"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, February 25, 2017

UN: Halt execution of Malaysian national S Prabagaran in Singapore

S Prabagaran
S Prabagaran
The UN Human Rights Office for South East Asia calls on Singapore to halt the scheduled execution of Malaysian national S Prabagaran, and urges the government to immediately reinstate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Prabagaran was convicted in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin, was found in his car at the Singaporean immigration checkpoint.

Under international law, the death penalty may only be used for "the most serious crimes", which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. 

Drug-related offences do not fall under the threshold of "most serious crimes". Furthermore, under domestic law, the death penalty is not mandatory for drug-related offences.

"The death penalty is not an effective deterrent relative to other forms of punishment nor does it protect people from drug abuse. The focus of drug-related crime prevention should involve strengthening the justice system and making it more effective," the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein has stated.

Several states called on Singapore to abolish the death penalty during its human rights review in Geneva in January 2016.

Prabagaran has maintained his innocence, saying that he didn't own the car he drove, and wasn't aware of the drugs being in it.

His lawyer N Surendran said Prabagaran faces execution within a few weeks.

Source: aliran.com, February 24, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

No firing squad for Mississippi's death row inmates

Mississippi lawmakers have shot down the firing squad as a means of execution for death row inmates.

The change, by a state Senate committee, came after the lower chamber passed a proposal Feb. 8 that would have allowed death by nitrogen gas chamber, firing squad and electrocution as alternatives to the current method of lethal injection. The state legislature proposed the other options in case others are deemed unconstitutional or become unavailable.

"States have been having difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs within the United States primarily because the American pharmaceutical manufacturers have uniformly said they don't want their medicines used in killing prisoners," said Robert Dunham, Director of the Death Penalty Information Center.

The options do not permit condemned prisoners to choose their execution method. The alternative methods are available only if the lethal injection is not available with gas chamber being the 2nd option and electrocution the last.

According to Dunham, other states have also turned to alternative ways to carry out death sentences. He notes Utah and Oklahoma have added death by firing squad as an alternate to lethal injection and Tennessee has authorized the use of the electric chair. Death by firing squad in Utah is only available to those sentenced to death prior to 2004. In all 31 states that allow the death penalty, the primary method for executions is lethal injection.

Dunham said he expects legal challenges to the most recent change in the proposed bill. The state currently faces legal challenges surrounding the drugs it uses for lethal injection executions. Opponents say the use of the drugs violate the U.S. Constitution.

The Magnolia State previously used the electric chair and gas chamber to execute violent criminals. Lethal injection became the state's sole means of execution in March of 1998, according to the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Mississippi's most recent execution was carried out in 2012 and there are currently 47 people on death row in the state.

The bill will now move to the full state senate for consideration and will have to be sent back the house for approval of the amended changes before being passed on to the governor.

Source: Associated Press, February 25, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Malaysia: 2 brothers to be executed as planned after short-lived stay

Suthar and Rames Batumalai
Suthar and Rames Batumalai
The execution of 2 brothers convicted for murder is now set to proceed as planned at the Kajang Prison.

The 2 - 44-year-old Rames and 39-year-old Suthar Batumalai - were originally due to be executed on Friday morning, but had received a stay at the 11th hour.

Speaking in a statement in response to this development, Malaysian Bar president Steven Thiru said on Friday that the lawyers for the brothers were now exploring further avenues to support their petition for clemency.

Attempts to contact lawyers acting for the brothers have been unsuccessful.

"Sufficient time and opportunity must be given for them to exhaust this fresh ground before any sentence is meted out," said Thiru.

He added that the brothers must not be denied due process, and the execution of the death penalty must never be rushed or expedited.

"The Malaysian Bar urges the Government to allow the clemency proceedings to be completed, and to commute the sentences of death by hanging, to life imprisonment," he said.

Rames and Suthar had on Thursday submitted a clemency application through their lawyers to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board.

The brothers were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty under Section 302 of the Penal Code in 2010 after being found guilty of a murder they committed in 2006.

Thiru added that a moratorium should be placed on all executions pending the outcome of the Government's ongoing review of the death penalty.

He also issued a fresh condemnation of Malaysia's mandatory death penalty, saying that it was "not acceptable for the state to take a life for a life".

Source: thestar.com.my, February 24, 2016


Spare Rames Batumalai, Suthar Batumalai from death penalty, urges Bar


The Malaysian Bar has been informed that the execution of brothers Rames Batumalai, 44, and Suthar Batumalai, 39, which had been scheduled to take place at Kajang Prison on 24 February 2017 and was then stayed at the eleventh hour, is now to proceed.

The brothers were sentenced to the mandatory death penalty under Section 302 of the Penal Code in April 2010 after they were found guilty of murder. We do not wish to comment on the merits of the case against them, nor do we condone or excuse the crime for which they were convicted.

