June 2, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 22
Iran: On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at least one individual, Mehran Ashrafi, was reportedly executed by hanging at Kermanshah’s Adel Abad Prison. Mehran was arrested in 2012 and convicted of murder.
On Thursday, May 25, 2017, Mehrdad Asgari was reportedly executed by hanging at Dizel Abad Prison. He was executed on drug related charges.
On Friday, May 26, 2017, 55-year-old Morteza Sanaie was executed by hanging at Khorramabad’s Parsilon Prison. He was convicted of possessing and trafficking heroin.
On Sunday, May 28, 2017, an unnamed individual was executed by public hanging in Shiraz. He was convicted and sentenced to death for rape.
Kuwait: Abdul Aziz Al Shamlan has been sentenced to death for murdering police officer Turki Mohammad Al Enzi. In February 2016, on National Day, Abdul drove into a security check point and attempted to escape. When police caught up with him, he began stabbing the officers with a knife he had concealed under his clothes. Al Enzi died as a result of his injuries from the stabbing. Abdul’s parents insist that he has a mental disorder.
Seven individuals have been sentenced to death by hanging for the kidnapping and rape of a 13-year-old, mentally disabled boy. The boy was kidnapped and taken to a rented chalet where his rape was filmed. Four of those convicted were Kuwaitis, one was Iraqi, and one was Yemeni.
Mali: An unmarried couple was publicly stoned to death in the northeast region of the country by “Islamists,” according to local officials. They were killed for living as a married couple while being unmarried. Although jihadists were driven out of the region in 2013, Islamic groups continue to reside and cause trouble.
Pakistan: On Monday, May 29, 2017, Basharat Ali was acquitted from death row after serving 12 years. Ali was convicted in a 2005 triple murder and sentenced to death. His sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court. The Supreme Court then heard the appeal, which was based on the contradictory evidence and testimony presented by the prosecution. Ali was ultimately acquitted for lack of evidence and contradicting witness statements. The prosecution was also reprimanded by the court.
Saudi Arabia: Fourteen individuals convicted of partaking in a 2011 protest have had their death sentenced upheld. All confessed, however, human rights organizations report that these confessions were a result of torture and abuse. The 2011 protests were about greater freedom of expression, an end to discrimination, and for the release of political prisoners.
United States of America: The last execution carried out by the Army occurred in 1961. Army Private John Bennett was executed by having for the rape and murder of an 11-year-old Austrian girl. Now, Private Ronald Gray could soon receive an execution date. Ronald was convicted in 1988, by a military court, of two murders and five separate rapes while he was stationed at a North Carolina military base. Ronald also pled guilty in a civilian court to two other murders and five other rapes. Ronald recently lost his latest appeal before the Army Court of Criminal Appeals. He has 30 days to ask for a reconsideration by the court or 20 days to file with a hight Court of Appeals. If he is given an execution date, which must be first approved by the president, the execution would likely occur at the US Penitentiary in Terra Haute, Indiana, where Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001. McVeigh was convicted of 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
With the state’s death penalty law upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States, Florida Governor Rick Scott can resume signing execution warrants, according the death penalty law experts. After the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Florida’s death penalty law in January 2016, executions in the state were soon halted as the legislature worked to pass a new death penalty law. In March of 2017, the new law was signed by Governor Scott. The most notable change in the new law is that juries are now required to unanimously agree on the sentence of death, as opposed to simply majority that was in the previous law. The new law, which has been applied retroactively, has resulted in numerous lawsuits from death row inmates. Most of those lawsuits continue to work their way through the courts. Governor Scott has not yet signed any execution warrants, however, his office says that they are considering and reviewing cases to be signed. Governor Scott is a death penalty supporter, signing over 20 death warrants during his time office - more than any other governor since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated. He has also recently shown support by removing State Attorney Aramis Ayala from all potential capital murder cases, as she has publicly stated that no matter what the crime, she will not seek the death penalty in any case.
Donna Roberts, the only woman on death row in Ohio, has had her death sentence upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court, with a vote of 6-1. The now 73-year-old woman is convicted of conspiring with her lover, Nathaniel Jackson, to murder her ex-husband, Robert Fingerhut, and claim his life insurance. Nathaniel has also been sentenced to death.
Joseph Roland Lave, Jr., a death row inmate in Texas, has died while in custody, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. No further information was reported.