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Posts tagged ‘Capital punishment’

Forbes’ Chang: Murder of Kim’s Uncle May ‘Rock NKorea’s Core’.


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un‘s execution this week of his uncle Jang Song Thaek is likely to trigger a power struggle that rocks the country’s core, according to Gordon Chang, a Forbes columnist and expert on Asia.

“This is the first time that there’s been a public announcement of an execution of a member of the Kim family circle and so this is something which is certainly unusual,” Chang told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Story continues below video.

“This could be a blood feud because Jang Song Thaek … is rumored to have had an affair with Kim Jong Un’s wife.

“It is also a power struggle because Kim Jong Un wants to consolidate his position and this is going to have reverberations because Jong Song Thaek had friends throughout the regime.”

In announcing the execution of Jang Song-thaek, who was also a high-ranking government official, North Korea’s state news agency KCNA called him “despicable human scum” and “worse than a dog.”

KCNA said North Koreans were outraged at Jang’s betrayal of his nephew.

Chang said those friends and their families are likely to be subject to execution or imprisonment in death camps.

“Which means that they’ve either got to fight or flee. So there’s going to be all sorts of problems that we’re going to see out of North Korea over the next several months and maybe even years,” he said.

Kim’s power could be in jeopardy as his uncle’s friends seek retribution, Change believes.

“There is actually a threat to his rule. We don’t know the dimension of the threat, but clearly there are people here who want revenge,” he said.

“We have to remember that in the first two years of Kim Jung Un’s rule, about 45 percent of senior regime officials have been replaced and purged. Some of them have been executed. That means a lot of people want to get back in and revenge will be the dynamic of North Korean regime politics for quite some time to come.

“There’s going to be a lot of turmoil and uncertainty and this really means that North Korea could actually become quite dangerous not only to its neighbors, but also to the United States.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Four Indian Men Sentenced to Death in Gang-Rape Case.


NEW DELHI — Four men were sentenced to death on Friday for fatally raping a young woman on a bus last December in an attack that triggered angry protests and widespread calls for the execution of her attackers.

Judge Yogesh Khanna, who convicted the men for gang rape and “cold-blooded” murder earlier this week, rejected their lawyers‘ plea for a lighter sentence.

“Everybody got the death penalty,” said one of the defense lawyers, A.P. Singh, outside the courtroom.

The woman, a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist, and a male friend were lured onto a bus by five men and a teenager. The woman was then repeatedly raped and tortured with a metal bar. Her injuries were so severe that she died two weeks later.

One of the five men arrested in connection with the attack committed suicide in prison in March, while the teenager was sentenced to three years in a reformatory last month, the maximum sentence that be given to juveniles under Indian law.

Khanna’s ruling still has to be ratified by the Delhi High Court, and the four men can appeal all the way to the Supreme Court. The appeals process could take years, lawyers said.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Muslim Terrorist US Army Major Nidal Hasan Guilty On All Counts Of Premeditated Murder.


Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist whose shooting rampage at Ft. Hood left 13 people dead, was convicted today by a jury of army officers, opening the door to a possible death sentence.

us-army-major-nidal-hasan-guilty-on-all-13-counts-premeditated-murder

Guilty as charged.

Hasan was found guilty on all counts, including 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

Hasan, 42, a Muslim American who described himself as a “mujahedeen,” or Muslim holy warrior, never denied shooting the unarmed soldiers and bystanders and initially attempted to plead guilty. The military, however, insisted he go to trial in order to be eligible for the death penalty.

Hasan had no visible reaction to the verdict, according to an Associated Press reporter in the courtroom.

The sentencing phase will begin Monday. All 13 jurors must vote for execution, or he will spend the rest of his life in prison. The military spent four years and $5 million to ensure Hasan would be convicted and be eligible for a death sentence.

Executions in the military are rare. All death sentences are subject to automatic appeal, a process that can take decades. There are currently five inmates on the military’s death row, but an active serviceman has not been executed since 1961.

Hasan, who defended himself, made the government’s prosecution of him so easy his own standby attorneys accused of him of cooperating to get himself executed.

Over the course of the three week trial, the government called 89 witnesses, none of whom the major cross-examined. He called none of his own witnesses and immediately rested his case when he had the chance to defend himself.

“It wasn’t done under the heat of sudden passion,” Hasan said before jurors began deliberating. “There was adequate provocation — that these were deploying soldiers that were going to engage in an illegal war.”