The Malaysian Bar abhors and condemns the death penalty, in particular the mandatory death penalty. Sentences imposed on offenders must be proportionate to the gravity of offences committed, for the punishment to be just and effective.

However, it is never acceptable for the state to take a life for a life. The act of repaying one act of inhumanity with another is primitive and barbaric.

We are informed that the lawyers for the brothers are currently exploring a further or a new avenue to support their petition for clemency. Sufficient time and opportunity must be given for them to exhaust these fresh grounds before any sentence is meted out. The brothers must not be denied due process, and the execution of the death penalty must never be rushed or expedited.

The Malaysian Bar urges the government to allow the clemency proceedings to be completed and to commute the sentences of death by hanging, to life imprisonment.

Further, we repeat our call to the government to declare and implement an immediate moratorium on any and all executions, pending the outcome of the government’s reported ongoing review of the death penalty.

Source: Aliran, Steven Thiru, February 24, 2017. Mr. Thiru is president of the Malaysian Bar.


Lorry attendant sent to gallows for drug trafficking


A lorry attendant was sentenced to death by the High Court here today after he was found guilty of drug trafficking at Taman Puteri, Kluang near here last year.

Judicial commissioner Muhammad Jamil Hussin meted down the sentence on R. Karuppu Samy, 36, after the defence failed to raise any reasonable doubts on the prosecution's case.

Muhammad Jamil, in his ruling, said the accused's statement that he was not aware of the existence of a black box containing the drugs was clearly a denial.

The accused was charged with trafficking in cannabis weighing 657 grams in a house at No 46, Jalan Sutera 2/6, Taman Puteri, Kluang near here at 12.10am on March 20 last year.

He was charged under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act which carries a death sentence upon conviction.

A total of 12 prosecution witnesses and 2 defence witnesses testified during the trial.

The prosecution was conducted by deputy public prosecutor Rasyidah Murni Adzmi while the accused was represented by counsel Salmi Hamdan Sabran.

Source: themalaymailonline.com, February 25, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Erdogan: Turkey can hold referendum on death penalty

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey could hold a referendum on reinstating the death penalty, if parliament fails to pass such a measure.

Erdogan made the comment on Friday while campaigning for a "yes" vote in a referendum on whether to expand his powers.

Since a failed coup in July, Erdogan has frequently told supporters who call for the death penalty at his rallies that he would sign off on any parliamentary vote to restore capital punishment.

On Friday, he went a step further, saying a referendum could be held if parliament fails to reinstate it.

Turkey abolished the death penalty more than a decade ago. European leaders say talks on Turkey's bid to join the EU would end if Ankara restores the death penalty.

Source: Associated Press, February 24, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Grave Violations of Human Rights in Iran – Amnesty International Annual Report 2016/17

Public flogging in Iran
Public flogging in Iran

Politics of demonization’ upbringing division and fear


Amnesty International releases its Annual Report for 2016 to 2017. The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights around the world, covering 159 countries. 

It says in part that in 2016, governments turned a blind eye to war crimes, pushed through deals that undermine the right to claim asylum, passed laws that violate free expression, incited murder of people simply because they are accused of using drugs, justified torture and mass surveillance, and extended draconian police powers.

Governments also turned on refugees and migrants; often an easy target for scapegoating. 

Amnesty International’s Annual Report documents how 36 countries violated international law by unlawfully sending refugees back to a country where their rights were at risk.

The following is the section regarding Iran:

Islamic Republic of Iran:


Iran executed 19 in one week, including minors.

Iranian authorities heavily suppressed the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and religious belief, arresting and imprisoning peaceful critics and others after grossly unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts.

Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common and widespread, and were committed with impunity.

Floggings, amputations and other cruel punishments continued to be applied. Members of religious and ethnic minorities faced discrimination and persecution.

Women and girls faced pervasive violence and discrimination. The authorities made extensive use of the death penalty, carrying out hundreds of executions, some in public. At least two juvenile offenders were executed.

BACKGROUND


In March, the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human rights in Iran. The government continued to deny the Special Rapporteur entry to Iran and to prevent access by other UN Human rights experts.

The government and the EU discussed initiating a renewed bilateral Human rights dialogue.

INTERNATIONAL SCRUTINY


The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child conducted its third and fourth periodic review of Iran and criticized continued executions of juvenile offenders, and the impact of public executions on the mental health of children who witnessed them. The Committee also criticized continued discrimination against girls; children of religious and ethnic minorities; and the low age at which girls in particular become criminally liable.

FREEDOMS OF EXPRESSION, ASSOCIATION AND ASSEMBLY


The authorities cracked down further on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, arbitrarily arresting and imprisoning peaceful critics on vague national security charges.

Those targeted included Human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, bloggers, students, trade union activists, film makers, musicians, poets, women’s rights activists, ethnic and religious minority rights activists, and environmental and anti-death penalty campaigners.

As the year closed, many prisoners of conscience undertook hunger strikes to protest against their unjust imprisonment, exposing the abusive nature of Iran’s criminal justice system.

