October 25, 2019

IDPN 2019 Issue 42

Bangladesh: Sixteen people have been convicted and sentenced to death in connection to the murder of 19-year-old Nusrat Jahan Rafi in a small town outside of Dhaka. Nusrat died after she was lured to the school rooftop, tied, gagged, doused in kerosene, and burned. Nusrat survived the burning and was able to record a statement on her way to the hospital, including naming some of her attackers. Nusrat died four days later. She was targeted by the other students for reporting a teacher who inappropriately touched her. Among those sentenced to death are students and two local politicians who held prominent positions at the school.

A Muslim group is demanding that a Hindu youth, Biplob Chandra Baidya Shuvo, be sentenced to death after allegedly making a blasphemous post on Facebook. Biplob had previously reported to the police that his Facebook account had been hacked and he was being blackmailed. Two Muslim youths have been arrested for hacking the account and police have confirmed that Biplob did not make the blasphemous post. However, the Muslim group continues to demand that Biplob be sentenced to death.



Indonesia: Kasarin Khamkhao and Sanicha Maneetes, Thai nationals, and Olivier Jover, a French national, could each be sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle drugs into the nation. All three were arrested at Bali International airport. Executions are carried out by firing squads.



United States of America: Forty-three-year-old Michael Gargiulo, nicknamed “The Hollywood Ripper” and “The Boy Next Door Killer,” was convicted in Los Angeles, California in August of murdering 22-year-old Ashley Ellerin, who was dating Ashton Kutcher at the time, in 2001, and 32-year-old mother of three, Maria Bruno in 2005. Michael was also convicted of attempting to murder Michelle Murphy in 2008. Now, a California jury has recommended that Michael be sentenced to death. Michael allegedly committed in first murder in 1993, that of 18-year-old Tricia Pacaccio in Illinois, where Michael is now awaiting trial. Michael lived near all of the women he killed.

The trial for Nikolas Cruz, the man accused of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, is scheduled to begin in January 2020. Seventeen students and staffers were killed during the shooting, while 17 others were injured. If convicted, Nikolas could be sentenced to death. Defense attorneys have argued that the trial should be delayed because there hasn’t been enough time to prepare the case. Shortly after the 2018 shooting, attorneys said Nikolas was willing to plead guilty, if the death penalty would no longer be an option. The prosecution has refused such a request.

For the past 11 years, Anthony McKnight has been on death row in California. The cause of death has not yet been released. Anthony, a former Navy sailor, was convicted and sent to jail in 1987, for the rape and attempted murder of three women. While in prison, investigators were able to link him, through DNA, to five murders of young women and girls. He was tried again in 2008 and sentenced to death. There is currently a moratorium on executions in California, as ordered by Governor Gavin Newsom.

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