Monday, 11 February 2008

Legal practice in Aceh

According to Sharia law, a woman is given the lash, in Aceh this morning. A judge found her guilty of adultery (she cheated on her husband), which is a crime in this part of Indonesia. Picture: ANP/AFP

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Death penalty for a beer or four

A court in the Iranian capital Tehran has sentenced a 22-year-old man to death for violating the Islamic Republic's ban on drinking alcohol several times, CNN reports on its website.
Under Iran's Islamic sharia law, a person who is caught drinking for a fourth time and confesses faces possible capital punishment, even though legal experts say executions for this offence are very rare. "My client had been drinking at home for a fourth time and he made some disturbance in the street and police arrested him," his lawyer, Aziz Nokandei, told the ISNA news agency. Nokandei said his client, identified only with his first name Mohsen, had confessed and expressed remorse. He can appeal against the verdict within 20 days under Iranian law and the head of the judiciary can also intervene. First-time violators of Iran's strict alcohol laws face possible lashes, fines or jail.

Iran has stepped up the number of executions in the country since the authorities launched a clampdown on "immoral behaviour" in July, arresting scores of accused drug smugglers, murderers, rapists and other criminals. European governments and Western rights groups have criticised Iran for the executions, usually carried out by hanging. Iran has dismissed the criticism and accused the West of double standards.

Last week, Iran's judiciary chief ordered a halt to public executions in Iran unless they have his approval. While those sentenced to death would still be hanged behind prison walls, the move by Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi-Shahroudi appeared designed to lower the public profile of Iran's increasing number of executions. Murder, adultery, rape, armed robbery, apostasy and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Iran's sharia law, practised since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. London based rights group Amnesty International says Iran has one of the highest rates of executions in the world (, pic:

Natalee Holloway breakthrough

One of the most impressive pieces of crime reporting I have ever seen was produced last week in the Netherlands. Dutch SBS journalist Peter R de Vries ( showed the viewers a confession on camera by Joran van der Sloot, the main suspect in the notorious Natalee Holloway missing case. Peter R de Vries used a low profile criminal who is known in the gamble circuit in the east of Holland (where Joran currently lives) to befriend the Holloway-suspect and after weeks and weeks of partying, smoking lots of marihuana and one gamble night after the other de Vries' undercoverman brought up the topic and Joran made his remarkable comments in a car, payed and rent by de Vries and full of camera's and bugs.

Dumped at sea He claims Natalee passed out when he was having sex with her on the beach. He was not sure if she was still alive so he called a friend who came over and together they concluded she was death. Joran's friend used his tourist boat to drop the body somewhere at sea. When his 'friend' asked him 'but she is morta, death, isn't she?' Joran answers 'of course'. Probably most remarkable, and at the same time scary, is Joran's lack of emotions. He literally says on camera 'I decided to continue my life normally, I don't feel guilty for a second'.

Alabama schoolgirl Natalee Holloway disappeared in 2005 at the island of Aruba, in the Carribean. Joran van der Sloot was the last person who had seen her alive and was arrested three times by the police but charges were dropped when judges ruled there was not enough evidence.

See for yourself how Natalee's mother, Beth Holloway, came to the Netherlands and watched the latest developments with De Vries and millions of Dutch viewers (English subtitles)

The news in America