Tag Archive: Capital punishment

 Al Jazeera

Egyptian court sentences 683 people to death

Amid crackdown on opposition, judge also confirms death sentences for 37 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

Last updated: 28 Apr 2014 13:37
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Minya, Egypt – An Egyptian judge has sentenced 683 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death, including the group’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and confirmed the death sentences of 37 of 529 alleged supporters previously condemned.

Outside the courtroom on Monday, when news of the sentences broke, families of the accused began to scream and several women fainted, falling to the ground.

The case killed the credibility of the Egyptian judicial system.

– Mohamed Elmessiry, Amnesty International researcher

Mohamed Elmessiry, an Amnesty International researcher monitoring the cases, said they “lacked basic fair trial guarantees”.

The defendants from the first case whose death sentences were not upheld were each sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Many of the lawyers for the accused boycotted the hearing, demanding that the judge be recused and calling him a “butcher”.

Lawyer Mohamed Abdel Waheb, who represents 25 of the defendants, said the verdict was handed down in a court session lasting less than five minutes. Previously, he said, the single session in the trial lasted just four hours, during which the judge refused to listen to any arguments from the defence.

Abdel Nasser Hassanien, standing outside the courtroom, said five of his relatives were among those sentenced to die, including his brother, Ahmed Hassenein Abdelatty, 22. “Of the five only one is related to the Muslim Brotherhood, and he didn’t do anything,” he said.


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The Telegraph

Fort Hood shooter ‘trying to get himself executed’, lawyer says

A US Army major who killed 13 of his comrades in a shooting rampage is doing everything he can to ensure he is executed, a court martial heard.

US Army major and self styled 'soldier of Allah' finally faces court martial over Fort Hood massacre

Major Hasan faces 13 charges of premeditated murder and 32 of premeditated attempted murder Photo: AP

Self-styled “soldier of Allah” Major Nidal Hasan, 42, who is representing himself in his trial at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, was said to be “effectively working in concert with the prosecution to achieve the death sentence”.

His own court-appointed standby counsel, whose job is to advise Hasan on legal matters, made a statement to the judge explaining that a capital sentence was the defendant’s “trial goal.”

Lt Col Kris Poppe, speaking on the second day of the case, said that was “repugnant” to him as a defence lawyer, and it was “contrary to his professional obligations” to help Hasan die.

He asked not be required to do so, offering to withdraw if necessary, or to take on full responsibility for the defence which would allow him to fight the death penalty.

On the opening day Hasan had made a brief statement in which he said “I am the shooter,” and that the evidence would show he carried out the massacre of soldiers at Fort Hood on Nov 5, 2009.

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Posted on May 30, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Updated yesterday at 11:18 PM

SEATTLE –  John Henry Browne says the memories came flooding back over time.

“He understands the nature of the proceedings,” Browne says about his client SSgt. Robert Bales. “He broke down considerably. The magnitude of it hit him very forcefully.”
Bales has been facing the death penalty, after the Army charged the Lake Tapps soldier with murdering 16 Afghan villagers during an early morning alcohol and drug fueled rampage in March of 2012. Most of the victims were women and children.  Bales is accused of sneaking away from his post to commit the atrocity.
But Browne said, in his only local television interview, that his client will admit to the killings in a plea deal to take the death penalty off the table. The plea is expected to come at a military hearing on Wednesday, June 5th.
If a judge accepts the deal, Browne says at a subsequent sentencing hearing could argue for the possibility of parole. The attorney says the JBLM soldier was under the influence.
“There were steroids. There was alcohol, and sleep aids,” says Browne. “They were provided to him, at this small base, by special forces.”
Browne also argues Bales had a concussive brain injury, prompted by his fourth deployment.
A German filmmaker says some Afghans do believe the system was a problem.
“They are mad at Bales, and mad on the systems. They know Bales as part of the system came out going crazy,” said the 2470media.com journalist Lela Ahmadzai.

Convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is spared death penalty



Dr. Kermit Gosnell

Dr. Kermit Gosnell is escorted to a police van upon leaving the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia after being convicted. (Yong Kim / Associated Press / May 13, 2013)


PHILADELPHIA — Kermit Gosnell, the abortion doctor convicted of killing three babies who were born alive in his grimy clinic, agreed Tuesday to give up his right to an appeal and now faces life in prison but will be spared a death sentence.

The 72-year-old Philadelphia doctor was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of the babies, who were killed with scissors.

In a case that became a flash point in the nation’s abortion debate, former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by “snipping” their spines, as he referred to it.

Prosecutors agreed to two life sentences without parole, and Gosnell was to be sentenced Wednesday in the death of the third baby, an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of a patient and hundreds of lesser counts.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person, and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell’s advanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.

Gosnell has said he considered himself a pioneering inner-city doctor who helped desperate women get late-term abortions. Defense lawyer Jack McMahon said before the sentencing deal that his client’s bid for acquittal was a battle.

