The Anonymous Widower

FT Says Afghans Want Local Trial

The shooting of Afghans by a rogue US serviceman, is absolutely awful and I dread to think where it will lead. I think if I was a soldier out there now, I’d be watching a few Black Adder Goes Forth videos, to get myself invalided home.

The FT this morning is claiming that the Afghan government want a local trial.

I hope that Afghanistan doesn’t have the death penalty!


March 13, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | 2 Comments

Interviews Before Execution

This article on the BBC web site, puts a whole new slant on reality television.

We’re back to the public executions at Tyburn that finished in the last 18th Century. The list on Wikipedia of those who were executed there, includes Oliver Cromwell, who was actually posthumously executed, after exhumation of  his body from Westminster Abbey.

March 12, 2012 Posted by | News | , | Leave a comment

Web Programmer At Risk of Execution In Iran

This is from Amnesty International.

Web programmer Saeed Malekpour could be executed at any time in Iran. His death sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court on 17 January 2012 and a court official has indicated that his death sentence may have now been sent for implementation.


Saeed Malekpour, a resident of Canada and Iranian national, aged 36, was again sentenced to death on 19 October 2011 by Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court, and it was confirmed by Branch 32 of the Supreme Court on 17 January 2012. On 14 February 2012, one of Saeed Malekpour’s lawyers visited both courts to ask about his case, but learned that the file was being held at neither court. Comments from a court official suggested that this is because Saeed Malekpour’s file has been sent to the Office of Implementation of Sentences.


Saeed Malekpour was sentenced to death for “insulting and desecrating Islam” after a program he had developed for uploading photos online had been used to post pornographic images without his knowledge.  Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court sentenced him to death in October 2010 following a trial that reportedly only lasted 15 minutes.  After a June 2011 announcement that the Supreme Court had returned the case for further review, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court imposed again the death sentence as well as prison sentence of seven and a-half years. Amnesty International understands that although he has legal representation now, for much of his detention Saeed Malekpour has had no access to legal counsel.  


Saeed Malekpour had been living in Canada since 2005, but was arrested in October 2008 while visiting his family in Iran. He was allegedly tortured while held for over a year in solitary confinement in Tehran’s Evin prison.  In 2009, Iranian state television repeatedly aired a “confession” by Saeed.  In an open letter dated March 2010, Saeed Malekpour stated his “confession” was extracted after prolonged torture following orders by Revolutionary Guard interrogators.

I see many e-mails like this. To the Iranians justice seems to be a word with seven-letters and that is all.

This one touched me, as I’ve written programs to upload pictures and othe files to the Internet.  As far as I know no-one has used them for any illicit purposes.

February 19, 2012 Posted by | Computing, News | , , , , | Leave a comment

An Obituary For an Unknown in the Fight Against Capital Punishment in the UK

I have said before that C used to visit prisoners in Holloway Prison in the early 1970s.

Yesterday, the Times and other papers carried reports of the death or full obituaries of the death of Stella Cunliffe.

Here is the report of her death on the Surrey Today website.

I have a feeling that C used to visit Holloway prison in a group, which involved this formidable lady. She seems to have provided the statistical evidence for the abolishment of capital punishment in parts or all of the UK.  The obituaries vary.

There’s more here on Wikipedia, which states she was one of the first civilians to go into Belsen.

I think I met her a couple of times in about 1970 and we never knew what she did.  Her male friend and they were just that, was a senior hospital manager and one of the best practical jokers that I’ve ever come across. I have to admit to stealing one of his best jokes.

February 1, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Americans Don’t Have A Sense of Humour

It’s all here.

I rest my case!

Now we have even more reasons to not visit the Land of the Hi-tech Death Penalty!

January 31, 2012 Posted by | Computing, Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Dami Killers Should Have Been Hanged

This was front page headline in the Evening Standard and it is the words of Damilola Taylor’s father Richard on the release of the two Preddie brothers who killed his son. Read the story of the case here.

I of course don’t agree, especially as the brothers were just 12 and 13 when they killed his son. They actually got eight years youth custody for manslaughter.

I know what it is like to lose a son, but I can’t help feeling that the Death of Damilola Taylor was avoidable, if the various agencies and parents on both sides had taken more care and stood by their responsibilities.

But what I object to, is that newspapers are increasingly going on that the death penalty is the solution to the problems of violence and knife crime. But we all know sensationalism sells newspapers.

One point we should always remember, is that the Taylor family relocated to the UK to get treatment for Damilola’s elder sister’s epilepsy.  Surely with all it’s wealth Nigeria could do more to look after the people rather than descending into endless criminality and religious violence.

January 26, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

God Isn’t Listening

Apparently, Texas is in the midst of a drought.

According to The Times today, last April Rick Perry, the governor and Presidential candidate, lead a prayer for rain in the state.

And guess what?

It hasn’t rained.

Either God doesn’t exist or he/she doesn’t like the fact that Rick Perry executes a lot of people in his state.

January 20, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kaletsky on America

Anatole Kaletsky in The Times is one of my favourite commentators and I usually read what he says.

Today’s missive, The New World is slipping behind the times, is unlikely to go down very well with those conservative Republicans whose main aim seems to be to take America back to the good old days, when men were men and preachers were preachers.  Women, blacks and other second class citizens did what they were told.

This paragraph is one of many, that doesn’t pull any punches.

The US is the only major country not even to have considered adopting the metric system, and which still uses fahrenheit instead of celsius and refuses to publish railway and airline timetables using the 24-hour clock. And then there are the scarily anachronistic social views, ranging from the death penalty to creationism over evolution.

America is going down a very small dead-end. We had better not follow them!

You have to admire Kaletsky to get the death penalty, metrication and evolution in one paragraph.

January 11, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

The Cloud-Cuckoo Land That is Republican Politics

I’ve just looked at this page on the BBC web site, which sets out the policies of the various Republican candidates, who might stand against President Obama. It looks like they are all against same-sex marriage and abortion, for cutting immigration into the United States, making everybody pay for their own health care and reducing tax rates to companies.

I can’t think of any past or present British politician, except for perhaps the BNP, who would promote such a toxic mix of electoral suicide.

But then the United States is different and you sort out your own problems.

It goes without saying, that no-one would be in favour of improving the justice and penal system and abolishing the death penalty.  But then most Americans believe in vengeance and not justice.

As I’ve said Barack Obama has been a disappointment to me, but he’s orders of magnitude better than this psychotic bunch.

January 4, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Racial Bias of the US Death Penalty

This article in today’s Guardian should be read by all.

It is one of the best and most scientifically correct articles I’ve seen on the death penalty and how in the United States, there is a racial bias in who gets convicted and executed.

In some ways, it sums up why I feel that Obama is one of the most disappointing US Presidents, I can remember.

Surely as a lawyer, who has practised at the sharp end and has seen how the death penalty aroused controversy in Illinois, he should have strong feeling against this cruel and unusual punishment.  But on the other hand he did approve the mission which led to the execution without trial of Osama Bin Laden.

January 3, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment