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IDPN 2022

International Death Penalty News 2022, Issue 33: Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria, Ukraine, United States of America

International Death Penalty News
Issue 33

August 19, 2022

Bangladesh

International Death Penalty NewsOn Wednesday, August 17, 2022, five members of the banned militant group Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were sentenced to death.  Only four of the five were present for the trial, as one is on the run and tried in absentia.  All five were convicted of a bomb attack at a mosque inside a navy base near Chattogram.  The bombing occurred seven years ago, during prayers on December 18, 2015.  Twenty-four people were injured.  One of the five sentenced to death was a former navy soldier.  In addition to being sentenced to death, all five were also fined.  The navy bombing coincided with about 500 other bombs being detonated across the country.  Trials are ongoing for the bombings.  So far, 94 trials have been completed with 27 JMB leaders being sentenced to death in 334 being given jail terms.  Eight executions have been carried out.

Egypt

On Thursday, August 11, 2022, Walid Abdel-Rahman and Mohamed Osama were executed.  Walid and Mohamed were convicted and sentenced to death for murdering 24-year-old Mariam Mohamed in Cairo’s Maadi suburb on October 13, 2020.  They were attempting to steal her purse, however, Mariam fought back and struck her head.  She was then run over by her two attackers.  She was later found dead on the street.

On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, Judge Ayman Haggag was sentenced to death for murdering his wife, Shaimaa Gamal, a TV presenter.  Businessman Hussein al-Gharabli helped Haggag commit the murder and eventually turned himself in, telling police where they could locate Shaimaa’s body.

Iran

During the month of July 2022, at least 71 prisoners were executed by hanging in prisons throughout Iran.  One public execution was also carried out in July 2022.  Nearly all the executions were for drug-related charges or murder.  Four women were also executed during this time.

On Friday, August 12, 2022, Hossein Bagherpour-Sarabi and Milad Badarkhani were executed in Saveh Prison.  Executions in the country are usually carried out by hanging.  Thirty-eight-year-old Hossein and 25-year-old Milad were both convicted on drug-related charges in the same case.  They were arrested in 2019.

On Sunday, August 14, 2022, 29-year-old Vahid Rahmani and 37-year-old Mostafa Rasoulzadeh were executed in Shiraz Central Prison.  Vahid and Mostafa were convicted of drug-related offenses.

On Sunday, August 14, 2022, four men were executed in Arak Central Prison.  Three of the men have been identified as 32-year-old Mohammad Mashhadolkoobeh, 40-year-old Vahid Mousakhani, and 38-year-old Hossein Abadi.  The fourth man has not been identified.  All four men were convicted on separate drug-related charges.  State officials and the media have not reported on the executions.

On Sunday, August 14, 2022, Saeed Narouyi was executed in Sari Central Prison.  Twenty-nine-year-old Saeed, a Baluch minority, was convicted on drug-related charges.  State officials and the media have not reported the execution.

On Monday, August 15, 2022, Misagh Yavari was executed in Khorramabad Central Prison.  He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind.  State officials and the media have not reported the execution.

Nigeria

On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, Pastor Erinmole Adetokunbo and Adedoyin Oyekanmi were sentenced to death by an Ikeja Special Offenses Court.  They were convicted of murdering a seven-year-old boy as a ritual sacrifice.  The boy has been identified as Kazeem Rafiu.

Singer Aminu Shariff Yahaya will receive a new trial for the blasphemy charges against him.  In August 2020, Aminu was convicted and sentenced to death by a Shariah Court in Kano.  Aminu appealed his sentence to Kano High Court, which, in November 2020, ordered that Aminu be given a new trial.  In their ruling, the Kano High Court noted that the Shariah Court had failed to follow proper procedure, as Aminu has no legal representation at his trial.  A Court of Appeal has upheld this ruling.

Ukraine

In the Russian-occupied Donetsk region, five foreign nationals have been captured fighting with Ukrainian forces against the Russian invaders.  Three of the five could be sentenced to death.  The three have been identified as British national John Harding, Croatian national Vjekoslav Prebeg and Swedish citizen Mathias Gustafsson.  The two men who do not face a death sentence are Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill, both British nationals.  All five have pleaded not guilty to the mercenary charges against them.

