Crime, Law Enforcement, and Penology

Crime, Law Enforcement, and Penology
▪ 1995


      Peace talks continued in 1994 between Israel and its Arab neighbours despite a series of murderous incidents, while in Northern Ireland the Irish Republican Army, one of the world's most tenacious terrorist groups, announced in August that it was halting its 25-year campaign of violence immediately and unconditionally. Also in August the French government secured the arrest and extradition of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, better known as Carlos or "the Jackal," one of the most feared and wanted international terrorists, who was tracked down in The Sudan.

      These encouraging developments were overshadowed, however, by a number of bloody terrorist attacks linked to long-standing conflicts. On February 25 at Hebron in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank, at least 29 Muslim worshipers were gunned down as they prayed at the Cave of the Patriarchs, a shrine venerated by both Arabs and Jews. An Israeli inquiry into the shooting subsequently laid sole blame for the carnage on Baruch Goldstein, a member of a group of Jewish settlers living in the West Bank. Goldstein was overpowered and beaten to death by survivors immediately after the massacre, which provoked widespread violence in the area and disrupted Israeli-Arab peace negotiations. These negotiations were again placed under severe duress in July when a wave of attacks against Jewish targets in a number of countries raised fears about the rapid spread and reach of Islamic terrorism. The worst attack occurred on July 18 in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, where a powerful car bomb destroyed a Jewish community centre, leaving 96 people dead and at least 140 injured. Later in the year, a bomb exploded on a crowded bus in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 19, killing 22 and injuring 45, and a suicide bomber killed himself and wounded 13 people at a bus stop in Jerusalem on December 25. (See Israel. (Israel ))

      In Algeria a vicious terrorist campaign by Islamic extremists, aimed at toppling the country's ruling military regime, threatened to spill across the Mediterranean into France and other European nations with large North African immigrant and exile populations. During the year some 64 foreign nationals were murdered by terrorists, including at least 22 French citizens. As French authorities arrested numbers of Algerian exiles suspected of extremism and uncovered networks in France supporting Algerian-based terrorist groups, these groups promised violent reprisals against those responsible for the crackdown. On December 27, one day after French commandos killed four terrorists who had hijacked an airliner, executed three passengers, and held 173 others hostage, the Armed Islamic Group murdered four Roman Catholic priests in Algeria in retaliation. Meanwhile, in Iran, a nation widely viewed as one of the principal supporters of Islamic extremist violence in many parts of the world, a bomb exploded on June 20 in a crowded shrine in the Muslim holy city of Meshed, killing 70 people and wounding 114. The attack, which Iranian authorities blamed on the Mujahedin-e Khalq, an opposition group based in Iraq, was the worst terrorist incident in the country since the end of the 10-year Iran-Iraq war in 1990.

War Crimes.
      Amid mounting criticism of its lack of action and delay, the International Tribunal for the Prosecution of War Crimes in the former Yugoslavia announced in October that a Bosnian Serb, Dusan Tadic, was to be the subject of the first international investigation of this type since the Nürnberg and Tokyo trials after World War II. In July the tribunal appointed a South African judge, Richard Goldstone, as its principal prosecutor. Under the mandate given to the tribunal, persons found guilty of war crimes would not face the death penalty, but convicted defendants were likely to serve lengthy prison terms in countries that were prepared to accept them. The tribunal's critics continued to express concern that it would merely target minor offenders as scapegoats, and senior political leaders who should be held responsible for atrocities would evade punishment.

      In March a long-suppressed U.S. Department of Justice report on the wartime activities of former UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim was finally released. The 1987 report claimed that the Austrian was a key member of Nazi units responsible for executing prisoners, killing civilians, identifying Jews for deportation, and shipping prisoners to slave labour camps.

Drug Trafficking.
 With an estimated 2.7 million hard-core drug users on the street and with Americans spending $49 billion annually on illegal drugs, a progress report on U.S. national drug-control policy declared that action had to be taken. It called, among other things, for changes in the way international drug-control programs were viewed. For example, in countries that were major sources of drugs or through which drugs traveled, support for counternarcotics programs had to be an integral part of U.S. foreign policy (for International Drug Traffic routes, see Map—>).

      Nowhere was this policy being more vigorously pursued than in Colombia, long the principal source for the lucrative international trade in cocaine. As Colombia's newly elected president, Ernesto Samper Pizano, was sworn into office in August, U.S. State Department officials expressed anxieties that the antidrug war would suffer a setback because he had received campaign funds from Colombia's powerful drug cartels. Denying these charges, Samper announced an array of measures to combat drug trafficking.

