Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bali drug arrest a set-up: Briton

Kerobokan prison
A British man arrested over a £1.6 million cocaine haul in Indonesia has insisted he was set up as he went to pick up a birthday present for his daughter.

Julian Ponder and Rachel Dougall, believed to be partners, are being held in Bali alongside fellow Briton Paul Beales, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Ms Dougall could receive the death penalty for the alleged smuggling operation - leaving behind her little girl, Kitty, who is reportedly in the care of the couple's maid and gardener on the island. Ms Dougall insisted she was the victim of a "fit-up" and Mr Ponder has told ITV News he was "trapped".

The pair were arrested in a sting operation after British housewife Lindsay Sandiford, 55, was allegedly caught with 4.8kg of cocaine stuffed in the lining of a suitcase as she arrived in Bali. She agreed to take part in the sting in which police swooped on four other suspects after her arrest last week - the three other Britons and an Indian man.

Ms Dougall and Mr Ponder were filmed by ITV News as they were taken by police for questioning. Ms Dougall later shouted through the bars of her cell at Bali police headquarters: "It's a fit-up, get us a decent lawyer."

ITV News said Mr Ponder's defence, according to his lawyer, is that he was told Mrs Sandiford was delivering a present for six-year-old Kitty's birthday and when he met her to receive the "gift", police officers arrested him. His lawyer told the channel: "Julian Ponder believes, you know, 100% that he was trapped by Lindsay (Sandiford)", and said he did not touch or accept the package.

According to ITV News, police have 60 days before they have to hand over their files to prosecutors.

The Foreign Office said British officials were helping the little girl as well as the arrested Britons. A spokesman said: "We are aware of the daughter of Rachel Dougall. Consular officials from the consulate in Bali have visited the daughter and will continue to provide consular assistance."

Speaking to ITV News from his holding cell, Mr Beales said he was supposed to pick up Mrs Sandiford and said her claims she was forced to smuggle cocaine into Bali because her children were being threatened were untrue.

Customs officials previously told ITV News that Mrs Sandiford may be spared the death sentence because she helped catch three other members of the smuggling operation, who could face a firing squad. Mrs Sandiford, originally from Redcar, Teesside, is thought to have told police she only agreed to make the smuggling trip because her children in England were being threatened.

Source: The Press Association, May 31, 2012


'I'm losing my marbles'

British Bali 'drug queen' speaks from prison cell for 1st time as her gilded lifestyle is revealed and it emerges she led glitzy party life in London

The British mother being held in Indonesia on suspicion of drugs trafficking has spoken of her mental torture for the first time from behind bars.

Rachel Dougall, 38, who has spent a week in a police cell since her arrest said: 'I am hallucinating, I can't sleep, I can't eat, I am losing my marbles.'

Mrs Dougall accused Lindsay Sandiford, who was allegedly caught smuggling cocaine into Bali, of setting her up and insisted drugs found at her home 'wasn't mine', adding, 'as if I would have that in my daughter's room?'

And when asked about the death penalty she faces if found guilty, she told the Daily Telegraph: 'They are talking about things which I cannot even imagine.'

Before he moved to Bali, Julian Ponder was the director of a company that specialised in organising exclusive corporate and private parties in London.

No expense, it seems, was spared on these occasions. One such bash (for Credit Suisse) involved turning an entire floor of the bank’s headquarters in Canary Wharf blue.

At another (for Virgin), the New Orleans Mardi Gras was recreated at an old brewery in the East End. ‘You have to hit people with some magic the minute they walk in the door,’ the firm’s publicity material boasted at the time.

‘Unless you achieve that wow factor within the first few seconds, you’ve got a long evening ahead.’

Might Julian Ponder have provided something else to partygoers aside from the spectacular and decadent decorations to achieve that ‘wow factor’?

The question seems particularly pertinent in light of the revelations now unfolding in Bali where Mr Ponder, 43, and his partner Rachel Dougall, 38, have been arrested on suspicion of trying to smuggle cocaine worth £1.6million.

Bali police believe they were the lynchpins in a syndicate supplying the drug to rich tourists on the Indonesian island.

You don’t create such a network overnight, of course, which rather suggests that, if the allegations are true, their murky connections would have been established long before they began living permanently in Bali earlier this year. Hence the focus on their activities in London — and elsewhere — over the past decade or so.

If convicted, the couple, who have a 6-year-old daughter, Kitty, could face death by firing squad along with 2 other Britons, including a housewife from Cheltenham, who have also been implicated in the plot.

Already, the strain has taken its toll on Ms Dougall. She was rushed to hospital last night after collapsing in her police cell, claiming she hadn’t ‘slept or eaten for days,’ and is now under sedation.

It is a turn of events that has left those who know her and Ponder in Britain — or thought they knew them — stunned. They appeared utterly respectable.

Mr Ponder is from leafy Surrey, the son of journalist John Ponder, a distinguished crime correspondent on the London Evening Standard back in the 70s, who counted Jonathan Aitken, then a Conservative MP, among his friends.

Before meeting Ms Dougall, Mr Ponder lived in an apartment, now worth £600,000, in a smart Victorian mansion block in Kensington, West London.

At the time, he was running his swish party-organising and catering business. Ms Dougall is from Brighton, where her father Barry was once an antiques dealer.

She was the manager of the local French Connection shop and later she set up her own advertising company in the city.

The couple are believed to have met around six years ago. Their home was a £500,000 flat overlooking the Brighton seafront.

Yet dig a little deeper into their respective backgrounds and a less flattering picture emerges.

The upmarket party firm, for example? Well, it was wound up in 2008 with huge debts. The list of creditors on public documents filed at Companies House runs to 3 A4 pages.

Those left out of pocket included a business — hired by members of the Royal Family and Sir Elton John — that creates lavish ‘ice sculptures’ for special events. It was owed more than £3,000.

Ms Dougall’s name also appears in the archives of the local daily paper, The Argus. She was fined for fare-dodging on a train to London in 1998. Her father, it emerges, has also led a chequered life. He served 3 1/2 years for fraud when she was growing up.

But perhaps the most revealing insight into the lives of Julian Ponder and Rachel Dougall can be found in Cyprus where, we have been told, they own a villa, not in tourist hotspots Larnaca or Paphos, but in Kyrenia, in the Turkish-held enclave of Northern Cyprus.

