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Don't just surf the web: do something.
Visit the Massachusetts Legislation page to take action on the Governor's reinstatement bill.
ACTION for abolition of the federal death penalty
The Federal Death Penalty Abolition Act, S 122 (full text), has been introduced and is before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It would, as the title suggests, abolish the death penalty under federal law. The bill had no co-sponsors last session, so any progress in that regard would be notable.
The object of this action is to put pressure on our two US Senators to co-sponsor this bill.
Senator Kennedy is strongly oppposed to the death penalty and sits on the Judiciary Committee, so his support would be especially valuable. Senator Kerry in the past has taken a strong principled position against the death penalty, but has become more equivocal; let's remind him of his abolitionist roots and get him back on board. Both are highly visible and influential leaders in the Senate, and you as their constituent possess among the most influential opinions for them.
Please write polite letters, expressing your opposition to the death penalty and urging
Senators Kennedy and Kerry to co-sponsor
Remember: Massachusetts does have the death penalty, and only Congress can get rid of it.
For inspiration, read this Statement by Senator Russ Feingold.
URGENT ACTION APPEAL 04 May 2006 UA 118/06 Imminent Execution/ Unfair trial PAKISTAN Mirza Tahir Hussain (m) Mirza Tahir Hussain is due to be executed on 1 June 2006 following what Amnesty International believes to be an unfair trial. Mirza Tahir Hussain, who has been in detention for 18 years, has exhausted all possibilities of appeal and a mercy petition to the President has been rejected. Mirza Tahir Hussain was tried and convicted of murdering a taxi driver while traveling to the village of Bhubar from Rawalpindi, Punjab Province, on 17 December 1988. The taxi driver reportedly stopped the car and produced a gun, and Mirza Tahir Hussain, who was 18 years old at the time, was reportedly physically and sexually assaulted by the taxi driver. In the scuffle that followed, the gun went off, and the taxi driver was fatally injured. Mirza Tahir Hussain was sentenced to death in 1989 at the Sessions Court in Islamabad. Following an appeal, this sentence was dismissed by the Lahore High Court, which noted discrepancies in the case. The case was returned to the Sessions Court where Mirza Tahir Hussain was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1994. Following a second appeal, the Lahore High Court then dismissed this sentence in 1996, and Mirza Tahir Hussain was acquitted of all charges against him. A week later, Mirza Tahir Hussain's case was referred to the Federal Shariat Court on charges from the original case, including robbery involving murder, which fall under Islamic offences against property law. The Federal Shariat Court's duties include reviewing laws to ensure they conform with Islamic doctrine and dealing with appeals of cases tried under Islamic Law. The entire case against Mirza Tahir Hussain was reopened, and in 1998, he was sentenced to death by the Federal Shariat Court, despite their acknowledgment that no robbery had taken place due to the taxi being hired. The death penalty sentence by the Federal Shariat Court was based on a split two to one judgement, with the dissenting judge strongly recommending that Mirza Tahir Hussain be acquitted. Amnesty International believes that Mirza Tahir Hussain has not received a fair trial due to the contradictory statements of the different courts. Also, the Islamic provision under which he was tried requires that the death penalty should only be imposed if reliable eyewitness accounts or a confession to the court are submitted. In this case, neither was obtained. The Supreme Court upheld the judgment in 2003 and dismissed an appeal in 2004. A petition for clemency was sent to the President in 2005 but was declined. The family of the taxi driver has refused compensation offered by the family of Mirza Tahir Hussain, as is permitted under Islamic law, which could allow Mirza Tahir Hussain to be pardoned. BACKGROUND INFORMATION In 2005 at least 241 people in Pakistan were sentenced to death and at least 31 people were executed, the majority for murder. Many well-off convicts were able to escape punishment under provisions of the Qisas and Diyat Ordinance that allows heirs of murder victims to accept compensation and pardon the offender. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases. The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of violence, and not a solution to it. It has not been shown to have any more deterrent effect than other punishments and carries the risk of irrevocable error. The death penalty is seen as the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a violation of the right to life, as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments. RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible: - calling on President Musharraf to use his powers under article 45 of the Constitution of Pakistan to commute the death sentence of Mirza Tahir Hussain on humanitarian grounds; - calling for a retrial in light of irregularities during his trial and conviction; - calling for an immediate moratorium on all executions in the country, in line with worldwide trends to abolish the death penalty with a view to an eventual abolition of the death penalty. APPEALS TO: President : General Pervez Musharraf Pakistan Secretariat Islamabad Pakistan Fax: 011 92 51 9221422 E-mail: via the president's website: http://www.presidentofpakistan.gov.pk/WTPresidentMessage.aspx Salutation: Dear President Pervez Musharraf COPIES TO: Ambassador Jehangir Karamat Embassy of Pakistan 2315 Massachusetts Ave. NW Washington DC 20008 Fax: 1 202 686 1544 Email: email@example.com Please send appeals immediately. Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending appeals after 1 June 2006. ** POSTAGE RATES ** Within the United States: $0.24 - Postcards $0.39 - Letters and Cards (up to 1 oz.) To Mexico and Canada: $0.55 - Postcards $0.63 - Airmail Letters and Cards (up to 1 oz.) $0.75 - Aerogrammes To all other destination countries: $0.75 - Postcards $0.84 - Airmail Letters and Cards (up to 1 oz.) $0.75 - Aerogrammes Amnesty International is a worldwide grassroots movement that promotes and defends human rights. This Urgent Action may be reposted if kept intact, including contact information and stop action date (if applicable). Thank you for your help with this appeal. Urgent Action Network Amnesty International USA PO Box 1270 Nederland CO 80466-1270 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent/ Phone: 303 258 1170 Fax: 303 258 7881 ---------------------------------- END OF URGENT ACTION APPEAL ----------------------------------