INDEX



Document(s)

Government Misconduct and Convicting the Innocent, The Role of Prosecutors, Police and Other Law Enforcement

By Samuel R. Gross, Maurice J. Possley, Kaitlin Jackson Roll, Klara Huber Stephens , on 20 July 2022


2022

Academic report

Innocence


More details See the document

This is a report about the role of official misconduct in the conviction of innocent people. We
discuss cases that are listed in the National Registry of Exonerations, an ongoing online archive
that includes all known exonerations in the United States since 1989, 2,663 as of this writing.
This Report describes official misconduct in the first 2,400 exonerations in the Registry, those
posted by February 27, 2019

  • Document type Academic report
  • Themes list Innocence

Document(s)

Ratification Kit – Samoa

By World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, on 13 July 2022


2022

Academic report

Samoa

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More details Download [ pdf - 198 Ko ]

This Ratification Kit is designed for government decision-makers. It gives the procedure to ratify or accede to the Protocol and arguments to convince target countries to endorse it. Governments are not likely to have an expert understanding of the Second Optional Protocol. This document may contain answers to government concerns that will be addressed to you during your lobbying action.

Document(s)

Living Under Sentence of Death

on 22 April 2022


2022

Academic report

NGO report

Bangladesh

Death Row Conditions 


More details See the document

In 2019-20, The Department of Law at the University of Dhaka, in collaboration with the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST) and The Death Penalty Project, conducted a study to investigate socio-economic characteristics and experiences of death row prisoners in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh continues to retain and implement the death penalty, with several executions taking place each year. Excluding laws relating to the defence forces and international crimes, there are currently 33 crimes punishable by death. 25 of these offences are non-lethal and arguably do not meet the threshold of the ‘most serious crimes’ under international law.

Inspired by similar studies in other countries, a pilot study was commissioned to examine the demographics and experiences of those sentenced to death. Consistent with those studies around the world, our findings evidence that the death penalty in Bangladesh is disproportionately used against the most vulnerable and marginalised sections of society.

72% of prisoners were classified as economically vulnerable
53% of prisoners were in low-paid work or unemployed
87% of prisoners had no qualifications beyond secondary school level
15% of prisoners had no formal education.

The study also raised serious concerns around the treatment of prisoners, the length of time prisoners spent in prison under the sentence of death and the integrity of criminal investigations and trial.

33% of prisoners’ families alleged their relative had been tortured in police custody, 5% suspected this and 15% refused to comment
60% of respondents were not satisfied with the trial process, with some claiming that the courts had failed to properly appreciate the evidence
On average it took over 10 years for death row cases to be disposed by the HCD (where sentences are confirmed). Prolonged time spent in isolation on death row, has been declared inhumane and degrading in many countries.

The sample consisted of 39 individuals on death row, evidence from their case files and face-to-face interviews with their families were conducted under rigorous ethical guidelines to reveal their profiles and experiences. Despite its small size, the sample is indicative of the general prison population allowing us to draw conclusions on possible trends.

  • Document type Academic report / NGO report
  • Countries list Bangladesh
  • Themes list Death Row Conditions 

Document(s)

Death Penalty in India – Annual Statistics Report 2021

By Project 39A, on 4 February 2022


2022

Academic report

India


More details See the document

Project 39A at the National Law University, Delhi published the sixth edition of the Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics Report which provides an annual update on the use of the death penalty in India along with legislative and international developments on the issue. As on 31st December 2021, there were 488 prisoners on death row across India (a steep rise of nearly 21% from 2020), with Uttar Pradesh having the highest number at 86. This is the highest the death row population has been since 2004 as per the data from the Prison Statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list India

Document(s)

Killing in the Name of God: State-sanctioned Violations of Religious Freedom

By Eleos Justice, Monash University, on 10 November 2021


2021

Academic report

Brunei Darussalam

Iran (Islamic Republic of)

Maldives

Mauritania

Nigeria

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

Somalia

United Arab Emirates

Yemen


More details See the document

As of 2020, blasphemy was formally criminalised in some 84 countries. As many as 21 countries criminalised apostasy as of 2019. The legal penalties for such offences range from fines to imprisonment to corporal punishment—and in at least 12 countries, the death penalty.