This part of Cyprus has gained a reputation — rightly or wrongly — for being a ‘gangsters’ paradise’ because, unlike the rest of Cyprus, there is no extradition treaty with countries such as Britain.

People in Kyrenia are used to doing business in cash. The couple’s 3-bedroom home, which they are believed to have acquired around 3 or 4 years ago, is worth around £120,000.

Mr Ponder, says an expat who lives in Kyrenia but who wishes to remain anonymous, was a ‘bit of a jack-the-lad’. He was ‘well-connected’ and ‘always had lots of money’.

Both he and Miss Dougall were part of a hedonistic ‘party scene and rich crowd’.

So how did Mr Ponder and Ms Dougall afford two holiday homes, one in Cyprus, the other, complete with swimming pool and marble floors, in Bali?

Many locals were asking as much even before the duo came to the world’s attention by being paraded on Indonesian TV this week in orange prison jumpsuits following the drugs bust.

Their Bali villa was built on 17,222sq ft of land bought in 2009 — the year after Mr Ponder’s party-organising business was liquidated with huge debts. Note, also, Ms Dougall’s advertising company in Brighton was dissolved in 2006. (Of course, it cannot be ruled out that they had another legitimate means of income.)

Typical cell at "Hotel K"
The luxurious property is worth at least $300,000 (£195,000) on the local market — a small fortune in Indonesia, where the minimum wage is about £100 a month. It is located in the village of Desa Belalang in Tabanan, about an hour’s drive from Bali’s main tourist areas. The couple began living here with their daughter a few months ago.

Bali derives 80 % of its income from tourism and has become a target for international drug rings eager to prey on the millions who visit the island each year. Under Indonesian law, the minimum sentence for anyone caught producing, importing or exporting more than one kilogram of any drug is 5 years in jail.

The maximum sentence is the death penalty. This is spelled out in red capital letters on immigration landing cards. It reads: ‘Death penalty for drug traffickers under Indonesian law.’

It is a risk, it seems, many criminals are prepared to take, for they know that many of the screening facilities at ports and airports in Indonesia are outdated.

More investment in scanners and other modern facilities is desperately needed. In the meantime, there are huge profits to made.

Much of the drugs market in Bali is centred in upmarket Seminyak with its fashionable restaurants, clubs and bars and white sandy beaches. Tourism websites now carry warnings to be ‘extra careful’ not to accept offers of drugs under any circumstances when visiting the town.

Police suggest that the source at least of the cocaine in Seminyak was the ‘syndicate’ which allegedly included Julian Ponder and Rachel Dougall.

‘We believe that this syndicate is the source for cocaine which has been flooding places where rich people congregate in Bali,’ said a police spokesman.

The couple vehemently protest their innocence. Their idyllic life in Bali, complete with nanny and servants, began to unravel on May 19 when British housewife Lindsay Sandiford was arrested at Denpasar airport in Bali on a flight from Bangkok. In the lining of her suitcase was 4.8kg of cocaine — and customs officials said the operation had potentially ‘saved’ up to 14,000 people from the drug.

On the face of it, bespectacled Mrs Sandiford, a mother of two who once worked as legal secretary, could not have been a more unlikely drugs courier.

After growing up in Cleveland, she moved to London where she married. She is now separated but has 2 sons, Lewis, 23, and Eliot, 21.

For some years Mrs Sandiford rented a £275,000 detached property in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where neighbours have less than fond memories of her.

Some have described her as a ‘neighbour from hell’. A man of 63 who lived next door said she was evicted around five years ago for failing to pay rent.

Even Mrs Sandiford’s mother, Audrey, refuses to have anything to do with her. She has lived abroad for many years and has remarried. She asked us not to reveal the place where she now resides.

‘I don’t go to England or have anything to do with Lindsay. I got tired of being a piggy bank and realised I was better off away from them,’ said the 86-year-old. She says she did not know Lindsay had been arrested and was ‘absolutely horrified. It’s a complete shock’.

Customs officers believe Lindsay Sandiford and Rachel Dougall were long-time friends. Mrs Sandiford allegedly implicated her — and the other suspects — following days of interrogation and agreed to take part in a ‘sting’ operation in an attempt to reduce any future sentence she might receive.

What followed next could have come straight from a film plot.

A team of 20 police and customs men put Mrs Sandiford under surveillance as she was allowed to attend meetings at hotels and villas across Bali with the alleged buyers for the drug shipment. One of those alleged buyers was Mr Ponder. He was seized at an undisclosed address after being given a box containing the cocaine by Mrs Sandiford.

Mr Ponder claims he thought Mrs Sandiford was bringing a present for his daughter’s 6th birthday. Ms Dougall was arrested shortly afterwards at their villa, where police say they found drugs hidden in packets of cigarettes.

Information from Mr Ponder and Ms Dougall culminated in the arrest of a 4th Briton, Paul Beales. Mr Beales, who has lived in Bali for the past 15 years, also insists he is innocent.

Why, though, would Lindsay Sandiford hide £1.6million worth of cocaine in her suitcase in the first place?

She is reported to have told police that her two sons back in London would have come to harm if she hadn’t. All 4 Britons implicated in the plot, then, claim they are victims, in one way or another.

Ms Dougall has now been moved to a guarded room at Trijata Hospital, 450metres from the police headquarters where she was being held with her fellow suspects.

Before she was ordered away from a telephone at the hospital, she was able to speak to a local correspondent for the BBC. ‘I’m not guilty of anything to do with drugs and I just wanted to be allowed to go home and be with my daughter,’ she said. ‘I haven’t slept or eaten for days.’

When Ms Dougall is well enough, she will be returned to the police station where her interrogation will continue. ‘We need many questions answered,’ said one drug squad detective. Police have 60 days to hand over their files to prosecutors.

But any hopes the Britons might have of winning presidential clemency from mandatory execution if they are convicted appeared to be in jeopardy last night as a powerful anti-narcotic group tried to squash future acts of mercy.

The National Anti-Narcotics Movement and the People’s Conscience Party said they planned to take political and legal action to prevent future presidents giving clemency to prisoners on death row. If Julian Ponder, Rachel Dougall, Lindsay Sandiford and Paul Beales are found guilty, they will be transferred to the notorious Kerobokan jail, or Hotel K as it is chillingly known, where up to 11 prisoners at a time are forced to share single cells. There are currently 90 inmates awaiting execution at ‘Hotel K.’

