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IDPN 2020

International Death Penalty News 2020, Issue 46: Bangladesh, Iran, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, United States of America

November 13, 2020
IDPN 2020 Issue 46

Bangladesh: On Sunday, November 1, 2020, Abdul Gafur was executed by hanging for the murder of his five-month pregnant wife and their two-year-old daughter in 2006. The murders occurred following a family feud. Abdul was sentenced to death in 2008.

Iran: On Sunday, November 1, 2020, Heydar Ali Mohammadian was executed by hanging at Yazd Central Prison. He had previously been scheduled to be executed, but was awarded more time by the family of the victim in order to raise the diyya (blood money) necessary to spare is life. Ultimately, Heydar was unable to raise the money, and was executed. Heydar had been convicted of murder at least three years ago.

On Sunday, November 1, 2020, 40-year-old Jafar Hassani was executed by hanging at Rasht Central Prison. Jafar has been in prison since 2017 and was convicted of performing an “honor killing.” The execution has not been announced by state media.

On Saturday, November 7, 2020, a 60-year-old male was executed by hanging at Mashhad Central Prison. His name has not been released. He was convicted and sentenced to death for murder. He had also been sentenced to 15 years in prison, and 100 lashes, for “deceiving and abusing a 11-year-old” child.

Singapore: Last month, 32-year-old Gobi Abedian had his death penalty reduced to 15 years in jail and 10 strokes of the cane. Gobi was convicted on drug related charges. He is now suing AttorneyGeneral Lucien Wong, two deputy attorney generals Hri Kumar Nair and Lionel Yee, and five prosecutors Mohamed Faizal Mohamed Abdul Kadir, Tan Zhongshan, Nicholas Wuan, Chin Jincheng and Chong Kee En. Gobi is alleging that they “abused their powers and acted ing ad faith by improperly performing a legal act which resulted in harm to the plaintiff.” Gobi was arrested on December 11, 2014, after he was caught with heroin at a checkpoint.

United Arab Emirates: Several changes have been made following a sweeping overhaul of criminal and family law. Including among these changes is the reduced sentences for “honor” killings, in which a person is killed, because they have brought dishonor upon the family. Now, honor crimes will be punished in line with any other crimes, which could include the death penalty or life imprisonment. The family of the victim, however, can waive its right to retribution, which will likely result in a reduced sentence of at least seven years in jail. This change in the law is a victory for human right groups and women’s organizations, who have repeatedly claimed that honor killings allow male murders of woman to get off lightly. Other changes include lifting the ban on unmarried couples living together, and easing restrictions of alcohol consumption. Additionally, penalties have been increased for rape and sexual harassment charges.

United States of America: The Elko District Attorney in Utah has announced that he intends to seek the death penalty against 24-year-old Justin Michael Mullis for the murder of 16-year-old Kylee Leniz at a McDonald’s drive up window. In addition to murder, Mullis is also charged with concealing or destroying evidence in the commission of a felony. The murder is believed to have been a random act, as no connection has been discovered between the shooter and the victim. Mullis has allegedly confessed to the crime.

Thirty-one-year-old Adrian Ortiz has been sentenced to death California for the 2009 murder of a 23-year-old male. Following the murder, Ortiz fled to Mexico, where he was captured and returned to the United States in August 2012. Since being in jail, Ortiz has been charged with assaulting a jail deputy, with allegations that the attack was gang related. Ortiz was unanimously sentenced to death by 12-member jury.

Forty-eight-year-old Scott Peterson, in California, has waived to right to a speedy death penalty retrial, which would have occurred later this month. Instead, he will wait on a decision which will determine if he is retried at all. Peterson was convicted and sentenced to death in California in 2004, for the 2002 murder of his wife, Laci, who was pregnant with their unborn son. Earlier this year, his death sentence was overturned by the California Supreme Court over concerns that the judge improperly dismissed potential jurors.

George Gascon will take over as district attorney for Los Angeles, California next year. He has recently announced that he will uphold his campaign promise to not seek capital punishment for any case and to try to rescind the death sentences of those already on death row from Los Angeles County. Nearly one-third of the approximate 700 death row inmates in California are from Los Angeles County. Further, Gascon will drop pursuit of capital punishments in cases that are being prosecuted in his county

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