On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Zang Bo and Ye Chengchen were executed. Zang and his girlfriend, Ye, were both convicted of murdering Zang’s two young children, a two-year-old girl, and a one-year-old boy, by throwing them out the window of a high-rise apartment building. Zang was encouraged by his girlfriend, who considered the children a hinderance to marrying Zang. Both Zang and Ye were found to be equally culpable and were therefore both sentenced to death.
Prosecutors are seeking the death sentence for 33-year-old Johan Floderus, a Swedish national, who works as a diplomat with the European Union. Johan is charged with “corruption on earth” by working extensively with Israeli intelligence. He was arrested on April 17, 2022, at an airport in Tehran. He was returning to Iran after a trip with his friends. Sweeden and the European Union have repeatedly called for his release. Some believe that Iran is engaging in “hostage diplomacy” after Iranian officials have been arrested, prosecuted, and convicted in European nations.
On Sunday, January 21, 2024, 40-year-old Moslem Aliyari was executed in Shirvan Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Iranian law does not recognize differing degrees of murder, instead all killings are classified as “intentional murder.” Following conviction, the family of the victims is required to choose between granting forgiveness, demanding diya (blood money), or seeking qisas.
On Monday, January 22, 2024, 37-year-old Hossein Ali Shakourian and 51-year-old Naser Mavadat were executed in Sabzevar Prison. Both men were convicted on separate drug-related charges. Before his arrest, Hossein worked as a truck driver. He insisted someone else put the drug in his vehicle without his knowledge. Neither execution has been reported by state officials or the media.
On Sunday, January 28, 2024, 24-year-old Aref Eshaghzehi and 30-year-old Asef Eshaghzehi were executed in Birjand Central Prison. The two men were brothers and undocumented Baluch ethnic minorities. The brothers were arrested about two years ago and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. Their executions occurred without notice, meaning they were unable to have a final visit with their family. State officials and the media have not yet reported their executions.
On Sunday, January 28, 2024, Reza Ghorbani was executed in Ghezelhesar Prison. He was convicted on drug-related charges and sentenced to death. His execution has yet not been reported by state officials or the media.
Forty-five-year-old Shinji Aoba is appealing his conviction and death sentence for setting a fire in 2019 at the Kyoto Animation Co. studio. Thirty-six people died in the fire, with others being injured, including Aoba. Aoba’s attorneys attempted to argue that he was not guilty due to a mental disorder, however, the court rejected the argument and convicted Aoba, who confessed to the crime. Aoba has stated that he accepts the verdict and is appealing to gain time to speak out about the crime.
On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, Aoun Al Abu Abdullah was executed, likely by beheading. The execution occurred in the country’s Eastern Province. Aoun, a Saudi national, was convicted on charges related to terrorism, including joining a terrorist cell and targeting security personnel with the intent to kill them. He was specifically charged with manufacturing explosives and delivering them to wanted persons.
United States of America
The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole has denied a request for clemency by 73-year-old Thomas Creech, the longest serving death row inmate in the state. Thomas has been convicted of five murders, and connected to several other murders in various states. The Idaho Commission of Pardons and Paroles voted 3-3, meaning clemency was not granted, as a majority vote is needed. A seventh member of the board recused himself for undisclosed reasons. Thomas was last scheduled to be executed in October 2023, however, the state was unable to procure the necessary drugs to carry out the execution. Now, the Idaho Department of Corrections has announced that they have obtained the needed drugs and are prepared to carry out the execution.
Dave Yost, the Ohio Attorney General, has announced his support for legislation that would permit Ohio to carry out execution by nitrogen hypoxia. The bill was recently introduced by two state Republican Representatives. Ohio has not carried out an execution in five years due to the state’s inability to obtain execution drugs. The new proposal would permit inmates to chose between lethal injection or nitrogen hypoxia, however, if drugs are unavailable, nitrogen gas would be used instead. Ohio’s last execution was Robert Van Hook on July 18, 2018.
The execution of 58-year-old Kenneth Smith by nitrogen hypoxia in Alabama, has brought increased scrutiny to the first of its kind procedure. Officials in Alabama claim the execution went as expected, however, others claim that it amounted to torture. Forty-three of the state’s 164 inmates have chosen to be executed by nitrogen hypoxia. The inmates chose the method of execution before the state had established a protocol. Officials have not stated if inmates will be given a chance to change their selection. Alabama officials have also stated that they are ready to help other states implement this method of execution.
Jeff Landry, the new Governor of Louisiana, ran on a platform of reducing crime and violent crimes across the state. It is thought that he will likely attempt to resume executions in Louisiana. The last execution in Louisiana was in 2010, and before that, 2002. Executions were halted under the previous governor who opposed the practice. Lethal injection is currently the method of execution in the state, however, with the drugs becoming increasingly difficult to obtain and the success of Alabama’s recent execution by nitrogen hypoxia, Governor Landry could be considering alternative methods to lethal injection. Louisiana currently has 59 individuals on death row.
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