Hasan admitted to entering a medical building at the base on Nov. 5, 2009, and opening fire on soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. He yelled “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great” before training a pistol with a laser sight on his victims, 12 of whom were soldiers.

Hasan was shot in the back when police officers responded. As a result, he is paralyzed and wheelchair bound. source – Yahoo News

by NTEB News Desk

Hasan Convicted in Fort Hood Rampage.


Image: Hasan Convicted in Fort Hood RampageThe soldiers memorial reads the date November 5, 2009 at a remembrance service recognizing the 13 victims killed in the Ft. Hood attacks on the one year anniversary in Killeen, Texas.

A military jury on Friday convicted Maj. Nidal Hasan in the deadly 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, returning a unanimous verdict that makes the Army psychiatrist eligible for the death penalty in the shocking assault against American troops at home by one of their own.

There was never any doubt that Hasan was the gunman. He acknowledged to the jury that he was the one who pulled the trigger on fellow soldiers as they prepared to deploy overseas to Iraq and Afghanistan. And he barely defended himself during a three-week trial.

The unanimous decision on all 13 counts of premeditated murder made Hasan eligible for execution in the sentencing phase that begins Monday.

Hasan, who said he acted to protect Muslim insurgents abroad from American aggression, did not react to the verdict, looking straight at jurors as they announced their findings. After the hearing, relatives of the dead and wounded fought back tears. Some smiled and warmly patted each other’s shoulders as they left court.

Because Hasan never denied his actions, the court-martial was always less about a conviction than it was about ensuring he received a death sentence. From the beginning, the federal government has sought to execute Hasan, believing that any sentence short of a lethal injection would deprive the military and the families of the dead of the justice they have sought for nearly four years.

Autumn Manning, whose husband, retired Staff Sgt. Shawn Manning, was shot six times during the attack, wept when the verdict was read. She said she had been concerned that some charges might be reduced to manslaughter, which would have taken a death sentence off the table.

“This is so emotional,” she said in a telephone interview from Lacey, Wash., where she and her husband live. “I’ve just been crying since we heard it because it was a relief … we just wanted to hear the premeditated.”

Hasan, who was also convicted on 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, carried out the attack in a crowded waiting room where unarmed troops were making final preparations to deploy. Thirteen people were killed and more than were 30 wounded.

John Galligan, Hasan’s former lead attorney, said Hasan called him to make sure he heard the verdict, and the pair planned to meet later at Fort Hood. He said Hasan did not indicate whether he would retain an attorney or continue to represent himself during the trial’s sentencing phase.

Galligan said the jury did not hear all the facts because the judge refused to allow evidence that helped explain Hasan’s actions.

“Right or wrong, strong or weak, the facts are the facts,” he said. “The jury we heard from only got half the facts.”

The jury of 13 high-ranking officers took about seven hours to reach the verdict. In the next phase, jurors must all agree to give Hasan the death penalty before he can be sent to the military’s death row, which has just five other prisoners. If they do not agree, the 42-year-old could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Hasan, a Virginia-born Muslim, said the attack was a jihad against U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He bristled when the trial judge, Col. Tara Osborn, suggested the shooting rampage could have been avoided were it not for a spontaneous flash of anger.

“It wasn’t done under the heat of sudden passion,” Hasan said before jurors began deliberating. “There was adequate provocation – that these were deploying soldiers that were going to engage in an illegal war.”

All but one of the dead were soldiers, including a pregnant private who curled on the floor and pleaded for her baby’s life.

The attack ended when Hasan was shot in the back by one of the officers responding to the shooting. He is paralyzed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair.

The sentencing phase is expected to include more testimony from survivors of the attack inside an Army medical center where soldiers were waiting in long lines to receive immunizations and medical clearance for deployment.

Hasan, who acted as his own attorney, began the trial by telling jurors he was the gunman. But he said little else over the next three weeks, which convinced his court-appointed standby lawyers that Hasan’s only goal was to get a death sentence.

As the trial progressed, those suspicions grew. The military called nearly 90 witnesses, but Hasan rested his case without calling a single person to testify in his defense and made no closing argument. Yet he leaked documents during the trial to journalists that revealed him telling military mental health workers that he could “still be a martyr” if executed.

