Iran | Death Penalty According to Shariah Law

Chapter III of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran contains provisions related to the rights of the people.  In this Chapter, Article 22 states: “The dignity, life, property, rights, domicile, and occupations of people may not be violated, unless sanctioned by law.” However, the number of crimes punishable by death in Iran is among the highest in the world. Charges such as “adultery, incest, rape, sodomy, insulting the Prophet Mohammad and other great Prophets, possessing or selling illicit drugs, theft and alcohol consumption for the 4th time, premeditated murder, moharebeh (waging war against God), efsad-fil-arz (corruption on earth), baghy (armed rebellion), fraud and human trafficking” are capital offences.[1] Many of the charges punishable by death cannot be considered as “most serious crimes” and do not meet the ICCPR standards.[2] Murder, drug possession and trafficking, rape/sexual assault, moharebeh and efsad-fil-arz and baghy are the most common charges resulting

South Dakota executes Donald Moeller

Donald Moeller
A man convicted of killing a 9-year-old South Dakota girl was executed Tuesday night, ending a 22-year saga that included his initial conviction being overturned and a flurry of attempts to stop his lethal injection even as he insisted he was ready to die.

Donald Moeller was given a lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Sioux Falls in what will be South Dakota's 2nd execution this month but only the 2nd since 2007.

The 60-year-old had fought his conviction and sentence for years, but in July said he was ready to accept death as the consequence for killing Becky O'Connell in 1990.

"I don't want to die," Moeller said during a hearing earlier this month. "I want to pay for what I owe."

Moeller kidnapped the girl from a Sioux Falls convenience store where she'd gone to buy sugar to make lemonade. He then drove her to a secluded area near the Big Sioux River before raping and killing her. Her naked body was found the next day; she had been stabbed and her throat was slashed.

Moeller initially was convicted in 1992, but the state Supreme Court overturned it, ruling that improper evidence was used at trial. He was again convicted and sentenced to die in 1997. The state Supreme Court affirmed the sentence, and Moeller lost appeals on both the state and federal levels.

Even as Moeller began insisting he was ready to die, several motions were filed on his behalf to stop the execution.

Earlier this month, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that challenged South Dakota's execution protocol after Moeller said he wanted no part of it. Moeller also distanced himself from a motion filed by a woman with loose family ties who argued that his decades in solitary confinement had made him incapable of voluntarily accepting his fate. The judge dismissed that motion Monday.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley said the case demonstrates that the criminal justice system needs to place more focus on the victims and their family members.

"You look at the demonstrations and legal proceedings in Moeller, sometimes I think the victims get lost in ensuring that a defendant receives due process," Jackley said Monday.

Tina Curl was so eager to see her 9-year-old daughter's killer executed Tuesday night that she couldn't even take her seat in the witness room.

Curl, who said Moeller's death brought her relief but not closure, had been steadfast in her wish to watch Moeller die, even raising funds to cover the expenses to make the 1,400-mile trip from her home in New York state to Sioux Falls for the execution.

Late Tuesday she said she will never return to South Dakota.

Curl said she wanted to know details from Moeller about the crime. She had written him in prison, but he didn't respond. She was hoping to get that information Tuesday night in Moeller's final statement.

But when asked if he had any last words, Moeller replied, "No sir," and then looked up and said, "They're my fan club?"

Moeller then was administered a lethal injection of pentobarbital and took about eight heavy breaths before his breathing stopped and Moeller turned slightly pink.

Moeller's eyes remained open as his skin turned ashen, then purple. The coroner then checked for vital signs, and Moeller was pronounced dead at 10:24 p.m.

Executions are rare in South Dakota, which has carried out death sentences just three times since the 1913 hanging of Joseph Rickman for the murder of a woman and her daughter.

The most recent was the Oct. 15 execution of Eric Robert for killing South Dakota prison guard Ronald "R.J." Johnson during a failed escape attempt. George Sitts was electrocuted in 1947 for killing 2 law enforcement officers, and Elijah Page died by lethal injection in 2007 for the murder of Chester Allan Poage, who was abducted and killed in a scheme to burglarize his mother's home.

Moeller becomes the 2nd condemned inmate to be put to death this year in South Dakota and the 3rd overall since the state resumed capital punishment in 2007.

Moeller becomes the 34th condemned inmate to be put to death this year in the USA and the 1311th overall since the nation resumed executions on January 17, 1977.

Sources: Associated Press & Rick Halperin, October 30, 2012

South Dakota covers up source of ‘DIY’ death penalty drugs ahead of execution

Prison authorities in South Dakota are refusing to release information on contaminated drugs made to order for an execution tonight (Tuesday 30 October).

The so-called ‘DIY drugs’ – doses of the barbiturate pentobarbital produced by a compounding pharmacy for the South Dakota Department of Corrections – were used to execute Eric Robert earlier this month, with alarming results. Mr Robert’s eyes opened during the lethal injection process, a sign that he may not have been properly anaesthetised and the execution may have been botched.

