Monday, March 4, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News 2024, Issue 06: China, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, United States of America, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe

International Death Penalty NewsTwenty-nine-year-old Wu Xieyu was executed in Fujian province. His execution was approved but the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court. Wu, a former student at Peking University, was convicted of killing his mother, Xie Tianqin, in 2015, by beating her death with a dumbbell. Wu was arrested after being on the run for three years. Allegedly, Wu was depressed and contemplating suicide at the time, as his father had recently died of an illness.

Five years after being arrested and accused of spying, Australian writer Yang Hengjun has been given a suspended death sentence. His sentence may be commuted to life in prison after two years. Yang, a scholar and novelist, often blogged about Chinese state affairs and denies all charges against him. The Australian government is opposed to his sentence. Supporters of Yang argue that he is being prosecuted for political reasons due to his highlighting of human rights abuses in China and advocating for democracy.

On Sunday, February 4, 2024, Zhang Keping was executed after the Haidong Intermediate People’s Court in Qinghai province approved his death sentence. Zhang was convicted of stabbing a colleague to death in 2022. He was drunk at the time he committed the murder. Zhang killed his colleague, Yang, because he was upset at a message Yang had sent him.

On Sunday, January 28, 2024, 21-year-old Ruhollah Shakeri was executed in Birjand Central Prison. He was convicted of committing a murder at a wedding about two years ago. After being convicted, he was sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind for the murder. Under Iranian law, all killings are considered “intentional murder,” and mitigating evidence is rarely considered, such as claims of self-defense or mental illness. After conviction, the family of the victim chooses if they will grant forgiveness or demand diya (blood money) or qisas. State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.

On Monday, January 29, 2024, Ali Rajabian, from Kouhdasht, was executed in Ghezelhesar Prison. Ali was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On Monday, January 29, 2024, four Kurdish political prisoners were executed at Ghezelhesar Prison. They have been identified as Mohsen Mazloum, Pejman Fatehi, Vafa Azarbar, and Hajir Faramarzi. State officials and the media have not yet reported their executions.

On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, Mohammad Hossein Esmaili was executed at Karaj Central Prison. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Two other men, identified only as Payam and Esmail Chieh, were also reportedly executed on the same day at the same prison. None of the executions have yet been confirmed by state officials or the media.

On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Mehdi Azarioun was executed at Urmia 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,” and mitigating evidence is rarely considered, such as claims of self-defense or mental illness. After conviction, the family of the victim chooses if they will grant forgiveness or demand diya (blood money) or qisas. State officials and the media have not yet reported the execution.

On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, 27-year-old Zahra Nazarian was executed in Sabzevar. She was the first female executed in Iran this year. Zahra was convicted of murdering her sister’s husband and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Her execution has not yet been reported by state officials and the media.

On Wednesday, January 31, 2024, Hossein Habibi was executed in Urmia Central Prison. He was around 40 years of age. Hossein was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. The family of the person Hossein was convicted of killing demanded 5 billion tomans (about $90,000) as diya (blood money), however, Hossein’s family was unable to afford it. Under Iranian law, all killings are considered “intentional murder,” and mitigating evidence is rarely considered, such as claims of self-defense or mental illness. After conviction, the family of the victim chooses if they will grant forgiveness or demand diya or qisas. State officials and the media have not yet reported the execution.

On Saturday, February 3, 2024, 46-year-old Hassan Mehraban was executed in Qazvin Central Prison. Executions are traditionally carried out by hanging. Two other men were also scheduled to be executed that day, however, they were returned to their cells after obtaining extensions in their cases. Hassan was convicted of murdering his first wife due to conflicts. He was remarried at the time he committed the crime. His execution has not yet been reported by state officials or the media.

On Wednesday, February 7, 2024, 35-year-old Ali Feizi and Rahmat Bigham were executed in Zanjan Central Prison. They were convicted on separate drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not reported on either execution.

A man has been arrested and faces the death penalty for the murder of his 17-year-old son. The unnamed man alleges he felt “dishonored” by his son’s behavior, which included wearing makeup and acting “feminine.” The teenager has been hospitalized several times and received psychotherapy. Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in the Muslim nation. Those who do not adhere to gender norms also face discrimination and are the victims of violence.

