Sunday, June 23, 2024
IDPN 2023

International Death Penalty News 2023, Issue 49: China, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United States of America

International Death Penalty NewsA former official in Inner Mongolia, 63-year-old Li Jianping, has been sentenced to death for corruption, bribery, embezzlement, and engaging in organized crime.  He is convicted of misappropriating about $420 million, the largest in the nation’s history.  He has filed an appeal in his case. 

The Medan District Court in North Sumatra sentenced 60-year-old Wardani Ibrahim to death.  Wardani is convicted of transporting over 40 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.   In making the ruling, the judge noted that there was no mitigating evidence to support a lesser sentence.  In a separate case earlier in the week, Sofian Syah was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of transporting nearly 100 kilograms of marijuana.  Prosecutors were also seeking a death sentence in that case, however, the judge granted a lesser sentence.

On April 17, 2022, 33-year-old Johan Floderus was arrested at Tehran airport and has been held in an Iranian prison ever since.  He has been accused of spying for Israel, cooperating with Israel’s intelligence agency, and corruption on earth.  Floderus is a Swedish national who works for the European Union’s diplomatic services.  His arrest came as Iranian national Hamid Noury was being tried in Sweden for partaking in mass executions of dissidents in Tehran in 1988.  In July 2022, Noury was sentenced to life in prison.  He has since appealed his sentence.  However, if Floderus is convicted in Iran, he will likely be sentenced to death.  No trial date has yet been set.  Floderus’ family and supporters have called his detention “arbitrary” and are seeking his immediate release.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, an unnamed man was executed in the city of Babol.  The man, a former bank guard, was convicted of murdering 77-year-old Ayatollah Abbas Ali Soleimani, a senior member of the clergy.  The death occurred during the protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the mortality police and died in custody.  Executions are traditionally carried out by hanging.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, Samira Sabzian was scheduled to be executed in Qarchak Prison.  Her execution was postponed.  Samira was married at the age of 15 and murdered her husband four years later.  She had a seven-year-old and a six-month-old when she was arrested.  Per the Iranian penal code, the family of the victim chooses between granting forgiveness or demanding qisas, that is execution in kind, or demanding diya, that is blood money.  In this case, the victim’s parents requested Samira be executed.

On Friday, December 8, 2023, 45-year-old former policeman Mitsuru Nakata had his death sentence upheld by the nation’s top court.  Nakata was appealing his death sentence and seeking a lesser sentence.  He is convicted of murdering his 38-year-old wife Yukiko, his nine-year-old son Ryosuke, and his 6-year-old daughter Miyu late on June 5, 2017, or early on June 6, 2017, in Ogori, Fukuoka Prefecture.  His lawyers were arguing that the murders could have been committed by a third party.  However, an arm injury sustained by Nakata was likely caused by his wife resisting his attack, as his DNA was discovered under her fingernails.  Prosecutors argued that Nakata killed his wife due to resentment and then killed his children in “the heat of the moment.”  He was first sentenced to death in 2021.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for 30-year-old Choi Yun-jong, who has been charged with murdering and attempting to rape a randomly chosen victim along a hiking trail on August 17, 2023.  Prosecutors allege that Choi has not shown any remorse for his crime.  His victim has not been publicly identified by name but has been described as an elementary school teacher in her 30s.  She died two days after the attack and strangulation.

On Thursday, December 7, 2023, the Taiwan High Court’s Taichung Branch Court upheld the death sentence for Lee Hung-yuan (李鴻淵).  Lee is convicted of shooting and killing four people at a biotechnology company in Nantou County in 2022.  A fifth person, Kang Jian Biotech Chairman Lai Min-nan (賴敏男), was also critically injured in the shooting.  The deceased have been identified as the brother and daughter of Chairman Lai, and two company employees surnamed Chang (張) and Liu (劉).  Lee used to work for the company and carried out the execution-style shootings as an act of revenge.

Win Zaw Tun and Zaw Lin, Myanmar migrant workers, were arrested, tried, and convicted for the 2014 murders of British backpackers Hannah Witheridge and David Miller.  Both men have insisted upon their innocence and are seeking to have their death sentences reduced.  Hannah and David were murdered on Koh Tao Island, a tourist destination in Thailand.  The two men were sentenced to death on December 24, 2015. They were also convicted of rape, theft, and illegal entry and residence in Thailand.  On August 14, 2020, the Thai king granted clemency and converted their sentences to life in prison.  The two men are now seeking to have their sentences further reduced.

On July 31, 2010, 41-year-old Mary Hernandez Goodman, and her 16-year-old daughter Briana Goodman, were shot and killed at their home in Beaumont, Texas.  Joseph Colone, Jr., was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders in 2017.  It is believed that the murders were retaliation by Colone because Mary was going to testify against him in a robbery case.  In 2022, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated his death sentence resulting in a new trial due to mishandled evidence and false testimony during his initial trial.  Now, Colone has pled guilty to murder and he received a new sentence of 30 years in prison.  He could become eligible for parole in two years due to his time served since 2010.

On September 23, 2012, 41-year-old Kimberly Petetan was shot multiple times at an apartment in Waco, Texas, ultimately dying from her injuries.  Earlier Kimberly had filed domestic abuse charges against her estranged husband, Us Carnell Petetan.  Carnell was arrested the day after the shooting.  After shooting Kimberly, Carnell also kidnapped Kimberly’s nine-year-old daughter.  The daughter was recovered by police and returned to her family.  She was unharmed.  On April 29, 2014, Carnell was sentenced to death, however, in 2017, his death sentence was vacated by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals over concerns regarding his mental competency.  Now, he has been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

In June 2000, Horry County police officer Dennis Lyden was beaten and shot to death by James Nathaniel Bryant III, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Bryant was twice convicted and sentenced to death for the murder.  In 2019, a federal judge again vacated his death penalty.  Prosecutors, after meeting with the family of the victim, decided to not seek a third death sentence.  Instead, Bryant was resentenced to life in prison.

Fifty-nine-year-old Odell Corley, a/k/a Nasih Khalil Ra’id, has died while on federal death row in Terre Haute, Indiana. His cause of death has not been reported to the public, although it is being investigated.  Corley was sentenced to death on October 29, 2004, after being convicted of murdering two bank employees during an attempted robbery in Porter, Indiana in 2002.   

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