November 9, 2018

IDPN 2018 Issue 45

India: Two men accused of abducting and gang raping an 8-year-old girl, have been sentenced to death after a court determined that they deserved no leniency. The rape and attempted murder of the girl caused national outrage, resulting in a quick trial for 20-year-old Irfan Mewati alias Bhaiyu and 24-year-old Asif Mewati. Due to extensive injuries, the child continues to receive treatment.



Iran: On Sunday, October 28, 2018, 35-year-old Nouri Yarkhorshidi was executed by hanging at Bandar Abbas Central Prison. He was executed for murdering the person who stole his father’s sheep in 2014.

On Saturday, November 3, 2018, 43-year-old Sami’ Mohtarami was executed by hanging at Ardakan prison. Sami’ was executed for murdering another individuals in 2015, during a car robbery.

Pouyan Khoshhal, a journalist, has been arrested for insulting a revered figure of Shia Islam, Imam Hossein (grandson of the Prophet Mohammad), by referring to his death as his “demise” instead of “martyrdom.” The newspaper where he worked as since fired him and published an apology, refusing to defend the journalist. Some are calling for Pouyan to be executed as soon as possible, which is a permissible punishment under the law.

Zahra Derakhshani was arrested in November 2016, after her husband accused her of adultery. She has recently been sentenced to death for her crime. Zahra and the man arrested with her have both denied the adultery charge.



Israel: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has signaled his approval for the Death Penalty Bill, which aims to make it easier to sentenced to death Palestinians convicted of killing Israelis or soldiers. The bill has not yet been discussed and passed in the Knesset (Parliament).



Malaysia: Forty-year-ole Mattari, an Indonesian migrant worker has been released from a death penalty trial. Matter was arrested and charged in December 2016 of the murder of a Bangladesh national, which occurred near his workplace. Police believed Mattari was involved and murdered the man due to jealousy over his wife. Following his release, Mattari was taken to the Indonesian embassy where he is in protective custody. Mattari must choose if he wishes to return to Indonesia or remain in Malaysia.



Pakistan: Following the news that Christian woman Asia Bibi has had her death sentence and conviction of blasphemy overturned, protests erupted. Saif Mulook, Asia’s lawyer has fled the country in fear of his life. He has promised to continue to defend her. Government officials have promised to protect Asia, who was released on Thursday, November 8, 2018, however they are working to bar her from leaving the nation. She and her family have been offered asylum in numerous nations, including Italy, where she has the support of the Pope, as Asia is Catholic.



United States of America: On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, Emanuel Kemp was scheduled to be executed in Texas. His execution was stayed when his attorney requested that evidence be DNA tested, as it has never been done in this case. Attorneys for the state of Texas agreed that the evidence should be tested prior to the execution, as Emanuel’s trial was held before DNA testing was common and considered reliable. Emanuel is convicted of the murder of 34-year-old Johnnie Mae Gray, which occurred on May 28, 1987, in Fort Worth, Texas. Read more about his case here.


In 2006, Clemente Aguirre-Jarquin was sentenced to death for murdering his neighbors, Cheryl Williams and her mother Carol Bareis, in their home in Florida.  Clemente, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, spent 10 years on death row, and four more in prison before having his conviction overturned. He remains imprison due to an immigration hold. Clemente found the bodies of Cheryl and Carol, but was afraid to contact the police after determining they were deceased. Since his arrest and conviction, additional DNA testing, among other evidence, including a verbal confession, has pointed to Cheryl’s daughter, Samantha Williams, as the murderer. While Samantha has not been charged with the murder, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office is currently reviewing the evidence to determine if further action can be taken.


On Friday, November 2, 2018, prison officials found death row inmate Andrew Urdiales unresponsive during a security check at San Quentin State Prison. He was later pronounced dead. He was 54 years of age. Andrew had been sentenced to death in California earlier this year. He was convicted of killing five women in California and had previously been sentenced to death in Illinois for the murder of three other women. While an official cause of death has not been released, initial reports indicate that it was a suicide.


On Sunday, November 4, 2018, California death row inmate Virendra Govin was found unresponsive in his cell. He was later pronounced dead. Virendra was 51 years of age. Initial reports indicate that his death was suicide. Officials do not believe the death of Virendra and Andrew (above) were related. Virendra was sentenced to death for the murder of four individuals in Los Angeles.


Four inmates in Tennessee - David Earl Miller, Todd Sutton, Terry Lynn King, and Stephen Michael West - have requested that they be executed via firing squad instead of by lethal injection or electric chair. Their request came after the November 1, 2018, execution of Ed Zagorski, which was carried out by electrocution. According to the lawsuit, the four men alleged that death by both lethal injection and electrocution will lead to a “gruesome and torturous death.” Another option presented in the lawsuit is orally administered drugs.

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