Murder and Other Violence.
      U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton fulfilled his campaign promise to get tough on crime by securing the passage through Congress in September of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. The new legislation provided funds for 100,000 new police and 100,000 new prison places and for crime-prevention programs. It also extended the federal death penalty from 2 to 60 crimes, including drive-by shootings and carjackings, and required mandatory life-imprisonment sentences for those convicted of a third felony involving violence. Against fierce opposition from the powerful U.S. gun lobby, the legislation incorporated a ban on 19 types of assault weapons. Sex-based violence was made a civil rights violation, thereby applying federal penalties to spousal abuse and stalking a woman across state boundaries.

      The grim realities of domestic abuse in U.S. family life were graphically exposed in June when O.J. Simpson, a football hero and motion-picture star, was accused of slaying his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman. They were found stabbed to death on June 13 outside Nicole Simpson's home in West Los Angeles. Simpson was arrested by Los Angeles police on June 17 following a bizarre low-speed chase along local freeways observed live by millions of television viewers in the U.S. and abroad. In the wake of Nicole Simpson's death, domestic violence hot lines across the U.S. reported a record surge in calls as many battered and abused women broke their silence and left violent homes for sanctuary in shelters.

      In May a report by Pakistan's Human Rights Commission said that half of the victims of reported rapes in that country were juveniles. Very few rapes were reported and even fewer prosecuted. Under an Islamic ordinance in force in Pakistan since 1979, a woman had to present four witnesses in order to prove a case of sexual assault. In the U.S. a Justice Department study published in June covering 11 states and the District of Columbia found that about half the victims of rapes reported to the police in 1992 were girls younger than 18 and that about one in six was under 12. The study determined most of the rapes were committed by relatives or friends. In July the House of Lords created an offense of male rape for the first time in English legal history. The decision to change the legal definition of rape was taken without a vote as part of a homosexual law reform package agreed upon by all parties in the British upper house.

      The passions raised by international soccer resulted in the death of Colombian football star Andrés Escobar in July. On June 22 Escobar accidentally kicked a goal against his own team while playing in a World Cup match in Pasadena, Calif. On July 2, on his return home to Medellín, Escobar was accosted outside a bar by a number of persons who hurled abuse at him for his error and then shot him to death in what local police described as a planned execution. A few days later authorities arrested three Medellín men suspected of being involved in a murder that shocked a nation already traumatized during recent years by the deaths of thousands of citizens in drug-related violence.

      In Mexico the assassination on March 23 of Luis Donaldo Colosio (see OBITUARIES (Colosio Murrieta, Luis Donaldo )), the presidential candidate of Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, shook the foundations of the country and raised doubts about its long-term stability. Colosio, addressing a political rally in Tijuana at the time of his death, was shot in the head by an assailant who was then apprehended at the scene of the murder. (See Mexico. (Mexico ))

      A series of incidents in the latter half of the year involved apparent or real attacks on the White House, including two cases in which bullets were fired into the U.S. presidential mansion and the crash of a small airplane onto the grounds. Motives were unclear in two apparently related firebombings in New York City's subway system in December that injured dozens of people.

Political Crime and Espionage.
      Italy's long-running corruption scandal claimed fresh victims during the year, including Paolo Berlusconi, the youngest brother of the nation's prime minister, billionaire Silvio Berlusconi. Spearheaded by a team of magistrates in Milan, the anticorruption inquiry, labeled Operation Clean Hands, extended its investigations to the prime minister's own business interests, and in December Berlusconi resigned from office. (See BIOGRAPHIES (Berlusconi, Silvio ).)

      In September the Greek Parliament voted to send to trial a former prime minister, Konstantinos Mitsotakis, for allegedly taking a bribe of $22.5 million in the 1992 sale of a government-owned cement plant to an Italian company, but the case was dropped in December. In May Carlos Andrés Pérez, 71, a former president of Venezuela, was arrested and briefly jailed after the nation's Supreme Court ruled that he should be tried on charges of misappropriating part of $17 million in public funds. Following expressions of concern by foreign leaders, he was placed under house arrest. A series of trials took place in Indonesia during the year as the government sought to clean up the notoriously lax and corrupt state banking system. The most prominent of these prosecutions involved a multimillionaire entrepreneur, Eddy Tansil, who in September was sentenced to 17 years in jail for his part in a banking scandal involving the theft of $436 million.

      The U.S. CIA announced in February that one of its most senior officers had been a spy for the Soviet Union and then Russia since 1985. Espionage charges were filed against Aldrich ("Rick") Ames, a 31-year career veteran and a past head of the CIA's counterintelligence division, and his wife, Maria del Rosario Casas Ames. In April both pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit espionage and tax fraud. Aldrich Ames was sentenced to life imprisonment without chance of parole, while his wife received a lesser sentence. Prosecutors said that Ames, motivated by greed, had caused the deaths, arrests, and disappearances of at least one East German and 10 Soviet double agents. The Ames affair was cited as a key factor in the resignation of CIA director James Woolsey in December.

