December 30, 2016

IDPN 2016  Issue 53


China:  Four men in eastern China have been exonerated 16 years after being convicted of rape and murder of a woman in 2000.  All will have the opportunity to seek compensation for their time falsely imprisoned.



Iran:  On Tuesday, December 20, 2016, three prisoners were executed by hanging in Birjand Prison in eastern Iran.  Neither their names, nor their crimes, were reported.


On Thursday, December 22, 2016, a public execution was carried out in Western Iran.  The name of the condemned was not reported, nor was his crime.



Jordan:  Five members of the Islamic State have been sentenced to death by hanging.  They have been convicted of terrorism.  All were Jordanian nationals.  Another 16 Jordanians have been sentenced to various prison terms for related charges.  



Nigeria:  On Thursday, December 23, 2016, three individuals - Ogbomoro Omoregie, Apostle Igene, and Mark Omosowhota - were executed.  They were sentenced to death by a military tribunal under the Robbery and Firearms Decree.



Pakistan:  On Saturday, December 24, 2016, Mohammad Bilal was executed by hanging at Adiala Jail.  He was executed for murder.   Also executed at Adiala Jail before Christmas was 70-year-old Khan Iqbal.  Khan was also convicted of murder.  He had spent the last 20 years on death row.



United States of America:  After a nearly two year delay, Ohio was scheduled to resumed executions in the state in January.  A federal judge has now stayed the first three executions of the year; executions for Ronald Phillips, Raymond Tibbetts, and Gary Otte.  Ronald and Raymond have already had their executions rescheduled.  A federal judge halted the executions due to challenges to the state law which protects the identities of those supplying lethal injection drugs for the state.  


In November, voters in California had two opportunities to make changes to the death penalty in the state.  One option was to eliminate the death penalty.  For the second time, the majority of voters in the state elected to keep the death penalty.  The other option was a proposition to speed up appeals for death row inmates, by increasing the number of lawyers to can handle the appeals.  Currently, it can take an inmate upwards of 25 years to complete the appeals process.  Voters approved this measure, however, the California Supreme Court has now elected to stay the implementation of the new law.  The court alleges that allowing the new law to take effect would be unfair to the inmates, as the “inordinately short timeline for the courts to review these complex cases” could result in attorneys taking shortcuts in the cases.  Supports of the new law have called the court’s action a “frivolous stall tactic.”


In January of 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Florida’s death sentencing procedure was unconstitutional.  Florida continues to work to fix the measure, however, the Supreme Court did not declare if their ruling was to be retroactively applied.  The Florida Supreme Court has now, nearly one year later, ruled that any inmate sentenced to death since 2002 is entitled to receive a new sentencing hearing. That amounts to over 200 death row inmates in Florida, or 55 percent of the state’s death row.