May 20, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 21


Iran: On Thursday, May 12, 2016, 35-year-old Behram Mohammadi was executed by hanging in Maragheh Prison.  Behram spent five years in prison prior to his execution.  He was convicted on drug-related offenses.


On Saturday, May 14, 2016, three prisoners, ages 22, 26, and 31, were executed by hanging in the Central Prison of Rasht, in northern Iran.  The prisoners were not identified by name, nor were their crimes reported.


On Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at least 13 individuals were executed by hanging, including one man who was publicly executed.  In the Central Prison of Urmia in northwest Iran, Naji Keywan, Nader Mohammadi, Ali Shamugardian, Aziz Nouri-Azar, Fereydoon Rashidi, and Heidar Amini, were all executed on drug related charges.  An unnamed individual was publicly executed in Mashhad in northeast Iran.  His crime was not reported.  Six unnamed individuals were hanged in a central Iranian province.  Their crimes were also not reported.


On Wednesday, May 18, 2016, five men were executed by hanging.  In the Central Prison of Urmia (Orumieh), in north-west Iran Dariyoush Farajzadeh and Ghafour Qaaderzadeh were executed.  Their crimes were not reported.  In a prison in Yasuj, a 26-year-old man and 34-year-old man were executed.  Their names and crimes were not reported.  A 31-year-old man, identified by initials only was executed in a prison in Sari, in northern Iran.



Philippines:  President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was known during his campaign for his tough on crime stance, with his history as the mayor of Davao to back-up his stance.  Now, as president-elect, Duterte has vowed to reintroduce capital punishment in the nation, as well as give security officials permission to shoot to kill.  If Duterte has his way, the Philippines will use hanging as its method of capital punishment.  Opponents to the death penalty have said that Duterte is unable to reinstate the death penalty himself and must have the approval of the House, which would not be easy.



Saudi Arabia:  On Tuesday, Mary 17, 2016, Mohammed Ishaq Thawab Gul, a Pakistani national, was executed, likely by beheading.  Mohammed was convicted of trafficking heroin into the kingdom.  He was the 93rd individual executed in the kingdom so far this year.



Singapore: Thirty-two-year-old Kho Jabing was executed by hanging on Friday, May 20, 2016, at Changi Prison Complex.  Kho, a Malaysian native, worked in Singapore prior to being convicted of murdering a Chinese construction worker in 2010.  Kho’s execution was protested by the European Union and Amnesty International.  The day before his execution, Kho was granted a stay of execution, which was later lifted, allowing the execution to proceed on Friday, although later than intended.  Singapore traditionally carries out executions at dawn.



United States of America:  The drug company Pfizer has announced that it will no long make its drugs available for use in state-sanctioned executions.  Pfizer was the only US drug company to still allow its drugs to be used in executions, specifically midazolam.  European drug manufactures have also forbidden the use of their drugs in executions, threatening to no longer to ship to the United States if buyers did not sign and agreement stating that the drugs would not be resold for use in executions.  Refusal by drug companies to allow their drugs to be used in executions has many states reverting to buying execution drugs from compounding pharmacies.


Due to the difficulty obtaining execution drugs, Utah is once again, looking at execution by firing squad.  Last year, legislatures passed a bill stating that if Utah did not have lethal injection drugs available at the time a death warrant is to be imposed, than the execution will be carried out by firing squad.


Florida death row inmate Pablo Ibar, originally from Spain, may soon be removed from death row.  Pablo was convicted of being part of a triple murder in 1994, although he has always proclaimed his innocence.  The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that he is to receive a new trial due to mistakes made during the first trial and a lack of physical evidence.  Recent DNA evidence has revealed that Pablo’s DNA was not on the shirt used by the killer, alleged to be Pablo, to cover his face.


The announcement by Pfizer will not affect Indiana executions, according to the state’s Department of Corrections.  Two years ago, Indiana allegedly stockpiled executions drugs for lethal injection, the only method permissible for executions by state law.  The department did not say when these drugs would expire.  Indiana has not executed an inmate since 2009, and is not likely to carry out any executions soon, as all death row inmates still have years of appeals ahead of them.


With Pfizer’s recent announcement, states are having more and more trouble obtaining drugs to be used in executions.  California is considering allowing the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to manufacture the drugs necessary to use in executions.  It should be noted, however, that Pfizer’s announcement would not directly affect California, as none of the drugs produced by the company are approved for use in California executions.  California has not executed anyone in over a decade, despite having the largest death row, by far, in the United States.


US District Judge Neil Wake has upheld the temporary halt on executions in Arizona while death row inmates pursue a lawsuit protesting the way Arizona has used the death penalty, although part of that lawsuit was dismissed by Judge Wake during his ruling.  Arizona had asked to be allowed to proceed with executions, as some of their execution drugs are set to expire on May 31.


This November in California, voters will not only be voting for president and legislatures, but also on two death penalty measures.  The first is the same as in 2012; a measure to abolish the death penalty in the state.  The second measure is the Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act, which seeks to reform California’s death penalty laws so that they can be fairy and appropriate applied for the most heinous of crimes.  It also seeks to speed up appeals, through various methods including increasing the pool of defense attorneys and by assigning attorneys at sentencing as opposed to waiting for years to be assigned one.


An investigation into executions in Oklahoma has been concluded.  The investigation determined that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections made mistakes in how it handled the last two scheduled executions, one of which was halted just hours before it was scheduled to begin, when the Department realized it had the wrong drug for the execution.  It was later discovered that the wrong drug was also used during a previous execution.  Three of individuals named as responsible for the mistakes have since resigned from their positions.