Iran: Annual report on the death penalty 2017

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MARCH 13, 2018): The 10th annual report on the death penalty in Iran by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM shows that in 2017 at least 517 people were executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
This number is comparable with the execution figures in 2016 and confirms the relative reduction in the use of the death penalty compared to the period between 2010 and 2015. 
Nevertheless, with an average of more than one execution every day and more than one execution per one million inhabitants in 2017, Iran remained the country with the highest number of executions per capita.
2017 Annual Report at a Glance:
At least 517 people were executed in 2017, an average of more than one execution per day111 executions (21%) were announced by official sources.Approximately 79% of all executions included in the 2017 report, i.e. 406 executions, were not announced by the authorities.At least 240 people (46% of all executions) were executed for murder charges - 98 more than in 2016.At le…

At the Supreme Court, No Consensus on the Death Penalty

Justices alternately upheld, halted and questioned executions on an array of grounds this week
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court’s complicated, often unpredictable approach to the death penalty was evident this week when a three-day period produced decisions where different combinations of justices alternately upheld, halted and questioned executions on an array of grounds.
While President Donald Trump proposes expanding capital punishment to drug dealers, the Supreme Court lacks consensus on how, when and—for at least two justices—if the death penalty can constitutionally be applied at all.
On Wednesday, a unanimous court gave a death-row inmate in Texas a chance at a life sentence. That followed a 5-to-4 vote Tuesday evening to halt the imminent execution of a Missouri inmate who claimed a rare medical condition made him prone to extrcruciating pain under lethal injection. And on Monday, the court unanimously rejected a challenge to Arizona’s death-sentencing procedure, though four justi…

Alabama Governor signs bill to allow execution by nitrogen hypoxia

Gov. Kay Ivey has signed into law a bill to allow Alabama to carry out executions by nitrogen hypoxia, an alternative to lethal injection.
The governor signed the bill today, Ivey Press Secretary Daniel Sparkman said.
Condemned inmates could choose to die by nitrogen hypoxia instead of lethal injection. 
Or, if lethal injection was ruled unconstitutional or became otherwise unavailable, nitrogen hypoxia would become the state's method.
The law also still allows inmates to choose execution by electrocution, although none have done so since the state adopted lethal injection. 
The nitrogen hypoxia bill was sponsored by Rep. Trip Pittman, R-Montrose. 
The House of Representatives passed it by a vote of 75-23 on Tuesday. It passed the Senate 29-0 in February., Mike Cason, March 22, 2018

Alabama 3rd state to allow execution by nitrogen gas
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama will become the third state to authorize the untested use of nitrogen gas to execute prisoners, under …

U.S.: Austin bomber a ‘geek’ who backed the death penalty, opposed gay marriage

A 23-year-old suspected of planting the deadly bombs that terrorised Austin for three weeks was described yesterday by his uncle as a smart and kind “computer geek” and a friend said he was an assertive person who would end up being “kind of dominant and intimidating in conversation”.
Neither had any idea what motivated Mark Anthony Conditt, who authorities say died after detonating a bomb in his ute as officers moved in to arrest him near Austin. The attacks in the Texas capital and suburban San Antonio killed two people and wounded four others.
“I mean, this is coming from nowhere. We just don’t know what. I don’t know how many ways to say it but everyone is caught off guard by this,” said Conditt’s uncle, Mike Courtney of Lakewood, Colorado.
Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said he considered a 25-minute recording on mobile phone found with Conditt a “confession”.
On the recording, Conditt describes seven explosive devices, and “we have accounted for the devices that we have known…

With Death Penalty at Home, Can Indonesia Save Its Citizens Abroad?

Nearly 200 Indonesians are facing capital punishment abroad.
Jakarta. The government sent a protest note to Saudi Arabia on Monday (19/03), after an Indonesian national was beheaded in Mecca. Saudi authorities did not inform Indonesia that its citizen would be executed.
Zaini Misrin, a 53-year-old man from Bangkalan in East Java's island of Madura, was a migrant worker convicted of the murder of his Saudi employer. He was executed on Sunday.
"The Indonesian government did not receive any notification prior to the execution of Zaini Misrin," citizen protection and legal aid director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, said during a press conference in Jakarta.
Although the kingdom has no regulatory obligation to issue such notifications, since the two countries are in friendly relations, Indonesia should have been officially apprised of the decision, he said.
With nearly 200 Indonesians facing capital punishment abroad, the government has been making …

