PNG UPR coming up on 6/5/2016 – Abolish Death Penalty

* UPR Review of Papua New Guinea will be on 6/5/2016

The death penalty has not been used in PNG for more than 50 years, but in 2014 to deter crime, the capital punishment  was reintroduced, and laws have been amended to include more death penalty offences. Death penalty offences include treason, piracy, wilful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence and sorcery-related killings.  Three forms of executions are hanging, lethal injection and firing squad.

Whether anyone has been executed is unclear, though there are people on the death row.

 

PNG’s death penalty policy ‘under review’ after fallout from Indonesia executions, Peter O’Neill says

Posted 11 May 2015, 2:11pm

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill says the death penalty is “under review” after recent global outcry over the execution of foreign drug convicts in neighbouring Indonesia.

PNG revived capital punishment two years ago to reduce rampant crime, prompted in part by the live burning of a 20-year-old woman for sorcery.

The country’s National Executive Council approved three modes of execution – hanging, lethal injection and firing squad – but none of the 12 convicts on death row have been killed, due to a lack of infrastructure.

“As I have indicated publicly, that (the death penalty) is under review,” Mr O’Neill told reporters in comments published by the Post-Courier newspaper, after being asked whether PNG would think again following the Indonesian fallout.

“Our agencies of government are reviewing all aspects of the death penalty in our country and we will debate this issue on the floor of parliament when parliament resumes.”

The prime minister’s comments came ahead of a two-day visit by Indonesian president Joko Widodo, under whose leadership 14 drug convicts have been executed, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Catholic church welcomes suggestion of review

Catholic archbishop John Ribat, a vocal opponent to the death penalty in PNG, told Pacific Beat he supported suggestions of a review and said it would “promote respect for life”.

Mr Ribat said he respected Mr Widodo’s right to enforce the death penalty in Indonesia but did not agree with the punishment being used in PNG.

“That is the view of his nation, but here we are Christians, and we believe God’s law must prevail,” he said.

“No-one has any right to take the life of any other people.”

Australia’s SmartTraveller website advises those visiting Papua New Guinea to “exercise a high degree of caution… because of the high levels of serious crime”.

In February, attorney-general and Department of Justice secretary Dr Lawrence Kalinoe said the government wanted to make the country a safer place by re-introducing capital punishment.

But Mr Ribat said the crimes punishable by death – treason, piracy, wilful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence and sorcery-related killings – would be better dealt with long prison terms.

He said the government was “avoiding responsibility” with the death penalty by not rehabilitating serious offenders.

“We believe that a better way of dealing with people who have broken laws is actually to commit them to a life sentence, and that is a way of rehabilitating people and helping them to become good people,” he said. – ABC

ABC/wires

PNG government defends death penalty as new guidelines approved

Posted 18 Feb 2015, 6:16pm

The Papua New Guinea government has defended its decision to reinstate the death penalty as the country prepares to execute 13 prisoners before the end of the year.

Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, secretary for the Department of Justice and attorney-general, said people had had enough of serious crime and perpetrators should die for their crimes.

“In this country we have very strong support for the implementation of the death penalty,” Mr Kalinoe told the ABC’s Radio Australia.

“For example, one of the (radio) talkback shows I went to, 33 people called. Of the 33, three opposed the death penalty, 30 of them fully supported the government’s role, to actually offer to be the executioner.

“That’s how serious the citizens of this country are, serious in trying to make this place, a just safe and secure society.”

Mr Kalinoe’s comments came after the government approved new guidelines for the implementation of death penalty.

The death penalty has not been used in PNG for more than 50 years, but was re-enacted last year when the law was amended to include more offences.

The National Executive Council then approved three modes of execution – lethal injection, firing squad and hanging.

Since then, 13 people have been waiting on death row, but lack of infrastructure has meant there has been no method to enact the capital punishment.

Recent reports suggest both Indonesia and Thailand have stepped in with offers of financial assistance and expertise.

Mr Kalinoe said the government wanted to make the country safer in re-enacting the death penalty.

“Papua New Guinea, in particular Port Moresby, is regarded as one of the most dangerous cities of the world,” he said.

