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Amnesty Opposes Death for 27 in Lebanon

December 16, 2003

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) _ Amnesty International urged Lebanon’s president Tuesday to commute death sentences imposed against 27 people.

Lebanese authorities recently agreed to reactivate capital punishment following a five-year hiatus, opening the way for 27 convicted murderers to be executed by hanging or firing squad.

``The finality and cruelty inherent in the death penalty render it incompatible with norms of modern day civilized behavior and an inappropriate and unacceptable response to crime,″ a statement from the human rights watchdog said.

Most prominent among the Lebanese prisoners facing death are civil servant Ahmed Mansour, convicted of killing eight colleagues in a shooting spree at a government building last year, and Badieh Hamadeh, convicted of fatally shooting three soldiers trying to arrest him in south Lebanon last year.

President Emile Lahoud still has to sign the execution orders. Justice Minister Bahij Tabbara said this week that it had not yet been decided whether the execution orders would be implemented.

Amnesty, in its statement, urged Lahoud to use his prerogative to immediately commute the death sentences.

Since Lebanon reinstated the death penalty in 1994, 14 people have been executed, with the last in 1988. After that, executions were postponed indefinitely because then-Prime Minister Salim Hoss refused to sign the death orders, saying it was contrary to his convictions.

Under Lebanon’s constitution, a death sentence must be approved by both the president and prime minister.

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