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Qatar’s death row and the invisible migrant workforce deemed unworthy of due process

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Qatari authorities are ignoring international law by failing to inform embassies when their citizens are arrested, detained or are pending trial for a death sentence. Our new data reveals that between 2016 and 2021 at least 21 people were under sentence of death in Qatar. Of the 21, only three cases involved Qatari nationals and only one involved a woman (who was accused of murder). The remaining 18 were made up of foreign nationals: seven from India, two from Nepal, five from Bangladesh, one Tunisian and three Asians of unknown nationality. Of these cases, 17 related to homicide and one a conviction for drug trafficking. The majority of the murder cases involved male migrant labourers from South Asia, convicted of crimes related to their precarious migrant worker status. The remaining murder cases involved one Tunisian man, and two defendants’ where the nationalities were unknown. In December 2017, male Nepalese migrant worker Anil Chaudhary was sentenced to death for murdering a Qata

World Medical Association strengthens opposition to capital punishment

The World Medical Association has strengthened its opposition to capital punishment with a resolution at its recent conference in Bangkok that "physicians will not facilitate the importation or prescription of drugs for execution."

It also reaffirmed previous resolutions that "it is unethical for physicians to participate in capital punishment, in any way, or during any step of the execution process, including its planning and the instruction and/or training of persons to perform executions", and that physicians "will maintain the utmost respect for human life and will not use medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat."

In any case, campaigners against the death penalty in the US are successfully lobbying to block supply of lethal drugs for executions. Maya Foa, head of the lethal injection project at the anti-death penalty organisation Reprieve, told a conference in London in mid-October, "Executions in certain states can't go ahead because they've run out of drugs and others are running out."

Reprieve has launched what it calls a "Pharmaceutical Hippocratic Oath" for drug companies which pledge themselves not to supply lethal drugs for executions. Under the oath, companies pledge that:

"We dedicate our work to developing and distributing pharmaceuticals to the service of humanity; we will practice our profession with conscience and dignity; the right to health of the patient will be our first consideration; we condemn the use of any of our pharmaceuticals in the execution of human beings."

One US company, Hospira, still supplies a paralyzing agent, pancuronium, which is part of a 3-drug cocktail for executions. Reprieve says that this drug is cause for particular concern, as it renders prisoners unable to signal that they are suffering agonising pain as the final, lethal substance is injected.

Source: BioEdge, November 3, 2012

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