Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor

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He then told me that we should do our best to get its authorized papers. He went back to Minbij and left the motorbike near the Saray, practically at the same location where he picked up his victim. But along the Jrablus—Minbij axis, in all those small towns and villages, areas where land disputes are common, and where honor killings and feuds are no less common, the atmosphere is one of total calm and peace, a peace symbolized best by the beauty and quietness of nature itself, its olive trees and the dark brownish earth that feeds them.

He was, indeed, attracted to the very idea of an anonymous encounter, someone that he would murder not on any prior knowledge, feud, persona, looks, or body, but for the sake of a motorcycle. The gun that was found in my house is without permit.

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I said I do not mind having that gun in my house, because we might need it one day. But we have not used it in any criminal act, and I do not know whether my son has used it to kill someone. To your knowledge, I left prison two years ago, where I was incarcerated for four years for killing someone. When I inquired about it, he said he bought it for SP25,, and that it had been smuggled. He purchased it from someone he did not know.

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As I was suspicious of his claims, I said to him and his mother that this motorbike will bring lots of damage to us, and I am afraid that behind this bike there is a theft or homicide, and I summoned him to give it back to its owner next morning. We do not want any headache. As to the money, he claimed that it was in his possession, but I do not know if that is true. In other words, he did fit within a typical profile of youngsters among the popular classes with no particular professional inclination or talent by the time they have reached the age of maturity and been summoned for military service.

The boundaries that separate individuals and things into authorized users and outsiders are transgressed in the criminal act itself: it is as if the sacredness of bourgeois property must be transgressed in order to reverse the original violence of acquisition, as sanctioned by the Law and the shared values of society. Through murder I transfer a property that was his to me. Such an unconcern for human life, followed by a lack of remorse, is what pushes the public at large for the death penalty.

The court itself is one such narrator, which has the luxury to opt for one possible scenario—the big Other of moral and juridical order. What proves more revealing, however, is the point of view of the main protagonists themselves, which tend to be oblivious towards their victims.

Hence the uncanny burden placed on the shoulders of such addressees. Damascus—The first criminal court in Aleppo has issued a verdict to imprison for 10 years with hard labor three policemen for having deliberately harmed and provoked the death of Ahmad Farawati while being interrogated. This case is looked upon as an important precedent in the annals of Syrian criminal law.

At the station he was tortured until death. It is such standoff that is worthy of our attention in this section. Such allegations were, however, only reported in the dossier, usually by lawyers acting on behalf of defendants, but left as such without further investigation, as though they were meant as routine operations that did not matter. If reported at all in the verdict, the judge would simply weigh such statements in relation to other evidence, prior to making up his mind as to whether there was any merit in them. They escorted her to the police station and investigated her with violence, while managing to extract from her information regarding the whereabouts of her husband and wounded son.

The two were eventually whisked to the police station, and an investigation began, while they were kept isolated from one another. Violence was exercised on both: the victim was hit with a stick times on his feet, and his son received a similar treatment. The son apparently revealed the location of the heroin, and was accompanied by the two assistants in a car to the alleged place. The accused alleged that they did not beat the victim, who asked permission to use the toilet, and while there fell on the floor, which caused his broken ribs. However, the facts do not match such allegations, pointing to acts of abusive violence exercised against the victim by the accused.

The three accused policemen, Jamil Qadahnun b. Even though such long delays were not unusual e. The delay was already visible early on, as it took almost two years to come up with the referral judge report and the first synthesis of the crime. All this points that at least by the end of , the case was moving on a fast track, possibly ready for its verdict; so why five more long years, with no new evidence in sight? The minister chastises the referral judge for not having done enough to explore this route.

What is noticeably more visible here, compared to other cases in this book, are various levels of discrepancies between what witnesses had stated in different circumstances. If in our other cases, the police reports were generally taken as sacrosanct and as bearers of the truth, by contrast the August 2, report for the killing of Ahmad Farawati, drafted the night of his death, which systematically denied any wrongdoing, was a source of suspicion from day one.

One way to handle the numerous discrepancies between what the police alleged that the witnesses had stated that night, and later statements delivered the following week to the investigating judge by those same witnesses, denying previous statements in toto, is, for our part, to compare and contrast.

More importantly, police torture was not in this instance a source for revealing the truth, and nothing but the truth. At least judges were highly skeptical, and their skepticism was disclosed in every memo they had delivered, beginning with the referral report, skepticisms that considerably delayed the resolution of the case. Husayn Farawati, an Aleppo resident, was brought to justice, having been put into custody for selling heroin; his father Ahmad died while under investigation for trading heroin.

It was found that he was hiding in his stomach a sample of heroin sealed in cellophane paper. Was kept [in custody] by the judge. The body was delivered to his family. His son Husayn Farawati was also a suspect and an arrest warrant was issued for that purpose and for trafficking heroin. As we saw the door open, we knocked, the owner greeted us and told us to come in.

Are you sure?

I accompanied you to the house, where you arrested my husband and son and took us all to your station. I have no idea why we were all arrested. It is precisely such claims that her statements to the investigating judge would contest. What is the format or procedures of investigation? What are the procedures for recording on paper?

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I was in Damascus, and came to Aleppo on Thursday, August 1, I reached Aleppo at p. While there, two policemen started beating me up on my legs, asking me to locate where my husband Ahmad and son Husayn were hiding. Once there, I was isolated from my husband and son, and placed in an adjacent room where I was hearing my husband screaming in a loud voice. I overheard them say that my husband defecated in his clothes, and that he had to be hospitalized. I do not know who did the beating among the police. It may well be that, as policemen, they should not be interrogated by fellow policemen, but only by judges and prosecutors from the public prosecution office.

Since we did not find any drugs, we took them to the station for investigation, and we separated husband, wife and son from one another, each in a room.

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When we pressured them on drug claims, they were in full denial. When I was investigating the victim, and I do not recall who was in the room, because the door was left open and people were coming in and out all the time, I felt that he was ill at ease, and he pointed to something he was carrying in his pocket. It was a small thing that he was using for his asthma relief, which was recommended to him by prescription.

It was at this moment that saliva came out of his mouth; so I held him and helped him stand up, but he could not, and dropped on the floor. I took him out of the room, and once I sprayed his face with water, he looked better.

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I took him back to the lockup room, as he was able to walk his way through on his own. Ten minutes later I heard a knock at his door, and one of my colleagues told me that the victim was asking permission to use the bathroom. We took him back to the lockup room, took off his clothes, washed him with cold water. He pleaded for a second visit to the bathroom, we authorized him to do so, but he kept feeling unwell.

Which alerted the department head who demanded that we take him out of the lockup room and have him hospitalized, considering his poor health condition.

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Neither me nor my colleagues had inflicted any physical harm on the victim. Why then such stubbornness? To understand the behavior of all three policemen, a simple truth must be stated, namely, that they were not used to such scrutiny; those are people that torture inmates and suspects routinely, while constantly denying it, and all of a sudden one of those suspects dies the same day he was taken into custody for investigation, creating havoc, with those same denials that worked in the past as apology losing their charm.

The unexpected twist was indeed in the attitude of judges and prosecutors, as they had come to realize that a red line was crossed, and that the policemen, whom they relied so much upon in the past for their diligent torture methods, lost their ground defense.

Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor
Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor
Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor
Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor
Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor
Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor Capital Punishment: An Indictment by a Death-Row Survivor

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