August 11, 2017

IDPN 2017 Issue 32

Egypt: The Menya Court has sentences 12 individuals to death for their part in storming a police station four years ago, which resulted in the death of the station chief. The death sentences must be further approved before they are carried out. The Menya Court has also sentenced 140 others to life prison for the same offense. In addition, 238 others were acquitted.



Iran: On Tuesday, August 1, 2017, three prisoners were executed by hanging at Shiraz’s Adel Abad prison. The executed inmates were identified as Abolhassan Abravan, Ata Atazadeh, and Hassan Arefianfar - all men in their early twenties. All three were convicted of murder during an attempted robbery.

On Sunday, August 6, 2017, a 30-year-old man was executed in public by hanging in Farrokhshahr, in central Iran. The man’s name was not revealed. He was convicted of rape. On the same day in Urmia Central Prison, Said Pourhormoz and Hossain Shahi were executed by hanging. Both were executed on drug related charges.



Israel: As the government considers carrying out executions once again, the nation has offered asylum to Iranian journalist Neda Amin. Neda is currently living in Turkey and writing for an Israeli news site. She fears being deported to Iran in the coming days. In Iran, she would likely face execution for her work. Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has offered Neda sanctuary and special visa, noting that the reason her life is in danger is because she was reported for an Israeli news site.



Saudi Arabia: A Saudi national has been sentenced to death for attacking police patrols with a gun and shooting with the intent to kill, taking part in rallies and riots against the government, harboring a wanted fugitive, and purchasing and using a gun illegally. There were also other charges against him. According to Saudi law, two other higher courts will have to review the death sentence before it can be carried out. Most executions are done by beheading with a sword.



United States of America: Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone has ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional for anyone under the age of 21. The Supreme Court of the United States has previously determined that individuals under the age of 18 could not be sentenced to death, as younger individuals “lack maturity to control their impulses and fully consider risks.” Judge Scorsone ruled that this same reasoning applies to those who are 18-21 years of age. The ruling was in response to an appeal by Travis Bredhold, who was 18 years and five months old in 2013 when he robbed and murder Mukeshbhai Patel, a gas station attendant in Lexington, Kentucky. Fayette County Commonwealth’s Attorney Lou Anna Red Corn has announced that she will appeal Judge Scorsone’s order “because it is contrary to the laws of Kentucky and the laws of the United States.” Judge Scorsone’s ruling also affects three other death penalty cases before him, and is expected to cause delays in those cases.

On Wednesday, August 9, 2017, Texas death row inmate Raymond DeLeon Martinez died in his cell of natural causes. He was 71 years of age. Raymond was convicted numerous murders that occurred in Texas in 1983, just months after he had been released from prison after serving 14 years. The longest serving member of Texas’ death row, Raymond was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic with low intelligence, having only received a fifth-grade education. Battles over his mental competency, among other issues, helped him avoid being executed for three decades.

The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has overturned the death sentence of 54-year-old John Stephenson. During John’s trial and penalty phase in Indiana, John was forced to wear a stun belt, which allows an officer to administer an electrical charge if John were to misbehave in court. The stun belt was hidden under John’s shirt, however, the bulge of the box containing the wires was clearly visible and at least four of the jurors knew he was wearing a stun belt. The court upheld John’s conviction and said that John can be resentenced to death if the penalty phase trial is conducted without the stun belt. Indiana could also ask the judge for a lesser sentence. John is convicted of murdering John Tyler, Cathy Tyler, and Brandy Southard inside a pickup truck at a rural intersection in Yankeetown, Indiana on March 28, 1996.

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