Death sentences are rare in the military and trigger automatic appeals that take decades to play out. Among the final barriers to execution is authorization from the president. No American soldier has been executed since 1961.

Hasan spent weeks planning the Nov. 5, 2009, attack. His preparation included buying the handgun and videotaping a sales clerk showing him how to change the magazine.

He later plunked down $10 at a gun range outside Austin and asked for pointers on how to reload with speed and precision. An instructor said he told Hasan to practice while watching TV or sitting on his couch with the lights off.

When the time came, Hasan stuffed paper towels in the pockets of his cargo pants to muffle the rattling of extra ammo and avoid arousing suspicion. Soldiers testified that Hasan’s rapid reloading made it all but impossible to stop the shooting. Investigators recovered 146 shell casings inside the medical building and dozens more outside, where Hasan shot at the backs of soldiers fleeing toward the parking lot.

In court, Hasan never played the role of an angry extremist. He didn’t get agitated or raise his voice. He addressed Osborn as “ma’am” and occasionally whispered “thank you” when prosecutors, in accordance with the rules of evidence, handed Hasan red pill bottles that rattled with bullet fragments removed from those who were shot.

Prosecutors never charged Hasan as a terrorist – an omission that still galls family members of the slain and survivors, some of whom have sued the U.S. government over missing the warning signs of Hasan’s views before the attack.© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Ariel Castro Plea Deal: Life Without Parole.


Image: Ariel Castro Plea Deal: Life Without Parole

The Cleveland man accused of holding three women captive in his home for about a decade agreed to plead guilty Friday in a deal to avoid the death penalty.

In exchange, Ariel Castro would be sentenced to life without parole plus 1,000 years, prosecutors said.

Castro was in court Friday morning to enter the guilty plea. When asked if he understood he would never be released from prison, Castro said: “I do understand that, your honor.”

He added, “I knew I was pretty much going to get the book thrown at me.”

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The deal comes more than a month after a statement issued on behalf of the women said they were “hopeful for a just and prompt resolution” and had “great faith in the prosecutor’s office and the court.”

Castro, 53, had been scheduled for trial Aug. 5 on a 977-count indictment. The indictment included two counts of aggravated murder related to accusations that he punched and starved one woman until she miscarried. The former school-bus driver also was charged with hundreds of counts of kidnapping and rape, plus assault and other counts.

He was accused of repeatedly restraining the women, sometimes chaining them to a pole in a basement, to a bedroom heater or inside a van. The charges alleged Castro assaulted one woman with a vacuum cord around her neck when she tried to escape.

The sticking point on a plea deal had been whether the prosecutor would rule out the death penalty. The Cuyahoga County prosecutor had kept that issue under review.

The three women disappeared separately between 2002 and 2004, when they were 14, 16 and 20 years old. Each said they had accepted a ride from Castro, who remained friends with the family of one of the women and even attended vigils over the years marking her disappearance.

The women escaped Castro’s house May 6 when one of them kicked out part of a door and called to neighbors for help. Castro was arrested within hours and has remained behind bars.

News that Amanda Berry, Gina Dejesus and Michelle Knight had been found alive electrified the Cleveland area, where two of them were household names after years of searches, publicity and vigils. But elation soon turned to shock as allegations about their treatment began to emerge.

Castro fathered a 6-year-old daughter with Berry, authorities said. They allege that on the day the child was born, Christmas 2006, Castro raped one of the other women, who had helped deliver the baby.

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Berry told authorities that she, her child, and the other women never saw a doctor during their captivity.

Knight said her five pregnancies ended after Castro starved and repeatedly punched her.

The Associated Press does not usually identify people who may be victims of sexual assault, but the names of the three women were widely circulated after they disappeared, and they appeared in an online video thanking the public for its support. They otherwise have sought to stay out of sight and have appealed for privacy.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

African Commission Asks Pres. Jonathan To Rescind Directive On Execution Prisoners On Death Row.


 

By Adetokunbo Mumuni/SERAP

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Banjul, The Gambia has requested President Goodluck Jonathan to rescind his directive to the 36 states of the Federation of Nigeria asking them to begin execution of prisoners on death row across the country.

The Commission’s order was confirmed yesterday to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project by both Honourable Commissioner Zainabo Sylvie Kayitesi and Chairperson of the Working Group on Death Penalty, and the Secretary of the African Commission, Dr Mary Maboreke.

SERAP also confirmed that the order has been sent to President Jonathan through the Ministry of External Affairs.