“That’s a label that us Papua New Guineans live with, sometimes we’re very embarrassed … what a beautiful country but our reputation, fairly or unfairly, has gotten ahead of us, making this place a very unsafe sort of a place to live in.

“One of [the government’s aims] was to strengthen police, strengthen the law and justice sector and implement whatever laws we need to implement.”

Last week the Archbishop of the PNG Catholic Church, John Ribat, spoke out against the death penalty and called for more community discussion on the matter.

The crimes in PNG that could attract the death penalty for those convicted included: treason, piracy, wilful murder, aggravated rape, robbery involving violence, and sorcery-related killings. – ABC 18/2/2015

Related Story: Amnesty slams PNG for inaction over sorcery case
Related Story: UN calls for PNG to rethink death penalty
Related Story: ‘Be prepared’ for the death penalty says PNG government

India :- Law Commission recomendations not heeded?

India do have the death penalty in its laws –  ‘but President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected a number of mercy pleas in recent years, ending a de facto eight-year moratorium.’ In September 2015, The Law Commission recommended for the abolition of death penalty save for terror offences. On 4/2/2016, another 11 have been sentenced to death.

 

End death penalty, keep it only for terror: Law panel tells government

In its 272-page draft report, the commission favoured speedy abolition of the death penalty from the statute books, except in cases where the accused is convicted of involvement in a terror case or waging war against the nation.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 1, 2015 3:58 am

death penalty, law commission, capital punishment, death penalty in terror case, law commission of india, supreme court India is one of 59 countries where the death penalty is still awarded by courts.Over 53 years after it favoured retention of the death penalty in statute books, the Law Commission of India recommended Monday that the death penalty be abolished for all crimes other than terrorism-related offences and waging war against the country. This was first reported by The Indian Express last Friday.

Full text of Law Commission report

In its report, submitted to the government by commission chairman and former Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah, the 10-member panel concluded that while death penalty does not serve the penological goal of deterrence any more than life imprisonment, concern is often raised that abolition of capital punishment for terror-related offences and waging war will affect national security.

 

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However, three members of the commission including two representing the Ministry of Law and Justice — Law Secretary P K Malhotra and Legislative Secretary Sanjay Singh — submitted dissent notes against the recommendation to abolish death penalty. The third dissent note was given by Law Commission member and former Delhi High Court judge Usha Mehra who referred to the rights of “innocent victims”.

 Time not ripe yet to abolish death penalty, says Home Ministry

Questioning the “rarest of rare” doctraine, the panel said that administration of death penalty, even within the “restrictive environment of rarest of rare doctraine”, was constitutionally unsustainable.“After many lengthy and detailed deliberations, it is the view of the Law Commission that the administration of death penalty, even within the restrictive environment of ‘rarest of rare’ doctrine, is constitutionally unsustainable. Continued administration of death penalty asks very difficult constitutional questions… these questions relate to the miscarriage of justice, errors, as well as the plight of the poor and disenfranchised in the criminal justice system,” the report stated.

Pointing out that in the last decade, the Supreme Court had on “numerous occasions expressed concern about arbitrary sentencing” in death penalty cases, the panel said, “There exists no principled method to remove such arbitrariness from capital sentencing. A rigid, standardisation or categorisation of offences which does not take into account the difference between cases is arbitrary in that it treats different cases on the same footing. Anything less categorical, like the Bachan Singh framework itself, has demonstrably and admittedly failed.”

The commission also questioned the mercy petition system, provided for under the Constitution, saying, “The exercise of mercy powers under Articles 72 and 161 have failed in acting as the final safeguard against miscarriage of justice in the imposition of the death sentence.”

The report stated that from January 26, 1950 till date, successive Presidents have accepted 306 mercy petitions and rejected 131.

Referring to victims of crimes, the panel said in focusing on death penalty “as the ultimate measure of justice to victims”, the restorative and rehabilitative aspects of justice are lost sight of.

It said reliance on the death penalty diverts attention from other problems ailing the criminal justice system such as poor investigation, crime prevention and rights of victims of crime. It is essential that the state establish effective compensation schemes to rehabilitate victims of crime.

At the same time, it is also essential, the panel said, that courts use the power granted to them under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 to grant appropriate compensation to victims in suitable cases.

