October 27, 2017

IDPN 2017 Issue 43

Guatemala: The Constitutional Court has ruled that the death penalty is no longer applicable for civil cases. The death penalty remains on the books for military cases. This landmark ruling will take effect once the ruling is published in the government’s official gazette. The nation has not carried out an execution in several years.



Indonesia: Thirty-year-old Dranny Putrawira alias Pupet Bin Zaitul Ikhales, has been sentenced to death by the Kuala Tungkal District Court. He has been convicted of distributing methamphetamine. The prosecution was asking that he be sentenced to life in prison. He plans to appeal his sentence.



Iran: Ahmadreza Djalali, and Iranian doctor who studied and taught in Sweden, has been sentenced to death on charges of espionage. Djalali has been convicted of having several meetings with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, during which he provided them with sensitive information in exchange for money and residency in Sweden. Djalali’s wife and two children are currently residing in Sweden and denies that Djalali has committed any crime. Djalali was arrested in April of 2016.



Lebanon: Thirty-five years after President-elect Bachir Gemayel was assassinated, his two killers have been sentenced to death in absentia. Nail Alam and Habib Chartouni were sentenced to death after they were convicted of terrorism for planting the bomb which killed Bachir and several others on August 23, 1982. The duo was also stripped of their civil rights. Habib, who allegedly confessed, was arrested after the bombing, however he escaped from prison in 1990 and is believed to currently be hiding in Syria.



Saudi Arabia: Two unnamed Indonesian women on death row in the kingdom have been returned to their nation of origin. The women both came to Saudi Arabia as illegal migrant workers in Jeddah. After the body of a third Indonesian woman was found, the two women became suspects and were convicted and sentenced to death on April 12, 2010. After review, their death sentences were changed to a five-year prison term and 300 lashes. Now, having served their sentence, the two women were returned to Indonesia.



Pakistan: The nation has announced that it will be reviewing the scope of its death penalty and consider reducing the number of crimes eligible for the death penalty. Three years ago, Pakistan resumed executions after the brutal massacre on school children. Since then 465 individuals have been executed. There are approximately 7,500 inmates remaining on death row in the nation.



United Arab Emirates: Five Indians on death row have had their sentences commuted to a three-year prison term. The five have been identified as Dharmendra, Ravinder Singh, Ranjit Ram, Dalwinder Singh, and Sucha Singh. All were convicted of the murder of Varinder Chauhan on November 4, 2011. Varinder was murdered after a dispute over the illegal trading of liquor. As part of the commutation agreement, the families of the convicted agreed to pay blood money to the victim’s family. All five will be returned to India upon their released.



United States of America: On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Texas was scheduled to executed Clinton Lee Young. His execution was stayed by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. Thirty-four-year-old Clinton is convicted of the murder of 41-year-old Doyle Douglas and 52-year-old Samuel Petrey in late November of 2001, in Midland County, Texas. Read more about Clinton here.

A possible death penalty trial on Kentucky is on hold until another case is ruled upon. Efrain Diaz, Justin Smith, and Roman Gonzalez are accused of killing Jonathan Krueger in April of 2015. Gonzalez was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, automatically making him ineligible for the death penalty, however, the judge in the case, Ernesto Scorsone, also claimed that the death penalty could not be sought for Diaz and Smith. Diaz and Smith were both over the age of 18, but under the age of 21. Earlier this year, a judge ruled in the case of Travis Bredhold, who was also over the age of 18, but under the age of 21. The judge in Travis’ case ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional for a person under the age of 21. This ruling is currently under review by an appellate court. There has been a request to transfer the decision of constitutionality directly to the Kentucky Supreme Court. Until a decision is made, the trial of Smith and Diaz is on hold.

Following the alleged bizarre conspiracy between two death row inmates, Larry Swearingen and Anthony Shore, the correctional officers’ union is calling for more guards on death row. A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has stated that, “death row is appropriately staffed and…staffing played no role” in the confession scheme between Larry and Anthony. According to Anthony, Larry asked him to, just prior to Anthony’s execution, confess to the crime for which Larry has been sentenced to death. Larry denies asking such a thing. The alleged conspiracy halted Anthony’s execution earlier this month. Larry is scheduled to be executed next month, for a crime which he has always professed innocence.

A state senator in Maryland, Bob Cassilly, plans to introduce a bill that would reinstate the death penalty in Maryland for certain crimes. Lethal injection would be used to carry out executions and suggests using heroin and fentanyl as the method. The death penalty was abolished in Maryland on May 2, 2013. The four individuals on death row had their sentences commuted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Ohio State Representative Nickie Antonio has introduced a bill in Ohio that would abolish the death penalty. If successful, the bill would replace all death sentences with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Antonio has, several times, attempted to repeal the death penalty in Ohio. All previous attempts have failed.

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