AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – PRESS RELEASE:
Death Penalty 2013: Isolated countries behind a rise in executions in Africa
Alarming levels of death penalty use in an isolated group of countries led to a more than 50 per cent rise in executions across Africa in 2013 compared to the year before, Amnesty International found in its annual review of the death penalty.
“The vast majority of countries in Africa have moved away from the death penalty, while a small, isolated group continues to cling to state-sanctioned killing,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Africa Director. “The shocking rise in executions was down to just a few countries, and was all the more disappointing given the real progress towards abolition we’ve seen elsewhere in the region in recent years.” Just three countries – Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia – were behind more than 90 per cent of the 64 reported executions carried out in Africa in 2013. They also accounted for-two thirds of all reported death sentences in the region, with dramatic increases recorded in Nigeria and Somalia. Somalia in particular saw a steep escalation in death penalty use, as recorded executions jumped from at least six in 2012 to at least 34 last year. More than half of all death sentences were carried out in the semi-autonomous Puntland region, often against alleged members of the al-Shabab militant group. Nigeria resumed executions for the first time in seven years, dragging four men to the gallows in June.
Alarming statements by President Goodluck Jonathan had earlier effectively given the green light to a resumption of executions, leaving over 1,000 death row prisoners at risk. At the beginning of 2014, the regional court of the Economic Community of West African States ordered the Nigerian government to refrain from further executions, and in March the country’s Justice Minister confirmed that the government would respect the ruling. However, there was progress to report in Africa last year, and the long-term trend towards abolishing the death penalty is clear across the region. More than two-thirds (37) of the African Union’s 54 member states have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.
In 2013, as in the previous year, only five countries in the region implemented death sentences – roughly one in 10. During the year many states across Africa took small but significant steps towards abolition. New constitutions being drafted in Ghana and Sierra Leone offer real opportunities to end capital punishment, while both Benin and Comoros are considering new penal codes that would abolish the death penalty for all crimes.
“It is a great pity that a few countries let the region down. Most African states have abolished the death penalty in law or practice or are on the road to doing so,” said Netsanet Belay. “Positive developments in countries across Africa have inspired the global abolitionist movement in recent years. Governments must ensure these hopes are not in vain – the increase in executions in 2013 should not be repeated over this year.”
Einsatz der Todesstrafe im Jahr 2012
Es wurden weiterhin Todesurteile ausgesprochen. Mindestens zwei Frauen wurden zum Tod durch Steinigen verurteilt. In beiden Fällen wurde den Frauen rechtlicher Beistand verweigert. Dies war eine eindeutige Verletzung des Rechts auf einen fairen Prozess. Todesurteile ergingen oft nach Verhandlungen, bei denen die Rechte auf Verteidigung verletzt wurden. Die Behörden wandten weiterhin Verzögerungstaktiken an, um die Rechte der Angeklagten auf Einlegung von Rechtsmitteln zu untergraben.
- Im Mai und Juli 2012 wurden zwei Frauen, die 23-jährige Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul und die 20-jährige Intisar Sharif Abdallah, wegen Ehebruchs zum Tod durch Steinigung verurteilt. In beiden Fällen wurden die Angeklagten lediglich auf Grundlage ihrer unter Zwang abgelegten Geständnisse verurteilt. Beide Frauen kamen im Rechtsmittelverfahren frei.
- Al-Tom Hamed Tutu, ein Anführer der Bewegung für Gerechtigkeit und Gleichheit (Justice and Equality Movement – JEM), befand sich weiterhin im Todestrakt unter der unmittelbaren Gefahr des Vollzugs der Todesstrafe. Er war im Jahr 2011 nach einem mangelhaften Verfahren zum Tode verurteilt worden.
Mehr als 200 Gefangene befanden sich 2012 in Todeszellen. Mindestens zwei Männer wurden am 28. August im Gefängnis von Juba und drei Männer am 6. September im Gefängnis von Wau hingerichtet.
