Iran: The death penalty is an inhumane punishment for death row prisoners, their families and society as a whole

"Whether guilty or not, the outcome of the death penalty is the same. In Iran, the death penalty is by hanging, and it takes from several agonising seconds to several harrowing minutes for death to occur and for everything to be over."

Every year several hundred people are executed by the Iranian authorities.
According to reports by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and other human rights groups, death row prisoners have often no access to a defence lawyer after their arrest and are sentenced to death following unfair trials and based on confessions extracted from them under torture. 
These are issues which have been addressed in IHR’s previous reports. The current report is based on first-hand accounts of several inmates held in Iran's prisons and their families. The report seeks to illustrate other aspects of how the death penalty affects the inmate, their families and, as a consequence, society.
How does a death row inmate experience his final hours?
Speaking about the final ho…

OFW Jakatia Pawa hanged in Kuwait

The overseas Filipino worker (OFW) in Kuwait who had been accused of killing her employer’s daughter was executed by hanging on Wednesday afternoon, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a press briefing, DFA assistant secretary Charles Jose on Wednesday said Jakatia Pawa, who worked as house helper, was executed at 10:19 a.m. in Kuwait or 3:19 p.m. Manila time.

“We have exerted different efforts through the embassy and political departments,” Jose told members of the media. “We respect the decision of the justice system of Kuwait.”

Jose said they have been informed of Pawa’s execution only on Tuesday, Jan. 24. He added that the victim’s family was not amenable to the giving of blood money.

Following Islamic rules, Jose said the Filipino worker’s body might be buried in Kuwait.

Pawa was accused of stabbing her employer’s 22-year-old daughter while asleep in May 2007 and sentenced to death by Kuwait’s Court of First Instance. The verdict was upheld by the Court of Cassation in 2013.

But Pawa’s camp had repeatedly denied the allegations, saying one of the victim’s relatives could have perpetrated the killing due to a love affair with a neighbor.

On Wednesday, Pawa’s brother Air Force Lt. Col. Angaris “Gary” Pawa said his sister informed him of the execution and bid goodbye to the family through a phone call.

Source: inquirer.net, January 25, 2017

OFWs mourn death of Jakatia Pawa

Jakatia Pawa
Jakatia Pawa
“As we mourn the death of our fellow OFW, we express our strongest condemnation on the government’s failure to save the life of Jakatia Pawa. The previous administrations are guilty of criminal neglect and the current regime is liable of acting too late to stop her execution.”

This was the statement of Migrante International after Philippine post in Kuwait confirmed the death of Jakatia Pawa, a domestic helper from Zamboanga del Norte who was sentenced to death in April 2008 for allegedly killing the daughter of her employer. The verdict was upheld by the Court of Cassation in 2013.

“Her death is a result of the government’s policy of not providing immediate legal assistance to OFWs. We believe that she is not the culprit but the victim of a sorry condition that forced her to work in a foreign land in order to provide a better future for her children. We also believe that she will not have ended up on death row had the Philippine government attended to her case sooner. The government must be held accountable,” lamented Mic Catuira, Acting Secretary General of Migrante International.

According to information gathered by Migrante, the knife that was used in the crime did not have her fingerprints on it and there were no bloodstains of the victim on her dress or body that could link her to the killing. Throughout the whole investigation and judicial process, Pawa maintained that she was innocent. The government’s failure to provide her a lawyer in the early stages of trial made an unfavorable verdict possible.

“Justice must be served, heads must roll! Nananawagan kami kay Pangulong Duterte na imbestigahan ang kaso at sibakin sa pwesto ang mga nagpabayang opisyal,” said Catuira.

Migrante also challenged President Duterte to immediately call for a review of RA 8042 as ammended by RA 10022 as it does not guarantee the welfare and security of overseas Filipino workers just like what happened to OFW Pawa. According to Migrante’s monitoring, almost 100 OFWs are currently on deathrow and more than 9,000 are in detention, many of those are not provided legal assistance from our government.

“To save the OFWs from the perils of forced migration, what the present administration should ultimately strive to do is to decisively deviate from its 4-decade old labor export policy and focus instead on creating decent and sustainable local jobs for its citizens.”

Source: migranteinternational.org, January 25, 2017

Filipina worker executed in Kuwait

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday confirmed the execution by hanging of overseas Filipina worker (OFW) Jakatia Pawa in Kuwait.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the execution today of Jakatia Pawa, a Filipina OFW in Kuwait," DFA Spokesperson Charles C. Jose said in press conference on Wednesday. "She was executed at 10:19 a.m. Kuwait time," he added.

