Pakistan Must Not Extend Term of Military Courts, and ensure Right to Fair Trial is respected(ADPAN)

ADPAN

ADPAN – Media Statement   24/1/2019

Pakistan Must Not Extend Term of Military Courts, and ensure Right to Fair Trial is respected

The Anti – Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) expresses grave concern at the news that the Government of Pakistan is contemplating extending the term of military courts for a further period of two years which is ended on January 7, this year.

Military Courts were established through a constitutional amendment in January 2015 initially for a two year period but this tenure was further extended for another two years in 2017. Since the introduction, military courts have so far disposed of 546 cases and have awarded death sentences to 310 convicts while 234 have been handed various terms of rigorous imprisonment.

For ADPAN, one of the most troubling aspects of the military courts is its high conviction rate, with the secrecy and the questionable procedures adopted by the military courts to ensure “speedy Justice”. Quite a number of convictions by the military courts are based on confessions which it-self is an indication as to how due process and international fair trial standards have been compromised by these military courts. The recent judgment of the Peshawar High Court, setting aside the sentence of 74 alleged terrorists convicted by military courts is a glaring example of the compromised process and injustice being meted out by these military courts.

Pakistan resort to military courts has time and again proved that how this is catastrophic for human rights and rule of law in Pakistan. Trials in military courts are held in secret without the right or access to lawyer of one’s choice, Judgments are without exact charges and lacks reasoning. Even the National Commission for Human Rights was not been given access to observe trials at military courts.

ADPAN, urges the Government of Pakistan to adhere to its obligations imposed by Article 10-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (both of which call for independent and impartial tribunal) by reforming its criminal justice system and avoid using anti-human rights ad-hoc arrangements like these military courts.

Further, ADPAN calls upon the Government of Pakistan to send all the decided cases of the military courts to the ordinary courts of appeal for review.

ADPAN calls for the abolition of the military courts, and that all persons be accorded the right to a fair trial in the ordinary criminal courts.

ADPAN calls for the abolition of the death penalty, and urge Pakistan to re-introduce a moratorium on executions pending abolition of the death penalty.

 

ADPAN Executive Committee

24 January 2019

 

 

The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) is a regional network of organization and individual members committed to working for the abolition of the death penalty in Asia-Pacific. [Website: https://adpan.org/ ; Email: contactadpan@gmail.com ]

 

 

ADPAN – On the World Day Against the Death Penalty October 10, 2018

Press Statement
On the World Day Against the Death Penalty
October 10, 2018

On 10 October each year, the international community reflects on the death penalty and its futility.

This year, we also reflect on the terrible and cruel physical conditions most death penalty prisoners are forced to suffer. All prisoners on death row share the same psychological torment, as they await an unnecessary and brutal death at a pre-arranged hour, whether soon or an unknown number of days or years away.

On this World Day Against the Death Penalty, Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN, a network of organizations and individuals aiming for the abolition of the Death Penalty) reaffirms its strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances and for all cases. ADPAN considers the death penalty incompatible with human dignity.  The international research shows that the death penalty does not have any proven deterrent effect.  Whether used against prisoners who are powerless and poor, minorities who are marginalized, or political enemies, the death penalty brutalizes and diminishes each society which employs it.

On this day of the year, we call on the retentionist States who still regularly execute, to immediately put in place a moratorium, and to abandon this futile and cruel relic of history.

All too often, conditions for prisoners facing execution are cruel and harsh. Conditions vary around the world, but in some places, cruelties range from torture to overcrowding in filthy conditions to denial of basic rights such as regular access to lawyers or family, to being detained without hope for long periods, all too often in cramped, excessively hot or cold and inhuman conditions.

Systemic problems vary around the world, but these terrible prison conditions are too often accompanied by trials which have been unfair, in justice systems in urgent need of reform.

In Asia, there has been mixed development in the abolition movement in the last 12 months. On the one hand, we have seen the amendments to the Dangerous Drugs Act in Malaysia, which the government then described as a “baby step” towards abolition. In this amendment, the presiding judge is given some discretion to impose imprisonment rather than death on a convicted drug trafficking offender if certain conditions are proven. Nevertheless, whether this amendment will save lives is yet to be seen. Indonesia is also undergoing a review of its Criminal Code where, if passed, the death penalty will no longer be a primary sentence. Korea is affirming its commitment to abolition, while Cambodia has resisted a call to reintroduce the death penalty.

