February 6, 2015

IDPN 2015  Issue 06


Australia: Twelve Australians, including two grandmothers, face executions overseas, in addition to the three well-known imprisoned Australians - Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan who face imminent execution in Indonesia and Pham Trung Dung who is imprisoned in Vietnam.  Most, if not all, of the imprisoned Australians abroad were detained on serious drug charges, which carries the death penalty in many Asian and Middle Eastern nations.  According to a recent poll, a slight majority of Australians support Australian nationals being executed if convicted of drug trafficking in another country.



China: On Friday, January 30, 2015, Bai Yunjiang was executed for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl.  His wife, who was also a part in the crime, has been sentenced to life in prison.  The couple had previously been involved in two similar attacks.


On Monday, February 2, 2015, a father and daughter, Zhang Lidong and Zhang Fan, were executed for beating a woman to death at a McDonald’s restaurant earlier this year.  Allegedly, they killed her because they were unable to recruit her to their religion, which has been banned by the Chinese government.  Three other individuals involved in the attack were given various prison sentences.



Indonesia: Fifty-two-year-old Antony De Malmanche, from New Zealand, was traveling to meet a women he had been communicating with online.  He alleges he was given a bag by a man claiming to be the women’s personal assistant and told to fly with it to Bali.  Inside of the bag, was a drug known as ice.  Custom officials discovered the drugs and arrested Antony.  If convicted, Antony will likely face execution.


The nation’s government has announced that they plan to execute the two Bali 9 inmates on death row, Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, before the end of the month.  This announcement comes despite repeated attempts and pleas to have their sentences reduced.



Iran: Four prisoners, identified by initials only, were executed in the prison of Rasht in northern Iran on Saturday, January 31, 2015.  All four were convicted on separate drug related charges.  Additionally, on Monday, February 2, 2015, a 21-year-old man was executed by hanging in the prison of Mashhad in northeastern Iran.  He was executed for stabbing a 20-year-old man at a wedding two years ago.



Japan: On Monday, February 2, 2015, Tomohiro Kato’s death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court.  Kat is convicted of a vehicular homicide and stabbing spree which resulted in the death of seven individuals.  Ten others were injured.  The attacks occurred in Tokyo’s Akihabara neighborhood in 2008.  Some believe that unstable employment for youths was the cause of the attack, which is supported by statements made by Kato.  Kato also blames online harassment, which led to him being partially insane at the time of the killing spree.  



Jordan: Hours after the execution of Jordanian pilot, First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh by the Islamic State,  Jordan executed Sajida al-Rishawi and Ziad al-Karbouli.  Both were members of al-Qaeda.  Sajiad, whom Jordan was willing to exchange for their pilot, was sentenced to death for her part in a 2005 hotel bombing, which resulted in the death of 60 individuals.  Ziad was sentenced to death for killing a truck drive in 2007.  Jordan’s quick action has drawn criticism from the European Union, which is adamantly against the death penalty.



Pakistan: Attaullah and Mohammad Azam, both members of a banned organization, were executed by hanging on Tuesday, February 3, 2015, in Karachi Central Prison.  They were executed for the murder of Dr. Ali Raza Peerani, which occurred in June of 2004.


Shoaib Sarwar was also scheduled to be executed on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.  His execution was stayed by the president.  It was not immediately clear why the stay was granted, however, Shoaib’s family contends that Shoaib was acting in self defense at the time of the murder.  Additionally, he was a juvenile at the time of the murder.  His execution was scheduled to be the first non-terror related execution since Pakistan lifted its moratorium on executions following a deadly and devastating school shooting in December.



Saudi Arabia: On Sunday, February 1, 2015, Abdelrahman al-Jahni was executed by beheading for murdering another man during a dispute.  The execution was carried out in the city of Medina.  This execution was the fifth execution under the new Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz al Saud, who took office on January 23, 2015, following the death of King Abdullah.


On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, Mohammed Salamah Fareeh al-Azazma, a Jordanian, was executed by beheading.  He was convicted of smuggling drugs into the kingdom.


