death penalty

Thai judge shoots himself in court: protest at ‘political interference’

When Thai judge Khanakorn Pianchana reached the end of the judgment in a case he had been hearing, he read out a statement. He next walked from the bench to bow before a portrait of Thai King, Maha Vajiralongkorn. Then he took a pistol from his pocket and shot himself. He was immediately rushed to hospital where he is now reported as out of danger. But what caused the judge to take such dramatic and potentially fatal action?

The case before Judge Khanakorn Pianchana involved five people charged with offences including murder, illegal association and certain gun-related offences. They were arrested two months after the shooting of five people in the remote Bannang Sata district. Three of the accused were charged with the murders and the remaining two with being accomplices.

Witchcraft trial adds 7 more to Tanzania's death row

A recent witchcraft trial in Tanzania has led to a further seven people being added to the well over 500 convicts believed to be on death row. The case illustrates the difficult position in which Tanzanian courts find themselves: the death penalty is still applicable to murder and a few other serious offences and just three months ago the high court declared it was unable to change the law in relation to the death penalty.

 
The first time I heard the death penalty passed in court was a moment I have never forgotten. And even though I witnessed courts pronouncing that sentence a number of times in the years that followed, the shock of the actual words was something that always hit me.
 

'Devilish', 'primitive' murder of man with albinism warrants death sentence – Malawi judge

The last court-imposed execution was carried out in Malawi during 1992. Some 15 people were on death row at the end of 2017, and though the number has increased since then there have been no further hangings. However, the question of whether the death penalty will ever actually be carried out has now been given a new urgency, following the sentence of a man convicted for murdering a fellow villager with albinism in the apparent belief that this would make him rich.

Read judgment

In his life, Mphatso Pensulo, 19, may not have been well known outside his home village of Mulonda. His gruesome death, however, has made his name famous throughout the world.

From Japan to South America, the media has carried stories about his murder and the conviction and subsequent sentencing of his killer, Willard Mikaele, 28. What has made Pensulo’s name so well known is the fact that this was a young man with albinism, and was killed because of that simple fact.

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