Einsatz der Todesstrafe im Jahr 2010 und 2011
Since South Sudan became an independent state on 9 July 2011, five persons were executed, four in November alone. All had been sentenced to death for murder. South Sudan carried over Sudan’s status as a retentionist country and the Transitional Constitution adopted in July provides for the death penalty. At least one new death sentence was imposed in 2011. In South Sudan executions were conducted in three death rows, which exist at Juba Prison (Central Equatoria State), Wau Prison (Western Bahr el Ghazal State) and Malakal Prison (Upper Nile State). In early November, there were 91 condemned prisoners at Juba, 32 at Wau and 27 at Malakal. All those condemned were reportedly male and convicted of murder. Trials are often flawed, as many cases in the past have been tried without legal representation, conducted in Arabic even if the defendant does not understand that language, and without an effective appeals review. Once an execution warrant is issued and the condemned is transferred to death row, the prison service may facilitate a meeting of the prisoner with the victims’ families. This sometimes leads to a settlement, such as the payment of cattle in lieu of the death sentence. After execution, prison authorities bury the body if it is not claimed by relatives.
At least seven executions were carried out in Sudan. Seven prisoners in North Darfur had their death sentences under the 2005 Terrorism Act and the Sudanese Criminal Act upheld by the Special Criminal Court in North Darfur on 29 November. Two of them were under 18 years old at the time of the alleged crime. The seven prisoners are part of a group of ten people, allegedly affiliated with the Darfur armed opposition group “Justice and Equality Movement” (JEM), and were tried by the South Darfur Special Criminal Court in 2010 for a carjacking in May of that year. In June, the Supreme Court in Khartoum ordered a retrial due to the inclusion of minors in that trial. A further appeal was submitted to the Supreme Court on 4 December. During the UPR in May 2011, the government of Sudan accepted the recommendations to ensure that the death penalty would not be applied for juvenile offenders, in line with its Constitution and the Child Act of 2010.
At least six men were executed in Sudan in 2010. They had been convicted for the murder of 13 policemen in 2005 and were allegedly forced to “confess” to the crime under duress. Following an agreement between the armed opposition group, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the government, in February 50 of the 106 men sentenced to death by special counter-terrorism courts between July 2008 and January 2010 were unconditionally released. The defendants had been convicted following unfair trials relating to their alleged participation in the 2008 attack on Khartoum, based on “confessions” allegedly extracted under torture. Fifty-five remained in prison at the end of the year, awaiting the result of their appeals, including eight alleged juveniles. Ahmed Suleiman Sulman, one of the 106 defendants, had died of tuberculosis while in detention in October 2009.
On 21 October, a special court in Darfur sentenced ten men to death for the alleged involvement in an attack on a government-escorted convoy in South Darfur, after a trial that did not meet international standards of fairness. Four of them were reportedly under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, but only two of the alleged juveniles were medically examined to determine their age. One of them was confirmed as a child and had his sentence commuted. Information received during 2010 revealed that Abdulrahaman Zakaria Mohammed in El Fasher was executed in 2009 for a crime committed when he was under 18 years of age.
Die Todesstrafe ist wie die Folter ein nicht zu rechtfertigender Eingriff des Staates in die unverletzlichen Rechte des Individuums.
Nach Überzeugung von Amnesty International darf staatliches Strafhandeln Leben und Würde des Menschen nicht antasten. Nur ein kategorisches Verbot der Todesstrafe bringt die Idee zum Ausdruck, dass menschliches Leben das höchste Rechtsgut ist.
Amnesty International ruft alle Regierungen, die die Todesstrafe noch per Gesetz vorsehen oder in der Praxis anwenden auf, alle Hinrichtungen sofort und auf Dauer zu stoppen, alle noch anhängigen Todesurteile umzuwandeln und die Todesstrafe aus den Rechtsordnungen zu streichen.
Momentan wenden insgesamt
139 Staaten die Todesstrafe nicht mehr an.
58 Staaten halten weiterhin an der Todesstrafe fest, unter ihnen auch Sudan.