This report examines the extent to which States commit, or are complicit in, killings that violate religious freedom. Focussing on the 12 States in which offences against religion are lawfully punishable by death, we examine four different types of State-sanctioned killings on the basis of religious offence (apostasy, blasphemy, or alike) or affiliation (most commonly, membership of a religious minority): judicial executions, extrajudicial killings, killings by civilians, and killings by extremist groups. We explore the relationship between the retention of the death penalty for religious offences and other forms of State-sanctioned killings motivated by alleged religious offending or by religious identity.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list Brunei Darussalam / Iran (Islamic Republic of) / Maldives / Mauritania / Nigeria / Qatar / Saudi Arabia / Somalia / United Arab Emirates / Yemen

Document(s)

Chinese Netizens’ Opinions on Death Sentences

By Bin Liang and Jianhong Liu, The University of Michigan Press, on 4 November 2021


2021

Academic report

China

Public Opinion 


More details See the document

The People’s Republic of China no doubt leads the world in both numbers of death sentences and executions. Despite being the largest user of the death penalty, China has never conducted a national poll on citizens’ opinions toward capital punishment, while claiming “overwhelming public support” as a major justification for its retention and use. Based on a content analysis of 38,512 comments collected from 63 cases in 2015, this study examines the diversity and rationales of netizens’ opinions of and interactions with China’s criminal justice system. In addition, the book discusses China’s social, systemic, and structural problems and critically examines the rationality of netizens’ opinions based on Habermas’s communicative rationality framework. Readers will be able to contextualize Chinese netizens’ discussions and draw conclusions about commonalities and uniqueness of China’s death penalty practice.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list China
  • Themes list Public Opinion 

Document(s)

Deathworthy: a mental health perspective of the death penalty

By Project 39A, on 7 October 2021


2021

Academic report

India

Mental Illness


More details See the document

A first of its kind report, Deathworthy, presents empirical data on mental illness and intellectual disability among death row prisoners in India and the psychological consequences of living on death row. The report finds that an overwhelming majority of death row prisoners interviewed (62.2%) had a mental illness and 11% had intellectual disability. The proportion of persons with mental illness and intellectual disability on death row is overwhelmingly higher than the proportion in the community population. The report also establishes correlations between conditions of death row incarceration and mental illness and ill-health. Led and conceptualised by Maitreyi Misra (Head, Mental Health and Criminal Justice, Project 39A, National Law University Delhi), the study was conducted under the guidance of Dr. Pratima Murthy (Director, NIMHANS), Dr Sanjeev Jain (Senior Professor, Deptt of Psychiatry, NIMHANS) and Dr Gitanjali Narayanan (Associate Professor, Deptt of Psychology, NIMHANS).

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list India
  • Themes list Mental Illness

Document(s)

The war on drugs, forensic science and the death penalty in the Philippines

By Maria Corazon A.De Ungria and Jose M.Jose, on 10 August 2021


2021

Academic report

Drug Offenses

Philippines


More details See the document

The effectiveness of the death penalty to deter heinous crimes remains a contentious issue even though it has been abolished in many countries. Three years into President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the push to re-impose the death penalty is being taken seriously.

There is urgency in providing options to the drug problem other than killing drug suspects in the streets or sentencing them to death. The drug problem is a complex issue and exposes the human vulnerability of its users for criminal exploitation.

We propose here that addressing these vulnerabilities in a balanced and comprehensive manner through health-focused, rights-based criminal justice responses, conducting forensic science-based drug investigations and determining the social causes of drug abuse is an alternative solution that demands cooperation across different sectors of society as well as underscores the fundamental value of human life.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list Philippines
  • Themes list Drug Offenses

Document(s)

Death in the time of Covid-19: Efforts to restore the death penalty in the Philippines

By Jose M.Jose and Maria Corazon A.De Ungria, on 10 August 2021


Academic report

Drug Offenses

Philippines


More details See the document

The Philippine Congress recently passed a bill amending the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and reimposing the penalty of life imprisonment to death for specific-drug related offenses. House Bill No. 7814 also allows the presumption of guilt in certain drug-related crimes unless otherwise proven, thereby overturning the long-standing constitutional presumption of innocence.

The bill has been sent to the Senate for its concurrence and could only be several steps away before being signed into law by President Rodrigo R. Duterte. This paper discusses the ramifications of the new bill and the questioned timeliness of its passage when the country continues to have a large and overcrowded prison population and a significant number of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 in Southeast Asia.

The government’s lapses in following the 2021 national vaccination plan became apparent in the 31 March 2021 assessment made by the congressional health panel on the government’s response to the pandemic.

From the authors’ perspective, the urgency of using the country’s limited resources to help medical frontliners and local government units prevent further infections and save lives should have outweighed the efforts exerted to pass a law that legalized the death penalty for the third time in the Philippines.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list Philippines
  • Themes list Drug Offenses

Document(s)

State-Sanctioned Killing of Sexual Minorities: Looking Beyond the Death Penalty

By Mai Sato, Christopher Alexander - Eleos Justice and Capital Punishment Justice Project, Monash University, on 10 August 2021


Academic report

Australia

Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment


More details See the document

This report examines the extent to which states sanction the killing of sexual minorities. It looks beyond those countries that impose the death penalty for same-sex intimacy to the far greater number of countries in which state actors commission, condone, endorse and enable such killings.
He argues that the state-sanctioned killing of sexual minorities is often perpetrated well beyond the boundaries of the law, and even in countries that do not criminalise such conduct.

  • Document type Academic report
  • Countries list Australia
  • Themes list Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment