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IDPN 2023

International Death Penalty News 2023, Issue 50: China, Iran, Malaysia, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, United States of America

International Death Penalty News 2023
Issue 50

International Death Penalty NewsOn Monday, December 18, 2023, Lao Rongzhi was reportedly executed in Jiangxi Province in eastern China. Lao had been sentenced to death for murdering seven people, including a child. She was also reportedly involved in robbery and extortion. Her ex-boyfriend, Fa Ziying was also convicted on similar charges.

On Monday, December 4, 2023, Sadegh Ajdar was executed in Yasuj Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind, after his arrest about three years ago. All killings in the nation are considered “intentional murder” as the Iranian penal code does not recognize differing degrees of murder and mitigating evidence is rarely considered. After conviction, the family of the victim chooses between granting forgiveness or demanding diya (blood money) or demanding qisas.

On Monday, December 4, 2023, Amir Alikani was executed in Rafsanjan Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On Tuesday, December 5, 2023, four men were executed in Karaj Penitentiary. The four men have been identified as Manouchehr Barzegar, Mojtaba Amiri, Sasan Maleki, and Mehdi Moradi. All four were convicted and executed on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported the executions.

On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 35-year-old Zabihollah Arjmand was executed in Dehdasht Prison. He was convicted and sentenced to death for drug-related charges. His family was informed of his pending execution and they were able to have a final visit with him. His supports claim the drugs used to convict him did not belong to him.

On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 60-year-old Khaled Rouhi and Sirus Heidari were executed in Sanandaj Central Prison. Both men were convicted on separate murder charges and sentenced to death. Neither execution has yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On Wednesday, December 6, 2023, 43-year-old Kamal Elhami was executed in Saqqez Central Prison. He was convicted of raping a conscript soldier about five years ago. Defendants in rape cases are often tortured into making confessions, leading to a death sentence. Additionally, defendants are not always given access to a lawyer. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Friday, December 8, 2023, 39-year-old Ali Shahinnejad, Solat Tousan, and Janali Nadimi were executed at Urmia Central Prison. They were all convicted on separate drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported their executions.

On Saturday, December 9, 2023, 41-year-old Mehdi Nasiri and 47-year-old Abbas Ketabi were executed in Qom Central Prison. Executions are traditionally carried out by hanging. Both men were convicted and executed on separate drug-related charges.

On Saturday, December 9, 2023, 33-year-old Abdolbaset Gorgij and 34-year-old Abdolaziz Shahlibar were executed in Zahedan Central Prison. The two Baluch ethnic minorities were executed on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported their executions.

On Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 27-year-old Abolfazl Abdolmaleki was executed in Qom Central Prison. Abdolmaleki was convicted and executed on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 36-year-old Khalil Majedi was executed in Ahvaz Sepidar Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Majedi was convicted of murdering his fiancé’s brother about three years ago. He evaded police for two months before turning himself in at his father’s request. The murder occurred during an altercation between the two men and was not premeditated, however, all killings are considered “intentional murder” under Iranian law. The law does not recognize differing degrees of murder and rarely considers mitigating evidence. Following conviction, the family of the victims is asked to choose between demanding diya (blood money, seeking qisas, or granting forgiveness.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, Hamid Bakhshayesh was executed in Ghezelhesar Prison. His age is unclear, although it is believed that he was executed for a murder he committed while a juvenile, which violates international law. His execution has also not been reported by state officials or the media.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 40-year-old Vahid Hajipour was executed in Isfahan Central Prison. He was convicted and executed on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Wednesday, December 13, 2023, 30-year-old Davod Khademi was executed in Sanandaj Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas. Khademi was convicted of murdering a gold seller and then burning his body. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On Thursday, December 14, 2023, 38-year-old Kheirollah Nahtani was executed in Zahedan Central Prison. He was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. Before his arrest, he worked as a truck driver. He denied the charges against him, however, he was convicted. His family was not notified of his pending execution preventing them from having a final visit. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Thursday, December 14, 2023, 29-year-old Mosafer Zargar was executed in Mashhad Central Prison. He was arrested about six years ago, convicted of murder, and sentenced to qisas. He had a final visit with his family the day before his execution. Under Iranian law, all killings are considered “intentional murder.” The law does not recognize differing degrees of murder and rarely considers mitigating evidence. Following conviction, the family of the victims is asked to choose between demanding diya (blood money, seeking qisas, or granting forgiveness. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Monday, December 18, 2023, 37-year-old Ali Poursiamak was executed in Neishabur Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Before his arrest, Ali was a farmer. He kills another person during a fight over farmland. Under Iranian law, all killings are considered “intentional murder.” The law does not recognize differing degrees of murder and rarely considers mitigating evidence. Following conviction, the family of the victims is asked to choose between demanding diya (blood money, seeking qisas, or granting forgiveness. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Tuesday, December 19, 2023, 40-year-old Moslem Farahani was executed in Zanjan Central Prison. He was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials and the media.