Is that figure about to rise to 94?

Source: Daily Mail, June 1, 2012

Indonesia: Paying high drugs price

A SOUTH African was sentenced to life in prison this week after being arrested with R3.5 million worth of tik in Bali last year.

Brett Savage, 44, evaded the death penalty but will spend the rest of his life in jail in Bali.

His mother, Myra Savage from Townsview, Joburg, said last night the family was still taking in the news, as they had been told to expect a lesser sentence. But she said they were devastated at the thought that they would never see him again, as they could not afford the airfare to Bali.

Savage was arrested on October 19 carrying just under 3kg of crystal methamphetamine (tik). Customs officials had reportedly noticed an unusual item in his luggage during a routine X-ray and found the drugs in a suitcase.

He is the second South African this month to be sentenced for drug trafficking in Bali. Last Monday, the Denpasar District Court sentenced 38-year-old Sheilla Motsweneng to 15 years in prison for trafficking 2.5kg of tik.

She was arrested days after Savage was at the Ngurah Rai International Airport.

Under Indonesian law both faced the death penalty.


Source: Cape Argus, May 31, 2012

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Malaysia pardons three Filipinos on death row

May 30, 2012: The Malaysian government has pardoned three overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) on death row in Sabah.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, who is in the Indonesian capital of Kuala Lumpur, said on May 30 the three OFWs have been spared the death penalty in Sabah.

The Philippine Embassy in Malaysia identified the three as Basir Omar, Jaliman Salleh and Aldipal Hadani.

In his talk with Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman on May 29, Binay, Presidential Adviser on OFW concerns, thanked the Malaysian government for granting the pardons.

“We sincerely appreciate the grant of pardon and see it as further validation of the strong ties between the Philippines and Malaysia,” he said.

In January, this year, Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia J. Eduardo Malaya called on Sabah Governor and Pardons Board chairman Tun Datuk Seri Panglima, and requested for his intervention to commute the death sentences of six Filipinos, including the three.

The Pardons Board handed down on May 22 a decision commuting the death sentence of Omar to 13 years and seven months. The new sentence will commence its counting from the date of pardon.

Meanwhile, the death sentences for Salleh and Hadani were reduced to 15 years imprisonment in a decision rendered on May 14 in Kota Kinabalu.

The two were arrested on July 8, 2008 in Kota Kinabalu when police found 867.1 grams of cannabis in their bags, and were sentenced to death by the Sabah High Court on June 25, 2010.

The Vice President cautioned Filipinos in Malaysia not to be lured by criminal syndicates into becoming drug mules or to engage in the illegal drug trade.

Sources: PNA, May 30, 2012

URGENT APPEAL to the Palestinian Authority for 4 men facing execution

At least four men from Gaza City are facing execution in the Gaza Strip. One of them, Na'el Jamal Qandil Doghmosh, was sentenced to death after, according to his family, he was tortured to make him "confess" to a murder.

Na'el Jamal Qandil Doghmosh could be executed at any time, by hanging. Sentenced to death for murder in April 2011, his final appeal was rejected by the Court of Cassation on 13 May 2012. According to his family, he "confessed" under torture by police investigators after he was arrested on 9 May 2010, aged 18. When his family was first able to visit him two months later, his nails had been torn out and he had burns and bruises on his body.

According to the local human rights NGO Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), another man, known only as F.T.W., also faces execution by hanging for murder. His sentence was confirmed on 21 May by the Court of Cassation. Thirty-eight-year-old J.Z.J. may also be executed at any time, by firing squad: his appeal to the Military High Court was rejected on 14 February 2012.

Another man, known only as A.M.A., was convicted on 11 January 2012 by the Permanent Military Court of "collaboration" with the Israeli army and murder. Though he has an appeal pending in the military court against his sentence to death by hanging, Amnesty International is gravely concerned that he will face execution in the near future if his appeal is unsuccessful.

The Hamas de facto administration in the Gaza Strip executed three men by hanging on 7 April: Mohammed Baraka, from Deir al-Balah, who was convicted of murder, W.K.J., from al-Bureij refugee camp, convicted of treason and being an accessory to murder, and M.J.A., convicted of abduction and murder. Soon after the executions, Hamas officials stated that anyone found to have collaborated with Israel would be executed as a deterrent against such "treasonous" activities.

Please write immediately:
- Urging the authorities to ensure that the death sentences of the four men (naming them) are not carried out, and that all death sentences are commuted;
- Expressing concern at the allegations that Na'el Jamal Qandil Doghmosh "confessed" under torture and urging the authorities to investigate thoroughly these claims and bring anyone responsible to justice;
- Urging them to take steps to abolish the death penalty, for which no convincing evidence has ever been produced to show that it is a more effective deterrent than other forms of punishment.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 9 JULY 2012 TO:

Minister of Justice
Muhammad Faraj al-Ghoul
HAMAS DE FACTO ADMINISTRATION IN GAZA
VIA ISRAEL
Fax: 011 970 8 288 0103 -OR- 011 970 8 282 2008 -OR- 011 970 8 288 1818
Please fax before 2pm Palestine time (GMT+2) and please keep trying. 011 970 and 011 972 may both work as country codes
Salutation: Dear Mr. al-Ghoul

Head of the High Council of Justices
Abdel Raouf al-Halabi
Salutation: Dear Judge al-Halabi

Prime Minister
Isma'il Abd al-Salam Ahmad Haniyeh
HAMAS DE FACTO ADMINISTRATION IN GAZA
VIA ISRAEL
Fax: 011 972 8 288 4815
Salutation: Dear Mr. Haniyeh

Also send copies to:
Chief Representative Maen Rashid Areikat
Palestine Liberation Organization Office
1320 18th St NW Suite 200
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 1 202 974 6360
Fax: 1 202 974 6278
Twitter: @plodelegationus

Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if sending appeals after the above date.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The Palestinian Authority (PA) has jurisdiction over the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, which make up the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), all of which are under Israeli military occupation. However, intra-Palestinian factional violence and tensions between Fatah and Hamas, the Palestinian party which won the last parliamentary elections in 2006, resulted in the West Bank being governed by a caretaker government appointed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and, as of June 2007, Gaza being governed by the Hamas de facto administration led by Isma'il Haniyeh.