White Collar Crime and Theft.
      Booming economic growth in China brought with it an unwelcome increase in economic crime. According to Chinese officials, 20,000 cases of embezzlement and corruption were reported in the first six months of 1994, an 81% increase from a year earlier. Communist Party leaders called for new vigour in the campaign to stamp out such crimes, including wider use of the death penalty.

      The rapidly expanding worldwide market in mobile phones was reported to be producing an associated boom in theft and fraud. British mobile phone operating companies revealed that during the first half of 1994 the theft of handsets increased from 10,000 to 15,000 a month. In Germany mobile phone service providers reported losses from fraud amounting to about 2% of their multimillion-dollar turnover. Most of this fraud was linked to the sophisticated Global System for Mobile Communications technology, which allows mobile phone subscribers in one country to use their phones to make calls on another network elsewhere in the world (known as "roaming"). Unscrupulous customers and mobile phone thieves used this "roaming" facility to amass large unpaid phone accounts, evading early detection because of delays in billing those calls to home networks.

Law Enforcement.
      Under the auspices of the UN, justice ministers from around the world gathered in Naples in November to discuss the growing problem of transnational organized crime. The meeting was prompted by concern that traditional law-enforcement techniques were failing to cope with newly emerging and sophisticated criminal groups operating with increasing impunity across the globe. Whether smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. from China, arms and icons from the former Soviet Union into Western Europe, or drugs from Latin America into North America, these groups represented a significant threat to the world community. A chilling portrayal of this threat emerged during the year in Germany, where law-enforcement officials seized four smuggled radioactive shipments in as many months. The shipments, three of which were of plutonium 239, an essential ingredient in the production of nuclear weapons, were said to have originated from poorly guarded installations in Russia.

      The Naples meeting emphasized the importance of new forms of mutual assistance among nations to combat transnational organized crime. At present Italian, Chinese, Lebanese, Colombian, Russian, and other ethnically based criminal groups could all too easily exploit glaring structural weaknesses in law-enforcement agencies established mainly to deal with local or national crime problems rather than cross-national criminal activities. Some success was reported in tackling the international problem of money laundering, the term used to describe the concealing of the source of the funds derived from the proceeds of drug trafficking and other major revenue-generating crimes.

      Interpol, the Paris-based international police agency, was asked in June to arrest the founder of the defunct and scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Agha Hassan Abedi, following his conviction of fraud by an Abu Dhabi court. Abedi, who was said to be bedridden in Pakistan, was sentenced to an eight-year prison term, while 11 of his fellow BCCI executives also received prison terms and were fined a total of $9 billion. In the absence of an extradition treaty between Pakistan and Abu Dhabi, Interpol remained powerless to act unless Pakistan agreed voluntarily to hand over Abedi.

      In London a surge in the number of stabbings and shootings of unarmed police resulted in May in further relaxation of the long-standing tradition for British police not to carry guns routinely. The commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Paul Condon, said that officers in armed response vehicles would now carry weapons openly.

      The development of new technology to assist law enforcement received a boost with the announcement in October that a British company had devised an electronic sniffer that could detect drugs and explosives, including the deadly Semtex favoured by terrorist bombers. The British Home Office said that the new device, called Itemiser, would be field-tested immediately in two maximum-security prisons. In Taiwan a new and highly sophisticated automatic fingerprint-verification system began to be released on the international market. (DUNCAN CHAPPELL)

Prisons and Penology.
      The U.S. crime bill of 1994 called for a $30.2 billion expenditure by the federal government over the next six years, $9.9 billion of which was to be spent for prisons and “boot camps” (short-stay facilities run in military style). New powers for federal courts included the option of dealing with 13-year-olds as adults, and life imprisonment was mandated for a third violent felony. At the state level, California enacted a statute that enabled the courts to impose sentences of at least 25 years in prison without parole on persons convicted of a third felony. With opinion polls showing strong support for the slogan “three strikes and you're out,” several other states were preparing to follow suit.

      Strident postures on crime were also struck in Britain, where the home secretary, Michael Howard, unveiled a 27-point plan in October 1993. Tougher sentencing power for the courts in dealing with juveniles, electronic monitoring of offenders, and reductions in protections afforded to defendants were high on the government's agenda.

