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SOUTH AFRICA. CONSTITUTIONAL COURT TO DECIDE ON DEATH ROW PRISONERS

March 10, 2005: sixty-two prisoners were still under sentence of death although the death penalty was declared invalid in South Africa 10 years ago, the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg heard.
"There are 62 persons whose position is still under some cloud," said advocate Vas Soni, appearing on behalf of the state.
The state was defending an application brought by four prisoners on death row arguing they should receive a fresh trial and new sentence.
The 62 death row prisoners fell into two categories, Soni said, those with and those without court records.
The Department of Justice expected to complete by the end of June the process of commuting the sentences of those with records to life in prison.
The second category was more problematic as these prisoners had no records. "The department is agonising on how to take the process forward," said Soni.
One suggestion was to seek guidance from the court, he said.
The death penalty was declared unconstitutional in June 1995, when the Constitutional Court found it violated the right to life and was cruel, inhuman and degrading.
As a result of that judgment, legislation was passed to provide for the procedure to be followed in setting aside the death penalty and substituting it with a more appropriate sentence.
Justice Zak Yacoob said that in 1995 a certain number of people were identified as having death sentences. "If the judgement was taken seriously at all, then something should have been done at that point," he said. According to the South African Human Rights Commission, 430 people were facing the death sentence when it was abolished in 1995. (Sources: SAPA, 10/03/2005)

UN. CONCERN OVER HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN IVORY COAST
IRAQ: SADDAM TO GET DEATH SENTENCE, JUDGE
CHINA. TOP GUANGZHOU HOSPITAL DOES ROARING TRADE IN EXECUTED PRISONER ORGANS, EDITORIAL
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT. CHINA AND UNITED STATES URGED TO ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY
COLORADO, USA. STATE HIGH COURT BLOCKS EXECUTION BECAUSE JURORS CONSULTED BIBLE
MALAYSIA. HANGMEN IN LINE FOR A 75% PAY RISE
CHINA. DEATH PENALTY DEBATE 10 YEARS TOO LATE FOR NIE SHUBIN, EDITORIAL
TERRI SCHIAVO. THE VATICAN IS FUNDAMENTALIST ON EVERYTHING BUT THE DEATH PENALTY
LIBYA. BULGARIAN NURSES' LAWYER VOWS TO HAVE DEATH SENTENCES OVERTURNED
INDONESIA. GOVERNMENT URGED TO EXECUTE CONVICTED DRUG TRAFFICEKRS ON DEATH-ROW SOON
USA. CATHOLIC BISHOPS CAMPAIGN AGAINST DEATH PENALTY
SAUDI ARABIA. MAN BEHEADED FOR MURDER, SORCERY
USA. GOVERNMENT URGES JUDGE TO SET DATE FOR MOUSSAOUI TRIAL
MALAYSIA. COURT AFFIRMS DEATH PENALTY FOR MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING BANGLADESHI
INDONESIA. WOMAN EXECUTED FOR TRIPLE MURDERS
MEXICO. SENATE VOTES TO ABOLISH DEATH PENALTY
AFGHANISTAN. 4 SENTENCED TO DEATH IN ATTACKS ON FOREIGNERS
IRAN. MAN CONVICTED OF KILLING CHILDREN WHIPPED THEN EXECUTED IN PUBLIC
IRAN. TWO MEN HANGED PUBLICLY FOR RAPE AND ARMED ROBBERY
SAUDI ARABIA. FOUR FILIPINOS BEHEADED FOR MURDERING COMPATRIOT
CHINA CANNOT ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY: WEN
ITALY. CALDEROLI’S STATEMENT ON UNABOMBER DANGEROUS, D’ELIA
INDIA. 'INDIA CARRIED OUT 1,422 EXECUTIONS IN A DECADE', RIGHTS GROUP
SAUDI ARABIA. TWO GAY LOVERS EXECUTED FOR MURDER OF PAKISTANI
PAKISTAN. TOP ISLAMIC COURT THROWS OUT GANGRAPE ACQUITTAL
UNITED KINGDOM. SCOT ON DEATH ROW IN NIGERIA HAS MURDER CONVICTION QUASHED
IRAN. CONVICTED MURDERER HANGED, ROBBERS LASHED
IRAN. JUDICIARY ENDS PROCEEDINGS AGAINST AGHAJARI
CHINA ARRESTS 800,000 FOR 'ENDANGERING STATE SECURITY'
CHINA. CHIEF JUSTICE PLEDGES TO IMPROVE DEATH PENALTY REVIEW PROCESS

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