January 17, 2014

IDPN 2014 Issue 3


China: Doctor Zhang Shuxia was sentenced to death with a two year reprieve for stealing and selling seven babies. Generally, those that receive a sentence of death with a two year reprieve later have their sentence reduced to life in prison. This decision sparked debate over the fairness of her punishment, with many internet users calling for Zhang's execution to be carried out immediately, and legal experts who claim that the ruling is just. It has not been determined if Zhang will appeal the sentence.



Iran: Three prisoners were executed on Saturday, January 11, 2014, according to Iranian state media. One prisoner, a 45-year-old, was executed in the prison of Yasouj. He was convicted of trafficking drugs. The other two prisoners, a 38-year-old and a 41-year-old were executed for separate murders at the prison of Sari. None of the prisoners were identified by name.


On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, seven prisoners were executed, with one execution being performed publicly. Five of the prisoners were executed in Adelabad prison. They were all convicted of possession and armed trafficking. A sixth prisoner was executed at the prison at Ardebil, for selling drugs. In Saveh, a man convicted of double murder was sentenced to “twice retribution” in public. His death sentence was carried out publicly.


On Wednesday, January 15, 2014, six prisoners were executed. All were identified by initials only and all were charged with unrelated drug offenses.



Nigeria: On Monday, January 13, 2014, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law legislation that criminalizes same sex marriage. Now, 11 Muslim men are charged with violating their religion due to their alleged sexuality. Should the men be convicted, they could be executed via stoning. One of the 11 men has been found guilty and sentenced to 20 lashes, in addition to a fine. A 12th person was also arrested, however, that individual is a Christian and will be tried under a secular law.



Saudi Arabia: Last year, Saudi Arabia executed a total of 78 individuals. In the first execution of 2014, two individuals were beheaded. Abrar Hussain Nizar Hussain was executed in Jeddah for attempting to smuggle heroin into the country inside of his stomach. Zahid Khan Barakat was executed in Qatif, also for drug smuggling.


Two Chadians have been sentenced to death for forming a “terrorist group to kill non-Muslims.” A total of 12 individuals were arrested in relation to this group – seven Chadians, four Saudis, and a Yemeni. The remaining 10 men were sentenced to various jail terms.



United Arab Emirates: Five executions scheduled for January 12, 2014, were postponed in honor of Prophet Muhammad's birthday. Three Bangladesh men were convicted of the murder of an Indian man. The other two are also convicted of murder; an Egyptian man for the murder of another Egyptian, and a Sri Lankan man for the murder of an Emirati man. The families for the victims each refused to accept blood money.



United Kingdom: In 2007, an Afghani teen, age 16, fled from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom after a conflict involving his family. He was granted permission to stay until 2013. Now, the man has been granted asylum on religious grounds. Although he was raised a Muslim, during his time in the United Kingdom, he became an atheist, for which he could face possible execution if he were to return to Afghanistan.



United States of America: Dennis McGuire was executed by the state of Ohio on January 16, 2014.  The execution was performed using a new combination of drugs, which took longer to take effective than recent executions, and has generated a significant amount of controversy.  Dennis' family is now suing the state of Ohio, claiming his right not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment has been violated.


Lawmakers in Wyoming are considering options other than lethal injection for executions. Senator Bruce Burns is pushing for that state to allow executions by firing squad, stating that it would be cheaper than building a gas chamber. Wyoming has not carried out an execution since 1992, and only has one inmate on death row.


Edward Bracey, an inmate in Pennsylvania, has had his sentence of execution reduced to life without parole by Common Pleas Judge M. Theresa Sarmina. The sentence was commuted due to Edward's low IQ score and because he had already been diagnosed as “mentally retarded” before his 18th birthday. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that anyone who is mentally incompetent cannot be executed.


A bill in Virginia concerning the state's method of carrying out executions has advanced to the House of Delegates. Inmates in Virginia can traditionally choose in which manner they want to be executed; lethal injection or electrocution. This bill seeks to eliminate that choice, should the state be unable to procure execution drugs.