February 8, 2019
IDPN 2019 Issue 06
European Union: The Cotonou Partnership Agreement between the European Union and African, Caribbean, and Pacific nations is currently set to expire on February 29, 2020. As the two sides work to come to a new agreement, several MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) have stated that they believe any agreement should include a requirement for the abolishment of the death penalty. The European Union has stated that one of their goals in the world-wide abolition of the death penalty. In order to receive membership in the European Union, the nation must have abolished the death penalty. The Cotonou Partnership Agreement provides funding to the African, Caribbean, and Pacific nations from the European Union.
Indonesia: Thirty-five-year-old French national Dorfin Felix has been recaptured after he escaped from prison. Dorfin was arrested at Lombok International Airport after he was caught attempting to bring drugs into the country last year. While awaiting trial, he escaped from prison. An investigation determined that a guard accepted bribes and helped him escape. Trafficking drugs in the nation can result in the death penalty.
Iran: On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, Karim Mohebbi was executed at Tabriz Central Prison. Executions are typically carried out by hanging. Karim was convicted and sentenced to death four years ago after being convicted of murder.
On Wednesday, January 30, 2019, two prisoners were executed at Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj city. The prisoners were not identified by name and their executions were carried out in secret.
Philippines: A new, controversial drug bill before the House of Representatives will remove all provisions that relate to imposing the death penalty. The bill was an attempt by some law makers to reimpose the death sentence for drug related crimes.
Saudi Arabia: Female activist Israa al-Ghomgham was arrested in 2015, along with four other including her husband, after participating in a peaceful, anti-government protest. Israa was well-known for demanding an end to the persecution of the Shiite minority in the Sunni majority nation. Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Israa, but have now announced that they will be seeking a lesser punishment. Israa, along with the others, are being charged with traveling abroad to learn how to organize rallies and protest, using social media to promote and document the rallies, and using Facebook to spread videos.
United States of America: Domineque Ray was executed on Thursday, February 7, 2019, in Alabama. He was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville, which occurred on July 15, 1995, in Dallas County, Alabama. Domineque’s execution was delayed several hours due to religious appeals. His execution had been stayed by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, however the stay was later lifted by the Supreme Court of the United States.
All lethal injection drugs in Arkansa have now expired, prompting legislators to consider ways that the state may resume executions. It is unlikely that Arkansa will be able to purchase new drugs, as the state does not currently have a law that would shield the identity of the supplier of the execution drug. There are currently no executions scheduled in the state. The last execution in Arkansas was two years ago, when four men (Ledell Lee, Kenneth Williams, Marcel Williams, and Jack Jones) were executed over an eight day period.
The DNA tests for Texas death row inmate Larry Swearingen have been completed, more than one year after the testing was agreed to by the state and Larry and his lawyers. The tested evidence, everything that was requested by the defense, did not reveal any new information. Much of the evidence was old and did not show any male DNA, while other items no longer contained DNA material for testing. Cigarette butts that were found near the body of the victim, Melissa Trotter, revealed the DNA of the hunters who first found the body. Defense attorneys have routinely pointed out the lack of physical evidence in the case.
A bill has been introduced to the Montana House of Representatives that would require DNA or other biological evidence as conclusive proof before a defendant could be sentenced to death. Supporters of this bill claim that this will reduce the number of individuals sentenced to death, reduce appeals, and save the state money. Additionally, there is a separate bill being sponsored that would abolish the death penalty in the state. The last execution in the state was in 2006. There are currently two inmates on death row. The state does not currently have the drugs to carry out an execution.
Yemen: Two men, 28-year-old Wadah Refat and 31-year-old Mohamed Khaled, have been executed by public shooting for the rape and murder of 12-year-old Mohamed Saad. Saad had been playing in front of his house when Refat and Khaled dragged into one of their homes, raping him. After raping the child, Saad would not stop crying and begging for help so they killed him. A 33-year-old woman has also been sentenced to death for helping to dismember the body of child. Her execution has been delayed because she is pregnant.
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