Amnesty International protests China death penalty on Pinoy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 07 2011 12:21 AM | Updated as of Dec 07 2011 07:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Amnesty International has protested at China's decision to execute a Filipino man convicted of drug smuggling, at a news conference on Tuesday.

A report on unfair trials leading to executions in the Asia-Pacific region was also released.

The execution is due to be carried out on December 8 despite pleas from the Filipino government.

Deputy Director of the Asia-Pacific Programme for Amnesty International, Catherine Baber, said China's decision violates international human rights standards.

"Amnesty International is devastated that the Chinese governments have confirmed their intention to execute the Filipina alleged drug smuggler, even though the Philippine government have made a representation on the defendant's behalf," she said.

In February 2011, China executed three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking despite a flurry of public appeals for clemency.

In the report, Amnesty International, along with Anti Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) and Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP), said unfair trials leading to executions are more prevalent in Asian countries than the rest of the world.

Baber said that suspects often do not have access to a legal trial, and confessions forced through torture become sole evidence for conviction.

"This problem is not limited to China, but is prevalent across the 14 countries in Asia that still use the death penalty and account for 95 percent of executions worldwide.

"Defendants can be sentenced to death based to confession evidence alone and confessions have been extracted through torture. We have seen cases of that from China, from Taiwan, from Indonesia, and this really means that the prospect of innocent people being executed which is a real indictment of the country's justice system, is really real in the countries across Asia currently," she said.

In July 2010, China executed Wen Qiang, the former chief justice of the country's central Chongqing municipality, on charges of bribery, shielding criminal gangs, and rape.

Wen's execution was at the center of a widely publicized crackdown on the city's mafia.

China also sentenced at least 26 people to death following bloody ethnic violence in the far northwestern predominantly - Muslim Xinjiang region.

At least 9 of the suspects, whose names suggested they were from the Uighur ethnic group, have been executed.

China insists on rule of law

The Chinese government, meanwhile, rule of law should prevail on the case of the Filipino who was found guilty of smuggling illegal drugs.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said said drug-related crimes are considered as serious offenses worldwide.

He issued the statement, even as the Philippine government appealed to Beijing to commute Filipino's sentence.

"China is a country under the rule of law. The Chinese judicial authority treats foreign drug criminals equally, handles their cases in accordance with law, fully guarantees their litigation rights and access to due treatment and carries out relevant obligations prescribed in international conventions," Hong said in a press conference at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing.
 
"I want to point out that China runs the state by law. The Chinese judicial authority has passed a sentence on relevant Philippine drug trafficker in accordance with law. China has noted that the Philippine side has expressed its respect for China's judicial decision," he added. - with a report from Reuters