April 20, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 16
Iran: On Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 33-year-old Omid Damani was executed by hanging at Kerman Central Prison. He was charged with murder and sedition.
On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, Bahman Varmazyar, a sports coach, was executed by hanging at the prison of Hamadan. Bahman was convicted of robbing a jewelry store while armed. Reportedly, Bahman’s family was informed that his execution had been halted the night before he was executed.
Twenty-four-year-old Ramin Hossein Panahi, a Kurdish citizen, has been sentenced to death for being a member of Komala, an armed Kurdish opposition group. Ramin was allegedly tortured prior to his unfair trial, which did not even last an hour. Lawyers for Ramin argued that there is no evidence he participated in any acts that involved intentional killing, which is the threshold for imposing the death sentence. Ramin was arrested after being injured in an ambush.
Iraq: On Monday, April 16, 2018, 13 individuals were executed for “terrorist crimes.” Eleven of the 13 were convicted of exploding car bombs, killing security personnel, or kidnappings. Crime details for the remaining two were not provided. The names of those executed were also not released.
Two Russian women and a French women have all escaped being sentenced to death. All three women were convicted of being members of the Islamic State. Twenty-nine-year-old Djamila Boutoutaou, told the court that she was forced to leave France with her rapper husband and join the Islamic State. Her husband was later killed during the fighting. All three were sentenced to life in prison.
United States of America: On Thursday, April 19, 2108, Walter Moody was executed by the state of Alabama. Walter was executed for the murder of Robert S. Vance, a federal judge. Walter sent Robert a pipe bomb in the mail, which exploded when it was opened, killing Judge Vance and severely injuring his wife. Read more about the case here.
Sixty-eight-year-old Vicente Benavides Figueroa was sentenced to death in California 1993. Now, he has been released. Vicente was convicted of raping and murdering Consuelo Verdugo, the nearly 2-year-old daughter of his girlfriend. At Vicente’s trial, medical professionals testified that she had been sodomized and beaten, resulting in her death. Since then, many of the doctors have recanted their statements. Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green as announced that prosecutors will not retry Vicente. She explained that without the medical testimony, it would be “difficult, if not impossible,” to obtain a second degree murder conviction. Additionally, if a convicted was achieved for a lesser sentence, Vicente would immediately be eligible for parole.
The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that Ohio’s death penalty sentencing process is different from Florida’s sentencing process in critical ways, making it constitutional. Unlike in Florida, which allowed judges to override the jury’s recommendation and thereby violating an inmates right to trial by jury, Ohio judges must follow the decision made by the jury, thereby making Ohio’s process in accordance with an inmates 6th Amendment.