Iran | Annual report on the death penalty 2019

Iran Human rights (IHR); March 31, 2020: The 12th annual report on the death penalty by Iran Human Rights (IHR) and ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty) provides an assessment and analysis of the death penalty trends in 2019 in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 
It sets out the number of executions in 2019, the trend compared to previous years, the legislative framework and procedures, charges, geographic distribution and a monthly breakdown of executions. 
Lists of the female and juvenile offenders executed in 2019 are also included in the tables. 
The report also looks into the abolitionist movement within Iran, including the forgiveness movement and its contribution to limiting the use of the death penalty, the artists and filmmakers attempting to promote abolition, and the authorities’ attempt to promote the death penalty and crackdown on human rights defenders. 
The 2019 report is the result of hard work from IHR members and supporters who took part in reporting, documenting, c…

Lukashenka: 4 patients having COVID-19 die in Belarus; 254 treated in hospitals. And counting.

Over the past month, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has gained notoriety for his careless attitude to the pandemic. On March 16, Lukashenka shared with the newly appointed officials his own ways of fighting the coronavirus. He advised going to a dry sauna, claiming that the virus dies at 60 degrees; more frequent handwashing, regular diet, and… drinking some vodka are also on his list. Later, he called the situation ‘psychosis and foolishness’.
President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has impliedly confirmed four coronavirus deaths in Belarus when interviewed by TV station Mir on Thursday.
“We have only four of them, those who died of pneumonia complicated by the coronavirus. We are still clarifying whether the fourth death was caused by the coronavirus. Any virus aggravates chronic diseases,” he said.
According to the Belarusian leader, the authorities are not hushing up about the pandemic in the country, because it is ‘impossible’ to brush up a human death under the carpet.
“We are holding a meeting …

Taiwan executes man who killed 6 relatives in arson attack

Only 2nd execution since President Tsai Ing-wen took office in May 2016
A man who used gasoline to burn 5 relatives to death during Lunar New Year’s Eve in Feb. of 2016, including his parents and a caregiver, has been executed, reports said Wednesday (April 1).
While capital punishment still receives widespread public support in Taiwan, executions have become rare, and many in President Tsai Ing-wen’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party want to move toward its abolition. 
Wednesday evening’s execution was only the 2nd since Tsai first became president in May 2016.
Weng Jen-hsien's sentence had been repeatedly upheld, as judges said he had shown no remorse and still posed a threat to the surviving members of his family, UDN reported. 
Weng, 54, had harbored a grudge against his parents and seven siblings because as the youngest brother, he had been left to do most of the work on the family farm in Taoyuan City.
Just before the Lunar New Year holiday in 2016, Weng reportedly bought …

‘I will bury you’: Duterte threatens rioters, leftist groups challenging gov’t during Luzon lockdown

President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to kill members of leftist groups last night if they challenge the government during the Luzon lockdown.
Duterte said in English and Filipino during the televised speech, “I’m addressing the Left. Your violations, slamming the distribution [of food], remember you in the Left, you are not the government. And you know that. You are not the government and you cannot be part of what we are planning for the nation.”
“You have to understand that. Don’t do anything foolish and instigate a riot because I will order you detained and you will only be released after the COVID [pandemic].”
The president’s warning comes after 20 residents from Quezon City were arrested yesterday after they staged a protest to demand food from the local government. 
Quezon City Task Force Action Officer Rannie Ludovica told CNN Philippines in an interview that the activist group Kadamay allegedly instigated the residents to hold the rally and that contrary to initial claims, th…

Texas stays third execution amid COVID-19 pandemic

April 1 (UPI) — A Texas appeals court on Wednesday issued its third stay of execution amid a disruption to the judicial system brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas said Fabian Hernandez’s lethal injection will be delayed for 60 days, at which point a new execution date can be scheduled. The 44-year-old was originally scheduled to be executed April 23.
Hernandez is the third death row inmate in Texas to receive a stay amid the virus outbreak as lawyers argue they’re unable to investigate and defend their clients in the final weeks before scheduled executions.
Hernandez received the death penalty for the 2006 shooting deaths of his estranged wife, Renee Urbina Hernandez, and her boyfriend, Arturo Fonseca.
The court approved stays for John Hummel and Tracy Beatty last month. They were on the schedule to be executed March 18 and March 25, respectively.
Death penalty experts warn the pandemic could disrupt executions in the United States for month…

‘A sexual psychopath with caveman-like tendencies’ was the last person executed by electric chair in Pennsylvania

