A coalition of non-governmental organizations is calling for a death penalty-free zone in Europe and Central Asia
The organizations joining this appeal are unconditionally opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances in all countries around the world on the grounds that it is a violation of the right to life and that it is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.
As long as the death penalty is maintained, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated. Executions are brutalizing and only serve to reinforce the cycle of violence. They achieve nothing but revenge and cause anguish for the innocent relatives of those who are executed.
One hundred and twenty countries -- more than half of the countries in the world -- have now abolished the death penalty in law or practice. An average of over three countries a year have abolished the death penalty in law or, having done so for ordinary offences, have gone on to abolish it for all offences.
On 20 April 2005, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution on the question of the death penalty calling for a moratorium on executions and the observance of international safeguards in death penalty cases. We welcome its adoption and urge all countries in Europe and Central Asia that retain the death penalty to follow the Commission's recommendations.
In particular, we are calling on the relevant authorities in Belarus and Uzbekistan, whose countries are the last executioners in Europe and Central Asia, to move swiftly towards abolition by introducing a moratorium on death sentences and executions as a first step with a view to complete abolition of the death penalty in due course.
We are calling on the governments of all countries and territories in the region that currently have moratoria in place to fully abolish the death penalty as a matter of urgency.
We urge the Presidents to exercise political leadership on this issue and to do all within their remit to further the trend towards abolition in the region.
The introduction of moratoria in Belarus and Uzbekistan is particularly pressing as flawed criminal justice systems in both countries provide a fertile ground for judicial error. There have been credible allegations of unfair trials, and torture and ill-treatment, often to extract "confessions", on a regular basis. In Belarus between four and seven people have reportedly been sentenced to death and executed every year since 2000.
President Islam Karimov said at a press conference in December 2004 that between 50 and 60 people had been sentenced to death in Uzbekistan in 2004. However, both governments have consistently failed to publish comprehensive statistics on death sentences and executions. The application of the death penalty in Belarus and Uzbekistan is surrounded by secrecy.
As a result death row prisoners and their relatives are subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment. Neither the prisoners nor their relatives are informed of the date of the execution in advance, denying them a last chance to say goodbye. The body of the prisoner is not given to the relatives for burial and they are not informed of the place of burial.
Around 150 prisoners have "accumulated" on death row since Kyrgyzstan introduced a moratorium on executions in December 1998. Many death row prisoners have been waiting for years in a state of continued uncertainty as to their ultimate fate, which constitutes cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Kazakstan as well as the internationally unrecognized regions of Abkhazia and the Dnestr Moldavian Republic have also continued to pass death sentences.
Russia has a moratorium on death sentences and executions in place and is now the only country of all 46 members of the Council of Europe that has still not abolished the death penalty in law despite its promise upon accession to the organization to abolish it no later than 1999. Tajikistan and the internationally unrecognized region of South Ossetia also have moratoria on death sentences and executions in place.
In most of the countries in the region that no longer carry out executions, relatives of death row prisoners, who had previously been executed, have still not been able to find out where their loved ones were buried. In Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, for example, domestic legislation still stipulates that the place of burial is not disclosed.
We are concerned that the conditions on death row in the region fall far short of international standards. In Belarus, for example, death row prisoners are not entitled to any outdoor exercise and electric lighting is on day and night. In Kyrgyzstan some death row prisoners have reportedly lost mobility due to lack of exercise.
Many governments in the region have frequently referred to public opinion as a key argument against introducing a moratorium or abolishing the death penalty. At the same time, several countries prevent an informed public debate from taking place by withholding vital information about the application of the death penalty, including comprehensive statistics on death sentences and executions.
In Belarus and Uzbekistan there have been instances where the authorities have actively limited the peaceful expression of opinions on the death penalty, including by harassing and intimidating activists.
The organizations joining this appeal believe that governments should lead public opinion in matters of human rights and criminal policy. Historically it has almost always been the case that the death penalty has been abolished by governments even though significant sectors of the public favoured its retention.
We urge the governments in Europe and Central Asia to refrain from deporting people to countries where they are at risk of being sentenced to death, in line with international treaty obligations. Many countries have in the past facilitated such deportations and the death verdicts have often been pronounced in unfair trials accompanied by torture allegations.
Russia deported at least two men to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in 2001 and 2000 respectively where both were sentenced to death, in violation of Russia's human rights commitments as a member of the Council of Europe. Kyrgyzstan deported people to executions in China and Uzbekistan only months after Kyrgyzstan had put a moratorium in place citing its commitment to protect human rights. Other countries that deported people to executions in recent years included Kazakstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
In the nineteenth century and the period leading up to the Second World War, the death penalty was permanently abolished in several European countries. Out of the atrocities of the Second World War came a new thirst for human rights resulting, among others, in a new wave of moves towards abolition of the death penalty. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of independent states from Eastern Europe to Central Asia gave a new impetus to the drive towards a death penalty-free zone in Europe and Central Asia.
We have great sympathy with the victims of crime and recognize the duty of governments to tackle problems of law and order. However, scientific studies have consistently failed to find convincing evidence that the death penalty deters crime more effectively than other punishments. The most recent survey of research findings on the relation between the death penalty and homicide rates, conducted for the UN in 1988 and updated in 2002, concluded that "it is not prudent to accept the hypothesis that capital punishment deters murder to a marginally greater extent than does the threat and application of the supposedly lesser punishment of life imprisonment."
International non-governmental organizations
Amnesty International - Irene Khan, Secretary General;
ECPM, Ensemble contre la peine de mort - Micheel Taube, President;
FIDH, International Federation for Human Rights - Sasha Koulaeva, Eastern Europe and Central Asia Desk;
Human Rights Watch - Rachel Denber, Acting Executive Director for Europe and Central Asia;
ICJ, International Commission of Jurists - Nicholas Howen, Secretary General;
International Federation of ACAT, Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture - Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual;
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights - Aaron Rhodes, Executive Director;
International League for Human Rights - Scott Horton, President;
OMCT-Europe, World Organisation Against Torture - Laetitia Sedou, European Co-ordinator;
Penal Reform International - Paul English, Executive Director;
Regional non-governmental organizations
ACAT MZxico [Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture] - Fabienne Cabaret, Legal Coordinator (Mexico);
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants - Esther C Bangcawayan, Women Program / Area Co-ordinator (Hong Kong);
Asian Human Rights Commission - Basil Fernando, Executive Director (Hong Kong);
Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty - Dorina Lisson, President (Australia);
Azerbaijan Foundation for Democracy and Human Rights Protection - Rena Sadaddinova (Azerbaijan);
Azerbaijan Human Rights Center - Eldar Zeynalov, Director (Azerbaijan);
Belarusian Helsinki Committee - Dzmitry Markusheuski, Press Secretary (Belarus);
Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law - Nigina Bakhrieva, Program Director (Tajikistan);
Caucasian Institute for Peace, Democracy and Development - Emil Adelkhanov, Deputy Chair of the Council (Georgia);
Center of Legal Aid for Ethnic Minorities - Guncham Nurakhunova, Director (Kazakhstan);
Centre for Civil Initiatives - Albert Voskanyan, Director (Nagorno-Karabakh);
Centre for Humanitarian Programs - Batal Kobahiya (Abkhazia);
Chernihiv Public Committee of Human Rights Protection - Oleksiy Tarasov, Chair (Ukraine);
Congress of Caucasian Women - Maka Khangoshvili, Chair (Georgia);
Death Penalty Focus - Lance G. Lindsey, Executive Director (United States of America);
Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights - Nana Kakabadze, Chair (Georgia);
Helsinki Citizens' Assembly of Azerbaijan - Arzu Abdullaeva (Azerbaijan);
Helsinki Citizens' Assembly of Vanadzor - Artur Sakunts (Armenia);
Human Rights Center "Fray Francisco de Vitoria" - Miguel Concha Malo, Chair of the Board (Mexico);
Human Rights Committee - Fray Pedro Lorenzo de la Nada (Mexico);
Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre - Ucha Nanuashvili, Executive Director (Georgia);
Human Rights Network "Todos los Derechos para Todos" [All Rights for All] - Edgar CortZs, Secretary General (Mexico);
Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan "Civil Assistance" - Ruslan Sharipov, Chair (Uzbekistan);
Independent Human Rights Group - Dinara Sayakova, Director (Kyrgyzstan);
Initiative Group of Independent Human Rights Defenders of Uzbekistan - Surat Ikramov, Chair (Uzbekistan);
Institute of Peace and Democracy - Leyla Yunus (Dr.), Director (Azerbaijan);
Italian Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty - Arianna Ballotta, President (Italy);
Joint Committee for the Abolition of the Death Penalty - Father Franco Mella (Hong Kong);
Journey of Hope...from Violence to Healing - Bill Pelke, President (United States of America);
Justice and Peace Commission of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese - Christine Or (Hong Kong);
Legal Aid Society - Nozima Kamalova (Uzbekistan);
Legal Forum Association - Yury Shentsov, Executive Director (Kyrgyzstan);
Legal Initiative - Valeri Fadeev, Chair (Belarus);
Mexican Commission for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights - Fabi‡n Sanchez Matus, Director (Mexico);
Mothers Against the Death Penalty and Torture - Tamara Chikunova, Chief-Coordinator (Uzbekistan);
Murder Victims' Families for Human Rights - Hon. Renny Cushing, Executive Director (United States of America);
Norwegian Helsinki Committee - Bjorn Engesland, Secretary-General (Norway);
Professional Assistance - Yelena Volochay, Member of Board (Ukraine);
Public Committee for Aid to Refugees "Civil Assistance" - Svetlana Gannushkina (Russia);
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty - Rick Halperin, President (United States of America);
Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights - Farid Tukhbatullin (Turkmenistan);
Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation on Human Rights - Tadzhigul Begmedova, Chair (Turkmenistan);
United Filipinos in Hong Kong Secretariat - Emmanuel C Villanueva, Secretary-General (Hong Kong);
Uzbekistan Human Rights Society "Ezgulik" - Vasila Inoyatova, Chair (Uzbekistan);
Women's Association of Abkhazia - Natella Akaba, Chair of the Steering Board (Abkhazia);
Youth Human Rights Group - Maria Lisitsyna, Chair of the Coordinating Council (Kyrgyzstan).
By AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL posted 26 April 05
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566 Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW.
For latest human rights news
Updated: 11 April 2009
Death Penalty Statistics
In 2008 the world moved even closer towards abolition of the death penalty. In December, the United Nations General Assembly (UN GA) adopted by a large majority a second resolution calling for a moratorium with a view to abolish the death penalty. This resolution consolidates three decades of steady progress towards complete abolition of the death penalty.
THE HIDDEN TRUTH ABOUT EXECUTIONS:
For death row inmates in Indonesia, execution usually comes on a deserted beach or remote jungle at the hands of a paramilitary firing squad. And, it rarely comes fast.
DESTROY CHEMICALS OF MASS DESTRUCTION:
The Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) is (again) calling on U.S. President George W. Bush, to join the civilised world and destroy all chemicals of mass destruction, for the dignity and respect of every human life.
LIFE ON A THREAD:
The difference between life and death can rest on the whim of a president or the ability of a lawyer. Whether or not the death penalty can be justified is very much up for grabs.
THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK:
US: The American media reports that thousands of Iranians cheered, whistled and clapped as a serial killer was publicly executed in Iran last week.
USA - FEELING THE HEAT FROM INTERNATIONAL FIRE:
The United States of America has withdrawn from an international agreement that gives detained foreign nationals the right to seek assistance and talk to their consular officers.
Corby lawyer pleads for Australian help
Schapelle Corby, 27, is accused of carrying over four kilograms of marijuana into Bali and could be sentenced to death if she is found guilty.
OHIO: Appeals court tosses death sentence for U.S.-British citizen
In Cincinnati, a federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction and death sentence of a man with dual U.S.-British citizenship who was convicted of killing a 2-year-old girl by starting a fire in his ex-girlfriend's apartment.
THE INNOCENT SCOT ON DEATH ROW IS ALMOST FREE
If you haven't heard about it yet, you will. There's a celebration in the air: Kenny is an innocent man living on death row in an Ohio prison and the authorities may finally acknowledge what we've known all along.
