May 17, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 19

Bahrain:  Bahrain: The Court of Cassation has upheld the death sentence of two men, Ali al-Arab and Ahmad al-Malali. Both have been convicted of terror offenses and were sentenced to death in 2018. During the trial, there were allegations of torture and violations of the men’s due process rights.


Belarus:  The nation’s Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of Alyaksandr Asipovich. Human rights groups have alleged that Alyaksandr’s trial was unfair. He was convicted of murdering two girls with extreme cruelty before dismembering the bodies and hiding the parts. Belarus is the only European nation to continue to have the death penalty, despite calls from the European Union to declare a moratorium on capital punishment. The last execution was carried out in 2018.


Gambia:   The 22 inmates on death row have had their sentences commuted to life in prison, according to the attorney general and Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou. This announcement follows the announcement of President Barrow, who has issued a moratorium on the application of the death penalty. The government of Gambia is working on legally abolishing capital punishment as well.



Iran:  On Monday, April 29, 2019, four prisoners were executed by hanging at Arak prison. All were convicted on drug related charges. The four prisoners were identified as 37-year-old Hamidreza Hosseinkhani, 42-year-old Majid Kazemi, 26-year-old Mohammad Hemmati, and 26-year-old Mohammad Davoudabadi. Mohammad and Mohammad were both tried under Iran’s new anti-drug law, which allows for the courts to limit the use of capital punishment for drug related offenses. The new law is also retroactive, meaning prisoners already sentenced to death could have their cases reviewed and their sentences reduced.



Iraq:  An unnamed Islamic State fighter has been sentenced to death for the murder of multiple Iraqi soldiers and for the rape of a young girl in Nineveh.



Pakistan:  For years, the case of Asia Bibi captured international attention, as her lawyer, Saiful Malook worked to free her from death row, where she had been sent after being convicted of blasphemy. Now, with Asia finally free and reunited with her family, Saiful is taking up the case of Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Masih, a Christian couple who was sentenced to death in April 2014, for blasphemy. The couple currently has an appeal pending before the Lahore High Court.



Saudi Arabia:  It has been reported that Pakistani national Imran Haider has been executed in Reform Jail, Dhaban Area, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Imran was executed after being arrested at King Abdul Aziz International Airport Jeddah, where heroin was discovered in his personal possessions. The punishment for carrying drugs in the kingdom is death, regardless of quantity. Most execution are carried out by beheading.



United States of America:  On Thursday, May 16, 2019, Michael Samra was executed by the state of Alabama. Michael was 42 years of age. He was convicted of murdering 39-year-old Randy Duke, 29-year-old Dedra Mims Hunt, 7-year-old Chelsea Marie Hunt and 6-year-old Chelisa Nicole Hunt, on March 23, 1997, in Shelby County, Alabama. 


On Thursday, May 16, 2019, Donnie Johnson was executed by the state of Tennessee Donnie was 68 years of age and had been on death row for 34 years. He was convicted of murdering his wife, 30-year-old Connie Johnson, on December 8, 1984, in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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