On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Abdul Kareem bin Abdul Sattar Meezi and Hashim bin Abdo Mahragi were executed by beheading for the rape and murder of a girl.  They were executed in the city of Mecca.  In another city, Mohammed bin Ouda bin Naji al-Inzi was also executed by beheading on the same day.  He was executed for murdering another individual.


On Thursday, February 5, 2015, four men were executed for robbery and murder.  The men would dress in woman’s clothing to lure their victim before robbing and killing him. This year, a total of 25 individuals have been executed so far.



South Korea: A 23-year-old sergeant in the military has been sentenced to death for killing five of his colleagues and injuring seven others when he opened fire in June of 2014, at his post near the North Korean border.  He was captured after a tense stand-off in which he was shot.  In South Korea, all males are required to serve in the military for two years.  It is believed that his actions were due to his difficulty adjusting to military life.



Syria: An alleged homosexual man was thrown off a seven-story building.  After surviving the fall, he was stoned to death.  This is the fourth execution for alleged homosexuality that the Islamic State has carried out in recent weeks.



United States of America: On Wednesday, February 4, 2015, Donald Newbury was executed by the state of Texas.  Donald was 52 years of age.  He was part of the “Texas 7,” a group of seven inmates who escaped from prison and killed Irving police officers Aubry Hawkins during a robbery of a sporting goods store.  Read the full story here.


As Ohio implements a new lethal injection protocol, it has postponed all 2015 executions, until the following year.  Read the whole story here.  Please view our Scheduled Executions for revised execution dates.


Following a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to hear arguments on the use of the execution drug midazolam, Oklahoma has asked that the upcoming executions of three inmates, Richard Glossip, John Grant, and Benjamin Cole be stayed until the Supreme Court makes it decision.  The request was granted.  Read more about the decision here.


Lawmakers in Lansing, Michigan plan to introduce a bill which would reinstate the death penalty for first degree murder of a peace or corrections officered killed while in the line of duty.  Michigan was the first English-speaking territory in the world to abolish the death penalty on March 1, 1847.  In 1963, the death penalty was constitutionally banned.  Those wishing to reinstate the death penalty face and uphill battle, as there are many groups who oppose such action.


A bill to allow Utah to carry out executions with a firing squad, has progressed to the house floor.  The bill would allow the state to carry out executions by firing squad if the state was unable to obtain the necessary execution drugs 30 days prior to the execution.


In Washington state, a senator has introduced a bill which would abolish the death penalty in the state.  Last year, Governor Jay Inslee imposed a moratorium on capital punishment.  If the bill were to be signed into law, it would convert all death sentences to life without the possibility of parole.


Some Alabama lawmakers are seeking to bring back the electric chair for executions.  The bill would allow the inmates to choose lethal injection or electrocution, however, if the state is unable to procure the necessary drugs, then the electric chair would be the automatic default method.  Executions are currently on hold in Alabama, due to the prolonged execution of Joseph Wood last year.


Following the announcement that Ohio would no longer be using the execution drug combination which caused the prolonged death of their father, the family of Dennis McGuire has dropped their lawsuit against the state and drug manufacturer.  Dennis McGuire was executed by Ohio in January of 2014.  His execution took longer than expected and, he did not appear to be fully unconscious due to the sounds he made.  His family was satisfied that no other inmate would die the way Dennis did, prompting them to drop the lawsuit.


Sacramento Superior Court Judge Shellyanne Chang has ruled that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation must adopt execution procedures after three years of delays.  California has not executed anyone since 2006.  There have been numerous legal challenges to the state’s execution protocol resulting in extended delays.  California has the largest death row in the nation.


A state representative in Arkansas, Rebecca Petty has proposed a bill which would allow the families of victims to watch executions.  Rebecca’s daughter was raped and murdered in 1999.  She states that the families of the victims, like hers, should have the right to “see to the last bit of business that their loved one has on the planet.”  Arkansas last execution was over 10 years ago, due to ongoing legal challenges and problems obtaining execution drugs.  There are currently 31 people on death row in Arkansas.