      Even more intrusive were the steps taken in Delhi, India, where four young women had “pickpocket” tattooed on their foreheads, the first recorded case of branding in Indian legal history. In May considerable attention, especially in the U.S., focused on the case of Michael Fay, a young American convicted in Singapore of having vandalized parked cars with spray paint. The sentence that he be caned drew a protest from President Clinton but received the backing of many Americans. (See Asian Values. (Spotlight: Asian Values )) Elsewhere, a UN special report on human rights in The Sudan asserted that recent legislation allowed crucifixion for armed robbery and stoning for adultery.

      Prison populations continued to rise in many parts of the world, and there were widespread reports of severe overcrowding. According to a report issued in September, Russia and the U.S. had the world's largest prison populations, with rates per 100,000 citizens of 558 and 519, respectively. In the U.S. space pressures were exacerbated by worsening racial disparities, with African-Americans constituting 52% of state prison inmates, according to the Justice Department. Grim conditions also characterized prisons in South Africa, which, despite significant improvements since 1990, remained places of extreme violence.

      Large-scale violent incidents were especially prevalent in South American prisons. In El Salvador a riot at San Francisco Gotera prison left 27 persons dead. An even more serious disturbance occurred in January at Sabaneta prison in Maracaibo, Venezuela; the death toll there was at least 122 prisoners. The prison, designed for 800, held 3,000 persons at the time of the riot. In Britain six prisoners who escaped in September from the top-security Whitemoor prison were quickly recaptured.

      High rates of suicides, access to illegal drugs, and worsening health risks were among other problems associated with the increasingly crowded prison systems in many parts of the world. On a positive note, however, home-leave programs were vigorously pursued in Germany and Northern Ireland.

Death Penalty.
      The general trend throughout the world was toward an increased use of the death penalty. In February Amnesty International reported that 1,831 persons were known to have been executed in 32 countries during the previous year. China accounted for 77% of this recorded total. In the U.S. 31 people were executed during 1994 (7 fewer than in 1993).

      Several countries acted to widen the scope of the death penalty, including Pakistan for drug trafficking, Lebanon for politically motivated murder, and Peru for terrorism. Elsewhere, demands for the death penalty by prosecutors in Turkey included a case involving Kurdish legislators charged with treason. In Trinidad and Tobago a man was hanged in July despite the fact that his case was before the court of appeal and the UN's International Rights Committee.

      In Europe, however, the place of death penalty on the political agenda diminished. The British House of Commons in February voted by a majority of 244 votes not to restore capital punishment for murder and by 197 votes in the case of the murder of a police officer. These majorities occurred despite an opinion poll four months earlier showing 88% support for the death penalty.

      Resort to capital punishment was reported in many countries, although it was not always officially acknowledged. For example, Amnesty International published reports of summary executions in Myanmar and also in Zaire, where it claimed that thousands of people had been put to death by the military authorities. Opponents of the regime in Iraq claimed that at least 1,000 people had been summarily executed at ar-Radwanieh prison camp in August 1993. By contrast, the Chinese authorities publicized (in some if not all cases) the frequent application of the death penalty. For example, in May after a mass sentencing in the southern province of Guangdong (Kwangtung), 33 car thieves were executed.

      One aspect of the death penalty that continued to receive attention from human rights organizations was appalling conditions endured on death row, often over many years. For example, in May Amnesty International drew attention to the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, constructed as an earth shelter, which held 400 persons on death row. Denied virtually all access to natural light or fresh air, prisoners were held in their cells for 23 hours per day during weekdays and for 24 hours on weekends.


      See also Law .

      This updates the articles crime and punishment (crime); police.

▪ 1994


Violent Crime.
      Terrorism. In the early months of 1993, three of the world's major cities and financial centres, New York, Bombay, and London, were each the target of devastating bombing attacks. On February 26 a 550-kg (1,210-lb) bomb, packed in a van, exploded in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in New York City, ripping a 60-m (200-ft) crater in the basement of the world's second tallest building. The blast, which killed 6 people and injured more than 1,000, caused millions of dollars of damage and severely disrupted business. Officials described it as "the most destructive terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil."

      On March 12 a string of bomb explosions struck the business district of Bombay, including the 29-story building housing the Bombay Stock Exchange and another skyscraper occupied by Air-India. The attacks killed 317 people, injured more than 1,100, and caused damage exceeding $250 million in India's commercial capital. (See India .)

      On April 24 a massive bomb exploded in a truck parked in the City (financial district) of London. One person was killed by the blast and some 44 injured, while property damage amounting to almost $1 billion was inflicted on more than 100 surrounding buildings, including a 13th-century church. A little over a year earlier, also in the City, a similar bomb had produced widespread devastation. (See United Kingdom .)

