Posts Tagged ‘execution’


Sajad Sanjari, 26, was hanged at dawn on Monday with his family only informed afterwards and told to collect his body

The Iranian authorities have secretly executed a young man who was a child at the time of his arrest and had spent nearly a decade on death row, Amnesty International has learned.  Sajad Sanjari, 26, was hanged in Dizelabad prison in Kermanshah province at dawn on Monday (2 August), but his family were not told until a prison official asked them to collect his body later that day.  

In August 2010, Sanjari, then 15, was arrested over the fatal stabbing of a man he said had tried to rape him, claiming he had acted in self-defence. At his trial, the court rejected Sanjari’s self-defence claim after several witnesses attested to the deceased’s good character. He was convicted and sentenced to death in January 2012. 

The conviction and death sentence were initially rejected by Iran’s Supreme Court in December 2012, due to various flaws in the investigation process, but were eventually upheld in February 2014. 

In June 2015, Sanjari was granted a retrial after new juvenile sentencing guidelines were introduced which granted judges discretion to replace the death penalty with an alternative punishment if they determined that a child offender had not understood the nature of the crime or its consequences, or if there were doubts about their “mental growth and maturity”. However, a criminal court in Kermanshah province re-resentenced Sanjari to death on 21 November that year after concluding, without explanation, that he had attained “maturity” at the time of the crime. 

The court did not refer Sanjari to the Legal Medicine Organisation of Iran – a state forensic institute – for an assessment, and dismissed an opinion of an official court advisor with expertise in child psychology that Sanjari had not attained maturity at the time of the crime. During his first trial, the court had found that Sanjari had reached “maturity” at 15 on the basis of his “pubic hair development”.

Sanajri’s death sentence was subsequently upheld by the Supreme Court and a later request for a retrial was denied. In January 2017, the Iranian authorities halted Sanjari’s scheduled execution, following an international outcry

Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Middle East Deputy Director, said: 

“With the secret execution of Sajad Sanjari, the Iranian authorities have yet again demonstrated the utter cruelty of their juvenile justice system. 

“The use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time of the crime is absolutely prohibited under international law, and constitutes a cruel assault on child rights.

“The fact that Sajad Sanjari was executed in secret, denying him and his family even the chance to say goodbye, consolidates an alarming pattern of the Iranian authorities carrying out executions in secret or at short notice to minimise the chances of public and private interventions to save people’s lives. 

“We urge the Iranian authorities to put an end to these abhorrent violations of the right to life and children’s rights by amending the penal code to ban the use of the death penalty against anyone who was under 18 at the time of the crime.” 

Two others arrested as children at risk of execution

Two other young men – Hossein Shahbazi and Arman Abdolali – sentenced to death for crimes that took place when they were 17 are currently at imminent risk of execution. Their trials were marred by serious violations, including the use of torture-tainted “confessions”. Shahbazi’s execution was scheduled for 25 July 2021 but postponed at the last minute following an international outcry. His execution could be rescheduled at any moment.

Amnesty has identified more than 80 individuals across Iran who are currently on death row for crimes that took place when they were children. In 2020, Amnesty recorded the executions of at least three people convicted for crimes that took place when they were under 18, making Iran the only country in the world to carry out such executions. Since January 2005, Amnesty has recorded the executions of at least 95 individuals who were under 18 years of age at the time of the crimes of which they had been convicted. The real numbers of those at risk and executed are likely to be higher. 

According to Iranian law, in cases of murder and certain other capital crimes, boys aged above 15 lunar years and girls aged above nine lunar years may be held as culpable as adults and can, therefore, be punished with the death penalty. As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Iran is legally obliged to treat anyone under the age of 18 as a child and ensure that they are never subjected to the death penalty or life imprisonment. 

Source: Amnesty International


This is an urgent action on behalf of Jamshid Sharmahd, a German/Iranian who is at risk of execution following a grossly unfair trial. He has been arbitrarily held for around 8 months and has no access to an independent lawyer. There are fears that he is not receiving adequate health care.

If you can spare time to write that would be appreciated.

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/tags/death-penalty


Lisa Montgomery was executed in the Federal prison of Terre Haute, Indiana today (Wednesday, 13 January 2021) after a long legal struggle to save her from this punishment. The case has caused a major debate in the US partly because Lisa was the first woman to be executed in nearly seven decades. She was executed in a federal prison, not a state one.

