Response from the Government of Sri Lanka dated 26 March 2008 Hon. T Maheshwaran MP and two others died and 10 others were injured on 1 January 2008 at the Sivam Kovil in the Kotahena police area in a shooting incident. The injured included the security officer of the MP, Police Constable 52152 Dharmasiri of the Ministerial Security Division.
Following investigations, one Johnson Colin Valentino alias Vasanthan of No 639/3, Beach Road, Jaffna and six others were taken into custody. Moreover, a Pistol and 7 empty bullets were recovered. Police Constable Dharmasiri identified Valentino alias Vasanthan as the person who shot Mr Maheshwaran. The suspect has stayed at Wattala, a suburb in the outskirts of Colombo for 10 months prior to the incident. It has been revealed that he had left his home in Jaffna in 1995 and joined the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eealam (LTTE) in 2000. It has also been revealed that both his father and the mother have been working as LTTE cadres in the propaganda section of the outfit since 1987 and are presently staying in Vanni, an area of Sri Lanka temporarily controlled by the LTTE.
The suspect initially denied any involvement in the crime but later admitted that he committed the crime on instructions from the LTTE. The name given to him by the LTTE is Tamil Tishen and his number is Iyyanna 1527. He had undergone extensive weapons training in LTTE camps in Kilinochhi and Iranamadu. In August 2006 his handler named Madivan Master has sent him to Colombo and arranged for him to stay at Wattala. Another LTTE cadre named Raju who is living in Colombo had established contacts with Vasanthan and on 31 December 2007, given the pistol and 39 bullets to assassinate Mr Maheshwaran.
On 1 January 2008 Vasanthan had come to the St Anthony's Church at Kotahena with Marina Evangeline, the landlady of the house he stayed at Wattala and one Francis Sudarshan. He carried with him the pistol and 14 bulles having hidden the remaining 25 bullets on the roof of the toilet of the house where he stayed. Police subsequently recovered the live bullets. While the prayers were going on at the St Anthony's Church, he had come to the nearby Sivam Kovil and shot Mr Maheshwaran who was there. At that point the security officer of the MP, Police Constable Dharmasiri had shot at the suspect. Having been injured in the hand, the pistol had dropped from the suspect's hand in the Kovil and he had disposed of the remaining bullets in a nearby drain and fled the Kovil. Raju at this point had called Vasanthan on his mobile phone to inform that he was nearby and requested him to come to where he was immediately. However, due to his injuries, he had lost consciousness and fell on the ground. He was admitted to Colombo National Hospital by Sudarshan and another person named Terrence.
It has been revealed that Vasanthan had opened a bank account No 8120028134 at the Commercial Bank Kotahena on the instructions of the LTTE. Remittances by unknown persons have been made to this account at Wattala, Union Place, Dehiwala, Kotahena branches of the bank. Remittances have also been made from foreign countries such as UK and Norway.
Vasanthan had obtained a National Identity Card No 842884098v from the Department of Registration of Persons. It has been established that the Identity Card was a genuine one. However, according to him, he had never applied for a National Identity Card on his own. Therefore, it is suspected that the LTTE had submitted an application with a forged signature of the applicant and obtained the Identity Card.
During the post mortem, 6 fragments of bullets were recovered from the body of deceased Hon. T Maheshwaran. These were sent to the Government Analyst for comparison with the bullets of the pistol taken into custody from the suspet's possession. Moreover, a DNA report was called on the blood samples of the suspect and the sample of the blood contained in the pistol used by the suspect. The DNA report has conf rmed that the blood stains on the pistol matched with the suspect's blood.
The suspects are being detained on detention order and further investigations are being conducted by the Colombo Crimes Division of the Sri Lanka Police. Facts have been reported to Magistrate's Court Colombo under No B 9528/3/8 and the next court date is 7 March 2008. Investigations are at the concluding stage and extracts of investigation will be sent to the Attorney General for advice, as soon as the investigations are concluded.
Sudan: Death Sentences of Seven Men Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 7 males
Character of reply: No response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Sudan has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Urgent appeal dated 23 January 2007sent with Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
In this connection, we would like to draw your Excellency’s attention to information we have received regarding Mr. Paul John Kaw, Mr.Fathi Adam Mohammed Ahmad Dahab, Mr. Idris Adam Alyas, Mr. Nasr-al-Din Ahmad Ali, Mr. Sulayman Jum'a Timbal, Mr.Badawi Hasan Ibrahim and Mr. Abd-al-Rahim Ali who were sentenced to death on 23 November 2006 for the murder of 13 police officers killed during riots which took place in May 2005 at a camp for internally displaced people. The men were sentenced to death after the relatives of the dead police officers refused to spare their lives in return for payment of diya (blood money).