      The three incidents provided a frightening demonstration of the destructive capacity of modern terrorists and of the vulnerability of large cities to such attacks. In the United States, which had in the past remained largely immune from international terrorist attacks, particular concern was expressed that those groups were shifting their attention to targets within the country. That concern was heightened as investigators into the World Trade Center bombing began rapidly to uncover a complex conspiracy among a group of Islamic fundamentalists to commit this and other acts of urban terrorism in the U.S. The mastermind of this conspiracy was alleged to be Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, the spiritual leader of the fundamentalists in Egypt and elsewhere in the world.

      In Northern Ireland on October 23, Irish Republican Army assassins armed with a bomb walked into a busy Belfast fish shop. The bomb exploded, probably prematurely, killing 10 people, including one of the bombers, and injuring more than 50 people. The bombing provoked an immediate wave of revenge killings by the Ulster Freedom Fighters, an outlawed Protestant extremist group. Political leaders from both sides of Northern Ireland's deeply divided sectarian society condemned the killings, which seemed intended to derail recent peace talks aimed at ending this long-standing conflict.

      In June the trial began in Kuwait of 14 persons accused of a plot to assassinate former U.S. president George Bush during his visit to that country in April. Wali 'Abd al-Hadi al-Ghazali, one of two defendants to plead guilty at the opening session of the trial, claimed that he was approached by Iraqi intelligence officers to kill Bush with a car bomb or, if this failed, by detonating a pack of explosives tied to his body. The mission failed completely because the police uncovered the plot and arrested the conspirators. On June 27, U.S. naval forces in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf launched 23 Tomahawk missiles aimed at the Iraqi intelligence service headquarters in Baghdad, where the Bush assassination plot was said to have been planned. Twenty missiles were believed to have found their target, but the strike also killed at least 8 Iraqi civilians and injured 20.

      War Crimes. The continuing atrocities being perpetrated by the combatants involved in the civil war in the Balkans prompted the UN Security Council to vote in February to establish an international tribunal to try war crimes in the republics of the former Yugoslav federation. The tribunal was the first of its kind to be set up since the victorious Allies in World War II established similar bodies in Nürnberg, Germany, and Tokyo to try Nazi and Japanese leaders. In September the UN General Assembly elected candidates from 11 nations to serve as members of the new tribunal, which would try those accused of murder, rape, torture, "ethnic cleansing," and other crimes committed since the breakup of Yugoslavia. Critics suggested that the tribunal would experience great practical difficulties obtaining objective evidence of war crimes and of linking such crimes to the leaders of the various factions involved in the Yugoslav conflict.

      On July 29 the Israeli Supreme Court quashed the conviction and death sentence imposed on John Demjanjuk, the former Cleveland, Ohio, autoworker who was believed to have been the Nazi death camp guard known as "Ivan the Terrible." The court said that it had found "reasonable doubt" that Demjanjuk was the sadistic killer who operated the gas ovens at the Treblinka concentration camp. The court's decision was based on new evidence from archives in the former Soviet Union. (See Law .)

      Drug Trafficking. At a major conference on U.S. drug policy held in Washington, D.C., in May, newly appointed U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and other high-ranking officials raised serious questions about the nation's entire drug-interdiction apparatus, suggesting that it could well be futile to continue trying to win the war against drugs by stopping drugs from entering the country. Influential members of the U.S. Congress expressed similar concerns. According to the chairperson of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, Rep. Charles E. Schumer (Dem., N.Y.), "The international eradication and interdiction effort has been a near total failure."

      In Colombia the nation's continuing battle to combat drug traffickers, assisted by the U.S., seemed to be making little progress. A series of bombings and assassinations in Medellín, the world's cocaine centre, and Bogotá, the nation's capital, caused a wave of death and destruction. Pablo Escobar, leader of the Medellín drug cartel and at large since a July 1992 jailbreak, was killed in a December shootout with soldiers and police. (See Colombia .)

      Murder and Other Violence. Violent crime in the U.S. increased slightly in 1992, but the overall level of crime reported to law-enforcement agencies declined 3% compared with 1991. Commenting on the crime figures, the newly appointed FBI director, Louis J. Freeh, said that "any reduction in reported crime is welcome but the amount of violent crime and other grave offenses nationwide remains intolerable."

      The rate of violent crime, which included murder, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, rose by 1% during the year. There were 23,760 murders in 1992, a 4% drop from the record-setting level of 1991. Firearms were used in approximately 7 out of every 10 murders and in one in 3 of all murders, robberies, and aggravated assaults collectively. Almost half of the murder victims were related to or acquainted with their assailants. Among female murder victims almost one-third were killed by their husbands or boyfriends.

