March 3, 2017
IDPN 2017 Issue 09
Egypt: A human rights committee in Egypt has declared that they will never ask the Egyptian parliament to abolish the death penalty, as it goes against “Islamic Sharia and the country’s constitution.” This announcement was made in response the repeated calls from foreign rights groups to abolish capital punishment. They furthered explained that Egyptian legislation is based on Islamic Sharia, which firmly supports capital punishment. The humans rights group also announced that they do not support gay marriage, as homosexuality is also against Islamic Sharia.
Malaysia: Thirty-three-year-old Shahrul Izani Suparman has been spared from execution by Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idrs Shah. The Sultan granted Shahrul a pardon. Shahrul was sentenced to death for being in possession of cannabis.
Nigeria: Sulaiman Olalekan has been sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, Chika Egbo, on November 20, 2012. Sulaiman is convicted of pouring acid on his wife after discovering she had returned to prostitution. The two met while she was a prostitute.
Philippines: Jurgen Kantner, a German nations, has allegedly been beheaded by Abu Sayyaf militants in the southern part of the Philippines. Jurgen was murdered at the age of 70, after the deadline to pay his ransom had passed. Jurgen and his wife, Sabine Merz, were both captured in November of 2016. A body believed to belong to Sabine, was discovered shortly thereafter. Abu Sayyaf is a Muslim group seeking to establish and independent Islamic state on a southern island. The Philippines is a predominately Catholic nation.
United States of America: Three Pennsylvania executions were scheduled this week - that of Wayne Smith, Richard Poplawski, and Aric Woodard. All three executions have been stayed by various courts to allow time for further appeals. All three men were convicted of separate murders.
Lawmakers in Mississippi are exploring alternative execution options, should lethal injection be ruled unconstitutional. The bill, which has not yet been approved, was recently changed to exclude firing squads as a means of execution. Nitrogen gas chambers and electrocution remain as alternative options. Many states have, in recent years, passed similar alternative execution method legislation. States continue to struggle to find drugs to be used in executions, as many manufactures refuse to sell to prisons.
Two lawmakers from Las Vegas, Nevada have introduced legislation that would abolish capital punishment in the state and commute all death sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Nevada currently has around 80 inmates on death row. Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1979, only 12 inmates have been executed, all of whom voluntarily dropped their appeals. The last execution occurred in 2006.
Stevie Lamar Fields, a death row inmate in California, has died after being found unresponsive in his cell on Tuesday, February 28, 2017. He was 60 years of age. The cause of death is currently unknown and an autopsy is pending. Stevie was sentenced to death row in 1979, for numerous crimes, including the kidnapping, robbery, rape, and murder of 26-year-old Rosemary Janet Cobb; the kidnapping, robbery, and rape, of Gwendolyn Elaine Barnett, Cynthia Marie Smith, and Colleen Coats; and the robbery of Clarence Gissendander.
Lawmakers in Alabama are attempting to end the controversial practice of allowing judges to sentence and inmate to death, even if the jury has recommended life in prison. The state Senate supported a bill to end this practice by a vote of 30-1. The bill will now move the House, which has already been considering a similar measure. If the measure passes, it will not be applied retroactively.