August 30, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 34

Greece: Fifteen years ago, in 2004, Greece official abolished capital punishment in the nation. From 1975 to 2004, capital punishment was only permissible for those convicted of high treason. The last execution in Greece occurred on Friday, August 25, 1972, when 27-year-old Cretan electrician Vassillis Lymberis was executed by firing squad. He had been convicted of murdering his mother-in-law, wife, and two children by burning down the house that they were in.



Iran: On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, Morad Shahsavari was executed by hanging at Shirvan Central Prison. Morad was convicted on drug related charges.


On Wednesday, August 21, 2019, 38-year-old Abolhassan Ghorbani was executed by hanging in the northern city of Sari. Abolhassan was convicted of killing another man during a fight four years ago. His family was unable to provide enough blood money in order to prevent him from being hanged.


On Sunday, August 25, 2019, an unnamed woman was executed by hanging at the Central Prison of Mashhad. The woman was convicted of murder.


On Monday, August 26, 2019, a 25-year-old unidentified prison was executed by hanging at Babolkenar Forest Park in Mazandaran province. The prisoner was convicted of killing two people during a robbery.


On Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Hamidreza Derakhshandeh was executed by public hanging. He was convicted of assassinating the Imam of Friday Prayer in Kazeroun on May 29, 2019.



Pakistan: On Monday, August 26, 2019, the Supreme Court acquitted the murder convictions of Shafqat Hussain, who has been in prison for the last 15 years. Shafqat was sentenced to death in 2004, for the murder of Jamil Haider. However, a 3-member bench of the Supreme Court, upon hearing the case, determined that prosecutors had failed to prove why one of the witnesses was at the place at the time of the murder. Giving Shafqat the benefit of the doubt, the Supreme Court acquitted him.



Thailand: The Supreme Court has upheld the murder convictions of Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun, migrant workers from Myanmar. The two men are convicted killing two British backpackers, 24-year-old David Miller, and 23-year-old Hannah Witherridge in September 2014. They were sentenced to death less than a year later. Lawyers for the men have announced they plan to seek a royal pardon, arguing that the men were tortured into confessing and that the trial did not meet international standards. The courts have rejected the arguments, saying forensic evidence proves the two men committed the murders.



United States of America: Forty-Three-Year-Old Michael Gargiula, a California serial killer known as the “Hollywood Ripper,” has been convicted of murdering two women and attempting to murder a third in Santa Monica, between 2001 and 2008. Following his conviction, a jury was convened to determine Michael’s mental competency. The 12 member jury determined that Michael was competency and could face the death penalty.


Prosecutors in California have announced that they plan to seek the death penalty against 29-year-old Heather Maxine Barron and her 33-year-old boyfriend, Kareem Ernesto Leiva. Both are accused of murdering Heather’s 10-year-old son, Anthony Avalos. Anthony was brutally beaten and tortured to death. Executions are currently on hold in the state after Governor Gavin Newsom issued a moratorium earlier this year. For the last several years prior to issuing the moratorium, an unofficial moratorium has existed as the state’s lethal injection process faced judicial scrutiny. The last execution in California occurred in 2006.


During his retrial for a 1996 double murder, Florida, inmate Lamar Brooks was resentenced to life in prison. Lamar is convicted of murdering Senior Airman Rachel Carlson and her three-month-old daughter, Alexis Stuart. During his initial conviction, the jury did not reach an unanimous decision, leading to a retrial after a Supreme Court ruling. As this new jury was unable to reach a sentence, Lamar was resentenced to life in prison.


James Lee Jones, a/k/a Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman was sentenced to death in Tennessee on July 15, 1987, for the murder of Patrick Daniels on February 17, 1986. In 2016, a Nashville judge ruled that Abu-Ali was to be granted a new trial due to possible prosecutorial misconduct and inadequate legal representation for Abu-Ali. Now all parties, including a Nashville judge, have agreed to a deal that removes Abu-Ali from death row, committing his sentence to life in prison. Abu-Ali was scheduled to be executed on April 9, 2020.

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