There is no doubt that her crime was horrific. But there seems little doubt also that her upbringing, which included being gang raped more than once, contributed to her lack of mental wellbeing and borderline personality disorder. It is unlikely she was aware of what was happening to her. She was the 11th person to be executed at Terre Haute since President Trump resumed federal executions.

The US is the only country in the Americas to retain the death penalty and not all states in the union practise it.

There is no evidence to support the maintenance of this penalty. It does not deter and it brutalises those involved in it. It can make securing convictions harder if juries are unwilling to agree a guilty verdict if there is a risk of execution. It is extremely expensive as we noted in a previous post and it has cost California for example, around $12bn to administer since 1978.  For poor people, unable to employ expensive lawyers, the system is stacked against them.  Mistakes – and there are many – cannot afterwards be rectified.  


Youth at risk of execution tomorrow in Iran

Amnesty has just received news of a youth at risk of execution in Iran tomorrow.  Full details can be accessed on the following link.   https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/7666/2018/en/


Three men executed today in Bahrain – the first in 2017

Three men were executed today, 15 January 2017, in Bahrain.  This has taken place in a country which likes to claim its commitment to human rights.  The convictions were allegedly procured using torture which – according to local human rights groups – included suspension from the ceiling, beatings, electric shock to the genitals and elsewhere, food and sleep deprivation.  Violent demonstration are said to have broken out.

The human rights situation in Bahrain is described as ‘dismal’ and in addition to the use of torture, there has been an orchestrated crack-down on the right to free speech and human rights activists and opposition politicians face arrest and repression.

Britain is closely involved in the Kingdom and Theresa May visited the country recently as part of a bid to boost trade.  This has raised the issue of our relationship with a country with such poor human rights.  She was quoted as saying:

There will be some people in the UK who say we shouldn’t seek stronger trade and security ties with these countries because of their record on human rights. But we don’t uphold our values and human rights by turning our back on this issue. We achieve far more by stepping up, engaging with these countries and working with them

It doesn’t seem to be going so well.  There is indeed something to be said for engagement if it does over time secure better standards.  It was reported today that Yarls Wood detention centre received a visit by Bahraini officials from the very prisons where torture is alleged to take place.  The funding was from the secretive Conflict Stability and Security Fund which a select committee of MPs has been unable to find out much about.  But once again it looks like fine words when in reality there is no improvement and all that seems matter is securing business.  The UK has just opened a naval base in the state so our ability to apply pressure is further limited.

A Salisbury based firm has allegedly been supplying spyware equipment to enable the Bahraini security forces to penetrate mobile phones and computers.


Sources:

Mail Group Newspapers; Guardian; Observer; Amnesty International; Reprieve; Bahrain Center for Human Rights

 

 

 


Further information on UA: 72/16 Index: MDE 13/5217/2016 Iran Date: 25 November 2016

Young man at risk of execution in Iran

Himan Uraminejad has been warned by prison officials that he is at risk of execution as Iran’s Head of Judiciary has approved the implementation of his death sentence. He has been on death row since 2012 for a crime committed when he was 17 years old.

Image result for iran flagAmnesty International has learnt on 21 November that Himan Uraminejad, aged 22, was informed by prison officials on 6 October that the Head of Judiciary had approved the implementation of his death sentence and his family should intensify their efforts to seek a pardon from the family of the deceased because his execution could be carried out at any moment.  He was sentenced to death in August 2012 after a criminal court in Kurdistan Province convicted him of murder over the fatal stabbing of a boy during a group fight. He was 17 years old at the time of the crime.

In September 2014, the Supreme Court quashed his death sentence and granted him a retrial, based on new juvenile sentencing provisions in Iran’s 2013 Islamic Penal Code.  In June 2015, however, he was sentenced to death again.  The criminal court presiding over his retrial referred to an official medical opinion that found “no evidence of a disorder at the time of the crime that would remove criminal liability”. The court also referred to Himan Uraminejad’s statements that he had no “mental illness or history of hospitalization” and understood killing someone was “religiously forbidden” (haram). The Supreme Court upheld the death sentence in November 2015 and rejected a subsequent request for retrial.

Grossly unfair trial

Himan Uraminejad (pictured, left) was sentenced after a grossly unfair trial that relied on evidence obtained through torture. He was arrested on 22 April 2012 when he was 17 years old. He was subsequently transferred to an undisclosed detention centre where he was held for 20 days, without access to his family and lawyer. He has said that during this period, he was tortured, including by repeated beatings that left scars and bruises all over his face and body, and suspension from the ceiling by a rope tied to his feet. He has said that police also raped him with an object shaped like an egg, threatened to cut off his testicles and walked over his body with boots. Himan Uraminejad’s trial was held before an adult court, without special juvenile justice protections. The court ordered no investigation into his allegations of torture.

