Thursday, January 24, 2013

China: Halt the imminent execution of woman who killed violent husband

Chinese death-row inmates
being lead to execution grounds
A Chinese woman who stabbed her husband to death after suffering months of sustained domestic violence should not be executed, Amnesty International said today.

Li Yan a 41-year-old woman, from Sichuan province in South West China, could be executed any day between now and the Chinese New Year in early February.

Amnesty International's Head of East Asia, Roseann Rife, said:

"Justice is not served by executing Li Yan. Amnesty International calls upon the Chinese authorities to commute her death sentence to a term of imprisonment.

"Had the Chinese authorities protected Li, as they are required to under international law, this tragic outcome could have been avoided. Li's claims should have been properly investigated and her husband prosecuted before she resorted to violence herself.

"Victims of domestic violence should not have to live in fear and isolation. The Chinese authorities are obliged to prevent violence against women, including by their husbands, and to properly investigate all claims and prosecute those responsible. They need to address this issue urgently and provide proper support and protection."

Li Yan was sentenced to death in August 2011 for the murder of her husband, Tan Yong, in late 2010.

Tan Yong inflicted frequent beatings on his wife. He cut off one of her fingers, stubbed cigarettes out on her face and, during the freezing Sichuan winters, locked her outside on the balcony of their apartment for several hours with little clothing.

The prolonged violence at the hands of her husband experienced by Li Yan began not long after the couple were married in early 2009.

Li Yan contacted the authorities, including the police, on several occasions to seek protection and required hospital treatment after 1 attack.

The police took pictures of Li's injuries after one beating, but no action was taken. Unsurprisingly, the violence continued.

Amnesty is concerned that judges did not fully take into account evidence of the sustained abuse that Li suffered, including the testimony of people who had witnessed the abuse, when handing down the death penalty.

The Supreme People's Court in Beijing approved Li Yan's death sentence in mid-January. She is currently being held at Anyue County Detention Centre.

Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception, regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to carry out the execution.

Source: Amnesty International, January 23, 2013