January 25th, 2008

The justice system of Iran

Here we go again.

Brussels, Jan. 25. The European Union is deeply concerned about the imminent execution of seven Iranians who have been sentenced to death for acts they committed as minors.

(…) It also concerns Europe how the death penalty is carried out in Iran. Convicts are stoned to death or thrown from a high cliff, which goes against the promise of Iran not to violate international human rights.

Or by other means, not that it matters b.t.w.

January 2nd, 2008

The lethal injection

China is replacing the method of execution from rifle shot to lethal injection. China is believed to be by far the largest executioner in the world.

The use of lethal injection will be expanded to replace gunshot executions, a senior judicial official has said.

Jiang Xingchang, vice-president of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC), said half of the country’s 404 intermediate people’s courts – which carry most of the executions – use lethal injections.

“It is considered more humane and will eventually be used in all intermediate people’s courts,” Jiang told China Daily without revealing a timetable.

I don’t know what to think of it.

Thanks nu.nl

Earlier on the nest: The killing, The killing revisited, The day against the death penaly…, The death penalty, The Saudi’s, The end of another dictator.

December 23rd, 2007

The bomb and the convicted

On October 12th 2002 a massive bomb exploded in the Eks Sari Club on Bali, Indonesia, killing 202 people, most young tourists from Australia. Four of my countrymen lost their lives in the blast too. Later, a total of 26 people were arrested, 3 of which were considered the leaders. They were sentenced to death. Yesterday, all possibilities of appeals were exhausted and the authorities said the 3 will be executed by the fire squad before the end of January.

This is one of those tough cases where initially one, yes, me too, wants to rip apart the lunatic religious fanatics killing so many youngsters just having fun in the dawn of their lives. But then, would it make us, the people, better? Would it really bring closure for the victim’s families? Would it restore tourism in the area? Would it calm the protesting crowds demanding their lives? Would it end the intense fanatical hatred? Would it end the injustice fueling that hate?

Earlier on the nest: The day against death penaltyThe killing, The killing revisited

November 16th, 2007

The killing revisited

Sorry this subject returns. From a local newspaper; it didn’t seem to show on CNN’s website.

New York, Nov. 16. The Human Rights Commission of the General Assembly of the UN voted yesterday with a large majority in favor of a moratorium on executions.

99 countries voted in favor, including the Netherlands and other EU countries. 52 States voted against and 33 abstained from voting. In particular, the United States, China and a number of developing countries, particularly in the Islamic world, want to retain the death penalty.

During the at times fierce debate, among others Malaysia, Singapore, Egypt, Botswana, Iran, Barbados and the Bahamas argued against the resolution. Europe has been criticized for imposing Western values on the rest of the world. According to the Singapore UN representer that is “hypocritical and intolerant”.

According to the resolution that was eventually adopted, the death penalty undermines human dignity. In addition to a moratorium on executions it calls for a reduction in the number of offenses for which the death penalty may be imposed.

The ultimate goal of the resolution is for the death penalty to gradually be abolished altogether. The adoption of the non-binding resolution by the General Assembly plenary of the 192 members in December is seen as a formality.

According to human rights organization Amnesty International the resolution adopted Thursday is a “historic and significant step towards universal abolition of the death penalty”.

I pre-translated this using the just released Dutch version of Google translate. Posting the raw result in comments. How sad, now I cannot play the “you have to learn Dutch” game anymore.

November 8th, 2007

The killing

From Wired News

If the courts decide that strapping some three-time loser to a gurney and pumping a lethal cocktail into his veins is, indeed, a violation of the Eighth, then there’s going to be some serious scrambling to find yet another “humane” way to kill someone.

They won’t find one. As sentient beings we want to live, and we fight for life with the last breath in our bodies. Dylan Thomas was merely stating the obvious when he urged us, “Do not go gentle into that good night…. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Short of croaking in your sleep or while heavily sedated, few people go gently. (Incidentally, Thomas drank himself to death, so maybe the Department of Corrections should consider installing taverns on death row.)

There seems to be no way to end someone’s life deliberately and prematurely without pain or discomfort. So if the courts strike down lethal injection, where does that leave us? With the rope, the gun, the chair or the gas.

And then he fillets all of those one by one, plus some nice medieval additions like drawing and quartering and the guillotine. I won’t quote as you need to be a bit into it to appreciate.

So that’s not for me, either. I don’t want to spend the last 30 seconds of my earthly existence being aware that I’m 5-foot-1 instead of 5-foot-9, you know?

Actually, none of these methods, old or new, are very appealing.

We seem to be all out of options here. Well, there is another possibility, one so obvious that I almost hesitate to suggest it. Maybe the United States should rejoin civilization and just abolish capital punishment altogether.

Mildly related: In Iran, two illegal Afghan immigrants were publicly hanged yesterday for the raping of a woman from my country.

April 27th, 2007

The death penalty (aka murdered by your own government)

Amnesty international published its statistics about captial punishment. Let me quote a bit.

At least 1,591 prisoners were executed by their own governments in 25 countries last year, while 3,861 new death sentences were issued (in 55 countries). Over 20,000 prisoners currently languish on death row across the globe.

91 per cent of all known executions in 2006 took place in six countries: China, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan and the USA.

“These hard core executioners are isolated and out of tune with global trends,” said Ms Khan. “The figures are inexcusable, but even officials in Iraq and China have spoken of their desire to see an end to the use of the death penalty.”

Note: I have a distinct feeling my Chinese friends will not be able to look at amnesty’s website. As I am a small fish that is probably not blocked, I am attaching the relevant page here as a pdf hosted on the nest. The report says about China:

Based on public reports available, AI estimated that at least 1,010 people were executed by the Chinese government last year. These figures are only the tip of the iceberg, with credible sources suggesting the real total is closer to 8,000.

To make sure we all know what we’re talking about, here is the list of execution methods for the top 5 countries. If you decide to follow the links, you will find that i.e. “hanging” can mean either a drop (more or less instant kill) or hoisted with a crane, insuring a long and extremely painful death struggle. Shooting in most cases means a head or neck shot.

  • China: shooting, lethal injection
  • Iran: shooting, hanging, stoning
  • Iraq: shooting, hanging
  • Sudan: shooting, hanging, stoning, crucifixion
  • Pakistan: hanging, stoning
  • USA: lethal injection, electrocution, hanging, lethal gas

p.s.: don’t give me the humane killing discussion bs please, nor the male/female rates. It’s entirely irrelevant. Thanksikoni