August 24, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 34
China: Thirty-year-old Zhu Xiaodong has been sentenced to death for the murder of his wife, 30-year-old Yang Liping. Zhu is convicted of murdering Yang on October 18, 2016, after the two had a “trivial” domestic argument. Following the murder, Zhu wrapped Yang’s body in a quilt and put it in the freezer, where it remained for over three months. During those months, Zhu would respond to texts and messages, pretending to be his wife. Zhu eventually turned himself in to the police, feeling he could no longer keep up the charade.
India: Forty-year-old Naresh Parihar has been sentenced to death by District Judge Sudhanshu Saxena. Naresh has been convicted of raping a young girl. According to the mother of the girl, when she caught Naresh with her daughter, he picked up an axe to strike them, but they were able to escape unharmed.
Thirty-four-year-old Prakash Lahase has been sentenced to death by Judge Rajesh Nandeshwar. Prakash was convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a 30-year-old woman. Prakash had previously been convicted of murder and was out on bail at the time of the second murder.
Twenty-two-year-old Rabbu, alias Sarvesh Sen, has been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in Sagar district. On December 7, 2017, he raped the girl before pouring gasoline on her and lighting her on fire. She died seven days later.
Iran: Earlier this month, at least six prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison. All were convicted of murder. The names of those executed have not been released.
On Saturday, August 18, 2018, six prisoners were executed by hanging at Mashhad Prison. The identities of the prisoners have not been made public. All were convicted on charges of armed robbery after they attacked a car carrying jewelry.
On Monday, August 20, 2018, Keramat Hassani was executed by hanging at Gachsaran Prison. He was convicted of murder. According to an individual familiar with the case, Keramat and his family was attacked by thieves. Keramat shot at the thieves, killing one of them and severing the spinal cord of another.
Iraq: The Justice Ministry has announced that six individuals were executed by hanging. The names of those executed have not been released, although one has been identified as a Syrian national, while two others were Iraqis. The executed inmate were “terrorists” who “shed the blood of Iraqis.”
Sudan: The Supreme Court has annulled the death seance of Asim Omar. Asim was a student at the University of Khartoum and a member of the Sudanese Congress Party, the opposition party, when he was sentenced to the death for the death of a policeman in April 2016. His sentence caused outrage and protests. Eventually, the Supreme Court reviewed the case and annulled his death sentence, instead sentencing him to life in prison.
United States of America: Judge Wendell Griffen has been unsuccessful in having the ethics charges against him dismissed. Arkansas Judge Wendell Griffen is an outspoken death penalty opponent and has actively participated in anti-death penalty protests, including lying on a cot, as if a death row inmate about to be executed, in front of the governor’s mansion. On the day of that protest, Judge Griffen had ruled on a death penalty case in which he blocked the state from using a lethal injection drug after the company from which it was purchased complained. Following photographs of his participation in the protest, an ethics complaint was lodged against Judge Griffen, and he was charged with violating ethic rules by a 3-member panel of the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Judge Griffen has attempted numerous times to have the ethics charge against him dismissed, arguing that he is protected by the 1st Amendment and that his personal opinions and beliefs do not affect his judicial decisions. He has so far been unsuccessful in getting the charges dropped.
Death row inmates in Tennessee are arguing that execution by firing squad would be more humane and ethical than execution by lethal injection. Several death row inmates have joined the federal lawsuit, which alleges that the recent execution of Billy Ray Irick was torture and is a violation of their 8th Amendment rights. As is required in these types of lawsuits, the inmates have provided several alternative methods, including the firing squad, that they believe is more humane. Additionally, the inmates note that there is a shooting range on the grounds of prison where lethal injections are currently administered. Similar lawsuits have been tried, unsuccessfully, in other states. Additionally, the electric chair remains a legal and viable option for carrying out executions in Tennessee.
A federal judge has ruled that Texas does not have to reveal the supplier of their lethal injection drugs. A group of death row inmate in Arkansas was suing to have the name of the pharmacy revealed. Texas has, since 2009, used a single-drug execution protocol of pentobarbital. In 2013, a public information request outed the supplier of the execution drug. Due to the medal coverage, protests, and death threats the compound pharmacy and its workers received, it decided to no longer provide the drug. Texas has since found another in-state supplier, who identity has been deemed a state secret. However, court records show that the supplier has stated in court that if its identity is revealed to the public, it will no longer provide the state with the execution drugs. Arkansas inmates were asking for the identity of the supplier, as they believe that pentobarbital is a more humane drug for lethal injection than midazolam, which is the drug currently used in Arkansas.