sentenced to death in Philippines
Larina Perpinan was sentenced to death
in 1998, along with 10 others, for the kidnap for ransom of an elderly
woman, who was later released unharmed. Larina Perpinan is reported
to have been 17 years old when she was arrested. She says she barely
saw her lawyer before the trial and lied to the judge about her name,
age and address for fear of getting into trouble at home. When she finally
proved that she was 17 at the time of the crime, the judge had already
passed the death sentence and reportedly refused to reverse the decision.
Larina, who was pregnant at the time of her arrest, later gave birth
to a baby boy in prison.
Saturani Panggayong, sentenced to death for a crime
committed when he was only 15 years old. Saturani Panggayong was sentenced
to death in May 2001 for murder with robbery, a crime allegedly committed
when he was only 15 years old. He says that when he was first interrogated
there was no lawyer present and he did not understand much of the proceedings.
He says that during his trial, he was not asked to testify.
At least seven child offenders are currently under sentence
of death in the Philippines. The six men and one woman, now in their
twenties, have had their death sentences hanging over them for years.
According to Philippine law, these seven young offenders
should not have been sentenced to death. However, there is no requirement
in the law to establish whether or not a suspect is a child - below
the age of 18. This means that children are sometimes detained as adults.
All the seven child offenders have been detained with
adults since they were first arrested. Some of them have reported being
beaten or subjected to torture or ill-treatment on arrest, sometimes
to force them to confess. The six young men were, until recently, locked
in their cells for more than 23 hours a day.
A bill on abolition of the death penalty is currently
before the Philippine Congress.
first conviction under Anti-Terror law
Allen Muhammad became the first person convicted under a unique Virginia
anti-terrorism law enacted after Sept. 11, all but guaranteeing the
statute will be put to the test on appeal. Defence lawyers will almost
certainly argue that the law is too vague to have been used to convict
Muhammad in the sniper slaying of a man at a gas station.
anti-terrorism law, passed by Virginia lawmakers last year, makes a
killing punishable by execution if the crime was intended to intimidate
the public or influence the government. Prosecutors argued that Muhammad
and his alleged accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, tried to intimidate the
public in the Washington area in order to extort $10 million from the
portrayed Muhammad as the `captain' of a two-man killing team. The case
will automatically be reviewed by the Virginia Supreme Court if he is
sentenced to death, and an appeal is likely even if he gets life imprisonment.
``The fact that it's the first case under this new and untested law
guarantees the appellate court will look hard at the application of
this statute,'' said Anne Coughlin, a University of Virginia law professor.
Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, a Republican who drafted the legislation,
said he believes the law was applied correctly to Muhammad. But whether
prosecutors proved he was the mastermind of a terrorist act, with enough
control over Malvo to command the killings, is questionable, some lawyers
question has always been whether (the law) includes the type of psychological
relationship that may have existed here between Muhammad and Malvo,''
said Richard Bonnie, a criminal law professor at the University of Virginia.
Amnesty International & Guardian.