International Death Penalty News 2020, Issue 30: Iran, Kuwait, Sudan, Taiwan, United States of America
July 24, 2020
IDPN 2020 Issue 30
Iran: On Monday, July 20, 2020, Mahmoud Mousavi Majd was executed, according to government officials. Independent reports claim that he was executed on Saturday, July 18, 2020, after being repeatedly tortured. Majd was convicted and sentenced to death for espionage. The Iranian government alleges that Majd provided information to the US Central Intelligence Agency and Israel’s Mossad and, in exchange, received large sums of money. It is believed that the information provided by Majd ultimately led to the death of Major General Qasem Soleimani. Majd immigrated to Iran in the 1970s and worked as a translator after war broke out, allowing him to infiltrate sensitive areas.
Three men have been spared, at least temporarily, from execution. The three men whose lives were spared, Amirhossein Moradi, a 26-year-old retail worker, Said Tamjidi, a 28-year-old driver for Snapp (Iran’s Uber), and Mohammad Rajabi, also 26 and unemployed, were linked to deadly fuel protests that occurred in November.
On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, Kamil Ghaderi-Aghdam was executed by hanging at Naghdeh Prison. He was convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to qisas (retribution in kind).
Kuwait: On Monday, July 20, 2020, a 31-year-old man’s sentence of death for the murder of his 25-year-old pregnant wife was upheld by the nation’s top court. The man, who was under the influence of drugs at the time of the murder, which occurred following a disagreement. The man later surrendered.
Sudan: Former Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and 16 others are being charged with carrying out a coup in 1989, against the elected government, headed by Sadiq Al-Madi. If convicted, Al-Bashir could be sentenced to death. Al-Bashir was ousted by the Sudanese army in April 2019, following several months of protests.
Taiwan: The European Union is encouraging Taiwan to abolish capital punishment in the nation. Taiwan carried out its first execution April 1, 2020, after years of having a de facto moratorium on executions. The conversation about capital punishment was part of a larger Human Rights discussion carried out via video conferencing. European Union also praised Taiwan for the legalization of same sex marriage. Taiwan remains concerned about the protection of human rights for their citizens abroad, likely referring to efforts by China to Taiwanese criminal suspect extradited to China while traveling abroad in Europe.
United States of America: The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of 39-year-old Michael Madison, who was convicted in 2016. Madison is convicted of murdering three women, 18-year-old Shirrellda Terry, 28-year-old Shetisha Sheeley, and 38-year-old Angela Deskins, between October 2012 and July 2013. Madison was sentenced to death for each murder. He has several appeals remaining before he can be given an execution date.
Jeff Rosen, District Attorney in Santa Clara County, California, has announced he will not longer pursue the death penalty in any case, as part of a number of sweeping reforms in his office. He says the changes are needed in response to public pressure to address racial inequality in the justice system, as demonstrated by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests that have followed. However, those already sentenced to death in Santa Clara county will not have their sentences changed.
On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, death row inmate John Beames has died at a hospital in California. John was 67 years of age. He was sentenced to death in 1995 for the murder of his girlfriend’s 15-month-old daughter. Reports indicate that John died of complications related to COVID-19, however an autopsy has yet to be performed to determine the exact cause of death.
Hector Rolando Medina was sentenced to death in Texas on October 28, 2008. He was convicted of murdering his two children, three-year-old Javier and eight-month-old Diana at their home in Irving, Texas on March 4, 2007. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted him a new trial in 2017, due to ineffective counsel at his initial trial. A deal has now been reached that will sentence Hector to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. As part of the deal, Hector cannot speak publicly about his life, his crimes, or the case.
On Monday, July 20, 2020, Troy Adam Ashmus has died while on death row in California. His cause of death has not yet been officially determined, although he is thought to have died due to COVID-19 complications. Troy was sentenced to death in 1986, for the rape and murder of 7-year-old Marcella Davis in Sacramento, California.
On Wednesday, July 15, 2020, Lonnie Franklin, a/k/a the Grim Sleeper, has died while on death row in California. An autopsy has determined that he died of natural causes at the age of 67. Lonnie was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering 11 people between 1985 and 2007: 29-year-old Debra Jackson in 1986, 35-year-old Henrietta Wright in 1986, 36-year-old Thomas Steele in 1986, 23-year-old Barbara Ware in 1987, 35-year-old Bernita Sparks in 1987, 26-year-old Mary Lowe in 1987, 22-year-old Lachrica Jefferson in 1988, 18-year-old Alicia “Monique” Alexander in 1988, 14-year-old Princess Berthomieux in 2002, 35-year-old Valerie McCorvey, 25-year-old Janecia Peters in 2007, and, one unidentified woman who survived his attack in 1988. Lonnie was sentenced to death in 2016.
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