Monday, September 15, 2014

Tortured into 'confessing' death-row inmate in China freed by court after 6 years..

One person told me sometime back that if they beat him again, he would have confessed even to murder although he was innocent. So, I am not surprised with this case where torture was used... We really have to put an end to torture in police custody.

The other point to note is that even in China, there is video recording - in Hong Kong, all is recorded from the time the suspect is brought to the police station, the interogation/questioning, etc and when he/she is charged in court, the lawyer is given a copy of this CD (maybe now DVD). Malaysia should also have a similar practice - it would be good to prove to everyone that Malaysian police are professional and do not resort to torture, etc 

China court frees man after six years on death row

China court frees man after six years on death row
A Chinese court on Friday declared innocent a man sentenced to death six years ago for a double killing, in a case which highlighted flaws in the country's legal system.

Nian Bin, a former food-stall owner, was convicted of poisoning two children and condemned to die in 2008, and had been held in custody ever since.

His case went through multiple appeals, with lawyers arguing that the evidence against him was insufficient and police had tortured him into confessing, until the high court of Fujian province quashed his conviction Friday and freed him.

Acquittals in China's Communist-controlled court system are extremely rare - 99.93 per cent of defendants were found guilty last year, according to official statistics.

Beijing does not say how many people it executes each year. But independent estimates put the total around 3,000 in 2012, a figure higher than all other countries combined.

The use of force to extract confessions remains widespread in the country, leading to a number of miscarriages of justice.

"None of the evidence presented in the case can be properly verified," the Fujian court said in a microblog post announcing Nian's innocence.

His lawyer Si Weijiang wrote in an online post: "We hope that the reversal of the verdict in this case can allow other unjust verdicts to be overturned.

"His family home has been subject to revenge attacks, his daughter's mental health has suffered, while his wife has waited in pain for six years," he added.

Nian, now 38, told a previous court hearing that police had hung him from a hook and beaten him until he confessed, reports said.

He was first detained by police in 2006, after two children died and four other people fell ill in a family near his home, apparently from consuming rat poison.

The UK-based rights group Amnesty International said in a statement that the quashing of Nian's conviction was "another reminder of the need to immediately end all executions and abolish the death penalty in the country".

"The ever present risk of executing innocent people is just one of many compelling arguments against the death penalty," it added.

China has occasionally exonerated wrongfully executed convicts after others came forward to confess their crimes, or in some cases because the supposed murder victim was later found alive.
- See more at: - AsiaOne, 22/8/2014


Rare acquittal for China murder convict on death row

Police guards stand in a hallway inside the No.1 Detention Center during a government guided tour in Beijing on 25 October 2012. China is believed to execute thousands of prisoners held in jail every year
A man convicted of murdering two children has been acquitted by China's highest court, in a rare move.

The Fujian Supreme Court found there was insufficient evidence that Nian Bin, a grocery shop owner, had poisoned his fellow villagers with rat poison leading to the death of two children.

Mr Nian was on death row for more than six years and repeatedly appealed against his verdict.
Lawyers said he was tortured into confession.

The BBC's John Sudworth says the exact figure is not known, but China is believed to execute thousands of prisoners every year and successful appeals are rare. 

Amnesty International said the case has highlighted "the ever present risk of executing innocent people" with the death penalty and the legal system's flaws.

"China's justice system is deeply flawed and more needs to be done to promptly address the failures of this case, including allegations of torture," said Anu Kultalahti, Amnesty's China researcher.

Mr Nian was accused of poisoning his neighbours in July 2006. Besides the two children who died, four others were injured.

Amnesty said Mr Nian, now aged 38, had made three appeals, undergone a supreme court review and three retrials which had been ordered due to insufficient evidence.

His case attracted prominent lawyers and wide attention in social media, reports the Associated Press.

In a statement sent to the BBC, Mr Nian's defence team said that during the lengthy retrial process, "it was very clear that all the evidence pointed to the fact that our client was not guilty".

They said that a video of Mr Nian's confession was missing at least one hour of footage.

"We hope that the country can address certain problems in our legal punishment processes highlighted by Nian Bin's case," they added. - BBC News, 22/8/2014, Rare acquittal for China murder convict on death row

ADPAN:- Japan must impose a moratorium and abolish the death penalty

Japan: Impose A Permanent Moratorium On All Executions And Take Urgent Steps Towards Its Abolition Of The Death Penalty




The Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) condemns the execution of two Japanese death row prisoners, Mitsuhiro Kobayashi, age 56, and Tsutomu Takamizawa, age 59, who were executed on 29th August 2014 at Sendai Detention Center and Tokyo Detention Center respectively. This is the second and third execution in this year that took place within two months since last June when Masanori Kawasaki, aged 68 was executed on 26 June at Osaka Detention Center.

This recent executions of Mitsuhiro Kobayashi, Tsutomu Takamizawa and Masanori Kawasaki is really disappointing more so since the recent release of Iwao Hakamada on 27 March 2014, who had spent 45 years on death row. In Hakamada’s case, the court in releasing him expressed concern that investigators could have falsified the evidence against him.

