Portraits of the last day on Death Row
Haunting images from Chinese prison add to pressure for an end to systematic executions
Asian governments will face renewed calls to abolish the death penalty after figures revealed that 14 countries in the region execute more people than the rest of the world put together. China, for example, is believed to execute thousands of convicts every year.
Amnesty International and the Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network will tomorrow call on the countries to halt executions. They will also claim that suspects struggle to obtain fair trials in many Asian nations, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Malaysia.
"The minority of states that continue to systematically use the death penalty were responsible for thousands of executions in 2010, defying the global anti-death penalty trend," said Amnesty's secretary general, Salil Shetty, earlier this year. "While executions may be on the decline, a number of countries continue to pass death sentences for drug-related offences, economic crimes, sexual relations between consenting adults and blasphemy, [thereby] violating international human rights law forbidding the use of the death penalty except for the most serious crimes."
The activists' demands coincide with the publication of previously unseen photographs taken inside a Chinese women's prison, documenting the hours before prisoners on death row were led away for execution.
The photographer, whose presence at Detention Centre No 1 in Wuhan, central China, in June 2003 was sanctioned by prison officials, took pictures of four women eating, playing cards and relaxing on the night before their sentences were carried out. He spent 12 hours with guards and the four inmates, who were to be executed for trafficking drugs.
In the images, which were considered too sensitive for publication at the time, the women are seen laughing, putting on make-up and being fed by warders. One woman, Li Juhua, has her nails painted while still shackled. Another convict, Dai Donggui, is seen eating a bowl of green bean soup and preparing to don the new red outfit she requested for her execution. A third woman, 25-year-old He Xiuling, also changes her clothes, apparently believing that the white shirt she was wearing before made her look fat.
The next pictures, taken a few hours later, show He in tears, at the head of a line of condemned convicts, both male and female, being marched to the execution ground. According to Chinese practice, all were to be shot in the back of the head.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...