October 12, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 41
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 was the 16th Word Day Against the Death Penalty. Read more about it here.
Bangladesh: The nation’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Saiful Islam Mamun. He has been convicted of murdering Saudi embassy official Khalaf Al Ali. Three others - Mohammad Al Amin, Akbar Ali Lalu, and Rafiqul Islam - have been sentenced to life in prison for their parts in the murder of 45-year-old Al Ali.
Iran: On Monday, October 2, 2018, Hamed Valizadeh was executed by hanging at Qazvin Central Prison. Thirty-eight-year-old Hamed was executed for murder.
On Tuesday, October 3, 2018, three prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison. They were identified as Mahmood Akbari, Yasser Eslami, and Omid Khosrongejad. All three were convicted of murder. These executions have not yet been reported by state media.
The judiciary has requested that 17 striking truck drivers be sentenced to death for attempting to stop other truck drivers from breaking the strike. Allegedly, the 17 who were arrested and charged were using violence in their attempts to stop others. Truck drivers have been striking for three weeks in protest of low pay, skyrocketing prices for parts to fix their trucks, and authorities refusing to respond to the truckers demands.
Pakistan: Since December 2014, the nation’s Supreme Court has overturned 85 percent of death penalty cases brought before them, according to the Justice Project Pakistan. Pakistan resumed carrying out executions, after a six year moratorium, in December 2014, following a mass shooting at a school. The average person spends 11 years on death row before their sentence is overturned.
In 2010, Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, was sentenced to death after being convicted of blasphemy against Islam. Since then, her case has received international attention and raised awareness about blasphemy laws. In 2009, Asia was working on a farm and went to get water. When she tried to share the water, two Muslim women refused to drink from the same container as a Christian. A few days later, she was accused of blasphemy, then convicted and sentenced to death. Sadly, many blasphemy cases are similar, with evidence often lacking. And the law appears to be misused as a way to settle personal disputes and silence opposition.
Somalia: On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, five individuals were executed by firing squad by al Shabaab Islamists. All five were convicted of espionage and had allegedly confessed to the crime. Al Shabaab militants have been losing ground in Somalia due to efforts by African Union peacekeepers and the US military to push back against the group. The Islamist group is attempting to overthrow the UN-backed government and impose a strict from of Islamic law.
United States of America: On Wednesday, October 10, 2018, Juan Segundo was scheduled to be executed by the state of Texas. His execution was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Juan is convicted of raping and murdering 11-year-old Vanessa Villa on August 3, 1986, in Fort Worth, Texas. Read more about Juan and his case here.
On Thursday, October 11, 2018, Edmund “Ed” Zagroski was scheduled to be executed by the state of Tennessee. His execution was delayed for 10 days by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. Ed is convicted of murdering John Dale Dotson and Jimmy Porter on April 23, 1983, in Robertson County, Tennessee. Read more about Ed and his case here.
The United Kingdom has dropped it request to seek assurances from the United States that two suspected British members of the Islamic State will not be sentenced to death. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, who were born in the United Kingdom and are believed to have carried out 27 beheadings for the Islamic State, were captured earlier this year by Syrian Kurdish fighters. The United Kingdom has stripped the two men of their citizenship and did not wish to bring them to England for prosecution, however they wanted assurances that they would not be sentenced to death in the United States. The United Kingdom is opposed to the death penalty in all cases.
On Friday, October 5, 2018, Jonathan Fajardo was stabbed to death in the recreation yard San Quentin State Prison, in California. Jonathan was 30 years of age. He was on death row for the murder of 14-year-old Cheryl Green in Los Angeles in 2010. The man believed to be responsible for Jonathan’s death has been identified as 34-year-old Luis Rodriguez, another death row inmate. The motive for the murder has not bee reported. California has the largest death row population in the United States has executions in the states have been on hold for over a decade due to legal issues.
The Washington Supreme Court has struck down the state’s death penalty law, ruling it “arbitrary” and “racially discriminatory.” Washington is the 20th state to eliminate capital punishment. In the same ruling that eliminated capital punishment, the court ruled that the eight individuals on death row would immediately have their sentences converted to life in prison.