According to the information received:
On 18 May 2005 there were riots at the Soba Aradi camp, 30km south of Khartoum, when the inhabitants resisted the authorities' attempt to forcibly evict all of them. There were violent clashes, and 13 policemen and about 30 residents, including children, were killed.
On 24 May the security forces threw a cordon round the area, not allowing anyone to enter or leave while they raided the residents' houses and shacks, arresting some 240 people, most of whom were subsequently released. They were held in various police stations and most were severely beaten in the following weeks. At least one reportedly died in custody in circumstances where torture appears to have caused his death.
Concern has been expressed that the seven men confessed to their murder charges under torture. This included severe beatings. They had no access to legal counsel until October 2005, when they had been in custody for five months. Three members of the family of Fathi Adam Mohammed Ahmad Adam, including his 70-year-old mother and 15-year-old brother, were arrested and held for three days to force him to give himself up.
While we do not wish to prejudge the accuracy of these allegations, we would like to respectfully remind your Excellency that according to the well-established international standard in capital punishment cases, the obligation of states to observe rigorously all the guarantees for a fair trial admits no exception. (See, Little v. Jamaica, communication no. 283/1988, Views of the Human Rights Committee of 19 November 1991, para. 10). Relevant to the case at issue, this guarantee includes the right not to be compelled to confess guilt.
We also recall that Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/39 urges States to ensure that any statement, which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made. This principle is an essential aspect of the right to physical and mental integrity set forth, inter alia, in article 15 of the Convention against Torture provides that, “Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.”
In view of the urgency of the matter, we would appreciate a response on the initial steps taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard the rights of defendants in compliance with the obligations under international law of your Excellency’s Government, as outlined above. This can only mean suspension of the capital punishment until the allegations of torture have been thoroughly investigated and all doubts in this respect dispelled. Moreover, international law requires that the accountability of any person guilty of subjecting someone to torture is ensured.
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 Commission, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters, when relevant to the case under consideration:
1. Are the facts reproduced in the above summary of the case accurate?
2. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of any investigation, medical examinations, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to the allegations that the defendants were subjected to torture while in pre-trial detention. If no enquiries have taken place, or if they have been inconclusive, please explain why.
3. Please provide the full details of any prosecutions which have been undertaken with regard to the alleged torture of the defendants. Have penal, disciplinary or administrative sanctions been imposed on the perpetrators?
Sudan: Death sentence of Amouna Abdallah DaldoumandSadia Idries Fadul Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 2 females
Character of reply: Largely satisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Sudan with respect to the death sentences of Amouna Abdallah Daldoum and Sadia Idries Fadul.
The Special Rapporteur regrets that he has not been provided with the requested statistics on the number of people sentenced to death under Article 146(a) of the Penal Code and their gender breakdown.
Urgent Appeal dated 21 March 2007sent with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
We would like to draw the attention of your Government to information we have received regarding the sentencing to death by stoning of Ms. Amouna Abdallah Daldoum (23 years old) and Ms. Sadia Idries Fadul (22 years old from the Tama ethnic group), by the Criminal Court of Al-Azazi, in Managil province, Gazeera state. According to the information received:
On 13 February 2007 and 6 March 2007 respectively, the Criminal Court of Al-Azazi, with Judge Hatim Abdurrahman Mohamed Hasan presiding, convicted Ms. Sadia Idries Fadul and Ms. Amouna Abdallah Daldoum on charges of adultery and sentenced them to death by stoning. The two women are currently in detention in Wad Madani women’s prison in Wad Madani, Gazira State. Ms. Sadia Idriss Fadul has one of her children with her in prison. The two women were reportedly convicted under article 146 (a) of Sudan’s 1991 Penal Code, which states that “whoever commits the offence of sexual intercourse in the absence of a lawful relationship shall be punished with: a) execution by stoning when the offender is married (muhsan); b) one hundred lashes when the offender is not married (non-muhsan).”
Sadia Idriss Fadul and Amouna Abdallah Daldoum do not fully understand Arabic, the language used during the entire judicial proceedings, and were not provided with an interpreter. The two women also had no legal representation.
Although the death penalty is not prohibited under international law, we 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. Accordingly, it is crucial that all fair trial and other protections provided for in international human rights law are fully respected in proceedings relating to capital offences. These minimum fair trial guarantees are set forth inter alia in article 14 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which was ratified by your Government. It states: “In the determination of any criminal charge against him, everyone shall be entitled to the following minimum guarantees, in full equality: […] (b) To have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence and to communicate with counsel of his own choosing; […] (d) To be tried in his presence, and to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing; to be informed, if he does not have legal assistance, of this right; and to have legal assistance assigned to him, in any case where the interests of justice so require, and without payment by him in any such case if he does not have sufficient means to pay for it. […] (f) To have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.”
