June 13, 2014
IDPN 2014 Issue 24
China: Two men, convicted of forcing young women into prostitution, as well as rape and organizing prostitution, have had their death sentenced annulled and will have their cases retried. The mother of one of the girls forced into prostitution spoke out against the lesser punishment and was convicted of "seriously disturbing social order and exerting a negative impact on society," leading to her being sentenced to 18 months in China's now defunct re-education through labor program. Amidst public outcry, she was released eight days later.
Nine individuals have been sentenced to death for terror related charges. Another 72 individuals have also been convicted on terror related charges. The majority of the individuals belonged to terrorist organizations which have committed murders and violent crimes. These sentences and arrests are part of a crackdown in the western region of Xinjiang, where native Turkic speaking Uighurs, inspired by jihadist ideology, are believed to be responsible for the attacks in an attempt to overthrow the Chinese government.
India: The nation's top court on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, stayed the execution of a 48-year-old man who had been convicted of abducting, raping, and killing his 4-year-old neighbor in 2012. The stay was granted following an appeal which alleges that the conviction was based "solely on circumstantial evidence. . . "The petition also mentioned that the defendant had a clean past and was at an age where reform was a definite possibility.
The government plans to institute a new anti-hijacking law that will allow the nation to impose the death penalty on hijackers if there is a loss of life of passengers. Additionally, conspirators will be treated the same as if they had carried out the hijacking. Further, the law expands hijacking from occurring only in flight to when aircraft doors are closed.
Iran: On Saturday, June 7, 2014, four prisoners were executed by hanging in Shahr-e-Kord Prison. On Sunday, June 8, 2014, three more prisoners were hanged in the prison of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. The crimes for which each inmate was sentenced to death was not given, nor were their identities revealed. Also on Sunday, the punishment of qisas (retribution) was carried out on 26-year-old Majid Gholinejad. Majid was convicted of murdering another man in 2011.
On Monday, June 9, 2014, Jalal Azarmehr was executed by hanging at the Rajaishahr Prison in Karaj, which is west of Tehran. Jalal was sentenced to qisas for murdering a relative six years ago.
On Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 33-year-old Abbas M was executed by hanging in the prison of Qazvin, which is northwest of Tehran. Abbas was executed for possession of narcotic drugs and alcohol.
Two Ahwazi Arab prisoners, Ali Chebeishat and Sayed Kjaled Mousavi, have allegedly been executed, according to reliable reports. According to Amnesty International, Ahwazi Arabs are discriminated against in Iran.
According to unofficial reports, over 320 individuals have been executed so far this year in Iran. That averages out to two executions a day.
Kuwait: An Ethiopian housemaid has been sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering her female employer in 2011. The woman was scheduled to be married the day after the housemaid stabbed her death and cut off her head. The maid was arrested shortly thereafter at the airport, attempting to leaving the country.
Maldives: The Maldivian government has adopted a new criminal code based on the work of United States University of Pennsylvania law professor Paul Robinson and a group of law and Ph. D. students. Those who worked on the new criminal code report that it combines Islamic law in a modern way which grants respect to the Koran, yet also keeps severe Islamic punishments, which are often viewed as violations of human rights by the international community, to a minimum.
Pakistan: Abdul Hameed Bugti has been sentenced to death after being convicted of being the mastermind behind a 2005 bombing at the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation, which killed four people and injured 20 others. Bugti has also been ordered to pay fines to the families of the deceased and those who were injured.
Saudi Arabia:Reda Jafar Al-Rubh and Ali Mohammed Baqir, both Shia Muslims, were sentenced to death for their involvement in protests in Qatif in 2011. The men were 26 and 17 respectively at the time of their crimes. Al-Rubh was also accused of purchasing and possessing weapons, shooting security forces, and harboring criminals. Baqir was also convicted of joining a terrorist cell to incite sedition, targeting security vehicles with Molotov bombs, carrying weapons, and participating in mob gathering.
The Justice Minister has defended the nation's tough Shari laws and punishments, insisting they cannot be changed because they "are based on divine religious texts. "The minister also claimed that such strict laws have reduced crime in the kingdom. He also criticized international human rights groups for not understanding the nation or Islam, claiming that Islam identifies with the victim, not the criminal.
South Korea:The trial for the captain and crew of the ferry boat which sank in April killing more than 300 people, the majority of whom were high schoolers, is scheduled to begin. If convicted the captain could face the death penalty. Many family members of those who died have publicly called for the captain and the crew to be executed.
Syria: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who was recently re-elected to his third seven-year term, announced a general amnesty for crimes committed before June 9. This is not the first time al-Assad has granted such amnesty. Included under his amnesty is all death sentenced being commuted to lifetime imprisonment with hard labor. Hundreds of others, who committed lesser crimes, have already been released from prison.
United Arab Emirates: On Wednesday, June 11, 2014, an Afghan male, identified by initials only, was convicted and sentenced to death for deliberately murdering a wealthy Iraqi businessman to steal his belongings. Two accomplices of the Afghan man were sentenced to life in prison. The sentences were unanimous.
A 28-year-old Emirati man has been given until the end of the month to come with restitution (blood) money to pay to the family of the victim or else face execution. The man is convicted, along with an accomplice of murdering a friend during a fight in 2013. The accomplice has managed to raise his sum to pay to the family.
United States of America: Louisiana State Penitentiary, which houses the state's death row inmates, has been spared from implementing plans to immediately lower the temperature inside the prison. In December of 2013, US District Judge Brian Jackson ordered the state to implement a court-ordered plan which would result in the cooling of the cells. Currently, death row cells are only heated and ventilated. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals halted the immediate implementation on Friday, June 6, 2014, after the state appealed Judge Jackson's ruling.
The Florida Supreme Court has, in a unanimous decision, upheld the Timely Justice Act after rejecting arguments that the law was unconstitutional. The Timely Justice Act, passed in 2013, is intended to reduce delays in carrying out executions. Some inmates on death row in Florida have been there for over 30 years.
Vietnam: On Friday, June 6, 2014, a court handed out sentences to 40 individuals who were arrested and convicted of partaking in drug trafficking. Seven of the defendants received death sentences while seven others received life sentences. The remaining 26 defendants received different jail terms, totaling 232 years. All were convicted of drug smuggling, resisting officers in discharge of duty, illegal possession of military weapons, and harboring and concealing fugitives.
On Thursday, June 12, 2014, a Thai national and three Vietnamese nationals were sentenced to death for smuggling heroin and methamphetamine into the country in 2012. Police are still working to track down other members of the drug ring.