January 26, 2018

IDPN 2018 Issue 04

India: Six individuals have been sentenced to death for the murder of three men. Fifty-two-year-old Raghunath Darandalei, 42-year-old Ramesh Darandale, 38-year-old Prakash Darandale, 23-year-old Ganesh, 32-year-old Ashok Navgire, and 37-year-old Sandeep Kurhe were convicted of murdering 24-year-old Sachin Sohanlal Gharu, 25-year-old Sandeep Thanvar, and 20-year-old Rahul Kandar on January 1, 2013, in the village of Ahmednager, in the district of Maharashtra. The three men were killed because Sanchin married a girl from a higher class. Family members sought revenge on the three men.



Iran: After easing back sentences for drug offenders, the nation has halted all executions for drug offenses. In November, the death penalty was abolished for some drug-related crimes. The law was applied retroactively. In order to allow all cases to be properly reviewed, officials have halted all drug related executions.



Iraq: A court has sentenced a German woman to death for being a member of the Islamic State. She was convicted of providing logistical support and participating in attacks on Iraqi security forces. The woman has not been publicly identified, but she is of Moroccan descent and was captured during the battle for Mosul last year.



Malaysia: Thirty-three-year-old S. Gopi Kumar was sentenced to death for trafficking drugs in 2016. Drugs were found in his house and his car. Kumar alleged that he did not know about the drugs, having moved into the house one year earlier. His argument was rejected and he was sentenced to death, which was mandatory upon conviction.



Palestine: Yediot Aharonot has admitted to killing family member Ahmed Barhoum after learning that Ahmed allegedly gave information to Israel that led to the deaths of three senior Hamas terrorists during an Israeli air strike in 2014. Hamas and Israel are fighting over land on the Gaza Strip.



United States of America: Vernon Madison was scheduled to be executed in Alabama on Thursday, January 25, 2018. Shortly before his execution was scheduled to begin, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a temporary stay of execution. A few hours later, the high court officially stayed the execution. Vernon is convicted of murdering Officer Julius Schulte, who was answering a call of a domestic dispute between Vernon and his then-girlfriend. Read more about Vernon and his case here.

Federal prosecutors have announced that they will seek the death penalty for Brendt Christensen for the kidnapping, torture, and murder of 26-year-old Yingying Zhang, who was a visiting student at the University of Illinois. Zhang went missing in 2017. Her body has still not been found. Police found video evidence of Zhang getting into Christensen’s vehicle. Christensen has also been connected to a 2013, violent sexual assault case. The start of Christensen’s trial will be likely be delayed for months, as US Attorney General Jeff Sessions must approve the prosecution’s request for a death sentence.

Lawyers in Ohio are recommending that the state allow firing squads a method of execution, after the failed execution of Alva Campbell in November of 2017. Technicians tried from nearly a half hour to find a viable vein to use for the execution. Ultimately, the execution was called off when they were unable to locate a vein. Prior to the execution, Campbell’s lawyers argued that the state should allow for the firing squad, and pre-executions exams indicated that finding a viable vein could be difficult. After his execution was called off, it was rescheduled fro June 2019. In arguing for the firing squad, the attorney said the firing squad “virtually eliminated the unconstitutional lingering death and other severe physical and mental pain and suffering” that can be cause by lethal injection. Read more about Campbell and his case here.

The Florida Supreme Court has rejected the appeals of 10 death row inmates at once, including that of Eric Branch, scheduled to be executed on February 22, 2018. (Read more about Branch here.) The reason for the simultaneous rejection is due to the nature of the appeals; all 10 inmates were appealing based on the 2016 US Supreme Court case, Hurst v. Florida. Due to that case, a new law was written which required all death sentences to be unanimous. This new law is applied retroactively, but only for cases from 2002, onward, which is when the Supreme Court of the United States last ruled favorable on Florida’s death sentencing procedure. All 10 cases that were rejected did not have unanimous juries, however, they were from before 2002.

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