Death Penalty

RSS Feed for this category

Southeast Asia: Not Executing Drug Offenders Sends Wrong Signal, Singapore Says

An official of one of the world's leading drug executioner states has justified its mandatory death penalty for drug trafficking by saying to do otherwise would send the wrong signal to "drug barons." The state is Singapore, the authoritarian city-state on the tip of the Malay Peninsula, and the official was Law Minister K Shanmugam.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/singaporeflyer.jpg
Singapore Anti-Death Penalty Campaign flyer featuring Yong Vui Kong case
Shanmugam made his remarks to the Straits Times Sunday when asked about the case of Malaysian Yong Vui Kong, 22, who was sentenced to death for smuggling 47 grams of heroin in 2007. His case has attracted international attention from human rights groups and is now before the Singapore Court of Appeal.

It would be wrong if drug smugglers got off too cheaply because of mitigating factors like youth or motherhood, he said. "We are sending a signal to all the drug barons out there: Just make sure you choose a victim who is young, or a mother of a young child, and use them as the people to carry the drugs into Singapore," the minister said.

In March, Yong's attorney argued before the appeals court that the mandatory death penalty for trafficking more than 15 grams of heroin was unconstitutional because it gave judges no discretion to consider mitigating factors. But the government responded that the sentence was in line with the law passed by Singapore's legislature.

According to a report on the death penalty for drug offenses from the International Harm Reduction Association, more than 400 people have been executed in Singapore since 1991, the majority for drug offenses. Drug executions accounted for 76% of all executions there from 1994 to 1999, and Singapore has been executing drug offenders at a rate of about 20 a year for the past decade.

It's worth it, said Shanmugam. The death penalty had been critical for suppressing drug trafficking and use in the city-state, and unlike most countries, it had not lost the war on drugs. "But you won't have human rights people standing up and saying: 'Singapore, you have done a great job, having most of your people free of drugs,'" he said.

ENCOD Statement to the Malaysian government

Brussels, 4 March 2010 To: Yang Amat Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak Prime Minister of Malaysia Dear Excellency, Today we write to you as European citizens concerned with the impact of global drug policies, with an urgent request. We believe the death sentence that is applied to drug law offenders in Malaysia is an inappropriate measure, and would like to offer you our collaboration in identifying better solutions to the drug problems in your country. With certain regularity, reports appear in the Malaysian press on people being sentenced to death for the possession of illegal drugs, including cannabis. The exact number of those who are actually brought to death remains unknown. Human rights organisations estimate that currently some 300 convicted prisoners await execution on death row, most of them for drug-related offences. These sentences clearly violate international standards for a fair trial. The presumption of guilt and the mandatory death sentence in drug cases places the charge on the accused to prove his or her innocence and leaves a judge with no discretion over the sentence. Competent legal assistance is unavailable to many of those people, leaving them with little capacity to mount a defence at any stage of the proceedings. UN human rights bodies have concluded that drug offences fail to meet the condition of “most serious crime”, under which the death penalty is allowed as an “exceptional measure”. We are aware of the argument that drugs cause problems in Malaysian society. However, we doubt that these problems will be solved by harsh punishments, let alone executions of drug offenders. Malaysia, like any other country in the world, is not and never will be 100 % drug-free. As long as people in Malaysia want to consume drugs, other people will continue to supply them. Because of the fact that drugs are prohibited, drug trafficking is the core business of criminal organizations that in most cases operate internationally. The people who are occasionally caught by authorities with relatively small amounts do not have major responsibilities in this business. Killing them will not scare the drug gangs away. On the contrary: thanks to these harsh punishments, the leaders in the drug business can continue to justify extraordinary high prices for their goods,. Thus it maintains a vicious circle of violence and danger. On the other hand, it is important to make a serious assessment of the problems that drugs may or may not cause. Cannabis for instance is a plant, a natural product, a non-lethal substance. Its consumption has been widespread around the world for thousands of years among many different cultures and people. All these people do not use cannabis because it endangers their health or wellbeing, but rather because they experience the opposite. According to increasing amounts of scientific evidence, the so-called dangerousness of cannabis has been largely exaggerated and driven by moral in stead of rational considerations. The prohibition of cannabis was installed and promoted worldwide by Western countries, especially the USA, during a period in which they dominated the world. Meanwhile, in most European countries, cannabis possession for personal consumption is not penalised anymore. In a growing number of states in the USA, major law changes are taking place that legally regulate the cultivation and distribution of cannabis to adults for medicinal purposes. It would be extremely sad to see Malaysia continue executing people found in possession of cannabis, while the countries that have installed its prohibition have come to the insight that this is a useful substance whose consumption can be perfectly integrated in society. In Europe, during the past decades, we have been able to compare the results of different, sometimes opposing drug policies in societies that are similar in demographical, material and socio-cultural development. The conclusion is that drug policies, whether they are repressive or flexible, have a very minor impact on the drug phenomenon itself. In countries where authorities are relatively tolerant, the use of drugs may be lower than in neighboring countries where policies are more repressive. Another conclusion is that drugs-related harms can only be reduced by effective social and health policies. Innovative strategies for reaching out to the affected population and reducing the harms related to drug use are needed. The harsh implementation of drug law enforcement is an impediment to the introduction of these strategies. For these reasons, we are convinced that the death penalty is actually counterproductive to efforts to reduce the harm caused by drugs. We call upon your wisdom to apply principles of sound governance and let Malaysia join the majority of nations by declaring a moratorium on executions with a view to total abolition of all death sentences for drug offenses, as called for by the United Nations. We offer you our kind co-operation in transmitting knowledge and experience of public health policies that have proven effective in addressing drug-related problems. Sincerely yours, Marisa Felicissimo, Fredrick Polak, Jorge Roque and Antonio Escobar Members of the Steering Committee of the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies

Middle East: Hamas Adopts Tough New Drug Laws, Includes Death Penalty for Dealers

The Hamas government running the Gaza Strip has adopted a law that allows for the death penalty for drug dealing. The move came Monday with a Hamas decision to cancel Israeli military laws on drugs and replace them with Egyptian drug laws.

"The government has approved a decision to cancel the Zionist (Israeli) military law with regard to drugs and enact Egyptian law 19 of 1962," Gaza Attorney General Mohammed Abed said in a statement. "The latter law is more comprehensive in terms of crime and criminals and the penalties more advanced, including life sentences and execution. The Zionist law included light punishments that encouraged rather than deterred those who take and trade in drugs, and there is no objective, national or moral justification for continuing to apply it," Abed said.

The Egyptian drug law will remain in effect until the Palestinian parliament passes a new drug law. But the parliament has only met rarely since elections in 2006.

The Gaza Strip was administered by Egypt from 1948 to 1967, when Israel seized the territory, along with several others, during the Six-Day War. Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from the territory in 2005, when it was under the control of the secular Fatah Party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. But Hamas unexpectedly defeated Fatah in Gaza elections in the 2006 elections and consolidated its power in a bloody factional struggle with Fatah the following year.

Because of an ongoing Israeli blockade, most goods, including illicit ones, imported into Gaza are smuggled in, primarily through a network of tunnels on the Egyptian border. But Hamas has cracked down on drug trafficking and drug traffickers, claiming more than 100 arrests, and the seizure of dozens of kilograms of drugs, mostly marijuana.

