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July 5 2013 | PAKISTAN

by Syed Hassan, Reuters - Pakistan: Interior Ministry brings back death penalty. (EN-FR)

 
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Pakistan brings back death penalty, to anger of rights groups

By Syed Hassan

 

ISLAMABAD, July 5 (Reuters) - Pakistan's new government,

striving to appear determined to rein in escalating crime and

militancy, has ended a ban on the death penalty, in a move

condemned as "shocking and retrograde" by rights group Amnesty

International.

Such a reinstatement of capital punishment is rare, with

about 150 countries having already either abolished the death

penalty or stopped administering it.

A 2008 moratorium imposed by Pakistan's previous government,

praised at the time by global rights groups, expired on June 30.

"The present government does not plan to extend it," said

Omar Hamid Khan, an interior ministry spokesman.

Khan said the new policy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's

government was to execute all death row prisoners, except those

pardoned on humanitarian grounds. Pakistan's president must

approve all executions.

Pakistanis among the last nations in the world to stick to

the practice, alongside the United States, China, Nigeria, Yemen

and some others.

Up to 8,000 people remain on death row in dozens of the

country's notoriously overcrowded and violent jails, according

to London-based Amnesty. The government has put the number at

about 400. The method of execution is usually hanging.

"As long as the death penalty is in place, the risk of

executing innocent people can never be eliminated," Amnesty said

in a statement this week in response to rumours ahead of the

decision.

"The systemic fair trials violations in Pakistan not only

exacerbate this risk, but also put Pakistan in breach of its

international obligations."

Pakistansays capital punishment is key to deterring crime

in places such as Karachi, a major city of 18 million plagued by

violence, as well as in the areas on its border with Afghanistan

where Taliban militants launch daily attacks.

Papua New Guinea, one of the world's poorest and most

corrupt countries, reinstated the death penalty in May and

repealed its sorcery laws after a string of gruesome "witch"

killings and gang-rapes.

Asked about Amnesty's criticism, Khan pointed to the fact

that capital punishment was still in use in parts of the United

States, a nation he said was home to the "best judicial system".

Khan said, "We have a credible judicial system in place and

the law must be allowed to take its course," adding that up to

12 cases were being referred to the president every day.

Pakistan's moratorium drew wide praise because of concerns

that its courts and police were too inept to ensure the accused

a fair trial. But Pakistan did, however, break its own rules in

2012, when it executed a convicted murderer and a former army

serviceman.

The previous government of the Pakistan's Peoples Party,

whose former chairman, Benazir Bhutto, was a fierce opponent of

capital punishment, enforced the moratorium soon after taking

power in 2008 under President Asif Ali Zardari.

Zardari, the widower of Bhutto, who was assassinated in

2007, is due to step down later this year.

 

Le Pakistan met fin à son moratoire sur l'exécution de la peine de mort

 

ISLAMABAD, 04 juil 2013 (AFP) - Le nouveau gouvernement pakistanais a mis fin au moratoire sur les exécutions de peine de mort instauré dans le pays il y a cinq ans, a annoncé jeudi le ministère de l'Intérieur, soulevant les protestations d'Amnesty International qui dénonce une décision " rétrograde et choquante".

Sous le précédent gouvernement mené par le Parti du peuple (PPP), au pouvoir de 2008 aux élections de mai dernier, aucun condamné à mort n'a été exécuté au Pakistan, à l'exception d'un soldat qui a écopé de la peine capitale en cour martiale et a été exécuté à la fin 2012.

Le PPP a depuis été balayé aux élections, largement remportées par la Ligue musulmane (PML-N) de Nawaz Sharif, redevenu Premier ministre dans la foulée.

C'est sous le précédent gouvernement qu'avait été adopté, en 2008, un décret présidentiel imposant un moratoire sur les exécutions de peine de mort, qui a pris fin le 30 juin dernier.

Au Pakistan, toutes les exécutions doivent être approuvées par le président. Or le mandat de actuel chef de l'Etat, Asif Ali Zardari (PPP), s'achève en août et le parlement, contrôlé par la PML-N, devrait lui choisir un successeur issu de ses propres rangs.

"Le nouveau gouvernement a décidé de traiter les cas d'exécutions au cas par cas. Il n'y aura pas d'amnistie générale pour les condamnés à mort", a déclaré le porte-parole du ministère de l'Intérieur, Umer Hameed.

Amnesty International, l'un des groupes de défense des droits de l'Homme les plus en pointe contre la peine de mort, a aussitôt appelé dans un communiqué à rétablir immédiatement le moratoire.

"Tout feu vert gouvernemental à la reprise des exécutions au Pakistan serait une mesure choquante et rétrograde qui menacerait la vie de milliers de personnes", a déclaré Polly Truscott, directrice d'Amnesty pour l'Asie et le Pacifique.

Selon l'organisation, basée à Londres, plus de 8.000 prisonniers se trouvent actuellement dans le couloir de la mort au Pakistan après avoir épuisé toutes les recours, et risquent donc d'être exécutés en cas de fin du moratoire.

"Le nombre de personnes concernées rend la nouvelle politique du gouvernement de retour à la peine de mort encore plus affreuse, souligne Mme Truscott.

Le porte-parole du ministère pakistanais de l'Intérieur a lui estimé à 450 le nombre de condamnés qui attendent leur exécution, ajoutant que tous leurs cas seraient examinés, et avec une certaine compassion envers la "catégorie spéciale" des femmes et des personnes âgées.

Les prisons surpeuplées du Pakistan sont souvent incapables de fournir des conditions de vie décentes aux détenus, souvent traités durement. Le pays est confronté à des attaques quotidiennes de rebelles islamistes, notamment les talibans allié à Al-Qaïda, ainsi qu'à une criminalité ordinaire parfois forte dans les villes.

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