“The media has been overwhelmingly against him,” McMahon said. “But I think the jury listened to the evidence … and they found what they found.”

The gruesome details of Gosnell’s operation came out more than two years ago during a grand jury investigation of prescription drug trafficking. Authorities raiding Gosnell’s clinic for drugs instead found bags and bottles of fetuses, including jars of severed feet, along with bloodstained furniture, dirty medical instruments and cats roaming the premises.



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The BBC visits Lorain Avenue in Cleveland to find out how the missing girls cases impacted a community


Ohio prosecutors have said they plan to seek aggravated murder charges that could carry the death penalty, against the man suspected of imprisoning three women for about a decade.


The charges relate to alleged forced miscarriages suffered by one victim.


Ariel Castro, 52, was arraigned in court earlier for the kidnap and rape of Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23 and Michelle Knight, 32.


Ms Berry escaped on Monday and was able to raise the alarm.


Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said the murder charges were based on evidence from one of the women held captive in Mr Castro’s house that he had impregnated her, then physically abused and starved her in order to induce miscarriages.

‘Private prison’

“I fully intend to seek charges for each and every act of sexual violence, rape, each day of kidnapping, every felonious assault, all his attempted murders, and each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies that the offender perpetuated against the hostages during this decade-long ordeal,” Mr McGinty told a news conference.


Tim McGinty, prosecutor: “These women desperately need a chance to heal before we seek further evidence”


“My office will also engage in a formal process in which we evaluate to seek charges eligible for the death penalty.


“This child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of our city,” he added.


Earlier on Thursday, Mr Castro appeared in court in Cleveland, handcuffed and dressed in blue overalls. He did not enter a plea.


He is charged with four counts of kidnapping, covering the three initial abduction victims and Jocelyn, Ms Berry’s six-year-old daughter, who was apparently conceived and born in captivity.


The former school bus driver also faces three counts of rape, one against each woman.


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Cleveland rescue: The mystery of 2207 Seymour Avenue


A view of Seymour Avenue



Ariel Castro’s house at 2207 Seymour Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, is yet to give up many of its secrets.


What lies inside the run-down clapboard house where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are said to have spent their captivity?


The house appears to have been the scene of a double life – as Mr Castro’s home and as a kidnap den where he is alleged to have held three women captive for almost a decade.


The two-storey building stands right in the middle of a tree-lined street in Cleveland’s West Side neighbourhood – a working-class area home to a close-knit community.


Few details have been confirmed about what it contains, but some facts are known.


Mr Castro bought the house in 1992 for $12,000 (£7,750), according to the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s office. In 2012, it was valued at $36,100 (£23,300).


The property currently faces repossession over the non-payment of taxes, with Mr Castro owing some $2,501 (£1,615) in taxes for the period 2010-12.


The property has four bedrooms, a bathroom, a 760sq ft (71sq m) basement, two porches and an attic. There is also a detached garage.


They [the women] had no ability to leave the home or interact with anyone other than each other, the child and the suspect”

US law enforcement official


The continuing investigation and charges of kidnap and rape levelled at Mr Castro centre on what happened to the women while they were in the house.


Ariel Castro’s son, Anthony – who says he visited the house just two weeks ago – told MailOnline that the doors to the basement, the attic and the garage were always padlocked and family members were not allowed to go there.


Anthony Castro described his father as a violent and controlling man, who beat him and nearly killed his mother in the early 1990s.


After years of abuse, his mother decided to move out of the house in 1996, taking him and his three sisters with her, Mr Castro said.


“It’s astonishing to even think… that I was so close to that. That I was physically at the house two weeks ago while that was going on, it’s a lot to grasp,” he said.


What did Ariel Castro’s neighbours know?


Police are yet to release any pictures from the inside of the property, but one law enforcement official has described the conditions there as “abysmal at best”.


“They (the women) had no ability to leave the home or interact with anyone other than each other, the child and the suspect,” the official told the New York Times.


Media reports also suggest that the authorities have discovered chains and tape inside the house allegedly used to restrain the women.


A police report suggests the women were all initially kept chained in the cellar, but eventually allowed to live on the second floor of the house.


One report cites the victims as saying the “big inside door” of the home was usually locked when Mr Castro went out. On Monday, he apparently forgot to lock it as he went to a nearby McDonald’s.


Even so, Amanda Berry was afraid to break open the locked storm door because “she thought Ariel (Castro) was testing her,” said the police report.


Instead, she tried to get the attention of neighbours to help; her screams were heard by Charles Ramsey who lived across the street and came to the rescue.


Police say officers were sent to the house twice, in 2000 and 2004.


In March 2000, Ariel Castro reported a fight on the street – but no arrests were made. In January 2004 police went to the address after Mr Castro, then a school bus driver, reportedly left a child on a bus. No-one appeared to be in the house.


An investigation later found no criminal intent by Mr Castro, police told local news site Cleveland.com.

Several miscarriages

Rather than celebrating their birthdays, in a bizarre ritual, the captor would apparently give his victims cake to mark their “abduction day”, one victim’s cousin was quoted as telling US media.


In recent years, the kidnapper was occasionally seen walking in the area with a young girl – apparently Jocelyn, whom he fathered with Ms Berry and with whom he also visited relatives, reported the New York Times.


One cousin from Ohio said Mr Castro had visited with a well-presented girl a couple of years ago, whom the suspect had introduced as his granddaughter.


Apparently the suspect had insisted Jocelyn was not told the names of Ms Knight or Ms DeJesus in case she repeated them in public.


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Published time: March 05, 2013 19:24
Saudi King Abdullah, who ratified the death sentences of the seven men in February, will now reportedly review them. (AFP Photo / Joseph Eid)

Saudi King Abdullah, who ratified the death sentences of the seven men in February, will now reportedly review them. (AFP Photo / Joseph Eid)

Seven men sentenced to death for crimes committed whilst underage, have had their executions postponed by Saudi Arabia’s royal family. Their cases are being reviewed following claims the men were tortured, threatened and their trial was unfair.

Saudi King Abdullah’s eldest son ordered a one-month postponement on the executions that were scheduled for Tuesday, also promising a new investigation and a new trial to be carried out, one of 200 relatives and friends of the young men who gathered near the royal court told Reuters.

The seven men were facing a firing squad, with one to be publicly crucified for three days thereafter.

According to a Saudi security official cited by AP, King Abdullah met with families of the seven accused on Sunday and later said he would review the sentences.

The group of seven men was arrested as part of 23-member ring for stealing from jewelry stores in 2004 and 2005 and has spent eight years in custody.

A call for help telling of threats and tortures of then-underage robbers has sparked international reaction. One of the men to be executed managed to smuggle a phone into a prison cell and talk to AP, saying he was well under 18 when arrested and claiming to have been tortured into confessing.

“I killed no one. I didn’t have weapons while robbing the store, but the police tortured me, beat me up and threatened to assault my mother to extract confessions that I had a weapon with me while I was only 15,” the man named Nasser al-Qahtani told AP. “We don’t deserve death,” he added, implying that other members of the convicted group have a similar story to tell.

All the seven were between 16 and 20 at the time of arrest, according to Human Rights Watch. They reportedly released a statement to be distributed online by rights activists where they claimed torture, threats of violence and intimidation during the court trial to be used by their interrogators.

On Tuesday, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International urged Saudi King Abdullah and the country’s interior minister to intervene and halt the executions.

“There is strong evidence suggesting that the trials of all seven men violated basic principles of the right to a fair trial,” the Human Rights Watch stated.


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Women enjoy being raped, says supreme court hopeful


Muhammad Daming Sunusi (
Muhammad Daming Sunusi (Picture: YouTube)

A budding supreme court judge has ignited public outrage by saying women enjoy being raped.

Muhammad Daming Sunusi made the quip during a vetting session for Indonesia’s highest court.

When asked his views on the death penalty for rapists, he replied: ‘The rapist and the victim of rape both enjoy it, so we must think carefully before imposing the death penalty.’

According to reports the parliamentary selection panel laughed at his comments, but drew immediate criticism on social media and from rights groups.

Mr Daming later apologised for the remark, which he said was ‘intended to break the ice’.

Speaking at a press conference he declared: ‘I apologise to the Indonesian public from the bottom of my heart. I realise those words shouldn’t have come out from anyone, let alone a justice hopeful.’

Despite the apology two political parties have already said they would vote against Mr Daming being elected as one of 23 judges at the court in Jakarta.

Women’s rights groups have also suggested the chief judge of Palembang high court be censured.

Absolutely unbelievable the brutality some human beings  are  capable of.  This may  be a juvenile however, his crime is anything but.  How do you  punish an act  such as this?  Is reform  or treatment even plausible for someone capable of this type of cruelty and disregard for human life?  I am just at  a loss in the  face of this kind of inhumanity.


By Hannah Osborne 

The youngest of the attackers was the most violent of all.

The youngest of the attackers was the most violent of all.

A juvenile who is one of six suspects accused of gang raping and murdering a 23-year-old medical student in Delhi was the most violent of all the attackers, police say.

A police spokesman said that the juvenile sexually abused his victim twice and ripped out her intestines with his bare hands.

Because of his age, he is the only one of the six who cannot be sentenced to death if found guilty. He will be tried in a juvenile court.

Five adults have been charged with rape and murder and police say they plan to push for the death penalty.

However, the maximum sentence the juvenile can receive under existing law is three years.

According to the Hindustan Times, the charges against the juvenile show he also suggested throwing her from the moving bus naked.

A police officer told the newspaper: “Of all the persons in the bus, two had engaged in the most barbarism – Ram Singh, the main accused in the case, and the juvenile.