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IDPN 2020

International Death Penalty News 2020, Issue 38: Iran, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United States of America

September 18, 2020
IDPN 2020 Issue 38

Iran: On Monday, September 7, 2020, Fath-Ali Behvand was executed by hanging at Isfahan Central Prison. Behvand, from the village of Doroud, was arrested in 2014, and convicted of murder. He was unable to raise the diyya (blood money) required by the family of the victim to spare him from execution. Behvand’s death has not yet been announced by official media.

Shakir Behrooz was sentenced to death on Thursday, September 10, 2020, after being convicted of “taking up arms against the state” and being a member of the Komala Party, a Kurdish opposition group and paramilitary force. Allegedly, while in prison, Shakir was tortured into confessing.

On Saturday, September 12, 2020, 27-year-old Navid Afkari, a national wrestling champion, was allegedly executed by hanging at Adelabad Prison in Shiraz. His execution was carried out in secret, amidst internal outcry and pleas from other heads of state to spare his life. Prior to his death, Navid alleged that he was tortured and abused in prison, with some reports that he was tortured to death instead of executed by hanging. He was arrested and sentenced to death for killing water supply employee Hasan Turkman during the August 2018 protests in Shiraz. Navid denied that he carried out the killing.

On August 5, 2020, Mostafa Salehi was executed after being convicted of killing a man during nation-wide protests in December 2017 and January 2018. Mostafa always insisted he was innocent of the charges for which he was convicted. Now his widow and other family members have been ordered to pay the family of the man Mostafa was convicted of killing. If Mostafa’s family cannot pay the money as order by the court, their home and gardens will be impounded.

On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, two brothers were executed by hanging at Mashhad Central Prison. The unnamed brothers were convicted of rape and were part of a group of four that was arrested. One of the group confessed to 36 counts of rape.

Morocco: A 24-year-old suspect has been arrested for the rape and murder of 11-year-old Adnane Bouchouf and now an online petition has been launched, demanding that the suspect be executed. While capital punishment is legal in the nation, the last execution in Morocco occurred in 2003, and there remain 93 individuals on death row in the nation.

Nigeria: During the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, the number of rape cases spiked in the nation, leading to widespread outrage after a 22-year-old university was raped and murdered in July. There were demands that stiffer punishments be issued to rapists, including capital punishment. Now, the Nigerian government has decided that convicted rapists will be surgically castrated. Surgical castration is a controversial procedure in most of the world and is not widely practiced.

Pakistan: On Monday, September 14, 2020, Sohail Shehzad was given six death sentences after being convicted of raping and murdering four boys, ages eight to 12 years of age, in June 2019, in Chunian City. Sohail has also been ordered to pay compensation to the families of the victims.

Prime Minster Imran Khan, during an interview, stated that he supported chemical castration for rapists, or surgical castration. His remarks come after rising sex crimes against woman and children. He has a three-step plan, which outlines how he wants to deal with the crimes and repeat offenders. Khan also said that the government would not start carrying out executions for rape, as it would not be internationally acceptable.

Saudi Arabia: Etty bint Toyib, an Indonesian national, was arrested and sentenced to death for the 2001 death of her employer, Faisal Al Ghamdi, despite the fact that doctors initially reported that Al Ghamdi died of natural causes. Etty was not arrested until three months after his death, when his wife suddenly accused Etty of murder. Allegedly, Etty confessed to the murder while in prison. Now, 20 years after Etty first left Indonesia, she has returned home and reunited with her family after the Indonesian government was able to raise enough money to pay the ransom. Many Indonesian migrant workers have been jailed in the Saudi kingdom and the treatment of Indonesian migrant workers has lead to tensions between the two nations.

Two brothers have been sentenced to death for murdering their mother and attempting to murder their father and other brother, in June 2016. The two brothers are associated with the Islamic State terrorist group and alleged that they killed their mother for blasphemy. They also accused their father and other brother of blasphemy as well.

Singapore: On Friday, September 18, 2020, 44-year-old Syed Suhail Bin Syed Zin was scheduled to be executed by hanging at Singapore’s Changi Prison for drug trafficking offenses. Shortly before his scheduled execution, Syed was granted a reprieve due to an appeal to the High Court for a judicial review. Syed was arrested in August 2011 and charged possession of heroin. In January 2016, he was sentenced to death for drug trafficking.

United States of America: On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, Kareem Jackson was scheduled to be executed in Ohio. His execution has been rescheduled to Thursday, September 15, 2022. Forty-six-year-old Kareem is convicted of the murder of Antonio Hunter and Terrance Walker in Columbus, Ohio on March 25, 1997.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jamarius DeJuan Ruffin has been arrested in Alabama on Friday, September 11, 2020. He is accused of the murder of his two-month-old son, Amari. On July 29, 2020, Amari was taken to the hospital after he stopped breathing and was soon pronounced dead. An autopsy revealed that he had died from blunt force trauma to the head, as well as older injuries. If convicted, Jamarius could be sentenced to death.

Thirty-two-year-old Christopher Hundley, has been arrested in Alabama and warned that he could be sentenced to death for causing the death of newborn son. Christopher allegedly punched his pregnant wife on July 4, 2020, in Prattville, Alabama. Christopher’s wife went into labor a month early and successfully gave birth, however, the baby boy was so badly injured from the beating his mother received, that he had to placed on life support. He died on August 11, 2020. Prosecutors have not yet decided if they will seek the death penalty against Christopher, although it is legally permitted.

Twenty-one-year-old Wilber Martinez-Guzman, an El Salvadorian national, could be sentenced to death in Nevada for the murder of four people. Wilber is accused of murdering Gerald and Sharon David in Reno and Constance Koontz and Sophia Renken in Gardnerville in their homes in January 2020. His attorneys are attempting to indefinitely delay the start of his trial, arguing that they need to be able to travel to El Salvador to gather mitigating evidence, however travel is currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, September 11, 2020, 41-year-old Granville Ritchie was sentenced to death in Tampa, Florida by an unanimous jury recommendation. Last year, Ritchie was convicted of raping and murdering nine-year-old Felecia Williams in May 2014. Now, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge Michelle Sisco affirmed the unanimous jury recommendation that Ritchie be sentenced to death. Ritchie faces years of appeals before he will be eligible for execution.

Forty-three-year Juan Lizcano was sentenced to death in 2007, after being convicted of the murder of Dallas Police Officer Brian Jackson on November 13, 2005, in Dallas, Texas. Now, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has reduced his sentence to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, after finding that he is intellectually disabled, making him ineligible for execution.

Vietnam: Two brothers, 56-year-old Le Dinh Cong and 40-year-old Le Dinh Chuc, have been sentenced to death for masterminding resistance against police in Hanoi in January of this year. Dozens of others were also arrested and given various prison terms for their participation in the clashes between villagers and the police, that resulted in the deaths of three policemen. The villagers were upset that authorities were attempting to a build a wall that encroached on the villager’s land.

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