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IDPN 2023

International Death Penalty News 2023, Issue 20: China, Iran, Malaysia, Singapore, United States of America

International Death Penalty News 2023
Issue 20

May 19, 2023


International Death Penalty NewsZhang Bo and his girlfriend, Ye Chengchen, were sentenced to death for murdering Zhang’s two children. The couple tossed the two children out the window of a high-rise apartment window in 2020. Zhang alleges that his girlfriend persuaded him to commit the act. Now, the Chongqing High People’s Court has upheld their death sentences.


On Wednesday, May 10, 2023, two men were executed in Qezel Hesar Prison. The unnamed men were convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind.  Iranian law does not differentiate between different degrees of murder, such as self-defense versus intentional killing. State officials and the media have not yet announced their executions.

On Thursday, May 11, 2023, 60-year-old Hossein Shabanzadeh was executed in Rasht Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials and the media.

On Saturday, May 13, 2023, six inmates were executed in Kerman Prison. Two of the six are identified as Kambiz Davarpanah and Amrollah (Shamal) Adish. Two other inmates were also executed in Khorramabad prison. All eight inmates were sentenced to death for drug-related crimes. State officials and the media have not reported any of the executions.

On Sunday, May 14, 2023, Kiumars Menbari and Saeed Arjmandi were executed in Sanandaj Central Prison. They were convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. The families of the victims choose if the convicted will be sentenced to death, be granted forgiveness, or pay diya (blood money) for their loss.

On Monday, May 15, 2023, Mohammad Paydar and Peyman Akbari-Birgani were executed in Khorramabad Central Prison. They were convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. A third man was scheduled to be executed alongside them, however, his execution was postponed for unknown reasons. State officials and the media have not yet reported the executions of the two men.

On Monday, May 15, 2023, five individuals were executed at Bandar Abbas and Minab prisons. All were convicted on drug-related charges. Their names were not reported.

On Monday, May 15, 2023, a man was executed in Fereydounkenar Prison in Mazandaran province. The man, identified by initials only, was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. He murdered his wife and child.


Last month, several criminal justice reforms were passed, including removing the mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking. Under the reforms, judges will decide if a person convicted of drug trafficking will be sentenced to death or given a lighter sentence. Now, the home affairs minister wants to decriminalize the possession and use of small quantities of illegal drugs. This measure is part of an effort to reduce overcrowding in prisons.


On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 36-year-old Muhammad Faizal Mohd Shariff, was executed. Muhammad was a Malaysian national. He was convicted of possessing cannabis. In the days leading up to his execution, he attempted to pursue the courts to lift his sentence. He was unsuccessful.

United States of America

On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, Gerald Hand was scheduled to be executed in Ohio. Due to ongoing problems obtaining executions drugs, Gerald’s execution is rescheduled to June 17, 2026. Gerald is convicted of murdering 58-year-old Jill Hand and 55-year-old Walter “Lonnie” Welch on January 15, 2002, in Delaware County, Ohio.

On Thursday, May 18, 2023, Richard Glossip was scheduled to be executed in Oklahoma. His execution was stayed by the Supreme Court of the United States. Richard is convicted of hiring someone to murder 54-year-old Barry Alan Van Treese in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on January 7, 1997.

The Supreme Court of the United States will hear a challenge to Alabama’s lethal injection protocol. The challenge is brought by Kenneth Smith, who Alabama attempted to execute in November 2022. The execution was unsuccessful, as technicians were unable to successfully locate veins to use in the lethal injection procedure. Now, Kenneth is asking the Supreme Court to not allow the state to attempt a second execution by lethal injection. Instead, Kenneth is seeking an alternative method of execution, specifically, execution by inhaling nitrogen gas. Such a method is legal in Alabama, however, the state is still working on establishing a protocol. Execution by nitrogen gas has not been used before in any state. Kenneth was sentenced to death for his part in the murder of Elizabeth Sennet on March 18, 1988, in Colbert County, Alabama.

In March 2023, a jury decided that the man responsible for driving a truck onto a bike path in New York City, killing eight, and severely injuring 18 others, would not receive a death sentence. The attack was carried out on October 31, 2017, by Sayfullo Saipov, who claims allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group. In court, Saipov was not remorseful for his crimes. The judge, following the recommendation of the jury, imposed 10 life sentences, plus another 260 years in prison. He will likely serve his sentence at a maximum security federal prison in Florence, Colorado.

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