November 10, 2017

IDPN 2017 Issue 45

Iran: On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, seven prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. The names of the prisoners were not reported. Most of those executed were convicted of murder.

On Tuesday, October 31, 2017, 29-year-old Hooshang Delijan was executed by hanging at Maragheh Prison. He was convicted of murder four years ago.

On Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 30-year-old Tohid Mohammad-Begherloo was executed by hanging at Urmia Central Prison. He was convicted of murder six years ago. On the same day, an unidentified man was executed by hanging at Mashhad Central Prison. He was also convicted of murder.

Doctor Ahmadreza Djalali has been sentenced to death by the Iranian Revolutionary Court for refusing to spy for the nation. Dr. Djalali, a resident of Sweden, is an expert in disaster medicine and has worked around the world, refused to collect intelligence for Iran on Western chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear sites, as well as counter-terrorism plans and critical infrastructure. After refusing to spy, he was arrested when he attended a conference in Iran. He was convicted of spying for Israel.

Thousands of inmates sentenced to death for drug related crimes will be receiving reviews of their sentences under a newly amended law. New sentences will have to comply with the new law. The new law will prevent those convicted of small drug related crimes from being sentenced to death.



Iraq: During the battle between Islamic State terrorists and the Iraqi Security Forces for the city of Mosul, the Islamic State is reported to have murdered 741 civilians in their attempts to keep the city. A total of 2,521 civilians were killed during the battle, mostly by the Islamic State.



Japan: Seventy-year-old Chisako Kakehi has been sentenced to death for murdering three men, including her husband, and for the attempted murder of a fourth man. Chisako, dubbed the “Black Widow” by the press, would kill the men with cyanide after she was made the sole beneficiary of their life insurance policies, which were in the hundreds of millions yen. Her lawyers attempted to argue that she was not criminally liable for the crimes because she suffers from dementia. The court rejected the argument.



Mauritanian: A blogger who had been sentenced to death in 2014, is to be released from prison. Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir was convicted of using social media, specifically Facebook, to commit apostasy. Mohamed’s punishment was the result of influential Muslim clerics urging authorities to apply the harshest punishment. The last execution carried out in the country was in 1987.



Saudi Arabia: New laws announced in the kingdom include the death penalty for committing a terror attack that results in the death of at least one individual. Numerous other terror-related crimes will receive varying prison terms. Additionally, it is noted, that those while a military background will be judged more harshly. The new laws also allow for the protection of witnesses and concealing their identities.



United Arab Emirates: A 37-year-old unnamed national has been sentenced to death after being convicted of the murder of 25-year-old wife. He killed her after the two got into an argument about marital issues. They have one daughter. Her family refused to accept blood money and instead insisted upon retribution.



United States of America: On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, Patrick Hannon was executed by the state of Florida. Patrick was pronounced dead at 8:50 pm EST. He was 53 years of age. Patrick was convicted of murdering Brandon Snider and Robert Carter in Tampa, Florida. His execution was delayed for over two hours due to appeals. Read more about Patrick and his case here.

Also on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, Texas carried out the execution of Mexican national Ruben Ramirez Cardenas. Ruben was pronounced dead at 10:26 pm CST. His execution was also delayed several hours due to appeals. Ruben was convicted of the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 16-year-old Mayra Laguna. The Mexican government protested Ruben’s execution. Read more about Ruben and his case here.

On Thursday, November 9, 2017, Jack Greene was scheduled to be executed by the state of Arkansas. His execution has been stayed by the Arkansas Supreme Court. The Arkansas Attorney General, Leslie Rutledge, has stated that she will not appeal the stay of execution to the Supreme Court of the United States. Read more about Jack's case here.

On Friday, November 3, 2017, Roger Coulter, a death row inmate in Arkansas, was found unresponsive in his cell. He was later pronounced dead. He was 57 years of age. Roger was convicted and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl in Ashley County. The cause of Roger’s death has not yet been revealed.

Alva Campbell, the next man scheduled to be executed in Ohio, has requested to be executed by firing squad instead of lethal injection, citing likely problems during the lethal injection process. Following a preparation for the execution, doctors have already allowed that Alva may be seated in a semi-reclined position for the execution due to breathing problems when fully reclined. Additionally, it was during this review that doctors were unable to identify a vein suitable for use of lethal injection. While the firing squad is currently not legal in Ohio, Alva’s attorneys have proposed that lawmakers could quickly pass bill that would legalize it. However, Federal Judge Michael Merz has rejected the argument for a firing squad. Alva’s attorneys are considering options for appealing. Read more about Alva and his case here.

A jury in Idaho has voted unanimously that 29-year-old Jonathan Renfro should be sentenced to death for the murder of Coeur d’Alene Police Sgt. Greg Moore, a 16-year veteran. The murder was recorded by the body camera Sgt. Moore was wearing. He was investigated a suspicious person while patrolling a neighborhood, when he was shot in May of 2015. Jonathan was on probation at the time of the murder and was not allowed to carry a firearm. After killing the police officer, Jonathan stole his weapon.

Vernon Madison, an Alabama death row inmate for over 30 years, claims that he has no memory of the crime which landed him on death row due to several strokes he has suffered while in prison. His attorneys argued that because of the lack of memory, he could not be executed. The 11 Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Vernon’s lawyers, however, upon appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, Vernon can be executed. The Supreme Court noted that there is a difference between not remembering the crime and those who are unable to “rationally comprehend the concepts of crime and punishment,” which is all that is necessary be considered competent for execution. The decision by the Supreme Court was unanimous. Read more about Vernon's case here.



Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe has called for the return of capital punishment to the nation. The last execution held in Zimbabwe was in 2005. President Mugabe believes the return of the death penalty is necessary due to rising crime rates, especially murder. There are currently 92 inmates on death row and Amnesty International has called for the permanent abolishment of the death penalty in the nation. Last month, it was announced that the government was seeking applications for hangman. They have received over 50 applicants for the job.

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