November 23, 2018

IDPN 2018 Issue 47

India: Yashpal Singh has been sentenced to death, and Naresh Sherawat has been sentenced to life in prison, both by Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey. Both men have been convicted of murder during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots. They are convicted of killing Hardev Singh and Avtar Singh in Mahipalpur during the riots that followed the assassination of then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

On Tuesday, November 20, 2018, seven individuals were sentenced to death for murdering one person over a volleyball clash in 2010. The seven men - Sadiq, Sarfaraz, Shahid, Arshad, Rashid, Mumtaz, and Farrukh - fired weapons into a crowd indiscriminately, in February 2010, resulting in one death. At least three others were injured.



Iran: On Sunday, November 18, 2018, an unidentified man was executed by hanging at Nur (Noor) Prison. He was convicted of murdering a 59-year-old local resident four years ago and sentenced to qisas (retribution in kind).

On Wednesday, November 21, 2018, three individuals were executed by public hanging in Shiraz. The three individuals were identified as Siamak Eslaminia, Kourosh Gholizadeh, and Foad Ghanemi. All were convicted of moharebeh (waging war against God) for armed robbery. Siamak was also accused of killing a policeman.



Iraq: An age-old custom in the country has now been classified as a terrorist act and is punishable by death. According to custom, tribes, if failing to reach an agreement for disputes through mediation with tribal dignitaries, would “warn” the other tribe by firing at their homes. Now, such actions are taking place in residential areas, posing a threat to the lives of those that live there. Recently, one policeman was hospitalized after being shot and breaking his hip. Additionally, opposing tribes will use machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.



Israel: In Israel, the Knesset is moving forward with legislation that would allow for the death penalty against convicted terrorists. In the United Nations, Israel has voted in favor of a resolution that calls for a global moratorium on capital punishment, with the ultimate goal of completely abolishing the death penalty. The resolution calls for nations to “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty” by decreasing the number of punishable offenses, however, it also recognizes the “sovereign right of all countries to develop their own legal systems.” The resolution passed and was supported by 123 countries, while 36 countries, including the United States of America, opposed the resolution. Thirty other countries abstained from voting.



Myanmar: Aung Thu Hein has been convicted of stabbing to death Ko Nay Min Htet has been sentenced to death. Two others involved in the murder have received prison terms. Min Khant Kyaw received a 21-year prison term, while Min Chit Aung received a 20 year prison term. Hein, Kyaw, and Aung approached Ko on a train and grabbed his phone. When asked by Ko’s friends to return the phone, the trio beat up the friends before Hein stabbed Ko to death.



Nigeria: One-hundred-year-old Celestine Egbunuche has spent the last 18 years in prison, four on death row, after being found guilty of organizing a murder. Celestine’s son, 41-year-old Paul Egbunuche, is also in prison, convicted on the same murder charge. The two were convicted of hiring people to kidnap and kill a man over a land dispute. Paul, who also speaks for his father, insists that they are both innocent. The men were arrested in 2000, but not convicted and sentenced to death until 2014. Supporters, including other inmates, have begun campaigning for Celestine’s release from prison, due in large part to his age and the long time most prisoners spend on death row. In the past 10 years, only seven executions have been carried out, while there are over 2,000 prisoners on death row.



United States of America: Ethics charges against justices on the Arkansas Supreme Court have been unanimously dismissed after a vote by the Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission. Ethic charges were filed against them by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen after the prohibited him from hearing death penalty cases following his participation in a death penalty protest, which included him lying on a cot, mimicking a death row inmate about to be injected. On the day of the protest, Judge Griffen blocked the state from carrying out an execution.

The Supreme Court of the United States has refused to hear the case of British national, Linda Carty, who was sent to Texas' death row in 2001, after being convicted of masterminding a plot to murder her neighbor and steal her baby. Linda insists she is innocent and should be spared execution. The Supreme Court did not comment on why they refused to hear her case. She was arguing that her lawyers were ineffective and “egregious prosecutorial misconduct.” Linda’s lawyer has announced that he plans to continue appealing.

Christopher Watts has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in Colorado. As part of a plea deal that would spare him from possibly being sentenced to death, Christopher plead guilty to three counts of murder for his 34-year-old wife Shanann, who was 15-weeks pregnant, and their two children, four-year-old Bella, and three-year-old Celeste. He also pled guilty to two counts of murdering a child, one count of the unlawful termination of a pregnancy, and three counts of tapering with a deceased human body. He has been given multiple, consecutive, life without parole sentences, as well as varying prison terms for his other crimes.

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