The authorities intensified their repression of Human rights defenders, sentencing them to long prison terms for their peaceful activities.

Courts increasingly cited criticism of Iran’s Human rights record on social media and communicating with international Human rights mechanisms, particularly the UN Special Rapporteur on Iran and Human rights organizations based abroad including Amnesty International as evidence of “criminal” activism deemed threatening to national security.

The authorities also cracked down on musical expression, disrupting and forcibly cancelling performances, including some licensed by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance; and repressed activities such as private mixed-gender parties that they deemed “socially perverse” or “un-Islamic”, arresting hundreds and sentencing many to flogging.

The authorities continued to censor all media, jamming foreign satellite TV broadcasts, closing or suspending newspapers including Bahar and Ghanoun and forcing the women’s rights magazine Zanan-e Emrooz to suspend publication.

In February, a judicial order added WhatsApp, Line and Tango to the list of blocked social media sites, which already included Facebook and Twitter. The Cyber Crime Unit of the Revolutionary Guards blocked or closed down hundreds of Telegram and Instagram accounts and arrested or summoned for interrogation the administrators of more than 450 groups and channels in Telegram, WhatsApp and Instagram, including several hundred fashion designers and employees of fashion boutiques, as part of a massive crackdown on social media activities deemed “threatening to moral security”.

Here's how Iran censors the Internet


Dismantling satellite dishes
Dismantling satellite dishes
The suspended Association of Iranian Journalists addressed an open letter to President Rouhani urging him, unsuccessfully, to honor his 2013 election campaign pledge to lift its suspension, while 92 student groups urged the President to release universities from the grip of fear and repression. 

The authorities did not permit the Teachers’ Trade Association of Iran to renew its license, and sentenced several of its members to long prison terms on charges that included “membership of an illegal group.”

The authorities continued to suppress peaceful protests and subject protesters to beatings and arbitrary detention. Numerous individuals remained convicted of “gathering and colluding against national security” for attending peaceful protests.

A new Law on Political Crimes, which was adopted in January and took effect in June, criminalized all expression deemed to be “against the management of the country and its political institutions and domestic and foreign policies” and made “with intent to reform the affairs of the country without intending to harm the basis of the establishment”.

TORTURE AND OTHER ILL-TREATMENT


Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees remained common, especially during interrogation, and was used primarily to force “confessions”.

Detainees held by the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards were routinely subjected to prolonged solitary confinement amounting to torture.

The authorities systematically failed to investigate allegations of torture and other ill-treatment, sometimes threatening to subject complainants to further torture and harsh sentences.

Judges continued to admit “confessions” obtained under torture as evidence against the defendant, although such confessions were inadmissible under the 2015 Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Code failed to set out the procedure that judges and prosecutors must follow to investigate allegations of torture and ensure that confessions were made voluntarily. 

Other provisions of the Code, such as the provision guaranteeing the detainee’s right to access a lawyer from the time of arrest and during the investigation stage, were frequently ignored in practice, facilitating torture.

Judicial authorities, particularly the Office of the Prosecutor, and prison authorities frequently denied access to adequate medical care for political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience. This was often done to punish prisoners or to coerce “confessions”.

In June, detainee Nader Dastanpour died in custody as a result of injuries that his family said were inflicted during torture at a Tehran police station. No independent investigation was reported.

Cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment


Iran: Watching a public hanging
Iran: Watching a public hanging, an almost daily occurrence
Judicial authorities continued to impose and carry out cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments that amounted to torture, including floggings, blindings and amputations. These were sometimes carried out in public.

In April, the Public Prosecutor of Golpayegan, Esfahan Province, announced that a man and woman convicted of “having an illegitimate relationship” had been sentenced to 100 lashes each.

In May, the Public Prosecutor of Qazvin Province announced that the authorities had arrested 35 young women and men “dancing and mingling at a graduation party… while half-naked and consuming alcohol” and convicted them within 24 hours of engaging in acts “incompatible with chastity which disturbed the public opinion”.

The authorities carried out the 99-lash floggings to which they were sentenced at a special court hearing the same day.

In West Azerbaijan Province, authorities carried out flogging sentences of between 30 and 100 lashes against 17 miners who had engaged in a protest against employment conditions and dismissals at the Agh Darreh gold mine in 2014.

In June, a criminal court in Yazd Province sentenced nine miners to floggings ranging from 30 to 50 lashes.

In July, an appeal court sentenced journalist and blogger Mohammad Reza Fathi to 459 lashes on charges of “publishing lies” and “creating unease in the public mind” through his writings.

In November, a man was forcibly blinded in both eyes in Tehran, in retribution for blinding a four-year-old girl in June 2009.

Several other prisoners including Mojtaba Yasaveli and Hossein Zareyian remained at risk of being forcibly blinded.

Doctors associated with the official Legal Medicine Organization of Iran provided the Supreme Court with “expert” advice on how the implementation of blinding sentences was medically feasible, an act that breached medical ethics.

In April, judicial authorities at Mashhad Central Prison amputated four fingers from the right hand and the toes from the left foot of a man convicted of armed robbery.

The same authorities amputated the fingers of another man convicted of robbery in May.

In August, a judicial official in Tehran announced that several men had appealed after they were sentenced to amputation of four fingers from one hand.

In December, judicial authorities at Urumieh Central Prison amputated four fingers from the right hands of two brothers convicted of armed robbery.

UNFAIR TRIALS


Unfair trials and medieval and barbaric punishments
Iran: Unfair trials, medieval and barbaric punishments
Trials, including those resulting in death sentences, were generally unfair. The judiciary was not independent.

The Special Court for the Clergy and the Revolutionary Courts remained particularly susceptible to pressure from security and intelligence forces to convict defendants and impose harsh sentences.

Officials exercising judicial powers, including from the Ministry of Intelligence and Revolutionary Guards, consistently flouted due process provisions of the 2015 Code of Criminal Procedure.

These included provisions protecting the right to access a lawyer from the time of arrest and during investigations and the right to remain silent.

Defense lawyers were frequently denied full access to case files and prevented from meeting defendants until shortly before trial.

Pre-trial detainees were frequently held in prolonged solitary confinement, with little or no access to their families and lawyers.

“Confessions” extracted under torture were used as evidence at trial. Judges often failed to deliver reasoned judgments and the judiciary did not make court judgments publicly available.

The Office of the Prosecutor used Article 48 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to prevent detainees accessing lawyers of their own choosing, telling them that they were not on the list of lawyers approved by the Head of the Judiciary, even though no official list had been issued.

Several foreign nationals and Iranians with dual nationality were detained in Tehran’s Evin Prison with little or no access to their families, lawyers and consular officials.

These prisoners were sentenced to long prison terms on vague charges such as “collaborating with a hostile government” after grossly unfair trials before Revolutionary Courts.

The authorities accused the prisoners of being involved in a foreign-orchestrated “infiltration project” pursuing the “soft overthrow” of Iran. In reality, the convictions appeared to stem from their peaceful exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and association.

Source: NCRI, February 23, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Philippines: Duterte critic De Lima arrested on drug-related charges

Sen. Leila de Lima
Senator Leila de Lima
Manila, Philippines (CNN) -- One of the fiercest critics of Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Leila de Lima, was arrested Friday morning.

She is accused of having abetted the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was justice secretary from 2010 to 2015.

Police arrived at the doorstep of her Senate office minutes before 8 a.m. local time, as demonstrators waved banners in her support reading "one for Leila."

"I will go with them voluntarily," de Lima told reporters. "It is my honor to be jailed for what I am fighting for," she added, as her supporters shouted "laban Leila (fight Leila)" in the background.

"If they think that by jailing me, I will turn my back on my principles, they are mistaken. Instead, they have encouraged me more to pursue truth and justice," de Lima said in a statement.

De Lima has consistently insisted she is not involved in the illegal drug trade.

Arrest ordered


Duterte ordered de Lima arrested Thursday in what supporters say is a politically motivated vendetta.

A judge in the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court on Thursday afternoon found "sufficient probable cause for the issuance of the Warrants of Arrest" against de Lima.

Rafael Marcos Ragos and Ronnie Palisoc Dayan were also arrested. Ragos worked as a Bureau of Corrections chief and Dayan was de Lima's former aide.

"This sets a dangerous precedent for the government to arrest and incarcerate individuals that it perceives as its enemies, on the basis only of mere allegations and without due process," said Sen. Risa Hontiveros in a statement.

A few hours after the arrest warrant was issued, de Lima told reporters at a press conference that she would not run away from the cases against her.

Allegations of payoffs


Duterte first raised the allegations against de Lima in a speech in August.

She's accused of receiving payoffs from convicted drug lords who were able to continue their illegal operations from behind bars while she was justice secretary. The prison facility is managed by the Bureau of Corrections, an arm of the Department of Justice.

Ragos and Dayan are accused of asking for money from jailed drug lords to fund de Lima's senatorial bid last year.

Duterte won the presidency on a platform of cracking down on crime, particularly illegal drugs. Since taking office in June, his police force has waged a bloody war on drug dealers and users, resulting in the deaths of thousands of suspects at the hands of police and vigilantes.

De Lima became the subject of probes launched by Duterte's political allies after the senator initiated a Senate inquiry into alleged state-sanctioned killings in the course of Duterte's bloody war on drugs.

A Senate committee, led by an ally of Duterte's, decided in October to drop its inquiry into the extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and users during the leader's first few months in office.

In December, Duterte admitted to killing drug suspects during his time as mayor of Davao City.

Duterte: De Lima must 'face the music'


Felons from the prison facility have directly linked de Lima to the penitentiary drug trade. But de Lima said the government pressured those convicts to testify and have an "ax" to grind against her.

