November 30, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 48
Belarus: Human rights group Vyasna has reported that 31-year-old Syamyon Berazhny and Ihar Hershankou were executed by firing squad. Syamyon and Ihar were convicted, along with two others, of kidnapping and murdering elderly homeowners. Syamyon and co-defendant Ihar, were sentenced to death. The two others received prison sentences of 22 and 24 years. Belarus is the only European country to continue to carry out executions, despite persistent criticism from human right activists and the European Union.
Egypt: Throughout the nation, multiple bombings have occurred at Coptic Christian churches, resulting in numerous deaths, including bombings in December 2016, and on Palm Sunday 2017. Now, 17 Islamic militants have been sentenced to death for their roles in the boomings. Additionally, 19 others were give life sentences by the military court, and nine others received 15-year sentences. Coptic Christians make up approximately 10 percent of the population in Egypt.
Nine individuals have had their death sentences upheld by the Court of Cassation. They are convicted of the 2015 murder of the Hisham Barakat, the prosecutor general. He was killed in a car bombing in Cairo.
Pakistan: Hundreds of leaders and activists for the Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan Party have been detained by police following passives protests against the Supreme Court’s decision to release Asia Bibi from death row, where she was sent after being convicted of blasphemy. One of the first individuals detained was Khadim Hussain Rizvi, a leader of the party. His arrest sparked more violent clashes with police.
Sawan Masih was sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court in March 2014. He was convicted of blasphemy by one of his Muslim friends the year before. A conviction of blasphemy carries a mandatory death penalty. Sawan has insisted that he is innocent and that his friend made up the claim after the two had a property dispute. Following the accusation, a mob of over 3,000 attacked Sawan’s home, where he lived with his wife and children, and the homes of over 180 other Christians, 75 shops, and at least two churches. Many of those were looted and burned. Few, if any, were punished for the attacks.
United Arab Emirates: A Pakistani nation has been sentenced to death after he confessed to killing his Emirati boss, who was allegedly withholding some of the promised salary “in exchange for sex.” The Pakistani man who has not been publicly named, was convicted of premeditated murder and theft. Prosecutors argued that the Pakistani man, upset with not receiving his full promised pay, convinced his boss to drive him to a remote area, where the Pakistani man attacked and killed his boss with a meat cleaver. During his trial, the Pakistani man insisted that he was acting in self-defense.
United States of America: Sedrick Clayton, a death row inmate in Tennessee had been given an execution date of Wednesday, November 28, 2018. His execution was not carried out, as he has not completed all of his appeals. Sedrick is convicted of murdering 56-year-old Arithio Fisher, his 46-year-old wife Patricia Fisher, and their daughter 23-year-old Pashea Fisher, in South Memphis, Tennessee, on January 19, 2012. Read more about his case here.
Ray Hill, a prominent anti-death penalty activist in Texas and founder of Execution Watch, has passed away at the age of 78, on Saturday, November 24, 2018. In the early 1970’s, Ray served a four-year prison term for burglary and larceny, after initially receiving a 160 year sentence. His time behind bars stayed with him as he worked and supported other causes. He eventually began a prison show where the loved ones of inmates could call in with updates. In 2008, Ray began Execution Watch, a radio show which airs whenever Texas executes an inmate. Many times, Ray was able to conduct an interview with the inmate prior to their execution, which is then aired on the show. Lawyers are also on hand to discuss that case. Ray passed away after due to heart failure.