International Death Penalty News 2023
February 17, 2023
On Monday, February 13, 2023, former two-star general Ferdy Sambo was sentenced to death. Ferdy was convicted of murdering his bodyguard, 27-year-old Nofriansyah Yosua Hutabarat, in July 2022. He also attempted to hide and destroy evidence of Nofriansyah’s death. The case harmed the reputation of the police throughout the country. Four others have also been charged in the case. They have not yet been sentenced. The police investigation revealed that Ferdy ordered Nofriansyah shot and killed after Ferdy’s wife accused Nofriansyah of attempting to rape her.
On Sunday, February 5, 2023, 37-year-old Ebrahim Hojatgholi was executed in Zanjan Central Prison. Ebrahim was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.
On Sunday, February 12, 2023, Sirous Gholami was executed in Gorgan Central Prison. Sirous was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is retribution in kind. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.
On Monday, February 13, 2023, two men were executed in Qazvin Central Prison. The two men were identified as Behzad Alirezaei and Ahmad Samari. Both men were convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Behzad is convicted of killing another person during a group fight. He claims he is innocent. Iranian law does not differentiate between intentional killings and accidental killings. All killings are considered intentional and often result in a death sentence unless the family of the victim is willing to offer forgiveness. State officials and the media have not yet reported these executions.
On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, Milad Jajouyi Khanik and Mohammad Ali Akhtari Kohlan were executed in Orumiyeh Central Prison. Milad and Mohammad were arrested in September 2018. They were accused, and later convicted, of an armed robbery that resulted in a murder. They were sentenced to death for “enmity against God,” or moharebeh. A third man was arrested with them, however, his death sentence was later reduced to life in prison by the Supreme Court.
On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, two unnamed prisoners were executed in Urmia Prison. The two were convicted of murder.
On Tuesday, February 14, 2023, three inmates were executed in Arak Prison. The three inmates were not identified by name. They were convicted and executed on drug-related charges.
A man accused of blasphemy has been killed after being taken from a police station. The man was arrested after allegedly desecrating pages of the Quran. Such actions can result in being charged with blasphemy. If convicted he could have been sentenced to death. However, before he could face trial, an angry mob stormed the police station where he was being held, took him from his cell, and killed him.
United States of America
On Wednesday, February 15, 2023, Stanley Fitzpatrick was scheduled to be executed in Ohio. His execution was rescheduled to April 16, 2026. In recent years, Ohio has rescheduled many execution dates due to difficulties obtaining execution drugs. Stanley is convicted of the double murder of 42-year-old Doreatha Hayes and her 12-year-old daughter Shenay Hayes, on June 7, 2001, inside their apartment in Lincoln Heights, Ohio. Stanley is also convicted of murdering his 64-year-old neighbor, Elton Rose, on June 9, 2001.
On Thursday, February 16, 2023, Oklahoma planned to execute Richard Glossip. In the weeks leading up to his execution, Oklahoma rescheduled Richard’s execution to Thursday, May 18, 2023. His execution was rescheduled at the request of Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond, who noted that the staff needed more time between executions to prepare. Richard is convicted of hiring someone to murder 54-year-old Barry Alan Van Treese in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on January 7, 1997. Richard has insisted that his innocent, a claim which has started to gain attention as an independent review of the case raised several questions regarding Richard’s guilt.
On Thursday, February 16, 2023, Texas death row inmate Hank Skinner died of natural causes. Skinner was 60 years of age. He was scheduled to be executed on September 13, 2023. In December 2022, Skinner had surgery to remove a brain tumor. His death was related to complications following the surgery. Skinner was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, 40-year-old Twila Jean Busby, and her two mentally impaired sons, 22-year-old Elwin Caler and 20-year-old Randy Busby, inside their Pampa, Texas home on December 31, 1993. For years, Skinner has insisted that he is innocent of the crime, claiming he was passed out on the couch during the murders after mixing vodka and codeine.
As part of an ongoing lawsuit against the state’s execution methods, the South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered the state to turn over information regarding its attempts to obtain lethal injection drugs. In 2021, lawmakers passed a bill approving electrocution and firing squads as additional acceptable methods of execution, in addition to lethal injection. The bill also made electrocution the default method of execution in the state if the other two methods are unavailable. A lower court has since found that firing squads and electrocution are cruel and unusual punishments. Additionally, the court found that what determines a method of execution as “unavailable” is too vaguely defined. The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered the state to turn over information regarding their attempts to obtain lethal injection drugs before ruling on the constitutionality of the phrase. This information will not be released to the public due to disclosure laws. South Carolina has not carried out an execution since 2011, as they have been unable to obtain lethal injection drugs.
Newly elected Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro has called for the abolition of the death penalty. He also announced that he will not sign any death warrants during his time as governor. Governor Shapiro is following the example set by his predecessor, Tom Wolf. In his announcement, Shapiro, who was formerly the Attorney General who pursued death sentences in several cases, stated that his position on capital punishment has changed over the years. The last execution in Pennsylvania occurred in 1999. There are 101 men and women on death row in the state.
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