On Jan. 7, 1960, Elmo Smith of Bridgeport in Montgomery County was charged with the murder and rape of a 16-year-old girl.
Maryann Theresa Mitchell of the Manayuk section of Philadelphia was an 11th grader at Cecelian Academy.
She disappeared on Dec. 28, 1959, when she was returning home after going to the movies with a friend.
Her body was found on Dec. 30 in a muddy gully.
Smith was the last person to be executed in Pennsylvania by the electric chair. He was executed on April 2, 1962, after being found guilty of the rape and murder of Mitchell.
According to stories in The Patriot by the Associated Press, Smith was on parole at the time of his arrest for the murder. He also was being charged with burglary, larceny and arson in connection with the theft of a car from a Norristown couple. Their car was found abandoned on a Bridgeport street with “bloodstains on the back seat and on a bumper jack found in the car trunk. Embedded in the blood on the jack were three strands of auburn hai…

Iran Executed At Least 280 in 2019, Iran Human Rights Reports

Iran Human Rights (IHR) has reported that the Islamic Republic of Iran carried out at least 280 death penalties in 2019 including at least four juvenile offenders.
Official Iranian sources have only announced 84 of the 280 executions carried. Human rights activists say many of the executions in Iran are implemented secretly without the knowledge of the convict's lawyers.
The 12th annual report of Iran Human Rights on the death penalty in Iran in 2019 which was published on March 31 has been prepared with the support of the French anti-capital punishment organization Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM).
The number of confirmed executions in Iran in 2019 is up by seven compared with 2018, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Director of IHR, told Radio Farda but added that the increase in cases of forgiveness of murder convicts by murder victims' families is heart-warming.
According to Amiry-Moghaddam 225 (80%) of executions in Iran in 2019 were related to murder but during the same …

Pakistan Court Overturns Convictions In Killing Of American Journalist Daniel Pearl

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan. — A local court in Pakistan on Thursday overturned the death sentence and murder convictions of four men believed to be involved in the killing of US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002.
The men had all been in prison for 18 years. Three were handed life sentences. 
A fourth, British national Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, was awaiting the death penalty.
The high court in Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh vacated Sheikh’s murder conviction and reduced his death sentence to a seven-year prison term for kidnapping. His seven-year sentence will now be counted from the time served. It’s unclear if all four will be immediately released.
Pearl, who was working as the South Asia bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, was in Karachi reporting on Pakistani extremists and “shoe bomber” Richard Reid when he was kidnapped by militants.
The high profile abduction drew international attention, amid growing concern over the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism. 
Assailants lat…

Indonesia Releases 30,000 Prisoners as Covid-19 Cases Double in a Week

"We will not release prisoners convicted for corruption, illegal logging, terrorism, drug crimes, gross human rights crimes or transnational organized crimes."
Jakarta. The Justice and Human Rights Ministry passed a new decree on Thursday allowing the release of 30,000 prisoners, including juvenile delinquents, to avoid mass coronavirus infections in Indonesia's overcrowded jails. 
"We are trying to suppress the spread of Covid-19 in our prison system," Nugroho, the acting director-general for correctional facilities, said on Wednesday.
"The inmates are vulnerable because most of them share a cell. The risk of contagion is high since our jails are overcrowded," he said. 
Indonesia has 1,677 coronavirus cases by Wednesday, almost double the number a week ago. There have been 157 deaths and only 103 recoveries.
The government has imposed a large-scale social distancing that includes the closure of schools and offices and a ban on religious gatherings, b…

'Confessions of a Tihar Jailer': secrets of India's most notorious prison laid bare in memoir

The deep baritone voice on the phone is courteous and reflective. It doesn’t sound like it belongs to a man who, for 35 years, kept the company of some of the most dangerous criminals in India. “That’s the equivalent of two-and-a-half life sentences,” remarks Sunil Gupta.
A former superintendent and then legal officer in New Delhi’s notorious Tihar Jail, Gupta has witnessed scenes beyond the compass of any ordinary life – such as the hanging of eight men, including the two assassins of India’s former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Now in his early sixties and retired, Gupta has opened a window on life within Tihar, in a memoir co-written with journalist Sunetra Choudhury, entitled Black Warrant: Confessions of a Tihar Jailer.
Why Tihar Jail gained its infamy
About 80 hectares in size, Tihar is India’s biggest prison complex. It has capacity for about 6,000 inmates, although the actual number of prisoners it houses is often nearly twice that. And it is almost always in the news because…