Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Executions resume in Iran following presidential election

Public execution in Iran
Iran Human Rights (MAY 26 2017): At least one prisoner was hanged at Kermanshah's Adel Abad Prison on Tuesday May 23 on murder charges.

According to close sources, the prisoner's name is Mehran Ashrafi and he was in prison since his arrest in 2012.

Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not announced Mehran Ashrafi's execution.

Another execution was reported at Dizel Abad Prison. According to close sources, the execution was carried out on Thursday May 25. The prisoner has been identified as Mehrdad Asgari, hanged on drug related charges.

Iran Human Rights (MAY 26 2017): Two prisoners were reportedly hanged at Mashhad's Vakilabad Prison (Razavi Khorasan province, northeastern Iran) on Tuesday May 23 on murder charges. On the same day, prisoner was reportedly hanged at Zahedan Central Prison on murder charges.

The state-run newspaper, Khorasan, identifies one of the prisoners from Vakilabad Prison as H.N., 42 years of age, imprisoned for 17 years before his execution. According to the Khorasan newspaper, there was no evidence or confessions in the prisoner's case file, the prisoner was sentenced to death based on the testimonies of 50 relatives belonging to the murder victim. The report says that the prisoner claimed to be innocent throughout the entire imprisonment.

The report identifies the other prisoner from Vakilabad Prison as A.Kh., a 34-year-old prisoner who was arrested in 2009 during a street fight at an intersection in the town of Sabzevar (Razavi Khorasan province).

The Baluch Activists Campaign reported on the execution at Zahedan Central Prison. The report identifies the prisoner as Abdolkarim Shahnavazi, 30 years of age. Prior to his execution, Abdolkarim and two other prisoners, identified as Habib Golbeigi and Saeed Hoot, were transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for their executions. 

According to the report, Saeed's execution sentence was postponed by the complainants on his case file, and he was returned to his cell. The fate of Habib is not known at this time.

Iran Human Rights (MAY 27 2017): A 23-year-old unidentified prisoner was reportedly hanged at Birjand Central Prison (south Khorasan province, western Iran) on rape charges.

According to the Iranian state-run media IRIB, the execution was carried out on Thursday May 26. The reports says the prisoner was sentenced to 15 years in prison for kidnapping and sentenced to death for rape.

Executions have resumed in Iran following the presidential election on May 19. According to the statistics of Iran Human Rights, in the past week, at least 13 executions were carried out in Iran.

Iran Human Rights (MAY 27 2017): A prominent wrestler in Iran was reportedly hanged at Kermanshah's Dizel Abad Prison on the morning of Thursday May 25 on vague charges.

According to the state-run news agency Tabnak, the prisoner's name is Hojatollah Tadro. Prior to his execution, he competed in multiple national championships and was a member of the national team. 

The official sources in Iran have not announced the reason for the execution, but Radio Zamaneh has reported that Hojatollah was sentenced to death for the "rape of an inmate", after he was already imprisoned for several years.

A source close to Hojatollah says he was the victim of a conspiracy and never committed the crime thas he was charged with. The charge that led to Hojatollah's imprisonment is not known.

Two days before Hojatollah's execution, two prisoners were hanged at Dizel Abad Prison. The prisoners are Mehran Ashrafi, executed on murder charges, and Mehrdad Asgari, executed on drug related charges.

Iran Human Rights (MAY 27 2017): The Iranian authorities reportedly hanged three prisoners on drug related charges on the morning of Friday May 26, the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

According to the human rights news agency HRANA, the prisoners were executed ar Urmia Central Prison on drug related charges. The prisoners' names are Salahuddin Shafikia, Ramezan Mokhtari, and Osman Hosni. 

Osman Hosni was reportedly sentenced to death for possession and trafficking ten kilograms of crystal meth. 

Salahuddin Shafikia was reportedly sentenced to death for possession and trafficking 1.5 kilograms of heroin. Ramezan Mokhtari was sentenced to death for possession and trafficking 100 kilograms of morphine.

Iranian parliament members had formerly requested from the Judiciary to stop drug related executions for at least five thousand prisoners pending further investigation. However, the request has not stopped the Judiciary from carrying out death sentences for prisoners with drug related charges.

It is possible that the Iranian authorities carried out these three executions in a hasty manner due to the start of Ramadan. 

Iranian official sources, including the media and the Judiciary, have not announced these three executions.

Source: Iran Human Rights, May 2017

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