October 16, 2015

IDPN 2015  Issue 42


World Day Against the Death Penalty was Saturday, October 10, 2015.  Around the world, individuals gathered in various nations to oppose the death penalty.  Many European nations protested the use of the death penalty in Iran.  European nations have recently become more and more upset that money being given to help fight the drug war in Iran is being used to sponsor executions.  Protests in nations that support the death penalty called upon the governments to issue a moratorium on capital punishment.  Read more about the day here.



India: Twenty-eight-year-old Thomas Alva Edison, a contractor, has been sentenced to death for murdering at least three of his co-workers by setting them on fire in February of 2009, in Tamil Nadu.  At least three were killed for monetary gain by avoiding paying them their wages.


Shatrughan Masram has been given a double-death, double-life sentence for the rape and murder of his two-year-old niece on February 11, 2013.  His rare sentence has been upheld by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court.



Iran: On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, three men were executed by hanging at Gohardasht (Rajai-Shahr) Prison in Karaj.  The names and crimes of those executed were not reported.


On Saturday, October 10, 2015, also World Day Against the Death Penalty, three individuals were executed in the central prison of Rasht, in northern Iran.    The names and crimes of the individual who were executed was not reported.


On Sunday, October 11, 2015, Mohsen Tayma was executed by hanging in the courtyard of the Bandar Abbas Prison in southern Iran.  Mohsen was convicted of murder and had spent the 15 previous years in prison.


On Monday, October 12, 2015, eight prisoners were executed by hanging in Orumieh.  The names of the prisoners were not released, however all were convicted on drug related changes.  Also on Monday, three prisoners were publicly executed in Kazeroun in southern Iran.  The names of the three prisoners were not reported, however, all were convicted of “Moharebeh,” or waging war against God. 


On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 23-year-old Fatemeh Salbehi was executed by hanging in Adelabad prison in Shiraz, in southern Iran.  Fatemeh was convicted of murdering her 31-year-old husband Hamed Sadeghi when she was 16 years of age.  Human rights group spoke out against the execution, claiming the execution violates Iran’s international obligations.  Additionally, they oppose the execution because Fatemeh was a minor at the time of the crime and she did not have access to attorneys during her interrogation.


On Thursday, October 15, 2015, two unnamed men were executed by hanging at the central prison of Ardebil.  Neither their names, nor their crimes, were reported.



Pakistan:  On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, eight death row inmates were executed by hanging in various jails.  In Attock District Jail, Muhammad Ashram was executed for the murder of a father and son in 2003.  The murder occurred over a land dispute.  In District Jail Gujrat, brothers Aslam and Azam were executed for the murder of Aslam’s father-in-law in 1999.  In Central Jail Multan, Shafeeq and Akram were executed.  Shafeeq was executed for the 1992, murder of a youth, while Akram was executed for killing a man over a land dispute.  In New Central Jail in Bahawalpur, Thanedar and brothers Ghulam Qadir and Ghulam Sarwar were all executed.  Thanedar was executed for murdering his wife and father-in-law during a family dispute.  The two brothers killed Qadir’s daughter and son-in-law.


On Thursday, October 15, 2015, at least seven inmates were executed by hanging throughout Pakistan.  In Multan  Central Jail, Zamani was executed for the murder of Punjab chief minister Ghulam Haider Wyne in September of 1993.  In Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, Zareen was executed for murdering two brothers, while Rab Nawaz was executed for the murder of an unnamed man.  In Dera Ghazi Khan’s Central Jail, brothers Ghulam Akbar and Hazoor Buksh were executed for murdering two men in 1996.  In Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat Jail, Abdul Sami was execute for murdering a man following a petty dispute.  In Bahawalpur’s New Central Jail, Muhammad Hassan was executed of the murder of women and her 15-year-old son.



Saudi Arabia: A 25-year-old male public employee is charged, along with two others, of kidnapping, raping, and robbing a female college student.  Allegedly, the women was waiting for a taxi, when the man offered to give her a ride.  Refusing the offer at first, she eventually accepted.  When the man took a different route, she demanded to be released.  He refused, taking her to an abandoned building where two of his friends were waiting.  The three raped the women, beat her up, and took picture of her with their phones.  They then robbed her, asked her for forgiveness, and left.  Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the man who kidnapped the girl.


On Tuesday, October 13, 2015, Ali Assiri was executed by beheading in Abha, in the southern part of the kingdom.  Ali was convicted of the murder of a policeman while he was being arrested.



Singapore: Forty-one-year-old Belgian expatriate Philippe Graffart, a financial executive, has been arrested and charged with the murder of his 5-year-old son, Keryan, who was found in his bedroom with hand-shaped bruises around his neck.  It is believed that Philippe and his wife were fighting for custody of the child.  If convicted, Philippe could be sentenced to death by hanging, upsetting many in Belgium.



Sri Lanka: There are 1,116 inmates on death row in the nation, however no executions have been carried out since 1976.  Executions are carried out by hanging and the government has recent hired two new executioners, after the previously hired executioner quit shortly after seeing the gallows for the first time.  In 2013, the two hired executioners failed to report to work.  The nation does not expect executions to resume anytime soon and described the job as “light administrative work only.”



United States of America: On Wednesday, October 14, 2015, Licho Escamilla was executed by the state of Texas.  He was pronounced dead at 6:31 pm CDT, inside the execution chamber at the Walls Unit of the Huntsville State Penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas.  Licho was 33 years of age.  He was executed for the murder of 34-year-old Christopher Kevin James, an off-duty police officer working security at a nightclub, on November 25, 2001.  Read Licho’s full story here.


The executions of eight men in Arkansas have been temporarily stayed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.  The inmates are arguing that the state’s method of execution is unconstitutional.  They have also argued that the state law that shields the identities of those who supply execution drugs violates an earlier agreement made with inmates by the state.  Judge Griffen has ordered that the state release information about the execution drug supplier by October 21, 2015.


Death Penalty Focus, an anti-death penalty group in California, sought to repeal the death penalty in the state in 2012.  In a statewide vote, voters elected to retain the death penalty.  The group is now preparing to once again put the issue on the ballot for the 2016 election.  The effort is led by Mike Farrell, an actor who portrayed Army Captain BJ Hunnicutt on the hit television show M*A*S*H.  California has only carried out 13 executions since the death penalty was reinstated in the state in 1978.