Following Hamas' takeover of Gaza, PA President Mahmoud Abbas suspended the operations of PA security forces and judicial institutions in Gaza, creating a legal and institutional vacuum there. Hamas responded by creating a parallel law-enforcement and judicial apparatus. These lack appropriately trained personnel, accountability mechanisms or safeguards.

Under Palestinian law, all death sentences must be ratified by President Mahmoud Abbas before they can be carried out. However, the Hamas de facto administration has been carrying out executions without the requisite approval of the president. Many of the death sentences are imposed by military courts, under the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Revolutionary Code 1979, whose procedures do not meet international standards for fair trials.

Though no executions were carried out in Gaza between 2006 and 2009, the Hamas administration is known to have executed 11 people since 2010. There are around 30 Palestinians on death row, at least some of whom have been convicted after unfair trials, particularly before the military courts. Torture and other ill-treatment of detainees is routine in Gaza. During 2011, the local human rights organization the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) reported receiving over 100 allegations of torture in detention by various security agencies in Gaza and 100 allegations of torture by the police in Gaza.

Names: Na'el Jamal Qandil Doghmosh (m), F.T.W. (m), J.Z.J (m), A.M.A(m)
Issues: Legal concern, Imminent execution, Torture

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URGENT APPEAL for Ronald Smith, Canadian man on Montana's death row

The Montana parole board has voted against clemency for Ronald Smith, a Canadian man on the state's death row for a double murder committed 30 years ago. This vote is not binding on the Governor of Montana, who can still commute the death sentence.

In a letter to Governor Brian Schweitzer on 21 May, the Board of Pardons and Parole advised that, following a clemency hearing on 2 May, the Board had voted against recommending clemency for Ronald Smith. The letter said that "justice is best served for the majority of citizens of the State of Montana" by such a recommendation.

Ronald Smith and Rodney Munro were charged with the capital murder of Harvey Madman Jr. and Thomas Running Rabbit Jr., two Native American men shot dead on 4 August 1982. Ronald Munro accepted a plea bargain, pleaded guilty to aggravated kidnapping, was sentenced to 60 years in prison, and was released in 1998. The prosecutor offered Ronald Smith a similar deal – if he pled guilty to murder he would not face the death penalty but be sentenced to life imprisonment and be eligible for release in some 17 years. He rejected the deal, pled guilty to capital murder, refused to present mitigating evidence, and asked for the death penalty, which the judge handed down in March 1983. Within weeks, Ronald Smith changed his mind, stating that he had been severely depressed when he made the plea but that he now wanted to live. In 1984 the judge affirmed the sentence, but this was overturned in 1990. Ronald Smith was re-sentenced to death in 1992, this was in turn reversed, and he was again sentenced to death in 1995. It is this death sentence, and the 1983 conviction, that has survived on appeal.

In 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Ronald Smith's trial lawyer had "failed to investigate the facts of the crime, failed to investigate Smith's mental state at the time of the crime, and failed to discuss possible defenses before Smith pled guilty". However, it ruled that Ronald Smith had not proved that his lawyer's failings harmed him. One of the three federal judges dissented, arguing that "it is hard to escape the fact that we would not be here if Smith had not succumbed to his semi-suicidal thoughts and instead accepted the plea bargain", and that with effective representation there was a "reasonable probability" he would have made a different decision.

Ronald Smith was aged 24 in 1982 and is now 54. The Ninth Circuit noted the extensive evidence of his reform, model conduct in prison, and deep remorse, but said that such issues were for consideration by the executive clemency authorities. At its hearing on 2 May, the parole board was presented with such evidence, through a range of witnesses (see overleaf). Ronald Smith also testified, telling the victims' families that he was "horrendously sorry" for his crime and apologizing to them for the "the pain and suffering I've put you through."

Please write immediately, in English or your own language:
- Acknowledging the seriousness of the crime and expressing sympathy for the victims' families;
- Noting the extensive evidence of Ronald Smith's remorse, reform and exemplary prison conduct;
- Urging Governor Schweitzer to grant clemency to Ronald Smith.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 4 JULY 2012 TO:
Governor Brian Schweitzer
Office of the Governor, Montana State Capitol Bldg., PO Box 200801, Helena, MT 59620-0801, USA
Fax: 011 1 406 444 5529
Email: http://governor.mt.gov/contact/commentsform.asp (requires US postal address)
Salutation: Dear Governor

Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if sending appeals after the above date.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Under the administrative rules of the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole, clemency may be recommended where the petitioner "has demonstrated an extended period of exemplary performance." At the hearing on 2 May, the board members heard testimony from numerous witnesses regarding Ronald Smith's exemplary conduct on death row and his deep remorse. Witnesses supporting clemency included retired prison officials, a clinical psychologist, a Catholic priest and prison educator, a former probation officer and members of the Smith family (since being on death row, Smith has established and maintained strong relationships with his family, including with his own daughter and his two grandchildren). The psychologist said that Ronald Smith "has demonstrated significant change in attitude, thoughts and behavior. He is what would be considered a model prisoner in the modern setting". He said that prison guards who had close contact with Smith described him as respectful and cooperative. This was echoed by a former FBI agent who had worked with the Montana law enforcement authorities and who had conducted a number of interviews with prison officials. The latter, he said, had "uniformly described [Smith] as a model inmate, respectful and respected". A retired prison officer said that, based on his experience with Ronald Smith over 22 years, if it was up to him, he would commute the death sentence not to life without parole, but with the possibility of parole.

Another criterion for executive clemency established by the Board of Pardons and Parole is that "extraordinary mitigating or extenuating circumstances exist." According to Ronald Smith's lawyers, his childhood was marked by physical abuse at the hands of his father and mother, and he grew up in an environment of alcoholism. Ronald Smith himself began drinking around the age of 11. He came into conflict with the law as a child, and from the age of 16 was held in an adult facility with adult offenders.

In its 2010 decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals noted that extensive psychological testing of Ronald Smith had concluded that, at the time of the crime, he was "suffering from or under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance." The psychologist who testified at his 1995 re-sentencing hearing stated that "I've never seen a case that I have worked on in 15 years in a capital case of anyone making this much . . . impressive change in real, significant . . . rehabilitation." The Court of Appeals noted that "by all accounts, Smith has reformed his life", but concluded that consideration of this issue was beyond its jurisdiction, adding: "Clemency claims are committed to the wisdom of the executive branch."

