Summary executions


Syrian Arab Republic: Honour Killing of Huda Abu Assaly



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Syrian Arab Republic: Honour Killing of Huda Abu Assaly
Violation alleged: Impunity for honour killings
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 female
Character of reply: Cooperative but incomplete response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the general information provided by the Government of the Syrian Arab republic on the provisions of the Syrian Criminal Code related to honour killings. However, the SR regrets that no information has been provided in relation to the killing of Huda Abu Assaly or in relation to any subsequent criminal proceeedings.
Urgent appeal dated 22 August 2006
I am writing in relation to information that I have received about a continuing pattern of honour killings in the Syrian Arab Republic in which women are killed by a family member, usually because she has married outside her religion or because of suspicions of sexual impropriety.
Most recently, I have received information regarding Huda Abu Assaly, who was stabbed and shot to death by her brother in late August for having married a Christian man.
While I do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, there would be ground for serious concerns if they were correct. To the extent that honour killings are not met with stringent punishments, the State acquiesces in the practice. As a State Party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Syrian Arab Republic has assumed the legal obligation to ensure the right to life by effectively punishing those who commit murder. Article 6(1) recognizes that every human being has the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life. Article 2(1) requires the State to ensure to all individuals within its territory the rights recognized in ICCPR, without distinction as to sex. Article 2(2) elaborates that each State Party must undertake all necessary steps to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the ICCPR. These obligations are not mere formalities: The punishments imposed may not be so lenient as to invite future violations. As I noted in my report to the Commission on Human Rights, “Crimes, including murder, can also give rise to State responsibility in instances in which the State has failed to take all appropriate measures to deter, prevent and punish the perpetrators. . . .” (E/CN.4/2005/7, para. 71.)
In this context, I urge your Government to take all necessary measures to prevent and punish honour killings.
While I do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of the facts reports in this incident, it is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me by the Commission on Human Rights to seek to clarify all cases brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report on these cases to the Commission I would grateful for your responses to the following questions:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary accurate?
2. Please provide the details and results of any investigation, medical examination (autopsy), and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to this incident.
3. Please provide the full details of any prosecutions or disciplinary proceedings that have been undertaken in connection with this incident. Please include information on any penalties imposed.
4. If compensation has been provided to the family of the victim, what was its amount?

I undertake to ensure that your Government’s response to each of these questions is accurately reflected in the report I will submit to the Commission on Human Rights for its consideration.


