January 27, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 04
Bangladesh: Twenty-year-old Jahid, 22-year-old Rubel, and 25-year-old Pavel have all been convicted and sentenced to death for the kidnapping and murder of 5-year-old Arnab in July of 2010. They abducted Arnab from Lakhshmipur village of Sardar Upazila.
Iran: On Monday, January 23, 2017, four individuals were executed by hanging at Urmia’s central prison in the northwestern part of the nation. Osman Ghavitasi and Hamed Hamdollah were both convicted of murder, while Ghabl Ali Bapeir and Sina Hosseinpour were both convicted of possessing and trafficking drugs.
Iraq: On Friday, January 20, 2017, 31 individuals were executed in Samarrah, Iraq. All were convicted of taking part in the attack at Speicher military camp near Tikrit in June of 2014, that left 1,700 military cadets dead. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. Allegedly, the men executed confessed to participating after being tortured. Amnesty International alleges that the trials for the men were speedy and deeply flawed.
Kuwait: On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, seven individuals were executed by hanging. All were convicted of either murder or drug trafficking. Three women were hanged at the Central Prison. Jakatia Pawa was an overseas Filipino worker who was convicted of killing her employer’s daughter. Amakeel Ooko Mikunin was an Ethiopian national and Nasra Youseef Mohammad al-Anzi was a Kuwaiti national. Four men were also executed including Bangladeshi national Mohammad Shahed Mohammad Sanwar Hussain, Egyptian nationals Sayed Radhi Jumaa and Sameer Taha Abdulmajed Abdulgaleel, and Shaikh Faisal Al Abdullah Al Sabah, a Kuwaiti prince. Shaikh was convicted of killing his nephew in June of 2010.
United States of America: Kosoul Chanthakoummane was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, in Huntsville, Texas. His execution has been delayed until July 19, 2017. The reason for the delay was not given. Kosoul was convicted of murdering 40-year-old Sarah Ann Walker on July 8, 2006, in Mckinney, Texas. Read more about Kosoul’s case here.
On Thursday, January 26, 2017, Terry Darnell Edwards was executed by the state of Texas. Terry was executed for the murder of 34-year-old Tommy Walker and 26-year-old Mickell Goodwin on July 8, 2002, in Dallas, Texas. Read more about Terry here.
Just hours before the end of his presidency, Barack Obama commuted the death sentence of Dwight Jeffrey Loving, a former Army Private First Class who was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1988 murders of Private Christopher Fay and Master Sergeant Bobby Sharbino in Fort Hood, Texas. Sharbino had retired and worked as a cabbie driver. Fay was still in the military, but moonlighted as a cabbie. Loving attempted to rob and murder a third taxi driver, but the driver managed to escape and report the incident to the police who arrested Loving the next day. Loving confessed to the crime and was sentenced to death by a military court. Obama commuted Loving’s sentence to life without the possibility of parole.
Former President Obama also commuted the sentence of a federal death row inmate shortly before he left officer. The death sentence of Abelardo Arboleda Ortiz has been re-sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Ortiz was convicted, along with two others for the murder of a drug dealer. Ortiz was the only one sentenced to death. Allegedly, Ortiz is intellectually disabled, but was not investigated by his attorneys, nor was the jury made aware of his disability. Additionally, Ortiz lawyers allege that Ortiz was not present, or even on the same floor of the building, when the murder took place.
Three inmates on death row in Alabama had appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States, arguing that they were unconstitutionally sentenced to death. Similar to Florida, which the Supreme Court recently ruled against, judges have the power to override the decision of the jury, and can, ultimately, sentence an inmate to death even if the jury recommends life in prison. Alabama prosecutors argue that their system is different from Florida’s system, and that Alabama’s system is legal. The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to take up the case, meaning the death sentences will remain.
After voters in Nebraska chose to reinstate the death penalty in the November election, legislators drafted a new bill, which was signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts. The bill finalizes the protocol to be used during executions. The plan does not specify the type of drug to be used, but allows the Director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services to determine the drug and the quantity prior to the execution. Inmates will be notified at least 60 days prior to their execution of the drug or drugs to be used, along with the amounts of the drug or drugs, and, if applicable, what order the drugs will be administered.
Magistrate Judge David Merz of Dayton, Ohio has halted the execution of Ronald Philipps, Raymond Tibbetts, and Gary Otte, the first three Ohio inmates scheduled to be executed this year. Further, Judge Merz has ruled that all the drugs in the three-drug process Ohio planned to use for the execution unconstitutional. One of those drugs is midazolam, which the Supreme Court of the United States recently upheld as constitutional. Ohio has appealed Judge Merz’s ruling. Ohio recently purchased several hundred vials of the execution drugs, as it had planned on resuming execution this year, with approximately one execution a month scheduled.