December 22, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 51
China: On Saturday, December 16, 2017, 10 individuals were sentenced to death. Seven of the 10 individuals were convicted of drug trafficking. The others were convicted of murder and robbery. Following the announcement of their sentence, they were led away to be executed at a stadium filled with thousands of spectators. Many in school uniforms were among the spectators. Public executions are unusual in China, were the government often does not provide details of executions.
Iran: On Thursday, December 14, 2017, a prisoner was publicly executed by hanging in the city of Khoy in northwestern Iran. The 36-year-old prisoner, who was not identified by name, was convicted of murder.
On Tuesday, December 19, 2017, Yasin Abedi was executed by hanging at Zanjan Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and has spent the last six years in prison.
On Wednesday, December 20, 2017, at least eight prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. Most of those executed were convicted on murder charges. Four of those executed were identified as Mostafa Chardouli, Amir Abbas Ardestani, Hamid Abdollahi, and Nima Esma’ilian.
On Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 23-year-old Yaser Salar Rashid was executed by hanging at Zahedan Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and had spent the last five years in prison.
Japan: On Tuesday, December 12, 2017, two death row inmates were executed by hanging. One of the inmates was identified as 44-year-old Teruhiko Seki, who was convicted of killing four individuals when he was 19 years of age. He also attempted to kill a fifth individual and committed robbery. The other inmate was identified as 69-year-old Kiyoshi Matsui, a former plumber who was convicted of killing his girlfriend and her parents in 1994.
United States of America: A jury in California has recommended that Isauro Aguirre be sentenced to death for the murder of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez, the son of his girlfriend. Gabriel died in the hospital a few days after being admitted with a cracked skull, broken ribs, and burns. Gabriel’s siblings testified that he was beaten daily, pepper-sprayed, locked in a cage, and forced to eat cat excrement. His blood was found throughout the house. Gabriel’s mother, Pearl Cynthia Fernandez, is also being tried for his murder.
The Arizona Department of Corrections has moved 93, out of 120, death row inmates out of solitary confinement. Like nearly all other states, Arizona had restricted death row inmates to their cells for 23 hours a day. Now, most of the death row inmates are being given greater freedoms; the ability to leave their cells for more than one hour a day, walk around unshackled, eat meals and socialize with other inmates, and have contact visits with family and attorneys. This change has been years in planning and, so far, seems to be going well. The 27 death row inmates who remain in solitary confinement are “hard-core gangsters,” those who have serious mental illness, or those with disabilities, although the prison is working to become wheel-chair accessible.
Joel Diaz and Richard Lee McCoy, former death row inmates in Florida, have both been resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Both men were affected by the Supreme Court decision of Hurst vs. Florida, which has resulted in numerous death row cases since 2002 being reviewed and many being resentenced. Joel was convicted of murder Charles Shaw, the father of his ex-girlfriend, in 1997. Richard was convicted of murdering Shervie Ann Elliot, a store clerk, during a 2000 robbery.
Reginald Clemons was sentenced to death for the 1991 double murder of sisters Julie and Robin Kerry in Missouri. Reginald and three others were convicted of rape and murder. For years, Reginald has insisted that he was innocent of the crime, however, he has now pled guilty to their rape and murder. In exchange for his guilty plea, Reginald will be removed from death row and faces five consecutive life sentences.