      The deadly impact of the gun culture in the United States was dramatically illustrated by a National Center for Health Statistics report that gunshots now caused one in every four deaths among U.S. teenagers. Bullets killed 4,200 teenagers in 1990, the most recent year for which figures were available, compared with 2,500 in 1985. According to the National Education Association, an estimated 100,000 students carried a gun to school, while a Louis Harris poll released in July revealed that among a sample of 11- to 18-year-old students surveyed in 96 schools across the country, 15% said they had carried a handgun in the previous 30 days.

      On July 1 a lone gunman walked into a San Francisco law office and opened fire with a 9-mm Uzi machine gun and a .45-calibre semiautomatic pistol. The gunman, later identified as Gian Ferri, a mortgage broker, killed eight people and injured six before fatally shooting himself. The attack, which took place on the 34th and 32nd floors of a 49-story office building in the heart of the city's financial district, was a graphic example of the violent crime that was affecting the daily lives of Americans across the nation. In Florida particular concern was expressed at the effect this violence was having on the state's highly lucrative tourist industry. Nationwide statistics on attacks on tourists were not available, but in 1992 in Florida alone 36,766 visitors, foreign and domestic, were murdered, raped, robbed, or otherwise victimized. From October 1992 to October 1993, nine foreign tourists were murdered in the state, and these deaths received extensive publicity in the U.S. and abroad. In Japan travel agents reported that bad publicity of this type was persuading Japanese tourists to vacation in safer destinations.

      In England in November, the trial was held of two 11-year-old boys on charges of abduction and murder of a 2-year-old boy, James Bulger, who strayed from his mother at a crowded shopping mall in Liverpool. The abduction was filmed by an automatic security camera in the mall, and the pictures were subsequently widely broadcast on British television. The crime deeply shocked and repelled the local community. The accused boys, who were both 10 at the time of the crimes, were the youngest ever to have been charged with murder in Britain. Because angry crowds attacked the police van carrying the boys to their first court appearance in February, officials moved their trial to Preston, a town 50 km (30 mi) north of Liverpool. Both boys pleaded not guilty to all charges. In late November, however, a jury of three women and nine men found them guilty. They were sentenced to detention "at Her Majesty's pleasure," the equivalent of a life sentence in a high-security unit. Only four other youths were serving life sentences in Britain.

      In Brazil and other Latin-American countries, homeless children living on the streets were reported to be the continuing victims of violence. According to UNICEF estimates, 1,000 minors were murdered each year in Brazil, while in Colombia, with one-quarter of the population, twice as many were said to be being killed. Street children were claimed to be the particular targets of police shootings in such cities as Rio de Janeiro because they represented a threat to businessmen who lost trade when customers stayed away from their stores for fear of being mugged or pickpocketed. Few of those responsible for these murders were apprehended, and fewer still successfully prosecuted.

      Two women and three children died on May 29 in the German steelmaking city of Solingen when the two-story home of a Turkish family was firebombed. The attack, allegedly plotted by a group of four local skinheads known for their neo-Nazi sympathies, set off a wave of angry demonstrations across the country by Turkish residents, who formed Germany's largest group of foreign guest workers. These workers, 1.8 million of them Turks, were increasingly the object of insults and attacks in many parts of the nation. (See Germany .)

Nonviolent Crime.
      Political Crime and Espionage. In Italy a huge web of corruption, involving some of the most senior figures in government and the world of business, continued to be uncovered. Operation Clean Hands, a far-reaching probe into Italy's culture of kickbacks, led to the notification of at least 800 people that they were under investigation for corruption, a legal step in the Italian justice system in which investigating magistrates officially declared that they intended to proceed with a trial on the basis of the evidence they had obtained. (See Italy .)

      Corruption scandals also continued to rock the foundations of the Japanese government. A wide-ranging investigation into "money politics," a system of kickbacks and payoffs involving principally the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, resulted in the arrest and detention in March of Shin Kanemaru, one of Japan's most powerful political figures. (See Japan .)

      In August, after a New York City trial lasting five months, a jury acquitted banker and lawyer Robert Altman of four felony charges ranging from bribery to deceiving the government. All of the charges were related to Altman's affiliations with the failed and corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). The verdict was a setback for prosecutors, who seemed to face formidable barriers in bringing to justice those responsible for what was described as the biggest financial scandal in history. Altman, together with his former law partner and Washington power broker Clark Clifford, still faced trial on a range of other criminal and civil charges linked to BCCI.

Law Enforcement.
      In August, U.S. Pres. Bill Clinton unveiled a $3.4 billion plan to put 50,000 additional police officers on the beat, expand use of the death penalty, and curtail the availability of handguns and automatic pistols. In September the White House released the report of a task force, headed by Vice Pres. Al Gore, that made radical proposals to consolidate federal law-enforcement functions. The report noted that more than 140 federal agencies were responsible for enforcing 4,100 federal criminal laws. Most federal crimes involved several laws and fell under the jurisdictions of several agencies. A drug case, for example, could encompass violations of financial, firearm, immigration, and customs laws, as well as drug statutes. The report recommended that the federal government transfer law-enforcement functions of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to the FBI.

