December 2, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 49


Bangladesh:  Six people - 25-year-old Bagha Sujon, 25-year-old Sohag Chandra Das, 30-year-old Ershad, 30-year-old Saddam, 32-year-old Samir Chandra Das, and 33-year-old Bilal - have been sentenced to death for the murder of Ayub, an ice factory worker.  Allegedly, due to a complaint filed by Ayub, Sujon was fired from his job at the ice factory.  The altercation and murder took place in 2008.  Each of the six convicted and sentenced to death have also been fined Tk 10,000.



Belarus:  In the last month (November), the nation has allegedly executed three of the four men on death row.  Belarus is the only nation in Europe to continue to carry out executions.  The executions were reported by Amnesty International.  Official sources have not confirmed the executions.  The three men thought to be executed are Siarhei Khmialeuski, Ivan Kulesh, and Hyanadz Yakavistski.  Executions are carried out by a single gunshot to the back of the head.  The fate of the fourth death row inmate, Siarhei Vostrykau, is unknown.  Executions are carried out in secret, with families not being informed of the pending execution.



Indonesia:  Basuki Tjahaja “Ahok” Purnama, the governor of Jakarta, is scheduled to face charges of blasphemy in court, according the Attorney General.  Ahok is a known Christian who is up for re-election next year.  Ahok, known for speaking bluntly, is accused of insulting Islam in a campaign speech in September.  Some Muslims opposed to Ahok have argued that a non-Muslim should not hold a leadership position in the nation.



Iran:  Thirty-six-year-old Mahdi Shamsinejad was allegedly executed by hanging on Tuesday, November 22, 2016.  Mahdi was executed in Adelabad, the central prison in Shiraz.  Mahdi was executed for trafficking crystal meth and crack.


On Wednesday, November 23, 2016, Gholamhossein Beigi was allegedly executed by hanging in Khomeyn Prison in central Iran.  The prisoner was convicted of murder 18 years ago.


On Saturday, November 26, 2016, Shabaan Ranjbar was executed by hanging in Lankan in northern Iran.  Shabaan was convicted of murder 20 years ago.



Pakistan: Mazhar Farooq was sentenced to death over 24 years ago.  He was convicted of murdering another individual.  The Supreme Court has recently acquitted Mazhar and released him from death row.  The court stated that the prosecution failed to prove the crime, as there were contradictions in medical reports and witness statements.  Additionally, the murder weapon, which was recovered from Mazhar, was later proven not to belong to him.


Philippines: A justice committee within the House of Representatives will soon begin deliberations on a bill that would reinstate the death penalty in the nation.  The current president supports the measure, as it was one of his campaign promises.  The measure needs to be approved by the committee before it is brought before the entire House.  The bill would also change the minimum age of criminal responsibility to the age of nine.



United States of America: Days after a federal judge ruled that 22-year-old Dylann Roof was competent to stand trial for the murder of nine parishioners at a Charleston, South Carolina church, Dylann has elected to act as his own attorney.  The lawyers assigned to Dylann advise against the decision, and the judge in the case calls the decision “unwise,” but acknowledges that this is a choice that Dylann has.  This ruling has allowed jury selection for the trial to resume.  Dylann faces 33 federal charges, including a hate crime count.


Nebraska recently completed a renovation of their death chamber at the Nevada State Prison in Carson City, however there are no immediate plans to begin using the death chamber.  The supply of the drugs to be used for executions in the state has expired and the state is having difficulties obtaining new drugs as drug companies no longer are willing to sell for use in executions.  In the hopes of being able to obtain drugs, legislatures are considering an overhaul of the lethal injection procedure, including a change which would allow the state to keep the identity of any drug suppliers a secret.  This consideration comes just weeks after the voters in the state chose to reinstate the death penalty.  Three inmates in Nebraska have completed their state and federal appeals.


There are currently 13 death row inmates in Oklahoma who have completed their appeals and are now eligible for execution.  Executions in Oklahoma are currently on hold while the state reviews its execution protocol after several problematic executions.  Voters in Oklahoma, in the November election, reaffirmed their support for the death penalty by approving a measure that constitutional protects the death penalty in the state and death sentences already handed down, even if the Supreme Court of the United States were to rule against a method of execution.  Recently the Supreme Court of the United States upheld lethal injection as a viable method of execution.