On the other hand, there was also a steep increase in executions in this region. Earlier this year, Japan executed 13 people within a short span of time; Thailand executed 1 person after 9 years of moratorium; Taiwan executed 1 person without much warning; we have information that Singapore recently executed 3 people; not to mention the many executions in China and Vietnam which are so often done in secret. The Philippines is threatening to bring back the death penalty, only a delayed Senate vote is holding back the floodgates; so too, Mongolia is debating reverting back to executions.

In Pakistan, executions through special and military courts and trials have been carried out, in the face of criticism of the courts’ failures to adhere to their guarantees of fair trial and due process. In India, despite extraordinary delays and other systemic problems within the justice system, there has been a rush to calling for more and more executions, in the face of child and other rape cases. In Bangladesh, there has been an increase on death penalty conviction in recent years, totally as at September 2018, 1680 people on death row.

What these occasional executions and clamor for executions all too often show is that the death penalty is used as a tool for some other undisclosed political purpose.

However, we also note that there has been an increase in discourse and dialogue on this issue within society and among policymakers, which we view as most desirable and healthy. We, in ADPAN, place much emphasis on continued education and dialogue in an open and transparent environment. We are firmly of the view that wherever there is honest, courageous and careful study of a justice system, its flaws, its strengths, its purposes; in combination with a study of trials, acknowledging the reality everywhere of the inevitability in every system of some wrongful convictions; with honest assessments of state brutality when it occurs, together with the study of prison conditions, and other relevant matters, then the futility and unnecessary cruelty of state-sanctioned executions will become apparent.  So many countries of the world have already done this – rich and poor, of all political and religious persuasions. It is time for the remaining executing countries to do the same.

ADPAN envisions a world without the death penalty, and we start from Asia.  Asia covers a vast geographical area, diverse and rich in ethnicity and culture, with different forms of government. We understand the challenges, yet we believe that with the hard work of all stakeholders and the commitment towards humanity, this is not an impossible goal. History and the changes of the last 70 years show us that such goals are not merely dreams but can become practical realities.

Last but not least, on this 10th October, as every corner of the world commemorates the World Day Against the Death Penalty, ADPAN wish to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to the abolition community and welcome all others to join the family as we call for the abolition of the death penalty, an end to state-sanctioned killings.

Issued by:

ADPAN Executive Committee

10 October 2018

contactadpan@gmail.com

JAPAN : HALT all executions!

ADPAN

ADPAN Press Statement
Dated : 16 July 2018

 

JAPAN : HALT all executions!

 

ADPAN condemns the execution of the 7 members of the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult on 6 July 2018. To our knowledge, this was the highest number of executions conducted by the Japanese Government within a single day.

 
We believe that the death penalty has no place in today’s society. Its existence serves only the purpose of “vengeance” and nothing else. Death Penalty does not adequately address the issue of justice for all the parties. On the other hand, the death penalty is irreversible and we cannot bring back life if one is wrongly convicted and executed.

 
In the Japanese legal system, a condemned prisoner on death row may petition for retrial after conviction. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations had on 29 March 2018, made a request to the Ministry of Justice, urging the government to suspend all executions of death row inmates (whose death sentences are finalized), especially those who have filed a petition for a retrial and those who may be mentally incompetent to be executed. The Japanese government has obviously disregarded this call.

 
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations has been very vocal in campaigning for the
abolition of the death penalty in Japan, citing that death penalty is irreversible and can never be condoned. In a statement dated 19 December 2017, the Federation states that “In Japan, during the 1980s alone, there were four cases where the defendant was convicted and sentenced to death but was later found not guilty during a retrial”; and the “Hakamada case made on March 27, 2014 serves as an important reminder to all of us that the possibility of a wrongful judgment or false accusation is viable and realistic”.

 
In September 2017, ADPAN, together with 14 NGOs and Civil Societies across Asia,
submitted a stakeholder report for Japan’s Universal Periodical Review and we have
recommended immediate moratorium of all executions. We continue to call for the
moratorium and the abolishment of the death penalty.

 
We understand that another 6 executions might be imminent following the executions on 6 July 2018.

 
We call on the government of Japan to halt such executions and impose a moratorium immediately.

Issued by:
Ngeow Chow Ying
Member of Executive Committee

Related Posts:-

Japan – Letter of Protest Regarding the execution of seven inmates on July 6, 2018

Japan – 7 executions in one day?

Japan – ADPAN & 14 CSOs Submission for UPR