As justice secretary, de Lima conducted a raid at the New Bilibid Prison maximum security area that shocked the nation, revealing a luxurious lifestyle of high-profile inmates who are now among the witnesses against her.

De Lima has said she will take legal action to protect herself from what she says is political persecution.

Last week, Duterte said he was confident the Justice Department's case against de Lima was airtight. He said the senator "will have to face the music" and the charges.

Source: CNN, February 24, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

"What does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?" - Sophie Scholl

Sophia Scholl
Sophia Scholl
Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 – 22 February 1943) was a German student and anti-Nazi political activist, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany.

She was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich (LMU) with her brother Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine.

Since the 1970s, Scholl has been extensively commemorated for her anti-Nazi resistance work.

Early life


In 1932, Scholl started attending a secondary school for girls. At the age of twelve, she chose to join the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls), as did most of her classmates. 

Her initial enthusiasm gradually gave way to criticism. She was aware of the dissenting political views of her father, friends, and some teachers. Even her own brother Hans, who once eagerly participated in the Hitler Youth Program, became entirely disillusioned with the Nazi Party.

Political attitude had become an essential criterion in her choice of friends. The arrest of her brothers and friends in 1937 for participating in the German Youth Movement left a strong impression on her.

She had a talent for drawing and painting and for the first time came into contact with a few so-called "degenerate" artists. An avid reader, she developed a growing interest in philosophy and theology.

In spring 1940, she graduated from secondary school, where the subject of her essay was "The Hand that Moved the Cradle, Moved the World." 

Scholl nearly did not graduate, having lost any desire to participate in the classes which had largely become Nazi indoctrination. 

Being fond of children, she became a kindergarten teacher at the Fröbel Institute in Ulm-Söflingen. She also had chosen this kindergarten job hoping that it would be recognized as an alternative service to Reichsarbeitsdienst (National Labor Service), a prerequisite to be admitted to the university. 

This was not the case, though, and in spring 1941 she began a six-month stint in the auxiliary war service as a nursery teacher in Blumberg. The military-like regimen of the Labor Service caused her to think very hard about the political situation as well as to begin practicing passive resistance.

After her six months in the National Labor Service, in May 1942, she enrolled at the University of Munich as a student of biology and philosophy. 

Her brother Hans, who was studying medicine there, introduced her to his friends. Although this group of friends eventually was known for their political views, they initially were drawn together by a shared love of art, music, literature, philosophy, and theology. 

Hiking in the mountains, skiing, and swimming were also of importance to them. They often attended concerts, plays, and lectures together.

In Munich, Scholl met a number of artists, writers, and philosophers, particularly Carl Muth and Theodor Haecker, who were important contacts for her. The question they pondered the most was how the individual must act under a dictatorship. 

During the summer vacation in 1942, Scholl had to do war service in a metallurgical plant in Ulm. At the same time, her father was serving time in prison for having made a critical remark to an employee about Hitler.

Origins of the White Rose


Based upon letters between Scholl and her boyfriend, Fritz Hartnagel (reported and analyzed by Gunter Biemer and Jakob Knab in the journal Newman Studien), she had given two volumes of Cardinal John Henry Newman's sermons to Hartnagel when he was deployed to the eastern front in May 1942. 

This discovery by Jakob Knab shows the importance of religion in Scholl's life and was highlighted in an article in the Catholic Herald in the UK.

Scholl learned of the White Rose pamphlet when she found one at her university. Realizing her brother helped author the pamphlet, Scholl herself began to work on the White Rose.

The group of authors had been horrified by Hartnagel's reports of German war crimes on the Eastern Front where Hartnagel witnessed Soviet POWs being shot in a mass grave and learned of mass killings of Jews. 

Her correspondence with Hartnagel deeply discussed the "theology of conscience" developed in Newman's writings. This is seen as her primary defense in her transcribed interrogations leading to her "trial" and execution. Those transcripts became the basis for a 2005 film treatment, Sophie Scholl – The Final Days.

With six core members, three more White Rose pamphlets were created and circulated over the summer of 1942.

The core members initially included Hans Scholl (Sophie's brother), Willi Graf, and Christoph Probst. Initially her brother had been keen to keep her unaware of their activities, but once she discovered them, she joined him and proved valuable to the group because, as a woman, her chances of being randomly stopped by the SS were much smaller. 

Calling themselves the White Rose, they instructed Germans to passively resist the Nazi government. The pamphlet used both Biblical and philosophical support for an intellectual argument of resistance. In addition to authorship and protection, Scholl helped copy, distribute, and mail pamphlets while also managing the group's finances.

The end


She and the rest of the White Rose were arrested for distributing the sixth leaflet at the University of Munich on 18 February 1943. In the People's Court before Judge Roland Freisler on 22 February 1943, Scholl was recorded as saying these words:

Somebody, after all, had to make a start. What we wrote and said is also believed by many others. They just don't dare express themselves as we did.

