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Pakistan: Supreme Court Bars Use of Death Penalty for Inmates with Serious Mental Illness

(Mar. 3, 2021) On February 10, 2021, a five-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a landmark judgment barred the use of the death penalty for inmates with serious mental illness or disorders who are “unable to comprehend the rationale behind their execution.” Background The apex court was hearing three appeals from prisoners […]

Saudi Arabia: Court Issues Final Sentences in Khashoggi Case

(Sept. 22, 2020) On September 7, 2020, the Criminal Court of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, issued final sentences for eight defendants in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The court had previously sentenced five of the defendants to death but, according to the Public Prosecution, the court replaced the death sentence with the penalty of […]

Sudan: New Law Amending Penal Code Takes Effect

(July 23, 2020) On July 13, 2020, the Sudanese Official Gazette published Law No. 12 of 2020, which amends 15 provisions of the Penal Code of 1991. According to Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari, the new provisions are part of Sudan’s efforts to eliminate all laws that violate human rights and “demolish any kind of discrimination […]

Côte d’Ivoire: Former Prime Minister Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Corruption

(May 15, 2020) On April 28, 2020, the Tribunal Correctionnel (Criminal Trial Court) of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, convicted former Prime Minister Guillaume Soro in absentia of embezzlement and money laundering. The trial lasted only a few hours and was boycotted by Soro’s lawyers in protest of what they claimed were politically motivated, trumped-up charges. Soro, […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Strikes Down Provision Criminalizing Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Apr. 29, 2020) On February 26, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the provision in the German Criminal Code criminalizing commercial assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The Court stated that the general right of personality encompasses a right to a self-determined death, which includes the freedom to take one’s own life as […]

El Salvador: Chiefs and Members of MS-13 Gang Sentenced in Historic Trial

(Dec. 19, 2019) On December 12, 2019, an anti-mafia tribunal in El Salvador imposed sentences of up to 60 years in prison on nearly 400 chiefs and members of the MS-13 gang (Mara Salvatrucha) for their involvement in multiple crimes, including terrorism, homicide, drug trafficking, money laundering, and drug and firearms smuggling. Background of MS-13 […]

Côte d’Ivoire: ICC Prosecutor Appeals Acquittal of Former Ivorian Leaders

(Dec. 2, 2019) On October 17, 2019, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor in the case of Laurent Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé filed a motion for the ICC Appeals Chamber to declare a mistrial following the two defendants’ January 15 acquittal. Laurent Gbagbo was the president of Côte d’Ivoire from 2000 until 2011, and […]

West Bank: Palestinian Authority Announces Planned Changes to Penal Code in Response to Case of Honor Killing

(Nov. 13, 2019) The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs has responded to a wave of public protests over an alleged honor killing case by stating it will introduce a new family protection law before the end of 2019. The new law would amend the penal code to establish a minimum age for marriage, review […]