South African Boy Faces Death Row in Mississippi (fwd)

rakesh bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Sat Aug 3 11:46:14 MDT 1996


I hope that this message has not already been posted here; I received it on
another line today. Comradely, Rakesh
ps Zeynep, superb analysis of the plight of the gastarbeiter!

> This from the National Coalition against the Death Penalty, located
> in Washington DC
> elaine salo
> NCADP "STOP KILLING KIDS!" ALERT:
> INTERNATIONAL ACTION NEEDED TO KEEP S.AFRICAN BOY OFF OF DEATH ROW
> PLEASE ACT NOW.
> PLEASE FORWARD.
> CASE BRIEF:
>
>     After surviving some of Apartheid's most turbulent years, a South African
> child  faces the death penalty in Mississippi for a crime in which he was
> little more than a bystander.
>     Azikiwe Kambule came to the United States two years ago with his mother.
>  Azi had no trouble adjusting academically; he received excellent grades, was
> placed in honors classes and joined the school choir.  Yet, Azi found himself
> under immense social pressure -- he didn't look, speak or dress like other
> children in his neighborhood.
>     Azi wanted to "fit in" with his peers, and not be the subject of their
> ridicule.  He met and started spending time with youth who were older and
> very street-wise.  When Azi's grades began to drop, his  parents began to
> worry that his new friends were the wrong crowd.  Fearing the worst, they
> decided to scrape together the funds to send Azi to a boarding school.
>  Tragically, it was already too late.
>     One evening, Azi found himself in the middle of a car-jacking in which a
> young African American woman was killed.  Azi himself was so far away from
>  the crime scene that he did not hear the gunshots.  When arrested, he was
> the only one to cooperate with the police.  He fully explained the terrible
> series of events and tried repeatedly to help the authorities in their
> investigation.
>     Despite having no criminal record, no history of violence, being merely a
> bystander and providing his full cooperation, Azi has been charged as an
> accomplice to capital murder.  Mississippi is seeking the death penalty
> against Azi, a child in the tenth grade.
>     The situation in which Azi finds himself speaks volumes about the use
>of the
> death penalty against children.  During this decade, only five nations in the
> world are known to have executed persons for crimes they committed when under
> 18-years-old.  Those countries  are Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia . . .
> and the United States.  Of these five, America  has executed the most.  A
> condemned child in the United States also tends to be of darker hue -- 66% of
> those persons sentenced to death as children have been from racial
> minorities.     And nowhere is the international rule of law more clear than
> the prohibition on the use of the death penalty against children.  The
> International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States
> has ratified, clearly states that the "sentence of death shall not be imposed
> for crimes committed by persons below the age of eighteen."   Indeed, every
>  major human rights treaty in the world has the same express wording.
>     Azi sits today in a Mississippi jail cell, with his life hanging in the
> balance.  The District Attorney wishes to seal Azi's fate, and is quoted in
> the local newspaper as saying that  because the "jurors in [predominantly
> black] Hinds County have a reputation for refusing to vote for the death
> penalty," he moved Azi's trial to a predominantly white county where the
> outcome would be more certain, if not predictable.
>     Azi is a child who has suffered from human rights abuses throughout his
> brief life -- first in South Africa, and now in the United States.   Yet, the
> errors in his childhood should not prove fatal.  He deserves our passion--
> not poison.  Please join the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
>  in our efforts to save Azi's life.
>
> 4 THINGS YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO HELP SAVE AZI:
>
> 1) FORWARD THIS MESSAGE TO ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS AND PRESS CONTACTS
>
> 2) WRITE THE D.A.:
> ---Azi is a South African child who has no history of violence or prior
> run-ins with the law;  was so far away from the murder that he did not even
> hear the gun shots;  and has fully cooperated with the police.
>     There is no reason why DA Kitchens should be seeking to kill him or
>put him
> behind bars for the rest of his life!
> -----JAMES KITCHENS, ESQ. / MADISON COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY/P.O. BOX 121/
> CANTON, MS 39046/  (601) 859-8880-fax /(601) 859-7838-phone.
>
> 3)MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD:
> Please contact the following news organizations:
> --Clarion-Ledger Newspaper
> letters at jackson.gannett.com
>
> --WLBT T.V. News
> WLBT at teclink.com
>
> --Jackson Advocate Newspaper (Black owned &operated)
> 300 N.Farish Street
> Jackson,MS 39202
> 1(601) 948-4125--fax
>
>
> IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION OR ARE INTERESTED IN HELPING TO RAISE
> MONEY FOR AZI'S DEFENSE PLEASE CONTACT THE NCADP AT "NCADP1 at aol.com" or
> 1-800-347-2411, ext.5
>
> NOTE:  The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP) was
> founded in 1976.  Our affiliates include  several large civil rights,
> religious and political organizations, and over 100 state and local
> anti-death penalty groups.  We are located at 918 F.Street, NW  Washington,
> DC 20024.  Our phone number is 1(202) 347-2411.  Our e-mail address in
> "NCADP1 at AOL.COM."
>
>




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