Since Prime Minister Abe’s government took office in December 2012 eleven people have now been executed, whilst a total of 127 inmates remain on death row.

ADPAN, together with its member in Japan, Center for Prisoners’ Rights,  condemns these ‘secret executions’. The death penalty is a gross human rights violation, a state-sanctioned murder, unique in its cruelty and finality. Needless to say, death penalty is irreversible and cannot be remedied.

ADPAN, a network of Asia Pacific organizations and individuals working for the abolition of the death penalty, calls upon the Japanese government, also being a member of the UN Human Rights Council, to comply with United Nations General Assembly Resolutions adopted in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012, and to immediately impose a moratorium on all executions and take steps towards the abolition of the death penalty.

Charles Hector

For an on behalf of ADPAN

For further information, please contact Ms Nalini at  or  +60193758912.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon calls for abolition of death penalty

2 July 2014

Death Penalty Has No Place in Twenty-First Century, Secretary-General Tells Panel, Urging Concrete Action by States for Its Abolition

Following is UN Secretary-General’s remarks at a panel on “Best Practices and Challenges in Implementing a Moratorium on the Death Penalty”, in New York today:

I thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations for organizing this event.

Twenty-five years ago, only about one quarter of United Nations Member States had abolished the death penalty.  Today, more than four out of five countries — an estimated 160 Member States — have either abolished the death penalty or do not practise it.

The General Assembly will soon take up the “Resolution on the Moratorium on the use of the death penalty”, first adopted in December 2007.  The resolution has traditionally called on all States to “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed” and “to establish a moratorium on execution with a view to abolishing the death penalty”.

These efforts have won a progressively broader margin of support from Member States, representing a variety of legal systems, traditions, cultures and religious backgrounds.

As outlined in my recent report on the use of the death penalty, I remain very concerned, however, about shortcomings with respect to international human rights standards in countries that still apply the death penalty.

I am particularly troubled by the application of the death penalty for offences that do not meet the threshold under international human rights law of “most serious crimes”, including drug-related offences, consensual sexual acts and apostasy.  I am also concerned with legislation in 14 States that permits the death penalty on children, as well as the new phenomenon of sentencing large groups of individuals to death in mass trials.

Over the past two years, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has convened a series of important Global Panel events on the death penalty, focusing on wrongful convictions, deterrence and public opinion, and discrimination.  These discussions have deepened knowledge around the human rights dimensions of the application of the death penalty and its impact on people, who are most often poor and disadvantaged.

I had the honour to take part in two of these events, one on wrongful convictions and another on discrimination.

I will never forget listening to Damien Echols, part of the West Memphis Three exonerees, discuss his experience of being on death row for 18 years for a crime he did not commit.  It was a heartbreaking story of the stolen futures of three young men as a result of wrongful convictions.

The West Memphis Three case highlights how judicial systems, even in well-resourced and sophisticated legal regimes, can make mistakes.  These errors are far more likely in the case of rushed proceedings, which do not respect due process of law — the worst cases being rushed proceedings against large groups of accused.

The Global Panel event on discrimination illustrated how the odds are often stacked against the poor, ethnic minorities and other minority groups, who often lack access to effective legal representation.   These discriminatory practices in the imposition of the death penalty further reinforce the calls for its universal abolition.

As we look to the next session of the General Assembly, I call on all States to take action in three critical areas.  First, ratify the Second Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.  Second, support the resolution on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty.  Third, take concrete steps towards abolishing or no longer practising this form of punishment.

The death penalty has no place in the twenty-first century.  Together, we can finally end this cruel and inhumane practice everywhere around the world.  Thank you. - UN News, 2/7/2014, Death Penalty Has No Place in Twenty-First Century, Secretary-General Tells Panel, Urging Concrete Action by States for Its Abolition

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Detention Without Trial for 2 years - this law must be repealed?

Well, here is another draconian law that allows for 'Detention Without Trial' for 2 years - this must also be appeal.

Let us not forget that all are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. How many people have been detained without trial for 2 years under the Prevention of Crime Act? Will they ever be tried? 

Three detained for up to two years for 'secession'

Police have detained three men for allegedly joining the group loyal to the Sulu sultanate with the goal of secession of Sabah from Malaysia.

The trio were detained under the Section 19A of the Prevention of Crime Act, which allows for detention of up to two years for investigation purposes, without trial.

Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar (right) said that the trio were detained on July 22, as the Sulu sultanate is an illegal entity with the objective of seeing Sabah secede from Malaysia.

The detention order for Abu Bakar Jayari, Zainuddin Mislani and Kassim Ibrahim was issued on Sep 9.

Abu Bakar and Zainuddin are Malaysian while Kassim is a Filipino citizen who entered Malaysia illegally, he said in a statement.

“They are also believed to have successfully recruited new members as preliminary measures to claim Sabah on behalf of the Sulu sultanate,” he said.