In its 2010 decision, the Ninth Circuit found that Smith's trial lawyer "did not ensure that Smith fully understood the alternative courses of action available to him". It continued: "Although Smith's lawyer was on notice that Smith had been a habitual drug user and that he wanted to die – both facts that might have developed into mitigating circumstances with the right investigation – Smith's lawyer conceded that he did not discuss with Smith 'anything that would have operated as a viable defense". In her dissent from the ruling that Ronald Smith had not been prejudiced by his lawyer's failures, Judge Betty Fletcher noted that this attorney, who had never worked on a death penalty case before, had provided "pitifully little assistance" and an "alarmingly poor performance". Judge Fletcher pointed to evidence that Ronald Smith's decision to plead guilty had been the product of severe depression, and had followed months of solitary confinement in harsh
conditions in pre-trial custody and death threats against him from other inmates because of his crime. The record, Judge Fletcher argued, "clearly demonstrates that, once Smith told [his lawyer] that he wanted to plead guilty and seek the death penalty, [the lawyer] gave up on him". Given the evidence that Ronald Smith had been drinking heavily on and before the day of the murders as well as consuming large amounts of LSD, in addition to evidence of emotional disturbance, Judge Fletcher argued that there had been possible defenses open to him.

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, unconditionally. There have been 1,295 executions in the USA since 1977, including three in Montana, most recently in August 2006. There have been 18 executions in the USA in 2012.

Name: Ronald Smith (m)
Issue(s): Death penalty
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URGENT APPEAL for Lebanese man with history of mental illness due to be executed in Ohio on 6 June

A Lebanese national with a history of mental illness is due to be executed in the US state of Ohio on 6 June for a double murder committed in 1992. The parole board has recommended to the governor that he deny clemency; he is not bound by their decision.

Abdul Hamin Awkal, who arrived in the USA at the age of 24 in 1984 from Lebanon, was sentenced to death for the murder in 1992 of his wife Latife Awkal, who was seeking a divorce from him, and her brother Mahmoud Abdul-Aziz. The two were shot dead in the Family Conciliation Services Department of a Domestic Relations Court in Cleveland, Ohio, on 7 January 1992. Abdul Awkal was arrested in the courthouse after the shooting. In pre-trial custody Abdul Awkal was prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medications. The trial judge found that the severity of his depression rendered him incapable of assisting in his defense and that he was therefore not competent to stand trial. Abdul Awkal was held in a psychiatric facility where his anti-psychotic medication was increased, and he was then found competent to stand trial. During the trial in late 1992, his lawyers told the judge that his mental health had deteriorated, but the judge rejected their suggestion to hold a new competency hearing. Abdul Awkal was sentenced to death. One of the jurors has since signed a statement that he would have voted for life imprisonment without the possibility of parole if that had been an option at the time of the trial.

At a hearing before the Ohio Parole Board on 10 May 2012, Abdul Awkal's lawyers presented evidence of his traumatic experiences in the civil war in Lebanon which began in 1975 when he was 16, and his history of mental illness including severe depressive and delusional disorders. Psychiatrist Dr Phillip Resnick said that in 2005, 2007 and 2012 he had diagnosed Abdul Awkal as suffering from schizoaffective disorder, a serious mental condition combining psychosis and mood disorder, and detailed his "grandiose and persecutorial delusions." In a letter to Governor John Kasich, one of his lawyers has written: "Abdul Awkal lives in a delusional world" in which he believes he has "directed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan", "advises high-ranking government officials by mail", receiving coded messages in reply, and that "the CIA wants him dead" because he is "not helping them anymore".

The parole board acknowledged that "Awkal suffers from Schizoaffective Disorder, Depressive Type", but voted 8-1 that the aggravating factors in the case outweighed the mitigating circumstances. The member voting for clemency found that Abdul Awkal's mental state during the trial "was tenuous at best", that his illness might have affected his decision to reject the prosecutor's offer of a life prison term in return for a guilty plea, and that his crime had arisen "out of anger exacerbated by his mental illness – delusions of persecution – and his childhood exposure '…where guns and death were an everyday occurrence'." She also raised the poor quality of his legal representation at trial.

Please write immediately, in English or your own language:
-Explaining that you are not seeking to excuse these murders or to downplay the suffering caused;
-Noting that abdul awkal has repeatedly been diagnosed with serious mental illness;
-Noting the poor legal representation abdul awkal received at trial;
-Opposing the execution of abdul awkal and calling on the governor to grant him clemency.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 6 JUNE 2012 TO:
Governor of Ohio
John Kasich
Riffe Center, 30th Floor, 77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6117
Fax: 1 614 466 9354
(governor's Deputy Legal Counsel, adviser on clemency, please ask for your email to be forwarded)
Salutation: Dear Governor

Please check with the AIUSA Urgent Action Office if sending appeals after the above date.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
In 2009, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided that Abdul Awkal should receive a new trial on the grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel at the original trial at which he had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. His lawyer had attempted to present three expert witnesses in support of this defense. The judge found that the first was not a licensed psychologist and therefore excluded his testimony. The second, a court-appointed forensic psychiatrist, testified that he believed Abdul Awkal had been sane at the time of the murders. The third had been practicing psychiatry for about a year, but was not yet certified. The Sixth Circuit panel found that "clearly, Abdul Awkal's counsel's selection of guilt-phase experts was far less than ideal" and that the decision to call the forensic psychiatrist to testify amounted to constitutionally deficient performance.

The state appealed for a rehearing by the full Sixth Circuit. In 2010, the full court reversed the panel decision. Four of the 14 judges dissented: "Any remotely competent attorney knows that an insanity defense relies mainly upon expert testimony regarding the defendant's mental state. But Abdul Awkal's counsel's presentation of expert psychological testimony at the guilt phase sounds like the opening of a bad joke: 'Three defense experts walk into court. One got his degree from a mail-in university, is not licensed, and cannot testify. One is well-credentialed but testifies against the defendant. And the third is not certified in psychiatry. Or perhaps the better analogy is an episode of [the farce act] The Three Stooges. But, however one wishes to describe it, it is clear what counsel's performance was not: the kind of representation constitutionally required in a capital case."

