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March 22, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 12

Belarus: Mehrdad Jamshidian, an Iranian national, came to Belarus in 1993, and has been in Belarus without a valid passport for several years. He has requested asylum in Belarus, which he was denied. Medrdad argued that he cannot apply for a new passport because he fears being persecuted in Iran. While in Belarus, Mehrdad renounced Islam and converted to Christianity, a crime punishable by death in Iran. For the last nine months, Mehrdad has been held in prison, awaiting deportation back to Iran. The Iranian government also claims that Mehrdad is responsible for the murder of mother and brother during a visit to Iran. Human rights groups are attempting to help stop Mehrdad from being deported back to Iran, where he could be executed.

 

 

China: Twenty-seven-year-old Nazrawit Abera, an Ethiopian national, has been arrested in China and could be sentenced to death for smuggling drugs. Family of Nazrawit argue that friend she was supposed to travel with, set her up. If convicted, Nazrawit could be sentenced to death.

 

 

India: The Supreme Court has ruled that if a court is finding it difficult to determine between life imprisonment and the death penalty, they should opt for the lesser punishment. The Supreme Court elaborated that capital punishment should only be considered if life imprisonment is deemed an inappropriate punishment. This ruling came during the appeal of a man who had been sentenced to death fro the rape and murder of a 5-year-old child. The man had initially been sentenced to death, however, since he has no previous criminal record and due to his age, around 40 years old, his sentence was reduced. He will serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.

 

The Gujarat High Court has overturned the death penalty given to Manju Kunvariya, who is convicted of murdering her mother and sister, and attempting to murder her mother. Manju allegedly suffers from schizophrenia and, according to her brother, was acting very strange at the time of the murder. The brother also noted that her mental condition was unstable. Manju is to receive a new trial.

 

 

Iran: On Tuesday, March 12, 2019, 42-year-odl Eslam Farsi was executed by hanging at Tabriz Central Prison. Eslam was convicted 15 years ago of murdering his wife.

 

On Thursday, March 14, 2019, Jalaluddin Mosala Nezhad was executed by public hanging in Jahrom, in southern Iran. His crime was not reported.

 

On Saturday, March 16, 2019, 25-year-old Enayatollah Totazehi was executed by hanging at Zahedan Central Prison. Enayatollah was convicted of murder seven years ago.

 

 

Iraq: A Belgian man, 23-year-old Bilal al-Marchohi, has been sentenced to death for being a member of the Islamic State terrorist group. He was convicted of conducting operations on behalf of the Islamic State. Bilal signed a confession of his crimes, however, he denied all allegations against him in court and argued that since he is a Belgian citizen, he should be tried in Belgium.

 

 

Singapore: On Friday, March 22, 2019, 30-year-old Malaysian national Michael Garing was executed at Changi Prison. Michael was convicted of being involved in a series of muggings in May 2010, that ultimately resulted in the death of 41-year-old Shanmuganathan Dillidurai, a construction worker. At the time of his execution, Michael’s family was asking Singapore President Halimah Yacob to spare his life. Following the execution, Michael’s body was returned to his family.

 

 

Turkey: President Recep Tayip Erdogan has announced that if the parliament were to pass a bill restoring the death penalty to the nation, he would sign the bill. Further, he stated that abolishing the death penalty was a mistake. Capital punishment was abolished in the Turkey in 2004, one year after Erdogan became prime minister, in an effort to be accepted into the European Union. Turkey has not yet been allowed to join the EU.

 

 

United States of America: A three-judge panel of the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Alabama must reveal its lethal injection protocol to the public. Alabama can ask the court to reconsider the case, or the state can appeal to the United States Supreme Court. This ruling was an appeal from a ruling issued by US Judge Karon Bowdre, who ruled that while some information could remain secret, such as names of prison employees involved in the execution, the protocol must be related to the public. Alabama has not yet indicated what course of action they will take, if any.

 

A constitutional amendment has been proposed in California, that would eliminate the death penalty. The amendment would end the death penalty in 2020, by prohibiting sentences of death and requiring that all current death row inmates be resentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of parole. The amendment must be approved by a two-thirds vote in the Legislature before appearing on the November 2020 ballot, where it would need voter approval.

 

The Tennessee House of Representatives and the Senate have passed a bill that could speed up the implementation of capital punishment. Bill Lee, the governor of Tennessee has indicated that he will sign the bill. The bill allows capital cases to skip appealing to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals and instead appeal directly to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Supports of the bill argue that too much time passes from conviction to execution; usually decades. Opponents of the bill argue that the government is fallible and that execution is irreversible.

 

 

 

Vietnam: Three individuals, 47-year-old Vu Thi Thu Hoai, 24-year-old Vu Thi Hai Yen, and 40-year-old Le Trung Thanh, have been sentenced to death for trafficking drugs by air. A fourth individual, 42-year-old Pham Thi Hop has been sentenced to life in prison because he has a child that is younger than 36 months.

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