BANGLADESH. COUNTRY CRITICISED FOR "CHILD" DEATH SENTENCE
October 19, 2005: the international children's charity Save the Children, criticized the case of Sukur Ali a man sentenced to death for crimes he committed when he was 14 years old. Ali, now 20, was awaiting execution for the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl after Bangladesh's Supreme Court upheld his sentence in May 2005.
Ali was arrested when he was aged 14, allegedly confessing the crimes to police and sentenced to death in July 2001. Save the Children expressed "serious concern" at the sentence which it said contravened national and international law.
"We are seriously concerned as the case was a basic failure up to the highest tier of the judiciary," Shohana Shabnam, program manager of Save the Children, Bangladesh, said.
Ali's trial in an adult rather than a juvenile court was a "gross violation" of the country's Children Act 1974, she said.
Imposing the death sentence for a crime committed by a person under the age of 18 also contravened the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of the Child, she said.
Bangladesh was among the first countries to ratify the convention in 1989.
Legal experts and local human right groups have also expressed concern at the sentence.
"If this execution is carried out, it will be a gross violation of human rights," said Shahdeen Malik, head of law at Brac University in Dhaka.
"There is no such precedent even in Bangladesh," he added. (Sources: Agence France Presse, 19/10/2005)