Taiwanese activists and human rights advocates ushered in the New Year with a push to prevent a return to authoritarianism and defend procedural justice for death row prisoners in the wake of six executions just before Christmas.
On Dec. 18, 2007, the approval of a resolution for a moratorium on executions by the United Nations General Assembly was hailed as a milestone in the struggle to abolish the death penalty worldwide. It is true that the United Nations may not impose the abolition of the death penalty, but the moral and political value of the resolution is undeniable.
Wednesday, Nov. 21, dawned like any other in the sleepy town of Faridkot, located some 150 kilometres from the Punjab capital of Lahore in Pakistan. But as the town’s 3000 residents went about their daily routines the air grew thick with apprehension, for a reason none wanted to mention.
One day after voting against a United Nations General Assembly draft resolution seeking to abolish the death penalty, India executed Pakistani national Mohammad Ajmal Kasab for the November 2008 terror rampage in Mumbai that left 166 people dead.
More than a year into his mandate, Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran, told the Third Committee of the U.N. General Assembly this week that the rights situation in Iran remains critical, especially as it pertains to human rights defenders, journalists, and religious and ethnic minorities.
Ten years of campaigning by the World Coalition against the Death Penalty have brought fruit: the number of countries that have abolished capital punishment in law or practice has gone up to 140. But some countries have resumed executions this year.
The end of Taiwan’s most controversial death penalty case this week has “punctured the myth that the judicial system never makes mistakes in death penalty cases,” Judicial Reform Foundation (JRF) executive director Lin Feng-cheng told IPS.
Human rights activists warn that Taiwan government prosecutors have sent a message that torture is permissible by refusing to indict a former defence minister and eight other former military officers behind the wrongful execution of a young Air Force private by torturing him into confessing rape and murder.
Earlier this week a coalition of rights organisations issued a ‘shadow report’ on Taiwan’s compliance with two international human rights covenants, which it incorporated into domestic law in 2009, probing the country’s track record on human rights.
On Monday, Dec. 6, a district court in Texas will be asked – for the first time in that U.S. state's history – to decide whether the death penalty is unconstitutional based on the "disproportionately high risk of wrongful convictions" in Texas.