October 10, 2014

IDPN 2014  Issue 41


Afghanistan: Azizullah, Nazar Mohammad, Qaisullah, Samiullah, and Habibullah, the five men convicted of the gang rape of four women driving back from a wedding, have been executed by hanging.  Additionally, a leader in a kidnapping ring, Habib Istalif, has also been executed by hanging this past week.   



Iran: Two Christian pastors, Matthias Haghnejad and Behnam Irani, and a third believer, Decon Silas Rabbani, have had charges dropped against them in which could have resulted in the death penalty.  However, three remain in prison for Christian activities.  The charges which have now been dropped, were Mofsed-e-filarz (spreading corruption on earth) and Moharebeh (warring against Allah).  Additionally, three of six Christians who were detained in September have been released, although two remain in prison and the whereabouts of the sixth are unknown.


Thirty-year-old Alireza Morad Gholi was executed by hanging on Tuesday, October 7, 2014.  His execution has not been reported by state media, nor has his crime ben announced.



Japan: Forty-eight-year-old Katsumi Asayama has been convicted of the murder of 76-year-old Michiko Otsuka in Tokyo in November of 2011.  Katsumi has been sentenced to death for the crime.  The Tokyo High Court rejected and appeal last week.  Katsumi has also been linked to the murder of 71-year-old Takeyoshi Yamaka and his wife, 69-year-old Kazuko, in Yamagata in October of 2010.



Morocco: Morocco has had a moratorium on the death penalty for the past 20 years, however, over 100 prisons are still kept on death row.  Human rights activists consider such actions “inhumane and unacceptable.”



United States of America: Billy Ray Irick was scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, October 7, 2014.  His execution was stayed by the Tennessee Supreme Court due to ongoing challenges to the state’s death penalty protocol and a recent law which allows inmates to be executed by the electric chair should lethal injection drugs be unavailable.  Read his full story here.


In September of 2014, Alabama announced that it had devised a new execution protocol, which would use midazolam hydrochloride as a sedative, rocuronium bromide as a paralyzing agent, and potassium chloride to stop the heart.  The attorney general’s office is seeking execution dates for at least nine individuals.


Manuel Velez has spent the last nine years in prison in Texas, four of those nine years on death row, for a crime he could not have committed.  Manuel was arrested in 2005, for the murder of 11-month-old Angel Moreno that was partially in his care.  Evidence was later uncovered that showed it was highly unlikely that Manuel was even in the state when the injuries that eventually killed Angel were inflicted.  In order to be released, Manuel pled guilty to reckless injury to a child rather than wait and face a retrial where the result was not guaranteed.  Manuel was released from prison October 8, 2014.  Please pray for him as he adjusts to his new life.


Oklahoma has completed its renovations of its execution chamber following the prolonged execution of Clayton Lockett on April 29, 2014.  In addition to the renovation, workers who participate in the execution will received additional training on the new execution protocols and new equipment the Department of Corrections has purchases to assist in executions.  Prison spokeswoman Terri Watkins has stated that she is confident the state will be ready for the execution of Charles Warner on November 13, 2014.  Charles will be the first execution since Clayton.