May 31, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 21

Iraq: On Sunday, May 26, 2019, three Frenchmen, Kévin Gonot, Léonard Lopez and Salim Machou, were sentenced to death after being convicted of being members of the Islamic State terrorist group. They are the first Frenchman to be sentenced, among a group of 12 who were captured in Syria and transferred to Iraq for trial. The men have 30 days to appeal their sentence. France allowed the trials to be carried out in Iraq, however the French government opposes execution for any reason and has stated it will take the necessary steps to prevent it from being carried out.

On Monday, May 27, 2019, a fourth Frenchman, Mustafa Mohammed Ibrahim, was also sentenced to death for being a member of the Islamic State. Mustafa has insisted that he was brainwashed by the militant group and that he did not commit any crimes.

On Tuesday, May 28, 2019, two more French nationals, 33-year-old Karam Salam Mohammed El-Harchaoui and 32-year-old Brahim Ali Mansour Nejara were sentenced to death for being members of the Islamic State. Nejara had appeared on video praising the 2015 terror attacks in Paris, France.

On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, a seventh Frenchman, 29-year-old Yassin Sakkam, was sentenced to death for being a member of the Islamic State. Yassin admitted that he had sworn allegiance to the terrorist group, however he has come to regret his decision and has asked to be pardoned. On the same day, 24-year-old Tunisian Mohammed Berriri was also sentenced to death for joining the Islamic State. He also has also stated that he has come to regret his decision.



Japan: The death penalty has been upheld by the Osaka High Court for 72-year-old Chisako Kakehi, who is convicted of murdering her husband and two common-law partners with poison. She wanted to inherit their money and escape from debt. Chisako, dubbed the “Black Widow” killer, also attempted to murder a fourth man. Her lawyer was urging the court to reduce the sentence, as Chisako allegedly suffers from dementia.



Jordan: The Court of Cassation has upheld the death sentences of two men who were convicted of being involved with the Karak terror cell and an attack that resulted in the deaths of 10 people in 2016. After their initial death sentence, a court reduced the death sentences to life in prison, on the grounds of the defendants young age, however a higher court later revoked the reduced sentence, reinstating the death sentences.



North Korea: The breakdown in the meeting between leader Kim Jong Un and United States President Donald Trump in February 2019, has resulted in five North Korean officials reportedly being executed. Special Envoy to the US, Kim Hyok Chol was executed by firing squad in March for being “won over by American imperialists to betray the supreme leader.” Four others from the Foreign Ministry office were also allegedly executed.




Pakistan: Jameel Ahmed and Muneer Ahmed have been sentenced to death by an anti-terrorism court for the murder of Zain-ul-Abideen, a lawyer, on November 4, 2011. The two men are members of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni supremacist militant group.



Singapore: Adili Chibuike Ejike, a Nigerian national, was sentenced to death after being convicted of smuggling drugs into the nation in 2011. However, Adili has now been acquitted by the Court of Appeal, which found that the prosecution did not prove that Adili knew the drugs were in his suitcase.



United States of America: On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Cleveland Ramon Jackson was scheduled to be executed in the state of Ohio. His execution has been rescheduled to November 13, 2019, however it is unlikely to occur, as Mike DeWine, governor of Ohio has announced that he will be halting all executions in the state until a new lethal injection protocol has been established. Once Ohio establishes a new protocol, the state will have to acquire the execution drugs and the new protocol will likely be subject to judicial review.


On Thursday, May 30, 2019, Christopher Lee Price was executed by the state of Alabama. Christopher is convicted of murdering 57-year-old minister, Bill Lynn, on December 22, 1991, in Fayette County, Alabama. Christopher’s execution was slightly delayed due to appeals.


Pablo Ibar, an inmate in Florida, has been removed from death row. Pablo, who was born in Florida and obtained Spanish citizenship while imprisoned, has been convicted of the 1994 triple murder of Casey Sucharski, Mare Rogers, and Sharon Anderson, and was initially sentenced to death. After years of appeals and retrials, his death sentence has been overturned and Pablo has been sentenced to life in prison.


Aramis Ayala made history in 2016, when she became Florida's first African American state attorney, chief prosecutor for Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit. She has now announced that she will not seek re-election. Shortly after her election, Aramis established herself as anti-death penalty by announcing that she would not seek capital punishment for any cases. Aramis’s case went before the Florida Supreme Court who ruled that an elected state prosecutor could not impose anti-death penalty policies.


After passing the Louisiana House of Representatives, a bill to protect the identity of those involved in executions, has failed in the Senate. Supporters of the bill, which was supported Attorney General Jeff Landry, hoped that it would help, once again, start executions in the state. The bill would have shielded the identities of people or companies that manufacture supplies for the execution, transport the supplies, those who prescribe the executions drugs, and others necessities relating to the carrying out of an execution. Opponents of the bill argued that such a bill could result in Louisiana buying execution drugs in inappropriate ways, such as through the black market. Louisiana’s last execution occurred in 2010.


The New Hampshire legislature has overridden a veto from Governor Chris Sununu, officially abolishing capital punishment in the state. Earlier this year, the bill to abolish capital punishment passed both the House of Representatives and the Senate, however it was vetoed by the Governor. Both branches of the legislature have now overridden the veto. There is only one death row inmate in the state - Michael Addison, who killed Manchester police officer Michael Briggs over 10 years ago. New Hampshire has not carried out an execution since 1939. The bill does not change Addison’s sentence, however the state does not currently have any execution drugs and has no plans to obtain them.


The Senate in Alabama has passed a bill that makes it a capital crime to kill a first responder in the state. While murdering law enforcement officers was already a capital crime, this new bill expands to include ambulance drivers, paramedics, and firefighters. While the House of Representatives in Alabama already passed the bill, the Senate renamed the bill after recently murdered Auburn Police Officer William Buechner. Therefore, the bill will have to be returned to the House for its approval, before moving on to the Governor.

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