Sunday, March 3, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News 2024, Issue 04: Ghana, Iran, Japan, United States, Vietnam

International Death Penalty News

Six individuals, including three soldiers, were sentenced to death by hanging for their part in a coup plot three years ago. It is the first trial for treason in the nation since 1966. The group was accused of attempting to overthrow the government in 2021 while they were testing weapons in Accra, the capital of Ghana. All six men pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, however, they were found guilty of high treason and conspiring to commit high treason.

On Sunday, January 7, 2024, 40-year-old Yousef Sobhani and 35-year-old Akbar Javadzadeh were executed in Rasht Central Prison. Both men were Ardabil natives. They were convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported on either execution.

On Wednesday, January 17, 2024, three men were executed at Ghezelhesar Prison. Two of the men have been identified as Iman Shabani and Bahman Fathollahzadeh. The third man was identified as an Afghan national, however, he was not identified by name. All were convicted on drug-related charges. Their executions have not yet been reported by state officials and the media.

On Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 29-year-old Ali M., was executed in Mashhad Central Prison. He was convicted of murdering a customer while selling illegal weapons. Ali was then sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Iranian law does not recognize differing degrees of murder or mitigating evidence, meaning all killings are usually classified as intentional murder. After being convicted, the family of the victims chooses if the defendant is granted forgiveness, given the chance to pay diya (blood money), or sentenced to qisas.

On Wednesday, January 17, 2024, 29-year-old Eslam Amanedini was executed in Qom Central Prison. Eslam, an Afghan national, was convicted of murdering a worker at a building where Eslam was a security guard. The two had gotten into an argument. After being convicted, he was sentenced to qisas, that is retribution in kind. Iranian law does not recognize differing degrees of murder or mitigating evidence, meaning all killings are usually classified as intentional murder. After being convicted, the family of the victims chooses if the defendant is granted forgiveness, given the chance to pay diya (blood money), or sentenced to qisas. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Thursday, January 18, 2024, 36-year-old Eslahollah Bakhsh and Hamid Ebadinejad were executed in Rasht Central Prison. The men were convicted on separate drug-related cases. Eslahollah is an Afghan national while Hamid was from Rasht. Their executions have not yet been reported by state officials and the media. Two unnamed men were reportedly executed alongside Eslahollah and Hamid, however, that report has not yet been confirmed. Not all executions are publicly reported.

On Saturday, January 20, 2024, 32-year-old Nouri Zamani, 30-year-old Fathollah Jourkesh, and Hosseinali Koutahi were executed in Isfahan Central Prison. All were convicted on drug-related charges in separate cases. State officials and the media have not reported any of the three executions.

On Saturday, January 20, 2024, 23-year-old Hassan Gorgij was executed in Zahedan Central Prison. Executions are traditionally carried out by hanging. Hassan was convicted of murder about three years ago and sentenced to qisas, that is retribution in kind. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media. Iranian law does not recognize differing degrees of murder or mitigating evidence, meaning all killings are usually classified as intentional murder. After being convicted, the family of the victims chooses if the defendant is granted forgiveness, given the chance to pay diya (blood money), or sentenced to qisas.

On Monday, January 22, 2024, 24-year-old Massoud Rigi was executed in Zahedan Central Prison. He was arrested about two years ago and convicted of murder. Massoud, a Baluch ethnic minority, was sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media. Iranian law does not recognize differing degrees of murder or mitigating evidence, meaning all killings are usually classified as intentional murder. After being convicted, the family of the victims chooses if the defendant is granted forgiveness, given the chance to pay diya (blood money), or sentenced to qisas.

On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, Mohammad Ghobadlu was executed in Ghezelhesar Prison. Mohammad was arrested after participating in a 2022 protest for the “Woman, Life, Freedom movement. Allegedly, Mohammad was denied access to a lawyer and did not receive a fair trial. He was convicted of efsad-fil-arz, that is, corruption on earth. During the protest, one person died and five police officers were injured.

On Tuesday, January 23, 2024, Kurdish-Sunni political prisoner, Farhad Salimi was executed in Ghezelhesar Prison. Executions are traditionally carried out by hanging. Farhad was convicted of Moharebeh, that is, enmity against god, and efsad-fil-arz, or corruption on earth. At the time of his execution, Farhad was on a hunger strike, protesting the executions of three of his six co-defendants. Allegedly, the men were physically and psychologically tortured into confessing.

Forty-five-year-old Shinji Aoba has been sentenced to death for purposely starting a fire at a Kyoto animation studio in 2019. Thirty-six people died in the fire and dozens of others were injured. Shinji pleaded guilty to starting the fire, however, his attorneys were seeking a lesser sentence, arguing that Shinji was mentally incompetent. Judges rejected this argument, finding that Shinji knew what he was doing when he started the fire.

On Thursday, January 25, 2024, the state of Alabama carried out the first execution in the nation by nitrogen hypoxia. He was 58 years of age. Kenneth Smith was convicted of murdering Elizabeth Sennet on March 18, 1988, in Colbert County, Alabama.

The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear the appeal of Oklahoma death row inmate Richard Glossip. Glossip was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1987 murder of Barry Van Treese, a motel owner in Oklahoma City. Glossip, who worked for Barry, was convicted of hiring Justin Sneed to carry out the murder. In order to avoid being sentenced to death, Sneed confessed that Glossip hired him to carry out the murder. Glossip has insisted that he is innocent. Recently, it was discovered that prosecutors hid important information from Glossip’s legal team. This information included the fact that Sneed was treated for a serious psychiatric condition, making his credibility questionable. Additionally, prosecutors did not correct testimony they knew to be false. Due to this misconduct, Oklahoma’s current attorney general, Gentner Drummond, along with several politicians, has supported vacating Glossip’s conviction.

Thomas Creech, the longest-serving death row inmate in Idaho, has now been identified as a suspect in a cold case in California. The case is that of Daniel Walker, who was shot multiple times on October 1, 1974, while sleeping in a van. He later died at a hospital. In November 2023, a cold case team reopened the investigation into Daniel’s death, eventually identifying Creech as a suspect based on additional evidence. Creech was sentenced to death in Idaho for the 1981 murder of fellow inmate Dale Jensen. At the time, Creech was serving a life sentence for two other murders. Creech is currently seeking to have his death sentence reduced to life in prison.

On Monday, January 22, 2024, nine people were sentenced to death in a drug trafficking case. All were convicted of trafficking methamphetamine and heroin from Laos to Vietnam in 2021 and early 2022 when the drug ring was discovered. The names of the nine people sentenced to death were not reported.

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