September 7, 2018

IDPN 2018 Issue 36

India: Chander Sharma, Tajender Singh, and Vibrant Bakshi have all been sentenced to death for the kidnappign and murder of four-year-old Yug Gupta in 2014. Yug was kidnapped on June 14, 2014, by his neighbor, Chander. He was then tortured, starved, and forced to consume alcohol. His remains were found two years later. Chander and his friends kidnapped Yug, hoping to receive ransom money for him.

Nineteen-year-old Zakir has been sentenced to death for the gang-rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl earlier this year. Five others involved in the case have been acquitted due to lack of evidence. While the girl was home alone, Zakir and others entered the home, raped her, and then set her on fire. She died from her injuries.



Iran: On Wednesday, August 29, 2018, at least two prisoners were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr Prison. One of the prisoners was identified as Mojtaba Asadi, while the other was only identified as an Afghan national. Both were convicted of murder.

On Monday, September 3, 2018, three prisoner were executed by hanging at Zahedan Central Prison. All were convicted of armed conflict and moharebeh (waging war against God). The three men were identified as Esmaeel Shahbakhsh, Dormohammad Shahbakhsh, and Hayatollah Shahbakhsh.



Malaysia: Sixty-three-year-old American national Gerald Wayne Mickelson has been sentenced to death for the murder of his ex-wife, Guilda Mickelson, while the two were in Kuala Lumpur. Gerald insists that he was acting in self defense. Malaysia has a mandatory death penalty for murder. Gerald’s attorney plans to appeal.



Saudi Arabia: Gibran bin Salem bin Joueid al-Qahtani has been executed by beheading in Abha. He was convicted of murdering Omar bin Mohammed bin Muraya al-Qahtani after the two had a dispute. Execution are traditionally carried out by beheading.

The death penalty is being sought again 61-year-old Salman al-Awdah, a prominent Islamist preacher. He is being accused of terrorism-related activities. Salman has been described by UN experts as a reformist. He has encouraged greater respect of human rights under Sharia and was arrested in September 2017.



Taiwan: On Friday, August 31, 2018, 39-year-old Lee Hung-chi was executed by firing squad at a jail in souther Kaohsiung city. He was convicted of murdering his ex-wife and their five-year-old daughter in 2014. He had previously been imprisoned for nearly a year for violating a restraining order.



United States of America: John Lotter, a death row inmate in Nebraska is arguing that he should be removed from death row because the state’s sentencing procedure is unconstitutional. John has been on death row of 22 years after murdering three individuals - Teena Brandon, Lisa Lambert, and Phillip Devine - in 1993. John and his attorneys are arguing that a judge, not a jury, has the final say when imposing a death sentence, which is in violation of a recent ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States. The state is arguing that the sentencing procedure is constitutional because a jury decides aggravating factors, while a judicial panel only determine mitigating factors.

George Martin, a former state trooper and death row inmate in Alabama will be retried for the 1995 murder of his wife, Hammoleketh Martin. George was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder in 2000. After spending 15 years on death row, his conviction was overturned and a new trial order. A lower court chose to dismiss the indictment rather than proceed with a retrial, and George was related. Following his release, the Attorney General’s Criminal Appeals Division argued that the indictment was improperly dismissed and that George should have to once again, stand trial. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed and ordered that George be retried for capital murder.

The Uzbekistan national who is accused of killing eight individuals by driving a truck down a bike path in New York City, New York, is asking that the judge rule out the possibility of the death penalty. His lawyers are urging that statements made by President Trump have ensured that he will not receive a fair trial. Thirty-year-old Sayfullo Saipov has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

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