July 4, 2014

IDPN 2014  Issue 27

The government of Australia is questioning Brunei over the nation’s new, strict criminal law, which supports punishments such as amputation for theft and stoning for homosexuality and adultery.  The questioning will occur before Australia agrees to proceed with negotiations to become a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, along with Brunei.  Several other nations are also looking to join.



China: Two drug traffickers from Uganda, Omar Ddamulira and Ham Andrew Ngobi, were executed on May 21, 2014, and June 24, 2014, respectively.  Ugandan Foreign Minisitry spokesman said that the government of Uganda unsuccessfully attempted to work with the Chinese government to spare the men.



Ghana: In review of the nation’s 1992 constitution, citizens will be asked to vote or proposed amendments, which include replacing the death penalty with life in prison.



India: The nation’s top court has commuted the death sentence of former police constable Amar Singh Yadav, who is convicted of murdering his wife and two daughters.  His sentence has been commuted to life in prison and his required to spend at least 30 years behind bars.  The court ruled that the case was not the “rarest of the rare.”  Amar set his vehicle ablaze with his wife and four children inside.  His wife and two of the children later died of their injuries. 



Iran: Razieh Ebrahimi is one of approximately 160 people believed to be on death row in Iran for crimes they committed before they turned 18 years of age.  International law forbids the execution of anyone who committed a crime while they were a juvenile.  Razieh was convicted of murdering her husband and sentenced to death when she was 17 years of age.  The chief of UN human rights has appealed to Iran to not proceed with her imminent execution.



Japan: Amnesty International, who is opposed to the death penalty, has condemned Japan’s continued practice of carrying out executions in secret.  Inmates are typically only given a few hours notice before their executions.  Their families are usually informed only after the execution has taken place.  Additionally, the organization criticizes the lack of transparency within Japan’s criminal justice system. 



Kenya: The nation, originally a colony of Great Britain, inherited the death penalty when the nation gained its freedom.  Since then, many people have been sentenced to death, although their executions are rarely carried out.  The last execution in Kenya was in 1987.  Additionally, a high number of inmates have successfully appealed their sentences and had them overturned, which some believe is evidence of a flawed justice system or lack of fair trials.



Oman: In a move to more aggressively combat drug trafficking, a bill has been introduced which includes the death penalty for drug dealers trafficking narcotics.  The State Council has backed the proposal.  Many on social media also support the bill, believing it will lead to a drop in drug trafficking cases, which has greatly increased over the past few years.



United States of America: The jury for Naeem Williams, a Hawaii man convicted of killing his 5-year-old daughter, will not be sentenced to death.  The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding the sentence of death or the sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.  A judge ultimately decided that Naeem would serve life in prison without the possibility of parole.  This was the first death penalty case Hawaii has hosted in decades, as the state has abolished the death penalty, however, Naeem’s daughter, Talia Williams, was killed on a military base, making the case a federal matter and eligible for the death penalty.



Vietnam: An Australian citizen, Pham Trung Dung, was arrested last year after heroin was found in his luggage.  A court in southern Vietnam has sentenced him to death.  Pham told the court he was being paid 40,000 Australian dollars to transport nearly 9 pounds of heroin.