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IDPN 2023

International Death Penalty News, Issue 21: Bangladesh, Guyana, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United States of America

International Death Penalty News
Issue 21

May 26, 2023

Bangladesh

International Death Penalty NewsPolice have recently been given the authority to arrest 124 fugitives who are facing charges, under trial, or convicted of committing crimes during the 1971 Liberation War. Many have been on the run because law enforcement lacked the appropriate law enforcement unit to arrest them. So far, four have been found. They have all already been sentenced to death.

Guyana

On Friday, May 19, 2023, Mark Royden Durant escaped from prison with the help of at least one outside person. Mark was convicted and sentenced to death for a murder committed in the 2008 Barticia massacre.

Iran

On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 28-year-old Saeed Najafi and 45-year-old Borzou Chogharzardi were executed in Kermanshah Central Prison. Both were convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. State officials and the media have not yet reported their executions.

On Thursday, May 18, 2023, Nader Rigi was executed in Jiroft Prison. Executions are traditionally carried out by having. He was convicted and sentenced to death for drug-related charges. Nader was arrested about three years ago. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Thursday, May 18, 2023, 23-year-old Mostafa Vafayi and 54-year-old Farhad Vafayi were executed in Rasht Central Prison. They were convicted of murder in the same case and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. State officials and the media have not yet reported their executions. Under Iranian law, all unlawful deaths are considered intentional murders, with little or no consideration given to circumstances and mitigating evidence. In most cases, once found guilty, the family of the victim is required to choose between death as retribution, receiving a payment called diya (blood money), or granting forgiveness.

On Thursday, May 18, 2023, four meant were executed in Kerman Central Prison. Three of the men have been identified as Hossein Poursheikh, Omid Jan Abadi, and Nabiollah Zaboli.  The fourth man was not named. Omid and Nabiollah are Baluch minorities. All four were convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges.

On Friday, May 19, 2023, three men were executed. The location and method of execution were not stated in the execution announcement. The three men were identified as Majid Kazemi, Saleh Mirhashemi, and Saeed Yaghoubi. All three were convicted of using deadly violence during anti-government protests last year. Specifically, they are accused of killing a police officer and two paramilitary members. Their executions are condemned by International human rights groups.

On Saturday, May 20, 2023, 40-year-old Shahrooz Sokhanvari was reportedly executed in Rajai Shahr prison. Shahrooz was arrested by Interpol in Malaysia and then extradited to Iran in 2020. He was convicted of corruption on earth, which is a charge used for many different offenses in Iranian law. Human rights groups are questioning Interpol and its involvement in handing Shahrooz over to Iranian authorities.

On Sunday, May 22, 2023, 46-year-old Saeed Mohammadi was executed in Kermanshah Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Unofficial reports indicate that two other men were also executed that day, however, those reports have not been confirmed. State officials and the media have not reported on any executions.

On Monday, May 23, 2023, an unnamed man was executed in Bandarabbas Central Prison. He was convicted of corruption on earth and in the murder of a police officer. It was not reported for which crime he was executed. Under Iranian law, all unlawful deaths are considered intentional murders, with little or no consideration given to circumstances and mitigating evidence. In most cases, once found guilty, the family of the victim is required to choose between death as retribution, receiving a payment called diya (blood money), or granting forgiveness.

Saudi Arabia

On Monday, May 23, 2023, three Saudi nations were executed. Executions are traditionally carried out by beheading with a sword. The three men that were executed were not named. All three were convicted of terrorism.

On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, a man was executed for receiving weapons training in an “enemy country.” The enemy country was not named. Additionally, the name of the man executed was not released. Allegedly, the man received the training in order to “breach the security” of Saudi Arabia.

United States of America

Lawmakers in Texas have once again passed a bill banning hypnosis-induced statements as evidence in criminal trials. A similar bill was vetoed by Governor Greg Abbott in 2021. Hypnosis has been used for years by Texas law enforcement to assist with cases, including helping to convict several inmates on death row in the state. However, the practice has been largely questioned by the scientific community, with some scientific evidence that hypnosis can distort memories. The Texas Rangers ceased using the practice in 2021, claiming other interview and interrogation methods produce better results. Both the Texas House of Representatives and Senate have passed the bill. Many believe that Governor Abbott will sign this bill. In his previously vetoed bill, Abbott claimed that the language was too broad. This version of the bill clarified these broad statements.

A House Committee in Lousiana has rejected a bill that would abolish the death penalty in the state. Proponents of abolishing the death penalty argue that it is disproportionally applied to men, especially men of color. Additionally, since 1976, 11 death row inmates have been exonerated. Death penalty cases are also more expensive than normal criminal cases, costing the taxpayers million every year. Those opposed to capital punishment believe that the death penalty acts as a deterrent to murder.

Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr., has been removed from federal death row. He was convicted and sentenced to death for sexually assaulting and murdering 22-year-old Dru Sjodin on November 22, 2003. Dry was a student at the University of North Dakota when she was kidnapped and taken to Crookston, Minnesota. Her body was not recovered for five months. Rodriguez, now 70 years of age, was removed from death row, as his death sentence was overturned. He was resentenced to life in prison after it was announced that the federal government would not be seeking a new death sentence.

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