May 6, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 19


Bangladesh:  Four men have been convicted and sentenced to death for committing war crimes during the 1971 Liberation War.  A fifth man was also convicted and sentenced to life in prison, until death.  All five were members of Razakar Bahini, an auxiliary force of the Pakistani army at the time.  They were charged with mass killing, murder, confinement, torture, arson, and looting.  Only one of the five was present for the trial.  The others remain at large.



China: Fifty-two-year-old Liu Jiqiang has been acquitted of the February 14, 1998, murder of his girlfriend.  The date of the murder inspired the press to label Liu as the “Valentine’s Day killer.”  After his conviction, Liu was sentenced to death and spent the next two decades on death row.  He was, in part, convicted based on his confession, which he later alleged was given after being tortured and illegally questioned.  The Higher People’s Court of Jilin province overturned the conviction due to insufficient evidence. 


Forty-six-year-old He Tiandai has been sentenced to immediate execution.  Tiandai, a nanny for an elderly woman, was convicted of killing her charge in the hopes of receiving her pay quicker.  The murder occurred four days after Tiandai was hired.  Upon hiring, she was told that if her job ended before the end of the first month, she would still be payed in full.  Tiandai killed her victim by poisoning her with sleeping pills and insecticide, however, when that was unsuccessful, Tiandai strangled her charge.  Tiandai also admitted to nine other attempted murders using similar methods.  Only two of those murders were not successful.



Indonesia: On April 29, 2015, Indonesia carried out the execution of eight individuals, including the two Australians convicted of being the ringleaders of the Bali 9 drug smuggling ring.  Their execution was carried out amidst protests by the Australian government.  Now, one year later, Indonesia has announced that it is prepared to carry out another round of executions, although the government has refused to when the next round of executions will occur and who will be executed.



Iran: On Thursday, April 28, 2016, two prisoners, Mehdi Bagherzadeh and Esmaeil Tanabi were executed by hanging at the Central Prison of Karaj, west of Tehran.  They were sentenced to death for trafficking drugs.  Two others, including Mehdi’s brother, was also scheduled to be executed, however, their executions were not carried out.


On Sunday, May 1, 2016, a prisoner identified by initials only was executed by hanging at Nahavand Prison in the western part of the nation.  He was executed after being convicted of murder.  Two other unnamed prisoners were also executed by hanging on Sunday.  They were executed at Mashhad Central Prison in northeastern Iran.  One of the men was executed for murder, while the other was executed for rape.


On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, two unnamed prisoners were executed by hanging at Ardebil Central Prison.  Both were charged and convicted on drug related charges.



Pakistan: Eleven members of the militant group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan were sentenced to death on terrorism-related charges.  The terrorist group is waging a bloody insurgency against the military and the government, including killing and kidnapping civilians, attacking armed forces and the police, and destroying schools and communications infrastructure.  Each of the 11 convicted men were tried by a military court.


On Monday, May 1, 2016, three individuals, identified by initials only, were executed by hanging at two separate prisons.  Two of the individuals were executed on unrelated murder charges, while the third was charged with rape.


On Monday, May 2, 2016, a man identified as Avaz, was executed by public hanging in Nur.  He was convicted of murder.


On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Reza Hosseini, Majid Imani, Abdolhamid Bameri, and Ahmad Altafi, were executed by hanging at Ghezel Hesar Prison in Karaj in northern Iran.  All four men were convicted on drug charges.


On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Asghar Ali was executed by hanging.  He was convicted of murdering his brother, his brother’s wife, and their four children in 2007, over a property dispute.  Another man, Haq Nawaz, was also scheduled to be executed, however, his execution was halted after an agreement was reached with the family of the women he murdered.



Saudi Arabia:  On Wednesday, May 4, 2016, Mufreh Al Harissi was executed in the south-western Jazan province, likely by beheading.  Mufreh was convicted of murder.


On Thursday, May 5, 2016, Maher al-Ghurabli, a Jordanian national, was executed in northwestern Tabuk, which borders Jordan.  Maher was convicted of attempted to smuggle amphetamine pills into the kingdom.  He was the 91st individual executed so far this year.



Taiwan: Forty-nine-year-old Chang Ho-ling has had his death sentence commuted to life in prison.  Chang has been convicted of murdering his wife and two daughters in 2006, in order to pursue a new life with the woman whom with he was having an affair.


Forty-nine-year-old Cheng Hsing-tse, a former death row inmate, has been released from prison on bail, pending a retrial.  He was convicted of murdering police officer Su Hsien-pi in 2002.  New evidence has raised doubts about his conviction.  Cheng has also alleged that he was tortured and coerced into confessing.



United States of America:In mid-April Texas Department of Criminal Justice added a new rule to their 146—page Offender Orientation Handbook: prisoners are “prohibited from maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging other, through a 3rd party or otherwise.”  Since this new rule has been announced, prisoners and others have been asking what this new rule means.  The broad and vague wording of the rule has led many to fear that maintaining blogs, or updating people through Facebook and Twitter regarding the status of an inmate’s case or daily life and struggles, may lead to the inmates themselves being punished.  Some, including exonerated death row inmate Anthony Graves, are concerned that this new law is an attempt to prevent groups and individuals from raising awareness about inmates, especially when the inmate claims that they are innocent of the crime for which they have been convicted.



Vietnam:  Forty-year-old Lee Loke Dah, originally from Singapore, has been sentenced to death for trafficking 2.5 kilograms of heroin.  Lee alleged that he had stolen the bag with the drugs from a stranger at a hotel and was unaware it contained drugs.  These claims were rejected.