August 25, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 34
Bangladesh: On Sunday, August 20, 2017, ten individuals were sentenced to death for their part in a 2000 plot to assassinate Sheikh Hasina, who is now the prime minister. At the time of the attempted assassination, Sheikh was the leader of the opposition party. Another individual received a life sentence, while nine others received 20-year prison terms. The executions are to be carried out by firing squad.
Indonesia: Yusman Telaumbanua has been released from death row and prison. Yusman was convicted and sentenced to death when he was 16 years of age for the murder of his boss, Kolimarinus Zega and two others. Allegedly, police officers claimed that Yusman was 19 years of age when he was arrested, allowing him to be tried and sentenced as an adult instead of a juvenile. No official documentation was used to prove his age. Additionally, it is believed that Yusman was not actually the killer, but four unknown bikers, who are still at large, are responsible for the murders.
Iran: On Sunday, August 20, 2017, Mojtaba Heydari Abbasali was executed by hanging at Kashmir Prison in Razavi Khorasan province. Mojtaba was executed on drug related charges.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, Abdolkarim Shahbakhsh was reportedly executed by hanging at Isfahan Central Prison. He was executed on drug related charges and is reported to have had no previous criminal record. On the same day, an unnamed 21-year-old was executed in Nasirabad in Isfahan Province. He was executed for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl earlier this year.
On Wednesday, August 23, 2017, Seyed Jama Mousavi was executed by hanging at Gohardasht prison. Seyed, a Sunni Kurdish political prisoner was executed on charges of Moharebeh, waging war against God. Several human rights organizations and the United Nations condemns the execution of political prisoners.
Maldives: The government plans to reintroduce the death penalty after a 60-year moratorium, in an attempt to reduce the increasing numbers of murders and to decrease drug trafficking. Both the United Nations and Amnesty International have condemned this plan. Execution will be carried out by hanging.
Morocco: King Mohammed VI has granted a royal pardon to 415 individuals in prison in the kingdom. The pardons were granted as part of the celebration of the King and the People Day. One of those pardoned was on death row. The remaining had varying prison terms, including some life sentences commuted to set terms. Included among those pardoned were 13 individuals convicted of terrorism.
Pakistan: Two death row inmates, Aijaz Ahmed and Shahid Iqbal have been acquitted and set free after serving 12 years in prison. Aijaz and Shahid were convicted of murdering a man for honor in Hafizabad. They were acquitted for lack of evidence. It was also revealed that police received kickbacks on the case and that the prosecution acted inappropriately in court.
Thailand: Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, both from Myanmar, have been sentenced to death for the murder of 24-year-old David Miller and for the rape and murder of 23-year-old Hannah Witheridge. David and Hannah were British nationals backpacking in Thailand in September 2014, when they were murdered. It has been several years since Thailand has carried out an execution.
United States of America: On Tuesday, August 22, 2017, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens halted the scheduled executed of Marcellus Williams. Marcellus was scheduled to be executed at 6 pm CDT, for the murder of Felicia “Lisha” Gayle in 2001. Governor Greitens halted the execution due to recent DNA testing of the murder weapon. Marcellus’ DNA was not found on the murder weapon. The governor has ordered that a Board of Inquiry be formed to review the case. Read more about Marcellus and his case here.
On Thursday, August 24, 2017, Mark Asay was executed by the state of Florida. Mark was convicted of murdering Robert Lee Booker and Robert (Renee) McDowell on July 18, 1987, in Jacksonville, Florida. Click here to read more about Mark and his case.
Officials in Arkansas has announced that the state has obtained a new supply of lethal injection drugs. The Attorney General has asked the governor to set an execution date for Jack Greene, who as exhausted all his appeals. Due to state laws, Arkansas is not required to reveal how they have acquired the drugs or who supplied them. In April, Arkansas executed four (out of a scheduled eight) men over an eight day period. The executions were scheduled in order to use execution drugs before they expired.
Forty-seven-year-old Scott Dekraai has been spared the death penalty in California. Scott has been convicted of murdering eight individuals in 2011 making him eligible for the death penalty, however, due to prosecutorial misconduct, he will likely be sentenced to life in prison. The California District Attorney has not yet decided if the state will appeal the decision.
The California Supreme Court has upheld, by a vote of 5-2, Proposition 66, which was approved by voters in the 2016 election. The bill is an attempt to speed up capital punishments in the state with the largest death row in the nation, but only 13 executions since 1978. Proposition 66 also calls on the courts to expedite review of capital cases, appoint attorneys as soon as possible, grant extensions only for extraordinary reasons, and allow lower level courts to hear some appeals and rejected appeals that are not filed in time. The bill also sought to impose a five-year limit on appeals, however the court ruled that this deadline was a guideline and not a mandatory deadline. Some worry that without this deadline, the bill will do little to speed up appeals and executions in the state.
Vietnam: On Friday, August 18, 2017, a court of appeals in Hanoi upheld the death sentence against two executives from a shipping industry. The two executives, Giang Kim Dat and Tran Van Liem, were convicted of embezzlement - stealing nearly $12 million. Two others were also convicted in the scheme with each of them receive varying prison terms.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, four men were sentenced to death for smuggling over 20 kilograms of heroin in the country. Vietnam has recently changed its drug laws, no longer requiring those convicted of possession to face the death penalty. However, the death penalty may still be applied to those who produce or smuggle certain drugs in quantities greater than 100 grams.
Yemen: In Sanaa’s Tahrir square, Muhammad al-Maghribib was executed by being shot several times in the back in the first execution by the Houthis government. He was convicted of the rape and murder of a three-year-old girl during a holiday. A few days later, 22-year-old Hussein al-Saket was executed in the same square in the same manner, although his body was then hoisted into the air by crane for display. He was also executed for the rape and murder of a child. Thousands of individuals attended these two executions.