Wednesday, April 17, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News 2024, Issue 12: Congo, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Taiwan, United States of America, Vietnam

International Death Penalty NewsIn 2003, a moratorium was issued on carrying out death sentences in the nation. Now, the government is set to lift that ban in an attempt to reduce violence and militant attacks on the country. Death sentences will be limited to those who commit treason and war crimes, along with those involved with criminal conspiracies, armed gangs, and insurrections. Military members who desert or join enemy ranks will also be eligible to receive a death sentence. Human rights groups have spoken out against this plan, arguing that it is a step back for the country and that order can be restored through other means.

On Thursday, March 14, 2024, 42-year-old Behzad Bidrang was executed in Qazvin Central Prison. Behzad, a father of two, was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges after his arrested about two years ago.

Fifty-two-year-old death row inmate Robin Radjaini Saih has failed to successfully appeal his death sentence. Robin was sentenced to death in 2021, by the Tawau High Court after being convicted of murdering 30-year-old Fazrin Ibrahim on April 24, 2018. Fazrin was killed with a machete. Robin also attacked Fazrin’s 12-year-old brother-in-law, who had a finger cut off.

The Federal Court has overturned the death sentence for a former policeman who was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering a two-year-old boy and his babysitter on December 30, 2003. The Federal Court commuted the death sentence of 48-year-old Nahar Abu Bakar to a 40-year jail term. Bakar was also ordered to be caned 24 times – 12 times for the death of Nurosama Shohimi, the daughter of former Klang Umno division secretary Shohimi Shafie, and 12 times for 34-year-old Siti Rohana Baharom, the babysitter.

The Federal Court has also overturned the death sentence given to 63-year-old P Vellertore, a former security guard. He is convicted of murdering his three children, six-year-old Rudraa Kumar, five-year-old Keseprata, and three-year-old Harini, on November 20, 2004. Vellertore strangled his three children because he suffered from depression after his wife left him. Now, instead of being executed, he received a sentence of 38 years in prison. He did not receive caning as a punishment due to his age as caning can only be given to men under the age of 50.

Two female nationals have been sentenced to death for murdering their teacher, Bibi. A third woman received a life sentence. The women claim that the teacher committed blasphemy. An investigation revealed that a 13-year-old relative of the two women claimed she had a dream in which she saw Bibi committing blasphemy against the prophet Muhammed. Blasphemy laws in Pakistan are highly controversial, as accusations can easily result in a lynching mob before an investigation can be completed. The charge is also used to settle personal disputes

A public proposal posted on the government-run Public Policy Online Participation Network Platform has gained the support of over 25,000 individuals and surpassed the threshold requiring an official response from the Ministry of Justice. The proposal states that people who abuse children and cause them physical harm should be subject to harsher criminal punishments. Additionally, the proposal states that those whose abuse leads to the death of a child should be given an automatic death penalty, with no exceptions. An official with the Justice Ministry is required to respond by May 14.

An additional appeal supported by 37 death row inmates has been rejected by the Constitutional Court on the grounds that it was submitted too late. The inmates had previously filed an initial appeal, which is scheduled to be reviewed in late April, however, the additional appeal was arguing that certain regulations for conducting executions should be subject to constitutional review. The initial appeal is arguing that the death penalty is unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, Willie Pye was executed by the state of Georgia. He was 59 years of age. His execution was delayed several hours due to appeals. Willie was executed for the murder of 21-year-old Alicia Lynn Yarbrough on November 16, 1993, in Spaulding County, Georgia.

No date has yet been set for the death penalty trial of Robert Aaron Long, who is convicted of murdering four people at Young’ Asian Massage in Cherokee County, Georgia on March 16, 2021. Twenty-four-year-old Long received a life sentence for each of those murders, to which he pled guilty. Long is also accused of murdering 63-year-old Yong Ae Yue, 74-year-old Soon Chung Park, 69-year-old Suncha Kim, and 51-year-old Hyun Jung Grant at Gold Spa and Aromatherapy Spa in Atlanta. Long’s lawyers are attempting to argue that the death penalty should be removed from consideration due to his young age at the time of the murders. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis is pursuing the death penalty and hate crime charges. Long has pled not guilty to the charges. The case has faced numerous delays, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the presiding judge being tied up in another case, and most recently, Fani Willis facing legal challenges in another, more high-profile case.

Mobile County Circuit Judge Ben Brooks has officially sentenced Marco Antonio Perez to death in Alabama. Perez is convicted of murdering Officer Sean Tuder on January 20, 2019. Perez was 19 years of age at the time of the crime. He was tried by a jury who voted to sentence him to death. In Alabama, the jury’s decision is binding and the sentencing by the judge is a formality.

A bill to expand the death penalty in Idaho has failed in a Senate committee. The bill would have made those convicted of lewd acts with children under the age of 12 eligible for the death penalty. The initial sponsor of the bill has promised to try again next year. If the bill had advanced, Idaho would have been the second state to adopt such a law. Florida recently passed a similar law.

On Tuesday, March 19, 2024, prosecutors asked that Truong My Lan be sentenced to death for embezzlement. Lan is accused of being the mastermind behind the largest financial fraud case on record. Lan was the chairwoman of real estate developer Van Thinh Phat Holdings Group. The scam allegedly caused $20 billion in damages. Lan has pled not guilty.

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