"Ms. Pawa was sentenced to death by the Kuwaiti Criminal Court on April 14, 2008 for allegedly killing the daughter of her employer," Mr. Jose continued. "The alleged incident took place on May 14, 2007."

The sentence was affirmed by the Kuwaiti Supreme Court on 2010.

"Since 2007, the department has pursued different channels in our effort to save the life of Ms. Pawa, including intercessions led by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," Mr. Jose continued. "The embassy had always been unrelenting to appeal of the family of the victim given the tanazul or letter of forgiveness in favor of Ms. Pawa, but to no avail."

"The decision of the family of the victim, in this particular case... was not amenable to giving of the blood money in order to issue the tanazul," he added.

"The [Philippine] embassy [in Kuwait] was informed by the authorities only yesterday. They were told that the execution will be implemented today."

6 others were also executed on Wednesday, including Sheikh Faisal Abdullah Al-Sabah, the 1st royal to be executed in the emirate, was convicted of killing another member of the ruling family in 2010 over a dispute.

Jakatia Pawa, a native of Zamboanga Sibugay, left behind 2 children.

She was able to call her brother, Lt. Col. Gary Pawa, on Wednesday morning, to inform him of her execution.

"We pray for her and her bereaved family," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said in a statement, adding:

"The Philippine government has provided the late Pawa all the assistance necessary to ensure all her legal rights are respected and all legal procedures are followed. The government likewise exerted all efforts to preserve her life, including diplomatic means and appeals for compassion."

"Execution, however, could no longer be forestalled under Kuwaiti laws."

In her statement, Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo said: "We offer our most sincere condolences to the family of Jakatia Pawa."

"We hope to connect with their family and help them through this trying time," she added. "We enjoin everyone to continue working for the welfare of our overseas Filipinos, who sacrifice every day for their family and our country."

Senator Cynthia S. Villar in her statement said she believes Pawa was innocent.

"[Pawa] has professed innocence since the day she was arrested in 2007 and has not changed her statement until now," read Ms. Villar's statement issued before Pawa's death was announced. "The DNA found on the murder weapon did not match Jakatia's DNA, and there was no motive involved since Jakatia has been faithfully and peacefully serving her Kuwaiti employer for 5 years prior to her arrest."

In a separate statement issued after the announcement of Pawa's death, Ms. Villar said: "Instead of finger-pointing, let us come together in making sure that her 2 children will be able to continue their studies. I urge the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration to prioritize the grant of assistance to the family of Jakatia."

For his part, Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate committee on labor, noted in his statement: "At present, there are 68 death penalty cases being faced by our OFWs in several parts of the world."

"It is our continuous call for the concerned government agencies to strictly monitor their cases and prevent another incident like this to happen in the future."

Source: Business World Online, January 26, 2017

Pawa execution a case vs reimposition of death penalty in PH-CBCP

Triple execution in Kuwait in April 2013
Triple execution in Kuwait in April 2013
The execution of Jakatia Pawa in Kuwait only stresses that the death penalty should never be reinstated in the country.

This was the stance of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines as bishops expressed their sympathies with the family of Pawa, who was hanged on Wednesday afternoon.

CBCP president and Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop Socrates Villegas extended the CBCP's condolences to the kin of the Filipina, who was executed for allegedly killing her employer's daughter.

In a statement, Villegas expressed sadness at Pawa's fate, which he noted only underscores his abhorrence at capital punishment.

"The fact that Jakatia protested her innocence to the end of her life only underscores the abhorrence at the death penalty. The sadness that we feel at Jakatia's death should make us all advocates against the death penalty," he said on Thursday.

Pawa was executed on Wednesday afternoon in Kuwait for allegedly killing her employer's 22-year-old daughter in May 2007.

Her hanging caught the public by surprise, although the Department of Foreign Affairs said Malacanang was aware of her case and that all efforts were made to save her life.

Balanga bishop Ruperto Santos also expressed sadness at Pawa's death, adding that a life and a dream was lost and shattered.

"Whatever region or religion she is a Filipina. She is one of us. And we are affected. We have to do something. Life matters," said Santos, chairperson of the CBCP's Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

The prelate urged the government to save other overseas Filipino workers who are imprisoned for various crimes in other countries.

"The government should be not complacent nor rely on last 2 minutes. They have to act, decisively and swiftly for who are incarcerated," he said.

Like Villegas, Santos called on the government not to push through with its plan to reinstate the death penalty for heinous crimes, citing Pawa's plight.

"If there will be penalty in our country, we will lose any moral authority and legality to ask clemency for our Filipinos who are sentenced to death," he added.

Source: newsinfo.inquirer.net, January 26, 2017

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