October 28, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 44


Barbados:  According to recent study by the Criminal Justice Unit, 80 percent of the population supports the nation retaining the death penalty.  The government had announced in 2014 that they planned to abolish the death penalty due to international pressure from human rights groups.  Capital punishment has not yet been abolished, and with the widespread support, politicians are uncertain as to its future on the island.  Barbados has not carried out an execution, which is by hanging, in 32 years.



China: On Wednesday, October 26, 2016, Li Xiuling was executed in Henan Province in central China.  Li was sentenced to death in December of 2015, after being convicted of strangling the five-year-old son of her neighbor in July of 2015.  Li then buried the boy in her garden.  Allegedly, Li murdered the child because she was jealous that he was healthy while her own grandson suffered from muscular atrophy.



Iran:  On Wednesday, October 18, 2016, 14 prisoners were executed by hanging at Karaj’s Ghezel Hesar Prison in northern Iran.  The names of the prisoners are as follows: Abbas Karma, Hamid Saber, Hamid Babaie, Hamid (Amir) Nazari, Peyman Sabalani, Ganjali Chekezadeh, Reza Sabzi, Khodamali Pirzadeh, Khashiar Ahani, Mehdi Geravand, Saeed Zakaria, Morteza Amini, Shahin Akbari, and Ali Akbar Reigi.  Not all the crimes were reported, although some were convicted on drug related charges.  Some had also been in prison for nearly a decade.


On Sunday, October 23, 2016, two Kurdish prisoners were executed by hanging in the prison of Salmas.  Their names and crimes were not reported.


On Monday, October 24, 2016, three prisoners were executed by hanging in Shiraz.    Two young brothers were also executed on Monday in Ahvaz.  Their names and crimes were not reported.


On Tuesday, October 25, 2016, five prisoners were executed by hanging.  All were convicted of drug related crimes.  Three of the prisoners were identified as Saeed Pourhassan, Mehrshad Kalhori, and Milad Beigdeli.  The remaining two were not identified.



Iraq: It has been reported that the Islamic State has recently carried out a mass murder, killing dozens of civilians, some of whom were children.  They also murdered approximately 200 former Iraqi security force members who refused to join the terrorist group.  In addition to the mass killing, tens of thousands of civilians were allegedly rounded up by the terrorist group to be used as human shields against advancing opposition forces.


Kenya:  President Uhuru Kenyatta has spared the lives of everyone on death row in the nation - over 2,000 individuals, men and women.  On Monday, October 24, 2016, the president signed documents sparring these individuals.  The former president performed a similar act in 2009.  Kenya has not carried out an execution since 1987, 29 years ago.



Pakistan:  The nation’s top court has recently ruled that schizophrenia is “not a permanent mental disorder” and is “therefore, a recoverable disease, which, in all cases, does not fall within the definition of ‘mental disorder’ as defined within the Mental Health Ordinance, 2001.”  The Supreme Court’s ruling came about due to an inmate, Imdad Ali, sentenced to death that has been diagnosed with schizophrenia.  The ruling has sparked outrage by human rights groups who have been working to stop executions of mentally disabled individuals.  The court has granted permission to allow time for Ali to receive medical treatment and prepare his will.



United States of America: Following the decision by a judge for the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, inmates in Missouri are appealing.  The judge ruled that Missouri was not required to release the name of the supplier of their execution drugs.  The supplier has informed the court that if their identity is made public, they will cease selling execution drugs to the state.  The judge agreed with the state and the supplier that it would place an undue burden on the supplier if the name was revealed.  Lawyers for death row inmates are asking that the court rehear the argument.


The death penalty measure on the ballot in Nebraska this November could be confusing if not properly understood.  To alleviate any misunderstanding, officials created public service announcements to air on the television and radio.  Voting “repeal” will be a vote to retain capital punishment, while voting “retain” is a vote to eliminate capital punishment.  Those opposed to the death penalty have argued that the announcements should be removed because they fail to mention that the state will continue to have life imprisonment if the death penalty stays repealed.  Those responsible for the ads have pulled them so that the debate will remain focused on the important issues.