Response from the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic dated 13 February 2007
The Syrian Code was issued by Legislative Decree No. 148 of 1949 and many of its articles are based on the French Criminal Code, while some are based on the Polish Criminal Code and the Italian Criminal Code. According to this Code and the other criminal laws in force in Syria, no one residing in the territory of the State may commit an offence without being prosecuted for it in accordance with due process, regardless of whether the offence is an honour crime or any other kind of offence. The legislature devotes section 2, chapter 11, of the Code to offences against liberty and honour, prescribing the appropriate penalties for each such offence.
If there are cases where the motive of honour may constitute an extenuating circumstance, this does not apply to men alone. The provision is a general one, insofar as it benefits men and women equally. Penalties are based on purely general rules which the courts apply in an objective manner to anyone found guilty of a material, moral and legally designated offence. The courts remain the only authority authorized to determine how far an offence correlates to a legal provision and to render appropriate judgements in each case of which they are seized, based on the evidence presented to them.
Syrian Arab Republic: Death in Custody of Abdul Moez Salem
Violation alleged: Death in custody
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 male
Character of reply: Largely statisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic on the death of Abdul Moez Salem.
Allegation letter dated 23 August 2007 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
We would like to bring to your to your Government’s attention information we have received concerning Abdul Moez Salem, son of Mohammed Basheer Salem from Areeha (Idlib). According to the allegations received:
Abdul Moez Salem disappeared from Areeha two years ago. He was detained in the Palestine Branch for Military Interrogation (Branch 235). Several months ago, on an unspecified day, Abdul Moez died following injuries he received during his time in custody. Subsequently his body was stored in a fridge for the deceased. His corpse was handed to his family on 4 July 2007 in a black bag, but Military Intelligence did not allow the family to see him or prepare his body for burial. The officers refused to bury Abdul Moez in the town's graveyards and supervised the burial.
Without in any way implying any conclusion as to the facts of the case, we recall that Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) enshrines the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of one’s life. When the State detains an individual, it is held to a heightened level of diligence in protecting that individual’s rights. As a consequence, when an individual dies in State custody, there is a presumption of State responsibility. This means that a State is presumed to be responsible for the death of the person under international law, unless clear evidence to the contrary emerges, explaining how the death occurred. In this respect, we would like to recall the conclusion of the Human Rights Committee in a custodial death case (Dermit Barbato v. Uruguay, communication no. 84/1981 (1990)): “While the Committee cannot arrive at a definite conclusion as to whether Hugo Dermit committed suicide, was driven to suicide or was killed by others while in custody; yet, the inescapable conclusion is that in all the circumstances the Uruguayan authorities either by act or by omission were responsible for not taking adequate measures to protect his life, as required by article 6 (1) of the Covenant.”
We should like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to seek clarification of the circumstances regarding the death of Abdul Moez Salem. We would like to stress that each Government has the obligation to protect the right to physical and mental integrity of all persons. This right is set forth inter alia in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
We would also like to draw your Government’s attention to paragraph 3 of Resolution 2005/39 of the Commission on Human Rights which, “stresses in particular that all allegations of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment must be promptly and impartially examined by the competent national authority, that those who encourage, order, tolerate or perpetrate acts of torture must be held responsible and severely punished, including the officials in charge of the place of detention where the prohibited act is found to have been committed”.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Commission on Human Rights and extended by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary accurate?
2. Has a complaint been lodged on behalf of Abdul Moez Salem?
3. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any investigation, medical examinations, and judicial or other inquiries which may have been carried out in relation to the above case. If no inquiries have taken place, or if they have been inconclusive, please explain why.
4. In the event that the alleged perpetrators are identified, please provide the full details of any prosecutions which have been undertaken; Have penal, disciplinary or administrative sanctions been imposed on the alleged perpetrators?
5. Please indicate whether compensation has been provided to the family of the victim.
Response from the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic dated 27 February 2008
Mr. Abd al-Mu`azz Salim was taken into custody on 23 December 2006 on a charge of belonging to Al-Qaida. It transpired that he did in fact belong to the organization, having participated with a number of others in several courses on carrying out unlawful terrorist activities. Five days later, on 28 December 2006, while the investigation was still under way, Mr. Salim, who had been subjected to no form of physical or mental coercion, hanged himself. He was rushed to the Military Hospital where all the requisite emergency procedures were carried out, but to no avail, since he died. His body was delivered to his family for burial.
The Government ads that the report attached to its reply provides details of the investigation conducted by the Office of the Military Prosecutor, which examined the circumstances and the cause of death and which confirms that the allegations received by the two Special Rapporteurs are untrue.