There was no testimony allowed for the defendants; this was their only defense.

On 22 February 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans, and their friend Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. 

They were all beheaded by a guillotine by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison only a few hours later, at 17:00 hrs. The execution was supervised by Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials, in later describing the scene, emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were:

How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?

Following her death, a copy of the sixth leaflet was smuggled out of Germany through Scandinavia to the UK by German jurist Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, where it was used by the Allied Forces. 

In mid-1943, they dropped over Germany millions of propaganda copies of the tract, now retitled The Manifesto of the Students of Munich.

Source: Wikipedia, February 24, 2017

➽ Recommended content:
  • Every Man Dies Alone, a novel by Hans Fallada, 1947. Every Man Dies Alone is based on the true story of a working class husband and wife who, acting alone, became part of the German Resistance.
  • Sophie Scholl: The Final Days, (2005). A dramatization of the final days of Sophie Scholl, one of the most famous members of the German World War II anti-Nazi resistance movement, The White Rose. A film directed by Marc Rothemund, written by Fred Breinersdorfer, starring Julia Jentsch, Fabian Hinrichs, Alexander Held.





⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Texas: Family sues in jail suicide of death row inmate who hoped to overturn conviction

Antonio Williams
Antonio Williams
Assistant county prosecutor accused of pressuring witnesses to name him in double murder

The family of a death row inmate who died at Harris County Jail while in Houston to appeal his conviction are suing county officials for his wrongful death by suicide two years ago.

Antonio Williams' mother who filed on behalf of herself and children and heirs unknown asserts that the county sheriff, county judge and an assistant district attorney involved in Williams' conviction should be liable for the cruel and unusual circumstances of his imprisonment at the county facility and for failing to protect him.

In addition, the suit singles out former Assistant District Attorney Lance Long for conspiring "to pressure witnesses to lie about their identification of Mr. Williams as the perpetrator of the capital murder."

The Harris County Attorney's Office plans to file a response on behalf of the sheriff, the county judge and the county itself. Officials at district attorney's office were not immediately available for comment.

At the time of Williams' suicide in 2015, Patrick McCann, the family's attorney called it "a bizarre story" because Williams had been assigned to 23-hour-a-day isolation where he should not have had access to the shoelaces he used to hang himself.

Williams, 34, was taking psychotropic medications for depression, but he was not supervised by mental health providers at the jail, according to the allegations.

Williams was convicted of capital murder in 2007 in the shooting deaths of Vincent Williams, 18, and Yolanda Styles, 22, in northwest Houston. 

Testimony at trial revealed that a gunman with an assault rifle fired about 30 rounds at the victims in a killing spree related to a drug ring.

Two witnesses testified that Williams was the gunman, but later recanted, saying they were pressured to lie by prosecutors and investigators. 

The two women who saw the shooting from a second floor patio said they were told to identify Williams despite their claims that the killer was a man named Keith who had dreadlocks with blond tips, according to court documents in Williams' defense.

Williams was found hanging by shoelaces from the exposed ledge of an inset grate at about 1 a.m. on Feb 19, 2015, and he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. 

A Sheriff's Office spokeswoman at the time said she did not know why Williams would have had shoelaces in his cell.

Source: Houston Chronicle, Gabrielle Banks, February 22, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Seven Iowa GOP lawmakers want death penalty debate

Rural Iowa
Seven Republicans in the Iowa Senate are backing bills that propose the reinstatement of Iowa's death penalty, with most pointing to the 2005 death of a 10-year-old girl from Cedar Rapids who was kidnapped and murdered as a reason.

Iowa abolished the death penalty in 1965. State law currently authorizes life sentences in prison for convictions of first-degree murder and the most serious cases of rape and kidnapping.

Sen. Jerry Behn, R-Boone, a lead sponsor of the legislation, said he wants to prevent future deaths like that of Jetseta Gage, who was abducted from her grandmother's residence nearly 12 years ago and was found slain the next day in a mobile home southwest of Iowa City. The girl had previously been a victim of sexual abuse.

Behn on Thursday introduced Senate File 335, which would reinstate the death penalty, but only for multiple offenses in which a minor was kidnapped, raped and murdered. His bill has five co-sponsors, including Sen. Brad Zaun of Urbandale, the chairman of the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee, which would likely consider the measure.

A second death penalty bill, Senate File 336, sponsored by Sen. Rick Bertrand, R-Sioux City, would apply to the multiple offense of sexual abuse and first-degree murder of the same person.

Behn has introduced similar legislation in the past, but it appears to have a better chance of being debated this year with Republicans controlling both the Iowa House and Senate.

"We have a strange situation in Iowa," Behn said. "If you kidnap somebody, you can get life in prison. If you rape somebody, you can get life in prison. If you kill somebody, you get life in prison. So in effect, there is a perverted incentive to murder your victim so that nobody can testify against you."

