Bangladesh -Death Penalty for Non-Violent Drug Offences law comes into force

Bangladesh to Begin Hanging People for Non-Violent Drug Offences

Source: Flickr

People in Bangladesh now face execution for a range of non-violent drug offences.

The Narcotics Control Act 2018, which came into effect on 27 December, mandates either the death penalty or life imprisonment for anyone convicted of committing a range of drug offences. Such crimes include trading or producing over 25 grams of heroin or cocaine, and trading or producing over 200 grams of methamphetamine (colloquially known as “yaba”), Dhaka Tribune reports. Trading or producing less than 200 grams of methamphetamine, or less than 25 grams of cocaine or heroin, will now be punished by between two and 10 years imprisonment.

Under the Code of Criminal Procedure 1898, “when any person is sentenced to death, the sentence shall direct that he be hanged by the neck till he is dead”.

According to Harm Reduction International, the last known death sentence for a drug offence in Bangladesh was in 2009. That now looks set to change.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan claims that such strict punishments are necessary to dissuade people from drug use; “This youth society loses their ability to work, service attitude, and creativity, due to drug addiction and they become a burden for the nation in the process”. He added that the implementation of the new law meant that “We’ll surely succeed in controlling drugs”.

The movement towards implementing capital punishment for drug offences in Bangladesh began in 2017, following an apparent rise in methamphetamine use, and increasingly heated political discussions on the subject. As TalkingDrugs reported, the country’s Department of Narcotic Control warned that the country “[needed] to do something drastic without any delay to come out from this evil situation. Otherwise, the whole nation may immediately start suffering so much [that it] will go beyond recovery and repair”.

In the interim period, between officials voicing their desire for the death penalty and the law coming into effect, authorities seemingly began their own illegal and deadly drug war – bearing similarities to the ongoing slaughter under President Duterte in the Philippines. Hundreds of people have been killed by law enforcement in 2018 for alleged involvement with the drug trade. Authorities have claimed that all those killed were shot to death in exchanges of gunfire, but human rights groups and some witnesses claim people are being executed – some for political reasons or personal vendettas entirely unrelated to drugs.

Khan has warned that “this war will continue until we bring [drugs] under complete control”. He denounced those killed as “not good people”, and said there was “no question” that they all sold illegal drugs.

The lack of evidence and oversight in these killings suggests that the state may continue to execute people under the new drug law without sufficient proof of guilt.

Executing people for drug offences is a violation of international law. Article 6.2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights reads: “In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes”. In 2017, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recognised that “’the most serious crimes’ … has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing”.

Including Bangladesh, there are 33 countries – including Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and the US – which retain the death penalty for drug offences. – Talking Drugs, 27/12/2018

Revised narcotics control law gets tough with drug traders

  •  Published at 01:30 am December 21st, 2018
RAB detains suspects during an anti-drug drive in Dhaka’s Geneva Camp on Saturday Mehedi Hasan

File photo: RAB detains suspects during an anti-drug drive in Dhaka’s Geneva Camp Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

 

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said drug traders used to get released from jail taking advantage of loopholes in the previous law. The amended law contains no such loopholes

 

The newly amended law in the Narcotics Control Act 2018 imposes the death penalty or life term imprisonment on drug traders, restricting their release from punishment for such crimes.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said drug traders used to get released from jail taking advantage of loopholes in the previous law. The amended law contains no such loopholes.

He said this at a workshop on the review of different aspects for enforcing the amended Narcotics Control Act 2018, at the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) in Segunbagicha of Dhaka on Thursday, reports UNB.

“We’ve already achieved enough success in preventing militancy and terrorism. We’ll surely succeed in controlling drugs, Inshallah,” the home minister said.

On October 27, the Narcotics Control Bill was passed in Parliament with a provision of either death sentence or life-term imprisonment as punishment for producing, trading, and using 200 grams or more of yaba, or more than 25 grams of heroin and cocaine.

According to the new law, the punishment for transporting, trading, storing, producing, processing, applying, and using 200 grams of yaba, or its principal ingredient amphetamine, is death penalty or life-term imprisonment.

Yaba and amphetamines were included in the list of Category A narcotics in the new law, even though they are not there in the existing Narcotics Control Act of 1990.

The new law will come into effect on December 27.

The home minister said they formulated the new law bringing necessary amendments to the Narcotics Control Act 1990. All departments concerned, including law enforcement agencies and the DNC, can work jointly from December 27 as per the new law.

Describing young people as the country’s assets, he said drugs stand in the way of millions of young educated youths to change the country. “This youth society loses their ability to work, service attitude, and creativity, due to drug addiction and they become a burden for the nation in the process.”

Asaduzzaman said drugs like yaba are poisoning society and families, affecting people from all classes. “The use of yaba has seen a rise at all levels — from poor  day-labourers, students of schools, colleges and universities, to the rich.”

He said godfathers of yaba peddling will be punished under the Money Laundering Act while the DNC can take action under the new law, in case any new drug emerges.

Security Services Division Secretary under the Home Ministry, Farid Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury, and DNC Director General, Md Jamal Uddin Ahmed, also addressed the program. – Dhaka Tribune, 21/12/2018

India – Cabinet approves death penalty for aggravated sexual assault of children

Cabinet okays death penalty for aggravated sexual assault of children

To curb child pornography, the amendment levies heavy fine for not deleting, destroying child pornographic material. Not reporting child pornography will also invite a hefty fine, the minister said.

