June 8, 2018

IDPN 2018 Issue 23

Iraq: Twenty-seven-year-old Melina Boughedir, a French national, has been sentenced to life in prison for being a member of the Islamic State. Melina has insisted that she is innocent and that she was duped by her husband who threatened to take their children from her. Three of her children have since been sent back to France. Under current laws, Melina could have been sentenced to death.



Malaysia: Forty-one-year-old Tan Chun Cheng and 39-year-old Tan Choon Hui, brothers, have been sentenced to death for trafficking syabu, an amphetamine, in the Towering Industrial Centre in Penampang.



Mauritania: On April 27, 2018, the Mauritanian National Assembly passed a new law that would sentenced anyone to death who is convicted of apostasy. Previously, anyone who committed blasphemy or left the Muslim faith had three days to repent before being punished. Under the new law, even if you repent, you will still receive the death penalty, as it is mandatory for all apostasy convictions.



Qatar: Anil Chaudhary, a Nepali national, has been sentenced to death for murdering Qatari national Umair Mohammed Umair Al Ramzani Al-Nauimi. Anil was working as a general laborer at a car company at the time of the murder, which occurred in early 2017.



Saudi Arabia: Four individuals have been sentenced to death for the plotting the assassination of prominent figures with the help of rivals in Iran, according the state media. The names of the four terrorist were not reported.



United States of America: Jeffrey Lynn Borden, a death row inmate in Alabama was found dead in his cell on Sunday, June 3, 2018. At approximately 2:30 am, during a security check, Jeffrey was found hanging from a bed sheet in his cell, according to the Alabama Department of Corrections. He was pronounced dead at 3 pm. He was 57 years of age. Jeffrey was convicted of the murder of Cheryl Borden and Roland Harris on December 24, 1993, in Gardendale, Alabama. Jeffrey was scheduled to be executed on October 5, 2017, however his executed was stayed. Click here to read more about Jeffrey’s case.

Lancaster County District Judge Lori Maret has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Nebraska’s death penalty protocol. The lawsuit was filed by Omaha Senator Ernie Chambers and Rev. Stephen Griffith. The lawsuit was dismissed as they did not meet the required standard to raise the challenge, which is that the Revised Execution Protocol affects their rights or privileges. In 2016, Nebraska voters voted to retain the death penalty after the legislature passed a bill ending the death penalty in the state, which the governor vetoed, which the legislature over-ruled.

Michael Wayne Norris has been removed fromTexas' death row after being resentenced to life in prison. Michael was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Georgia Rollins and her two-year-old son in 1987. He was recently resentenced to life in prison after it was determined that the instructions to the jury failed to clearly tell the jury that mitigating evidence could be used to give a lesser punishment.

A jury in Texas has decided that 34-year-old Gustavo Tijerina Sandoval will be sentenced to death for the murder of Javier Vega, Jr., a border agent and Marine Corps veteran. Gustavo attempted to rob the Vega family at gunpoint when Javier pulled his own gun. Javier was shot in the chest, while his father was shot in the back. Javier died on the way to the hospital, while his father survived. Ismael Hernandez Vallejo also participated in the crime and the death penalty will also be sought against him. Gustavo and Ismael are Mexican citizens who came to the United States illegally.

In August 2017, 49-year-old Marcellus Williams was scheduled to be executed in Missouri when Governor Eric Greitens halted the execution and created a board of inquiry to look into the case. Governor Greitens has now resigned from office without acting upon his stay leading to confusion about what will happen to Marcellus and the board created to investigate his case. The board is awaiting instructions from new Governor Mike Parson. Marcellus was sentenced to death for the murder of Lisha Gayle in a 1998 burglary, however DNA on the murder weapon does not match Marcellus. Read more about Marcellus’ case here.

In 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the case of Texas death row inmate Bobby Moore. Bobby was arguing that the standard used by Texas to determine mental competency was outdated and unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of the United States agreed that the Texas standard was obsolete and ordered the state to create a new protocol for determining mental competency. Texas has complied with the directive and, under the new measures, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled the Bobby can be executed. Bobby is convicted of the 1980 murder of an elderly grocery store clerk during a robbery in Houston, Texas.

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Donald Thigpen has died on death row in Alabama. He was 66 years of age. Donald was found unresponsive in his bed in the infirmary at 7:55 pm and was pronounced dead five minutes later. No foul play is suspected in his death. Donald was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Cassie Lee Davis in Birmingham, Alabama in May 1972. Donald’s sentence for that murder was later reduced to life in prison by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. While in prison, Donald escaped with a group of inmates, who killed a 68-year-old farmer and stole his vehicle. He was against sentenced to death and again had his sentence commuted when the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled out the death penalty statue under which Donald was convicted.

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