A group claiming to be the Sulu sultanate were involved in a standoff with Malaysian security personnel in Lahad Datu in 2013.

68 from the Sulu side and 12 Malaysians, including two civilians, were killed in the incursion which lasted slightly more than a month.

More recently, there have been urgings that action be taken against groups proposing a review of the Malaysia Agreement  and allegedly promoting  the secession of Sabah and Sarawak from Malaysia.- Malaysiakini, 10/9/2014,

Monday, September 08, 2014

Calling for Death Penalty for Sedition is absurd?

It is a shocking suggestion to include the Death Penalty for an offense in the Sedition Act - Malaysia should just go for the abolition of the death penalty. It should comply with UN General Assembly Resolutions calling for a moratorium on execution and the abolition of the Death Penalty.

Sedition is primarily about raising disaffection with the government, police, courts, administration of justice - and in a DEMOCRACY, that is essentially a fundamental right of all citizens. Criticisms raises disaffection - but that also is the basis of reform or transformation that happens.

Even if TRUE but it raises disaffection it is still a crime...and this is certainly not right. Now if people LIE, then it will libel, defamation or even criminal defamation(an offence in the Penal Code), so there is no need for the Sedition Act...

Do read more and understand better why the Sedition Act needs to be repealed:- 

SEDITION ACT - an draconian legislation that has no place in a true democracy?

Include hanging in Sedition Act, says activist

The Sedition Act should be tightened further with inclusion of the death penalty in the act, said pro-Sedition Act activist Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz.
He said he is currently working on a new NGO dubbed ‘Malaysia Mempertahankan Akta Hasutan’ (Malaysia Defends the Sedition Act), which will be launched tomorrow to garner support for the act to be preserved.

“Many who are people with foul mouths that incite the people have been arrested and imprisoned under the Sedition Act since 1948. It is a good law, why abolish it?

“It should be preserved and strengthened. There should be a clause where those convicted for more than three times would be sentenced to hang until death,” the lawyer told Malaysiakini today.

He said the campaign will be launched by former inspector-general of police Musa Hassan.

Khairul Azam (right) said the movement will collect signatures for its petition campaign through a roadshow and through the Internet, in addition to using these channels to explain the Sedition Act to the public.
“After that, we will hand it over to the Agong and the prime minister. Our deadline is the start of the parliamentary session (in October),” he said.

Previously, de facto law minister Nancy Shukri had said the Sedition Act would remain in place for now despite urgings for the draconian law to be repealed immediately.

She said the law is still needed to maintain security, harmony and race relations in the country, since the government still needs time to study and draft the National Harmony Act to replace the Sedition Act.

In the past month, several Pakatan Rakyat leaders have been charged under the Sedition Act, including Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad and Padang Serai MP N Surendran.

Others such as law lecturer Azmi Sharom and student activist Safwan Anang were also charged under the Sedition Act, while Malaysiakini journalist Susan Loone is being investigated under the same law. - Malaysiakini, 9/9/2014,
Include hanging in Sedition Act, says activist

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Victim of police shooting awarded RM300K by Malaysian High Court

Court awards RM300k for wrongful shooting

In a landmark decision today, the High Court in Kuala Lumpur awarded more than RM300,000 in damages to police shooting victim Norizan Salleh.

Judge Hue Siew Kheng also ticked off the police for not abiding with the Inspector-General Standing Orders (IGSO) by resorting to shooting first, rather than trying to stop the vehicle that Norizan was in.

Justice Hue said the conduct of the police in opening fire at the car was not reasonable and unjustified.

“The IGSO states that shooting should only be used as a last resort when there is an imminent danger to life or grievous hurt,” she said.

"Hence the court awards RM200,000 in exemplary damages, RM50,000 as general damages and RM50,000 for assault and battery."

The court also awarded RM18,326 as special damages for the medical expenses she had to undergo, besides RM30,000 as costs to Norizan.

Justice Hue ruled the policemen failed to establish the defence of reasonable force.

'A reminder not to act unlawfully'

In ruling for the award of exemplary damages, she said this was to serve as a reminder to public bodies not to act unlawfully.

The judge also reprimanded the police for not investigating Norizan's police report.

Norizan had named Corporal Mohd Firdaus Rosli, the Sentul district police chief, the Inspector-General of Police and the government as defendants in her suit.

It was reported that Norizan, now 34,  was seriously hurt when five bullets struck her body after police fired at the car she was in with two others near the Middle Ring Road II in late 2009.

Altogether, 16 bullets were fired by the police on the car and when she sought for help from the police after she was hurt in the chest and wrist, the police kicked her in the abdomen.

Norizan, was present in court with her mother, Siti Alimah Abu, and husband Ridzwan Zakaria.

The mother of two children said she felt vindicated with the award as a result of the injuries she suffered.

“I asked my mother to accompany me in court today, for she accompanied me when I sought for help.”

This is the first case of wrongful shooting by the police in which such a large amount has been awarded as damages.
-Malaysiakini, 4/9/2014, Court awards RM300k for wrongful shooting