Middle East: Hamas Adopts Tough New Drug Laws, Includes Death Penalty for Dealers

The Hamas government running the Gaza Strip has adopted a law that allows for the death penalty for drug dealing. The move came Monday with a Hamas decision to cancel Israeli military laws on drugs and replace them with Egyptian drug laws. "The government has approved a decision to cancel the Zionist (Israeli) military law with regard to drugs and enact Egyptian law 19 of 1962," Gaza Attorney General Mohammed Abed said in a statement. "The latter law is more comprehensive in terms of crime and criminals and the penalties more advanced, including life sentences and execution. The Zionist law included light punishments that encouraged rather than deterred those who take and trade in drugs, and there is no objective, national or moral justification for continuing to apply it," Abed said. The Egyptian drug law will remain in effect until the Palestinian parliament passes a new drug law. But the parliament has only met rarely since elections in 2006. The Gaza Strip was administered by Egypt from 1948 to 1967, when Israel seized the territory, along with several others, during the Six-Day War. Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from the territory in 2005, when it was under the control of the secular Fatah Party of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas. But Hamas unexpectedly defeated Fatah in Gaza elections in the 2006 elections and consolidated its power in a bloody factional struggle with Fatah the following year. Because of an ongoing Israeli blockade, most goods, including illicit ones, imported into Gaza are smuggled in, primarily through a network of tunnels on the Egyptian border. But Hamas has cracked down on drug trafficking and drug traffickers, claiming more than 100 arrests, and the seizure of dozens of kilograms of drugs, mostly marijuana.
Location: 
Palestinian Territory

Asia: Drug Users Form Regional Drug User Organization

In a meeting in Bangkok last weekend, more than two dozen drug users from nine different countries came together to put the finishing touches on the creation of a new drug user advocacy organization, the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD). The Bangkok meeting was the culmination of a two-year process began at a meeting of the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2007, and resulted in creating a constitution and selecting a steering committee for the new group. ANPUD adopts the principles of MIPUD (Meaningful Involvement of People who Use Drugs), and in doing so, aligns itself with other drug user advocacy groups, including the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), of which ANPUD is an independent affiliate, the Australian Injection and Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL),the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, and the Nothing About Us Without Us movement. ANPUD currently has more than 150 members and sees its mission to advocate for the rights of drug users and communities before national governments and the international community. There is plenty to do. Asia has the largest number of drug users in the world, but is, for the most part, woefully retrograde on drug policy issues. Not only do drug users face harsh criminal sanctions—up to and including the death penalty—but Asian has the lowest coverage of harm reduction services in the world. Access to harm reduction programs, such as needle exchanges and opioid maintenance therapy, is extremely limited. "People who use drugs are stigmatized, criminalized and abused in every country in Asia," said Jimmy Dorabjee, a key figure in the formation of ANPUD. "Our human rights are violated and we have little in the way of health services to stay alive. If governments do not see people who use drugs, hear us and talk to us, they will continue to ignore us." The Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team, Dr. Prasada Rao, spoke of the urgent need to engage with drug user networks and offered his support to ANPUD, saying that "For UNAIDS, HIV prevention among drug users is a key priority at the global level," said Dr. Prasada Rao, director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team. "I am very pleased today to be here to see ANPUD being shaped into an organization that will play a key role in Asia's HIV response. It is critical that we are able to more effectively involve the voices of Asian people who use drugs in the scaling up of HIV prevention services across Asia." "When I go back home, I am now responsible for sharing the experiences with the 250 or so drug users who are actively advocating for better services at the national level," said Nepalese drug user and newly elected steering committee member Ekta Thapa Mahat. "It will be a great way for us to work together and help build the capacity of people who use drugs in Asia." "The results of the meeting exceeded my expectations," said Ele Morrison, program manager for AVIL's Regional Partnership Project. "The participants set ambitious goals for themselves and they have achieved a lot in just two days to set up this new organization. The building blocks for genuine ownership by people who use drugs is definitely there." While the meetings leading to the formation were organized and managed by drug users, the process received financial support from the World Health Organization, the UNAIDS Regional Task Force, and AIVL.
Location: 
Bangkok
Thailand

Southeast Asia: New Indonesian Drug Law Draws Human Rights Criticisms

After four years of debate, Indonesia's parliament passed a new drug law Monday. It was immediately criticized by reformers on numerous counts.

The new law maintains the death penalty for some drug offenses, criminalizes drug addiction, and makes it a crime for parents to fail to report their addicted children to authorities. The law also transfers responsibility for fighting drug trafficking from the government to civil society.

