2000: An adulteress, by stoning

Add comment May 2nd, 2011 Headsman

On this date in 2000, according to the New York Times,

Afghanistan’s hard-line Taliban religious rulers stoned a mother of seven to death in northern Afghanistan today after she was found guilty of committing adultery, the Taliban radio said.

The last execution of a woman in Taliban territory was in November, when a woman was shot three times by a Taliban soldier after she was found guilty of killing her abusive husband with an ax.

The stoning today was carried out at a sports stadium in Mazar-e-Sharif in northern Afghanistan before several thousand spectators.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Afghanistan,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,Gruesome Methods,History,Public Executions,Sex,Stoned,Women

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2000: Kasongo, child soldier

1 comment January 15th, 2011 Meaghan

(Thanks to Meaghan Good of the Charley Project for the guest post. -ed.)

On this day in 2000, a 14-year-old boy from the Democratic Republic of the Congo was executed by firing squad only thirty minutes after his conviction by the Congolese Cour D’ordre Militaire, or Military Order Court. The teen, a child soldier known only as Kasongo, was found guilty with four other soldiers for the murder of a driver.

Amnesty International noted (pdf) that the DRC imposed the sentence in spite of the fact that it signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, both of which prohibit the death penalty for persons under the age of 18, and in spite of the fact that the DRC’s Minister for Human Rights had in 1999 promised a moratorium on executions.

Under Congolese law, those convicted by the Cour D’ordre Militaire can appeal to the President for clemency. Since Kasongo’s sentence was carried out so quickly, however, it’s doubtful the President heard his appeal.

In 2001, the DRC told the United Nations that all other child soldiers sentenced to death have been pardoned. Why Kasongo was excepted from this rule, no one knows. The military courts that convicted him were abolished in 2003.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Children,Congo (Kinshasa),Death Penalty,Execution,Guest Writers,History,Milestones,Murder,Other Voices,Shot,Soldiers

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2000: Cheng Kejie of the National People’s Congress

1 comment September 14th, 2010 Headsman

Ten years ago today, former Chinese politburo member Cheng Kejie was executed for gobbling up an impressive $5 million in bribes.

The onetime chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was (and, as best I can determine, remains) the highest-ranking official judicially executed since the Communists took power in China in 1949. He’d spent the best part of the 1990s soaking up kickbacks from his powerful post, much of it secreted in out-of-country accounts.

The execution was part of a massive campaign against official corruption which has long bedeviled China’s economic surge. Cheng’s own former boss around this time warned that “graft could destroy China”.

Cheng’s execution was announced after the fact, at the same time that China belatedly publicized the arrest of former Vice-Minister of Public Security Li Jizhou in a billion-dollar smuggling scandal. Li somehow managed to duck execution for similarly show-stopping corruption allegations (including scandalous details supplied by his mistress*), a fact which raised eyebrows in the People’s Republic about improper influence.** He “deserves to die ten thousand times over,” opined the Beijing Youth Daily.

Here in 2010, China (whose wholesale execution pace is quietly on the decline) has moved — not without opposition — to drop the death penalty for a number of non-violent economic crimes. That rollback apparently would not apply to bribery, however.

* Cheng’s case also featured the salacious “other woman” hook, which often rounds out modern-day tales of official malfeasance. Cheng and his bit on the side “conspired to amass wealth for their planned marriage after divorcing their spouses”; Cheng’s lover, however, turned state’s evidence on him. She wound up with a life sentence.

** Li had some serious political weight to throw around; his father had helped prosecute the Gang of Four after the Cultural Revolution.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,China,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Famous,History,Infamous,Milestones,Pelf,Politicians,Ripped from the Headlines,Scandal

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2000: Lu Cheng, possible wrongful Taiwanese execution

Add comment September 7th, 2010 Headsman

On this date on 2000, Lu Cheng was shot for murder in the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The executed man’s photograph, held by his sister Lu Jing. (Chinese source)

Lu Cheng was condemned in June 2000 for kidnapping and murdering a onetime high school classmate and the sentence executed with dispatch on the eve of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

That was notwithstanding appeals by Lu’s camp against the highly circumstantial case — and a potentially compelling alibi that had been ignored in favor of a potentially torture-induced confession. (More in Chinese here)

Lu’s family has kept up protests posthumously, and even the Minister of Justice who signed Lu’s death warrant later turned against the death penalty himself.

Cases like Lu’s have helped drive a growing anti-death penalty sentiment in Taiwan, where executions declined throughout the 2000s, eventually settling into a five-year moratorium that has only recently been undone.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Murder,Shot,Torture,Wrongful Executions

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2000: Dmitry Chikunov, secretly

1 comment July 10th, 2009 Headsman

On this day in 2000, Russian national Dmitry (or Dmitri) Chikunov was secretly put to death* in Tashkent, Uzbekistan for the murder of two men.

A symbolic grave for Dmitry Chikunov; his actual resting place is unknown.

His mother, who had been shooed away from the prison on a previous visit with a demand that she come back later, only learned of the execution when she attempted to visit him two days later.** She has never learned where he was buried.

However, Tamara Chikunova turned out to be the type to turn grief into action.