“The voices of victims and witnesses are often silenced by threats and other coercive techniques employed by powerful accused persons. Hence, it is essential that a witness protection scheme also be established. The need for police reforms for better and more effective investigation and prosecution has also been universally felt for some time now and measures regarding the same need to be taken on a priority basis,” the report stated.

 

– See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/law-commission-recommends-abolition-of-death-penalty/#sthash.fvTov6Oz.dpuf

India court sentences 11 to death for land-grab murder

KOLKATA (AFP) – An Indian court sentenced 11 political activists to death Thursday (Feb 4) for murdering a housewife in an attempt to illegally procure disputed land from a village in the eastern part of the country.

The court in West Bengal state found the group guilty of shooting dead Aparna Bag when she tried to stop armed men from grabbing land she claimed to own in November 2014.

The activists from the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress party tried to forcefully seize the land, in Nadia district about 150km from Kolkata, saying it belonged to the government.

“A district sessions court… convicted all the 11 accused for murdering 38-year-old housewife Aparna Bag before handing down the death sentences,” public prosecutor Tamal Mukherjee told AFP.

“The court awarded the death sentence to all the 11 accused in the case and they should be hanged till death,” Mukherjee said.

Three other villagers who were shot in the incident survived.

Executions are rarely carried out in India, but President Pranab Mukherjee has rejected a number of mercy pleas in recent years, ending a de facto eight-year moratorium.

In the most recent case, India executed Yakub Memon in July for his role in a series of co-ordinated attacks that killed hundreds of people in Mumbai in 1993.

The country’s top court has said that capital punishment should only be carried out in “the rarest of rare” cases in India, among a dwindling group of nations that still have the death penalty on their statute books. – The Straits Times

Bangladesh – Executions for ‘war crimes’ continues?

With Jamaat Marginalised, Bangladesh’s Political Dynamics Headed For Change – Analysis

Location of Bangladesh. Source: CIA World Factbook.
 

By Rupak Bhattacharjee*

Ever since the Awami League (AL) government of Sheikh Hasina restarted the war crimes trial in Bangladesh as part of its electoral pledges after it assumed power in 2009, most of the top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami have been convicted, threatening the very survival of the country’s largest Islamist party. In a significant development on January 6, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty given to Jamaat chief Matiur Rahman Nizami by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT)-1 in 2014 for committing heinous crimes, including genocide, rape and orchestrating the killing of leading intellectuals during Bangladesh’s war of independence against Pakistan.

The apex court’s Appellate Division dismissed the 73 year-old fundamentalist leader’s appeal against the ICT-1 judgment. Nizami was sentenced to death by the tribunal on October 29, 2014 for his direct involvement in the killings of 450 people and rapes of at least 30 women in four villages of his native Pabna district during the 1971 war. The ICT-1 noted in its verdict that death would be “the only fitting punishment” for the horrendous crimes he had committed.

The misdeeds of notorious war criminal Nizami are known across Bangladesh and the confirmation of his death penalty triggered jubilation among the people. Attorney General Mahbubey Alam expressed satisfaction with the verdict, while the Jamaat reacted strongly to the judgment calling a nationwide strike the next day. The Jamaat, a key ally of major opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has slammed the war crimes tribunal as a politically-designed campaign to destroy the party leadership through farce trials. The Jamaat violently resisted the Bengali’s struggle for independence and dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971 but the party denies committing atrocities.

It may be added that Nizami is already on the death row for his dubious role as industries minister in the 2004 Chittagong arms haul case. On January 30, 2014, Chittagong’s Metropolitan Special Tribunal-1 awarded death penalty to 14 people, including Nizami for trying to facilitate smuggling in arms across the border. On April 2, 2004, the Bangladesh security forces seized huge arms and ammunition from two vessels at the jetty of Chittagong Urea Fertilizer Ltd. under the Ministry of Industries headed by Nizami. The seizure generated furore in Bangladesh and neighbouring India when it was discovered that the weapons were meant for the separatist United Liberation Front of Asom active in North Eastern state of Assam.

After Ghulam Azam, Jamaat’s prime ideologue in erstwhile East Pakistan, Nizami was one of the most important leaders of the anti-liberation forces that had unleashed a reign of terror throughout the country to prevent Pakistan’s break up. According to the prosecution, Nizami as the supreme commander of the ruthless pro-Pakistani militia- Al-Badr – had been engaged in the planning and execution of the murders of hundreds of freedom fighters, including students, teachers, journalists, cultural activists and other professionals during the nine month-long Liberation War in 1971.

The tribunal held Al-Badr responsible for abduction, torture and killing of about 200 intellectuals who had supported the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. Many of martyred intellectuals constituted the bedrock of Bengali nationalism which emphasised secular values and ideas over rigid interpretation of Islam. The Pakistani collaborators launched the extermination campaigns at the fag end of the war in their attempts to make the new Bengali nation brainless. The irreparable loss of the leading intellectuals in 1971 still torments the Bangladeshis.
In 1971, Nizami was the president of the Islami Chhatro Shongho, the then student wing of Jamaat that mainly provided cadres to the armed groups opposed to the liberation of Bangladesh. The tribunal verdict mentioned that Nizami had also played pivotal roles in forming and running anti-liberation forces like Razakar Bahini and Peace Committee—both trained and armed by the Pakistan Army to suppress the Bengali rebellion.

Many top Jamaat leaders are subject to public derision for their treacherous acts in Bangladesh’s struggle for independence. The trial of the collaborators and war criminals has always been a popular demand in the country. So far, more than 10 leaders of the Jamaat have either been convicted or lodged in jail facing trial. Among them, three leaders— assistant secretary general Abdul Quader Mollah, Central Executive Council (CEC) member Qamaruzzaman and secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojahid were executed.

Mollah was the first war crimes convict to be executed on December 12, 2013 and thereafter Qamaruzzaman was hanged on April 11, 2015. Mojahid, a close political associate of Nizami, was executed along with former BNP minister Salauddin Quader Choudhury on November 22, 2015. Former Jamaat chief Ghulam Azam, was given life term considering his old age and ill health, subsequently died in prison on October 23, 2014. Earlier on February 9 in the same year, senior Jamaat leader AKM Yusuf, the alleged founder of the Razakar and architect of the infamous Dakra massacre, died in the prison before the conclusion of his trial.

Another CEC member of Jamaat and a prominent business tycoon of Bangladesh, Mir Quasem Ali appealed in the Supreme Court challenging the death sentence awarded to him by the ICT-2 on November 2, 2014. The court set February 2 as the date for ruling on this influential fundamentalist leader. Nizami’s was the sixth appeal in the war crimes cases to witness final verdict. Except in the case of Sayedee, whose death penalty was commuted to life sentence, the apex court rejected all other previous review petitions of the war crimes convicts paving way for their execution.

The government could hang Nizami within months unless the apex court reviews its own ruling, or he gets presidential pardon which is unlikely. Bangladesh’s Law Minster Anisul Huq assured of quick disposal of Nizami’s review petition—the only legal barrier for sending him to the gallows. Nizami fled Bangladesh immediately after Pakistan’s ignominious defeat in the 1971 war and returned to the country only after Ziaur Rahman’s military junta decided to rehabilitate the anti-liberation groups in the polity to consolidate his position.

Nizami is a major beneficiary of the prolonged military rule and had a smooth political career after his return to Bangladesh. He was made Jamaat’s assistant secretary general in 1983 and then elevated to secretary general in 1988. He was elected to the Parliament twice—1991 and 2001. Nizami succeeded Azam as the party chief in 2000. He also served as the agriculture minister from 2001 to 2003 and then as the industries minister until 2006 in the BNP-Jamaat coalition government headed by Khaleda Zia.

However, making noted war criminal-turned politician like Nizami a cabinet minister and his movement across the country in government cars sporting the national flag of Bangladesh, whose emergence as an independent Bengali nation he had opposed vehemently more than four decades back, infuriated the people further. The ICT-1 observed in its verdict that Nizami’s appointment as minister was “disgraceful for the nation as a whole”.

The country’s highest court delivered the verdict against the backdrop of growing Islamist violence and religious intolerance in Bangladesh in the last few months. The court ruling on Nizami and the recent executions of Salauddin and Mojahid are likely to aggravate the hostility between the secular-nationalist groups and the religious fanatics and sharpen the ideological cleavage in otherwise a homogenous nation. The international community expressed concern over the trial process which has resulted in further polarisation of the Bangladeshi society and resurgence of religious extremism.

