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Only 5 countries executed “juvenile offenders” since 2005

Human Rights Watch publicou esta semana un informe de 20 páxinas sobre os cinco países que executaron, desde o 2005, penas de morte impostas a persoas que eran menores de idade no momento de se cometeren os delictos polos que foron condenados (coñecidos como “menores delincuentes”, traducindo a expresión inglesa deste informe, “juvenile offenders”).

Os cinco países analizados son Arabia Saudí, Iemen, Irán, Pakistán e Sudán. A inseguridade xurídica nalgúns destes países fai que sexa practicamente imposible un xuízo xusto. Considérese o exemplo de Arabia Saudí, onde non existe un código penal e os xuíces aplican a sharia (lei relixiosa islámica) con total discrecionalidade.

O informe leva por título “The Last Holdouts: Ending the Juvenile Death Penalty in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Pakistan, and Yemen”. Copio un extracto da súa introducción:

The prohibition on the death penalty for crimes committed by juvenile offenders —persons under age 18 at the time of the offense— is well established in international treaty and customary law. The overwhelming majority of states comply with this standard: only five states are known to have executed juvenile offenders since January 2005.

In the recent past even the United States (US), a country which in 2005 had 70 juvenile offenders on death row, has implemented the ban on the death penalty for juvenile offenders: in March 2005 the US Supreme Court ruled the execution of juvenile offenders illegal because it violated the US Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

Yet since January 2005 five other states are known to have executed at least 32 juvenile offenders: Iran (26), Saudi Arabia (2), Sudan (2), Pakistan (1), and Yemen (1). Well over one hundred juvenile offenders —and possibly twice that number— are believed to be on death row, awaiting the outcome of a judicial appeal, or in some murder cases, the outcome of negotiations for pardons in exchange for financial compensation.

Why do a handful of states still execute juvenile offenders when the rest of the world has moved toward full implementation of the prohibition of the juvenile death penalty? In Iran and Saudi Arabia, the two countries that account for the largest number of executions of juvenile offenders, these sentences are the result of deliberate state policies to retain the juvenile death penalty, combined with criminal justice systems that fail to provide children with fundamental protections against unfair trials.

In Sudan, Yemen, and Pakistan, laws prohibiting the death penalty for crimes committed by persons under age 18 are not always implemented. Sudan has yet to clarify conflicting legislation for the north and autonomous south, while Pakistan has yet to issue regulations needed to implement the ban in all parts of its territory. In all three states juvenile offenders are at risk of being treated as adults in capital cases when they lack birth registration or other documents to prove their age at the time of the crime, when the court of first instance does not record their age, or when they lack competent legal assistance at crucial points during arrest and trial. […]

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13 Setembro 2008 - Posted by | Death penalty, Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Iran, Pakistan, Politics, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen

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