      The task force report's recommendations came at a time when the actions of both the ATF and the FBI were under intense scrutiny over their handling of a 51-day siege near Waco, Texas. The siege began on February 28 when more than 100 ATF agents stormed a heavily armed and fortified compound occupied by members of a religious cult known as the Branch Davidians. The raid went badly awry. The cult, led by David Koresh, had apparently been tipped off about the assault, and in an ensuing gun battle 10 persons were killed, including 4 ATF agents. The action resulted in a long standoff that was broken on April 19 by a new assault launched by the FBI using tear gas pumped into the compound by tanks with battering rams. In a raging fire that then broke out, at least 75 out of the 95 people believed to have been in the compound perished, including Koresh and at least 17 children. In October the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a scathing report on the ATF's handling of the original assault, while a U.S. Department of Justice examination of the siege revealed that there had been sharp disagreements among FBI officials about how to deal with Koresh and his followers. Reno was found to have exhausted all "reasonable alternatives" in handling the matter and to have made no mistakes when she approved the FBI's final tear gas assault.

      In April in Los Angeles a federal court trial, launched after the previous year's state court acquittals of four Los Angeles police officers accused of beating black motorist Rodney King—a beating that was videotaped and broadcast around the world—ended in the conviction of two of the officers of violating King's civil rights. Two officers were acquitted of similar charges. The guilty verdicts for Sgt. Stacey Koon and Officer Laurence Powell seemed to put a swift end to months of tension in Los Angeles and to fears that there would be a repeat of the riots that followed the earlier acquittal and left at least 53 persons dead and almost $1 billion in damage. In August the two convicted officers were each sentenced to 30 months' imprisonment. In another related trial, which ended in October, two men accused of beating white truck driver Reginald Denny during the Los Angeles riots were acquitted of most charges. For disfiguring Denny with a brick, Damian Williams was found guilty of simple mayhem, which carried a maximum prison term of up to eight years. His codefendant, Henry Watson, was convicted on a misdemeanour assault charge that carried a six-month prison term. Watson was released from jail, where he had already spent 17 months awaiting trial. (See Law .)

      Italian police claimed one of their most significant breakthroughs in the long-standing fight against organized crime with the arrest in January of the Mafia's superboss, Salvatore Riina. Riina, who had been on the run for 23 years, was captured in the Sicilian town of Palermo. (See Italy .)

      At an international police conference held at the British Police Staff College at Bramshill in June, senior police officials warned that eastern European crime syndicates would be supplying guns and drugs to the inner cities of Britain within five years. Weapons from the former Soviet army, such as AK47s, were already being found. Officials said that Britain was particularly vulnerable because it alone in Europe did not have a serious firearms problem or an armed police force or security guards. Echoing these views, the newly appointed London Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Paul Condon, predicted that the British police could be armed as a matter of routine over the next 10 to 20 years.

      The United Kingdom was not the only European country to be alarmed about the impact of organized criminal activities originating from the former Soviet Union and other Eastern-bloc countries. With the removal of most of the border controls in the European Community (EC), many nations expressed anxieties about the way in which terrorists, smugglers, and drug dealers could move freely around Europe. A multinational police apparatus that would compensate to some degree for the loss of frontier checks within the EC was not yet in place.

      In early December Austria was wracked by a series of letter bombs that were sent to journalists, government officials, and priests who aided immigrants. In one incident the mayor of Vienna suffered serious injuries to his left hand. The police believed that right-wing radicals were responsible for the attacks.

      In late December four kidnappers took 11 Russian teenagers and 2 adults hostage and demanded $10 million in ransom. Four days later, after two military pilots flew them across southern Russia in a helicopter, the kidnappers released the hostages and forced the pilots to take them near Makhachkala. They were apprehended with most of the ransom money after they tried to flee on foot into the Caucasus Mountains.


Prisons and Penology.
      Penal Policy. In the U.S., Pres. Bill Clinton's crime bill, announced in August 1993, broadly adopted the main features of the legislation long stalled in Congress. The Clinton package provided $3.4 billion for 50,000 additional police officers (as a "down payment" on the 100,000 promised during the campaign) and $700 million for prison construction. In an early move, the new U.S. attorney general, Janet Reno (see BIOGRAPHIES (Reno, Janet )), ordered a review of the impact of mandatory minimum sentencing with reference to less serious drug offenses. In France tougher measures with respect to serious offenses, including drug trafficking, were approved in July 1992.

