October 7, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 41


Belarus: For the third time this year, the Supreme Court has upheld a death sentence.  Thirty-three-year-old Siarhei Vostrykau was sentenced to death in May of this year for murder, rape, sexual assault, and theft.  Belarus is the only European nation that retains the death penalty.



China: Wang Yuefu was executed on Friday, September 30, 2016.  Wang was convicted of setting a fire which killed a farmer and injured three others.  The fire was in retaliation to a dispute over land.


Yang Qingpei, in his mid-twenties, has been accused of killing his parents over a dispute about money on Wednesday, September 28, 2016, in Yema.  Yang then went on to kill 17 neighbors, a mix of male and females from ages three to 72, in an attempt to prevent anyone from identifying him.



Iran:  On Thursday, September 29, 2016, eight prisoners, identified as Behram Pirkozadegan, Ismael Ayoubi, Karam Kolshi, Ghader Mahmoudi, Effendi Omri, Karim (Reza) Abdollahzadeh, Farad Maleki, and Molouk Noori, were executed by hanging at Urmia’s central prison in northwestern Iran.  All were executed on drug related charges.  Reports also indicate that 75 individuals have been executed during the month of September.


On Friday, September 30, 2016, 37-year-old Mehdi N. was executed by public hanging in Neyshabur.  Allegedly Mehdi was arrest two weeks prior to his execution.  He was convicted of rape and murder.



Saudi Arabia: On Thursday, September 29, 2016, three prisoners were executed.  Pakistani national Amjad Hussein Ashraf Shah was executed in Jeddah for smuggling heroin.  Fellow Pakistani national Ayub Khan Manqal Khan was also executed for heroin trafficking.  Saudi national Saqr bin Shawi bin Meklhaf Al-Saadi Al-Sulbi was executed in Rafha for the murder of Talal bin Saad bin Farhan Al-Saadi, a fellow Saudi national.  Executions in the kingdom are typically carried out by beheading with a sword.


On Monday, October 3, 2016, Zamzam Abdullah Boric was executed in Riyadh, convicted of murder.  Boric, and Ethiopian national was convicted of murdering a Saudi child by slitting her throat and leaving her in a bathroom to die.  Boric was the 124th individuals executed in the kingdom so far this year.



Tunisia:  Thirty-one individuals have been sentenced to death for their parts in the 2014 attack on the home of the interior minister Lotfi Ben Jeddou.  All 31 individuals, which were a mix of Algerian and Tunisian nationals, were sentenced in absentia.  The attack on the house left four police officers dead.  They were also convicted of being members of a terrorist group.  Fifteen others were sentenced to various prisoner terms.



United States of America:  On Wednesday, October 5, 2016, Barney Fuller was executed by the state of Texas.  He was 58 years of age.  Barney was executed for the murder of 39-year-old Annette Copland and her husband, 43-year-old Nathan Copland on May 14, 2003.  Read more about the case here.


The Alabama Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s current execution sentencing procedure is constitutional.  Alabama is now the only state in the nation that allows a judge to override the recommendation of a jury to sentence an inmate to death.  Death row inmate Mario Woodward was sentenced to death by a judge after a jury recommend life in prison.  Before the Alabama Supreme Court, lawyers for Mario argued that in light of Hurst v Florida his death sentence should be overturned.  The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that there were significant difference between the way judges were allowed to override the recommendation of the jury in the two states.


After a three year halt to execution in the state, Ohio plans to resume executions in January of 2017.  Ohio paused executions in the state following the problematic execution of Dennis McGuire in January of 2014.  Dennis was the first inmate to be executed using a new execution protocol.  The state will continue to use the same sedative, however they will change the remaining two drugs.  The state has not responded to questions regarding how/when the state obtains the execution drugs.


The House of Representatives in New Mexico have voted 36-30 to reinstate the death penalty.  The bill would apply to those who murder police officers, corrections officer, and children.  Those who commit those crimes would be eligible to receive the death penalty, but the prosecution would not be required to pursue such punishment.  The bill will now move onto the Senate, although it is uncertain if the Senate will discuss the issue prior to the end of the special legislative session.  New Mexico abolished the death penalty in 2009.


Freddie Lee Hall has been removed from death row in Florida.  The 71-year-old man has had his death sentence commuted to life in prison due to mental incompetency, making him ineligible to be executed.  Freddie has been convicted of the rape and murder of 21-year-old Karol Hurst on February 21, 1978, in Leesburg, Florida.  Sheriff Deputy Lonnie Coburn was also killed later that same day after an encounter with Freddie prior to his arrest.