Ohio has become one of the USA's leading death penalty states, having carried out eight per cent of US executions in the past decade (45 out of 546 since January 2002). This has happened at a time when the country appears to be turning against the death penalty. In 2012, Connecticut became the fourth US state in five years to legislate to abolish capital punishment – after New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009) and Illinois (2010) – in addition to the demise of the death penalty in New York State. There has been a two-thirds reduction in annual death sentences in the USA since the mid-1990s, a halving in the annual judicial death toll since 1999, and the removal by the US Supreme Court of children (2005) and people with "mental retardation" (2002) from the reach of the executioner. In 2011, the Oregon governor imposed a moratorium on executions, and some 800,000 citizens in California – the state which accounts for one in five of the USA's death row inmates – have endorsed putting abolition to the popular vote. As a result the choice to repeal the death penalty will be on the ballot for California voters at the general election on 6 November 2012. If the initiative is passed, the state's death penalty will be replaced by life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, and a fund of US$100 million will be created for use by law enforcement agencies in investigating murders and rape. This is a very different national picture from when Ohio carried out its first execution in 1999.

In January 2011, Senior Ohio Supreme Court Justice Paul Pfeifer, who when he was a state legislator was a co-author of Ohio's capital statute enacted in 1981, wrote: "I helped craft the law, and I have helped enforce it. From my rather unique perspective, I have come to the conclusion that we are not well served by our ongoing attachment to capital punishment… I ask: do we want our state government – and thus, by extension, all of us – to be in the business of taking lives in what amounts to a death lottery? I can't imagine that's something about which most of us feel comfortable. And, thus, I believe the time has come to abolish the death penalty in Ohio."

Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases, unconditionally. There have been 1,295 executions in the USA since judicial killing resumed there in 1977, including 47 in Ohio. There have been 18 executions so far in 2012, one in Ohio.

Name: Abdul Hamin Awkal (m)
Issue: Death penalty, Health concern
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More than 640 ‘witches’ lynched in Tanzania last year

DODOMA, TANZANIA (BNO NEWS) -- More than 640 people suspected of witchcraft were lynched in Tanzania last year, a leading local rights group said on Tuesday, expressing concern about the growing trend of killings. More than 3,000 people have been killed in similar incidents since 2005.

In its annual human rights report, the Legal and Human Rights Center (LHRC) said police statistics in the African nation show that at least 642 people suspected of witchcraft were killed between January and November 2011, a significant increase from the at least 579 witchcraft-related deaths in 2010.

"Thousands of people lose their lives in Tanzania because they are suspected of engaging in witchcraft," the center said in its report, adding that many killings occur in the northern regions of Mwanza and Shinyanga. "Between 2005 and 2011, about 3,000 people were lynched to death by fearful neighbors who believed them to be witches."

This makes for an average of 500 witchcraft-related deaths in Tanzania each year, but the actual figure is likely higher because many incidents are not reported. Most of the victims are elderly women with red eyes. "The red eye is believed to be a mark of a witch and ignites many of these tragic neighborhood witch hunts," the LHRC said in its report.

There is a widespread belief in Tanzania that witches can cause poverty, disease, accidents, business failures, famine, earthquakes, infertility and childbirth difficulties. "Therefore, the tendency of witch hunt in Tanzania is highly associated with the occurrence of such predicaments," the rights group explained.

In addition to the killings, witch hunts also result in discrimination, torture and other forms of violence. In October 2010, a mob of angry men in the Geita Region of Tanzania set fire to the homes of eight families because they were suspected of practicing witchcraft. Because of the witchcraft beliefs, the families were held responsible by the community for misfortune and deaths in the area.

A similar incident was documented by LHRC in the Kigoma Region in May 2010 when a mob burnt more than fifteen houses. "The mob demolished houses, destroyed property and crops such as banana groves, burning of cattle and livestock at Kibwigwa village," the human rights group said previously.

Source: universaltolerance.org, May 30, 2012

Japan: Lay judges torn by death penalty

Death Chamber at
Tokyo's Detention Center
The mental and physical burden that lay judges bear in hearing potential death penalty cases has become a key focal point in the review of the de facto jury system.

Contentious issues relating to lay judges' participation in cases punishable by death include having to commit to long court proceedings, as well as the difficulty in deciding whether a defendant should live or die.

The lay judge system was introduced in May 2009 with the aim of involving ordinary citizens in court trials.

Together with three professional judges, six citizens randomly selected from eligible voters examine murder and other serious criminal cases at district courts. Lay judges also participate in determining sentences.

The system is now being reviewed three years after its debut, as required by law.

With the expectation that death sentences delivered in lay judge trials will ultimately be finalized as appeals are exhausted, how participants feel about their decisions is increasingly becoming a matter of public debate.

In April, 2 men who served as lay judges in a complicated murder case spoke at a news conference after they and their colleagues at the Saitama District Court sentenced the defendant to death. The high-profile trial dealt with a woman accused of committing serial murders.

The men acknowledged that the trial was mentally taxing and affected their work, but neither criticized the lay judge system itself. The trial lasted 100 days, the longest case so far examined by citizen judges.

"The trial was long and complex, and it led me to do some soul-searching," one of the men said.

The other said that although the trial placed a heavy burden on him, he felt a sense of accomplishment after it was completed.

Meanwhile, a professional judge who heard about the men's comments characterized the trial as more successful than expected. The trial indicated that the citizen judge system functioned smoothly, he said.

But there is concern that problems can be overlooked if attention is overly focused on the opinions of citizen judges who are willing to speak in public.

"The greater the burden people feel, the more reluctant they are to express their opinions," said Kiichi Nishino, a former judge who is now a professor at Niigata Law School. "We should assume that fundamental problems with this system are hidden in voiceless opinions."

With executions of death-row inmates sentenced by lay judges eventually to be carried out, unease is gnawing at citizens who have delivered such verdicts.

A company employee who participated in a trial in the city of Nagano of one of three men sentenced to death for murder, indicated he felt the victim may not have been beyond reproach.

"The defendant did not appear to be an evil man, and I felt as if I could have become friends with him under different circumstances," the former lay judge recalled.

When he happened to see an execution chamber on a television program, the man said he wondered how the defendant would feel walking to the gallows. He said he is tormented when he draws a mental picture of the defendant.

Meanwhile, a man who participated in an arson and murder trial in Osaka stressed that cases punishable by death should be examined by lay judges. Citizens' involvement encourages increased information disclosure, he explained.

A major bone of contention in the Osaka case was whether execution by hanging amounts to "cruel punishment" banned under the Constitution. After watching a video of a mock execution in the courtroom, the lay judges concluded that hanging is constitutional.

