Posts Tagged ‘Death penalty’


We attach this month’s death penalty report thanks to group member Lesley for compiling it. Note that apart from a small item, China does not feature despite being the world’s largest executioner of its people. Details are a state secret.


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This urgent action is on behalf of a Christian couple in Pakistan who are on death row for ‘Blasphemy’ still a crime in that country. If convicted, the death penalty is mandatory. The laws are vague and arouse considerable tensions. Allegations can be made and it is extremely difficult for the police and courts to carry out proper investigations. Angry crowds can congregate, whipped up by religious clerics and their supporters, making it extremely difficult for justice to be done. Judges are under pressure to convict or risk becoming targets themselves. Some individuals take the law into their own hands and anyone associated with the accused, including lawyers, are at risk of attack or murder.

Another problem is constant trial postponements as judges are reluctant to decide. Since defendants are denied bail, it can mean years spent in captivity. Pakistan’s Supreme Court has said that many of these accusations are false and are made for ulterior motives and to settle feuds.

This UA is on behalf of a Christian couple, Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagfur Kauser sentence to death in 2014 for allegedly sending a blasphemous text to a cleric. They have been in prison for nearly 8 years awaiting their appeal. They should not be in prison at all.

The link below gives the full details and a suggested letter which can be sent via email. Since many of our followers are in the USA (welcome!) the US embassy address to send copies is:

Embassy of Pakistan

3517 International Ct

Washington DC 20008

Or the email is: info@embassyofpakistanusa.org

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/2021-03/UA02721.pdf?QEv1vD6d7Ni0TZ2dP39_R6PJEihuUAaO=

We hope you have time to write. Thank you.


Review of the year: March 2020 to February 2021

 International Events

Note: The list below highlights some of the significant events of the year.  Full monthly reports remain available on this website.

  • In March the Supreme Court ruled that the UK Government had acted unlawfully in providing, or agreeing to provide, material to the US in respect of Shafee El Sheikh and Alexanda Kotey without seeking assurances the death penalty would not be imposed.
  • In June, William Ogrod, who had been on death row in Pennsylvania for 23 years, had his conviction overturned and was freed.
  • In October the Pope issued an Encyclical, teaching that the death penalty was in all circumstances inadmissible.
  • 13 Federal Executions took place in the course of the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.
  • The new President, Joe Biden, is committed to the abolition of the death penalty.
  • Virginia is shortly to become the first State in the former Confederacy to abolish the DP.

 Local Group Campaigns

In April a Royal decree was issued in Saudi Arabia, ending the death penalty for minors.  Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher have had their sentences commuted to 10 years in prison.

Group Events

 World Day Against the Death Penalty – 10th October

  • The Group and Supporters were asked to take email action on behalf of Hoo Yew Wha – the young man in Malaysia sentenced to death for possession of drugs.
  • A link was made available to an AIUK Virtual Discussion on the Death Penalty
  • The film ‘Just Mercy’ was shown at the Salisbury Playhouse on 4th November in partnership with Wiltshire Creative.  This was the last event to take place at the theatre prior to the commencement of Lockdown, and was well attended.

 Urgent Actions – April 20 – Feb 21

 Note: Some of these actions were for more than one person; some were update/follow-up actions.

 36 UA’s

  • US 11
  • Saudi Arabia             6
  • Iran   6
  • Bahrain   3
  • Belarus 3*
  • Nigeria   2
  • India   2
  • Malaysia   1
  • Yemen 1
  • Egypt   1

 

*The abolition of the death penalty in Belarus is a focus of this year’s  Amnesty Anti-Death Penalty Project’s campaign.

 

 

 


We attach the latest death penalty report thanks to group member Lesley for the work in assembling it.

Report (Word)


Two prisoners at risk of execution in Iran

Death row prisoners from Iran’s Baluchi ethnic minority, Hamed Rigi and Mehran Naru’i, are at risk of execution. They have been subjected to serious human rights violations including enforced disappearance and torture and other ill-treatment to extract “confessions” used to convict and sentence them to death in unfair trials.

Since mid-December 2020, the Iranian authorities have executed 18 Baluchi men, raising fears that Hamed Rigi and Mehran Naru’i may be executed imminently.

Fuller details and a model form of words can be found here and we hope you can find time to write.


Members of the Salisbury group might like to know we hope to hold a Zoom meeting on 11 March in the evening.


The latest monthly death penalty report is attached with thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling it.

Report (Word)


Young man at risk of execution in Nigeria for alleged blasphemy

Yahaya Sharif-Aminu. Pic: thewillnigeria

Yahaya Sharif-Aminu (pictured), 22, a singer, is in prison in Kano, Nigeria and is at risk of execution for alleged blasphemy.  This is an urgent action asking you to write to the authorities for his release.

The death sentence handed down to Yahaya Sharif-Aminu by the Upper Sharia Court in Kano state, Nigeria was widely criticized across Nigeria and also by Amnesty International after a huge outcry by several individuals and religious bodies urging the Governor of Kano state not to sign his execution warrant.

There were serious concerns about the fairness of Yahaya Sharif-Aminu’s trial and the framing of the charges against him. Before and during the trial, he was not permitted legal representation.  He was granted access to legal advice to prepare an appeal after human rights lawyers and activists pressured the court to respect his right to legal representation.

In Kano state under the Sharia law, blasphemy is a criminal offence with a death penalty.  The death penalty remains a legal sanction in Nigeria and continues to be imposed throughout the country.  In 2019, over 54 death sentences were recorded. In total, over 2,700 people were under death sentence by the end of the year.  In Nigeria, the 2004 National Study Group on Death Penalty and the 2007 Presidential Commission on the Administration of Justice both stressed that the Nigerian criminal justice system cannot guarantee a fair trial and called for a moratorium on the death penalty.

Sentence of death for singing a song

In 2008, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (African Commission) adopted its second
resolution on the death penalty, calling on States Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights –
such as Nigeria – to “observe a moratorium on the execution of death sentences with a view to abolishing the
death penalty” and to ratify the ICCPR-OP2.  In a study published on 19 April 2012, the Working Group on the
Death Penalty of the African Commission reaffirmed the necessity of the abolition of capital punishment and
suggested ways for its achievement.

We would be grateful if you can find time to write.  There is an email address as well.

Urgent Action

 


Two people at risk of execution

Belarus is the last European nation to maintain the death penalty and this urgent action is asking you to take part in the campaign please.  In addition to the penalty itself, the execution is carried out in secrecy with neither the family or their legal representatives told when it will be nor where where they are buried afterwards.

Urgent Action

Belarus Embassy, London. Pic: Salisbury Amnesty

 


The US rushed to execute 13 before Jo Biden became president

Shock was widely expressed following the execution of 13 people in the final days of the Trump presidency and just days before president elect Jo Biden takes office on 20th.  President Trump has been the most prolific executioner in more than a century.  There has been a gradual drift away from this use of the penalty in the USA – the only American nation still to have the penalty – and the executions are out of step with trends and attitudes among the US public.  These executions took place in federal prisons. It has been criticised as vindictive.

The Attorney General, William Barr said:

[…] We owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system.  US Department of Justice statement when federal executions were resumed after two decades.  July 2019 [accessed 16 January 2021]

 

 


The death penalty report for December to January is now available thanks to group member Lesley for the work in compiling it.

Report- Word

Lisa Montgomery executed on Wednesday 13th