January 29, 2016
IDPN 2016 Issue 05
Belarus: Gennadii Yakovitskii was the first individual in the nation to be sentenced to death in 2016. Gennadii was sentenced to death on January 5, 2016.
China: Fifty-one-year-old Tajik national Hasan Yusufov was executed on Thursday, January 28, 2016. Hasan was executed after having been convicted of trafficking drugs. He was arrested in 2011.
India: Chandrakant Jha, a three-time convicted killer, has had his death sentence overturned by the Delhi High Court. His sentence has been commuted to life in prison. One of the reasons stated for commuting the sentences was that there were no eye witnesses in the cases.
Iran: On Thursday, January 21, 2016, Fardin Hosseini was executed in Kermanshah’s prison. Hosseini was a political prisoner and was convicted of killing Mullah Sabei, a prayer imam of Savejbolaq in June of 2007. Hosseini was tortured into confessing.
On Sunday, January 24, 2016, two unnamed prisoners were executed by hanging. One prisoner was executed in Yasuo’s central prison in southwestern Iran and the other was executed in Kermanshah in western Iran. The crimes of the convicted were also not reported.
Libya: At least three men were killed by Islamic State militants in Sirte. One man was allegedly murdered for “banditry,” while the others were murdered for converting from Islam, cursing god, and belonging to a militia that is hostile to Islamist forces. Three other men were reportedly whipped for drinking alcohol.
Pakistan: On Saturday, January 23, 2016, brothers, Azam and Arif, have been sentenced to death for the murder of Ajmal Amir. The brothers murdered Amir after he had a property dispute with the brothers. Also sentenced to death in a separate case, was Umar Farooq, for murdering a neighbor following an argument.
On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Mumrez was executed by hanging at Mianwali Central Jail. He was convicted of killing Fateh Khan and his son, Amir, in 2005, over a marriage feud.
Saudi Arabia: Earlier this month, the kingdom executed 47 individuals in a single day. While the names and crimes of all those executed have not fully been reported, it has recently been discovered that one of the executed individuals was a juvenile when he was arrested and sentenced to death. Ali al Ribh was 17 when he was arrested in October of 2011. He was arrested for participating in activities which called for reform. Ali’s execution has caused activists to become concerned for several other death row inmates who were also arrested as juveniles.
On Monday, January 25, 2016, Mohammed bin Awadh bin Ahmed Al-Zahrani was executed by beheading for the murder of Ryad bin Saeed bin Taher Al-Zahrani by stabbing. Mohammed was executed in Jeddah governorate of Makkah.
On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, Egyptian national, Mahmud Jumaa Morsi, was executed by beheading in Riyadh. Mahmud was convicted of murdering by strangulation and robbing a Saudi citizen.
On Thursday, January 28, 2016, Saudi national Owaidhah Al Saadi was executed by beheading in Aseer in southwestern Saudi Arabia. He was executed for murdering another Saudi national.
United States of America: On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, James Garrett Freeman was executed by the state of Texas. James was pronounced dead at 6:30 pm CST. He was 35 years of age. James was executed for the murder of 34-year-old Wharton County Game Warden Justin Hurst, which occurred on March 17, 2007, in Lissie, Texas. Read more about James and his case here.
Following the ruling of the Supreme Court of the United States regarding Florida’s death penalty sentencing structure, which the court ruled as unconstitutional, lawyers for at least one death penalty inmate are arguing that the ruling should be applied retroactively and all executions in Florida halted until the inmates have been re-sentenced. Florida’s next scheduled execution is for Cary Michael Lambrix on February 11, 2016.
Seventeen legislators have introduced a bill into the Kansas House of Representatives, which would, if passed, abolish the death penalty in the state, replacing it with life without parole.
After two Supreme Court Justices raised the idea that the death penalty may be unconstitutional, Pennsylvania inmate Shonda Walters appealed her conviction to the Supreme Court of the United States, asking the court to determine if the imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighths Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The Supreme Court declined to hear her case, without comment. Shonda does not currently have an execution date.
In November of 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court threw out the murder conviction and death sentence of Reginald Clemons, who had been convicted of the 1991 murder of Julie and Robin Kerry, who were sisters, at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. He was also accused of raping the girls. Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has announced that she will re-try Reginald and once again seek the death penalty. According to Jennifer, modern DNA testing will support her case. Reginald’s original sentence was thrown out after it was discovered that prosecutors had wrongly withheld evidence and that Reginald had been beaten prior to his confession. Although taken off death row, Reginald has remained in prison, serving a 15-year sentence for assaulting a Department of Correction officer in 2007.
On Tuesday, January 26, 2017, a Senate committee in Missouri voted 4-3 to allow a bill to proceed to the full Senate. The bill, if approved, will repeal the death penalty in the state. The vote was not spilt among party lines. Missouri currently has 46 inmates on death row and has carried out 16 executions over the last two years.
Jim Hood, the Attorney General of Mississippi has asked that alternatives to lethal injection be approved in the state. He is concerned that should lethal injection be ruled unconstitutional, that the state would still have the means to carry out the will of the court. If approved, Mississippi would join several other states who have established alternative methods for carrying out capital punishment.
James Holmes, the man who was convicted in the movie theater shooting in Colorado was not sentenced to death because not all of the jurors voted for the death penalty. Now, some lawmakers in the state want to make it easier for juries to sentence individuals to death by eliminating the requirement that a jury be unanimous. A bill proposed to the state Senate would change the unanimous requirement to only needing nine out of 12 jurors to vote for the death penalty. The state House of Representatives are working on a different measure, but with the same goal: making it easier to sentence killers to death. In the House bill, a second jury would be allowed to decide the punishment if the first jury was unable to come to an unanimous decision.
The Delaware House of Representatives have rejected a bill that would abolish the death penalty in the state. The bill had already narrowly passed in the Senate. The Governor of Delaware, Jack Markell, supported the bill, saying he would sign it if it had been passed.