Please write immediately in English, Persian, Arabic, French and Spanish or your own language:
 – Urging the Iranian authorities to halt any plans to execute Himan Uraminejad, and commute his death sentence without delay;
 –  Urging them to ensure that his conviction is quashed and that he is granted a fair retrial in accordance with the principles of juvenile justice, in particular ensuring that no statements obtained through torture and other ill-treatment
are admitted as evidence;
 – Urging them to ensure his allegations of torture are investigated and those responsible are brought to justice;
 – Immediately establish an official moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 6 JANUARY 2017 TO:
Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani

Prosecutor General of Khoy
Hojatoleslam Alizadeh
And copies to:
President
Hassan Rouhani

PLEASE SEND YOUR APPEALS FOR THE ATTENTION OF THE AUTHORITIES IN IRAN VIA THE UK EMBASSY:
H.E. Hamid Baeidinejad, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 16 PRINCES GATE LONDON SW7 1PT, Tel: 02072254208 or 02072254209 Email: iranconsulate.lon@mfa.gov.ir

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. This is the first update of UA 72/16.

Further information: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/3722/2016/en/

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The minimum age of criminal responsibility in Iran is set at nine lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys. From this age, a child who is convicted of murder or crimes that fall in the category of hodud (offences that carry inalterable punishments prescribed by Shari’a law) is generally convicted and sentenced in the same way as an adult. However, since the adoption of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code, judges have been given discretion not to sentence juvenile offenders to death if they determine that juvenile offenders did not understand the nature of the crime or its consequences, or their “mental maturity” is in doubt.

The criteria for assessing “mental growth and maturity” are unclear and arbitrary. As illustrated by the case of Himan Uraminejad, judges often conflate the issue of lesser culpability of juveniles because of their lack of maturity with the diminished responsibility of people with mental illness, concluding that the juvenile offender was not “afflicted with insanity” or was “in a healthy mental state”, and therefore deserved the death penalty. Sometimes, judges focus exclusively on whether the juvenile could tell that it is wrong to kill a human being, and disregard interdisciplinary social science studies on the relationship between adolescence and crime, including neuroscientific findings on brain maturity, which have informed juvenile justice principles considering juveniles less culpable than adults due to their developmental immaturity and cognitive limitations (see Growing up on death row: The death penalty and juvenile offenders in Iran, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde13/3112/2016/en/).

As a state party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran is legally obliged to treat everyone under the age of 18 as a child. This is different from the minimum age of criminal responsibility, which is the age below which children are deemed not to have the capacity to break the law. This age varies between countries, but it must be no lower than 12 years, according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. People who have broken the law who are above the minimum age of criminal responsibility, but under 18, may be considered criminally responsible, prosecuted, tried and punished. However, they should never be subjected to the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child reviewed Iran’s implementation of the CRC in January 2016. The Committee’s Concluding Observations expressed “serious concern” that the exemption of juvenile offenders from the death penalty is “under full discretion of judges who are allowed, but not mandated to seek forensic expert opinion and that several persons have been resentenced to death following such retrials”. Beside Himan Uraminejad, Amnesty International is aware of several other cases, including Salar Shadizadi, Hamid Ahmadi and Sajad Sanjari, who have been retried, found to have sufficient “mental maturity” at the time of the crime and sentenced to death again. Amnesty International is also aware of at least 15 juvenile offenders who have been sentenced to death for the first time since the adoption of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code.

Amnesty International has recorded at least 75 executions of juvenile offenders between 2005 and 2016, including two in 2016. One of them was Hassan Afshar, who was hanged in July. Iran’s lack of transparency on its use of the death penalty means that the total number of executions of juvenile offenders could be much higher. According to a UN report issued in 2014, at least 160 juvenile offenders are now on death row. Amnesty International has been able to identify the names of 78 of these juvenile offenders. Some of them have been on death row for over a decade and are either unaware of their right to seek a retrial based on the new provisions of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code or do not have the means to retain a lawyer to seek it for them.

The Head of the Judiciary must provide a type of approval known as estizan in all cases where the death penalty has been imposed under the Islamic principle of “retribution-in-kind” (qesas) before the sentence can be implemented.

