November 25, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 48


Iran:  On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, four unnamed individuals were publicly executed by hanging in Qeshm, Iran.  The four individuals were all convicted of raping a girl in 2014.


On Thursday, November 24, 2016, Mohsen Jamali, Yasser Kavyani, Davoud Totalzehi, and Asef Mohammad Saeedpour were executed by hanging in Gilan province in northern Iran at the Karaj Central prison.  All were executed on drug related charges.  Also executed was Jamshid Tahami, at Mahabad Prison.  He was convicted of drug related charges.  Two other unnamed prisoners were also reportedly executed on Thursday, at Jame Jam prison in northern Iran, for unknown charges. 



Pakistan:  Before retiring, Army chief General Raheel Sharif confirmed the death sentence of 10 “hardcore terrorists.”  All 10 were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of four commandoes who had been captured and for carrying out attacks on Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Agencies of Pakistan, which resulted in the death of several soldiers.


After 24 years on death row, Mazhar Farooq was released from Peshawar Central Prison.  The Supreme Court acquitted Mazhar due to inconclusive evidence.  Mazhar had been convicted of murder in 1992.



United States of America: The conviction and death sentence of Louisiana inmate Rodricus Crawford has been thrown out and he has been granted a new trial by the Louisiana Supreme Court.  The new trial was ordered due to racial discrimination by the prosecutors during jury selection.  Rodricus had been convicted in 2013, of killing his one-year-old son.  Rodricus was sleeping next to the boy and awoke to find him non-responsive.  Prosecutors argued that he smothered the boy, while the defense claims that the boy had pneumonia and could have died from natural causes.  Rodricus has since been released on bond.


Two state senators in New Jersey, a Republican and a Democrat, have introduced a bill that would restore capital punishment in select cases.  The senators point to recent terrorist attacks and ambushes of police officers as the reasons for needing to bring back the death penalty in the state.  New Jersey abolished the death penalty in 2007.  Opponents of capital punishment vow to fight against any legislation that would bring it back, no matter how restrictive.  If passed, the death penalty in New Jersey would only apply to those who murder a police officer, murder a child during a sex crime, terrorists, serial killers, and murders by those who had previously been convicted of murder.


The Florida Supreme Court has overturned, by a vote of 7-0, the death sentence of Richard Franklin, who was convicted of murdering a prison guard on March 12, 2012, after have previously been convicted and given a life sentence for the murder of another individual in 1994.  The jury in Richard’s case voted 9-3 in favor of the death penalty.  Richard will be given a new sentencing trial.  Earlier this year, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that juries must unanimously agree to recommend a death sentence.  When the Court made its decision, it did not declare if the ruling was to be applied retroactively.  Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi has requested that the Court clarify their ruling.


US District Judge has ruled that Dylann Roof is competent to stand trial.  Dylann has been charged in federal court with hate crime, obstruction of religion, and other charges.  He has been charged with murder in state court.  In 2015, Dylann entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina and killed nine worshippers.  His lawyers attempted to argue that Dylann was mentally incompetent to stand trial.  Both federal and state judges have ruled that Dylann is mentally fit to stand trial.


Vietnam:  A 73-year-old Australian women, Nguyen They Huong received the death penalty after being convicted of trafficking heroin.  A court has now reduced her death sentence to life in prison due to her age and her sincere confession.