Zaun told The Des Moines Register on Thursday he is open to considering Behn's bill in a Senate subcommittee and having a debate on the issue.

"I am not someone who is a proponent of the death penalty, per se, but in a particular case where a child is raped and killed, I support the death penalty," Zaun said.

Iowa's last execution was on March 15, 1963, at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison when Victor Harry Feguer, a federal inmate, was hanged for murder. Thirty-one states authorize the death penalty.

After the killing of Jetseta Gage, Roger Bentley of Brandon was found guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping. He is serving a life sentence in Iowa's prison system. His brother, James Bentley, was subsequently convicted of sexually abusing Jetseta Gage, and he was also found guilty separately on federal charges.

Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, who served in the Iowa House when lawmakers debated the death penalty in the 1990s, said Thursday she would opposed efforts to reinstate capital punishment in Iowa.

"I believe that with our current law, you get a life sentence in Iowa and life means life. You will spend the rest of your life behind bars," Jochum said. "They can think about all the horrible things they did, and maybe someday they will see the light and ask for forgiveness."

In 2006, President George W. Bush signed "Jetseta's Bill" into law to strengthen penalties against sexual predators who assault and kill children. However, a death penalty provision was removed from the bill in Congress.

Source: The Desmoines Register, William Petroski, February 23, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Malaysia: Brothers on death row get last minute reprieve

Suthar and Rames Batumalai
Suthar and Rames Batumalai
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai temporarily avoided execution today after their family filed a plea for clemency yesterday over their murder conviction.

Uma Muthukrishnan, who is the duo’s sister, said a police officer had informed her that the execution has been stayed.

“According to him, the execution is postponed, but we don’t know when is the postponed date. It’s not today, confirmed not today, but don’t know when,” she told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

She said the “whole family” or 26 family members visited the brothers — who are both not married — in the Kajang prison yesterday.

Lawyer Haresh Mahadevan, who was appointed only yesterday to file a clemency petition for the duo, said the application for a stay of execution was submitted at around 3pm to 4pm yesterday to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board via the state’s Mentri Besar’s office.

Haresh said the receipt of the clemency petition was acknowledged by both the Kajang Prison and the Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar’s Office, but said the authorities have yet to contact him yet regarding the petition.

“I hope so that the stay today is in view of this fresh petition!” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

The family has said that no clemency petitions were filed previously while prison authorities said one was filed previously, Haresh said, adding however that there is no bar against the filing of a fresh petition.

According to Haresh, the family had only found out that the two were to be executed after they received a February 18 letter at 2pm this Wednesday. The letter from the Kajang prison director Datuk Narander Singh was sent via registered post, he said.

In the letter sighted by Malay Mail Online, the brothers’ mother was informed that close family members would be allowed a final visit on February 23 after 9am at the Kajang prison. The letter said the death sentence would be carried out soon.

Citing Uma, Haresh said the family had visited the two brothers in the past in the Kluang prison and Bentong prison, and that the duo were shifted from Bentong prison this Wednesday to the Kajang prison for their execution.

Earlier today, Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu told Malay Mail Online that the usual practice in Malaysia would see convicts on the death row being executed on Friday mornings between 5.30am to 6am.

It is also the usual practice that executions will be carried out on the Friday that follows immediately after the last visit from family members, she said.

“I have received confirmation that Rames and Suthar have received a temporary reprieve and were not executed this morning,” she told Malay Mail Online.

“Amnesty International Malaysia is also concerned with the lack of transparency surrounding executions in Malaysia.

“The family was not provided with adequate notice of the execution and despite the temporary reprieve, the execution can be carried out at any time with minimal notice to the family,” she added, further urging Malaysia to take steps to abolish the death penalty.

Amnesty International Malaysia yesterday highlighted the duo’s impending executions and said that no execution must be carried out while appeals for clemency are pending.

Rames and Suthar, aged 44 and 39, were sentenced to death in April 2010 under Section 302 of the Penal Code after being convicted for a February 4, 2006 murder.

Source: Yahoo News, February 24, 2017



Two brothers’ execution halted after 11th hour appeal for mercy


PETALING JAYA: Two brothers who were due to be executed on Friday morning for a murder they were convicted for received a temporary reprieve at the last minute, said Amnesty International Malaysia.

Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai, who were convicted for murder in April 2010, had earlier submitted a clemency application for a royal pardon through their lawyers.

The clemency application was submitted to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board on Thursday by Haresh Mahadevan & Co.

The family of Rames, 44, and Suthar, 39, were only informed on Wednesday that they should visit the brothers for the last time on Thursday ahead of their execution.

The brothers were originally found guilty of a murder committed in Feb 2006.

Source: The Star Online, February 24, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Malaysia: Amnesty urges government to halt execution of brothers convicted of murder

Suthar (left) and Rames Batumalai
Suthar (left) and Rames Batumalai
PETALING JAYA: Amnesty International Malaysia (AIM) is urging the Government to stop the execution of two brothers on Friday in view of a pending application for a royal pardon.

Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai, who were convicted for murder in April 2010, have less than 12 hours before execution, said AIM executive director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu.

The clemency application was submitted to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board on Thursday by Haresh Mahadevan & Co.

Shamini said that the Pardons Board must be given time to review the application.

"The family is distraught and are appealing to the Yang di-Pertuan Negri Sembilan to spare their lives," she said in a statement Thursday night.

She added that the family of Rames, 44, and Suthar, 39, were only informed on Wednesday that they should visit the brothers for the last time on Thursday ahead of their execution.

The brothers were found guilty of a murder committed in Feb 2006.

According to Shamini, the pair was moved from their respective detention facilities to Kajang Prison, where the executions are set to take place.

"The death penalty can never be justified regardless of the crime committed. The authorities must immediately take a step to prevent this double execution," Shamini said, adding that AIM was not downplaying the seriousness of any crime committed.

Source: The Star Online, February 23, 2017


Double Execution in Less than 12 Hours Must Be Stopped, Amnesty International Malaysia Says


Brothers Rames and Suthar Batumalai have less than 12 hours before they face the noose if the authorities do not stop the execution in view of a pending clemency application.

The clemency application was submitted to the Negri Sembilan Pardons Board today by Haresh Mahadevan & Co, and it must be given time to review the application. The executions must not go on, Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said tonight. No executions must be carried out while appeals are pending.

“Late last night, we learned that Rames and Suthar were scheduled to be executed in Kajang Prison on Friday morning, which mean they have less than 12 hours to live now. The family is distraught and are appealing to the Yang Di Pertuan Negri Sembilan to spare their lives. ,” she said.

The family of Rames, 44, and Suthar, 39, was only informed yesterday that they should visit the brothers for the last time today ahead of their execution “soon”. Amnesty International sighted the letter.

Rames and Suthar were mandatorily sentenced to death in April 2010 under Section 302 of the Penal Code after they were found guilty of a murder committed on 4 February 2006. On 22 February 2017 the pair was moved from their separate detention facilities to Kajang prison where the executions are set to take place tomorrow. International law prohibits the use of the mandatory death penalty.

“The death penalty can never be justified regardless of the crime committed. The authorities must immediately take a step to prevent this double execution,” Shamini said.

Amnesty International believes that the brothers, who were represented at trial by the same lawyer, were convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence alone. During the trial they claimed that they had intervened to stop two other men from attacking and killing the deceased, claims which were disregarded by the High Court. The Court also failed to call a key witness, the deceased’s wife, to testify. Her testimony could have corroborated the brothers’ version of the facts and the involvement of the two other men in the murder.

“The 1984 UN Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty provide that the death penalty be imposed ‘only when the guilt of the person charged is based upon clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alternative explanation of the facts’ and this has not been made clear in this instance.”

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action to its global network to intervene on the executions and is also appealing to the Ruler of Negeri Sembilan state to stop the execution.

The secretive nature of executions in Malaysia has been consistently criticised by Amnesty International. Information is hardly made publicly available on individual death penalty cases and families are often informed merely days before that their loved ones will be executed.

“The lack of transparency around executions in Malaysia is a violation of international law and standards. Families must have sufficient time to prepare for the last visit and take any further recourse available at the national or international level.” Shamini said.

There is no conclusive evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect on crime.

“Amnesty International Malaysia does not downplay the seriousness of crimes committed, but we urge the authorities to consider introducing more effective crime prevention measures that respect human rights instead of continuously using one that has no merit.

Amnesty International Malaysia calls on the Malaysian government to put a stop to the double execution and impose a moratorium on executions immediately with a view to full abolition.

TAKE ACTION


Send an email, call, fax or tweet:

• Immediately take all the necessary steps to halt the execution of Suthar and B. Rames Batumalai, and to accept their new clemency appeal;
• Immediately establish a moratorium on executions and commute all death sentence as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty;
• Move forward with legislative reforms on the mandatory death penalty and abolish this punishment from national legislation.

➤ Prime Minister of Malaysia
Mohd Najib Razak
Office of The Prime Minister of Malaysia Main Block,
Perdana Putra Building Federal Government Administrative Centre,
62502 Putrajaya, Malaysia
Fax: +603-88883444 or +603-88883904
Email: ppm@pmo.gov.my
Salutation: Dear Prime Minister


➤ H.E. Ambassador Datuk Dr. Awang Adek Hussin
Embassy of Malaysia
3516 International Court, NW, Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 572 9882
Phone: 202 572 9700
Email: mwwashington@kln.gov.my
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Source: Amnesty International Malaysia, February 23, 2017

⚑ | Report an error, an omission, a typo; suggest a story or a new angle to an existing story; submit a piece, a comment; recommend a resource; contact the webmaster, contact us: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com.


Opposed to Capital Punishment? Help us keep this blog up and running! DONATE!