The man who emphasized the need for citizen involvement said he did not personally feel a moral burden about the death sentence against the defendant because the decision was made collectively.

He acknowledged, however, that after the real execution actually takes place, "I may feel different."

Source: Japan Times, May 29, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Convicted killer hangs himself on California's death row

San Quentin's execution chamber
(Reuters) - A convicted killer sentenced to death for the 1979 murder of a 13-year-old boy has hanged himself on California's death row, months before voters in the state are due to decide whether to abolish the death penalty, prison officials said on Tuesday.

James Lee Crummel, 68, was found hanging in his cell at San Quentin State Prison, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Sam Robinson said in a written statement.

Crummel, who had prior convictions for child molestation, was pronounced dead at 4:20 p.m. on Sunday. He was sentenced to death in 2004 for the 1979 kidnapping, sexual abuse and murder of 13-year-old Wilfred Trotter, Robinson said. Crummel had been housed on death row ever since.

The suicide comes ahead of a ballot measure in California in November in which voters will decide whether to repeal the death penalty in a state that is home to nearly a quarter of the nation's death row inmates.

The ballot initiative focuses on the high cost of the death penalty in a state that has executed 13 people since capital punishment was reinstated in the nation in 1976. More than 720 inmates sit on death row pending lengthy and expensive appeals.

Crummel joins another 20 inmates who have committed suicide while on California's death row. According to the corrections department, since capital punishment was reinstated in California in 1978, 57 condemned inmates in the state have died from natural causes and six died from other causes.

A federal judge halted all California executions in 2006 after ruling that the three-drug protocol that has been used for lethal injections carried the risk of causing the inmate too much pain and suffering before death.

California has since revised its protocol but an appeals court has blocked resumption of executions over the same objections.

Source: Reuters, May 29, 2012

3 % of US Executions Since 1900 Were Botched, Study Finds

Oregon Gas Chamber
Since the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated 3 % of all executions in the United States were "botched," according to Amherst College Professor Austin Sarat and a team of undergraduate researchers. The group found that, of approximately 9,000 capital punishments that took place in the country from 1900 to 2011, 270 of them involved some problem in carrying out the death penalty.

"Given the gravity of the decision to put someone to death and the constitutional prohibition of cruel punishment," said Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, "the fact that 3 out of every 100 executions are messed up should be a cause of serious concern to all Americans."

By culling through detailed and often grisly newspaper accounts of capital punishments that occurred over the past 111 years, Sarat and his team created a database -- the only one of its kind, said Sarat -- of all of the mentions of what he describes as "departures from the protocol of killing someone sentenced to death." He explained that such departures included, among other things, instances in which inmates caught fire while being electrocuted, were strangled during hangings (instead of having their necks broken) or were administered the wrong dosages of specific drugs for lethal injections.

"What was particularly interesting was the way the media represented these events in the early part of the 1900s," said Sarat. He and his team published a paper about this aspect of their work -- the cultural reception of botched executions from 1890 to 1920 -- in the current issue of the British Journal of American Legal Studies and also discussed it at the meeting of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities in Fort Worth, Texas, this past March. "In the vast majority of the stories about the botched executions, the narratives were both sensational and what we called 'recuperative' -- reporters consistently made the point that, despite the gruesomeness of the proceedings, the inmates didn't suffer, that justice was done. There was very little criticism of the process or questioning of the death penalty itself. The stories were used to sell newspapers and nothing else."

Sarat also noted that the group's analysis revealed that while the American penal system has gotten better at administering the death penalty, modern society demands more of the process -- that the killing not be more painful than necessary, in particular -- so that the acceptable margin of error is smaller today than it ever has been. As a result, capital punishments gone wrong are as much an issue in the 21st century as they were in the 20th.

Sarat cited the case of Romell Broom in Ohio in September of 2009 as one recent example of a botched execution. Efforts to find a suitable vein through which prison officials could inject a lethal dose of drugs were terminated after more than two hours of trying. Broom repeatedly grimaced in pain throughout the excruciating process and even attempted, at points, to help his executioners find a vein. Finally, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland put a halt to the execution and ordered a one-week reprieve.

"In my view, no procedure like the one Romell Broom experienced can comport with our constitutional commitment to avoid cruelty in punishment," said Sarat.

What struck student researcher Heather Richard the most was the fact that, in the early 1900s, newspapers didn't just publish articles about executions in vivid, morbid detail; they often made accounts more shocking by deliberately changing the facts. One Associated Press wire piece in 1922, for example, described the electrocution of James Wells on March 10 after 11 unsuccessful attempts. In the original story, Richard noted, the reporter wrote that "fully 20 minutes were consumed in putting him to death" and that the punishment was carried out by an "inexperienced executioner." The Ogden, Utah, Standard-Examiner ran the piece but edited the first phrase to read "few minutes were consumed in putting him to death" and described the executioner as "experienced." This was just one of many instances in which particular papers were loose with the facts, said Richard.

"We all found it fascinating that these editors and reporters took what is already an incredibly sensational event -- a botched execution -- and made it even more sensational by changing the details," she said. "And on top of that, the institution of capital punishment was not really examined or critiqued. It certainly says something about the newspapers and their readers."

Sarat agreed. "How a society punishes, and then talks about it, reveals its true character," he said. "Punishment tells us who we are. The way a society punishes demonstrates its commitment to standards of judgment and justice, its distinctive views of blame and responsibility, its understandings of mercy and forgiveness and its particular ways of responding to evil."

"Sadly," he said, "our attachment to the death penalty reveals an unpleasant, unseemly side of American character."

Source: Science Daily, May 29, 2012

Malaysia: Filipino maid to hang for drug trafficking

May 28, 2012: In Malaysia, the High Court sentenced a Filipino maid to the gallows for trafficking 1126.9 grams of cocaine at the Puduraya Bus Terminal in Kuala Lumpur, three years ago.

Judge Datuk Mohd Sofian Abdul Razak sentenced Eliza Sans Gabrier, 45, after the defence had failed to raise any reasonable doubts in the prosecution's case.

In his judgement, Mohd Sofian said the defence's argument was merely denial, as such the court had no other option but to hand her the capital punishment.

Gabrier, who stood in the dock did not give any immediate reaction when the interpreter explained what had transpired, but just closed her face with a white towel.

Throughout the trial, the prosecution led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Lokman Kassim, nine witnesses were called to the stand.