EXPENSES FOR STATE-ASSISTED SUICIDE EXCEEDS $33,000.00
To prepare for Connecticut's first state-sanctioned killing in 45 years, the state Department of Corrections has spent more than US$33,000 on such items as training personnel, drugs (poison), intravenous catheters and tubing, portable restrooms, mobile offices, lighting and curtains for the witness observation room.
Child Offenders on Death Row
Recent Australian studies of alcohol and cannabis use show that girls are increasingly inclined to behave boldly. But boys out number the girls, two to one; and three to one in the juvenile justice system, mortality figures, speeding infringements and car crash statistics.
US death row numbers don't change policy?
The number of prisoners on death row in the United States appears to be falling, mostly credited to a single Governor who commuted the sentences of all the death row prisoners in his state.
Despite Drop in Crime, an Increase in Inmates
US: The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.
How Denying the Vote to Ex-Offenders Undermines Democracy
For starters, hundreds of thousands of people who are still eligible to vote will not do so this year because they will be locked up in local jails, awaiting processing or trials for minor offenses.
DNA Evidence of Bipartisanship
Last week the U.S. Congress passed the Justice for All Act, which includes provisions of the Innocence Protection Act. As of this posting, the legislation has not yet been signed by President Bush. Attached is an analysis of the legislation prepared by the Justice Project.
Our Two Priority Bills sent to White House
US: The 8th National CURE Convention last June lobbied on Capitol Hill the Innocence Protection Act in the Senate and the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004 in the House. On Sunday, October 10th, Congress passed both bills and sent them to the President to be signed.
THE LAW IS AN ASS:
US: A Californian man who beheaded a german shepherd dog he had named after his girlfriend, has been sentenced to 25 years to life under California's three-strikes law.
SAVE THE LIFE OF NGUYEN TUONG VAN:A PLEA TO SINGAPORE PRESIDENT On behalf of the Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) and in the spirit of respect for human life, I make a heartfelt plea for clemency, compassion and mercy, to spare and save the young life of Nguyen Tuong Van, currently under sentence of death at Changi Prison in Singapore. Nguyen Tuong Van, is a 23-year-old Australian man of Vietnamese origin. Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in December 2002, whilst in transit from Cambodia to Australia. He was later charged and convicted of drug-trafficking. In March 2004 he was sentenced to death for his crime.
EXTRADITION ACT FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET
A long-standing convention not to extradite people out of Australia if they face the death penalty has been abandoned.
BIRTHDAY PROTEST BACKS INNOCENT MAN ON DEATH ROW:
Kids from 3 to 83 years old beat candy labeled "Justice" out of a big Texas-shaped piqata on Aug. 1 as dozens gathered in the Houston City Hall Park to celebrate the 30th birthday of Nanon Williams, an innocent person on Texas death row.
THE LAND OF BIBLES, GUNS, PATRIOTS AND THE 'WORLD ROLE MODEL' FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The state of Alabama, USA, executed James Barney Hubbard. So what? ... you might say ... America executes prisoners almost every week!
Appealing a Death Sentence Based on Future Danger USA-HOUSTON, June 9 - Texas juries in capital cases must make a prediction. They may impose a death sentence only if they find that the defendant will probably commit more violent acts.
Forensics? In proposing a new death penalty for Massachusetts last month, Governor Mitt Romney offered firm assurance that no innocent people would be executed: Convictions, he said, will be based on science.
Silencing the Cells: Mass Incarceration and Legal Repression in U.S. Prisons People without a voice are not people in any meaningful sense of the word. Silenced people cannot express their ideas; they can neither consent nor protest. They are reduced to being pawns in the schemes of the powerful, mendicants who must accept whatever is imposed upon them. In order to keep people in a state of subjugation, silencing their voices is essential. Nowhere is this clearer than in U.S. prisons.
U.N. Group Seeks End To Executions The United States, Japan, China, India and Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia opposed the resolution. Burkina Faso, Cuba, Guatemala, South Korea and Sri Lanka abstained.