The Supreme Court has rejected a 10th request to conduct a retrial of a 1961 murder case. Masaru Okunishi was convicted of murdering five women with poisoned wine in Nabari, Japan in 1961, including his wife. Masaru died from pneumonia in prison in 2015, at the age of 89. The multiple retrials have been requested by his sister and brother. He spent 43 years on death row awaiting his execution before dying of pneumonia. Masaru confessed to lacing the wine with pesticide, however, he later retracted his confession.

The death sentence has been finalized for 21-year-old Yuki Endo who is convicted of murder and arson. He committed the crimes in 2021 when he was 19 years of age. Initially, his lawyers filed an appeal against his sentence, however, Yuki later withdrew it. Yuki was convicted of stabbing a 55-year-old father and 50-year-old mother of a female acquaintance who refused to go on a date with him. The girl’s younger sister was also injured after Yuki set fire to the house.

The Federal Court has set aside the death penalty for seven men. The seven men have been identified as 43-year-old Yew Wui Lam, 62-year-old Muhammad Halid Mappa, 37-year-old Safruddin Nasir, 41-year-old Abdul Samid Edward, 60-year-old Mohd Faris Mohd Johan, 58-year-old Mohammad Din Munap, and 55-year-old Edmon John. Yew, Muhammad Halid, Safruddin, and Abdul Samid were convicted of murder and received a reduced sentence of 35 years in prison from the respective dates of arrest. Mohd Faris, Mohammad Din, and Edmon were convicted of drug trafficking and had their sentences reduced to 30 years in prison.

Four Ethiopian nationals were executed in Saudi Arabia. They were convicted of murdering a Sudanese man and other criminal activities. The names of the men executed have not been reported. Executions are traditionally carried out by beheading with a sword.

On Thursday, February 8, 2024, Tremane Wood was scheduled to be executed in Oklahoma. His execution was stayed, pending a new execution date due to understaffing in the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Forty-four-year-old Tremane is convicted of murdering Ronald Wipf on January 1, 2002, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma, has announced that he is confident in the state’s current lethal injection protocol and does not have any plans to switch the execution method. Questions arose following Alabama’s successful use of nitrogen hypoxia as to whether Oklahoma would consider switching execution methods. In 2020, Oklahoma revamped its lethal injection protocol following several problematic executions.

On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, Steve Harpe, the head of Oklahoma’s prison system, and Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed a joint motion with the Court of Criminal Appeals seeking to schedule six upcoming executions three months apart instead of the current 60 days apart. In the request, they noted that the current pace is difficult, as carrying out an execution requires the Oklahoma State Penitentiary to go into a near-complete lockdown until the execution is carried out. Oklahoma has two executions already scheduled this year, with at least six other inmates awaiting execution dates.

A Senate committee in South Dakota was one vote short of moving forward with a bill that would abolish the death penalty in the state. The bill was introduced by Sen. Reynold Nesiba. It was opposed by the attorney general, as well as families of law enforcement officials who have died in the line of duty. South Dakota has carried out 20 executions since 1877, with the last being that of Charles Rhines in 2019. There is currently one death row inmate in the state, Briley Piper.

Joseph Giampa was facing a death sentence for the rape of a child, the first to be tried under Florida’s new law that permits capital punishment for child rape. After being indicted in December, Giampa agreed to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, instead of facing trial. The offer was accepted by prosecutors at the request of the family of the victim.

On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, President Vo Van Thuong commuted the death sentence of five death row inmates to life in prison. The commutation took place following the recommendation from the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court, the Prosecutor General of the Supreme People’s Procuracy, and the head of the President’s Office, following constitutional and legal provisions.

Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have sentenced 13 individuals to be executed in public. All are convicted on charges of homosexuality. About 35 others have been detained on similar charges. Houthi rebels follow a radical form of Shi’a Islam and recently have been attacking ships and interrupting global shipments of food, fuel, and medicine.

On Tuesday, February 6, 2024, the cabinet agreed to abolish the death penalty. This decision followed months of debate in parliament. Those sentenced to death would instead have lengthy prison sentences imposed on them. The last execution carried out in the nation was in 2005. At the time of abolishment, there were 62 inmates on death row. Executions were carried out by hanging, however, Zimbabwe has not had a hangman in some time, despite numerous applications for the job, including from women.

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