The Commission is the body charged with overseeing states parties’ compliance with their legal obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party.

The Commission’s order followed a petition filed by SERAP through its Solicitor Mr. Femi Falana, SAN.

Reacting to the African Commission’s decision Falana said that “This is a landmark decision and one which shows the willingness of the Commission to assert its authority in critical situations such as the present one, in order to ensure full protection of the human rights of the African people, and to hold African governments responsible for their legal obligations under the African Charter.”

Mr. Falana also said that “It is absolutely important that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Muhammed Adoke moves swiftly to ensure full and effective compliance with the Provisional Order that has been issued by the Commission.”

“It would be recalled that the Commission in 1993 issued a Provisional Order restraining former military leader General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida from executing General Zamani Lekwot and others sentenced to death under the Civil Disturbances (Special Tribunal) Act no 2 of 1987, which does not provide for any judicial appeal against the decisions of the special tribunals and prohibits the courts from reviewing any aspect of the operation of the tribunal.

General Babangida obeyed the order. It would also be recalled that the Commission in 2009 issued a similar order asking former Libyan leader the late Muammar al-Gaddafi not to execute over 200 Nigerians on death row in that country. al-Gaddafi obeyed the order, and many of the Nigerians were sent back home. Therefore, there is no reason whatsoever why President Jonathan should not obey the Commission’s order in this case,” Falana also stated.

According to Falana, “As a key player in the African Union, Nigeria should now show leadership and good example by taking steps to immediately implement the decision requiring it to reverse the directive on execution of prisoners on death row, and to uphold the resolutions on moratorium on executions adopted by both the African Commission and the UN General Assembly.”

“Nigeria cannot plead its domestic laws to override its good faith obligations under international law. Ultimately, the government must align itself with the global trend towards abolishing the death penalty,” Mr Falana concluded.

Earlier, in its request for provisional measures dated 25 June 2013, SERAP asked the African Commission to “urgently exercise its authority to request Nigeria to immediately withdraw the directive by President Goodluck Jonathan to 36 states of the Federation of Nigeria to execute all death row prisoners, and fully accord the prisoners their fair trial and other human rights.” The request for provisional measures was submitted in conjunction with SERAP’s communication to the African Commission.

According to the organization, “Unless the African Commission urgently intervenes in this case, there is a risk of irreversible denial of several death row prisoners in Nigeria, which in turn will render nugatory the resolutions on moratorium on executions by the African Commission and the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.”

Signed
Adetokunbo Mumuni
SERAP Executive Director
4/7/2013
Lagos Nigeria
www.serap-nigeria.org

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Pandemonium, As Robbers Escape From Delta High Court Following Death Sentence: Judge, Others Scamper For Safety.


 

By SaharaReporters, New York

Pandemonium broke out Monday in an Asaba High Court in Delta State when two notorious armed robbers escaped from the court immediately the trial judge sentenced them to death.

The men had been found guilty of two counts of conspiracy and armed robbery.  It was gathered that it took the strong intervention of two armed prison guards in the court to re-arrest the convicted armed robbers.

Court officials confided in our correspondent that immediately the judge pronounced the death sentence, one of them, identified as Elvis Agbofodo, escaped and was given a hot chase by a gallant prison armed guard into the premises of a church next to the court and shot him in the leg.  The other convict, Frank Okedema, ran in a different direction before he was apprehended by another prison guard with the aid of residents of the area.

Eyewitnesses said that court proceedings were disrupted by the escape attempt and forced the prison guards to embark on sporadic shooting.  The trial judge, court officials, lawyers and other persons in the area ran for their lives to avoid being hit by flying bullets.

It was learnt that other prison officials who showed up in large numbers upon receiving distress calls rushed the wounded armed robber to an undisclosed hospital within the state capital for medical treatment.

Both convicts, it was gathered, hail from Ekpan community of Uvwie Local Government.  They were reported to have robbed residents of Ekpan, including one Mrs Omatseye Mercy, of various valuables and sums of cash in July 2010.  They were said to have been chasing a rival group over a reported N40million royalty paid by an oil company operating in the area.

The men were also accused of raping, illegal stockpiling of weapons, and stealing.

Court officials also told our correspondent of a similar incident in another court in Asaba as two inmates awaiting trial attempted to escape, suggesting that the efforts were premeditated.

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