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ZIMBABWE PLANS TO CUT BACK ON HANGINGS, DEATH PENALTY ONLY FOR 'EXTREME VIOLENCE'

March 28, 2012: Zimbabwe is considering cutting back on hangings according to a proposed new constitution, reserving the death penalty for only extreme cases of aggravated murder, a government official said.
Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said only killers who commit "gratuitous violence to the extent it becomes sickening" will be hanged.
In a compromise between human rights groups and traditional supporters of capital punishment, it will be up to judges to rule on the level of violence used.
Matinenga told The Associated Press that despite calls for its abolition, the death penalty cannot be "totally scrapped because there are murders that make you shudder and ask: What was the person thinking?"
The fate of at least 61 prisoners on death row will be considered on individual merits if the measure is adopted in a constitutional referendum that may be held in September, he said.
Rights groups argue every criminal killing is extreme violence and say it will be open to wide interpretations in courts asked to differentiate between axing deaths in village disputes, anger-fueled shootings and cold-blooded, premeditated murder.
No executions have been carried out under the three-year old coalition government. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's former opposition Movement for Democratic Change party has voiced its disapproval of hanging.
Execution orders must be signed by the coalition's co-ministers of justice and approved by President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
Executions were suspended for a decade after Mugabe met with Pope John Paul II in 1988. During the moratorium, scores of inmates' death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment on grounds that they suffered inhumane mental torment awaiting execution.
Matinenga said laws already exist for prisoners to appeal for a death sentence to be altered to a life sentence.
In 2010, the justice ministry said it was looking for a new hangman.
The last executioner retired after carrying out his last execution in 2004, saying he was struggling with his conscience in the face of superstitious local custom and beliefs in avenging ancestral spirits. After that, authorities reportedly sought a foreign executioner from Asia.
Human rights groups in 2010 cited a Supreme Court plea by a death row inmate who said he and other convicted killers were "losing their minds" in uncertainty over when jailers would call them for hangings at dawn on gallows of scaffolding and wood dating from the colonial era.
Official records show 78 people have been executed in Zimbabwe since the African country won independence from Britain in 1980. (Sources: Associated Press, 28/03/2012)

AFGHANISTAN: WOMAN EXTRA-JUDICIALLY EXECUTED OVER ILLICIT RELATIONS
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: MINISTERS IN FAVOR OF AN IRREVERSIBLE MORATORIUM ON EXECUTIONS
INDIA: MAN GETS CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR KIDNAPPING, MURDER
JAPAN: PRIME MINISTER YOSHIHIKO NODA STANDS BY USE OF DEATH PENALTY
INDIA: AKALI DAL PARTY CALLS FOR ABOLITION OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
JAPAN: 3 INMATES HANGED; 1ST EXECUTIONS SINCE JULY 2010
MALAYSIA: TWO MYANMAR WOMEN AND TWO LOCALS TO HANG FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
EU 'REGRETS' JAPAN EXECUTIONS, URGES MORATORIUM
CHINA: THREE EXECUTED OVER FATAL FIRE
MALAYSIA: ‘THE DEATH PENALTY SHOULD BE MAINTAINED FOR NOW’
MALAYSIA: NIGERIAN TO HANG FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
TEXAS (USA): JESSE JOE HERNANDEZ EXECUTED
SAUDI ARABIA: RELIGIOUS POLICE GIVEN MORE POWERS TO STEP UP WAR ON SORCERY
UAE: COURT UPHOLDS DEATH SENTENCE IN MURDER CASE
USA: FEDERAL JUDGE BARS IMPORT OF EXECUTION DRUG
DEATH PENALTY 2011: ALARMING LEVELS OF EXECUTIONS IN THE FEW COUNTRIES THAT KILL
UGANDA: PRESIDENT MUSEVENI PARDONS SHARMA KOOKY
JAMAICA: CHILD KILLER'S DEATH SENTENCE OVERTURNED
MALAYSIA: 860 PRISONERS UNDER DEATH SENTENCE
INDIA: STAYED EXECUTION
CHINA: UIGHUR MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER XINJIANG ATTACKS
BANGLADESH: SAGAR TO HANG FOR KILLING SHUBHO
ZIMBABWE: MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR RITUAL MURDER
NIGERIA: SUPREME COURT RE-AFFIRMS DEATH SENTENCE ON KILLER SECURITY GUARD
CHINA TO ABOLISH TRANSPLANTING ORGANS FROM CONDEMNED PRISONERS WITHIN 3-5 YEARS
MISSISSIPPI (USA): WILLIAM MITCHELL EXECUTED
THAILAND: CHALERM PUSHES FOR EARLY EXECUTION OF DRUG CONVICTS
MALAYSIA: FORMER POSTMAN GETS DEATH SENTENCE FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING
EGYPT: SUSPECT SENTENCED TO DEATH OVER VILLAGE MASSACRE OF 15
LIBERIA: WIFE KILLER GETS HACKING DEATH SENTENCE

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IRAN. HANDS OFF CAIN, REDUCTION OF DRUG EXECUTIONS BUT NUMBERS REMAIN WORRISOME
  HUMAN RIGHTS: DEMONSTRATION OF THE RADICAL PARTY BEFORE IRANIAN EMBASSY 14 FEBRUARY  
  BELARUS EXECUTES TWO CONVICTED MURDERERS  
  MALAYSIA: GOVT HALTS EXECUTION OF 1,200 DEATH ROW INMATES  
  JAPAN HANGS CULT LEADER SHOKO ASAHARA, 6 OTHERS FOR 1995 TOKYO SUBWAY SARIN ATTACK  
  SOMALIA - DEATH PENALTY AND TERRORISM  
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