United States of America

On Wednesday, August 17, 2022, Kosoul Chanthakoummane was executed in Texas.  Kosoul was pronounced dead at 6:33 pm local time.  He was 41 years of age and convicted of murdering 40-year-old Sarah Ann Walker on July 8, 2006, in Mckinney, Texas.  

On Thursday, August 18, 2022, Byron Black was scheduled to be executed in Tennessee.  His execution was stayed because earlier this year Governor Bill Lee halted all executions in the state.  The pause in executions is to allow time for an independent investigation into the lethal injection testing oversight that resulted in an inmate receiving a stay of execution earlier this year.  Byron is convicted of murdering 29-year-old Angela Clay, and her two daughters, 9-year-old Latoya, and 6-year-old Lakeishsa on March 28, 1988, in Davidson County, Tennessee.   

Prosecutors in Florida will seek the death penalty against 39-year-old Juan Bravo-Torres.  He is charged with attacking and stabbing to death his three-year-old daughter Eva.  He also stabbed his 12-year-old daughter, who survived in critical condition.  Juan attacked his children while they were sleeping and then stabbed himself. He has pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Prosecutors have announced their intent to seek the death penalty in Nevada for a man accused of killing four-year-old Mason Dominguez.  Thirty-six-year-old Brandon Toseland is charged with the murder of his girlfriend’s son, Mason.  Mason was found in a freezer in Brandon’s Las Vegas, Nevada, home.  Brandon’s girlfriend also accused Brandon of holding her and her two children captive.  Eventually, she was able to sneak a note to school officials with her daughter.  Brandon had pleaded not guilty.

Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma, has issued a temporary stay of execution for death row inmate Richard Glossip.  Richard was scheduled to be executed on September 22, 2022, however, per Governor Stitt’s order, his execution has been rescheduled to December 8, 2022.  The temporary delay was granted “to allow time for the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals [OCCA] to address a pending legal proceeding.”  This is the fourth time, Richard has been spared from execution.  Richard is convicted of being the mastermind behind the plan to kill his former employer, Barry Van Treese in January 1997.  Richard’s co-conspirator Justin Sneed actually committed the murder, however, Justin also testified that Richard planned everything.  Justin’s testimony, however, is doubted by many.  Richard also insists that he is innocent.

The 8th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that Arkansas can use the sedative midazolam in executions by lethal injection.  Five years ago, Arkansas attempted to execute eight inmates over eleven days, before the state’s supply of execution drugs expired.  Four inmates were executed, and the other four inmates were granted stays.  Currently, Arkansas does not have any drugs to carry out executions.  Nor does the state have any execution scheduled for the 30 inmates on death row.  Several death row inmates were challenging the lethal injection process in the state.

Eight-two-year-old James N. Blair was sentenced to death in California.  His death sentence has now been reduced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.  Superior Court Judge William Ryan vacated his death sentence at the request of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which is headed by George Gascon, who opposes all capital punishment.  The state agreed with the defense lawyers, who are claiming that Blair has Alzheimer’s-related dementia and fails to understand why he is in prison.  Due to his age, Blair’s condition is not likely to improve, but instead, will like continue to deteriorate.  Blair was sentenced to death in 1989, after being convicted of murdering his neighbor Dorothy Green.  Blair had given Dorothy a bottle of gin laces with sodium cyanide.  After ingesting the poison, Dorothy fell into a coma, living for nearly two years before finally dying.  

Sixty-one-year-old Anderson Hawthorne Jr. was sentenced to death in California.  His death sentence has now been reduced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.  Superior Court Judge William Ryan vacated his death sentence at the request of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which is headed by George Gascon, who opposes all capital punishment.    Hawthorne was convicted and sentenced to death for the December 18, 1982, murder of Kirk Thomas and Jimmy Lee Mamon.  Hawthorne also attempted to kill three other people.  The killings and attempted murders are believed to be gang-related.

On Wednesday, August 17, 2022, a Florida jury voted against the death penalty for Jason Wheeler.  Wheeler is convicted of killing sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Koester during an ambush in 2005.  Two others were injured in the ambush.  Wheeler was initially sentenced to death, however, a 2016 Supreme Court ruling made him eligible for resentencing since his initial jury did not reach a unanimous verdict.  Wheeler will spend the rest of his life in prison, without the possibility of being released on parole.

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