      Contrasting developments were evident in many countries. A judicial reform bill passed in the Turkish legislature in November 1992 reduced the period during which suspects could be held in custody before trial and also allowed access to a lawyer during questioning. These measures did not cover terrorist cases or crimes against the state, nor were they applicable in those provinces where there was a state of emergency. Tough measures were announced in Britain, including plans for secure training centres for 12-15-year-olds. Key sections of the Criminal Justice Act of 1991 were also amended so as to give courts discretion to take account of all offenses charged as well as previous convictions.

      Elsewhere, liberalizing measures included the ruling by the Barbados Court of Appeal in September 1992 that flogging by a cat-o'-nine-tails was inhuman and degrading. One of the largest amnesties occurred in South Korea, where Pres. Kim Young Sam celebrated his inauguration by releasing almost 42,000 prisoners and expunging the records of 5 million people convicted of minor crimes.

      Prison Conditions. Prison populations in many parts of the world continued an upward trend. In the U.S., federal and state prison numbers rose 7% in 1992, and the jail population (persons on remand or serving sentences of less than a year) increased by 5%. The prison and jail population of 1.3 million represented an incarceration rate of 455 per 100,000 inhabitants, one of the highest of any country and, for example, 10 times as high as the rate for The Netherlands. Considerable overcrowding and severe budget pressures coexisted at all levels of government. The federal prison system was 52% over capacity, and California had one of the most crowded state systems, at 90% over capacity. In California and South Carolina new prisons remained empty because budgets did not permit the hiring of additional staff. In 14 states prison personnel were cut back, while an additional 20 states declined to add new positions despite rising prison populations. Deteriorating conditions were also widespread in many facilities for juvenile offenders.

      Crowded and often unhygienic prison conditions also existed in many other countries. For example, in September the Zimbabwe government set up an inquiry into the deaths of more than 200 prisoners since the start of the year. In Greece steps were announced to repossess hotels so as to relieve prison crowding that had been caused in part by a crackdown on tax evasion. The imprisonment of many Italian politicians and business leaders gave visibility to the oft-neglected issue of the treatment of prisoners. One hundred fifty of the elite prisoners were among 2,000 persons sharing accommodation at San Vittore Prison, designed to hold 800. Some cells intended for single occupancy were holding six prisoners in summer temperatures rising to 40° C (104° F).

      Serious prison riots occurred in several countries. In April at least seven prisoners were killed following a riot at Pavocito Prison on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Also in April nine prisoners and one guard died during an 11-day uprising at the Lucasville, Ohio, maximum-security prison. Although no serious injuries resulted, overnight rioting in September largely destroyed Wymott Prison in Lancashire, England. In France a national strike by prison officers took place after two of their number were killed in separate incidents over the summer. Subsequently, the Ministry of Justice agreed to establish 700 new positions.

      Torture and the severe abuse of prisoners remained endemic in many countries. In China, according to Amnesty International, beatings, assaults with electric batons, shackling over periods of weeks, and suspension by the arms or feet were among the methods of torture used. In Egypt, Middle East Watch reported in February that custodial confinement was particularly abusive, and the Egyptian Human Rights Organization claimed that security police routinely tortured Islamic radicals.

      Death Penalty. Amnesty International reported during the year that the death penalty remained in force in 106 countries. China, which executed about 1,000 persons in 1991, put at least 59 people to death in January in a crackdown on train and highway robbers. An additional 154 persons were executed for drug offenses on June 26, designated as International Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking. In Pakistan 11 convicted murderers were hanged in November 1992. The Islamic code of laws (Shari'ah) was the basis for capital punishment in several countries. For example, in Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty International, 105 people were executed in the 12 months to June 1993, a fourfold increase over the previous 12 months.

      Japan ended its three-year moratorium on executions in March, when at least three and possibly more than five people were hanged. The men had been under sentence of death for periods of up to 23 years. The South African Parliament voted in June to resume the use of the death penalty, which had been suspended since early 1990. Elsewhere in Africa, by contrast, Angola's new constitution, approved in August 1992, abolished the death penalty.

      In 1993, 38 persons were executed in the U.S., bringing the total to 226 since the resumption of capital punishment in 1977. The Clinton administration's crime bill extended to 47 the number of federal capital offenses. A poll conducted in April by the Death Penalty Information Centre found that 77% of the respondents supported the death penalty but that this number fell to 56% if the alternative was imprisonment without parole for 25 years. Furthermore, almost 60% of those questioned stated that the possibility of executing innocent people caused them to have doubts about the death penalty.

      See also Law .

      This updates the articles crime and punishment (crime); police.

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Universalium. 2010.

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