Further information on UA: 72/16 Index: MDE 13/5217/2016 Issue Date: 25 November 2016

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WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!  Please let us know if you have taken action on this case.  You can either include us – iar@amnesty.org.uk – in the email you send to the authorities or send us a separate email if you’ve sent your appeal by post or fax.  Tell us any way you like!  All we need to know if that you’ve sent an appeal and the UA number – which is at the top of each email.  Thank you.

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Possible execution of someone a juvenile when offence committed

We enclose an urgent action concerning a man who was a juvenile when the alleged offence was committed.  If you are able to write this would be appreciated.

Urgent action (pdf)

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Texas

UPDATE; 4 February.  We regret to report Robert Ladd was executed.

Once again we are back with an urgent action against the use of the #deathpenalty in Texas.  This time it is Robert Charles Ladd who was sentenced to death in 1997.  He was ineffectively represented at his trial and his lawyer did not seek evidence about his mental capacity.  He has an IQ of less than 70.  A Supreme Court ruling says that such individuals cannot be executed.

Greg Abbott, the new governor, says on his Facebook page ‘Texas in the lone star state for a reason.  It stand separate.  It stands alone … as a model for the rest of the nation.’  One sincerely hopes the rest of the nation isn’t listening.

Below is the urgent action on behalf of Robert Ladd and we would be grateful if you could write or email.  There are only a few days to go.

Robert Ladd

Texas

Posted: April 13, 2014 in Death penalty, USA
Tags: , , , ,

It is sad to record that a Mexican, Ramiro Hernandes Llanas  has been executed in #Texas.  This is despite many misgivings about the mental capacity of Ramiro.  It is Governor Rick Perry’s 275th execution in the state which must be some kind of a record.

Most cities, towns and states promote their location as an ideal place to live.  They say how attractive it is, how well connected it is to the highway or rail network, they talk about the culture and leisure activities on offer and so on.  The governor of Texas by contrast promotes the use of the death penalty.  In an article in the New Yorker in February, following a decision by the governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, to suspend the death penalty there, Rick Perry was quoted as saying ‘vote with your feet and move to Texas, where the death penalty is thriving.’   Thriving?  In what was described as an emotional speech, he added ‘Come to Texas, the death penalty is alive and well here.’  ‘We believe in the sanctity of death.’  It is truly extraordinary to be promoting this barbaric penalty as an encouragement to move to your state.

There appear to be several reasons to explain why Texas executes more than any other state in the Union.  One is that judges are elected and accordingly have to respond to the wishes of those who elected them.  Presumably, there are many who see a benefit to executions and hence elect those who campaign for it to be used.  It is suggested that the quality of judges appointed by this method is lower than in other states as evidenced by the failure by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to publish most of its death penalty decisions.

A frequent problem in the cases we have asked you to write about, is the poor quality of the lawyers representing the accused many of whom do not have any relevant experience of murder trials.

Although Texas does not sentence more people to death than other states, it does execute more because it has speeded up the process from conviction to execution.

But where does this desire to use the penalty come from?  In his book The American Future, a History (Bodley Head), Simon Schama describes the violent history and founding of the state.  It essentially involved the removal of the indigent Mexican population and the introduction of slaves.  Following the near liquidation of the native Indians, then the expulsion of the Mexicans and the introduction of slavery, it is a state where there is a ‘cultural tradition of dehumanising certain groups of people’ (Ned Walpin, Frontline, Online).  This applies to all the states of the former Confederacy and accounts for the fact that 90% of all executions are carried out within them (ibid).  It is further argued that there is a link between executions and lynching, both of which go to show ‘who’s boss’ and as a means to exclude certain groups from society.  It is no coincidence that this latest appeal is for Ramiro a Mexican.  Gradually, executions replaced the illegal lynchings but served the same purpose of satisfying the predominantly white population’s desire to exclude black and Mexican people from society.

There is a lot of debate in America surrounding Rick Perry’s faith which is said to be strong and genuine.  He started life as a Methodist but has recently become an Evangelical and moved away from GW Bush’s church in Austin to support a mega church at Lake Hill.  He is in favour of teaching creationism and intelligent design and regards evolution as ‘just a theory’.

All this matters because he wants to run for president of the USA and so his attitude to execution and what that says about his political and liberal beliefs could be important.

Amnesty is opposed to the death penalty in all cases and it is unsettling to see it being promoted, not as some kind of necessary evil, but as though it is a thriving industry to be encouraged and lauded.  Poor quality advocacy, packed juries and a dismissal of proper analysis by the appeals process results in many unnecessary deaths.

Sources:

Frontline, Online; http://www.pbs.org

The American Spectator

The New Yorker

Texas April 14