Friday, April 21, 2017

IDPN 2017  Issue 16


Iran:  On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, three inmates were executed in Shiraz and Tabriz.  One of the inmates had their hand amputated 10 days before his execution.  Two of the men executed - Mehdi Bahloui and Peyman Barandah were reportedly under the age of 18 when they were arrested.  The other man was not identified by name.


Seven individuals were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.  There were also plans to execute four other individuals, however, those individuals were returned to theirs cells before being executed.  Mohsen Babaie, Farzad Shahreman, and Siamack Shafie were among those executed.  The names of the other four were not reported.  All were allegedly executed on murder charges.



Japan:  On Friday, April 14, 2017, the nation’s Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for 42-year-old Kanae Kijima.  Kanae is convicted of murder 53-year-old Takao Terada, 80-year-old Kenzo Ando, and 41-year-old Yoshiyuki Oide.  All three men were killed between January and August of 2009, by carbon monoxide poisoning.  Kanea pled not-guilty to the crimes.  The Tokyo Hight Court ruled that she committed the crimes in order to maintain her luxurious lifestyle.



Malaysia: A 29-year-old hotel manager, Muhammad Firdaus Abdullah, was executed by hanging on Sunday, April 16, 2017.  Muhammad was convicted of trafficking heroin in 2016.


United States of America:  Bruce Ward and Don Davis were scheduled to be executed on Monday evening, April 17, 2017, at the Cummins Unit in Arkansas.  In the days and hours leading up to their executions, there were a flurry of appeals from both sides and rulings from a variety of courts.  Ultimately, both executions were stayed, with the final ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States coming in less than one hour before the execution warrants were set to expire.  


On Thursday, April 20, 2017, Arkansas was scheduled to carry out two more executions - that of Stacey Johnson and Ledell Lee.  Stacey’s execution was stayed to allow time for additional DNA testing.  After multiple appeals to multiple courts, Ledell’s execution was carried out shortly before his execution warrant expired.  He was pronounced dead at 11:56 pm CDT.


The Senate in Alabama has voted, by a vote of 25-8, to approve the use of nitrogen gas in executions.  The bill will now move on to the House of Representatives.  If approved, the bill allows inmates the option to choose nitrogen gas as the method of execution.  Lethal injection would remain as the primary method of execution in the state, although the state has had difficulties obtaining execution drugs.  Inmates also currently have the option to choose to be executed by the electric chair.  Execution by nitrogen gas has never been used in the United States.


A three-judge panel for the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling prohibiting the use of midazolam in executions in Ohio.  The two judges who supported the prohibition, noted that the inmates claim that the use of midazolam violates their 8th Amendment rights was “likely to succeed.”  The Supreme Court of the United States ruled last year that midazolam could be used in executions.  Ohio has appealed the 6th Circuit Court’s ruling.   


Rodricus Crawford of Louisiana has become the 158th individuals exonerated from death row in the nation since 1973.  Rodricus was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 2012, for the murder of his 1-year-old son, Roderius Lott.  The child, who was thought to be murdered, actually died of a combination of pneumonia and sepsis.  Rodricus’ conviction was overturned by the Louisiana Supreme Court in November of 2016.  Upon re-examining the evidence, the new district attorney asked that all charges against Rodricus be dropped.  


The Senate in Alabama has passed a bill aimed at cutting down the number of years it takes to appeal death row cases.  The bill, called the Fair Justice Act, was introduced at the request of the Alabama Attorney General Steven Marshall.  A similar bill failed in 2014.  The bill does not reduce the number of appeals, but instead allows different appeals to be filed concurrently, and reduces the amount of time allowed for certain appeals to be filed.