May 26, 2017

IDPN 2017 Issue 21

Iran: On Tuesday, May 23, 2017, a man identified only as Asqar, was executed by hanging at Karaj’s Central Prison near Tehran. Allegedly, Asqar was only 16 years of age when he was arrested and convicted. According to international law, it is illegal to execute an individual who was a juvenile at the time of the crime. Asqar has been on death row for nearly 30 years. He was convicted of murdering a 12-year-old neighbor girl.

Also on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, nine other executions were carried out at various prisons. Only one of the prisoners, Abdulkarim Shahnavazi, was identified by name. The crimes of those executed were not reported.

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, five prisoners were executed by hanging at Tabriz. Three of the prisoners were identified as Kazem Hajaji, Seyed Ali Mousavi, and Jaber Fadhri. All five were convicted of murder. Another prisoner, Davoud Hamdard, was executed on the same day at Ardebil. He was convicted of drug related offenses.



Malaysia: International human rights group, Amnesty International, is criticizing Malaysia for carrying out the secret execution of two men on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. The group also demanded that the government issue a moratorium on carrying out executions. One of the executed men was identified as 48-year-old Long Kar Mun, who was convicted of discharging a firearm during a robbery. The second individual was not named, but was convicted of murder.



Pakistan: Atta Ullah and Taj Muhammad were executed by hanging on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Both men were members of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and participated in December 2014, attack on the Army-run school in Peshawar. The attack on the school left over 150 dead, mostly students, and prompted the government to begin carrying out executions again.



Palestine: On the Gaza Strip, three Palestinians were convicted and killed by Hamas for taking part in an Israeli-directed attack, which resulted in the death of a senior Hamas commander. According to Hamas, the three confessed. Only one of three men, Ashraf Abu Leila, was identified by name.



United States of America: On Friday, May 26, 2017, Thomas Douglas Arthur was executed by the state of Alabama. He was pronounced dead at 12:15 am. His execution was scheduled to begin at 6 pm the previous day, however, it was delayed several hours while the Supreme Court of the United States consider his numerous appeals. Thomas was convicted of murdering 35-year-old Troy Wicker, which occurred on February 1, 1982, in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This was his eighth execution date. Click here to read more about Thomas and his case.

Juan Castillo of Texas was scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. His execution has been rescheduled to September 7, 2017. It is unclear why his execution has been rescheduled. Juan is convicted of murdering 9-year-old Tommy Garcia, Jr., on December 3, 2003, in San Antonio, Texas. Click here to read more about the case.

Romell Broom of Ohio, has been given another execution date by the state. In 2009, Ohio attempted to execute Romell, only to stop the process two hours after it began. After two hours of the execution team trying and failing to find a suitable vein to use for the execution, Governor Ted Strickland ordered them to stop and for Romell to be returned to his cell. Romell was stuck with a needle at least 18 times. Romell is only the second person in the US to survive an execution attempt, after the process began. Since September 15, 2009, lawyers for Romell have argued before various courts that Ohio no longer has the right to execute Romell. To do so would violate his various constitutional rights and amount to double jeopardy. They requested that Romell be taken off death row. A divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the state could attempt to execute Romell. His execution is currently scheduled fro June 17, 2020. Romell’s lawyers say that he still has appeals pending.

The man convicted of killing nine parishioners at church in Charleston, South Carolina is appealing his conviction and his death sentence. The massacre was considered a hate crime. Attorneys for the convicted man, Dylann Roof, have appealed to the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

Larry Jones was sentenced to death in Arkansas in 1998, for the murder of his wife, Sandra Jones, and her two children (his step-children) 10-year-old Dorran and 17-year-old Courtney. Larry was recently removed from death row and resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Larry was resentenced after his attorneys announced that they planned to seek a new trial after uncovering new evidence, including his low IQ. Since key witnesses from the original trial have died, and some records from the trial has gone missing, the prosecution did not want to risk a new trial, instead agreeing to have his sentence reduced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole.

During a retrial, Missouri inmate Mark Anthony Gill has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of probation or parole. He had previously been sentenced to death. He was convicted of the 2002 murder of Ralph Lade Jr., in Cape Girardeau County.

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