April 5, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 13

Brunei: As a new penal code goes into effect in the kingdom, crimes eligible for the death penalty have expanded to include sodomy and homosexuality. Brunei is an Islamic nation and its penal code has become even more heavily based on Shariah. The United Nations, among others, has condemned the new penal code.



India: Suresh Paswan has been sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl. The crime occurred on July 21, 2013, in Hastings, near Kidderpore. The girl was taken near her home and found the next morning by some other children.



Indonesia: A 46-year-old United States citizen faces the death penalty if convicted on drug related charges. The man was arrested, along with a 24-year-old Indonesian man, after police raided a house and discovered drugs including marijuana and methamphetamine, and other drug paraphernalia.



Malaysia: Doan Thi Huong has been sentenced to three years and four months in jail, with credit for time served, for the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea. Doan was not convicted of murder, but of a lesser charge, causing hurt by potentially deadly means. Doan could have been sentenced to death if found guilty of murder. Since her arrest, Doan has stated that she believed she was participating in prank. Doan’s co-defendant, Siti Aisyah, unexpectedly had all charges against her dropped last month.



Pakistan: For the last four years, special military courts had been utilized for terror suspects, in an effort to curb militant attacks. Now, that practice will end and terrorism cases will be handled in regular courts. The military courts began being used, as well as the moratorium on capital punishment lifted, after a Taliban attack on Peshawar school in December 2014, that killed over 150 individuals, most of whom were students. The Prime Minister does not believe that the parliament would agree to extending the use of military courts.



Saudi Arabia:  On Monday, April 1, 2019, four individuals were executed by beheading. All four were convicted of drug trafficking. One of those executed was a woman, although none of the executed were identified by name. So far this year, a total of 53 individuals have been executed.



United States of America:  On Thursday, March 28, 2019, 57-year-old Patrick Murphy was scheduled to be executed in Texas. Patrick was one of the members of a group who escaped from prison and became known as the “Texas 7.” Patrick was scheduled to be executed for his part in the murder of a police officer during a robbery after they had escaped. Patrick’s execution was stayed by the Supreme Court of the United States after his request to have his Buddhist spiritual advisor with him in the execution chamber was denied. The Supreme Court granted his request for a stay because the court determined that the request was made in a timely fashion and not granting Patrick’s request violated his First Amendment rights, as Christian and Muslim spiritual advisors are allowed.


Following the ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States, halting the execution of Patrick Murphy over claims his First Amendment rights were being violated, Texas. has announced that spiritual advisors will no longer be allowed inside the execution chamber. Prison security staff will be the only people permitted inside. Previously, state-employed clergy could accompany inmates into the execution chamber, however Texas only had a Christian and Muslim clerics. Patrick requested, and was denied, that his Buddhist spiritual advisor be present in the execution chamber. Now, spiritual advisors are limited to viewing the execution from the witness room and meeting with the inmates prior to the execution.


Forty-six-year-old Jacob Sullivan has been sentenced to death in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. for the brutal rape, murder, and dismemberment of 14-year-old Grace Packer, the daughter of his girlfriend. The crime took place in 2016. Grace’s mother, Sara Packer, has confessed to arranging the murder because she wanted her daughter dead. As part of her plea deal, Sara was sentenced to life in prison. Grace had also been previously abused by Sara and her former husband, who had adopted her.


The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that Missouri. inmate Russell Bucklew can be executed by lethal injection, despite a rare medical condition that may cause pain and suffering during the execution. In the majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch noted that Russell delayed making his request. Justice Gorsuch further cautioned that, “Courts should police carefully against attempts to use such challenges as tools to interpose unjustified delay.” Further the Supreme Court noted that the 8th Amendment does not guarantee inmates a painless death, only needless pain. Russell suffers from a rare medical condition that could cause him to choke on his blood during the execution. Russell is convicted of murdering 27-year-old Michael Sanders on March 21, 1996, at Hickory Hollow trailer park in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.


Earlier this year, the Washington. Supreme Court found that the death penalty was applied unconstitutionally in the state. This ruling prompted action from legislatures who hope to formally abolish capital punishment in the state. A bill to eliminate capital punishment has already passed the Senate and is now before the House of Representatives. Governor Bob Ferguson is known for being opposed to the death penalty and has indicated that he will sign the bill, if it comes before him.


A bill in Colorado that would abolish the death penalty is having trouble making it to a vote in the Senate. One of the reasons is that Senator Rhonda Fields is personally connected to two of the three men on death row in the state; her son was murdered by them, leading her to be highly critical of the bill. Senator Fields believes that the decision to abolish capital punishment should be left up to the voters. Additionally, prosecutors have told the lawmakers that although the death penalty is rarely used in the state, having it as an option encourages the accused to cooperate with police and agree to plea deals.


Jason Dean has died on death row in Ohio. He was 44 years of age. According to the Ohio Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Jason was at the Franklin Medical Center, when he died on March 23, 2019, at 6 am EDT. His cause of death has tentatively been listed as natural causes. Jason was convicted of the murder of 30-year-old Titus Arnold, a youth counselor in Springfield, Ohio on April 13, 2005. It was part of a four-day shooting spree, in which Jason and his accomplice attempted to kill six other individuals. His accomplice, 16-year-old Joshua Wade, was sentenced to life in prison. Jason did not have a pending execution date.



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