February 5, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 06


China: Tan Yongzhi, between February 2008, and April 2013, kidnapped 22 children.  Tan was also convicted of trafficking the children.  Sadly, not all of the parents of the children could be located.  Tan was sentenced to death for his crimes.


Two men, Tudeng Gusang and Tsering Banjue have been sentenced to death for the murder Akong Rinpoche, a British monk who founded Europe’s first Tibetan monastery.  Tudeng and Tsering were also convicted of killing two other men.  The triple murder occurred in Chedngdu, a south-western city, in 2013.



Iraq:  An unnamed 17-year-old Kurdish man was murdered in Mosul by members of the Islamic State, for allegedly cooperating with Kurdish forces against the terrorist group.  Elsewhere in the nation, approximately 17 youths have murdered by the Islamic State for killing a member of the Islamic State, raising an Iraqi flag, and cooperating with the Iraqi government against the terrorist group.  Many of the youths were hung from lamp posts after they were killed.



Pakistan:  On Thursday, February 4, 2016, Muhammad Jora, alias Mittho, was executed by hanging at Central Jail Multan.  He was executed for the murder of Nazir in 1996.  He killed Nazir over an old dispute the two had had.


On Thursday, February 4, 2016, Bilal Ahmed, alias Abu Abdullah, was executed by hanging at Kohat Central Jail.  Bilal was a member of the now banned terrorist group Tehreek-e-Taliban.  As a key member of the group, Bilal participated in several terrorist acts.



Saudi Arabia:  On Monday, February 1, 2016, Saudi national Ahmed al-Harbi was executed by beheading.  Ahmed was executed for the murder of Fahed al-Balawi during a quarrel.  Ahmed was executed in Tabuk, which is in the northern part of the kingdom.  He was the 56th execution of the year.


A panel of judges have overturned the death sentence of a Palestinian poet, Ashraf Fayadh.  Ashraf, who was sentenced to death for apostasy and spreading atheism, will still face eight years in prison and 800 lashes.  Supports of Ashraf have argued that he is being punished for filming and posting a video online which show police lashing a man.



United States of America:  On Wednesday, February 3, 2016, Brandon Astor Jones was executed by the state of Georgia.  Brandon was 73 years of age.  He was pronounced dead at 12:42 am, EST, after appeals delayed that start of his execution for several hours.  Read more about Brandon and his crime here.


All death penalty trials and penalty hearings in Delaware have been halted with the state Supreme Court considers the constitutionality of the way inmates are sentenced to death.  The Delaware Supreme Court accepted several questions regarding the state’s method of sentencing individuals to death after the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Florida’s method, of having juries submit sentencing recommendations to judges based on simply majorities, was unconstitutional.  Delaware has a similar system to Florida.


Over 20 legislators in South Dakota have sponsored a bill that will lead to the repeal of the death penalty in the state.  Last year, a similar bill failed to reach the main floor of the Senate.


Following the ruling regarding Florida’s execution sentencing process by the Supreme Court of the United States, the state is struggling to decide how to apply the ruling, specifically if the ruling is retroactive.  Cary Michael Lambrix was scheduled to be executed on February 11, 2016.  The Florida Supreme Court has granted him a stay of execution until such issues are cleared up.


A March 16, 2016, execution date has been set for Virginia death row inmate Ricky Gray.  Recently the state announced that it did not have the necessary drugs to carry out the execution.  With this news, a proposal is gaining steam that would force inmates to die by the electric chair if the state is unable to obtain the execution drugs.  Virginia currently gives inmates a choice between lethal injection and the electric chair.  The proposal, if approved would not go into affect before Ricky’s execution.


Last year, Utah reinstated the firing squad as a method of execution.  Now, the Utah legislature is considering another bill related to the death penalty.  If successful, this bill would allow for the death penalty if a child dies in the process of being trafficked for forced labor or sex.  Utah currently has nine inmates on death row, with the last execution being carried out in 2010.


Last year, lawmakers in Nebraska voted to repeal the death penalty in the state.  Supports of the death penalty began a drive to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot in 2016, which would allow the voters to decide if Nebraska should keep or abolish the death penalty in the state.  That drive was successful, gathering thousands more than the necessary signatures.  After the success of the drive, opponents to the death penalty filed a lawsuit claiming that the drive was invalid as Governor Pete Ricketts was not listed as a sponsor of the petition, despite donating $200,000 and politically supporting the repeal effort.  A district court judge has now ruled that Governor Ricketts did not need to be listed as a sponsor.  Those opposed to the death penalty plan to appeal this decision.