February 28, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 9
Egypt: Twenty-six people have been sentenced to death for "founding and leading a terror group that aimed to attack people's freedom, damage national unity, and attack the Suez Canal waterway. "Although some of the defendants had escaped capture for now, they were tried in absentia and if/when caught, they will be allowed a re-trial.
India: Two Italian marines accused of killing to Indian fisherman in 2012, will not face the death penalty. The Indian government has dropped the anti-terror charges against the marines, thus exempting them from the death penalty.
Indonesia: Authorities have arrested seven individuals suspected of trafficking drugs into the country. All had crystal meth on them at the time of the arrest. Each could face the death penalty under Indonesian law.
Iran: Seventy-three inmates have had their death sentences confirmed by the judiciary branch of Iran's regime. The death sentences were confirmed on February 18, 2014, leading to demands from the United Nations and other opposition groups that the country halt all executions.
On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, two prisoners were executed by hanging in Semnan. The prisoners were identified by initials only and each was convicted of drug related charges.
On Wednesday, February 26, 2014, a total of six people were hanged in Karaj. Three of the six, Arsalan, Hamid, and Habib, were publically hanged in three different areas of Karaj, which is west of Tehran. The three were convicted of kidnapping and raping a pregnant woman in March of 2009. Information on the other three was not provided.
Saudi Arabia: Salem Al Jahdali, who was convicted of murder, has been executed, bringing the total number of inmates executed for the year to ten. The execution occurred in Makkah.
Abdullah Al Mabyuq was beheaded for the murder of a fellow citizen on Wednesday, February 26, 2014.
Singapore:A factory worker and father of four, was sentenced to death in 2011 for trafficking drugs. Ahmad Fauzi Ismail has always maintained his innocence and, on Monday, February 24, 2014, he was acquitted and released as a free man. Ahmad could have faced the death penalty if convicted.
Taiwan: Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay is being pressured to begin carrying out execution for those on death row. Of the 52 inmates on death row, 45 have allegedly completed their appeals and are ready for execution. The minister confirmed that executions will be carried out, however, she will do so in a prudent manner. Additionally, the ministry must decide how executions are to be carried out.
United States of America: Shortly after midnight CST, on February 26, 2014, Missouri executed Michael Anthony Taylor. Michael was 47 years of age. He was executed for the murder of 15-year-old Ann Harrison. Read more about his crime here and here.
Also on February 26, 2014, Florida executed Paul Augustus Howell shortly after 6 pm EST. Paul was 48 years of age. Paul was executed for the murder of Police Trooper Jimmy Fulford. Read his story here.
The House State Affairs Committee, of the South Dakota legislature, voted 7-6 to against repealing the state's death penalty. South Dakota currently has three inmates on death row, and while the bill would only have banned future individuals from receiving the death penalty, it may have cleared the way for the three current death row inmates to have their sentences commuted.
Mississippi has requested that execution dates be set for two of their death row inmates: Michelle Byrom and Charles Ray Crawford. If Michelle is executed, she will be the first female executed in Mississippi since 1944.
The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that they will not prevent Virginia from retrying Justin Wolfe, whose capital murder conviction was set aside last year by a federal judge who ruled that earlier prosecutorial misconduct would prevent Justin from receiving a fair, new trial. A federal appeals court in Richmond, Virginia, overturned that ruling, stating that a trial could be held fairly.
Greg Wilhoit, a former death row inmate in Oklahoma who had been exonerated, died on February 14, 2014. Greg had been included in John Grisham's 2006 nonfiction book An Innocent Man, although he is not the feature of the book. Greg always proclaimed his innocence of the crime for which he was convicted (murdering his wife). Greg was eventually exonerated through bite mark evidence. Following his release, Greg became an anti-death penalty advocate, appearing on numerous television talk shows. Greg was 59 years of age when he died.
Uganda: President Yoweri Museveni recently signed into law a bill that issues stiff penalties for homosexuals and anyone caught engaging in homosexual relations, in an effort to deter the West's "social imperialism" by promoting homosexuality in Africa. According to Uganda scientists, there is no proven genetic bias towards being a homosexual. While an older draft of the bill called for the death penalty for homosexuals, this bill does not include such language. Jail time ranges from 14 years for a first offense, to life in prison for repeated offenses.
In addition to Uganda, homosexuality may be punishable by death in the following countries: Yemen (married men only), Iran (under Sharia law), Iraq (no exact law but judges cite Sharia law), Mauritania (Muslim men only), Nigeria (under Sharia law only, not federal law), Qatar (for Muslims only under Sharia law), Saudi Arabia (under Sharia law), Somalia (under Sharia law), Sudan (for three time offenders), and United Arab Emirates (lawyers currently debated if federal law requiring death refers to any homosexual act or rape only).