May 16, 2014

IDPN 2014  Issue 20


Belarus: On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 45-year-old Ryhor Yuzepchuk was executed.  He was convicted of killing his cellmate.  His execution comes four weeks after the execution of 23-year-old Paval Selyun, who was convicted of murdering his wife and another man.  Belarus is the only European nation which still has the death penalty.



Iran:On Friday, May 9, 2014, 11 prisoners, including one woman, were executed in Ghezal Hesar prison in the city of Karaj.


On Sunday, May 11, 2014, one woman was publicly executed.  She was convicted of murdering her husband.  Four men were scheduled to be executed along with her, however, they were spared by the family of the victims.  The woman, Behjat, was approximately 40 years of age and was hanged in Rajaishahr prison.  Her children attended her execution.


On Monday, May 12, 2014, nine prisoners, identified by initials only, were executed in Ahvaz, in southeastern Iran.  All nine prisoners were convicted of drug smuggling.

On Thursday, May 15, 2014, on man, identified by initials only, was executed by hanging at the prison of Semnan in northern Iran.  He was convicted of murder and sentenced to qisas (retribution).



South Korea:The captain of the ferry which capsized and sank last month, killing 284 people, with 20 people still missing, nearly all of whom were school students, has been charged with murder.  Three other crew members, the chief engineer and the 1st and 2nd mates, have also been charged with murder.  All could face the death penalty if found guilty.  South Korea has not executed anyone in nearly 2 decades.  The murder charges stem from not using available facilities, such as life vests, life rafts, and announcements, to evacuate the ship.  Instead, an announcement was made to remain where they were, leading to clogged hallways, preventing escape.  Additionally, the caption and crew abandoned the sinking ship and everyone onboard.  



Sudan: An eight-month pregnant Christian woman, Mariam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, has been sentenced to death by hanging for apostasy (denouncing religious beliefs).  Judge Abbas Mohammed Al-Khalifa sentenced the woman to death after she had refused to return to Islam.  Mariam was also sentenced to 100 lashes for adultery.  Mariam denies committing apostasy and admits to being a Christian.  Sudan, which follows Islamic law, rarely gives sentences worse than flogging.



United Arab Emirates:Two men have been sentenced to death, after being convicted of murdering a middle-age man.  They were found guilty of premeditated murder and sentenced to death by available means.  Executions are traditionally carried out by a firing squad.  The two men can appeal their sentences.



United States of America: Robert Campbell, a Texas death row inmate, was scheduled to be the first inmate executed since the prolonged execution of Clayton Lockett.  He was granted a stay of execution by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in the hours leading up to his execution.  The execution was stayed to allow Robert and his attorneys to present their case, in which they allege that the prosecution withheld evidence that Robert was intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution.  Previously, Robert was denied a stay of execution, after speculating that he could suffer extreme pain and suffering during his execution, using Clayton's execution as an example. 


Despite the recent prolonged execution of Oklahoma inmate Clayton Lockett, support for the death penalty in the United States has not fallen, according to a poll conducted by NBC News, with 59 percent in favor of the death penalty and 35 percent opposed to the death penalty.  The poll also noted that should lethal injections no longer be an option, 20 percent are in favor of using the gas chamber, 18 percent for the electric chair, 12 percent for the firing squad, and 8 percent for hanging.