The ingredients used to make the drugs used in Mr Robert’s execution – and set to be used this evening in that of Donald Moeller – were found to have been contaminated with fungus.

However, despite these indications that the drugs may be faulty, and therefore carrying a risk of unnecessary suffering for the prisoner, South Dakota has thus far refused to disclose any information on how they were obtained.

The drugs are known to have been made by a compounding pharmacy – a service which allows batches of drugs to be made up to order, thereby allowing customers to bypass mainstream pharmaceutical suppliers which face more comprehensive regulation. The compounding pharmacy industry has been in the spotlight lately after reports linked it to a widespread outbreak of meningitis in the US.

South Dakota DOC had previously intended to use drugs they had illegally imported from a supplier in India in the executions, but these drugs expired last month.

Reprieve investigator Maya Foa said: “The use of these DIY execution drugs means that we have little idea of just what is being injected into prisoners’ veins. It is little surprise that prison authorities appear so desperate to cover up any information on where they have come from, or who made them. The South Dakota Department of Corrections must come clean: it is indefensible for the ultimate punishment to be carried out in this slipshod and unaccountable manner.”

Source: Reprieve, October 30, 2012

Executions Can Take A Toll On DOC Employees

Donald Moeller's execution is the 2nd to happen in South Dakota in two weeks, which can affect those working at the State Penitentiary.

While the execution is final, the impact they can have on the Department of Corrections employees can last forever.

"I think it has a significant impact on the staff at the prison," Avera Behavioral Health Psychologist Donald Baum said.

Baum worked at the South Dakota State Penitentiary for 6 years and witnessed the execution of Elijah Page in July 2007. He says while the staff has a professional outward appearance, being around not 1 but 2 executions in a short amount of time can cause serious emotional issues.

"So I think there are studies that show that people who witnessed executions, especially DOC and penitentiary staff, can sometimes experience PTSD type symptoms, maybe not full blown, but things like increased anxiety, increased just daily stress, sometimes there's dissociative kind of symptoms," Baum said.

Sleeplessness and nightmares can also be associated with something like this. Moeller's extended stay on death row could also be something that raises concern.

"Someone who's been there for 22 years such as Moeller, you know, there may be some officers that he's gotten to know better. It's hard not to after that long a period. But, I don't think anyone there sees it as a relief," Baum said.

But it is a job the DOC staff has to do, just not one that will be easy.

"I can tell you it's going to be a difficult day. They take this with a high level of responsibility and I don't think, if it was ever easy for any of them, I think they would see that as something really wrong," Baum said.

Source: Keloland, October 29, 2012

List of executions in South Dakota

There have been 17 executions in South Dakota or Dakota Territory since 1877. Donald Moeller's scheduled execution Tuesday night will mark the 18th execution in South Dakota.

Here is a list of the 17 previous executions, according to the Cultural Heritage Center:

- Jack McCall was hanged in Yankton on March 1, 1877, for shooting Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood.

- Thomas Egan was hanged in Sioux Falls on July 13, 1882, for the murder of his wife. Years later, his stepdaughter admitted to committing the crime while on her deathbed.

- Brave Bear was hanged in Yankton on Nov. 15, 1882, for the murder of a pioneer settler in Sully County in 1879.

- James Gilmore was hanged in Deadwood on Dec. 15, 1882, for the killing of a man on the old Fort Pierre-Deadwood trail.

- James Leehman was hanged on Feb. 19, 1892 for the murder of James H. Burns.

- Nathaniel Thompson was hanged in DeSmet in October 1893 for killing his wife's friend.

- Jay Hicks was hanged in Sturgis in December 1893 for killing and robbing a Meade County rancher.

- Chief Two Sticks was hanged in Deadwood in Dec. 28, 1894, for instigating the slaying of 4 cowboys.

- Charles Brown was hanged in Deadwood in July 14, 1897, for killing and robbing a Deadwood woman.

- Ernest Loveswar was hanged in Sturgis on Sept. 19, 1902, for the murder of 2 homesteaders.

- Allen Walking Shield was hanged on Oct. 21, 1902, in Sioux Falls for the murder of a Native American woman named Ghost-Faced Bear.

- George Bear was hanged in Sioux Falls on Dec. 5, 1902, for murder.

- Emil Victor was hanged in Aberdeen on Nov. 16, 1909, for the murder of 3 people.

- Joe Rickman was hanged in Perkins County in 1913 for the murder of a woman and her daughter.

- George Sitts was electrocuted in Sioux Falls on April 8, 1947 for the Jan. 24, 1946, murders of state criminal agent Thomas Matthews and Butte County Sheriff Dave Malcolm near Spearfish.

- Elijah Page was executed by lethal injection in Sioux Falls on July 11, 2007, for the murder of Chester Allan Poage.

- Eric Robert was executed by lethal injection in Sioux Falls on Oct. 15, 2012, for killing South Dakota prison guard Ronald "R.J." Johnson during a failed escape attempt.

Source: Associated Press, October 29, 2012

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