Friday, July 19, 2024
IDPN 2024

International Death Penalty News 2024, Issue 24: China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, United States of America

International Death Penalty NewsA death sentence has been handed down to 66-year-old Wang Haowen, who is already serving a 15-year prison sentence for child trafficking.  The death sentence was for the trafficking of 11 additional children.  He has also been fined, all personal assets confiscated, and stripped of all political rights for life.  Wang has denied trafficking eight of the children for which he was convicted.  He has previously served three years in prison for child trafficking before being released, where he repeated his crime.

Twenty-four-year-old Kanchan Kol has been sentenced to death for murdering her 51-year-old mother-in-law Saroj in 2022.  Kol attacked Saroj with an iron pan before sticking her with a sickle 90 times.  Saroj died instantly.  Allegedly, the two had argued a few days before the murder about Kol leaving the house and speaking with others.  Kol confessed to the crime, however, she also alleged that Saroj’s husband wanted her to kill his wife so that he could marry another woman.  Due to lack of evidence, the husband has been cleared of all charges.

The Madras High Court has acquitted seven death row inmates, along with two others serving life sentences.  All were convicted in the murder of 58-year-old Subbiah, a doctor, who was killed on September 14, 2013.  He was killed while walking to his car from the hospital.  The murder stemmed from a land dispute with his family.

The trial of 49-year-old Troy Andrew Smith, an Australian national, has begun in Indonesia.  Troy was arrested after police raided his hotel and discovered crystal methamphetamine in his room.  If convicted, Troy could face up to 12 years in prison.  Indonesia is notorious for its strict drug laws.  Initially, Troy faced the death penalty after being charged with trafficking drugs, however, the charges were reduced after Troy confessed to being a drug used.  In addition to being sentenced to jail, Troy will likely be required to undergo inpatient medical rehabilitation in a government facility.

On April 23, 2024, the Urmia Revolutionary Court resentenced Hatem Özdemir, a Turkish national, to death.  Hatem was arrested along the Iranian/Turkish border.  He was held for nearly three years before being convicted of armed rebellion and sentenced to death.  The Supreme Court later overturned his sentence.  Now, another court has resentenced him to death in absentia and without his lawyers being notified or present.

On Sunday, June 9, 2024, 35-year-old Mostafa Alipour was executed in Yazd Central Prison.  He was convicted and sentenced to death on drug-related charges.  He was arrested about three years ago.  State officials and the media have not yet reported his execution.  Drug-related executions have been on the rise in the nation since 2023.

At least two Swedish nationals have been sentenced to death.  Swedish officials were upset to hear about the death sentences and are seeking to have them overturned.  With no exceptions, Sweden opposes the use of capital punishment and has banned it in the country.  The Swedish men sentenced to death in Iraq have been convicted of being involved in a shooting.

On Tuesday, June 4, 2024, Jamila Jacob was arrested on charges of blasphemy after allegedly making derogatory comments about the Prophet Muhammad.  Jamila, a Christian woman, is also allegedly mentally challenged.  If convicted, she could be sentenced to death.  There are conflicting accounts regarding the alleged blasphemy, with some saying it never happened.  Jamila was in a shop seeking a new brand of shampoo when she allegedly made her remarks.  Blasphemy laws are highly controversial, as they are often used to target religious minorities and to settle personal disputes.  While blasphemy charges can result in a sentence of death, it has been some time since Pakistan carried out an execution.  However, such charges can also lead to the formation of mobs which can and have resulted in the deaths of those accused in recent years.

On Tuesday, June 11, 2024, David Hosier was executed by the state of Missouri.  He was pronounced dead at 6:11 pm local time.  David was convicted of murdering 45-year-old Angela Gilpin in the hallway of her apartment building in Jefferson City, Missouri on September 28, 2009.   

Utah plans to add ketamine to its execution drug cocktail.  As Utah scheduled a new execution date of August 8, 2024, for Taberon Honie, its plans to use ketamine in addition to fentanyl and potassium chloride face increased scrutiny.  Ketamine has never before been used in a lethal injection mixture.  Honie’s attorneys are arguing that they have not had adequate time to explore the possible negative effects this drug will have during the execution.  Honie is convicted of murdering 49-year-old Claudia Benn in her home in 1999.  Utah has recently purchased lethal injection drugs, however, should the drugs be unavailable, execution by firing squad is the back method in the state.

Payton Gendron is accused of murdering 10 individuals at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York during a racially motivated shooting.  He was 18 at the time of the crime and now his lawyers are attempting to argue that he should be exempt from the death penalty due to his age.  In 2005, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that individuals under the age of 18 could not be sentenced to death.  Since then, there have been increasing calls to raise the age limit, as science shows that the brain is not fully developed until the mid-20s, especially the areas of the brain that control decision-making and behavioral abilities.  While the death penalty has been banned in New York State, Gendron is facing federal charges that could result in a federal death sentence.  In New York, Gendron has been sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole, on charges related to the shooting.

On Wednesday, June 12, 2024, a jury in Alabama recommended 10-2 that 43-year-old Michael Collin Mitchell be sentenced to death.  Mitchell is convicted of murdering Lavon McCreary and her unborn child in 2019.  Lavon’s two young children witnessed the murder, which occurred at a grocery store in Evergreen, Alabama.

A jury in Florida has convicted 30-year-old Wade Wilson of murder.  Wilson is convicted of murdering 35-year-old Kristine Melton and 43-year-old Diane Ruiz, along with various other battery and burglary charges.  Later this month, the jury will reconvene to decide his sentence, which could include being sentenced to death.

On Thursday, June 13, 2024, a Florida judge officially sentenced Markas Fishburne to death.  Fishburne pleaded guilty to murdering 25-year-old Aisha Levy.  Aisha was the girlfriend of Fishburne’s roommate.  Fishburne alleged that he and Aisha got into an “altercation” before he murdered her.  After killing her, he placed her body in a plastic storage bin in the closet.  Fishburne likely faces years of appeals before he will receive an execution date.