November 4, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 45


Iran: Mostafa Pourmohammadi, the nation’s Justice Minister, is looking for effective alternatives to capital punishment.  He stated that he believed the death penalty should be kept for “corrupt people,” however he also believes the number of crimes eligible for the death penalty should be reduced.  In part, his belief stems from the observation that capital punishment does not seem to be an effective deterrent to the many crimes for which execution is an option.


On Monday, October 31, 2016, Sami Mamadi was executed by hanging at Salmas Prison in northwestern Iran.  Sami was executed on drug related charges.


On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, Iraj Hamedi was executed by hanging at Salmas Prison in northwestern Iran.  Iraj was executed on drug related charges.  Two other prisoners, Bakhtiar Khaledi and Shoresh Mirzapour were also executed at Salmas prison on drug related charges, although their day of execution was not reported.



Kazakhstan: Twenty-seven-year-old Ruslan Kulebayev has been sentenced to death for the murder of 10 individuals earlier this year.  Ruslan attacked a local police station, killing eight officers and two civilians.  Ruslan, a Muslim, claims he was motivated by religious conviction to avenge his “Muslim brothers.”  Kazakhstan currently has a moratorium on executions, established in 2003, however death sentences are still permitted to be given.



Pakistan: The European Union is threatening its trade relations with Pakistan if the nation continues to carry out executions.  Executions resumed in December of 2014, following a bombing at a school.  Since then, over 400 individuals have been executed.  Of particular concern, at the moment, is Imdad Ali, who allegedly suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, and is on death row.  Officials from the European Union claim that such an execution would violate a human rights agreement to which Pakistan agreed.



Saudi Arabia: Forty-five-year-old Bashir Al-Ghali, a Chadian national, was sentenced to death in the kingdom 15 years ago for murdering Sudanese national.  Al-Ghali was spared execution when the family of the victim forgave him (without blood money) and asked that he not be executed.  Following his release, Al-Ghali will be deported back to Chad.



Turkey:  Despite warning from the European Union, the nation’s Parliament is discussing the re-implementation of the death penalty.  Capital punishment in Turkey was officially banned in 2002, and no executions have taken place since 1984.  The European Union has said that if Turkey reinstates the death penalty, they will not be able to join the Union.  Leaders in Turkey have pointed out that they have been attempting to join the Union for over a decade with no success and that they need to the listen to the demands of the people they represent.  While Parliament will consider re-instating the death penalty, it is not clear if such a measure will be approved.



United States of America:  On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, Ramiro Gonzales had been scheduled to be executed in Texas.  Weeks before his execution, his name was removed from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s online execution calendar.  No reason was given for the removal of his execution date.  Ramiro is convicted of murdering 19-year-old Bridget Townsend on January 15, 2001, in Bandera, Texas.  Read more about Ramiro’s case here.


Thomas Douglas Arthur was scheduled to be executed on Thursday, November 3, 2016, in Jackson, Alabama.  His execution was initially delayed two hours by the Supreme Court of the United States while they considered his appeal.  His execution was later fully stayed by the Court.  Thomas is convicted of murdering 35-year-old Troy Wicker on Ferry 1, 1982 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.  Read more about Thomas’ case and his stay of execution here.


A three judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed challenges regarding Ohio law which would shield the identities of those who are involved in executions, including those who supply and manufacturer the execution drugs.  The court voted 2-1 against the death row inmates who had filed the lawsuit claiming that withholding the indentures was a violation of their constitutional rights.