February 1, 2019
IDPN 2019 Issue 05
Bahrain: Hussain Abdulla Khalil Ibrahim has been convicted of detonating two explosive devices that resulted in the deaths of two individuals. The devices exploded on December 8 and 9, 2014. Hussain has once again been sentenced to death, following a retrial.
China: Thirty-six-year-old Robert Schellenberg, a Canadian national, has been sentenced to death in China for smuggling drugs. Robert was initial sentenced to 15 years in prison, however, upon retrial, he was sentenced to death. Robert is now appealing his death sentence and is writing his own letter asking a hight court to examine his case. Robert’s case has caused increased tension between China and Canada, during already tense times. Robert has insisted that he is innocent of the charges for which he has been convicted.
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, Yang Zanyun was executed, according to state media. Yang was convicted and sentenced to death for driving his Land Rover into a crowd of people at the crowded square in central Hunan province in 2018. Fifteen people were killed, and 43 others injured in the attack. Incidents such as these have been on the rise throughout China.
India: Mahendra Singh Gond, a schoolteacher, has been sentenced to death for the rape of a four-year-old girl. Gond was, in part, sentenced to death because of his occupation, which the court viewed that he took advantage of his position. He was also convicted and fined for kidnapping.
Fifteen members of a designated terrorist group in India, The National Democratic Front of Bodeoland, have been convicted over serial bombings in 2008. The bombings killed at least 88 individuals and injured nearly 500 others. The Central Bureau of Investigation is calling for the those convicted to be sentenced to death.
Iran: An unnamed 31-year-old man was executed by hanging on January 10, 2019. The man was convicted in Kazeroon of “lavat-e be one,” that is sexual intercourse between two men. He was also convicted of kidnapping two 15-year-olds. Under Sharia in Iran, the death penalty is the punishment for gay sex.
On Thursday, January 24, 2019, an unnamed prisoner was executed by hanging at a prison in Tabas. The man was arrested in 2017 for the murder of two individuals.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, a woman, identified by her initials only, was executed by hanging at Nowshahr Prison in Mazandaran, in northern Iran. The woman was convicted of murdering her husband.
Malaysia: The sultan of the southern state of Johor has commuted the death sentences of three Mexican brothers, Simon, Luis Alfonso, and Jose Regino Gonzalez Villarreal. The three brothers were convicted and scheduled to be executed by hanging for the drug trafficking. The brothers were arrested in March 2008. Since then Mexican diplomats have been advocating for their release.
Pakistan: Asia Bibi has been prevented from leaving the country since her release from prison, despite rampant threats to her safety. On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, the Supreme Court upheld its decision to acquit Asia of the blasphemy charges against her. With her acquittal upheld, Asia and the rest of her family are free to leave Pakistan. Asia’s acquittal has sparked riots, with hard-line Muslim groups opposing her release. There has been an increase in police presence since the announcement, as government officials feared there would be more unrest and riots.
Saudi Arabia: Four unnamed Yemeni nationals have been executed by beheading for the murder of a security guard. The four men are convicted of robbing a Pakistani security guard. During the course of the robbery, the Pakistani man was killed. The execution was carried out in Mecca.
A 39-year-old Filipino domestic worker was executed on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. She was convicted of murder. The Saudi Supreme Judicial Council ruled that the case could not be settled with “blood money.”
Thailand: Forty-three-year-old Myint Thein Aye has been sentenced to death by the Criminal Court for laundering dirty money and being connected to the methamphetamine trade. Myint was arrested in 2017, after her van was intercepted by officers with the Narcotics Suppression Bureau in Bangkok. Myint is believed to have passed, trafficked, and financed a methamphetamine trade.
United Arab Emirates: The Federal Supreme Court in Abu Dhabi has ordered that a man’s case be reviewed as his sentence violates Islamic law. The man has been convicted of intentionally murdering his wife, however, under Islamic law, children cannot demand the death penalty for their father after their mother’s death. Earlier, the children had refused to grant their father a pardon, demanding that he be sentenced to death. Due to this, the Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty should be annulled and sent the case back to a lower court for sentencing review.
United States of America: On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, Robert Jennings was executed by the state of Texas. He was 61 years of age. Robert was convicted of murdering Houston Police Officer Elston Howard during a robbery at an adult bookstore in July 1988. Robert Jennings was the first person execution in the nation this year.
A lawmaker in Missouri has proposed a bill that would allow death row inmates to donate their organs, if they choose. The bill would require that lethal injection be carried out in a way that the organs would not be affected. If passed, the bill would go into effect in August.
The Nebraska Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit from eight death row inmates. The inmates were arguing that their death sentences were invalidated when the Legislature voted to repeal capital punishment. Voters later overturned the repeal. The inmates argued that their sentences were reduced to life in prison when the Legislature voted, however the case has been dismissed by the Nebraska Supreme Court.
On Monday, January 28, 2019, Arizona death row inmate James Cornell Harrod died at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona. He had been at the medical facility for nearly a month. All deaths are investigated. James was convicted of murdering Jeanne Tovrea on April 1, 1988.
Kenneth Ray Jackson, a former death row inmate in Florida, has been resentenced to life in prison. Kenneth is convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering Cuc Tran in 2007. Cuc went out for a jog and her body was discovered hours later in the burnt shell of a vehicle. Kenneth’s death sentence was overturned after the Florida Supreme Court ruled that all death sentences had to be unanimous. Kenneth’s jury voted 11-1. The judge who resentenced Kenneth to life in prison says that there is no possibility that he will be released from prison.
The state House of Representatives in Wyoming has passed a bill, by a vote of 36-21, to abolish the death penalty in the states. The bill has now been sent to the Senate for debate. There are currently no inmates on death row in Wyoming and the state has not carried out an execution since 1992.
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