September 5, 2014

IDPN 2014  Issue 36


Bahrain: The death sentence for a man accused of murdering police officer Mohammed Asif has been upheld.  Asif was murdered during a riot on February 14, 2013.  The inmate, along with several others who have been given various sentences, targeted officers with Molotov cocktails and flare guns.  Asif was struck with a flare in the gut, where it exploded, killing him instantly.



Egypt: On Thursday, August 28, 2014, two supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi, were sentenced to death.  Forty-three others, including at least one minor, were given jail terms ranging from one year to life in prison.  Twenty-eight others were acquitted.  Retrials for 23 individuals tried in absentia and sentenced to death and life in prison were also included in this session.  So far this year the court has sentenced over 1,000 people to death, although only a small percentage of those death sentences were upheld.  Most death sentences were reduced by the court at a later date.



Iran: On September 1, 2014, a total of 16 individuals were scheduled to be executed by hanging. In the Ghezel Hessar Prison of Karaj, 10 prisoners were collectively executed by hanging.  All 10 prisoners were involved in recent protests within the prison.  In the prison in the city of Hamedan, four prisoners were executed.  In Zahedan’s central prison in southern Iran, a 30-year-old man named Bandani was executed.  At least four of these executions were carried out in public.


The sixteenth inmate scheduled to be executed, Mohsen D., was also to be a public execution in the Mazanderan province.  His execution was postponed after protestors began climbing over police barriers to stop the execution.  Nearly 3,000 individuals had gathered to watch.  The execution was postponed until the following day due to security concerns.  Mohsen was convicted of killing another man during a street fight.  He was executed on Tuesday, September 2, 2014.




Saudi Arabia: Four people were executed by beheading for attempting to smuggle large quantity of pills into the kingdom.  Three of the unnamed men were Syrians, while the fourth was an Iranian.  This brings the total number of people executed in Saudi Arabia this year to 45, with the majority of executions occurring in the past month.



United States of America: Two inmates in North Carolina who have spent the last 31 years in prison, including one on death row, have been released after DNA evidence cleared them of the crime.  Fifty-year-old Henry McCollum and his half-brother, 46-year-old Leon Brown, were convicted of the murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Bruie in 1984.  Both men, who are intellectually disabled, were coerced into confessing to the crime.  DNA testing, which had not yet been invented at the time of their trial, found no physical evidence linking Henry and Leon to the crime.  It did, however, prove that a third man, already in prison for a similar murder committed weeks later, was at the crime scene.


Attorney General for Mississippi, Jim Hood, is uncertain when the next execution will occur in the state, as no inmates currently have appeals pending before the Supreme Court of the United States.  Sixty-eight-year-old Richard Jordan has been on death row for the past 37 years, the longest serving death row inmate in the state, still has not completed his appeals.


James McVay, a death row inmate in South Dakota was found dead in his cell on Thursday, September 4, 2014.  It is believed that James killed himself, as he was found hanging from a bed sheet.  He was 44 years of age.  Three people remain on death row in South Dakota.


An official report investigating the execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett, has been released.  The investigation found that the paramedic or doctor on duty struggled for approximately 50 minutes to find a vein in which to insert the IV line, finally inserting one in the groin, which was then covered by a sheet to hide Clayton’s genitals.  Because the insertion point was covered, medical personnel were unable to see that the line was not inserted properly and the drugs were piling under the skin.  By the time the medical personnel discovered the problem, the area had swollen to a size larger than a golf ball.  The report also concluded that the execution team was unsure how to proceed once it became obvious there were problems.  Additionally, the execution team appeared stressed over the back-to-back executions.



Vietnam: Thirty-nine-year-old Emmanuel Sillo Comacho and 39-year-old Donna Buenagua Mazon, both Filipino nationals, are on death row in Vietnam for, separately, smuggling drugs.  Filipino Vice President Jejomar Binay has called on the Department of Foreign Affairs to fully assist Emmanuel and Donna during their appeals.  If the two are executed, it will be the first execution of foreign nationals in Vietnam in decades.