On Tuesday, December 19, 2023, Abdollah Zamani and 35-year-old Emsail Ijbari were executed in Karaj Ghezelhesar Prison. Zamani, an Afghan national, and Ijbari, and Baluch ethnic minority, were both convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. Their executions have not yet been reported by state officials and the media.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, 41-year-old Najibollah Dahmardeh was executed in Ghaemshahr Prison. Najibollah, a Baluch minority, was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. His execution was carried out without informing his family, preventing them from having a final visit.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, six unnamed men were executed in Ardabil Central Prison. Executions are traditionally carried out by hanging. All six were convicted on varying drug-related charges.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, Samira Sabzian was executed by hanging in Ghezelhesar Prison. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas. Sabzian was convicted of murdering her husband, whom she was forced to marry when she was just 15 years of age. While married she was a victim of domestic violence. Before her arrest, she had two children. She saw them for the first time in 10 years shortly before her death. State officials and the media have not yet reported her execution.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, 32-year-old Farzad Golmohammadi was executed in Sanandaj Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Under Iranian law, all killings are considered “intentional murder.” The law does not recognize differing degrees of murder and rarely considers mitigating evidence. Following conviction, the family of the victims is asked to choose between demanding diya (blood money, seeking qisas, or granting forgiveness. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

The Federal Court has commuted the death sentence of 28-year-old former security guard Tarmizi Yaakob. Yaakob was convicted of murdering his 17-year-old lover on October 25, 2015. He was initially sentenced to death, however, the Federal Court has now reduced his sentence to 33 years in prison and 12 strokes of the cane. He was also convicted of rape and sentenced to 15 years in jail and three strokes of the cane. That sentence still stands. Upon appeal for his death sentence, lawyers for Yaakob argued that his sentence should be reduced to his young age at the time of the crime, his mild mental illness from drug abuse, and the death of his mother when he was 15 years of age.

Fifteen Christian leaders and their families have been arrested in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. The nation has a Christian community of about 1,000 people. Under the current penal code, those convicted of apostasy are sentenced to death, however, a lesser sentence can be given if they repent. The arrests occurred after a baptism ceremony video went viral. It is thought that someone released the video seeking monetary gain. Since the release of the video, there have been calls for violence against Christians, with some stating, “Christians have no place in Mauritania.”

On Saturday, December 16, 2023, Abdul Rahman bin Saleh was executed in Medina. The execution was likely carried out by beheading with a sword. He was convicted of murdering his mother and sister by stabbing them to death. After killing them, he burned their bodies. He was addicted to prescription tablets at the time of the murders.

Fifty-five-year-old Jose Rojas has asked to be sentenced to death in Florida. Rojas is accused of murdering his boss, 49-year-old Frances Venezia, and his co-worker, 78-year-old Robert James on April 27, 2012. Frances and Robert were both shot, tied up, beaten, and stabbed to death. Rojas claims he remembers entering the office, shooting Frances and Robert, and tying them up, however, he does not remember committing the murder. Days after his trial began, Rojas submitted a request to the judge to change his plea and be sentenced to death. The judge has not yet ruled on the request, however, jurors have been dismissed until after the new year.

In 1997, 17-year-old Ryan Matthews was arrested in Louisiana. He was convicted of murdering a convenience store clerk and sentenced to death. He spent five years on death row (and seven and one-half years in total in prison) before DNA exonerated him in 2004. After getting out of prison, Ryan focused on his education. He has now earned a master’s degree in business analytics from Texas Woman’s University. He hopes to use his new degree to gain a job in the finance and investment banking fields.

Prosecutors in Florida are seeking a death sentence for Joseph A. Giampa who is accused of sexually assaulting a child. Giampa allegedly captured the act on video. Earlier this year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law that expands the use of the death penalty in the state. Previously, only a person convicted of murder could be sentenced to death. Under the new law, the sexual assault and battery of children under the age of 12 is also eligible to be executed. This is the first time the new law has been used and it is likely to face appeals.

Eric Kurt Patrick has died while on death row in Florida. Patrick was convicted and sentenced to death in June 2009. He was convicted of murdering 72-year-old Steven Schumacher in September 2005. Now, according to the Florida Department of Corrections, Patrick died on December 19, 2023. No additional information was provided bout his death.

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