Saturday, 15 July 2017

New law to enable Vietnam's corrupt officials to escape death penalty by paying back stolen money

Source: VN Express (13 July 2017)

http://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/new-law-to-enable-vietnam-s-corrupt-officials-to-escape-death-penalty-by-paying-back-stolen-money-3612878.html

Amendments to Vietnam’s Penal Code, which takes effect in January 2018, give those found guilty of corruption and bribery the chance to escape the death sentence if they return 75 percent of their ill-gotten gains.

Those sentenced to death for corruption or taking bribes can have their punishment commuted to life in jail if they cooperate with the authorities during the investigation and voluntarily return at least 75 percent of their illegal earnings, officials said at a press briefing called by the President Office on Wednesday.

The 2015 Penal Code had been scheduled to come into effect in July 2016 but was shelved due to multiple errors and loopholes. The National Assembly, Vietnam's top legislature, approved the revised law last month.

The clause was one of the controversial parts of the new code. Some lawmakers argued that it would weaken the fight against corruption, which the Vietnamese government has set as one of its priorities.

Under the 1999 Penal Code, capital punishment could be handed down to those who abused their power to embezzle VND500 million ($22,000) or take bribes of at least VND300 million. Vietnamese workers earned an average of $2,200 last year.

The new law also spares convicts over 75 years old from the death penalty, as well as those convicted of robbery, vandalizing equipment and works significant to national security, opposing order, surrendering to the enemy, drug possession and appropriation, and the production and trade of fake food. That will bring Vietnam's number of capital crimes from 22 to 15.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Family claims brothers’ hanging botched, signs of strangulation

Source: Malay Mail Online (4 July 2017)

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/family-claims-brothers-hanging-botched-signs-of-strangulation

PETALING JAYA, July 4 — The family of two brothers accused the Kajang prison authorities today of botching up the hanging of two men who had been executed for murder.

The family of brothers Rames Batumalai, 45, and Suthar Batumalai, 40, alleged that Suthar’s body was found to have strangulation marks around his neck area, the neck was not broken (the neck is broken clean in a proper hanging), and his face was swelled up.

“We are not contented with the death and how they were executed. Suthar’s face was swollen. He showed signs of strangulation.

“His face was swollen, there were marks on the neck and his eyes were bulging,” sister-in-law B. Devi told a press conference this morning.

Both brothers were hanged to death on March 15 for their 2010 murder conviction despite the family filing for a clemency petition in late February. The brothers were charged with murdering a man named Krishnan Raman.

The siblings were also executed on a Wednesday instead of Friday, when hangings in Malaysia are usually conducted, which raised more questions on whether their execution was botched.

The family’s lawyer, N. Surendran, demanded that the prison authorities and Home Ministry give a detailed explanation to the family on the way the execution was conducted and also on why it was done before the clemency petition’s result was known.

“From a legal point of view, both of them were executed without exhausting all legal processes.

“A prisoner who has been convicted, has the legal right for his clemency to be considered under constituency. If you don’t allow [the] process to finish, you have breached the law,” he said.

The Padang Serai MP also demanded authorities to have an inquiry on the brothers’ execution and answers to be given immediately to the family.

“We are also asking explanation on manner hanging carried out and explanation on why the neck of Suthar was in that condition. We are entitled to these explanations as family members.

“We want an inquiry by authorities. I hope the home minister and authorities respond to this as soon as possible as it is a case of public interest,” Surendran added.

Amnesty International executive director Shamini Darshini said the brothers’ hanging raised questions on the transparency of the death penalty in Malaysia.

“Legal processes around death penalty is not completely clear. This is clear indication, it is not (transparent).

“When a person is hanged, there is a science to it. In this case, there are questions whether execution was correctly done. This seems to indicate a botched execution,” she said today.

She also urged Putrajaya to declare a moratorium to prevent such incidences from happening in other death penalty cases in the future.

“The death penalty in Malaysia needs to be abolished. We need the government to put in place a moratorium to prevent this from happening again. That’s what we calling for an immediate moratorium,” Shamini said, adding that Malaysia has over 1,068 people on death row as of March this year.

In the application of clemency previously sighted by Malay Mail Online, the family had obtained a statutory declaration from the deceased’s wife to forgive the brothers.

Rames and Suthar were sentenced to death in April 2010 under Section 302 of the Penal Code for murder, after being convicted for the February 4, 2006 murder.

Mongolia Abolishes the Death Penalty for All Crimes

Source: ADPAN (4 July 2017)

https://adpan.org/2017/07/04/mongolia-abolishes-the-death-penalty-for-all-crimes/

ADPAN welcomes the new Criminal Code, which abolishes the death penalty for all crimes, entry into force on 1 July 2017 in Mongolia after it was adopted by the State Ikh Khural of Mongolia on 3 December 2015.

Now Mongolia becomes 18th abolitionist for all crimes country in the Asia Pacific region.