June 27, 2014

IDPN 2014  Issue 26


Bangladesh: On Monday, June 23, 2014, a court sentenced eight individuals to death and six individuals to life in prison for their roles in a bombing that occurred at a New Year's celebration concert 13 years ago.  Ten people died in the attack and numerous others were injured.  The goal of the bombing was to cause destabilization and panic, although the group was not associated with any political or religious group.

On Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 50-year-old Abdur Rahim and his two sons, 30-year-old Mokhles and 32-year-old Julhas, have been convicted of murder and sentenced to death.  They are convicted of hacking to death another man in their village.


Belarus: According to a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, in April of 2014, Belarus, the only nation in Europe to use capital punishment, carried out two executions in secret.  Neither the inmate's relatives nor lawyers were informed of execution dates or where their bodies are now buried.  Additionally, the nation is accused of repressing human rights.


China: The Supreme People's Court has overturned the death sentence of a woman who was sentenced after being convicted of killing her husband who had abused her for years.  The 43-year-old woman will be given a retrial.  The woman killed her husband in 2010, during an argument, after he attacked her.  According to testimony from her brother, the husband would put out cigarettes on her body, bang her head against a wall, and lock her outside of the house in the winter.  After beating her husband to death with an air gun, she cut him up and boiled parts of him before alerting the neighbors as to what had happened.  The woman's lawyers argue that she was not in her right mind and had been ignored by the local government and hospitals when she reached out for help.


Egypt: One hundred eighty three members of the Muslim Brotherhood have had their death sentences confirmed, including Mohammed Badie, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.  The group is convicted of the August 14, 2013 attack on a police station.  In April 2014, a judge recommended the death penalty for 683 defendants in a mass trial.  Of the 683, 183 had their death sentences upheld, four were given reduced sentences of 15-25 years in prison, and the remainder were acquitted.

On Thursday, June 19, 2014, a blacksmith was executed by hanging for the murder of 23-year-old Heba al-Akkad and her friend, Nadine Gamal, in an affluent Cairo suburb.  The unnamed blacksmith was convicted of murdering the two after sneaking into the apartment to steal money.  He was executed at Wadi al-Natrun prison.


India: Twenty-four-year-old Viren Rajput was sentenced to death on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.    Viren was convicted of raping and murdering a 14-year-old school girl in 2012.  Executions are carried out by hanging in India.



Iran: Seven prisoners, identified by initials only, were executed by hanging in the prison of Rasht, in northern Iran.  All seven were convicted on unrelated drug charges.

According to the Human Rights Activists New Agency, five prisoners have been executed by hanging in the central prison of Birjand on Friday, June 19, 2014.  The state media has not announced these executions.  Only one of the inmates, Molavi Rahimollah from Afghanistan, has been identified by name.

It has been reported that three unidentified inmates were executed by hanging in the city of Yazd.  Their crimes were not reported.

On Wednesday, June 25, 2014, two prisoners were executed by hanging at the prison of Rajaishahr in Karaj, which is west of Tehran.  The inmates, identified as Mehrdad Bagheri and Benjamin, have both been convicted of murder.


Iraq: It has been announced, but not confirmed, that the Islamic Fundamentalist group ISIL, killed the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussien to death in 2006.  It is believed that Kurdish judge Raouf Abdul Rahman was executed in retaliation for Saddam's execution. 


Japan: Twenty-nine-year-old Gota Tsutsui has had his death sentence upheld by the Fukuoka High Court.  Gota is convicted of murdering the mother and grandmother of an ex-girlfriend whom he had been stalking in 2011.  Gota initially confessed to the crime, but pled not guilty during the trial and has insisted upon his innocence since, saying police planted evidence.  Gota was found the morning after the murder with the murder weapon and traces of the victim's blood on his clothing.

On Thursday, June 26, 2014, Japan carried out its first execution of the year.  Sixty-eight-year-old Masanori Kawasaki was executed for murdering three people, including a 3-year-old child, after breaking into their house in Kagawa, which is in western Japan.


Libya: Saadi Gaddafi, the third son of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is charged with the murder of a former soccer teammate, Bashir Riani.  Saadi is also facing several other charges including multiple murders, systematic rape, and sabotage.  It is alleged that many of these crimes occurred during the reign of Saadi's father.  If found guilty, Saadi could face the death penalty.  Saadi's brother Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is also under arrest for corruption and crimes similar to his brother.  International groups are calling for Saif, who was an authority figure in his father's administration, should face the International Criminal Court instead of a Libyan Court.


Saudi Arabia: For speaking out against and criticizing the Al Saud regime, protesting against the ruling family, and other similar crimes, 26 individuals have been sentence to death, including a prominent Shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.  The Sheikh, who was injured when he was attacked and arrested in 2012, was charged with disturbing the country's security, giving anti-government speeches, insulting the Saudi king in Friday Prayers sermons, and defending political prisoners.  Others have been charged with similar crimes.

On Wednesday, June 25, 2014, two nationals, Hamad Bin Meshehen Al Rashidi and Essa Bin Mohammad Al Rashidi have been executed by beheading.  Each was convicted in unrelated cases of raping minors.  Hamad was convicted of kidnapping and raping a seven-year-old boy.  He then threw the boy into a well, killing him.  Essa was convicted of kidnapping and raping a minor and attempting to kidnap another minor.


Sudan: Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman accused of apostasy and adultery, was released from prison on Monday, June 23, 2014.  She spent six months in jail, during which time she gave birth to her second child.  Meriam was released after an appeals court ruled that the earlier verdict in her case contradicted Sudan's 2005 constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion or belief.  Meriam was released to her family shortly after the ruling.  Meriam and her husband and children went into hiding immediately after her release, fearing for their lives.  Meriam's alleged brother, her first reported her to police, has publically stated that he and other members of his family will carry out her execution if the state does not.  Members of Meriam's legal team have also received death threats.  On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, Meriam and her husband were attempting to leave the country for the United States, when they were detained, along with their two children.  Meriam was arrested for forgery, with officials claiming her South Sudan travelling papers were illegal since she is from Sudan.  Meriam has since been released from prison, on the condition that she does not leave Sudan.  Meriam is currently in a safe location within the US Embassy.


United States of America: Paul C. Hildwin has been on death row in Florida for nearly 30 years, after being convicted of the murder of 42-year-old Vronzettie Cox.  Paul, who was found with several items belonging to Vronzettie, has always insisted his innocence in the crime.  Early DNA testing showed that several items from the crime scene contained blood characteristics which matched Paul.  DNA testing conducted years later showed that it did not belong to Paul, but it was not enough to garner a new trial for Paul.  After years of legal battles, Paul's lawyers finally managed to have the DNA matched against federal and state criminal databases.  A match was found, Vronzettie's ex-boyfriend, whom Paul has always contended committed the crime.  On Thursday, June 26, 2014, a court ruled that this new evidence "completely discredits" the state's case, overturning Paul's conviction and death sentence by a vote of 5-2.  The battle is not over for Paul.  He will remain on death row until the state decides if they are going to retry him.


Vietnam: Twenty-nine individuals, who were involved in one of Vietnam's largest drug trafficking cases, have been given death sentences.  On Friday, June 19, 2014, the Supreme People's Court in the northern province of Quang Ninh refused to revoke their sentences.  There was a total of 89 defendants.  In addition to the 29 death sentences, 13 were given life sentences, and the majority of the rest were given prison terms of up to 20 years.  One individual has had his death sentence reduced to life in prison.