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IDPN 2021

International Death Penalty News 2021, Issue 27: China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Taiwan, United States of America

July 2, 2021
IDPN 2021 Issue 27

China: Approximately 11 million judgments from courts across China, have been removed from China Judgements Online, which is an official database of rulings. A notice has appeared saying the cases were removed as a result of an error during a migration process and that it should be completed in a few days. The majority of the cases removed were death penalty cases. Of additional concern was that video recordings, listed on a separate official site, are no longer available. These occurrences have legal professionals concerned that China is attempting to keep rulings and proceedings secret. China is believed to execute the most people in any given year, however, most executions are not publicly announced, making it impossible to obtain accurate records.

Egypt: On Monday, June 21, 2021, eight individuals were executed by hanging. The names and crimes of those executed have not been reported. So far this year, Egypt has carried out 57 executions.

India: The Madras High Court has commuted the death sentence of M Dhamodaran to life in prison. Dhamodaran was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering his wife and two children. Dhamodaran had fallen into debt and killed his family before attempting to kill himself because he was unable to repay his debt. The family of the victim requested that Dhamodaran be given a life prison sentence, as it is a more severe punishment than the death penalty.

Iran: On Sunday, June 20, 2021, Ramin Saadat Biglou was executed at Chubin Dar Prison in the city of Zanjan in Qazvin province. Biglou was convicted of murder after getting into an argument with someone who owed him money. Biglou pushed the man against wall, where he struck his head and died.

On Monday, June 21, 2021, Habib Rezaei was executed by hanging. Prior to his arrest, Rezaei was the goalkeeper of local team in Salmas county. Rezaei was convicted of killing another citizen during a personal conflict in 2018.

On Saturday, June 26, 2021, two men were executed by hanging at Zahedan Central Prison. One of the men has been identified as Baluch prisoner, Abdulhamid Ghanbarzehi, while the identity of the second has not been released. Both men were convicted in the same murder case and were sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. The two men were accused of killing a police officer during a clash in Khash.

Ali Arjangi was sentenced to death for a murder he committed at the age of 17. It is against international law to execute a person for a crime committed as a juvenile. Ali has been spared from execution after he agreed to pay the diya (blood money) to the family of the victim.

Iraq: Nine individuals have been sentenced to death for their involvement in the Speicher Massacre. The nine unnamed men were members of the Islamic State terrorist group that attacked Camp Speicher on June 12, 2014. The attack resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 cadets and personnel at the military academy near Tikrit.

Japan: Fifty-one-year-old Yoshitaka Morito has been sentenced to death for murdering 55-year-old Shigeru Hashimoto and 52-year-old Miho Sanpei. On May 31, 2020, Morito stole a truck from the company for which he was working, and drove the truck down a national road, intentionally striking Shigeru and Miho, who were cleaning the road. Shigeru and Miho died from the collusion. Morito, who had been released from prison two days earlier, confessed to committing the crime because he was unsure how to live outside of prison and wanted to return.

The Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for 74-year-old Chisako Kakehi, dubbed the “Black Widow” by the press. Kakehi is convicted of murdering her 75-year-old husband, Isao Kakehi, and common-law partners 71-year-old Masanori Honda, and 75-year-old Minoru Hioki, as well as attempting to murder her acquaintance 79-year-old Toshiaki Suehiro between 2007 and 2013. She is believed to have murdered the men in order to inherit money to pay off debts. In her latest appeal, her lawyer argued that Kakehi has dementia and does not understand why she is part of a criminal trial.

Myanmar: Military courts have sentenced to death 64 people, including minors. They were convicted without legal representation and were arrested after the military declared martial law, following the government coup. No execution has been carried out in the country since 1998, however, it believed that over 800 people have been killed since the February coup, which was met with nation-wide protests.

Pakistan: Ahmad Nawaz has been sentenced to death for the murder of Malik Imran Hanif, a bank manager where Nawaz worked as a security guard. Nawaz claims he killed Malik for insulting the Prophet Mohammad, although police later determined that Nawaz had a feud with Malik.

Singapore: On May 4, 2021, a 19-year-old unnamed woman was attacked and murdered by two men and another woman. Now, 29-year-old Huang Bocan, 41-year-old Chee Mei Wan, and 62-year-old Lim Peng Tiong have been charged with her murder and, if convicted, could be sentenced to death. Bocan is the brother of the murdered girl.

Sri Lanka: Over 175 death row inmates went on a hunger strike, demanding that they either be executed or their sentences be commuted to life terms. President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has recently issued a pardon to a former lawmaker, who had been sentenced to death in an election-related killing. The lawmaker has since been released from prison. The pardon had drawn criticism from many. Despite dozens of death row inmates in the nation, no execution has been carried out since 1976. A list of 260 death row inmates has been submitted to the president for commutation. A few days after the hunger strike began, the Department of Prisons announced that any prisoner who joins strikes and threatens the security of the prisons will not be eligible for pardons, or reduced sentences, from the government.

Somalia: In the semi-autonomous state of Puntland, 21 men have been executed by firing squad. All were convicted and sentenced to death by a military court for carrying out assassinations and bombings over the past decade. The men were part of Islamist militant group, al-Shabab.

Taiwan: Several human rights groups are urging President Tsai Ing-went to grant a pardon to 61-year-old death row inmate Chiou Ho-shun. The groups allege that Ho-shun was tortured into confessing to the murder of Hung Yu-lan, an insurance agent, and nine-year-old Lu Cheng, both in 1987.

United States of America: On Wednesday, June 30, 2021, John Hummel was executed by the state of Texas. John was executed for the murder of his pregnant wife, 34-year-old Joy Keziyah Hummel, their 5-year-old daughter Jodi Ruth Hummel, and his father-in-law Clyde Bedford, in Kennedale, Texas.

On Friday, June 25, 2021, a 12 person jury in Florida decided that Ronnie Oneal III will spent the rest of his life in prison. The jury could have sentenced him to death. Oneal is convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Kenyatta Barron, and their 9-year-old daughter, Ron’Niveya Oneal, and attempted to murder their 8-year-old son, Ronnie Oneal IV, who testified against Ronnie at the trial. Ronnie insisted upon representing himself during his criminal trial, however, he allowed an attorney to represent him during the punishment phase of the trial.

David Braden has been taken off death row in Ohio. He has been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. David has become the first person to be taken off death row due to a state law that prevents the execution of people with severe mental illness. David was sentenced to death in June 1999 for murdering his girlfriend and her father. David has been diagnosed with “paranoid schizophrenia with delusions.” Friends and family say David became increasingly paranoid in the months leading up to the murders.

In 2010, Rasheem Dubose was sentenced to death for murdering eight-year-old DreShawna Davis in 2006 in Jacksonville, Florida. He has now been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. Rasheem and his two brothers opened fire upon the house DreShawna was in. One of the bullets traveled through two walls and hit DreShawna, who was shielding other children in the house. The other two men were sentenced to life in prison.

Jimmy Dean Harris has died while on death row in Oklahoma. Jimmy died on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. His cause of death has not been reported. Jimmy was sentenced to death on November 6, 2001, for the September 1, 1999, murder of 63-year-old Merle Taylor, Jimmy’s ex-mother-in-law. Jimmy was also convicted of shooting his ex-wife in a separate altercation.

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