January 30, 2015

IDPN 2015  Issue 05


Egypt:Last year, over 500 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which backed ousted President Mohammed Morsi, were sentenced to death in a mass trial.  Many later had their sentences reduced.  Now, 37 of those who did not have their death sentenced reduced, have been granted retrials.  The initial conviction was due to an attack on a police station in 2013.  



Indonesia:Australia is asking Indonesia to reconsider its plans to execute Australian nationals Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.  Both men were members of the Bali 9 drug ring.  They are the only two members to have had their sentences of death upheld.    The other members received various prison terms.  Since Indonesian President Joko Widodo has rejected their clemency requests, each faces an imminent execution date, although they have been able to appeal to have their case reviewed.  The President’s rejection is in line with his policy of cracking down on drug smugglers, especially foreigners, and having their executions carried out.


British grandmother, 58-year-old Lindsay Saniford could be executed within the coming weeks, as she was asked to sign a document that officially confirms her death sentence.  Lindsay was convicted of smuggling drugs into the country.  She alleges that she was forced to carry the drugs, as her children were being threatened.



Iran:On Sunday, January 25, 2015, two prisoners, Milad Z. and Alireza A., were executed by hanging in the prison of Arak in central Iran.  Both men were charged and convicted of possessing and trafficking heroin.  In the prison of Kerman, also on Sunday, ten prisoners were executed by hanging.  All ten were executed on drug related charges.


Three unidentified prisoners were executed by hanging in Hamadan in western Iran on Monday, January 26, 2015.  All three prisoners were convicted of rape.


On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, a man was publicly executed by hanging in Golpayegan in central Iran.  His execution was witnessed by thousands of individuals.  The man, 43-year-old Mansour Mirlouhi was convicted of Moharebeh (ie waging war against God) and “corruption on earth” for participating in several armed robberies and armed clashes.  Another individual, Ali Kamalvand, has also been unofficially reported as being executed.  He was convicted of three rapes.



Malawi: The year 2014, marked the 50th anniversary of the nation, which has prompted calls for reform and transformation.  Some believe that these reforms should included the abolishment of capital punishment.  Malawi’s last execution occurred in 1992. 


Malaysia: A South African man, 28-year-old Deon Cornelius, has been convicted and sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle methamphetamine into the country in 2013.  Deon alleged that he was given the bag by another man and was unaware of the contents.  The court did not believe his version of events.


Fifty-two-year-old Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, a mother of four, has been sentenced to death after being caught attempting to smuggle crystal methamphetamine, or “ice,” into the country.  According to her lawyer, she became involved in an online romance with a person claiming to be a United States service member.  She went to see him and was allegedly tricked into becoming a drug mule.  Drug trafficking in the nation carries a mandatory sentence of death.  Maria is currently awaiting trial.  



Pakistan:Attaullah and Muhammad Azam have been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Dr. Ali Razi Peerani in June of 2001.  Both men are part of the banned group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.  Both men were tried by an anti-terrorism court.



Saudi Arabia:On Monday, January 26, 2015, 45-year-old Mousa bin Saeed Ali al-Zahrani, a former teacher, was executed by beheading.  His was the first execution under King Salman.  al-Zahrani was convicted of luring and kidnapping several underage girls, whom he would then rape, force to drink alcohol, and force them to watch pornographic materials.  His family claims he was innocent and pleaded with the new king to intervene.


On Tuesday, January 27, 2015, three individuals were executed by beheading.  Omar bin Yahya bin Ibrahim al-Barkati was convicted of incest.  Yassir bin Hussein al-Hamza was executed after confessing to smuggling amphetamine pills.  Tarif Khan Nurzada, a Pakistani national, was executed for trafficking heroine into the kingdom.



Syria:A woman who was stoned and left for dead by the Islamic State, has survived the stoning.  The woman, who was convicted of adultery, stood up and fled after they stopped throwing stones.  Members of the Islamic State were preparing to open fire, when an Islamist jurist intervened and said it was God’s will she not die.  The jurist told the women she could walk free but that she must “repent.”



United States of America:  Warren Lee Hill was executed by the state of Georgia on Tuesday, January 27, 2015.  Warren was 54 years of age.  He was executed for the murder of his cellmate Joseph Handspike on August 17, 1990, in the Lee Correction Institute in Leesburg, Georgia, where Warren was serving a life sentence for the murder of his 18-year-old girlfriend Myra Wright.


On Wednesday, January 28, 2015, Marcellus Williams was scheduled to be executed in Missouri.  His execution date was withdrawn by the Missouri Supreme Court.  The reason for the withdrawal was not stated.


Robert Ladd was executed in Texas on Thursday, January 29, 2015.  Robert was convicted of the murder of Vicki Ann Garner in Tyler, Texas, while he was on parole for a triple murder years earlier.


Richard Glossip was scheduled to also be executed on Thursday, January 29, 2015.  His execution was stayed at the request of the Oklahoma Attorney General, who requested that all executions in the state be stayed as the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case against the use of midazolam in executions.


In 1976, a mother, 74-year-old Josephine Davis, and her daughter, 57-year-old Aileen, were killed in their home in Elizabethtown, North Carolina.  Joseph Sledge was convicted of the crime and has spent the past 39 years in prison.  Now 70 years of age, Joseph has, based on DNA evidence and recanted testimony, found innocent of the crime and was allowed to walk free.  Joseph is eight person to be exonerated due to the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, a state-run investigative agency.  After finding significant doubt in Joseph’s case, three judges were assigned to review the case and have the final say.  Joseph said that he was looking forward to going home and sleeping in a real bed, and perhaps going swimming in a pool.  Please pray for him as he readjusts to life.


The Supreme Court of the United States has decided to hear a case on the constitutionality of using the drug midazolam in executions.  Over the past year, a number of executions have been carried out using the drug, and some of them have resulted in prolonged executions, where some claim the inmate was not fully unconscious.  This decision by the Supreme Court has prompted the Oklahoma Attorney General, the state in which the lawsuit originated, to ask that all executions in the state be halted until a decision is made.  His request was granted.  A hearing is set for April before the Supreme Court.  Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt will defend the constitutionality of the state’s execution protocol.