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…

'Dangerously hot': Louisiana death row inmates still face health problems from heat years after order to cool it down

Louisiana Death Row
Louisiana Death Row
The state has done "little if anything" to keep the sweltering heat on Louisiana's death row below 88°F (31,1°C) degrees, a Baton Rouge federal judge said Wednesday while warning he won't shy away from making a "tough and unpopular" decision to protect the health and safety of 3 ailing condemned killers.

It's been 2 1/2 years since Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson ruled the state is violating the 3 Louisiana State Penitentiary inmates' constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment and ordered state corrections officials to maintain heat indexes on death row at or below 88 degrees.

At a hearing he called Wednesday to determine whether the state's 2nd heat remediation plan adequately protects the prisoners from Louisiana's searing summer heat and humidity, Jackson said the plan's measures - once-daily cold showers, chests filled with ice, an extra ice machine and additional fans - have failed to halt heat indexes from topping the 88-degree mark.

Jackson said he won't "sit idly by" while Elzie Ball, Nathaniel Code and James Magee continue to suffer, noting that 14 inmates have died in neighboring Texas from the heat since 2007.

"Nobody wants that here in Louisiana. That's what this case is about," the judge said.

Jackson will rule sometime after both sides file post-hearing briefs, which are due July 11.

The state's initial court-ordered heat remediation plan included air conditioning, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled last summer that while the 3 inmates deserve some relief, they aren't entitled to air-conditioned quarters.

James Hilburn, an attorney for state corrections officials, argued at Wednesday's hearing that the appellate court did not order the 88-degree threshold, but an agitated Jackson added the appeals court didn't undo it either.

"It's been proven with scientific certainty that (88-plus degrees) is a hazard to their health," the judge said. "I've already ruled. 88 degrees is the standard."

Jackson added that just because a remedy is "costly or inconvenient" doesn't trump the Constitution.

Nilay Vora, 1 of the inmates' attorneys, asked Jackson to order implementation of the state's 1st heat remediation plan. Vora said death row without air conditioning exposes Ball, Code and Magee to "serious risk of substantial harm."

Hilburn defended the state's latest plan, saying, "This was not a flippant plan."

Jackson, who did not rule out ordering "mechanical air" for the inmates, warned he could sanction the state if it doesn't remedy the constitutional violations that he and the 5th Circuit found - that the high heat indexes violate the 3 inmates' Eighth Amendment guarantee against cruel and unusual punishment.

"A court can't simply sit on its hands and allow a constitutional violation to persist," he said.

Ball, Code and Magee - shackled and dressed in bright orange prison garb - testified in the cool confines of Jackson's courtroom and said they continue to suffer from dizziness, nausea, headaches and profuse sweating due to the unrelenting heat in their cells.

"It ain't got as hot as it's going to get," Ball noted.

Summer doesn't officially begin until Monday.

"It's too hot" on Louisiana's death row, testified Dr. Susi Vassallo, of Texas. "It's dangerously hot."

Vassallo, a medical doctor who specializes in heat-related illnesses, said the components of the state's 2nd heat remediation plan, either considered individually or collectively, do not reduce the substantial risk of serious harm to the 3 inmates. She described the plan's components as comfort rather than safety when dealing with heat indexes exceeding 88 degrees.

"If we set the bar at death, that is too high," she said.

Colin Clark, an assistant state attorney general, said in court that the Louisiana Department of Corrections has not had a single heatstroke incident in the last 9 years.

The 5th Circuit last year suggested the state could open the doors to the air-conditioned guard pods and divert cool air into the death-row tiers, but Jimmy Cruze, the death row warden, testified Wednesday the appeals court's suggestion was rejected by the state because it poses a security risk.

"It's a bad security move," he said. "We don't leave doors open."

Mechanical engineer Frank Thompson, who designed death row, testified the death-row core is air-conditioned but the death-row tiers are equipped only with cross ventilation and a central heating system. Death row, he said, meets commercial building standards.

Air conditioning is the only plausible way to stop heat indexes from surpassing 88 degrees, Thompson added.

Ball is on death row for fatally shooting a beer delivery man during the 1996 armed robbery of a Gretna lounge.

Magee was condemned to die for the 2007 shotgun murders of his estranged wife and their 5-year-old son in a subdivision near Mandeville.

Code received the death penalty for the 1985 murders of 4 people at a house in Shreveport.

Source: The Advocate, June 16, 2016

- Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com - Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Singapore: Drug trafficker hanged after last-ditch bid to reopen case fails

Missouri inmate Russell Bucklew receives reprieve before execution

Iran: Two Brothers Hanged in Public over Armed Robbery Charges

Saudi Arabia beheads Indonesian worker despite Jokowi’s pleas for clemency

Texas: Court findings offer hope for death row inmate in case tainted by 'Dr. Death'

20 Minutes to Death: Record of the Last Execution in France

Gov. Kasich, heed Ohio Parole Board and don't execute William Montgomery

Alabama executes Michael Eggers

Death sentence reinstated for Mississippi's only woman on death row

Supreme Court refuses to reconsider death penalty in Arizona case