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GUATEMALA: HIGH COURT ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY IN CIVIL CASES
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The Hands off Cain newsletter
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Year 17 - n. 39 - 04-11-2017

In this issue:

1. Top story: GUATEMALA: HIGH COURT ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY IN CIVIL CASES
2. Newsflash: MALAYSIA: PERAK SULTAN PARDONS TWO DRUG OFFENDERS ON DEATH ROW
3. Newsflash: TAIWAN: MURDER CONVICT WALKS FREE AFTER DECADE ON DEATH ROW
4. Newsflash: ZIMBABWE: MUGABE SAYS HE FAVORS RESUMPTION OF EXECUTIONS
5. Newsflash: SRI LANKA: 2 FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER 35 YRS AGO SENTENCED TO DEATH
6. Suggested links:


GUATEMALA: HIGH COURT ABOLISHES DEATH PENALTY IN CIVIL CASES
October 26, 2017: Guatemala's highest court has abolished the death penalty for civil cases in a landmark ruling announced on October 26.

The Constitutional Court's decision is final and will take effect once it is published in the government's official gazette.
Until now Guatemalan law has allowed for the death penalty in cases of murders of people younger than 12 or older than 60; kidnappings where the victim is severely hurt or dies; assassination of the president or VP; or in certain crimes related to drug trafficking.
"We cannot allow us to be one of the last countries that apply that penalty," said Jose Alejandro Valverth Flores, one of the lawyers who had petitioned the Constitutional Court to declare unconstitutional the pertinent articles of the penal code and a law governing drug crimes.
"We believe it is necessary for the respect of human rights in Guatemala," he added.
The Central American nation has not applied a death sentence for some years in line with a regional human rights agreement to which it is a signatory.
The death penalty remains on the books at least nominally for Guatemala's military judicial system.
According to the rights group Amnesty International, Guatemala is one of six places in the Americas that still have the death penalty, along with the United States including Puerto Rico, Cuba, Guyana and Jamaica.
(Sources: AP, 26/10/2017)
For further information :

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MALAYSIA: PERAK SULTAN PARDONS TWO DRUG OFFENDERS ON DEATH ROW
November 1st, 2017: Two death row inmates who had an appointment with the gallows have been pardoned by Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah and will face a life sentence instead.
Malay daily Sinar Harian today reported Perak Pardons Board secretary Datuk Seri Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan saying that the two convicts’ life sentences came into effect on October 12, after the board’s meeting chaired by Sultan Nazrin.
“They have been in prison for more than 16 years, since 2001. Sultan Perak decreed that their sentence is commuted from the death penalty to life imprisonment,” Abdul Puhat was quoted saying.
According to the news report, the pardon was awarded as part of the Sultan’s upcoming birthday celebration on November 27.
Abdul Puhat said that the Sultan had that pardons or commuting of sentences would only be considered when the convict has repented and regretted their mistakes by apologising and turning a new leaf.
The two drug offenders were convicted under Section 39(B)(1)(a) of the 1952 Dangerous Drugs Act and received the death sentence separately on March 19 and June 15, 2009, after exhausting their appeals at both the Court of Appeal and Federal Court.
The death penalty is mandatory for crimes such as drug trafficking and murder.
(Sources: themalaymailonline.com, 01/11/2017)
For further information :

TAIWAN: MURDER CONVICT WALKS FREE AFTER DECADE ON DEATH ROW
October 26, 2017: A Taiwanese man who spent more than a decade on death row walked free after being acquitted of murder in a retrial, boosting calls for the abolition of capital punishment.
Cheng Hsing-tse was condemned to death in 2002 after being found guilty of shooting a police officer during a gun battle in a karaoke parlour.
The death penalty was confirmed in 2006, when he had exhausted the appeal process.
But he was granted a retrial last year and released on bail when new evidence cast doubt on his conviction, suggesting he may have been tortured into admitting the crime.
The high court in central Taichung delivered its decision on October 26, overturning the original guilty verdict, saying Cheng's confession may have been forced and that evidence pointed to another culprit firing the fatal shots.
"I've waited for this acquittal for 15 years," Cheng told reporters on October 26 outside the court after the verdict.
Cheng was a follower of gangster Luo Wu-hsiung and was caught up in the gun battle after Luo fired a pistol at the ceiling and at bottles in a karaoke room in protest at the parlour's service.
Police stormed the venue and shots were fired by both sides, killing Luo and an officer named Su Hsien-pi.
Earlier verdicts found that Cheng fired the bullets that killed Su.
But judges on October 26 said after considering evidence of the firing positions, it could not be ruled out that Luo was the killer.
The high court said in a statement that Cheng's face had shown "obvious new bruising" during interrogations, "suggesting his confession wasn't voluntary".
The Control Yuan - the government's highest watchdog - recommended the supreme court prosecutor's office to apply for a retrial after investigating Cheng's case in 2014.
It said police forced a confession from Cheng "by means of torture" and certain autopsy findings were ignored.
Taiwan resumed capital punishment in 2010 after a five-year hiatus. Executions are reserved for serious crimes including aggravated murder.
The last execution was in May last year of Cheng Chieh, a former college student who killed four people in a stabbing spree on a subway in 2014.
There are currently 43 convicts on death row in Taiwan, according to campaign group Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty.
Rights groups including Amnesty International have urged Taiwan's government to abandon the practice, but polls show a majority of the public still support it.
(Sources: Afp, 26/10/2017)
For further information :

ZIMBABWE: MUGABE SAYS HE FAVORS RESUMPTION OF EXECUTIONS
November 1st, 2017: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe said he is in favor of resuming executions after more than a decade in response to rising murder rates.
The last execution in the southern African nation was in 2005.
Although he said his cabinet is divided on the issue, Mugabe said he favors lifting the moratorium on executions. “Let’s restore the death penalty,” he said, speaking at the burial of a political ally.
He did not say when it could happen but said that “if you hear people are being executed, know Mugabe’s thinking has prevailed.”
Zimbabwe’s law allows for the death penalty for people convicted of murder “in aggravating circumstances.” Women and offenders younger than 17 and older than 70 are exempt from executions.
Over 90 prisoners are on death row, according to official figures.
The hangman’s job has been vacant in Zimbabwe for over a decade, but justice ministry permanent secretary Virgina Mabhiza has said recent months have seen a “flood” of applications in the economically struggling nation. She said more than 50 people had applied.
Zimbabwe imposed eight death sentences last year, according to Amnesty International. The human rights group said 97 people were known to be facing death sentences in the country as of the end of 2016.
(Sources: The Associated Press, 01/11/2017)
For further information :

SRI LANKA: 2 FOUND GUILTY OF MURDER 35 YRS AGO SENTENCED TO DEATH
October 27, 2017: Two persons found guilty of a murder 35 years ago have been sentenced to death by the Kurunegala High Court.
The duo was found guilty of killing an individual and injuring another on the 28th of July 1982 by setting off a locally manufactured bomb in Maspotha, Kurunegala.
The two found guilty are now 63 and 77 years of age and residents of Colpetty and Kelaniya respectively.
(Sources: newsradio.lk, 27/10/2017)
For further information :

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