The AL government insists that the trial of war criminals is a historic necessity to bring justice to the three million martyrs and two lakh (200,000) women who sacrificed their chastity for the liberation of the Bangladesh. The Hasina government’s firm resolve to continue the war crimes trial even in the face of international criticism could change the political dynamics of Bangladesh in the coming days.

The Jamaat, which has already been deregistered as political party by the Election Commission, will be more marginalised in the polity once the court rulings are implemented. In such a likely scenario, the party leadership may vent its frustration by patronising the jihadi elements that are determined to annihilate all the liberal and rationalist thinkers of Bangladesh. It remains to be seen how Prime Minister Hasina steers the country out of trouble in 2016.

*Dr. Rupak Bhattacharjee is an independent political analyst with a specific focus on Bangladesh. He can be reached at: editor@spsindia.in

HR Groups to stop executions and abolish Death Penalty

Coalition of human right groups ask Indonesian government to end unjust use of the death penalty

By Coel Healy January 20, 2016 / 19:19 WIB

The Indonesian government’s decision to execute eight individuals for drug-related crimes last April led to condemnation of our country from governments and human rights advocates from around the world. Despite insisting at the time that the executions were essential to fighting a growing “drug crisis” in the country, government officials later said they would be focusing on improving the country’s economy before moving forward with more executions.

Recently, however, government officials have backtracked once again, indicating that they would continue to carry out executions this year.

In an open letter released on Monday and addressed to Minister for Politics, Law and Security Affairs Lahut Panjaitan, numerous human rights and justice advocacy groups – including Amnesty International, the Community Legal Aid Institute (LBH) and KontraS (the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence) – criticise the government’s decision to backtrack once again on their death penalty policy. They refer specifically to Attorney General M Prasetyo’s statements in December that executions will resume in 2016.

The letter asks that the government put an end to executions, arguing that there are “systemic flaws in the administration of justice in Indonesia” and “violations of fair trial” that amount to government-endorsed human rights violations.

Many such violations of justice are noted in the letter, include not providing proper legal assistance to death row prisoners and the improper application of the death penalty to individuals who may have mental illnesses or be underage. It also notes that drug offenses do not rise to the threshold of serious crimes deserving of the death penalty as defined by the 1976 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in which Indonesia is a signatory.

The letter’s cosigners argue that only remedy to these injustices would be for Indonesia to place a moratorium on further executions and to establish an independent body to monitor the human rights of prisoners and ensure they receive a fair trial.

You can read the full text of the open letter below or on the website of the LBH Masyarakarat (Community Legal Aid Institute):
Mr. Luhut Panjaitan,
Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law and Security Affairs
Coordinating Ministry for Politics, Law and Security Affairs
Jl. Merdeka Barat No. 15,
Jakarta Pusat 10110
Indonesia

18 January 2016
Dear Minister,

Indonesia’s authorities must end executions and abolish the death penalty

We are writing to you on the issue of the application of the death penalty in Indonesia. It has been a year since your administration resumed executions in Indonesia on 18 January 2015, after a four year hiatus, despite strong protests from human rights organizations and the international community.

Our organizations are concerned despite your public announcement in November 2015 that Indonesia government would suspend any executions in near future the Attorney General has recently announced that further executions will be carried out in 2016. As there continues to be serious concerns about violations of fair trial and other human rights in the use of the death penalty in Indonesia we ask for your immediate intervention to address these issues. In particular, we urge you to ensure all death sentences are reviewed by an independent and impartial body, with a view to their commutation.

Research findings by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM)[3] and additional independent research carried out by Amnesty International, ICJR (Institute for Criminal Justice Reform), and other human rights organizations, point to systemic flaws in the administration of justice in Indonesia and violation of fair trial and other international safeguards that must be strictly observed in all death penalty cases:

Defendants in the cases under analysis did not have access to legal counsel from the time of arrest and at different stages of their trial and appeals; they were subjected to ill-treatment while in police custody to make them “confess” to their alleged crimes or sign police investigation reports.

Prisoners were brought before a judge for the first time when their trials began, months after their arrest.

