December 27, 2013

Issue 47

India: Serial killer Mohan Kumar a/k/a Cyanide Mohan has been sentenced to death, which will be carried out following a confirmation from the high court. Mohan has been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of three women.  He has also been charged with the murder of 17 other women.  All were killed with cyanide.

Iran: Two men were executed by hanging on Friday, December 20, 2013, at the prison of Semnan in central Iran.  The prisoners, who were not identified by name, were each convicted of unrelated drug charges.

An unidentified man, who was convicted of murder six years ago, has been proven innocent 48 hours before his scheduled execution.  Another man who was recently arrested has confessed to the crime.  The man proven innocent has stated that when he was charged with the murder, he was beaten and feared he would be beaten to death if he did not confess.

On December 25, 2013, Christmas Day, two men were executed by hanging in the prison of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran.  One man was convicted of murdering his wife; the other was convicted of murdering the husband of the woman with which he had an affair.

Saudi Arabia: Faleh Al Subai has been granted a pardon by the family of the man he murdered, after a member of the Saudi royal family intervened.

Raif Badawi, a blogger who is currently serving a seven year sentence for “insulting Islam.”  He is now possibly facing charges of apostasy, which could result in the death penalty.

Uganda: Lawmakers in Uganda’s parliament have passed a bill which punishes homosexuality by prison terms, up to and including life in prison.  The bill originally sought to have the death penalty as an option for offenses with minors, however, this part was later removed.

United States of America: The Florida Supreme Court has approved the state’s new lethal injection protocol.  This ruling comes weeks after Florida death row inmate Askari Muhammad, a/k/a Thomas Knight, appealed the execution protocol, claiming the dose of the drug used was ineffective.  After considering evidence, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the drug is effective.

US District Judge Brian Jackson has ruled that the heat on Louisiana’s death row violates the US Constitution protections of cruel and unusual punishment.  Judge Jackson ordered the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola to create a plan by February 17, 2014, which would ensure that the heat index would not rise above 88 degrees F in the prison cells.    The state plans to appeal the ruling.  The three inmates involved in the case have murdered a combined 11 individuals.  The family members of the victims are upset with the ruling.

An Ohio death row inmate, David Steffen, could be spared the death penalty because he did not rape the woman he confessed to murdering.  David murdered Karen Range on August 19, 1982, and attempted to rape her but was physically unable to do so.  During an autopsy, semen was found inside of Karen.  A jury convicted David of murder while committing or attempting to commit a rape.  DNA evidence has now proven that the semen is not David’s.  David’s attorney is arguing that since he did not rape Karen, he should not longer be eligible for execution.  Prosecutors are arguing that since he attempted to rape her, David should still face the death penalty.  David is scheduled to be heard by Ohio’s 1st District Court of Appeals in March 2014.  That court will decide if the death sentence is still an option.  David will then face a resentencing hearing.