May 19, 2017

IDPN 2017 Issue 20

Iran: On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 36-year-old Koroush Langroudi was reportedly executed by hanging at Bandar Abbas Central Prison. He was convicted of murder. Also executed on May 9, at Tabriz Central Prison, was Davoud Fateminasb, who was convicted of murder.



Pakistan: On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, four terrorists were executed in a jail in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which has been severely hit by violence by Taliban terrorists. The names of those executed were not reported. They were convicted of participating in “heinous” terror-related activities and belonging to a banned terrorist organization.



Somalia: Reports indicate that approximately 12 individuals have been executed so far this year, after being convicted by military courts. This rise in executions has caused Amnesty International, other international human rights groups, and the European Union to ask that a moratorium be placed on the death penalty in the nation. They are especially critical of executions carried out by military courts, arguing that the trials are unfair, and that those convicted are often tortured into confessing.



Syria: The United States has accused the Syrian government of building a large crematorium, near Saydnaya Military Prison, and using the crematorium to hide mass executions and other atrocities. Additionally, the Syrian government is accused to carrying out executions in secret, failing to inform even the inmates who are being executed.



Taiwan: Thirty-four-year-old Wang Ching-yu was convicted of murdering a four-year-old girl by beheading in Taipei last year. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty, however Wang was sentenced to life in prison. Judges ruled that since Wang was identified as suffering from schizophrenia, he could not receive the death penalty, as it would violate human rights conventions and international law.



United States of America: On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, JW Ledford, Jr., was executed by the state of Georgia. He was pronounced dead at 1:17 am, EDT. His execution was scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm, however it was delayed several hours as the Supreme Court of the United States considered his appeals. He was convicted the 1992 murder of Dr. Harry Johnston, his neighbor. Click here to read more about his case.

A bill to abolish capital punishment in Louisiana has passed a Senate committee, by a vote of 6-1, and is now headed to the floor. If passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the bill would end the death penalty in state on August 1, 2017. However, a similar bill was being consider in the House of Representatives, and it failed to get out of committee, meaning that even if the Senate passes their bill, it would likely fail in the House.

The Alabama House of Representatives amended and approved a bill which would shorten the appeals process for death row inmates. The measure was approved 74-26. The amendment raised the cap on indigent defense from $1,500 to $7,500. Currently, inmates convicted in a capital crime can appeal the decision and then file post-convictions appeals, which challenges aspects of the conviction such as inadequate counsel. The new bill would allow these two appeal processes to run concurrently, instead of having to complete one appeal before starting the next.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Colwell has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of California law that gives prison authorities responsibility for establishing procedures for executions by lethal injection. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit, arguing that it was up to the legislature to establish the execution protocol, not the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The ACLU has already announced that they will appeal the ruling. Additionally, they have another appeal before the California Supreme Court.

The federal House of Representatives has voted 271-148 to make the murder of a law enforcement officer punishable by death. While the killing of a federal law enforcement officer is already a factor considered during the punishment phase, the new law would extend this protection to state and local police officers and first responders. This bill would only apply to federal cases. The vote for this bill coincided with National Police Week.

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