Wednesday, April 17, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News, Issue 07: Iran, Japan, Qatar, United States of America

International Death Penalty NewsOn Saturday, February 10, 2024, 45-year-old Mohammed Khezrnejad was sentenced to death for supporting antigovernment protests in 2022.  Mohammed was a Kurdish cleric from Bukan in western Iran.  The 2022 protests were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Zhina Amini, who died while in police custody.  She was arrested for being improperly dressed.  Hundreds of people have been arrested for participating in the protests, with a few protesters having already been executed.

On Monday, February 12, 2024, four ethnic Baluch minorities were sentenced to death after being convicted of “armed rebellion” and involvement in “anti-revolution terrorist groups.”  The convicted were identified as Eido Shahbakhsh, Abdul Ghani Shahbakhsh, Abdul Rahim Qanbarzehi Gorgij, and 27-year-old Soliman Shahbakhsh.  Allegedly, Soliman was only 12 years of age at the time of the crime.  

State media has announced the execution of a man in Tabriz Central Prison.  Executions are traditionally carried out by hanging.  The exact date of the execution and the name of the condemned was not reported.  The inmate 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 or qisas. 

Forty-three-year-old Kenichi Hosoya and his 37-year-old wife Shiho have been arrested and charged with murdering their four-year-old daughter Yoshiki.  Yoshiki was poisoned on March 13, 2023, with anti-freeze.   Kenichi’s older sister died from injecting the same poison in 2018, and police are now considering if she was also murdered.  Kenichi has denied the charges against him, while Shiho has remained silent.  

A Qatari court has freed eight former Indian naval officers.  Seven of the men have already been retired to India.  The charges against the men were never made public by officials, however, some sources allege they were convicted of working as Israeli spies.  They had worked for a private company at the time of their arrest in 2022.  They were initially sentenced to death, however, in January, their sentences were reduced to various prison terms.

Kris Kobach, the Attorney General of Kansas, has introduced a bill that would permit execution by nitrogen gas in the state.  Lethal injection would also remain an option.  Kobach has argued that due to the difficulty of obtaining execution drugs, Kansas should have a viable alternative method of execution.  The bill was suggested after Kobach spoke with authorities in Alabama about their recent execution using nitrogen gas, a first in the United States.  Kansas has not carried out an execution since 1965, with nine men currently on death row.

On Friday, February 9, 2024, 24-year-old Marco Perez was sentenced to death by a jury in Mobile County, Alabama.  He was convicted of murdering Mobile police officer Sean Tuder on January 20, 2019.  Officer Tuder was killed while trying to arrest Perez.  

A bill is advancing to the full Senate in Idaho that would permit the death penalty for certain crimes against children.  Those crimes would include extreme cases of lewd conduct with children under the age of 12.  They would not be the first state to pass such a law, as Florida already passed a similar law. A law such as this is almost certain to face numerous legal challenges.

Prosecutors in Bexar County, Texas will be seeking the death sentence against 51-year-old Stephen Clare.  Clare is accused of murdering his 11-month-old baby girl, shooting his ex-wife, and stabbing his other daughter in April 2023.  Clare was denied bail and is currently in jail awaiting his trial.

On Thursday, February 15, 2024, prosecutors in Caddo County, Oklahoma announced they will be seeking the death penalty against Alysia Adams.  Adams was a caretaker for four-year-old Athena Brownfield who died in 2022.  Adams allegedly abused Athena while Athena was in her care, ultimately resulting in Athena’s death.

Florida death row inmate Elijah Brookins has been resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.  Brookins was convicted of murdering 34-year-old fellow inmate Eric Sexton on a prison transport bus on September 20, 2011.  Eric was stabbed to death.  By a vote of 10-2, a jury sentenced him to death.  At the time of the murder, Brookins was serving a 40-year sentence for murder. 

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