In conclusion, the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, in expressing its gratitude and appreciation for the efforts of the Special Rapporteurs to safeguard human rights, can confirm that Mr. Salim was not subjected to torture. Everything possible was done to protect his physical and psychological welfare, in keeping with the commitment of the Syrian Government to protecting all Syrian citizens and upholding the relevant Syrian and international laws.
Thailand: Death Sentences of Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit
Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 2 males
Character of reply: Largely satisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Governemnet of Thailand in relation to the denth sentences of Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit.
Urgent appeal dated 1 February 2006
I would like to draw the attention of your Government to information I have received regarding:
the imposition of the death sentence against Messrs. Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit, the two men found guilty of the rape and murder of Katherine Horton, a tourist from the United Kingdom, on 1 January 2006. My concern with this case is raised by the extraordinary speed with which the two suspects were tried, convicted and sentenced to death. It is my understanding that Ms. Horton’s body was found on 2 January 2006, and Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit were arrested on 7 or 8 January 2006. By 9 January 2006 they had reportedly confessed to the crime. On 13 January 2006, the two men were tried at Surat Thani. According to the information received, the two men confessed to the police, and limited themselves to confirming their statements to the police at trial. Reports state that DNA samples were taken and matched with DNA traces found on the victim’s body. On 18 January 2006, the Surat Thani court delivered the guilty verdicts and sentenced Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit to death.
Although the death penalty is not prohibited under international law, I would like to remind your Excellency’s Government that it must be regarded as an extreme exception to the fundamental right to life, and must as such be interpreted in the most restrictive manner. Therefore, it is crucial that all restrictions and fair trial standards pertaining to capital punishment contained in international human rights law are fully respected in proceedings relating to capital offences. This includes the presumption of innocence, right to a trial by an independent and impartial tribunal and the right to adequately prepare one’s defence. “In capital punishment cases, the obligation of States parties to observe rigorously all the guarantees for a fair trial set out in Article 14 of the [ICCPR] admits of no exception” (Little v. Jamaica, communication no. 283/1988, Views of the Human Rights Committee of 19 November 1991, para. 10).
It is in the light of these guarantees with which international law surrounds the imposition of the death penalty that I would raise my concerns regarding the extraordinary speed with which capital punishment has been imposed in this case. The fact that Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit have confessed the crime does not render their right to adequately prepare their defense and to receive a full and fair trial redundant. The speed with which the death penalty was imposed is all the more alarming in the light of the statements allegedly made by the Prime Minister of your Excellency’s Government before the sentencing, calling on the death sentence to be imposed because of the damage the crime caused to Thailand’s image.
I understand that the judgment and sentence against Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit will be reviewed by an appeals court, and urge your Excellency’s Government to ensure that the adequacy of the first instance trial is closely scrutinized in the course of those appeals proceedings.
The Commission on Human Rights has consistently requested me and my predecessors as Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to monitor the implementation of all standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment. Without in any way pre-judging the accuracy of the information I have received, I would respectfully request Your Excellency’s Government to provide me with the following information regarding the criminal proceedings against Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit:
a) did they confess to the rape and murder in the presence of a lawyer acting on their behalf?
b) how much time did the lawyers assigned to act on behalf of Wichai Somkhaoyai and Bualoi Posit have to prepare for the trial?
c) details concerning the DNA evidence.
It is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me by the Commission on Human Rights and reinforced by the appropriate resolutions of the General Assembly, to seek to clarify all such cases brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report on this case to the Commission, I would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations. In addition to an expeditious first reply, I would greatly appreciate being informed about the further developments in this case. I undertake to ensure that your Government’s response is accurately reflected in the report I will submit to the Commission on Human Rights for its consideration.
Response from the Government of Thailand dated 28 April 2007
Mr. Wichai Somkhaoyai and Mr. Bualoi Posit were found guilty of the rape and murder of Ms. Katherine Horton, a tourist from the United Kingdom, on 1 January 2006. Ms. Horton's body was found on 2 January 2006 and Mr. Wichai Somkhaoyai and Mr. Bualoi Posit were arrested on 7 and 8 January 2006, respectively. By 9 January 2006, they had confessed to the crime. DNA samples were taken and they matched the DNA traces found on the victim’s body. On 13 January 2006, the two men were put on trial in Suret Tbani Province. They confessed to the charges and did not call any witness. On 18 January 2006, the Suret Thani court delivered the guilty verdicts and sentenced Mr. Wichai Somkhaoyai and Mr. Bualni Posit to death.
Concerns have been raised regarding adequate protection of the defendants' right to life under international human rights law as well as domestic legislation.
1. Did the two confess to the rape and murder charge in presence of a lawyer acting on their behalf?
Clarification
Yes. The two defendants confessed to the rape and murder charges during the interrogation in the presence of their lawyers (Mr. Phnompetch Namuang and Mr. Amarin Nuimai) who were appointed by the Court of First Instance.
2. How much time did the lawyers assigned to act on behalf of Mr. Wichai Somkhaoyai and Mr. Bualoi Posit have to prepare for the trial?

