April 28, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 16
India: Renuka Shinde and Seeda Gavit, sisters who are convicted of abducting and murdering up to 13 young children under the age of five, are scheduled to become the first women hanged in India in 72 years. The sisters were arrested in 1996, when they were in the their late twenties. They had kidnapped approximately 40 children who were then used to help them commit even more crimes, often for money. Sometimes the children were released, other times they were injured to create a distraction, and some of the children were killed when they outlived their usefulness. The sisters have completed their appeals and the president has rejected their clemency petitions.
Pakistan: Four militants, Rehman ud Din, Mushtaq Khan, Obaid ur Rehman, and Zafar Iqbal, were executed by hanging on Tuesday, April 25, 2017. All four men were members of the Pakistani Taliban coalition, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. They were convicted of terrorism.
Saudi Arabia: On Sunday, April 23, 2017, three Pakistani nations were executed for smuggling heroin. The three men were identified as Mohammed Ashraf Shafi Mohammed, Mohammed Aref Mohammed Anayt, and Mohammed Afdal Asghar Ali. They were likely executed by beheading. So far 26 individuals, including these three, have been executed this year in the kingdom.
Singapore: On Friday, April 21, 2017, 52-year-old Mohd Jeefrey bin Ismail was executed by hanging. Jeefrey had been assisting the Central Narcotics Bureau, but his actions were viewed as not “substantively assisted.” If those convicted of drug offenses are able to substantially assist the Central Narcotics Bureau in “disrupting drug trafficking activities within or outside Singapore,” they can receive a reduced sentence. Unfortunately, the terms to earn a reduced sentence are at the discretion of the Public Prosecutor, who must issue a Certificate of Cooperation in order for an inmate to be eligible to have their sentence reduced. The prosecutor is not required to release the reason for his decision.
Thailand: On Friday, April 21, 2017, Spaniard Artur Segarra was convicted of murdering fellow Spanish national, David Bernat. Artur was sentenced to death for his crime. Artur is convicted of murdering David in an attempt to access David’s money. David had traveled to Thailand for vacation in January of 2016. While there, he met with Artur for a few drinks and then they both returned to his room. David was held captive for six days before he was killed. Artur then dismembered the body.
United States of America: On Monday, April 24, 2017, Jack Jones and Marcel Williams were executed by the state of Arkansas. Jack was pronounced dead at 7:20 pm, while Marcel was pronounced dead at 10:16 pm. They were the second and third inmates Arkansas put to death this month, as the state attempts to use up its supply of execution drugs before they expire. Three executions were stayed prior to theirs. Jack was convicted of murdering 34-year-old Mary Phillips and attempted to murder her 11-year-old daughter, Lacy. Marcel was convicted of murdering 23-year-old Stacy Errickson in 1994.
Ivan Teleguz was scheduled to be executed in Virginia on April 25, 2017. His death sentence has been commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Governor Terry McAuliffe. The Governor noted that while he believes Ivan is guilty, the sentencing phase of the trial was "terribly flawed and unfair."
On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 33-year-old Eric Frein was sentenced to death in Pennsylvania. Eric was convicted of murdering Pennsylvania State Trooper Corporal Bryon Dickson II, a Marine veteran and father of two. Dickson was killed in an ambush by Frein, who wanted to start a revolution against the government. A second officer was severely wounded trying to rescue Dickson. He has had multiple surgeries and is continuing to try and rocker from the 2014 attack at the Blooming Grove barracks in the Pocono Mountains. Following the shooting, Frein hid in the woods for 48 days while police searched for him. He was eventually arrested in an abandoned airplane hangar by the US Marshals.
On Thursday, April 27, 2017, Kenneth Williams was executed by the state of Arkansas. He was pronounced dead at 11:05 pm CDT. Kenneth was executed for the murder of Cecil Boren, whom he killed after escaping from prison, where he was serving a life sentence for another murder. Jason McGehee was also scheduled to be executed the same evening as Kenneth. Jason received a stay of execution.
The House Judiciary Committee, for the federal government, has passed a bill, by a vote of 19-12, called the Thin Blue Line Act. This act will make it easier to impose the death penalty on those who kill law enforcement officers or first responders. Supports of the bill believe that all possible should be done to protect those who protect and serve others. Many democrats on the committee opposed the bill, as did the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), as did the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund.
After several problems in Oklahoma regarding the death penalty, a commission was formed to review the death penalty in the state and a moratorium was placed on executions until the report was completed. Now, the commission has completed their report and recommended that the moratorium remain in place, as the members of the commission questioned whether Oklahoma could administer the death penalty “in a way that ensures no innocent people are put to death.” However, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter has announced that he “respectfully disagrees” with the commission and that the state will continue to move forward with new protocols. He points to the fact that during the November election 66 percent of voters voted to add the death penalty to the state’s constitution.