10.10.10 Looking back on the World Day in Asia
Only two weeks before the World Day against the Death Penalty, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad accused the United States of hypocrisy in the execution of Teresa Lewis, when former US President Bill Clinton had recently spoken out against the punishment of death by stoning. The focus on the US this year served as a reminder that this high profile country presents an important hurdle in the fight for abolition worldwide.
Thank you to everyone who organised and attended activities and issued statements for the World Day against the Death Penalty, which focussed on the USA this year, and thanks to those of you who have sent in your stories. These are some of the events held by ADPAN members in recognition of the day:
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights and Australians Against Capital Punishment organised a dinner for over 250 people in Brisbane, at which David Marr was the guest speaker.
In Hyderabad, India, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Andhra Pradesh unit, organised a programme with Jana Chaitanya Vedika at Hyderabad Press Club. Former Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court, Justice Ambati Lakshamana Rao, gave the keynote speech.
Action for Peace and Human Rights (APHR) had a meeting to commemorate the World Day against the Death Penalty, and have launched a blog: http://prisonnotes-aphr.blogspot.com/ to share information with supporters of the anti-death penalty campaign.
Japanese action from Italy to Tokyo
At an event in Forlì, Italy, entitled ‘A strange fruit, a bitter crop: the death penalty in the USA and Japan,’ Yukari Saito, member of Forum 90, gave a talk on ‘The Japanese noose: a knot of power difficult to loose.’ AI Japan organised a demonstration in Tokyo in which 80 people took part, and the organisers presented poetry, essays and painting contributed by death row inmates.
In Indonesia, the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) hosted a press conference to evaluate the situation of the death penalty, with an exhibition of posters, prior to a peace demonstration in Jakarta. They met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss the issue of Indonesians on death row in foreign countries, and reported a good response from him.
Odhikar and FIDH published a joint report on the use of the death penalty in Bangladesh, entitled Criminal justice through the prism of capital punishment and the fight against terrorism, which was presented in Dhaka to the Bangladeshi authorities, civil society and the media during an FIDH visit from 8 to 12 October.
Members of AI Thailand held a silent action in the city centre to raise awareness about the death penalty (photo), and there was an in-house discussion on the arguments for and against the death penalty.
The Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) organised a three day film festival called ‘Murder by Numbers.’ It opened with a documentary on the case of Lu Cheng, whose sister Lu Ching believes was wrongfully executed in September 2000.
AI Malaysia presented a play based on the life story of Yong Vui Kong, entitled Banduan Akhir Di Sel Akhir, at Black Box Theatre in Kuala Lumpur.
The Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign (SADPC) published a statement calling for a moratorium on the death penalty in Singapore, to their blog and to The Online Citizen.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) held public awareness meetings across Pakistan, and sent a letter on the occasion of the World Day welcoming the moratorium on executions in place in the country since November 2008, to the President, Asif Ali Zardari.