August 7, 2015

IDPN 2015  Issue 32


Chad: Six months ago, lawmakers in Chad voted to abolish the death penalty.  Now, in response to recent attacks by Boko Haram, lawmakers in Chad have voted to reintroduced the death penalty for acts of terrorism.  Lawmakers have also made it illegal to wear burqas or full-face veils, following several suicide bombings by individuals wearing such attire.


On Thursday, July 30, 2015, four men were executed by firing squad in the capital city of N’Djamena.  All were executed for the murder of a Sudanese businessman.  Three other convicted murders were also executed in N’Djamena, while a fourth man, also convicted of murder, was executed in Abeche, in eastern Chad.  These were the first executions in the nation since 1991.



Iran: On Tuesday, July 28, 2015, 10 unnamed individuals were secretly executed by hanging in Qum.   Their names and crimes were not reported.


On Wednesday, July 29, 2015, four unidentified prisoners were executed by hanging in Isfahan’s Dastgerd Prison.  All were executed for drug related charges.


On Saturday, August 1, 2015, three prisoners were executed by handing at Lakan Prison in Rasht.  All of the inmates were identified by initials only.  Two were executed on drug related charges, while the third was executed for murder.


On Sunday, August 2, 2015, a man, identified by initials only, was publicly executed by hanging in Eqlid, in southern Iran.  He was executed on drug related charges.


On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, four unnamed prisoners were executed by hanging in the prison of Yazd in central Iran.  All were executed for possession and trafficking of drugs.



Iraq: The Islamic State has released another set of photos which allegedly show a blindfolded man being thrown off a silo, killing him.  The man was accused of being a homosexual.  The execution was public and several children were in the crowd.


Pakistan: Recent documents have revealed that Faisal Mehmood, who was executed on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, was a juvenile, under the age of 18, at the time of his crime.  Faisal was initially sentenced to life in prison following his murder conviction, however, the Pakistani Supreme Court later sentenced him to death.  According to Pakistani law, and international human rights law, a person cannot be sentenced to death if they were under the age of 18 at the time of their offense.  This is not the first time Pakistan has been accused of executing an individual for a crime committed as a minor. 


On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Shafqat Hussain was executed by hanging in Central jail Karachi.  Shafqat was convicted of the murder of a seven-year-old boy in 2004.  Shafqat’s execution was highly controversial, as there was evidence to suggest that Shafqat was a minor at the time of the crime, which would have made him ineligible for the death penalty, however other evidence shows that he was over the age of 18.  Additionally, Human Rights groups protested the execution, saying that Shafqat’s confession was coerced and given after several days of torture.


Also on August 4, 2015, Laghir Maseeh was executed at Sialkot District Jail for the abduction and murder of a child.  Ghulam Rasool was executed at Gujrat District jail for the murder of a student in 2000.


On Thursday, August 6, 2015, three death row inmates were executed by hanging.  At Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, Inamullah and Shafqat were both executed for murder.  Tariq Eiahi was executed at Gujranwala Central Jail for the murder of his niece in 2001.



Saudi Arabia: On Thursday, July 30, 2015, Syrian national Qassem Mohammed al-Hilal was executed by beheading.  Qassem was executed for smuggling amphetamine pills into the nation.


On Friday, July 31, 2015, Shah Faisal Azeem Shah, a Pakistani, was executed by beheading for attempting to smuggle drugs into the kingdom.  The drugs were hidden inside his body.


On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Mugrib al-Thanyan was executed by beheading.  Mugrib was executed for the murder of a fellow citizen.  He was the 110th individual to be executed this year in the kingdom.


On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, two Ethiopians, a Pakistani, and a Saudi were executed by beheading.  Three of the individuals were not named.  The two Ethiopians were executed in Jizan, in the southwestern part of the kingdom, for murder.  The Pakistani, Asmat Hayat, was executed on drug related charged in Jeddah, in the western part of the kingdom.  Asmat, a father of six, alleged that he was kidnapped and forced to smuggle drugs or have harm come to his family.  Additionally, there are claims that Asmat was denied legal representation during his trial, which was conducted in a langue that he could not understand.  The Saudi was executed for murder, also in Jizan.


On May 15, 2012, an Indonesian migrant worker, Rika Mustikawati, was sentenced to death for practicing witchcraft.  Rika eventually won a new trial and received a reduced sentence.  She was supposed to be returned to Indonesia on Tuesday, July 28, 2015, however, she was detained in Saudi Arabia.  A new return data has not yet been schedule.  The reason for the delay was due to administrative issues.


Indonesian officials have managed to secure the release of 12 citizens from death row in Saudi Arabia.  The 12 include Rika Mustikawati.  Most of those being released have been convicted of murder.



Sudan: Two South Sudanese pastors, Yat Michael, and Peter Reith a/k/a David Yein Reith, have been released.  The two men were arrested and facing trial for espionage, offending Islamic beliefs, and other crimes, which could have resulted in the death penalty if found guilty.  Their arrest prompted international outrage, as they were held without charges and denied access to a lawyer or the families for several months.



United States of America: The Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear arguments challenging the way Florida sentences individuals to death.  Florida only requires a majority vote in order to recommend that a judge sentence an inmate to death - most states required an unanimous decision.


Cathy Lynn Henderson, a former Texas death row inmate, died on Sunday, August 2, 2015.  Cathy had her death sentence overturned in 2012, after pleading guilty to murder.  She was given a reduced sentence of 25 years, with credit for time served.  Cathy died in a hospital after being diagnosed with pneumonia and had a stoke during her stay.  Read more about her story here.


James Holmes, the man convicted of killing 12 individuals and wounding 70 others during a shooting of a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, has been sentenced to life in prison.  James was eligible for the death penalty, however, the jury had to unanimously agree to a sentence of death.  Attorneys for James have argued that James is mentally ill and therefore ineligible for the death penalty, although the jury had previously rejected an insanity plea.  Jurors deliberated for approximately seven hours before arriving at their sentencing decision.