In several cases involving foreign nationals, particularly those convicted of drug-related offences, the authorities failed to correctly identify or verify the identity of the prisoner and notify relevant country representations of the arrest. The authorities also failed to provide translation and interpretation to those prisoners who could not understand Bahasa, whether they were foreigners or Indonesian nationals.

The death penalty continued to be used extensively for drug-related offences, even though these offences do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes”, the only category of crimes for which the death penalty can be imposed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Indonesia is a state party, pending its abolition.

In addition, despite the clear prohibition under international law concerning the use of the death penalty against persons who were below 18 years of age or have a mental or intellectual disability, credible claims put forward by prisoners in relation to their age and mental illness were not adequately investigated by the authorities and have resulted in the unlawful imposition of the death penalty and, in at least one case, execution. While Indonesian law requires that all births be registered, in practice many people do not undergo this process, making the determination of one’s age particularly challenging. This, coupled with a lack of legal assistance, increases the risk that persons who were below 18 when the crime was committed are exposed to the death penalty. Additionally, defendants and prisoners are not regularly and independently assessed, which can result in mental disabilities remaining undiagnosed and prisoners not being afforded the care and treatment they might need.

Research findings also show that in some cases prisoners did not receive legal assistance when appealing against their conviction or sentence, or did not even submit an appeal application because they were not informed by their lawyers of their right to do so. Furthermore, the execution of some death row prisoners went ahead even though the Indonesian courts had accepted to hear their appeals. The announcement by President Joko Widodo in December 2014 and February 2015 that he would not grant clemency to any individuals convicted of and sentenced to death for drug-related crimes and information relating to some clemency rejections cast doubts on the meaningful exercise of the President’s constitutional power to grant clemency and the country’s compliance with the ICCPR.

As of today, 140 countries are abolitionist in law or practice. Three more countries – Fiji, Madagascar and Suriname- became abolitionist for all crimes in 2015 alone and the Parliament of Mongolia adopted a new Criminal Code at the end of last year, removing the death penalty as possible form of punishment under the laws of the country. The resumption of executions in Indonesia have not only set the country against its international obligations, but also against the global trend towards abolition of the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.

Our organizations reiterate our calls on the government of Indonesia to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty. Pending full abolition, we urge you to immediately establish an independent and impartial body, or mandate an existing one, to review all cases where people have been sentenced to death, with a view to commuting the death sentences or, in cases where the procedures were seriously flawed, offer a retrial that fully complies with international fair trial standards and which does not resort to the death penalty.

This letter is co-signed by the following organizations:
Amnesty International
Elsam (Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy)
HRWG (Human Rights Working Group)
ICJR (Institute for Criminal Justice Reform)
Imparsial (the Indonesian Human Rights Monitor)
KontraS (the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence)
LBH Masyarakarat (Community Legal Aid Institute)
Migrant Care
PKNI (Indonesian Drug User Network)
YLBHI (Indonesia Legal Aid Foundation)

153 persons executed by Saudi Arabia in 2015

Asia

Saudi executes Filipino, 153rd death sentence in 2015

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia on Tuesday executed a Filipino man convicted of murder, bringing to 153 the number of people put to death this year in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Joselito Lyda San was found guilty of killing Sudanese national Saleh Imam Ibrahim with a hammer following a dispute, the interior ministry said in a statement published by the official SPA news agency.

He was executed in Riyadh on Tuesday, it said.

According to AFP tallies, Saudi has executed 153 locals and foreigners this year, against 87 for all of 2014.

Amnesty International says the number of executions in Saudi Arabia this year is the highest for two decades, since 192 people were put to death in 1995.

The toll has rarely exceeded 90 annually in recent years, it said.

Saudi executions are usually carried out by beheading with a sword.

Rights experts have raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, where the interior ministry says the death penalty is a deterrent to crime.

Amnesty says Saudi Arabia had the world’s third-highest number of executions last year, after China and Iran.

Under the kingdom’s strict Islamic legal code, murder, drug trafficking, armed robbery, rape and apostasy are all punishable by death.

 

– See more at: http://news.asiaone.com/news/asia/saudi-executes-filipino-153rd-death-sentence-2015#sthash.eRFZoSyn.dpuf

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