Clarification


The two defence lawyers (Mr. Natnuang and Mr. Nuimai) were assigned to the case from the very beginning of the investigation process. The lawyers were also present in court throughout the trial.
3. Details concerning the DNA evidence.
Clarification
The DNA collected from the two defendants matched the DNA found in the vagina of the deceased. Further detailed information of the DNA matching is attached herewith.
The Court’s Ruling
With evidence proving the defendant’s guilt beyond any reasonable doubt, the court ruled that the two defendants had committed a heinous crime and sentenced them pursuant to the following provisions of the Penal Code:
Article 276 - Whoever has sexual intercourse with a woman, who is not his wife, against her will, by threatening by any means whatever, by doing any act of violence, by taking advantage of the woman being in the condition of inability to resist, or by causing the woman to mistake him for the other peson, shall be punished with imprisonment of four to twenty years and fined eight thousand to forty thousand Baht.

If the offenee as mentioncd in the first paragraph is committed by carrying or using any gun or explosive, or participation of persons in the nature of destroying the woman, the offender shall be punished with imprisonment of fifteen to twenty years and fined thirty thousand to forty thousand Baht, or imprisonment for life.


Ardcle 297(7) - Whoever commits murder on the other person for the purpose of securing benefit obtained through the other offence, or concealing the other offence or escaping punishment for the other offence committed by him, shall be punished with death.
Thailand: Death in Custody of Yaga Pa-o-mani
Violation alleged: Death in custody
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 male
Character of reply: Receipt acknowledged
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur looks forward to receiving a substantive response concerning the death of Yaga Pa-o-mani. The SR would note, however, that the Government has already taken longer than the customary 90 days to respond.
Allegation letter dated 14 August 2007 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
We are writing concerning the death of Yaga Pa-o-mani from Banang Sata in Yala. According to the information received:
On 27 June 2007 at 5am Yaga Pa-o-mani was arrested from his home by a large group of soldiers who travelled in 10 army vehicles. Two days later, on 29 June, his dead body was discovered at the Yala Central Hospital. The family was notified by a Bajoh Subdistrict Administrative Officer, who had been contacted by police officers from Banang Sata District Police Station.
An autopsy was performed at the Raman District Hospital, which found injuries to the back and a bullet wound to the left shoulder, in addition to other wounds. The body was bruised on the chest and the skull was fractured (probably caused by a gunshot to the head). The autopsy was performed by Dr. Khunying Pornthip Rojanasunand, forensic scientist from Bangkok, who later testified to the Ad-hoc Committee to Study and Investigate Violence in the Deep South Provinces that Yaga was subjected to ill-treatment before he died.
Police Major Jirasak Wikraicharoenying, an investigating officer at the Raman District Police Station, reportedly told the local independent news media that Yaga had been shot and killed in an attack by a group of militants during the transport from military custody into police custody.
Without in any way implying any conclusion as to the facts of the case, we would like to recall that Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a Party, enshrines the right not to be arbitrarily deprived of one’s life. When the State detains an individual, it is held to a heightened level of diligence in protecting that individual’s rights. As a consequence, when an individual dies in State custody, there is a presumption of State responsibility. This means that a State is presumed to be responsible for the death of the person under international law, unless clear evidence to the contrary is forthcoming, explaining how the death occurred. In this respect, I would like to recall the conclusion of the Human Rights Committee in a custodial death case (Dermit Barbato v. Uruguay, communication no. 84/1981 (1990)): “While the Committee cannot arrive at a definite conclusion as to whether Hugo Dermit committed suicide, was driven to suicide or was killed by others while in custody; yet, the inescapable conclusion is that in all the circumstances the Uruguayan authorities either by act or by omission were responsible for not taking adequate measures to protect his life, as required by article 6 (1) of the Covenant.”
Concerns about the Emergency Decree in force in Southern Thailand, were expressed in a previous letter to your Government dated 15 November 2005 and subsequent press release. We note that the Human Rights Committee stated that it was “especially concerned that the Decree provides for officials enforcing the state of emergency to be relieved of legal and disciplinary actions, thus exacerbating the problem of impunity” (CCPR/CO/84/THA, para. 13.) We note that the Decree provides that soldiers and police officers may not be prosecuted or disciplined even for otherwise illegal killings so long as they are acting reasonably and in good faith. The decree also allows for persons being detained for up to 30 days without any charge, often outside of conventional detention facilities as they are not considered as formally charged. Further legislative concerns include the fact that Thailand has no law prohibiting torture.
We should like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to seek clarification of the circumstances regarding the death of the person named above. We would like to stress that each Government has the obligation to protect the right to physical and mental integrity of all persons. This right is set forth inter alia in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
We would also like to draw your Government’s attention to paragraph 3 of Resolution 2005/39 of the Commission on Human Rights which, “stresses in particular that all allegations of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment must be promptly and impartially examined by the competent national authority, that those who encourage, order, tolerate or perpetrate acts of torture must be held responsible and severely punished, including the officials in charge of the place of detention where the prohibited act is found to have been committed;”.
Moreover, it is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Commission on Human Rights and extended by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate?
2. Has a complaint been lodged?
3. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any investigation, medical examinations, and judicial or other inquiries which may have been carried out in relation to the case of Yaga Pa-o-mani. If no inquiries have taken place, or if they have been inconclusive, please explain why.
4. In the event that the alleged perpetrators are identified, please provide the full details of any prosecutions which have been undertaken; Have penal, disciplinary or administrative sanctions been imposed on the alleged perpetrators?
5. Please indicate whether compensation has been provided to the family of the victim.