She became a prominent human rights and anti-death penalty activist in Uzbekistan (and globally); her Mothers Against the Death Penalty and Torture organization was troublesome enough that the government blocked one of its conferences in 2003.

Well, Gandhi said it — “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” On January 1, 2008, Uzbekistan abolished the death penalty.

Tamara Chikunova discusses the rampant official corruption and malfeasance endemic in Uzbekistan’s (former) death penalty, and the issues still ahead for her organization, in this interview.

* Dmitry Chikunov’s execution by gunshot took place only nine months after trial; it’s hardly a surprise that Dmitry claimed to have been tortured into confession.

** In this French article, Chikunova says her son was actually shot while she herself was in the prison attempting to visit him.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Murder,Notably Survived By,Shot,Torture,Uzbekistan

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2000: Fu Xinrong, involuntary organ donor

4 comments May 30th, 2009 Headsman

One Fu Xinrong was shot in the back of the head this day in China’s Jiangxi province. The previous fall, he had raped his girlfriend, murdered their newborn son, and turned himself in to police.

His death, just one no-account criminal among China’s thousands of practically anonymous execution victims, attracted no particular notice.

But quite against all odds, Fu Xinrong posthumously became the subject of a scandal: the hook for a story in the Chinese press piquantly titled, “Where Did My Brother’s Body Go?”

For the answer — that Fu Xinrong’s corpse had been driven to a Nanchang hospital and its kidneys transplanted to unidentified recipients — unveiled the shadowy post-execution operations even more unseemly than China’s industrial-scale death penalty.

According to a Washington Post report of July 31, 2001,

After Fu was shot in the back of the head, four attendants got out of the van and picked up his corpse … A government prosecutor attempted to stop them, but they explained that they were from Nanchang and that they had a deal with the court …

“We found the hospital’s director and confronted him with the evidence,” one reporter said. “In the beginning, he refused to say anything about it, but when he saw what we had, he had to admit it on the condition that we did not release the hospital’s name in our report.”

Further investigation indicated that a senior court official, whose surname is Yang, had sold the body to the hospital, the report said.

Fu’s father committed suicide. The family sued the court in 2001; I have not been able to establish whether or how that suit was resolved. However, according to a 2003 U.S. Congress report (pdf) the editor who green-lighted the story’s publication was sacked.*

Fu’s case, in any event, is far from unusual.

On the contrary, his kidneys entered a veritable souk** of transplanted organs that’s been openly pitched at westerners willing to part with five figures and their decency in exchange for a life-giving replacement part from a shot-to-order prisoner.

* This would have been around the same time that a similar fate befell journalists indiscreet enough to explore the unflattering-to-the-People’s-Republic social environment of an executed gangster.

** Finally officially acknowledged in 2005.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,China,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Murder,Rape,Shot

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2003: Liu Yong, for corruption

2 comments December 22nd, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 2003, Liu Yong’s situation took a very abrupt turn for the worse.

The wealthy Communist Party member and Shenyang city legislator had been sentenced to death 20 months before in a corruption case for ordering the murder of a tobacco vendor as part of a mafioso racket of graft, extortion, black marketeering, and kindred mayhem.

When that sentence was reduced on retrial on a showing that Liu’s confession was extracted by torture, public outcry at the appearance of a well-connected insider getting off scot-free led the Supreme Court to take the unprecedented step of yet again re-trying a criminal case itself.

“According to China’s legal system, a criminal case can usually be tried only twice,” as China Daily lightly put it.

Amnesty International is less measured, and alleges that the irregular Supreme Court hearing was ordered by political insiders to buttress the credibility of the country’s anti-corruption drive — and to avoid setting any precedent that evidence of torture should mitigate criminal sentencing. (China certainly found defenders for the trial (the link is to an ugly layout of raw HTML).)

The high court handed down its sentence this very day, after which Liu was immediately hailed to one of China’s mobile execution vans, given a lethal injection, and cremated.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 21st Century,Capital Punishment,China,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Infamous,Lethal Injection,Milestones,Murder,Notable Jurisprudence,Organized Crime,Political Expedience,Politicians,Scandal,Torture,Wrongful Executions

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2000: Two kidnappers, televised by Guatemala

1 comment June 29th, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 2000, Amilcar Cetino Perez and Tomas Cerrate Hernandez were executed on live television in Guatemala for kidnapping and murdering a liquor heiress.

The televised Perez execution began at 6:05 a.m., with Hernandez (reportedly “shaking badly”) following at 7:15. Both took some minutes; Amnesty International has charged that they were botched and the prisoners suffered prolonged suffering. The macabre spectacle was replayed on Guatemalan TV throughout the day.

So daunting (or puffed-up) was the menace posed by the Los Posaco kidnapping-and-extortion gang they belonged to, the president sent his family to Canada to shield them from reprisals.

Today’s casualties were the second and third persons to die by lethal injection in Guatemala,* and remain to this date the last.

They might not retain that distinction long, however. Legislation earlier this year filled a legal gap that had caused a five-year moratorium on executions — ironically, by restoring the president’s power to pardon and commute death sentences.

* Lethal injection was introduced after a televised execution by firing squad came off most un-telegenically.

On this day..

Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Common Criminals,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,Guatemala,Kidnapping,Lethal Injection,Murder,Organized Crime,Public Executions,Ripped from the Headlines

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