Saturday, April 11, 2009

PAKISTAN // CHINA : Death Penalty HEADLINES: International

from Rick Halperin's News and Updates: here (go there often to see much more almost daily)

Death Penalty and Execution News - APRIL 11, 2009:

PAKISTAN: Death penalty for kids, women abolished

The Lahore High Court Friday abolished death sentence to the extent of under-trial women and children arrested in narcotics cases while enhanced sentences for previous convicts.

A full bench held this while laying down new principles to remove discrepancies and bring uniformity in different sentences being awarded under Control of Narcotic Substance Act 1997.

The court, however, observed that the trail courts only in cases containing special features could depart from these principles but then they would have to write down reasons for such departure.

The discrepancies in the law came to fore when a division bench during the hearing of an appeal of convict found that he was awarded only 2 years sentence in section 9-C (minimum punishment up to 14 years) of CNSA, 1997.

With observation that it a meagre punishment, the DB referred the matter to chief justice to form a larger bench so that a uniform sentencing policy could be formulated in narcotics cases for guidance of trial courts.

The CJ had formed a full bench comprising Justice Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, Justice Tariq Shamim and Justice MA Zafar.

The bench further held in its 14 pages judgement that a previous convict should be awarded 1/3 more sentence of imprisonment and fine.

In case his sentence exceeds (after calculating as per laid down principles) the maximum punishment prescribed by law would be awarded but the fine would be doubled.

However, women and children on account of their gender and tender age are to awarded 1/3 less sentence of imprisonment and fine in default of payment of fine than the normal sentence however this sentence would be simple in nature.

In case a woman or a child is a previous convict then they would be handed down same sentence that of previous male convict. But it would be simple imprisonment however, death penalty would not be given to women and children even they are previous-convict.

(source: The Nation)


Tibetan death sentences get little attention in China ---- China's state-run media largely ignored the 1st known death sentences for last year's riots in Tibet.

When 2 Tibetans were sentenced to death on Wednesday for setting fire to shops during last year’s protest riots in Lhasa, the Chinese authorities for some reason chose to tell the rest of the world before they told their own citizens.

The episode illustrates the peculiar way in which news travels in China, where the government controls the traditional media, but the Internet offers an alternative.

Bizarrely, the news first appeared Wednesday evening on the English-language service of the state-run Xinhua news agency. But nowhere was it to be found on the Chinese language service for another 24 hours.

That meant that, while the world knew, not a single paper in China ran a story Thursday about the first death sentences known to have been passed on Tibetans for last year's riots, on individuals identified as Losang Gyaltse and Loyar – except the government-run "Tibetan Daily," published in Lhasa, Tibet's capital.

They put it in their hard-copy edition, but for some reason it was not findable on their website until Thursday afternoon. Only then did a handful of news portals elsewhere on the Chinese Web pick the story up.

Until then, the only way Chinese citizens could have heard about the death sentences was on the Chinese-language websites of foreign radio stations such as the BBC and VOA. To get onto those sites, you have to go around the "Great Firewall" by using a proxy server to evade government censors.

Curiously, the first mainland site to post the BBC's story was "Anti-CNN," a nationalist website that decries the alleged bias of the Western media, but does not appear to appreciate the irony that the only way they can find out what is really happening in their country is to read the Western media surreptitiously.

Equally curiously, the story on Xinhua’s English service and the story in the "Tibetan Daily" are almost identical, except that the Lhasa paper gives more details of the crimes with which the accused were charged.

Was this a Xinhua story that the agency simply did not distribute nationwide? Did one reporter in Lhasa feed the same story to Xinhua and to the "Tibetan Daily"?

Like so much else in Tibet, where foreign journalists and diplomats are barred, we will probably never know.

(source: Christian Science Monitor)

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