September 23, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 39


Iran: On Thursday, September 22, 2016, Saeed T. was executed by hanging at the Neyriz sports stadium in southern Iran. His crime was not reported.



Iraq: On Friday, September 16, 2016, Ahmad Husni Shwahneh was executed by hanging.  Ahmad is a Palestinian and Jordanian national.  He was executed for collaborating with terrorist groups, although the groups were not specified.



Japan: In recent years, opposition to the death penalty in the nation has slowly increased, with concerns over the fairness of trials.  Next month, the Japan Federation of Bar Associates is expected to speak out against the death penalty and call for its abolition.  The current administration still supports the death penalty, executing 16 individuals since the current prime minster took officer four years ago.  The United Nations and European Union have repeatedly called for Japan to abolish the death penalty.


The High Court has dismissed the final appeal of 13 men who have been sentenced to death for their parts in releasing sarin gas in a Tokyo subway in 1995.  Twelve individuals were killed in the attack, while 50 others were left permanently disabled, and thousands of others were temporarily affected by the gas.  Executions are carrying out by hanging in the nation.



Philippines:  The Philippine bishops’ conference has spoken out against the reinstatement of the death penalty in the nation.  Recently elected President Duterte announced his support for the death penalty as he ran for the office.  Upon his election, lawmakers have introduced legislation to reinstate the death penalty.  The conference president has urged Catholic law makers to oppose the death penalty, arguing that it is not in alignment with the Catholic faith.


Since President Duterte has launched a crackdown on illegal drugs, including authorizing police and vigilantes to shoot drug dealers with no repercussions, over 3,000 individuals have been killed in just over two months.  President Duterte’s actions have caused criticism, with the European Union the latest to release a statement against his actions.  They have also spoken out against reinstating the death penalty, which has been abolished in every European Union nation, except one.


United States of America:  Voters in Nebraska will have to be careful at the voting booth in November, specifically regarding the death penalty question.  While the question is in compliance with the law, a simple, cursory scan of the question, could lead to a mistake in voting, as a vote to “retain” is a vote to eliminate the death penalty, while a vote to “repeal” would keep the death penalty legal. The reason for the confusion is due to the vote actually regarding a bill that seeks to eliminate the death penalty.


Voters in California will also face decisions about the death penalty at the voting booth this November.  There are two opposing proposals up for vote in the November election regarding the death penalty.  The first would eliminate the death penalty in the state.  A similar measure failed four years ago.  If this measure passes, all death sentences would be replaced with life in prison without parole.  The other measure seeks to speed up the death penalty in the state, which has been bogged down in the courts for the past decade.  Only 13 individuals have been executed in California since 1976.


It will be up to the Delaware Supreme Court to decide the fates of the 13 men who were sentenced to death.  Earlier this year, the court ruled that the state’s death penalty was unconstitutional, but left the fate of those sentenced to death uncertain.  Oral arguments are scheduled to begin on December 7.



Vietnam: Thirty-three-year-old Trang A Tang has been sentenced to death for leading a group that has trafficked over 1/2 a ton of heroin.  Eight associates were also sentenced to death.  Three others, including Tang’s wife and father, were sentenced to life in prison.