Afghanistan: death sentence of sayed perwiz kambaksh
Australia: death in custody of mulrunji
Bangladesh: attack on journalist sumi khan
Bangladesh: “crossfire” killings by the rapid action batallion
Brazil: killing of rodson da silva rodrigues, aurina rodrigues santana and paulo rodrigo santana
Brazil: killing of land rights activist valmir mota de oliveira
Chile: asesinato de matías catrileo quezada, activista por los derechos de la tierra.
Colombia: asesinato de susana particia galeano en argelia, antioquia
Respuesta del gobierno de colombia del 26 de julio de 2007
Colombia: muertes y amenazas de muerte contra líderes sindicales
Colombia: asesinato de francisco puerta
Respuesta del gobierno de colombia del 4 de abril de
Respuesta del gobierno de ecuador del 23 de abril de 2007
Ethiopia: accountability for deaths of demonstrators in june and november 2005
Guatemala: amenazas de muerte en contra de maynor roberto berganza betancourt y su familia
Honduras: muerte de heraldo zuñiga y de roger ivan cartagena
India: death in custody of raju roy s/o mr. badal roy
Response form the government of indonesia dated 31 july 2007
Islamic republic of iran: death sentences of seven men in connection with attacks linked to jondallah
Urgent appeal dated 20 june 2007 sent with the special rapporteur on the question of torture
Response from the government of the islamic republic of iran dated 19 february 2008
Islamic republic of iran: death sentence of soghra najafpoor
Islamic republic of iran: death sentence of mohammad reza haddadi
Jordan: death in custody of `ala’ abu `utair
Kyrgyzstan: death in custody of akylbek sakeev
Malaysia: killing of five migrant workers
Mexico: muertes durante manifestaciones en oaxaca
Myanmar: death in custody of maung chan kun
Nigeria: ultimatum from the joint task force on the niger delta (jtf) to the leaders of the ughelli community
Pakistan: “shoot on sight” orders issued following clashes in karachi and the north west frontier province
Pakistan: “shoot to kill”-order issued in the context of parliamentary elections
Response from the government of the philippines dated 19 june 2007
Philippines: impunity for killing of leftist activists
Response from the government of the philippines dated 26 february 2008
Response from the government of saudi arabia dated 16 july 2007
Subject(s) of appeal:
Singapore: death sentences of tan chor jin, hamir hasim, kamal kupli and abdul malik
Sri lanka: killings of journalists and media workers
Response from the government of sri lanka dated 27 september 2007
Response from the government of sri lanka dated 26 march 2008
Response from the government of thailand dated 5 september 2007
United states of america: killing of civilians following air strikes in afghanistan
Venezuela (bolivarian republic of): amenazas de muerte contra tres jóvenes en caracas
Response from the government of viet nam dated 18 december 2007
Response from the government of zimbabwe dated 26 april 2007



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