EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: MDE 18/10/94
UA 445/94 Death Penalty 15 December 1994
LEBANON Husam 'Ali al-Naser
Amnesty International is extremely concerned that Husam 'Ali al-Naser, aged
25, is at imminent risk of execution. The organization is calling for this
and any other death sentences to be commuted.
Husam 'Ali al-Naser was sentenced to death by a Military Court in November
1993 for the premeditated murder of 'Umar Abu al-Hasan in order to steal his
car. This sentence was upheld by the Military Court of Cassation on 13 December
1994. The sentence must be approved by the President before it can be carried
On the same day, three others were sentenced to death by the Military Court.
Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment with hard labour in
accordance with the General Amnesty law of 1991.
The first executions by the state for 11 years were carried out in April and
May. So far, four people have been executed in 1994. In March, the death
penalty for murder with intent, and for murder with a political motive, was
introduced (it had previously been applied solely in cases of premeditated
Amnesty International has expressed its regret to the Lebanese authorities,
and has urged them to review all legislation providing for the death penalty
in order to reduce the number of capital offences with a view to abolishing
the death penalty.
In a response to Amnesty International in July, the Minister of Justice said
that it was "inexact and inadmissible to pretend that Lebanon is committing
a human rights violation by providing for the death penalty for certain crimes",
stating that "the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR],
Article 6, Paragraph 2, expressly authorizes the death penalty for the most
Amnesty International does not condone violent crimes such as murder and
recognizes the responsibility of governments to bring the perpetrators of such
crimes to justice. However, it opposes the death penalty in all cases as a
violation of the fundamental right to life and the right not to be subjected
to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as recognized in the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There is no reliable evidence that
the death penalty helps to prevent other serious harm, for example by deterring
crimes. The risk of error is inescapable, yet the penalty is irrevocable.
No measure that may be devised can ever make it less inhumane.
While the ICCPR does not expressly forbid the use of the death penalty, Article
6 affirms that "every human being has the inherent right to life". In 1977,
the United Nations (UN) General Assembly reaffirmed that "...the main objective
to be pursued in the field of capital punishment is that of progressively
restricting the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed
with a view to the desirability of abolishing this punishment".
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