Wednesday, April 17, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News 2024, Issue 09: Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United States of America

International Death Penalty NewsOn Thursday, February 22, 2024, two men, Syed Jamal and Gul Khan were executed in public in Ghazni. The two men were convicted of stabbing to death two people. The family of the victims carried out the public execution by firing squad. This is the third and fourth public execution since the Taliban seized power in 2021. During their previous rule in the 1990s, the Taliban regularly carried out public executions.

On Sunday, February 18, 2024, 36-year-old Ashraf Akramollah was executed in Isfahan Central Prison. Ashraf, an Afghani national, has lived in Iran since he was 11 years old. He was convicted of murder during a group fight and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. However, Ashraf alleged that he was attempting to act as a mediator and did not commit the murder. Instead, he stayed behind until the police arrived, resulting in his arrest. Under Iranian law, all killings are considered intentional murder. Mitigating evidence is also rarely considered. After conviction, the family of the victims must choose between granting forgiveness, demanding qisas, or demanding diya, that is, blood money.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2024, Ahmad Esmaili was executed in Hamedan Central Prison. Ahmad was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. He was arrested about five years ago.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, seven men were executed. All were convicted on terrorism charges and accused of betraying “their homeland, threatening its stability and endangering its security.”

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 35-year-old Ahmed Salim was executed. Ahmed was convicted of strangling his former fiancee, Indonesian domestic worker Nurhidayati Wartono, to death in a hotel in Geylang on December 30, 2018. Before his arrest, Ahmed worked as a painter. The Bangladeshi national appealed for clemency, which was denied.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, Thomas Creech was scheduled to be executed in Idaho. His execution was halted when the medical team was unable to establish an IV line before the execution warrant expired. Seventy-three-year-old Thomas is convicted of murdering fellow inmate David Dale Jensen on May 13, 1981, in a maximum security wing at the Idaho State Correctional Institution. He was also connected and confessed to several other murders.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, Ivan Cantu was executed by the state of Texas. Fifty-year-old Ivan was executed for murdering 27-year-old James Mosqueda and 21-year-old Amy Kitchens on November 4, 2000, in Dallas, Texas.

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, 34-year-old Gustin Ray Woodman Jr. was sentenced to death in Glendale, Arizona. Gustin was convicted of murdering Mark Woodruff on June 24, 2014, during a robbery. He then fled the state and was arrested in Pennsylvania in September 2014. Gustin was then extradited back to Arizona.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has announced that death row inmate Melvin Turner died on Saturday, February 24, 2024. He was 67 years of age. His cause of death has not yet been reported. Melvin was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1979 execution-style slayings of 35-year-old Dr. Joseph Hill and 44-year-old teacher Joella Champion in an airport hangar in Torrance, Los Angeles County. 

Fifty-four-year-old Daniel Gwynn has been exonerated of the crime that sent him to Pennsylvania’s death row in 1995. On November 6, 1995, Daniel was convicted and sentenced to death for setting fire to a building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that resulted in the death of Marsha Smith in 1994. A court found that false testimony was used at the trial, including a confession from Daniel, who had never been informed of his Miranda rights. Additionally, the prosecution withheld evidence of a second suspect. Since being exonerated, Daniel has been released from prison.