April 15, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 16


China: Twenty-eight-year-old Tao has been sentenced to death for the murder of her fiancee.  Tao, a former nurse, injected her fiancee with insult after drugging him to sleep.  She suspected him of cheating on her.



Iran:  On Saturday, April 9, 2016, five prisoners were executed by hanging at Rasht’s Lakan Prison in northern Iran.  All were executed on drug related charges.  Three of the men were identified as Rashid Kouhi, Seyed Javad Mirzadeh, and Hosssein Farhadi, while the other two were not named.



Pakistan: On Saturday, April 9, 2016, two brothers, Nasir Mehmood and Tahir Iqbal, were executed by hanging in a jail in Sialkot in eastern Pakistan.  The brothers were convicted of murdering six members of a family over a land dispute.  This execution occurred days after Amnesty International criticized the country for being ranked 3rd in number of executions in 2015.


On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, Adeel Shahzad was executed by hanging in Faisalabad Central Jail.  He was executed for the murder of his aunt Zahida Naseem and her three children on February 18, 2001.  Also executed by hanging on Tuesday, in Sahiwal District Jail, was Muhammad Ashraf, alias Achoo.  He was convicted of murdering another man in 2000.


On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, four prisoners were executed in four separate jails.  Anwarul Haq was executed in Multan for the 2000 murder of his brother over a land dispute.  Ghulam Farooq was executed in Sialkot prison for the 1999 murder of two women and a man during a family feud.  Muhammad Irfan was executed in Jhang prison for the murder of a women during a home robbery in 2006.  Waris Mirbahr was executed in Larkana jail for the 1995 murder of an individuals during a robbery.


Also on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, six inmates were executed by hanging in Gohardasht Prison.  The crimes of the six inmates - Ebad Mohammadi, Javad Sadeqi, Mohammad-Javad Mozzafari, Mostafa Ejlai, Hamzeh Dowlatabadi, and Mehdi Haq-Shenas - were not reported.


On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Imtiaz was executed in Haripur jail for the 2005 murder of another man.  Four other men were also scheduled to be executed on Thursday, however, their executions were halted for various reasons.


Somalia: Twenty-eight-year-old Abdirisak Mohamed Barow and 37-year-old Hassan Nur Ali Farah were executed by firing squad by the Somali military court for the 2015 murder of Hindiya Haji Mohamed, a female journalist for the state.  Both men were members of Al-Shabaab militant group.


On Monday, April 11, 2016, Hassan Hanafi Haji was executed by firing squad at the police academy in Mogadishu.  Hassan, who was extradited from Kenya last year, was a former journalist who had been convicted of killing five other Somali journalists after joining al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist group.



Sudan:  Twenty-two South Sudanese nationals have been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.  Three other individuals were sentenced to life in prison.  All were convicted of terrorism by belonging to a militant group in Darfur, in addition to fighting the state, bearing arms against the state, and undermining constitutional order.



Syria: The Islamic State has released a video showing the murder of two individuals.  One man, accused of being a homosexual, was thrown off a building and then pelted with stones.  The video also shows a blindfolded man beheaded and another prison getting his hand cut off.  Additionally, the video shows militant destroying and burning Christian relics.



Taiwan:  The nation reinstated capital punishment in 2010, following a five-year moratorium.  Since then the nation has carried out 32 executions.  On Saturday, April 10, 2016, thousands attended a rally in Taipei, supporting the continued use of capital punishment.  Lawmakers have considered in recent years abolishing the death penalty once again, however, the recent brutal beheading of a child, has sparked renewed interest and support, especially regarding the murder of children.



United States of America: Kenneth Fults was executed by the state of Georgia on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.  He was 47 years of age.  Kenneth was pronounced dead at 7:37 pm EDT.  He was executed for the 1996 murder of 19-year-old Cathy Bounds.  To find out more about Kenneth and his crime, click here.


Keith Allen Harward has spent the last 33 years in prison in Virginia.  On Friday, April 8, 2016, Keith walked out of prison, a free man.  Keith has been convicted of a 1982, rape and murder in Newport News, Virginia.  He had originally faced the death penalty, however his capital murder conviction was overturned in 1985, due to a loophole in the law.  Keith had always proclaimed his innocence.  The Virginia Supreme Court ordered Keith’s release, after DNA testing exonerated him.  Prior to his arrest, Keith was a member of the US Navy.   DNA testing pointed to one of Keith’s former shipmates, who died in an Ohio prison in 2006, as the possible perpetrator.  


Jack Harry Smith, the oldest man on death row in Texas, has died of natural causes in prison on Friday, April 8, 2016.  Jack was 78 years of age.  He was sent to death row in October of 1978, after being convicted of fatally shooting Roy A. Deputter during a robbery of a store in Houston, Texas on January 7, 1978.  Two witnesses testified against Jack, his co-conspirator and the cashier, however Jack maintained that he did not commit the crime.  Prior to his arrest, Jack worked as a welder and completed only six years of schooling.  He had previously been arrested and served time for robbery, assault, and theft.  He had also attempted to escape from prison in 1963.


A death row inmate in North Carolina, Jerry Cummings, died of natural causes on Saturday, April 9, 2016.  Jerry was 77 years of age.  Jerry was hospitalized at the time of his death.  Jerry was convicted of the murder of 76-year-old Jesse Ward in 1986, in Maxton, North Carolina.  Jesse and Jerry had a dispute over a dog.  Jerry’s grandson, Paul Cummings, is also on death row in North Carolina.


On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Douglas Belt, an inmate on death row in Kansas, died in the El Dorado Correctional Facility.  He was 54 years of age.  The cause of death was not reported.  Douglas, a former truck driver was convicted or the rape and murder of 43-year-old Lucille Gallegos on June 24, 2002.  Douglas had a history of attacking women, from 1989 until 1996, when he was arrested and served time for burglary, along with other violent crimes.


Lawyers representing the state of Arizona have asked that a federal judge dismiss a lawsuit which challenges the way executions are carried out in the state.  Currently, the lawsuit is preventing the state from carrying out any executions.  The lawsuit originated following the 2014 execution of Joseph Wood, which took nearly two hours to complete, during which Joseph was reportedly gasping for air.  The state hopes to resume executions before its current supply of execution drugs expire.


Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has refused to sign a bill which would restore the electric chair as Virginia’s default method of execution, which had been passed by both the state House and Senate.  Instead the governor has requested that it be amended to allow for the state to use secret batches of specially mixed drugs.  The amendment would also protect the identities of those who make the execution drugs.  A similar measure was rejected by the Virginia House of Representatives earlier this year.


Alfred Dewayne Brown, a former Texas death row inmate who has since been exonerated and released, asked the state for compensation for his time spent behind bars.  Texas has recently announced that since Alfred has never been formally declared “actually innocent,” he is not eligible to receive compensation.  Alfred’s attorneys have announced that they are prepared to go to court and fight for compensation for the over 12 years Alfred spent in prison, insisting upon his innocence.  Read more about Alfred’s exoneration here.