It is our view that the death penalty as applied in this case does not fall within the category of the “most serious crimes” for which international law, in particular Article 6(2) of the ICCPR, countenances its possible application. In its General Comment No. 6, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has stated that “the expression ‘most serious crimes’ must be read restrictively to mean that the death penalty should be a quite exceptional measure”. Similarly, that Committee has observed that the restriction encapsulated in that phrase cannot be interpreted as permitting the imposition of the death penalty “for crimes of an economic nature, for corruption and for adultery, or for crimes that do not result in loss of life” (CCPR/C/28/Add.15, 3 August 2003, paragraph 8).
We would also like to draw your Government’s attention to Resolution 2005/39 of the Commission on Human Rights, which reminded Governments that corporal punishment can amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or even to torture. We would also like to draw your attention to the report of the Special Rapporteur on torture to the 60th session of the General Assembly, in which he, with reference to the jurisprudence of UN treaty bodies, concluded that any form of corporal punishment is contrary to the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. He also noted that States cannot invoke provisions of domestic law to justify violations of their human rights obligations under international law, including the prohibition of corporal punishment, and called upon States to abolish all forms of judicial and administrative corporal punishment without delay (para.28 A/60/316). Both the Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture have called for the abolition of judicial corporal punishment. In paragraph 5 of General Comment No. 20 (1992), the Human Rights Committee stated that the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment must extend to corporal punishment, including excessive chastisement ordered as punishment for a crime.
We would finally like to express the concern that the imposition of the death penalty for the offence of sexual intercourse in the absence of a lawful relationship might disproportionately affect women. In the case of Ms. Sadia Idries Fadul it is, e.g., reported that the man questioned in connection to the unlawful sexual intercourse was discharged on grounds of lack of evidence after denying adultery.
In the event that your investigations support or suggest the above allegations to be correct, we urge your Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights and freedoms of Ms. Sadia Idries Fadul and Ms. Amouna Abdallah Daldoum are respected. This means in the first place that the death sentence against them be expeditiously lifted.
In view of the urgency of the matter, we would appreciate a response on the initial steps taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard the rights of the above-mentioned persons in compliance with international law.
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, when relevant to the case under consideration:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate? In particular, is it accurate that the defendants were not assisted by lawyers?
2. What are the remedies open to Ms. Sadia Idries Fadul and Ms. Amouna Abdallah Daldoum and at what stage are the proceedings in their cases?
3. Please provide information with regard to the number of persons currently sentenced to death in the Sudan under Article 146(a) of the Penal Code? What percentage of them are women?
Response from the Government of Sudan dated 20 April 2007 On 26 June 2006, a report was filed with the Azazi police in Jazirah State against Ms. Sadia Idries Fadul. Following the completion of inquiries, the report was referred to a court of first instance of Jazirah State, which delivered its verdict on 13 March 2007, in case No. 10/2007, convicting the accused under article 146 (1) (a) of the 1991 Criminal Code (the penalty for adultery) and based on her confession. The accused is married and engaged in intercourse with others during the husband's absence. Ms. Amouna Abdallah Daldoum was tried before a court of first instance of Jazirah State, in case No. 24/2007. She was convicted by the court on 6 March 2007 under article 146 (1) (a) of the 1991 Criminal Code (the penalty for adultery) and based on her confession. The accused is married and engaged in intercourse with others during the husband's absence.
The two women appealed the verdicts and the Jazirah State Appeal Court issued a ruling overturning the convictions and sentences and returning the case files for a retrial of the two women for a number of reasons, including the fact that they had not had legal assistance during the proceedings.
The two women know Arabic very well and so the court did not have to appoint an interpreter, in accordance with article 137 of the 1991 Code of Criminal Procedures.
The case files are before the Jazirah State court of first instance with a view to the retrial of the two women on instructions from Al-Jazirah Appeal Court.
Sudan: Death Sentences of Abdelrhman Zakaria Mohamed and Ahmed Abdullah Suleiman Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 2 males (juvenile offenders)
Character of reply: Largely satisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Sudan and welcomes the information that the death sentences of Abdelrhman Zakaria Mohamed and Ahmed Abdullah Suleiman were quashed on appeal.
Urgent appeal dated 22 May 2007 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture We would like to draw the attention of your Government to information we have received regarding Abdelrhman Zakaria Mohamed and Ahmed Abdullah Suleiman, both aged 16 who were reportedly sentenced to death by the Criminal Court, in Nyala on 3 May, 2007. Abdelrhman Zakaria Mohamed was found guilty of ‘murder’, ‘causing injury intentionally’ and ‘robbery’ in connection with a burglary in February 2007 which resulted in the stabbing of two persons, one fatally. Ahmed Abdullah Suleiman was convicted of being an accomplice. It is our understanding that an appeal against the sentences was due to be submitted to the court of appeal in Nyala on 15 May.
