April 4, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 14
Brunei: This week, the country will transition to a system of Islamic law. Punishments will include flogging, dismemberment of limbs, and stoning to death. Last year the Sultan announced his intention to switch to Sharia law for the nation, and warned that those who took to social media sites to complain could be punished using the new laws. Non-Muslim communities are alarmed about the new laws and legal right campaigners say the new law breaches international laws. Brunei is a former colony of Britain and was granted independence in 1984.
China:On Thursday, March 27, 2014, 40-year-old Wang Yongwas sentenced to death for the serial rape of 16 underage girls, aged 12-16 years. Wang met some of the girls online while posing as a teenager girl himself. He began raping girls in 2009 and was arrested in 2012. Wang's accomplice, an unnamed underage girl, was sentenced to three years in prison. She alleged she was forced to seek out victims for Wang. Wang's sentence will be reviewed by the Supreme Court, although many expect it will be upheld due to the severity of the crime.
Egypt:Several independent human right experts from the United Nations are urging Egypt to quash the 529 death sentences handed out last week. Included among the reasons for asking for the sentences to be set aside are the lack of clarity of the charges, the lack of the severity of the charges, the shortness of the trial (two days), and procedural irregularities.
Two supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi have been sentenced to death for throwing youths off an apartment roof. One of the youths was killed. An amateur video was posted on social networks which showed the attack. The two men first threw stones at the youth, and then one is thrown from the roof. The youth thrown was then beaten with clubs. A second youth was later thrown from the roof who survived his injuries.
Gaza:Hamas has imposed new punitive law which is "inspired by" Sharia Law. The new law includes a minimum of 20 lashes for minor offenses, a minimum of 80 lashes for criminal offenses, cutting off the hands of a thief, and expansion of the death penalty in accordance with Sharia Law. Hamas' new law is condemned by Palestine and other terrorist groups.
India: On Monday, March 31, 2014, Devinderpal Singh Bhullar had his death sentenced commuted to life in prison on the grounds of mental illness. Devinderpal is convicted of triggering a bomb blast in a September 1993 terror plot in New Delhi, which killed nine and injured 25 others.
Three men, Vijay Jadhav, Kasim Bengali, and Mohammed Salim Ansari, have been sentenced to death for two gang rapes last year in Mumbai, including the rape of a photojournalist. This is the first time rapists have been sentenced to death when the victim did not die. A fourth man, also convicted of the gang rape of the photojournalist on August 22, 2013, was sentenced to life in prison because he was a juvenile and he did not participate in the second rape.
Indonesia: Forty-one-year-old Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad was scheduled to be executed on Saturday, April 5, 2014, in Saudi Arabia, however, the Indonesian government and the victim's family has reached an agreement on blood money, sparing her life. Satinah admitted to killing her employer in 2007, and fleeing with nearly $10,000. The Indonesian government has agreed to pay 5 million riyal to family now, and 2 million to be paid over the next two years.
Iran:In the past Persian year, which ended on March 20, at least 25 women were executed, although it is suspected that the true number is much higher than the number reported by the state-run media. Most of the women were executed for drug related charges, however some charges remain unknown. Currently there are over ten women under the age of 30 or Iran's death row, including a woman who killed a MOIS agent who attempted to assault her.
Japan: On Friday, March 28, 2014, the Tokyo High Court upheld the release of Iwao Hakamada, who, until his release on Thursday, was the world's longest serving death row inmate. Iwao, a former boxer, spent over 40 years on Japan's death row after he was convicted of murdering a family of four in Shimizu Shizuoka Prefecture in June of 1966. The 1966 murder case has been reopened. Much of the evidence used to convict Iwao has been discredited, except for his confession, which his family and international human rights groups say was made after 20 days of torture and abuse.
Taiwan: The Minister of Justice announced on Thursday, March 27, 2014, that the country intends to continue to administer and carry out capital punishment, despite demands from Amnesty International to abolish the death penalty. Taiwan has a total of 52 inmates on death row, with no immediate plans for executions.
Tanzania: Tanzania lacks proper procedures to handled death row inmates, creating problems of congestion and safety. Death row inmates live in constant fear of the hangman's arrival and their demands are rarely met, in part due to budgetary problems and because no one knowing when they will be executed. Prisoners will go on riots because of their unmet demands, placing the lives of those guarding them and other prisoners in danger. Criminals continue to be sentenced to death, increasing problems. The last execution in Tanzania occurred in 1994.
United States of America:On Thursday, April 3, 2014, Texas executed "Coast to Coast" killer, Tommy Lynn Sells. He was AGE. The execution was carried out shortly after 6 pm CDT, at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas. Read his full story here.
Michelle Byrom, a death row inmate in Mississippi has been granted a new trial by the Mississippi Supreme Court. She has been on death row since 2000, convicted in a murder-for-hire plot to kill her husband and collect his life insurance. Michelle and her attorneys claim to have new evidence which point to Michelle's son as the killer, not the man Michelle hired. Read the full story here.
Oklahoma announced that it plans to use a new drug cocktail for the upcoming executions of Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner. Included in the mixture is midazolam, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.
As states increasingly turn to compounding pharmacies for execution drugs, human rights and anti-death penalty groups have asked the American Pharmacists Association to prohibit its members from participating in executions. Compounding pharmacies, which are not regulated by the government, individually mix medications, which opponents to the death penalty claim put the inmates at risk of pain and suffering during the execution. Additionally, groups claim that those who provide drugs for use in executions are breaking the code of ethics, which includes helping patients.