March 14, 2014

IDPN 2014  Issue 11


China:The National People's Congress is considering reducing the number of crimes punishable by death.  Currently, there are 13 crimes which are subject to the death penalty.  In 2011, the number of crimes punishable by death was reduced 20 percent, to the current total of 13.  



India: Five death row inmates have had their sentences commuted to life in prison on Friday, March 7, 2014, after the Delhi High Court refused to confirm their death sentences.  The court ruled that the cases did not fall under the "rarest of the rare" and thus had to be commuted.  All five were convicted of murder.  

The New Delhi High Court has upheld the death sentence of four men who were convicted of the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in December 2012.  The woman died days later of her severe injuries from repeatedly being assaulted with an iron rod.  



Iran:Twenty-one-year-old Mehras Rezaei was hanged in Northern Iran for murdering his cousin four years ago, meaning he was a minor at the time of the crime.  The United Nations Convention for the Child's Rights, which has been ratified by Iran, bans the execution of juvenile defenders.   This is not the first time Iran has executed a person for a crime committed as a juvenile.  

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, four inmates were hanged in the streets of Bandan Abbas in Northern Iran.  Three of the men were convicted of rape while the fourth was convicted of murder.  


A 28-year-old man, whose name has not been released, has been executed in by hanging in the central prison of Mashhad in Northern Iran.  He was convicted of murder eight years ago.  


Payman Nowdinian, a teacher, was sentenced to 20 lashes for "insulting a government employee while on duty.  "The sentence was carried out publically on March 7, 2014.  



Iraq:Three former officials of Saddam Hussein's regime have been executed as well as four others convicted of terrorism.  The three former officials were all found guilty of murdering former government opponent Talib al-Suhail al-Tamimi in Beirut in 1994.  



Malaysia:A Malaysian couple, 58-year-old Fong Kong Meng and his 56-year-old wife Teoh Ching Yen, have been convicted of starving their Indonesian housemaid, 26-year-old Isti Komariah, to death.  For over a year, the couple deprived Isti of food and medication.  During her approximate three years of service to the couple, Isti lost nearly half of her body weight.  



Maldives:Maldives President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has declared that his government will support and implement the death penalty despite international pressure.  According to Yameen, a majority of the people of Maldives support the death penalty.  Maldives currently has 20 inmates awaiting execution.  



Saudi Arabia:Three men have sentenced to death for their part in a series of militant attacks, including the bombing of a foreign housing compound in 2003, which killed 11 and injured 122 others, including 36 children.  Two other men were sentenced to 17 years in prison.  



Sri Lanka:A newly recruited hangman has resigned in shock after seeing the gallows where executions would occur.  He is the third person to resign within a year since the last hangman was promoted to prison guard.  The man is being given one month to reconsider his resignation before the government looks for a replacement.  Sri Lanka has not carried out an execution since 1976, but wants a permanent executioner in place in case executions resume.  There are over 400 prisoners on death row in Sri Lanka.  



United Arab Emirates: A Pakistani man has been sentenced to death following his conviction of trafficking heroin into the country.  



United States of America: Sixty-four-year-old Glenn Ford was released from the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola after serving nearly 30 years on death row.  Glenn has always maintained his innocence of the crime which placed him on death row, and prosecutors now agree.  Read more here.  


A bill has been approved before the Alabama House of Representatives which would allow the makers and suppliers of execution drugs to be kept secret.  The bill will now move go before the Alabama Senate.  Similar bills have been passed in several other states, many of which are being challenged in court by death penalty opponents.  Alabama and other states have passed these bills to make it easier to obtain the drugs needed for executions.  


US District Judge James J.   Brady has ordered Louisiana to release the name of the manufacture providing execution drugs, along with the source and the names of the staff and healthcare professionals involved in the execution.  Louisiana is appealing this ruling.  


The House of Representatives in New Hampshire voted 225-104 to repeal the death penalty in the state.  The bill is now before the Senate where it is believed it will pass.  New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan is prepared to sign the bill.  New Hampshire has not performed an execution since 1939.  If the bill is passed and signed by the governor, it will be the 19th state to repeal the death penalty.  


The state of Tennessee is considering making the electric chair mandatory for executions if lethal injection drugs are unavailable or ruled unconstitutional.  Tennessee has not carried out an execution since 2009, but it currently has 10 inmates scheduled for execution over the next year and a half.