September 16, 2016
IDPN 2016 Issue 38
China: Five Indians have been arrested and accused of trafficking drugs. If convicted, they could be sentences to death. The five have been identified as 46-year-old Sheikh Ahmad Ali, 33-year-old Akrar Khan, 31-year-old Feroz Khan, 24-year-old Sheikh Ismail, and 24-year-old Maqsud Alam. All have denied knowledge about the drugs found in their luggage.
India: The Allahabad High Court has commuted the death sentence of Ranjeet to life imprison after ruling that he no longer presented a risk to society. Ranjeet was convicted of the rape and murder of a 4-year-old girl.
A special women’s court has sentenced Ankur Lal Panwar to death for throwing acid on nurse Preeti Rathi in 2013, which ultimately resulted in her death after months of suffering. Ankur attacked Preeti because she had spurned his advances and due to her growing career. Ankur is the first acid attacker to received a death sentence under in the new Indian Penal Code, which was amended in 2013.
Indonesia: Mary Jane Veloso, a Philippine national, was a topic of discussion when Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently met. Veloso has been convicted and sentenced to death in Indonesia for smuggling drugs. President Widodo alleges that President Duterte supports Indonesia’s decision to execute her, however, President Duterte refutes that allegation. President Duterte is quoted as saying, “the law is the law” and that he will respect the judgement of the courts.
Iran: On Saturday, September 10, 2016, seven prisoners were executed by hanging at Bandar Abbas Central Prison in southern Iran. All were convicted on drug related charges. The prisoners were identified as Ghasem Daryanavard, Amin Kibaki, Khosro Badpa, Sattar Hoot, Mohammad Hanif Boop, Haroun Heykalnejad, and Tareq Naraaj.
Two prisoners, Sajjad A. and Goudarz A., have been executed by hanging at Shiraz Adel Abad Prison in southern Iran. They were convicted of armed robbery. Khosrow H. was also executed by hanging at Shiraz Adel Abad Prison. He was convicted of rape and murder.
Japan: Sixty-six-year-old Kosei Homi has had his death penalty upheld by Hiroshima High Court. Homi has been convicted by killing five neighbors by setting fire to two of their homes in 2013. Homi has also been convicted of murdering two other elderly individuals. Homi’s lawyers have argued that he has a diminished mental capacity and should not be held criminally responsible, however, the court held that while Homi had a delusional disorder, he was competent to be held legally responsible.
Philippines: There are various organizations that are protesting a bill which would lower the age of criminal liability from 15 years of age to nine years of age. The government argues that more and more children are becoming involved in crimes at a younger ages, and the law should be altered to reflect their involvement and that they should be held responsible for their actions. Opponents argue that nine is too young for criminal responsibility.
Sierra Leone: Paolo Conteh, the Internal Affairs Minister has announced on a local radio that he has instructed for prison officials to “clean and ready the tools and machines used to kill people.” Paolo further elaborated that murders due to gang violence has increased throughout the past several years and that he believed the death penalty needed to be employed. Currently murder and treason are eligible for the death penalty, although no executions have been carried out since 1998.
United States of America: Five death row inmates in Texas have sued the state, arguing that Texas’ lethal injection protocol violates the Eight Amendment rights of the inmates. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Texas’ execution protocol does not violate the rights of the inmates and that the inmates have failed to show that the lethal injection drugs present a significant risk of unnecessary pain and suffering.
With a problematic execution in 2014, and two drug mix-ups in 2015, Oklahoma will have gone at least two years between executions. The state has been unable to put a satisfactory execution protocol in place. The Board of Corrections met this week but did not take up the new execution protocols suggested by Scott Pruitt, the attorney general for the state. Pruitt has perviously stated that he will not request any new execution dates until five months after the new protocols have been in place, to allow time for possible lawsuits and to ensure that the method can be successfully carried out.
Eleven-year-old Ashlynn Mike was kidnapped, raped, and killed on Navajo Nation land in New Mexico on May 2, 2016. On tribal lands, all homicides are tried by federal prosecutors, meaning that regardless of the state, the death penalty can be sought. However, a 1994 bill by Congress gave tribes the right to decide if the death penalty will apply to tribal members who commit murder on tribal lands. The vast majority of Indian nations oppose the death penalty, believing it to be against their beliefs. Ashlynn’s mother is calling on the Navajo Nation to change this stance, saying that crimes are increasing across the reservation and that tougher penalties need to be enacted in order to prevent other little girls from enduring the same fate as Ashlynn.
Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals ordered Missouri to reveal its supplier of lethal injection drugs. The state appealed the decision, asking that the entire court consider the case and that they be granted a delay in revealing the name. Missouri’s request has been granted. Additionally, lawyers for the company supplying the drugs have asked to be included in the case, with their identities remaining anonymous. The lawyers further stated in their court filings that if the company’s name was made public, the company would no longer supply execution drugs “in order to prevent retribution, both physical and financial, from death penalty opponents.
Forty-three-year-old Jermaine Wright was sentenced to death in 1992 for the murder of 66-year-old Phillip Seifert, a clerk at a liquor store and bar in Wilmington, Delaware. Throughout his 24 years in prison, he continued to insist upon his innocence. In 2012, Jermaine’s conviction and sentence was overturned due to Jermaine not being properly informed of his rights prior to a police interrogation. Six weeks ago, prior to the start of his retrial, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional, meaning that Jermaine could not be resentenced to death. Days before the start of his retrial, Jermaine agreed to plead no contest to a 2nd-degree murder charge, with a 20 year sentence. A Superior Court judge ruled that Jermaine was to be released on time served.