INDIA Updated: Dec 28, 2018 23:22 IST

Anisha Dutta
Anisha Dutta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ravi Shankar prasad,Cabinet briefing,Modi govt
The Union Cabinet on Friday approved death penalty for aggravated sexual abuse of children as part of amendments to make the law governing crimes against children more stringent(Reuters/Representative Image)

Child sexual assault will be punishable with death sentence under amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, approved by the Union cabinet on Friday at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The amendments seek to make the law gender-neutral and sharpen its deterrent edge.

The death penalty will apply to cases of aggravated penetrative sexual assault on children below 12 years of age. Section 4 of the POCSO Act, which deals with punishment for penetrative sexual assault, now prescribes a sentence that’s not less than seven years in jail and may be extended to life imprisonment as the maximum punishment. The proposed amendments increase minimum imprisonment to 10 years which may extend to imprisonment for life.

Section 6 of the Act has been amended to read: “Whoever commits aggravated penetrative sexual assault shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 20 years but which may extend to imprisonment for life which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life and shall also be liable to fine or with death”.

The death penalty will apply to cases of aggravated sexual assault, which refers to rape and gang rape.

“In the wake of gruesome and heart wrenching incidences, there has been a growing demand from the society to arrest the disturbing trend (of child sexual assault) by introducing stringent punishment including death penalty for the rape cases, “the ministry of women and child development said in a proposal to the cabinet, a copy of which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times.

The cabinet approved amendments in sections 4, 5, 6, 9, 14, 15 and 42 of the POCSO Act. “The modification is made to address the need for stringent measures required to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country,” the cabinet said in a statement.

This is an initiative to strengthen the entire POCSO architecture and also enhance it to ensure that medicines or hormones are not be abused to destroy the childhood of innocents, said Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who briefed reporters on the Cabinet decisions.

The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography and to safeguard their interests and well-being. The Act defined a child as any person below eighteen years of age. Certain sections of the Act, however, were not gender-neutral and applied only to female victims. The amendments seek to correct that.

“Government has always strived to seek justice for all the survivors of child sexual abuse, the most vulnerable section of society. I am extremely grateful to Modi and the cabinet for this momentous step in protecting children against abuse and harassment,” minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi said.

In cases of aggravated sexual assault, under section 5, the government also added a clause to include children sexually exploited in the course of communal or sectarian violence, or during a situation of natural calamity.

“Immediately after the earthquake in 2015, Nepal Government suspended International adoption, banned children from travelling without parents or guardians, and suspended the registration of new orphanages, yet in the following three months 513 children and women at the risk of being trafficked were intercepted. There were also reports of rape of young girls including a Kedarnath deluge survivor, in the media. Therefore, apart from the sectarian violence, natural calamity has been included,” the WCD ministry noted in its proposal.

The cabinet also approved an amendment to address child pornography. It proposed a fine for not destroying/or deleting/ or reporting pornographic material involving a child. The person can be penalized with a jail term or fine or both for transmitting/propagating/administrating such material in any manner except for the purpose of reporting it to the authorities.

Not everyone is convinced that the death sentence will deter sexual crimes against children, and there is concern that it may deter the reporting of such offences .

“To protect children, we need better implementation of existing laws, budgetary provision and strategic moves to create awareness among communities and children on the issues of child protection,” said Priti Mahara, director of policy, research and advocacy, Child Rights and You, a non-government organisation.

“We need robust victim and witness protection system, support system for victim and families during and after the trials. 94.6% of the cases of sexual offence perpetrators are known to the victims, and therefore – because of the familiarity of the child with the offender – the bigger worry is that capital punishment may serve to deter the reporting of cases. It may even lead to destruction of evidence by murdering the victim,” Mahara added. – Hindustan Times, 28/12/2018

Pakistan – CJP suspends mentally-ill prisoner’s execution

Following uproar, CJP suspends mentally-ill prisoner’s execution

By Our Correspondent
Published: January 12, 2019
Top judge has fixed the case hearing on January 14. PHOTO COURTESY: TWITTER/@(SaifullahAwan40)

Top judge has fixed the case hearing on January 14. PHOTO COURTESY: TWITTER/@(SaifullahAwan40)

 

ISLAMABAD: After appeals from human rights advocates to suspend the execution of a mentally-ill prisoner Khizer Hayat, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar deferred the order late Saturday night.

The top judge took notice of the execution orders after media reports that a district and sessions judge scheduled Hayat’s execution on January 15 at the Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail.

The mentally-ill convict was diagnosed as a schizophrenic by medical authorities at the correctional facility.

Justice Nisar not only suspended the order, but has also fixed the case hearing on January 14.

Rights’ organisations and activists were campaigning to have his the mentally-ill prisoner’s execution suspended, as well as, his case be reviewed in court.

Earlier in the day, Iqbal Bano, the convict’s mother, moved the court calling for the suspension of his death sentence on the grounds of mental illness. – The Express Tribune, 15/1/2019 https://tribune.com.pk/story/1887029/1-following-uproar-cjp-suspends-mentally-ill-prisoners-execution/