20 Indonesians on Saudi Death Row, 5 Charged with Witchcraft

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry's civil protection director, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, revealed that there are at least 20 Indonesians that face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for various allegations.
Reports state that 15 of them are accused of murder charges while the other 5 are charged with sorcery accusations under Saudi Arabia's witchcraft law.
"[The witchcraft law] does not exist in our Constitution, but suspects of this type of case have a chance to be pardoned by the King. We have accompanied the Indonesians accused of murder charges since the beginning and we have acquired all of their records," said Muhammad Iqbal on Wednesday, March 21.
Furthermore, Iqbal explained that 2 people that are charged with murder have entered their legal proceeding's critical phase. 
It involves 2 Indonesian citizens Tuty Tursilawati and Eti binti Toyib, both who were indicted in 2011 before the government's citizen protection was still weak which presented difficulties f…

Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa Releases Thousands From Prison

ED Mnangagwa is commuting death sentences for some prisoners and releasing thousands of people from prison, including most women and everyone under age 18.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa's announcement Wednesday is an effort to ease overcrowded prisons. 
"The exercise has not only gone a long way in decongesting our prisons but has served as a reminder to inmates and society that the purpose of imprisonment is founded on the pretext of reformation than retribution," Alford Mashango Dube, prison deputy commissioner-general, was quoted as saying by local media. 
"It is now left to society to ensure that those released reintegrate safely and well within their respective communities."
The mass amnesty is Mnangagwa's first act of clemency since he was sworn in in November. 
Mnangagwa has said he is against the death penalty because he once survived hanging when the southern African nation was still colonial Rhodesia.
Nearly 100 people are on death row in the coun…

Japan: Death penalty for ex-caregiver for killing 3 elderly nursing home residents

A court in Japan has sentenced a former care worker to death for killing 3 elderly residents at a nursing home in Kawasaki, near Tokyo.
Yokohama District Court on Thursday found 25-year-old Hayato Imai guilty of murdering the 3 victims by pushing them from the balconies of their rooms.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty in the trial.
The 3 residents all died in 2014. 
They were an 87-year-old man and 2 women, aged 86 and 96.
The judges in the trial ruled that the victims would have been physically incapable of climbing over the balcony railings by themselves. 
They ruled out the possibility that the deaths were suicides or accidents.
The ruling also rejected the possibility that other staff members had committed the crimes.
The judges added that Imai's confession during police interrogation, in which he admitted to killing the 3 people, was credible.
Imai's lawyer had maintained that he was not guilty, pointing out the lack of objective evidence, and arguing that the de…

Attorney General Jeff Sessions outlines when to use death penalty on drug traffickers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday issued new guidance to federal prosecutors on how to apply the death penalty to numerous drug-related crimes.
Sessions advised federal prosecutors to utilize laws permitting capital punishment as a viable sentence, both in violent and non-violent cases.
In the memo sent to U.S. attorneys Wednesday morning, Sessions said that some of the "appropriate cases" to seek the death penalty include murder related to racketeering crimes, gun deaths occurring during drug trafficking crimes and murder related to criminal enterprise.
The memo also encouraged prosecutors to pursue capital punishment in cases involving "dealing in extremely large quantities of drugs."
According to the U.S. statutes, an "extremely large" quantity of drugs means distributing at least 600 times the amount of a given substance that would bring penalties of five to 40 years in prison.
The Trump administration has frequently addressed the ongoing Am…

U.S. Supreme Court sides with Texas death row inmate

Siding with a Texas death row inmate Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a lower court to take another look at Carlos Ayestas’ request for money to fully investigate his claims of schizophrenia, brain injuries and similar issues.
Known as mitigating evidence, such information is supposed to be provided to jurors before they decide whether a capital murder defendant deserves to be executed. Ayestas’ trial lawyers, however, presented only one witness, a Harris County Jail teacher who described the inmate as a serious and attentive student.
As part of Ayestas’ federal appeals, new lawyers requested — but were denied — money to hire a mitigation specialist to investigate Ayestas’ medical history and mental health in search of evidence that could provide jurors with reasons to choose life in prison instead of a death sentence.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision to deny money for a specialist, ruling that Ayestas, 48, and his attorneys failed to show a “substan…