June 1, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 22
Botswana: On Friday, May 25, 2018, Uyapo Poloko was executed by hanging. He was convicted of the murder of Indian businessman Vijeyadeyi Kandavaranam, which occurred on January 25, 2010, in Francistown.
Burkina Faso: The parliament has passed a new penal code that removes the death penalty as a possible sentence. The most recent version of the criminal code was adopted in 1996, and still contained the death penalty, however, no one has recently been sentenced to death.
India: The Supreme Court has halted the execution of Bhagwani, who was convicted of raping and murdering a child. His execution was halted after Bhagwani appealed that he had received ineffective legal assistance. Bhagwani’s execution is halted while his case is being reviewed.
President Ram Nath Kovind, who has been president since July 25, 2017, has rejected his first mercy plea. Jagat Rai, a convicted murderer, was seeking mercy from his death sentence. Jagat was sentenced to death, along with two others, for murdering a man, his wife, and their five children by burning them alive in their home while they slept. Jagat was alleged to have killed the family for revenge.
Indonesia: Zulfiqar Ali, a Pakistani national on death row in Indonesia, died on Thursday, May 31, 2018. Ali had been sentenced to death on drug related charges, however some believe that he was wrongly convicted. In December of 2017, Ali was diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer, in addition to already having been diagnosed with chronic liver cirrhosis and Diabetes Mellitus. Attempts were being made to have him returned to Pakistan.
Malaysia: After being acquitted, 54-year-old Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto has been sentenced to death upon appeal. Maria, an Australian grandmother, traveled to China in 2014 to meet her online boyfriend, allegedly a US service member. He never appeared, however, on her return home, Maria was met at the airport and asked to take a backpack back home with her, allegedly filled with her boyfriend’s clothing. Maria agreed, however during a voluntary search at an airport in Malaysia, it was discovered that crystal meth was hidden in a secret compartment in the backpack. Maria was arrested and then acquitted at a trial in December of 2017. Prosecutors appealed that sentence, and, upon appeal, Maria was sentenced to death for drug trafficking.
Somalia: A military court has sentenced three al-Shabab militants to death for their parts in a hotel bombing in October 2017. The three men - Farhan Samatar Abdinasir Hassan, and Abshir Haji - confessed to carrying out the bombing of the Nasa-hablod II Hotel, which killed over 30 individuals, and injured several others.
Philippines: Senate President Vicente Sotto has proposed that capital punishment be reinstated, but only for drug cases. Supporters of the death penalty are hopeful that this bill will be able to succeed where other bills, that called for the death penalty for an array of crimes, failed. Sotto, as a former drug abuser, is now an avid anti-drug crusader.