"The drugs law will save our children and young generation. It will be essential in the fight against drug trafficking," said Minister for Law and Human Rights Andi Mattalatta after the bill was passed. "Currently, drug dealing is not only conducted by individuals but by drugs syndicates that operate neatly," he said.

But the Indonesian Coalition for Drug Policy Reform (ICDPR) begged to differ. "This law classifies drug addicts as criminals and therefore subjects them to criminal charges, while doctors have said that drug addiction is a curable disease," Asmin Francisca, the group's coordinator told reporters outside parliament's plenary session hall. "The law should have recognized that a proper solution to drug addiction is to empower drug addicts, not to punish them as criminals."

Asmin warned that the article in the law transferring responsibility for fighting trafficking from the government to civil society could lead to vigilante justice. "The article, however, does not clearly elaborate on what kind of civil participation is needed to fight the war against drug trafficking," she said. "Without clear regulations, the law is open to many forms of exploitation by civil groups, including acts of vigilantism."

Asmin also condemned the retention of the death penalty for some drug offenses.
"Death penalties are not in line with the purpose of modern criminal charges that aim to rehabilitate a person rather than punish them for their actions," she said. "Basically, I believe this law is not in line with the basic principles of human rights."

According to the Indonesian National Narcotics Agency's extremely precise figures, there are 27,000 drug users in the country, including 12,689 aged 30 or older, 6,790 between 25 and 29, 5,720 between 20 and 24, 1,747 between 16 and 19, and 109 users under the age of 16.

Southeast Asia: Indonesian Parliament Enacts New Drug Law; Reformers Criticize it on Human Rights Grounds

After four years of debate, Indonesia’s parliament passed a new drug law Monday. It was immediately criticized by reformers on numerous counts. The new law maintains the death penalty for some drug offenses, criminalizes drug addiction, and makes it a crime for parents to fail to report their addicted children to authorities. The law also transfers responsibility for fighting drug trafficking from the government to civil society. "The drugs law will save our children and young generation. It will be essential in the fight against drug trafficking,” said Minister for Law and Human Rights Andi Mattalatta after the bill was passed. “Currently, drug dealing is not only conducted by individuals but by drugs syndicates that operate neatly," But the Indonesian Coalition for Drug Policy Reform (ICDPR) begged to differ. “This law classifies drug addicts as criminals and therefore subjects them to criminal charges, while doctors have said that drug addiction is a curable disease,” Asmin Francisca, the group’s coordinator told reporters outside parliament’s plenary session hall. “The law should have recognized that a proper solution to drug addiction is to empower drug addicts, not to punish them as criminals.” Asmin warned that the article in the law transferring responsibility for fighting trafficking from the government to civil society could lead to vigilante justice. “The article, however, does not clearly elaborate on what kind of civil participation is needed to fight the war against drug trafficking,” she said. “Without clear regulations, the law is open to many forms of exploitation by civil groups, including acts of vigilantism.” Asmin also condemned the retention of the death penalty for some drug offenses. “Death penalties are not in line with the purpose of modern criminal charges that aim to rehabilitate a person rather than punish them for their actions,” she said. “Basically, I believe this law is not in line with the basic principles of human rights.” According to the Indonesian National Narcotics Agency’s extremely precise figures, there are 27,000 drug users in the country, including 12,689 aged 30 or older, 6,790 between 25 and 29, 5,720 between 20 and 24, 1,747 between 16 and 19, and 109 users under the age of 16.
Location: 
Jakarta
Indonesia

Southeast Asia: Malaysia Court Sentences Woman to Death for Two Pounds of Marijuana

A Malaysian court has sentenced a Thai woman to death for trafficking 1.04 kilograms of marijuana. Under the country's draconian Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, any drug trafficking offense garners a mandatory death sentence.

The ruling came Wednesday at the High Court in Kota Baru. Judge Datuk Muhamad Ideres Muhamad Rapee ordered the sentence after the prosecution managed to prove a prima facie against Roseedah Cheubong, 41, who was crying as the sentence was issued.

