May 25, 2018

IDPN 2018 Issue 21

Algeria: Merzoug Touati, a blogger, could be sentenced to death for his online posts and videos. He is being charged with espionage for allegedly publishing posts on Facebook and videos on YouTube that incite violence and encourage civil unrest. He has been in prison since January 2017. Amnesty International alleges that Merzoug is a journalist who is being falsely charged.



Bahrain: Two men have had their death sentences upheld by the Cassation Court. Their names were not reported. They are convicted of planning and carrying out the murder of a police officer.



Iran: On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, Babak Rezaei was executed by hanging in Ardabil Central Prison. He was convicted of murder during the course of a robbery, which occurred in October 2012.



Iraq: On Tuesday, May 22, 2018, Tarik Joadaoun, a/k/a Abu Hamza al-Beljiki, has been sentenced to death for his actions as a member of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State. Tarik is a Belgian national who made propaganda videos.



Malaysia: Fifty-four-year-old Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto has been sentenced to death for smuggling drugs. Maria was previously acquitted of the charge, however, she was sentenced to death on appeal. Maria was arrested while flying from Shanghai, China, to Melbourne, Australia, where she lives. She was found to be in possession of crystal methamphetamine. Maria alleges that her boyfriend placed the drugs in her luggage and that she had no knowledge of them.



United States of America: Twenty-seven-year-old Dwandarrius Robinson has been sentenced to death for murdering his 21-year-old, 9-month pregnant girlfriend Shaniqua Hall in 2012. Shaniqua was found bound and gagged inside an apartment that had been purposefully set on fire. The apartment was located in Phoenix, Arizona.

Judge Michal McSpadden, for Harris County, Texas, has been removed from the appeal of George Curry, a black death row inmate, after Judge McSpadden made racially charged comments to a newspaper. Defense lawyers successfully argued that the comments in the Houston Chronicle demonstrates bias or prejudice against black men and women, which could affect his rulings.

Royal Kenneth Hayes, has died in hospital in California, after spending 36 years on death row awaiting his execution. Royal was 81 years of age. He was sentenced to death in 1986 for the December 1981 murder of Lauren de Laet and Donald MacVicar on the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California. Royal’s cause of the death will be determined by an autopsy at a later date.

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