Source: BERNAMA, May 28, 2012

USA: Meet the Exonerated

We see their broad smiles as they stride to freedom, exchanging embraces with loved ones and flanked by jubilant lawyers. We watch as they step to a bevy of microphones and briefly describe the prison hell they left behind and the uncertain future that lies ahead. For some, a decade of their lives lost. For others, 20, 30, even 40 years, gone forever.

We shake our heads and wonder: Didn't this also happen only a couple of weeks ago? Wasn't that guy innocent, too? Jeez, how many are there?

Now we finally have a measure of the iceberg's tip. Counting only felony cases where innocence has been officially restored, there have been 873 exonerations since 1989, according to a report just released by the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan Law School. The researchers also identified at least 1,170 cases since 1995 in which police framed innocent defendants, mostly for drug and gun crimes.

The implications are staggering. During the last 23 years, in an average week, at least one prisoner was exonerated.


Source: Huffington Post, David Protess, President, Chicago Innocence Project, May 25, 2012.

Saudi beheads citizen for murder

RIYADH, May 29, 2012 (AFP) - Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded one of its citizens in the western province of Taef after convicting him of murder, the interior ministry said.

Majed ben Ghabish al-Husni was found guilty of shooting to death fellow national, Abdel Mohsen Basha, after a disagreement, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

His beheading brings to 29 the total number of executions in the ultra-conservative kingdom so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.

Under the AFP count, at least 76 people were beheaded in 2011 in Saudi Arabia, while rights group Amnesty International put the number of executions last year at 79.

The death penalty in Saudi Arabia applies to a wide range of offences including rape, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking, as well as murder, as stipulated by Islamic Sharia law.

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 29, 2012

Emirati to be executed for murder in Fujairah

Defendant to get 80 lashes before execution for having alcohol

An appeals court in Fujairah has confirmed a death sentence against a young Emirati man for murdering an Arab expatriate after the victim’s relatives rejected diya (blood money) and insisted on the killer’s death.

The court also sentenced the unnamed defendant to 80 lashes before execution on charges of having alcohol before stabbing the Arab to death.

The Emirati committed the crime during a scuffle with the Arab man just after a wedding party in the eastern city.

Guests tried to separate them and end the fight, prompting the Emirati to rush to his car and bring a knife, which he used to stab his adversary many times. The Arab died of his injuries while the Emirati fled the scene.

Police later arrested the killer, who tried to commit a suicide inside the prison. But his attempt failed after prison guards intervened and stopped him.

“The appeals court sentenced the defendant to death and ordered his execution by available means after the victim’s father and grandmother refused to accept diya and insisted on his execution,” the Arabic language daily Alittihad said.

Source: Emirates24/7, May 29, 2012

Lethal drug shortage offers Vietnam death-row prisoners reprieve

(Reuters) - Hundreds of death-row prisoners in Vietnam have been given a reprieve of sorts due to a shortage of the drug used for lethal injections, a newspaper said on Tuesday.

Death by firing squad was replaced by lethal injections to reduce suffering last July - but police have failed to execute anyone since.

"In the past year, the execution of more than 400 inmates has not been able to go ahead. More than 100 of them have completed all the paperwork," Deputy Police Minister Dang Van Hieu was quoted by Tuesday's Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper as saying.

"Their execution awaits the drug, which is not available yet." He said imports of the unspecified drug "had proved difficult".

The newspaper did not give any suggestion of how the problem could be solved.

The American state of Oklahoma, which executes more prisoners per capita than any other state, said this month it had only one remaining dose of European-made pentobarbital, a key drug used to kill condemned prisoners.

One reason the state had run so low in stocks was because of a ban on the sale of drugs for such purposes by the European Union, which opposes the death penalty.

Source: Reuters, May 28, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

British woman facing death penalty after arrest on suspicion of trafficking cocaine in Bali

Customs officials detained the woman, identified as Lindsay June Sandiford, 55, on May 19 with almost five kg (11lbs) of cocaine after arriving at the airport in Denpasar on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok.

"We arrested the suspect after we found 4,791 grams of cocaine in her suitcase. She hid it in the lining of her suitcase," said Denpasar airport customs chief I Made Wijaya told reporters.

"We conducted an X-ray scan on the luggage, found a suspicious substance in it and then examined it," he said.

The cocaine has a street value of more than £1.6 million and Sandiford, who told officials she is a housewife, faces the death penalty for drug trafficking, Mr Wijaya said.

Indonesia enforces stiff penalties including life imprisonment and death for drug trafficking.

Two members of an Australian drug smuggling gang known as the "Bali Nine" who were arrested in 2005 are on death row, while seven others face lengthy jail terms.

Another Australian, Schapelle Corby, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for smuggling 4.1 kg of marijuana in 2005, recently had her term slashed by five years after a clemency appeal to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The 34-year-old is due to be released in September 2017.

Source: The Telegraph, May 28, 2012


May 28 UPDATE

Four Britons could face death penalty after arrest in Bali drug 'sting'

Kerobokan prison
Four Britons and an Indian citizen have been arrested on the resort island of Bali for drug smuggling, police said on Monday, and could face death by firing squad under Indonesia's stiff anti-drug laws.

Police named Briton Lindsay June Sandiford, 55, from London, who was arrested on May 19 with almost 5kg (11lb) of cocaine at the airport in Denpasar, arriving on a Thai Airways flight from Bangkok. The cocaine has an estimated street value of £1.6 million.

Four others connected to Sandiford were arrested in a sting operation at an unspecified point in the following days, Bali police narcotics head Mulyadi told reporters.

"For over a week, we conducted a controlled drug delivery through the suspect, Sandiford, to uncover a drug ring," Mulyadi said. LIke many Indonesians, he uses only one name.

"Four Britons, including Sandiford, and one Indian citizen were arrested," he said, without naming the other suspects.

The police monitored Sandiford for over a week as she stayed in a hotel in Ahmed, on the eastern part of the holiday island, on the orders of another British woman who was also later arrested, he said.

The suspects are still being held at Denpasar police headquarters but if charged will be serving long sentences in Bali’s famous Kerobokan prison, home to Australian beauty therapist Schapelle Corby and at one time, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s brother, Ronald.

It is likely the death penalty will be sought in the case of such a large amount of prohibited drugs.

Source: The Telegraph, May 28, 2012