The court ignored the pleas of Roseedah's attorney, Zamri Mat Nawang, who told it she was a single mother trying to fend for herself and her teenage child and that she was sorry for what she had done. Instead, it listened to deputy prosecutors Wan Abad Razak Wan Hussin, who called for the mandated penalty because of the "gravity" of the offense.

Roseedah has been jailed since she was arrested in February 2004 for selling a kilogram of weed outside a gas station. No word yet on possible appeals.

The provincial High Court sentence came little more than a week after the Malaysian Federal Court upheld the death sentence of a taxi driver for trafficking less than two kilos of marijuana. According to the anti-death penalty organization Hands Off Cain, so far this year, Malaysian courts have imposed the death sentence 12 times. Only two death sentences were for murder. The other 10 were for drug trafficking, and eight of those were for trafficking marijuana.

Human rights and harm reduction groups have organized an international campaign to end the death penalty for drug offenses. Read about it here. Since Malaysia does not make a habit of publicly announcing executions, it is unclear how many of the marijuana traffickers sentenced to death have actually been executed.

Feature: Ending the Death Penalty for Drug Offenses -- Now Is the Time, Say Human Rights, Harm Reduction Groups

In April, two Thai citizens, Sureeya Wuttisat, 45, and Asan Tong, 47, were sentenced to death in Malaysia after being convicted of trafficking about 40 pounds of marijuana. The sentence may be an outrage, but it is not a fluke. At least 16 countries in Asia apply the death penalty for some drug offenses, and an equal number in the rest of the world, including the United States, do, too.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/chinaexecution.jpg
Death sentence is passed against a woman who was immediately executed with three other people on drugs charges. (UN International Anti-Drugs Day, 6/26/03) sina.com.cn via Amnesty International web site)
Today is the United Nations' International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, and in recent years, China has taken to marking it by executing drug offenders. This year, China got off to an early start, killing six people for drug offenses yesterday. Last year, Indonesia joined China in the gruesome festivities, as it, too, put drug offenders to death.

This year, a consortium of human rights and harm reduction organizations are using UN anti-drug day to challenge the resort to the death penalty for drug offenses. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the International Harm Reduction Association, and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN) have joined together to call on Asian governments to end the death penalty for drug offenses.

The groups say they do not know how many people are sentenced to death or executed because many countries in the region do not make available information on the death penalty. But a perusal of the archives of the anti-death penalty group Hands Off Cain shows that so far this year, a minimum of 69 people have been executed for drug offenses and 14 more sentenced to death.

If these publicly available accounts accurately reflect who is being sentenced to death or executed and where, Iran is by far the leading drug war executioner. (Reports from China, the other likely drug execution leader, are rare.) So far this year, Iran has executed at least 59 people for drug offenses, with China reporting eight, and Saudi Arabia two. During this same period, seven people have been sentenced to death for drug offenses in Malaysia, six in China, and one in Vietnam.

The executions and death sentences come even as the world moves toward restricting or abolishing the death penalty. Last year, only 25 countries carried out executions. And they come despite any evidence that they have any impact on drug trafficking or consumption. As the UN itself noted in 1988, 1996, and 2002, "research has failed to provide scientific proof that executions have a greater deterrent effect than life imprisonment. Such proof is unlikely to be forthcoming. The evidence as a whole gives no positive support to the deterrent hypothesis."

Countries using the death penalty for drug offenses are also violating UN human rights standards. The UN holds that the death penalty should be imposed only as an "exceptional measure" for "the most serious crimes" where "there was an intention to kill which resulted in the loss of life."

Building on a campaign to end the death penalty for drug offenses by the IHRA's HR2 (harm reduction and human rights), ADPAN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the IHRA are using UN anti-drug day to appeal to Asian governments to:

  • Introduce an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to the abolition of the death penalty in line with UN General Assembly resolution 62/149 and 63/168 on "moratorium on the use of the death penalty";
  • Commute all death sentences, including for drug offenses;
  • Remove provisions within their domestic legislation that allow for the death penalty for drug offenses;
  • Abolish the use of mandatory sentencing in capital cases;
  • Publicize statistics on the death penalty and facts around the administration of justice in death penalty cases; and
  • Use the occasion of Anti-Drugs Day 2009 to highlight public health policies that have proven effective in reducing drug-related harms.

"The problem with the death penalty for drug offenses is that it plainly violates international law," said Human Rights Watch's Rebecca Schleifer. "The UN rapporteur has made it clear that the death penalty for drug offenses violates international human rights law."

In many countries with the death penalty for drug offenses, Schleifer noted, judicial processes are faulty and due process is lacking. In some of them, including Malaysia and Singapore, the death penalty is mandatory in some drug cases, again a violation of international standards for fair trials.

Not only does the death penalty for drug offenses not deter potential offenders, it works against reducing the harms of drug use, Schleifer said. "Our work has found time and time again that excessive punishments and repressive drug law enforcement actually drive people away from life-saving health services," she observed.

"The movement against the death penalty is one that has been long fought and one that is clearly moving in the direction of international abolition," said IHRA's Rick Lines, the author of a 2007 IHRA report on the death penalty for drug offenses. "Yet for many years, the specific issue of the death penalty for drugs has been largely invisible, both within the drug reform movement and the anti-death penalty movement. But now we are seeing a shift in that, with many more people and organizations speaking out, not only on the basis that the death penalty for drugs violate international law, but also that it epitomizes an enforcement-centered approach to drug policy that is a failure in every respect."

Today's joint statement is significant, said Lines, because it brings together major international human rights and harm reduction organizations. "This shows the potential of the death penalty issue to build bridges and working relationships between these two important movements," he said. "That will only enhance the prospects for policy and legislative change. Clearly, no government is likely to change policy before people start making those demands. We now hear those demands becoming louder and more focused."

"Government attitudes do change," said ADPAN's Andrew de Cruz, citing the abolition of the death penalty in Burundi and Togo in the last few weeks, Vietnam's reduction in the number of death penalty offenses, and changes in death penalty practices in China. He might well have also cited Iran, which despite its high number of drug executions, has hinted that it wants to reduce executions overall.

"For these changes to continue it is important to ensure we convey the messages that the death penalty violates human rights and that it does not help deter crime," de Cruz said. "When it comes to drug offences, we can make further arguments that the death penalty for drug offenses is illegal under international human rights law, and that it has actually been counterproductive to policies known to help prevent some of the harmful health consequences of drugs to individuals and societies."

Applying pressure to individual countries is only part of the campaign, said Schleifer. "We would like all of the UN human rights agencies as well as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime to speak out definitively against the use of the death penalty as a violation of international law," she said. "Last year, UNODC came close when it talked about asking states to reconsider the use of the death penalty for drug offenses, but we would like to see them step up and recognize what international law says."

Last year, the UN General Assembly issued a resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, Schleifer noted. "We would like to see the UN repeat that," she said. "Not just the General Assembly, but also UNODC joining publicly."

The campaign against the death penalty for drug offenses is well underway, but it still has a long way to go. If you are reading these words on UN anti-drug day, you know that the ritual state murders to mark it have already begun.

Death Penalty: Another Month of Drug War Extremism, and America's Hands Are Bloody

The resort to the ultimate sanction for drug offenders continued apace last month, thanks to the usual suspects in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. And it continues despite a UN General Assembly call a year ago to end the death penalty for all offenses and an international campaign to end it for drug offenses that began earlier this year.

http://stopthedrugwar.com/files/tehran.jpg
International Anti-Drugs Day drug burn, Tehran
Here, thanks to the anti-death penalty group Hands Off Cain are the latest victims of drug war extremism. Of particular note and concern to Americans should be two cases -- November 14 in Yemen and November 25 in Thailand -- where the American military or American anti-drug personnel helped send drug suspects to their likely deaths:

