. Together we are building the ground-game state by state and nationwide to fulfil Troy’s wishes: to keep fighting this battle until we end the death penalty once and for all.’
- Texas – News today (9 October) that Manuel Velez was released from prison following 6 years on Death Row and 9 years in prison. Convicted and sentenced to death in 2008 for the killing of his girlfriend’s child, in 2012 his death sentence was thrown out because of false testimony during the sentencing phase. A new trial was ordered because of inadequate legal assistance in his original trial. The DA’s office continue to maintain, however, that he contributed to the child’s death. See a separate post on this subject.
- Afghanistan – Despite attempts by AI and other Human Rights Organisations to persuade the new President, Ashraf Ghani, to stop the execution of 5 men convicted of rape, they were hanged on 8th October. There were accusations of a lack of evidence and forced confessions.
Death Penalty Statistics for 2013
- 778 executions were known to have been carried out in 22 countries
- 1,925 people in 57 countries were known to have been sentenced to death
- 23,392 people were known to have been on death row world-wide
- These figures do not include the thousands of executions likely to have taken place in China where they are a state secret.
- Iran – UA 85/14 – (update) Reyhaneh Jabbari – her execution date of 30th September was deferred, but she remains at risk as the family of the man killed (who Reyhaneh claims sexually assaulted her) could request her execution at any time. David Cameron has spoken out on her behalf to President Rouhani, and been criticised for ‘unacceptable remarks’. Circulated to DPLWG; posted on the Group’s blog – 1.10.14. This month’s Group Urgent Action.
- Bahrain – UA 252/14 – Maher Abbas Ahmad – sentenced to death in February for the premeditated murder of a policeman at a ‘gathering’, has lodged his final appeal and could be at risk of execution. He told his lawyer he was tortured into making a confession. Circulated to DPLWG 9.10.14.
- World Day Against the Death Penalty – 10th October. The Group are asked to sign cards to be sent to Reggie Clemons
- Death Penalty Stall – A signing event will take place on Saturday ll1th October from 9.00-12..00 mid-day in the Library Covered Way. We will be asking the public to sign cards calling for justice for Moses Akatugba, the young Nigerian tortured and sentenced to death for the alleged theft of three mobile phones.