July 7, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 27
Belarus: The European Union has condemned the decision of the Belarusian Supreme Court to uphold the death sentence of Aliaksei Mikhalenia. Belarus is the only European nation to retain the death penalty and has frequently been condemned for its use by the European Union, which has also called upon the Belarusian government to commute all death sentences and issue a moratorium on capital punishment. President Alexander Lukashenko has responded to these demands by stating that he will not go against the will of the people, which wish to retain capital punishment.
Egypt: The Cairo Criminal Court has sentence to death 20 individuals during their retrial. All were convicted for their parts in the “Kerdasa massacre,” the storming of a Kerdasa police station in Giza, which resulted in the death of 12 police officers and 10 others, in addition to destroying the police officer and burning a number of police vehicles. The Kerdasa massacre took place in August of 2013. A total of 156 individuals were tried for the massacre. In addition to the 20 sentenced to death, 80 received life sentences, 34 received 15-year terms, one minor received a 10-year term, and 21 individuals were acquitted.
India: On Thursday, June 29, 2017, the Delhi High Court commuted the death sentence of Sonu Sardar to life in prison. Sonu has been convicted of murdering five individuals, including two children, in Chhattisgarh on November 26, 2004. The commutation was granted due to mitigating evidence, including Sonu’s young age.
Iran: On Saturday, July 1, 2017, two men and one woman were executed by hanging at Rasht’s central prison. All were executed on drug related charges. The two men were identified as Sallaholdin Par and Jafar Saadonloo. The name of the woman was not revealed, however she was identified as the wife of Jafar.
On Sunday, July 2, 2017, 38-year-old Abbas Savaghi was reportedly executed by hanging at Zanjan Prison. Abbas was convicted in 2015 of drug related charges. Prior to his arrest, he worked as a taxi driver and meth was found in his car.
On Monday, July 3, 2017, three prisoners - Omid Mohammadzadeh, Seyed Reza Mousavi, and Seyed Reza - were all executed by hanging at Isfahan Central Prison. They were all executed on drug related charges. None had any prior convictions.
On Tuesday, July 4, 2017, two prisoners were publicly executed in the city of Torbat-e Heydarieh. Both were executed on rape charges. The names of the two executed were not reported.
On Wednesday, July 5, 2017, eight prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison. Only four of the eight prisoners were identified by name - Ghahreman Abbaspour, Abbas Yousefi, Nasser Avangah, and Omid Rostami. It is reported that all were convicted on separate murder charges.
Mongolia: The new criminal code, which took effect on July 1, 2017, has abolished the death penalty for all crimes. The new code was voted into law on December 3, 2015. Mongolia is the 102nd nation to abolish the death penalty, and the 18th country in the Asian Pacific region.
Taiwan: For the first time this year, the Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence. Huang Lin-kai has been convicted of murdering his girlfriend and her mother. The court ruled that the “enormity of his crimes” prevent hime from being rehabilitated.
United States of America: On Thursday, July 6, 2017, William Charles Morva was executed by the state of Virginia. He was pronounced dead at 9:15 pm EDT. Hours before his execution, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he would not grant clemency. Morva is convicted of murdering 32-year-old Derrick McFarland and 40-year-old Corporal Eric Sutphin in August of 2006, in Blacksburg, Virginia. Read more about his case here.
A jury in Nevada has sentenced 62-year-old Thomas Randolph to death for arranging the murder of his sixth wife Sharon Causse, and for the murder of the man he hired to kill Sharon, Michael James Miller. Thomas received two death sentences from the jury, one for each murder. The murders occurred in January of 2009. Thomas was allegedly motivated by greed.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the death sentence of Nevada inmate Tracy Petrocelli. Tracy has been on death row for almost 35 years for the March 29, 1982 murder of used car salesman James Wilson. Tracy was test driving a car at the time of the murder. Tracy’s death sentence was overturned due his constitutional right to a lawyer and against self-incrimination being violated. Nevada courts can now either re-sentence Tracy, or open a new penalty hearing.