US: Execution Dear Friends, this is so sad especially for our dear friend, San Nguyen. San who lives in Oklahoma worked very hard with the rest of the Vietnamese community to stop Mr. Le's execution. You may remember San from being at CURE's First International Conference in New York City in 2001. San also plans to be at the 8th National Convention this June in Washington. Charlie
Please contact the Governor The Vietnamese-American Community, the ACLU, and many others want the March 30 execution of Huang Thanh Le commuted.
Cherie Blair attacks US over death penalty in Catholic paper Cherie Blair has renewed her attack on America's use of the death penalty. In a book review in the Catholic journal The Tablet, under her maiden name Cherie Booth, she says: "Capital cases are uniquely prone to error and thus call into question whether we can ever be really sure of obtaining the just result.
Death penalty: a lawyer sees the light The observation "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus" is illustrated by the two nations' differing reactions to the use of the death penalty as a legitimate punishment for murder.
OHIO: Judges join dissent on execution delay In Columbus, 5 federal appeals court judges say a convicted killer's request to delay his execution was illegally denied because 2 senior judges participated in the vote.
Stephen Romei: Death knell sounds for US capital law GEORGE Ryan gets my vote as Australian of the Year, even though he's the outgoing governor of the US state of Illinois. There's just no one I admire more right now, not even Greg's Kables Community News Newtwork..
Mexico Awaits Hague Ruling on Citizens on U.S. Death Row Sbaldo Torres, a convicted murderer on death row in Oklahoma, should have been dead by now, his appeals exhausted, his time up.
Jury Passes On Business Of Killing US: This drives the death penalty crowd in the legislature nuts. Yet another jury - another 12 men and women, tried and true, who had all attested to their belief in the death penalty - has refused to join in the killing business.
Ultimate Punishment Scott Turow has long juggled two careers‹that of a novelist and that of a lawyer. He wrote much of his first and best known legal thriller, Presumed Innocent, on the commuter train to and from work during the eight years he spent as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, and he has churned out another blockbuster every third year since joining the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in 1986.
A Question of Innocence Rubin Carter: Day after day, week after week, I would sit in that filthy cell, seething. I was furious at everyone. At the two state witnesses who lied, at the police who put them up to it, at the prosecutor who sanctioned it, at the judge who allowed it, at the jury who accepted it, and at my own lawyer, for not being able to defeat it.
Amnesty steps up campaign to abolish death penalty Human rights watchdog Amnesty International is urging people around the world to pressure countries to abolish the death penalty.
'LAND OF THE FREE' SET TO EXECUTE TWO PRISONERS BY FIRING SQUAD: Wanted: Willing executioners for two convicted murderers. Must be psychologically sound and familiar with .30-calibre rifles. No victims' relatives need apply.
TEXAS EXECUTES 300th PRISONER Keith Clay was executed tonight, becoming the 300th prisoner in Texas to die by lethal injection since the rogue state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.
AUSTRALIAN COALITION AGAINST DEATH PENALTY " ... Our nation was built on a promise of life and liberty for all citizens. Guided by a deep respect for human dignity, our Founding Fathers worked to secure these rights for future generations, and today we continue to seek to fulfil their promise in our laws and our society.
Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Please note the following article carefully.....it shows clearly the hateful, uncaring and anti-human rights attitude as reflected by the Governor of Texas (and most other elected Texas officials).
Bush rules out death sentence review US President George W Bush says has dismissed any chance of a review of America's system of capital punishment.
Amnesty urges Bush to shut death row Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged US President George W. Bush to take a "moral stand" and abolish the death penalty after the Illinois Governor dramatically emptied that state's death row.
USA - A NATION IN TURMOIL: As the year 2002 draws to a close, little if anything, has changed in the United States in regards to state-sanctioned killing. Various campaigns, calls for clemency, petitions, and international condemnation, have failed to humanize U.S. politicians.
Here come de Judge - Time to Leave 
There have always been examples of rulings and interpretations that have supported the saying "The law is an ass". This is increasingly the case, because even the best intentioned judges are now facing an avalanche of new technologies and social change. But, it is no good making excuses for the judiciary and continuing to accept their strange interpretations. We must recognise that not only judges but the whole legal system will struggle more and more. In the end the whole system will become a farce. This is the way empires end.
Govt, police 'let off the hook' Haneef inquiry
8 years ago