January 3, 2014

IDPN 2014 Issue 1


China: Dr. Zhang Shuxia, a former obstetrician at the Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital of Fuping county, Shaanxi Province, has been accused of trafficking seven babies after convincing their parents to give them up by falsely telling them that they were sick.  Zhang has pled guilty and could face the death penalty or life in prison.


A 23-year-old university student has been sentenced to be executed for killing two prostitutes and having sex with their corpses.  The student, identified as Lee has been declared sane and responsible for the crimes.  Lee has confessed that he had fantasies about necrophilia and due to mounting pressure from failing grades, could not longer resist carrying out his fantasies.



India:Shankar, a resident of Madhya Pradesh, has been given the death penalty by a fast track court for the rape of a 7-year-old girl in 2010.



Iraq: In 2013, Iraq had the third highest number of executions in the world, behind China and Iran, with a total of at least 169 individuals executed.  This is an increase over the number of individuals executed in 2012, despite continual international condemnation for the use of capital punishment.  Iraq is a Muslim nation which follows Islamic law.  Human rights groups are among those who condemn the practice of capital punishment saying that it is not effective in deterring criminals and that the entire criminal justice system is dysfunctional, leading to innocent people being executed.



Netherlands:The last execution in the Netherlands took place on March 3, 1818.  Despite being nearly 200 years ago, the hanging execution is reenacted every year, a tradition some find disturbing.  Lawyer Robert Keik is one of those people.  He also believes that the man executed, Gerrit Jan Pieperiet, may not have committed the murder for which he was executed.  He has asked the Supreme Court to reopen the case, as too many questions were left unanswered.  Gerrit always proclaimed his innocence of the crime.



Philippines: Vice President Jejomar Binay is asking for donations for a Filipino national who is set to be executed this month in Saudi Arabia, if sufficient blood money is not raised.  The Filipino national, Joselito Zapanta is convicted of murdering a Sudanese national while in Saudi Arabia for work.



Saudi Arabia:An unnamed Saudi prince may be executed for the murder of a fellow Saudi citizen.  This rare event has been cleared by senior member of the royal family and government, Crown Prince Salman.  Reportedly, the victim’s family was not satisfied by the amount of blood money offered and has asked for the killer to be executed.



United States of America:  A total of 39 individuals were executed in the United States this year.  Texas led the states with 16 executions.  Florida was next, carrying out seven executions, followed by Oklahoma who had six executions.  Ohio had three executions.  Missouri and Arizona each had two executions, with Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama each carrying out one execution.


Attorney General for Arkansas, Dustin McDonald, has asked Governor Mike Beebe that execution dates be set for seven death row inmates.  Six of those seven inmates are currently challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol, which was recently reformed.  Should the executions be scheduled, the state plans to use phenobarbital, which is commonly used to treat seizures.



Texas inmate Hank Skinner, who is convicted of killing his girlfriend and her two grown, mentally impaired sons in a 1993 New Year’s Eve attack, has been granted an evidentiary hearing.  Skinner has always claimed his innocence in the crime, blaming his girlfriends uncle, who has since died, for the murders.  In June of 2012, permission was granted to perform additional DNA tests on evidence found at the scene.  The testing has now been completed and an evidentiary hearing will be held in early February.