Wednesday, June 12, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News 2024, Issue 23: India, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Pakistan, United States of America

International Death Penalty NewsA judge has handed down a triple death sentence to 32-year-old Sanjay Devpuri Puri. Puri is convicted of raping and murdering a five-year-old girl in Linga village of Kalmeshwar tehsil in early December 2019. He was also convicted on other charges that resulted in a fine and varying prison terms. Puri worked with the girl’s parents on an agriculture farm. He hid the body after murdering her. Her parents filed a missing persons report after noticing she had gone missing. A search revealed her body.

On Monday, May 26, 2024, 23-year-old Alireza Arezoomandi and 35-year-old Samir (Hamid) Saeedirad were executed in Qom Prison. Alireza was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Samir was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported their executions.

In 2022, Sunni Cleric Mohammad Khezrnejad and his son were arrested during the ongoing, nationwide protests. Mohammad was later convicted and sentenced to death on multiple counts including “spreading corruption on earth,” “compromising national security,” and “engaging in propaganda against the regime.” Allegedly, Mohammad confessed to the crimes. Mohammed claims he was tortured into confessing and has denied their accuracy. Now, a branch of the Iranian Supreme Court has upheld his death sentence.

On Saturday, June 1, 2024, Mohammad-Saeed Zohrabi, Hassan Nematollahi, and 30-year-old Mahmoud Ghaedi were executed in Adelabad Prison. Ghaedi was convicted of murder about three years ago and sentenced to qisas, that is, retribution in kind. Zohrabi and Nematollahi were convicted in the same case on drug-related charges. State officials and the media have not yet reported the executions.

On Friday, May 31, 2024, eight unnamed individuals were executed by hanging, likely at Al-Hut prison in Nasiriyah. The eight individuals were convicted of being members of the Islamic State terrorist group and on charges of terrorism. They are the second such group to be executed in recent months. On May 6, 2024, 11 unnamed individuals were executed on terrorism charges. And on April 22, 2024, another group of 11 was executed on similar charges.

On Wednesday, June 5, 2024, Fukuoka District Court refused a request for a retrial for Michitoshi Kuma. Kuma was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1992 murder of two girls in the first grade. He was convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. In 2008, 70-year-old Kumar was executed. Despite the execution already being carried out, lawyers are appealing the case, arguing there is new evidence that denies Kuma’s involvement in the crime. So far, the courts have rejected the new evidence. The lawyers plan to continue appealing.

On Saturday, May 25, 2024, a violent mob accused Nazir Masih, a man over the age of 70, of blasphemy. Nazir, a Christian, was tortured by the mob, which landed him in the hospital Nine days and two surgeries later, Nazir succumbed to the injuries inflicted upon him. Following the mob attack, police arrested at least 25 people and promised they would be held accountable for their actions leading to Nazir’s death. Blasphemy, and mob justice, is often used to target non-Muslims and as a way to settle personal disputes. While a person can be sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, a state-sponsored execution is rarely carried out. Unfortunately, mobs frequently target the accused and their family, sometimes injuring and killing the accused.

On Thursday, June 6, 2024, Oklahoma had planned to execute Wade Lay. His execution was stayed by a judge after it was determined that Lay lacked the mental competency to be executed. Lay is convicted of murdering 36-year-old Kenneth Anderson on May 24, 2004, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

On Thursday, June 6, 2024, Oklahoma had planned to execute Carlos Cuesta-Rodriguez. His execution has been stayed and is awaiting a new execution date. His execution was stayed to allow more time between executions in the state. Cuesta-Rodriguez is convicted of murdering Olimpia Cardina Fisher on May 31, 2003, inside their apartment in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The legislature of Louisiana has passed a law that would permit judges to order surgical castration for individuals convicted of sexual crimes against children under the age of 13. These crimes would include rape, incest, and molestation. The bill still needs to be signed into law by Louisiana Governor Jeff Landry. Previously, the state permitted judges to order an individual be chemically castrated, however, now the judges would have the power to order surgical castration. California, Florida, and Texas, among others, also permit the use of chemical castration, with some allowing individuals to opt for surgical castration, however, Louisiana would be the first state to allow a judge to order surgical castration. Chemical castration blocks testosterone production and decreases sex drive through the use of medication. Surgical castration is a much more invasive procedure. If signed, the bill would only affect those convicted after August 1, 2024. The over 2,000 individuals currently imprisoned for sexual crimes against children under the age of 13, will not be affected.

On Thursday, May 30, 2024, Nevada death row inmate Norman Belcher committed suicide. Belcher, who hung himself, was 49 years of age. He was convicted and sentenced to death for murdering 15-year-old Alexus Postorino on Dec. 2, 2010, during a drug-related robbery. There are 51 death row inmates in Nevada, with the last execution being carried out in 2006.

On Saturday, June 1, 2024, a jury in Idaho unanimously sentenced 55-year-old Chad Daybell to death. He was convicted of murdering his wife, Tammy Daybell, and his girlfriend’s two youngest children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow. All were likely killed in late 2019. Shortly after murdering Tammy, Chad married his girlfriend, Lori Vallow Daybell, who was the mother of the two children. Lori had previously been convicted of the murders of her children and conspiracy to commit the murder of Tammy. She received three consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole. Lori is now in Arizona awaiting trial for murdering her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was JJ’s father.

In 1993, Danny Lee Jones was sentenced to death in Arizona. He was convicted of murdering Robert Weaver and Robert’s daughter seven-year-old Tisha Weaver on March 26, 1992. Robert and Tisha were both beaten with a baseball bat. Tisha was also suffocated with a pillow. They both died from their injuries. Jones was also convicted of attempting to murder Robert’s 74-year-old grandmother Katherine Gumina. She was also beaten with a baseball bat and died from her injuries 17 months later after Jones had already been charged with her attempted murder. After his conviction, Jones appealed, arguing that his attorney, who had never led a capital case, did not sufficiently prepare for the trial. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his sentence, however, this was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States. Now, the Supreme Court has reversed the decision of the 9th Circuit and reinstated Jones’ sentence.

For more information regarding how your financial support can help, please click here.