March 10, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 10
Iran: On Saturday, March 4, 2017, seven individuals were executed by hanging at various prisons throughout the nation. Four prisoners, including two women were executed by hanging at Laken Prison in northern Iran. Three of the prisoners were executed for murder, while the fourth individual’s crime is unknown. The names of the prisoners were not released. Two other prisoners - Naji Payam and Eshgh Ali - were executed by hanging in Darya Prison in Urmia, in northwestern Iran. Both were executed on drug related charges. One prisoner, Ismael Arab Zamani, was executed by hanging at Shahroud Prison in northern Iran. He was executed on drug related charges.
On Monday, March 6, 2017, two prisoners were executed by hanging in Sari, two prisoners were executed by hanging in Orumiyeh Central Prison, and two others were executed by hanging at Garmsar. The names and crimes of those executed were nor reported.
Jordan: Fifteen individuals were executed on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Ten of those 15 were executed on terrorism charges, including one who was a member of the attack last year on an intelligence compound. The remaining five individuals were executed for rape and sexual assault. Jordan resumed execution in 2014, after placing a moratorium on execution in 2006. The nation blamed the rise in crime on the lack of executions.
Saudi Arabia: On Thursday, March 9, 2017, Ali bin Ayed bin Ali Al-Madawi was executed for the kidnapping and rape of several underage girls. Ali’s death sentence was upheld by High Court and a request for clemency was rejected by the King.
Pakistan: An Islamic preacher, Mohammad Ishaq, has been freed from prison after being convicted and sentenced to death for blasphemy. Mohammad was accused by fellow citizen of claiming to be God during a conversation. Under the nation’s blasphemy laws, anyone can be accused and sentenced to death for insulting God, Islam, or religious personalities. Often these claims lack evidence and are misused to settle person disputes.
On Wednesday, March 8, 2017, five individuals were executed by hanging. The five individuals were unnamed. All were convicted of being terrorists.
United States of America: On Monday, March 6, 2017, Patrick Haney was scheduled to be executed by the state of Pennsylvania. His execution was stayed by the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, to allow time to complete his appeals. Read more about his case here.
On Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Rolando Ruiz Jr. was executed by the state of Texas. Rolando was 44 years of age. He was executed for the July 1992 murder of Theresa Rodriguez. Rolando was hired by Theresa’s husband to murder her for the insurance money. Read more about Rolando and his case here.
After a 3-2 vote, a House committee in New Mexico elected not to allow a bill to go forward that would reinstate the death penalty. The vote came after committee members heard testimony from those in favor of the bill and those opposed.
Patrick Leonard, an Ohio death row inmate, died while on death row in a prison in Chillicothe. Patrick death was an apparent suicide, although no further details have been released. Patrick was 47 years of age. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the 2000 murder of 23-year-old Dawn Flick, his ex-girlfriend. Patrick was allegedly upset when she ended the relationship. He also attempted to rape her before killing her.
A House Judiciary Committee in Kentucky has defeated a bill that sought to replace capital punishment with life in prison, without the possibility of parole. The bill failed to garner enough support to be taken before the entire House. The committee heard from individuals who oppose and support the death penalty.
The Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill that would reinstate capital punishment, which was placed on hold after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the current process used to sentence inmates to death was unconstitutional. The bill requires a jury to unanimously agree on a sentence of death. The bill has also been passed, by a vote of 112-3, by the Florida House of Representatives. The bill will now advance to Governor Rick Scott, who is likely to sign it into law.
A bill has passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives that toughen penalties for those who kill law enforcement officers. The bill now heads to the Oklahoma Senate. The bill requires that those who are convicted of killing a law enforcement officer be either sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole. In order to be eligible for parole, an overwhelming amount of mitigating evidence must be presented. Opponents to the bill claim that it would be too hard for a convicted inmate to gain parole under the new bill, while supports say the state needs to protect those who are willing to risk their lives everyday to protect others.
The death sentences of Charles Anderson and Howard Ault have been vacated by the Florida Supreme Court, due to issues related to recent Supreme Court of the United States ruling on Hurst v. Florida. Charles and Howard will each receive new sentencing hearings. Their original death sentences were given by juries who were not unanimous in their votes. The Florida Supreme Court also rejected a request for relief to Dale Middleton, who was sentenced by an unanimous jury, and Cary Michael Lambrix, due to his initial appeal predating the 2002 decision upon which Hurst is based.