Indonesia -- November 6: The News Agency of Nigeria reported that eighteen Nigerians sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Indonesia have opted for the review of their cases. Sources at the Nigerian embassy say that their lawyers have filed the appeals with the prosecutor. "They opted for the review of their cases instead of seeking for clemency for fear of being denied the clemency by the authority. "The Indonesian President hardly grants clemency for drug convicts. Once he turns down pleas for clemency on behalf of convicts twice execution is imminent and automatic,'' the source said. And by filing for a review of their cases, "they can still prolong the finality of their conviction and buy some time." The Nigerian Ambassador to Indonesia, Alhaji Ibrahim Mai-Sule, said he is optimistic about the visit of the Special Envoy to President Yar'Adua, Chief Ojo Maduekwe who came to seek clemency for the convicted Nigerians.

Yemen -- November 14: A court in Sanaa, Yemen, sentenced an Iranian to death for drug trafficking and imposed 25-year prison sentences each on 11 other Iranians and a Pakistani, officials said. Ayub Mohamed Houd, 33, who faces the death penalty, and his 12 accomplices were found guilty of bringing 1.5 tons of hashish into Yemeni territorial waters, hidden in the hold of a ship coming from Iran. The prosecution said the 13 men were interdicted by a US navy warship, which found the drugs on board their boat. They were handed over to the Yemeni authorities after the destruction of all but 20kg of drugs. At the opening of the trial on October 12, the men, whose statements in Farsi were translated into Arabic, denied the charges and said the US sailors threw a large quantity of fish into the sea from the hold.

Malaysia -- November 15: A Malaysian court sentenced two Indonesians, Mohamad Idris and Jainuddin, to death for drug trafficking, Antara newswire reported. The Kuala Lumpur based court found the two defendants guilty of distributing marijuana and were found to be in a possession of 5.7 kilogram of marijuana when they were arrested in September 2002. The two claimed that they were innocent and did not know the content of a package that they were then delivering to a person they identified as Tengku Yan, but they were never able to prove the existence of Yan.

Iran -- November 22: An Iranian man convicted of drug trafficking was hanged in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, a newspaper reported. The man, identified only by his first name Majid, was hanged for smuggling more than 300 kilos of morphine, Etemad newspaper said, without specifying when the execution took place.

Iran--November 24: Iran hanged three men convicted of drug trafficking in a prison in the Iranian southeastern city of Zahedan, the official IRNA news agency reports. The men, identified as Hossein Nahtani, Abdollah Dahmardeh and Mohammad Barahoui, were all found guilty of smuggling heroin, the report adds. Nahtani was convicted of trafficking 1.09-kilograms [2.4 pounds] of heroin, while Dahmardeh and Barahoui were sentenced for smuggling 3.8-kg [8.3 pounds] and 5.5-kg [12 pounds], respectively.

Thailand -- November 25: Two Israelis convicted of drug trafficking were sentenced to death by a Thai court. The two men plan to appeal the sentence. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem confirmed the report. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni announced that she may intervene in the affair should the sentences not be changed. The two Israelis, 34-year-old Vladimir Akronik and 37-year-old Alon Mahluf, were detained in the vicinity of Bangkok's Kao San Road in possession of 23,000 ecstasy pills about a year ago. Thai media reported that the two arrived in Thailand from Europe and were detained after authorities received information about them from American officials.

Saudi Arabia -- November 28: A Saudi Arabian man and a stateless Arab convicted of drug trafficking were beheaded by the sword in Riyadh. Mohammad bin Karim al-Anzi, the Saudi, and Sadok al-Khalidi were found to have introduced large quantities of hallucinogenic pills on the Saudi market, the Interior Ministry said, quoted by the state news agency SPA.

Iran -- November 29: Iran hanged two men convicted of drug trafficking in a prison in the southeastern city of Zahedan, Fars news agency reported. The report identified the two as H.F. and A.N., and said they were found guilty of smuggling 11kgs of heroin and 387kgs of opium respectively.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School