November 11, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 46


Equatorial Guinea: Augusto Santos Silva, the foreign minister from Portugal has threatened that if Equatorial Guinea does not abolish capital punishment than their membership in the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries (CPLP) will be revoked.  He further said that such abolition must be immediate.  Abolition of the death penalty is one of three requirements to gain entry in the CPLP.  The main goal of the CPLP is to teach Portuguese, which is becoming a dying language.



Iran:  On Saturday, November 5, 2016, five prisoners, identified by initials only, were executed by hanging at two separate prisons.  In Lakan Prison in Rasht in northern Iran, one man convicted of murder and two convicted on drug related charges were executed by hanging.  Two others also convicted on drug related charges were executed at Parsilon Prison in Khorramabad in western Iran.


On Sunday, November 6, 2016, six prisoners were executed by hanging at Vakil Abad Prison in Mashhad.  The names and crimes of those executed were not reported.


On Monday, November 7, 2016, 24-year-old Hassan Kh was executed by hanging in Qazvin, in western Iran.  Hassan was executed for murdering two individuals in separate cases five years ago.


On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, two men were executed by hanging in Qorveh.  The two prisoners were identified as Mohammad Rasoul Heydari and Babak Hassan Zadeh.  Mohammad was convicted of murder, while Babak was convicted of possession and trafficking drugs.


On Wednesday, November 9, 2016, Mostafa K, a/k/a Saeed, was executed by public hanging in Payam Square in Shiraz, which is in southern Iran.  He was convicted of raping a woman one year ago.



Japan: Forty-five-year-old Kenichi Tajiri was executed by hanging on Friday, November 4, 2016, at the Fukuoka Detention Centre.  He was convicted of murdering two women, one in 2004, and another in 2011.  He is the third man to be executed this year in Japan.



United States of America: The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in California has sent a new execution protocol to the final administrative review.  The death penalty was halted in the state in 2006, after a federal judge had concerns over the three-drug execution protocol.  Now, officials have suggested four, single drug options, with the option most readily available to be used in executions.  Additionally, inmates have the option of choosing execution by gas.  The American Civil Liberties Union is already protesting the suggested options.  If approved, it is expected that death row inmates will also appeal the decision.  There are approximately 20, out of over 700, death row inmates in California that have exhausted their appeals.


Twenty-six-year-old Paul Ciencia has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 2013 rampage at Los Angeles International Airport which resulted in the death of a Transportation Security Administration official and three other individuals being injured.  In exchange for California prosecutors not seeking the death penalty, Paul pleaded guilty.


On November 8, 2016, many Americans had to opportunity to voice their opinion on the death penalty, as well as who they thought should be president.  Earlier this year in Nebraska, the legislature overrode a governor’s veto to outlaw the death penalty.  Action was immediately taken by death penalty supports to get the issue on the ballot in the November election.  The Governor donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign.  It was a success with 61.2 percent of voters voting to retain capital punishment.  Despite the vote however, it is uncertain when Nebraska will hold another execution.  There are currently 10 individuals on death row in the state.


Voters in California had two separate ballot questions about the death penalty.  One question asked if the death penalty should be repealed in the state.  The majority, 54 percent, elected to retain capital punishment.  Four years ago, California voted on a similar measure with the same result.  The second question sought to speed up executions in the state from the time of conviction.  Just under 51 percent of voters voted in favor of the referendum.  Opponents of the death penalty have asked that the California Supreme Court block the measure from taking effect.


In Oklahoma, voters were asked whether a section should be added to state the constitution declaring that, “any method of execution shall be allowed, unless prohibited by the United States Constitution.”  A total of 66.4 percent of voters voted in favor.  The vote also declared that the death penalty was not cruel on unusual.  The vote comes after the state has had several mis-steps with the death penalty, ultimately leading to state executions being put on hold pending a review.


Zimbabwe:  Ten death row inmates have been granted their request of clemency by the president.  Eighty others remain on death row.  Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is in charge of the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has also stated that the nation was considering the abolition of capital punishment, however when discussing the idea in 2012, the majority of lawmakers wanted to retain it.  Mnangagwa also stated that the government want to inform the public about capital punishment and hear what the people think.