While we not wish to prejudge the accuracy of the allegations regarding this specific case, we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the executions of Abdelrahman Zakaria Mohamed and Ahmed Abdullah Suleiman would violate Sudan’s international legal obligations. In particular, such executions would be explicitly contrary to Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child which provides that capital punishment shall not be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age, and to Article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which provides that the death penalty shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age. Sudan is a party to each of these treaties and is thus bound by these provisions.
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 above accurate? If not, please provide information and documents proving their inaccuracy.
2. If the above facts are accurate, please provide details of the outcome of the appeal before the Court of Appeal of Nyala.
3. Given the urgency of the matter, if the above facts are correct, we would appreciate a response on the initial steps taken by your Excellency’s Government to safeguard the rights of the above-mentioned persons.
Response from the Government of Sudan dated 23 June 2007 On 3 May 2007, the two defendants were convicted under Articles 130 and 175 (murder and robbery) of the 1991 Criminal Code and were sentenced to death by the Criminal Court. The verdict was appealed and the Appeal Court rendered its decision on 10 July 2007, quashing the death sentence, because the defendants were under the legal age, and directing the authorities to take such appropriate measures as have been established for the rehabilitation and reform of minors.
Sudan: Killing of Protestors in Northern State in June 2007 Violation alleged: Deaths due to excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
Subject(s) of appeal: 4 persons
Character of reply: No response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur The Special Rapporteur regrets that the Government of Sudan has failed to cooperate with the mandate that he has been given by the General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Allegation letter dated 12 September 2007sent with the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
We would like to bring to your to your Government’s attention information we have received concerning reports of killings of protestors by the security forces in connection with the construction of a hydropower dam in the Kajbar area, northern State.
According to information we have received:
On Wednesday 13 June 2007 Sudanese security forces shot dead four civilians and injured eleven close to the Kajbar Dam site in the Nubia area of northern Sudan. On this day it was reported that five hundred protestors set out on a protest march from the hamlet of Jeddi heading heading for authorities based in Sabu, to hand over a memorandum apparently in light of the fact that they been neither consulted nor informed about the commencement of the dam construction. Those shot dead were named as Abdelmuezz Mohamed Abdelrahim, Mohamed Faqir Mohamed Sid Ahmed, Al Sadeg Salim, and Sheikh Eddin Haj Ahmed. It was reported that three of the four who died were shot in the head, the remaining person in the chest.
Whilst police claimed they had fired live rounds in self defence, this was contradicted by eye witnesses who stated that the protestors were peaceful and unarmed. Security officers, thought to belong to the Central Reserve Police fired tear gas at the crowd. Security forces several hundred metres away from protestors thereafter opened fire with live ammunition and without warning. Immediately after the protests the deputy Governor of northern State gave a statement to local media condemning the violent repression of the protests promising to bring the perpetrators to justice. The following day these statements were retracted by the Governor, who also announced on 19 June, 2007 that a Committee of Investigation would be established by the authorities.
Whilst we do not want to prejudge the accuracy of these reports, we consider it appropriate to bring to your Government’s attention the principles governing the lethal use of force in the dispersal of protests under international law. We would respectfully refer your Government to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Sudan is a party, and which provides that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life. Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979) and principle 9 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, 27 August to 7 September 1990) provide an authoritative and convincing interpretation of the limits the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of life places on the conduct of law enforcement forces facing allegedly violent crowds:
Article 3 states “Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.” It thus sets forth the twin safeguards of necessity and proportionality in the use of force.
Principle 9 reads:
“Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.” (emphasis added)
In order to assess whether the use of lethal force was proportionate to the requirements of law enforcement and necessary, there must be a “thorough, prompt and impartial investigation” (Principle 9 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions). This principle was reiterated by the 61st session of the Commission on Human Rights in Resolution 2005/34 on “Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions” (OP 4), stating that all States have “the obligation … to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”.
We would also like to appeal to your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary steps to secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression in accordance with fundamental principles as set forth in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
We would also like to appeal to your Excellency's Government to take all necessary steps to ensure the right of peaceful assembly as recognized in article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which provides that "The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interest of national security of public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals of the protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.
We urgently appeal to your Excellency’s Government to ensure that any ongoing operations by the security forces in northern State conform to these principles.
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 this case to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
1. Are the allegations in the above summary of the events accurate?
2. What were the instructions given to the security forces before and during the operation in Kajbar area? How did the security forces ensure compliance with the requirements of necessity and proportionality?
3. Please provide the details on how the actions undertaken by the security forces regarding this case are compatible with international norms and standards of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and in particular the related right to peaceful assembly and association?
4. Please provide the details, and where available the results, of the Committee of Investigation, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to this case.
5. Will those injured by the security forces and the family members of those killed be compensated?
6. Please reply to the joint allegation letter dated 5 July, 2006 concerning the killing of protestors at Marawi in April 2006.