Judges, Jury & Executioner – Global Affairs

  • by Thalif Deen (United Nation)
  • Associated Press Service

According to Amnesty International (AI), Covid-19 restrictions that previously delayed adjudication processes have been steadily lifted in many parts of the world, with judges last year ruling at least at least 2,052 death sentences in 56 countries – an increase of almost 40% from 2020. —With large spikes seen in several countries including Bangladesh (at least 181, from at least 113), India ( 144, from 77) and Pakistan (at least 129, from at least 49).

Other countries implementing the death penalty, according to AI, include Egypt, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, Belarus, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), China , North Korea, Vietnam and Yemen.

In military regimes, such as Myanmar, the armed forces play a triple role: judge, jury, and hangman.

Dr. Simon Adams, President of the Center for Victims of Torture, the world’s largest organization that works with victims of torture and advocates for an end to torture worldwide, told IPS that executions recent for four pro-democracy activists by the Myanmar military represents an astonishing return to the “politics of the hangman’s noose”.

Arbitrary detention and torture have also been carried out on an industrial scale, he said.

The military regime has detained more than 14,000 people and sentenced over 100 to death since the coup (February 2021). While many governments around the world have condemned the recent hangings, more words will be needed to end the atrocities in Myanmar, he pointed out.

Dr Adams, who also helped initiate the case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, where Gambia is trying to hold Myanmar accountable for genocide against the Rohingya.

London-based Amnesty International (AI) said last May that 2021 “sees a disturbing increase in executions and death sentences as some perpetrators the world’s best decision to return to business as usual and the courts unbound by Covid-19 restrictions.”

Iran accounted for the largest share of this increase, executing at least 314 people (up from at least 246 in 2020), the highest total number of executions since 2017.

This is partly due to a marked increase in drug-related executions – a clear violation of international law that prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes other than intentional homicide. , said AI.

Antony J. Blinken, US Secretary of State, last week said the United States condemns in the strongest terms the Burmese military regime’s execution of pro-democracy activists and elected leaders Ko Jimmy, Phyo Zeya Thaw, Hla Myo Aung and Aung Thura Zaw for exercising their basic freedoms.

“These reprehensible acts of violence further demonstrate the regime’s utter disregard for human rights and the rule of law. ‘

He pointed out that since the February 2021 coup, the regime has committed violence against its own people, killing more than 2,100 people, displacing more than 700,000, and detaining thousands of innocent people, including members of civil society and journalists.

The regime’s sham trials and executions are blatant attempts to stamp out democracy; These actions will never quench the brave spirit of the people of Burma,” he added.

“The United States joins the Burmese people in their pursuit of freedom and democracy and calls on the regime to respect the democratic aspirations of those who have shown they do not want to live another day under a dictatorial military regime. ,” Blinken declared.

Condemning the military execution of four pro-democracy activists in Myanmar, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said last week: “I am very disappointed that despite calls from around the world world, the military carried out these executions without regard to human rights. This ruthless and regressive step is an extension of the military’s ongoing campaign of repression against its own people.” “These executions – the first in Myanmar in decades – are a barbaric violation of a person’s rights to life, liberty and security as well as the guarantee of a fair trial. She warned that allowing the military to expand its killing would only get them into the crisis they had created themselves. The High Commissioner also called for the immediate release of all political prisoners and others arbitrarily detained, and called on the country to restore the de facto ban on the use of the death penalty. figure, as a step towards eventual abolition.

Meanwhile, in a statement released on August 2, Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office in Geneva said: “We regret that two men were hanged today in Singapore and extremely worried about the plan to execute two other people on August 5. Two people, a Malaysian and a Singaporean, were hanged at Changi prison this morning after they were convicted in May 2015 of drug trafficking charges and their appeal was later dismissed.

Two other men, Abdul Rahim bin Shapiee and his accomplice Ong Seow Ping, are now expected to be executed on Friday after Bin Shapiee’s family was informed of his fate on Friday. July 29.

Both were convicted in 2018 of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking and their convictions were upheld on appeal. In the past, accomplices were almost always executed on the same day. “We urge the Singapore authorities to stop all scheduled executions, including those of Abdul Rahim bin Shapiee and Ong Seow Ping. We also call on the Government of Singapore to end the use of mandatory death sentences for drug offenders, convert all death sentences into a prison sentence, and immediately introduce a ban on drug offenders. all executions, aimed at abolishing the death penalty,” the statement said. “The death penalty is inconsistent with the right to life and the right not to be subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and there is growing consensus on its abolition. More than 170 countries have so far abolished or introduced a ban on the application of the death penalty in law or in practice,” she noted. Agnes Callamard, Secretary General of AI, said that “China, North Korea and Vietnam continue to hide the use of the death penalty behind layers of secrecy, but as always, what we see is little of the cause. cause great alarm”. ? The number of women executed also increased from nine to 14, while Iranian authorities continued to abhor the rights of children by executing three people under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, contrary to their obligations under the law. International law.

According to AI

As well as an increase in executions in Saudi Arabia (65, from 27 in 2020), a significant increase in 2020 has been seen in Somalia (at least 21, from at least 11) South Sudan (at least 9, from at least 2) and Yemen (at least 14, from at least 5). Belarus (at least 1), Japan (3) and the UAE (at least 1) have also carried out executions, but not yet in 2020.

A significant increase in death sentences compared to 2020 was recorded in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (at least 81, from at least 20), Egypt (at least 356, from at least 264), Iraq (at least 91, from at least 27). ), Myanmar (at least 86, word at least 1), Vietnam (at least 119 words at least 54), and Yemen (at least 298, word at least 269), the AI ​​said.

In some countries by 2021, the AI ​​says, the death penalty has been deployed as a tool of state repression against minorities and protesters, in which governments have shown complete disdain. protections and restrictions on the death penalty established in accordance with international human rights law and standards.

Report of the United Nations Office IPS

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© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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