International Death Penalty News 2020, Issue 16: Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, United States of America
April 17, 2020
IDPN 2020 Issue 16
Bangladesh: On Sunday, April 12, 2020, Abdul Majed was executed at Dhaka Central Jail for the murder of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of the nation. Five others have also been convicted in the murder, however they are currently on the run. Abdul was recently arrested. He was previously hiding in Libya and Pakistan, before moving to India to reside. Abdul entered Bangladesh late last month during the coronavirus pandemic.
Indonesia: Forty-six-year-old Uzama alias Saka, and 35-year-old Andi Eka Putra, have both been sentenced to death for drug trafficking. A third person, 40-year-old Yuswandi, was sentenced to life in prison. They were convicted of trafficking crystal methamphetamine and ecstasy.
Iran: On Saturday, April 11, 2020, Mostafa Salimi, a Kurdish political prisoner was executed after spending 17 years on death row. He was 53 years of age. Mostafa worked for the National Gas Company and was charged with Moharebeh (waging war on God) and collaboration with the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran. He was allegedly tortured while in prison.
On Wednesday, April 15, 2020, a 39-year-old man was executed by hanging at Hamadan Prison. The man’s name was not revealed and he was convicted of murder approximately five years ago.
Prisoners in Iran have begun testing positive for the coronavirus, with several prisoners already allegedly dying from the disease. This has resulted in riots, during which at least 80 prisoners have escaped. Prisoners are also demanding better medical supplies.
Malaysia: A young couple from Singapore, has been arrested after police raided their condominium and discovered several thousand dollars worth of drugs. Both suspects also tested positive for methamphetamine at the time of their arrest, according to police. An investigation is ongoing into the case.
Pakistan: Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagfuta Kausar, an illiterate Catholic couple, are currently imprisoned on death row on blasphemy charges. Their case is similar to that of Asia Bibi, who was also charged and sentenced to death for blasphemy. She was released from prison last year and has since resettled in Canada. Shafqat and Shagfuta are accused of sending a text message, written in English, insulting the prophet to an Islamic cleric. Neither Shafqat and Shagfuta can write in Urdu, their native language, nor in English. They, along with their supporters, have fully denied the charges. Prior to his arrest, Shafqat was crippled and confined to wheelchair, and his condition has worsened while in prison.
Saudi Arabia: On Thursday, April 16, 2020, Imad al-Mansouri, A Yemeni national, was executed by beheading. Imad was convicted of stabbing to death two people on November 11, 2019, during an entertainment festival at King Abdullah Park. Four others were injured in the attack. Imad was also accused of terrorizing people and causing chaos and was linked to militant group, Al-Qaeda.
Taiwan: On March 28, 2016, a four-year-old girl, nicknamed “Little Light Bulb,” was decapitated in a random attack while she was walking with her mother. Wang Ching-yu was arrested and charged with the crime. Prosecutors sought the death penalty against him, however, Wang’s attorneys argued that Wang suffered from a mental illness which should prevent him from being sentenced to death. The Supreme Court of Taiwan has accepted these arguments and sentenced Wang to life in prison, over the objections by the family of the victim.
United States of America: On Thursday, April 16, 2020, John Stumpf was scheduled to be executed by the state of Ohio. His execution has been rescheduled for Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Fifty-nine-year-old John is convicted of the murder of 54-year-old Mary Jane Stout, which occurred on May 14, 1984, in near New Concord, Ohio. John’s execution was rescheduled due to ongoing problems establishing an execution protocol and obtaining drugs for use in executions.
On Thursday, April 16, 2020, Abu-Ali Abdur’ Rahman, a/k/a James Lee Jones, Jr., was scheduled to be executed by the state of Tennessee. His death sentence was commuted to life in prison in August 2019. Sixty-nine-year-old Abu-Ali was convicted of the murder of Patrick Daniel on February 17, 1986, in Nashville, Tennessee.
The death penalty is being sought against Robert Bowers, who is accused of killing 11 worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in October 2018, in Pennsylvania. His lawyers are now asking that his trial be delayed because of COVID-19. In a motion filed in court, Robert’s lawyers argued that they have not been able to meet with their client, conduct witness interviews, or do other work on the case that requires in-person contact. Additionally, the lawyers argued that they have been ordered to work from home, hindering their ability to prepare the best defense possible for their client, as some offices from which they need information are now closed. The lawyers for Robert have been repeatedly accused by the prosecution for making continued attempts at delaying the trial.
Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio, has delayed three more executions as his state continues to experience problems obtaining drugs to be used in executions. The three inmates who have their execution dates rescheduled are Romell Broom, James Hanna, and Douglas Coley, who were scheduled to be executed in June, July, and August, respectively, this year. Their executions have all been rescheduled for 2022.
Jared Polis, governor of Colorado, recently signed into law a bill abolishing capital punishment in the state, and commuting the death sentences of the three men on death row. However, there was still a death penalty trial ongoing at the time the law was signed. The death penalty option against Marco Garcia-Bravo has now been withdrawn. Marco is accused of killed two high school students, 16-year-old Natalie Partida and 15-year-old Derek Greer, in Colorado Springs, in 2017. The prosecutor seeking the death penalty acknowledged that it was no longer plausible to seek the death penalty when the sentence would likely be commuted by the governor, as he had done with the three men on death row in the state.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Dacarius Holliday, who was convicted of beating to death the two-year-old son of his then girlfriend in Baton Rouge. The decision was unanimous. Dacarius argued that his death sentenced was “exclusive” and cited 25 other cases in the same parish that did not result in death sentences. Prosecutors argued that they only seek capital punishment for the “most egregious cases.”
The Arizona Supreme Court has affirmed the death sentenced of John Allen, who is convicted of murdering 10-year-old Ame Deal. Ame was locked into a plastic box 21 inches shorter than her, forcing her head into an unnatural position, which caused her death by suffocation. Prior to her death, Ame was subjected to years of abuse. John’s wife, Sammantha was also convicted of Ame’s murder and sentenced to death. Ame’s legal guardians, her grandmother and aunt, were convicted of child abuse and given prison terms.
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