Sunday, March 3, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News 2024, Issue 01: Iran, Japan, Pakistan, Qatar, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, United States of America

International Death Penalty NewsThroughout 2023, Iran carried out at least 850 executions. Executions in Iran are often criticized due to concerns over the treatment of prisoners, using executions to eliminate dissenting voices, and the lack of access to legal representation. The executions carried out in 850 are an increase over the 578 executions carried out in 2022.

On Monday, December 18, 2023, 43-year-old Taher Davabi was executed in Khorramabad Central Prison. The married, father of two, was convicted of killing another person at work about three years ago. He was 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 this execution.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, 41-year-old Najibollah Dahmardeh was executed in Ghaemshahr Prison. Najibollah was an ethnic Baluch minority, who are over-represented on death row. He was convicted and executed on drug-related charges. His family was not informed of his pending execution, preventing them from having a final visit. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Wednesday, December 20, 2023, six unnamed prisoners were executed in Arabil Central Prison, accounted to state media. All were convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges.

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 this execution.

On Thursday, December 21, 2023, 35-year-old Mohammad Saleh Amini was executed in Taybad Prison. He was convicted and executed on drug-related charges. Before his arrest, Mohammad worked on a chicken farm. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On either Friday, December 22 or Saturday, December 23, 2023, 36-year-old Shirali Saeedi and 31-year-old Saman Mogooee were executed in Dastgerd Prison. Shirali was a butcher before he was arrested and convicted on drug-related charges. Saman was also convicted on drug-related charges.

On Saturday, December 23, 2023, 50-year-old Khodakaram Lorestan and 40-year-old Hossein Mousivand were executed in Khorram Abad Central Prison. Both men were executed on drug-related charges.

On Tuesday, December 26, 2023, 35-year-old Mohammadreza Mehraban was executed in Sanandaj Central Prison. Mohammadreza 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 this execution.

On Thursday, December 28, 2023, 65-year-old Karim Aminikhah was executed in Bandarabbas Central Prison. He was arrested about five years ago and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. Drugs were found inside his personal vehicle, however, Karim claims they were not his and must have been left by someone else. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Thursday, December 28, 2023, 30-year-old Reza Eyvazi was executed in Kashan Prison. Reza was arrested about two years ago and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On Thursday, December 28, 2023, 36-year-old Hassan Rahbar was executed in Gorgan Central Prison. He was convicted and executed on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Friday, December 29, 2023, state officials and the media announced the executions of four individuals convicted of working for Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency. The four individuals have been identified as Vafa Hanareh, Aram Omari, Rahman Parhazo, and Nasim Namazi. The executions could have come in retaliation for the Christmas Day killing of Senior Iranian general Sayyed Razi Mousavi in Syria.

On Friday, December 29, 2023, 27-year-old Ramin Faghiri was executed in Hamedan Central Prison. He was convicted and executed on drug-related charges after his arrest about three years ago. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On Friday, December 29, 2023, four people, Vafa Hanareh, Aram Omari Bardiani, Rahman Parhazu, and Nasim Namazi, were executed in Urmia Central Prison. The three men and one woman were convicted of“moharebeh (enmity against god) and efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth) through collaborating with the Zionist regime to disrupt national security.” They were executed by hanging, which is how nearly all executions are carried out in Iran.

On Tuesday, January 1, 2024, Davood Abdollahi was executed in Ghezel Hesar prison. Abdollahi, a political prisoner and Sunni Kurd from Mahabad, was arrested in 2009. He was allegedly tortured into making a confession resulting in his death sentence. He was convicted of “undermining national security,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “corruption on Earth.” At the time of his execution, he was on day 6 of a hunger strike.

For the first time in three years, Japan did not carry out an execution during the year 2023. Japan currently has 106 people on death row. Their last execution occurred on July 26, 2022. Executions in Japan are traditionally carried out by hanging.

A sessions court has sentenced Anwar Masih, a Christian, to death for blasphemy. Charges were brought against Anwar by Muhammad Nawaz, a police officer, who accused Anwar of making remarks against the Prophet Muhammad, a crime punishable by death in Pakistan. Anwar is not a Muslim and was upset to learn that his wife and daughter had secretly converted. The wife and daughter filed a police report alleging Anwar was threatening their lives. Anwar was arrested on June 2, 2020. His family members were told to convert to Islam or they would also be executed. Many of his family, including some of his children, have gone into hiding over threats to their lives for refusing to convert from Christianity to Islam.

Eight former Indian naval officers have had their death sentence commuted by a court in Qatar. The charges against the men have not been officially reported, however, many believe that they were accused of spying. It has also not been stated to what the men’s sentences have been reduced.

During a presidential debate, the topic of the death penalty was brought forth, allowing each candidate to explain their opinion on the controversial punishment. In the last eight years, only two executions have occurred. The death penalty enjoys an overwhelming majority of support from the public according to recent polls. Some of the candidates were open to moving in the direction of abolishing it, however, public support for the death penalty would need to be reduced. Additionally, appropriate alternative punishment would need to be established.

On Sunday, December 31, 2023, four people were executed by beheading in the kingdom. All four were convicted of murder. Throughout the year, Saudi Arabia carried out the executions of at least 170 individuals, an increase over the past year.

U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills ruled that 37-year-old Mississippi death row inmate Terry Pitchford must be given a new trial. Pitchford was appealing his sentence, arguing that the prosecution at his initial trial discriminated against Black jurors, preventing them from being chosen as jury members. Additionally, Pitchford’s attorney was not given enough time to challenge the state’s reasons for removing the Black jurors. In his ruling, Judge Mills noted that the former District Attorney had a history of discriminating against jurors of color. Judge Mills ordered that the state retry Pitchford within six months or release him from custody. Pitchford was charged and convicted of murdering the owner of Crossroads Grocery, Reuben Britt, in Grenada, Mississippi.

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that death row inmate Russell William Tucker should not be granted a new trial. In 1996, Tucker, who is Black, was convicted and sentenced to death by an all-white jury for the murder of a security guard outside a Kmart in Forsyth County, North Carolina. Attorneys for Tucker were attempting to argue that Black jurors were dismissed by the prosecution solely because of their race, which is illegal.

Third US District Court Judge Coral Sanchez has dismissed a lawsuit filed by five Utah death row inmates arguing that Utah’s capital punishment statute equates to cruel and unusual punishment. The lawsuit was filed by Ralph Menzies, Douglas Carter, Troy Kell, Michael Archuleta, and Taberon Honie. In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Sanchez noted that the state’s execution protocols were last amended in 2010, however, the inmates waited until 2023 to file their suit, which exceeded the statute of limitations for filing. Further, the inmates failed to successfully show that the death penalty protocol constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Lawmakers in Nebraska have submitted a bill that would permit execution by nitrogen hypoxia. If the bill becomes law, Nebraska would be the fourth state to adopt such a method of execution. So far, no state has used nitrogen hypoxia to carry out an execution.

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