September 14, 2018
IDPN 2018 Issue 37
China: On Tuesday, September 11, 2018, Liu Chunlu was sentenced to death for killing 18 individuals and injuring three others, after he started a fire inside a bar. Liu is believed to have set the fire after being rejected by a waitress.
Egypt: Mahmoud Abu Zeid, an award-winning photojournalist, has been given a five-year jail sentence after being convicted of “murder and membership in a terrorist organization.” He was arrest in 2013, as he covered the clashes in Cairo between security forces and supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi. Due to the time he has already spent in prison, Mahmoud is executed to be released within a few days. Lawyers for Mahmoud plan to appeal the sentence, arguing that their client is innocent was merely doing his job covering the events.
Iran: On Saturday September 8, 2018, Ramin Hossein Panahi, Loghman Moradi, and Sanyar Moradi were executed by hanging at Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj. According to Iran Human Rights, all three men were political prisoners who had been beaten, tortured, and given unfair trials.
On Monday, September 10, 2018, Kamal Ahmadnejad was executed by hanging at Miandoab Prison. He was convicted of rebellion and murdering Hashem Zeynali. He allegedly confessed after being tortured for six months.
On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, Nazir Ahmad Gomshadzehi was executed by hanging at Saravan Prison. He was arrested in 2015, and convicted of murder.
On Thursday, September 13, 2018, a prisoner was executed by hanging for the kidnapping, injuring, harassing, and murder of a 13-year-old. The name of the prisoner was not reported.
Iraq: On Monday, September 10, 2018, seven nationals were executed by hanging in the southern province of Dhi Qar. All were convicted of terrorism. Many currently convicted of terrorism in Iraq were members of the Islamic State.
Japan: In 1966, Iwao Hakamada, a professional boxer, was sentenced to death for the murder of his boss and his wife and two children during a robbery. Iwao denied the allegations before confessing. He later retracted his confession, saying he was beaten by police into making the confession. In 2014, Iwao was granted a rare retrial, however, the case and his retrial has gone back-and-forth between the courts. He is currently out of prison, due to his advanced age, awaiting a retrial.
Twenty-seven-year-old Takahiro Shiraishi has been charged with multiple counts of murder, forcible sexual intercourse, and robbery. Nine dismembered bodies have been discovered in his home. Takahiro has been nicknamed the “Twitter Killer,” because he would allegedly use the social media app to lure his victims. Eight of the victims were females while the ninth was a male looking for his girlfriend. Prosectors are seeking the death penalty against Takahiro.
United States of America: On Wednesday, September 12, 2018, Ruben was scheduled to be executed in the state of Texas. His execution was stayed by a federal judge with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in order to allow time for lawyers recent appointed to his case to become familiar with it. His previously lawyer was taken off his case in August after claiming she felt she did not have the expertise to handle the case. Ruben is convicted of murdering 85-year-old Escolastica Harrison on September 5, 1998, in her Brownsville, Texas mobile home. Read more about Ruben’s case here.
On Thursday, September 13, 2018, Cleveland Jackson was scheduled to be executed in Ohio. His execution has been reschedule to Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Cleveland is convicted of the murder of three-year-old Jalya Grant and 17-year-old Leneshia Williams during a robbery on January 3, 2000, in Lima, Ohio. Read more about his case here.
Charles Rhines, a death row inmate in South Dakota, is appealing his sentence, arguing that juror bias motivated his jury to sentence him to death instead of life in prison. Charles, who is convicted of brutally murdering Donnivan Schaeffer in 1992, is gay. Charles told a three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals that he should be allowed to show new evidence that his jury held an anti-gay bias and that they believed that sentencing him to life in prison would not be a punishment for him. Several other civil rights organizations have also filed appeals on Charles’ behalf. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to hear Charles’ appeal.
The New Hampshire Senate has failed in a 14-10 vote to override a veto by Governor Chris Sununu. The veto was in regards to a bill that would have abolished to death penalty. In order to overturn the veto, the Senate needed 16 votes.
At least five individuals who have been arrested for helping commit the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have still not faced trial. For these five individuals, including self-proclaimed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the death penalty is being sought. They were arrested in 2003, and sent between varies prisons before being arraigned in 2008. Former President Barack Obama suspended the case in 2010, and the Pentagon later dismissed the charges, but allowed for them to be charged again at a later date. The five men were then arraigned in 2012, and since then, numerous pretrial hearings over what evidence could be used at their trials, among other issues. It is unlikely that a trial will begin before 2020.