February 24, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 08
Egypt: The death sentences against 10 individuals have been upheld by the Court of Cassation. The ten men were sentenced to death for their part in a riot that resulted in the death of 74 individuals in a stadium in Port Said in 2012. An eleventh man was also convicted and sentenced to death, however, he has not yet been captured. Ten other individuals have had their life sentences upheld and 12 others have had their five year sentences upheld. The riot occurred during a football game.
Indonesia: Three Taiwanese citizens and one Indonesian national - Chen Alin, Achen, Alang, and Suprapto - have been sentenced to death for trafficking crystal methamphetamine. Alin and Achen have denied being involved in trafficking drugs, claiming they came into the country as a technician and driver, respectively.
Iran: On Saturday, February 18, 2017, 43-year-old Mohammad Karim Azizpanah and 35-year-old Hamid Reza Reybaz were executed by hanging at Dizsel Abad Prison. Mohammad was executed for trafficking crystal methamphetamine. Hamid was executed for trafficking crystal methamphetamine and crack.
On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Ismael Hassanzehi was executed by hanging at Shiraz Prison. Ismael was executed on drug related charges.
Recently, six unnamed prisoners were executed by hanging at Birjand Prison, in eastern part of the nation. All were executed on drug related charges.
Palestine: Three men have been sentenced to death, and three more men have had their death sentences upheld, on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. All six men were convicted of “collaborating” with Israel, which is considered treason. These death sentences bring the total number of death row inmates on the Gaza Strip up to ten.
Philippines: A decision on reinstating the death penalty in the nation could come earlier than expected. The House of Representatives will hold a vote on the bill next week, shortening the debates and preventing some lawmakers from having a chance to speak. Opponents to the bill claim that House leadership is rushing a vote because they fear they do not have the number of supporters to pass the bill. As part of his presidential campaign, President Rodrigo Duterte promised to get tough on crime and reinstate the death penalty. Since his elections, hundreds of alleged drug dealers have been killed. Additionally, information has been revealed that Duterte participated in death squads when he was mayor of Davao, prior to being elected president.
United Arab Emirates: An unnamed 19-year-old has been convicted and sentenced to death for stabbing and killing Mohammed Dagher Ahmad. The two Pakistani nationals were arguing over a football match. The condemned claimed he acted in self-defense after he was first attacked by Mohammed.
United States of America: The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to take up a case challenging the use of midazolam in Alabama. The Court had previously approved the use of midazolam for use in executions, however, noted that their decision could be challenged if a state’s lethal injection system could be proven to present a risk of severe pain and an alternative execution method was available that entails a lesser risk. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Steven Breyer would have accepted the case.
Duane Buck, a death row inmate in Texas, has had his death sentence overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States. The court agreed, by a vote of 6-2, to overturn the sentence due to racially discriminatory testimony. During Duane’s trial, a defense witness testified that Duane would be more dangerous in the future because Duane was black. Since the witnesses was for the defense, it also shows that Duane’s attorney was incompetent.
Juan J. Ortiz has had his death sentence vacated and been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of probation or parole. Juan was convicted of the 2001 murder of his girlfriend, Deborah Clay, in Dover, Delaware. The Delaware Supreme Court has ruled last year that the death penalty in the state is unconstitutional. The Court’s ruling was declared retroactive, meaning all inmates on death row will be re-sentenced.
A bill to reinstate the death penalty in Maryland has been introduced to the House of Representatives. The bill would allow for the death penalty if a person murders a first responder, corrections officer, or a police officer. Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013. They do not currently have an execution chamber. Additionally, new execution protocols would have to be established.
A group of Senators in Iowa want to reinstate the death penalty in cases where an adult kidnaps, rapes, and murders a minor. Currently the maximum punishment for such a crime is life in prisoner. The death penalty has been abolished in Iowa since 1965. There have been several previous attempts to reinstate the death penalty in the state, but they were unsuccessful.
A death penalty bill in Florida that would require an unanimous jury recommendation before a death sentence can be imposed, is ready to be voted on in both the state House of Representatives and the Senate. The vote will likely take place in early March when the 60-day session begins. The bill is likely to pass and be sent on to be signed by Governor Rick Scott. Florida’s death penalty system has been at a halt for approximately the past year, due to various legal challenges. This has prevented death penalty cases from being tried and execution from being carried out. If passed, the bill will allow death penalty trials to resume.
The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to hear a case from nine death row inmates in Arkansas. The inmates were arguing that their deaths would by “intolerably painful” and asked that their executions be halted. The inmates argue that Arkansas’ law that keeps the source of the lethal injections drugs a secret was unconstitutional and that by not knowing the source, they risked a painful execution. The state Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, has said that she plans on moving forward with executions, however it is unclear when executions will resume, as they state currently does not have a supply of execution drugs.
Vietnam: Tran Van Liem, the former CEO of Vinashin, a state-owned shipbuilding firm, and Giang Kim Dat, the former sales manager, were both sentenced to death for embezzling $16 million from the firm. As part of the embezzlement, the men stole assets and conspired to fix prices.