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Iran Execution Trends Six Months After the New Anti-Narcotics Law

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IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS (MAY 28, 2018): On Monday, May 10, 2018, Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported the execution of Kiomars Nasouhi, a prisoner sentenced to death for drug offenses. This execution is the first drug-related execution registered by IHR since the latest amendment to the Anti-Narcotics Law was enforced on November 14, 2017.
According to reports by IHR, at least 77 people, among them three juvenile offenders have been executed between January 1. and May 20, 2018. Four were hanged in public spaces. Of the reported executions 62 were sentenced to death for murder, seven for Moharebeh (being an “enemy of God”), seven for rape, and 1 for drug offenses. For comparison, it is reported that during the same period in 2017, at least 203 people were executed, 112 were executed for drug offenses. The significant reduction in the number of executions in 2018 seems to be due to a temporary halt in drug-related executions as the number of executions for murder charges were nearly the same as …

California Supreme Court, citing false evidence, overturns murder conviction that put Delano man on death row

Jury box
The California Supreme Court, citing false evidence, decided unanimously Monday to overturn the conviction of a Delano man sent to death row more than two decades ago for murdering and sodomizing a toddler.

The action by the state high court, which upheld the man's conviction and death sentence in 2005, was extremely rare.

Lawyers for Vicente Benavides Figuero, a former farmworker who is now 68, demonstrated that medical testimony and an autopsy result used to convict him had been inaccurate.

Most of the experts who testified against him have since recanted.

"The evidence now shown to be false was extensive, pervasive and impactful," Justice Carol A. Corrigan wrote for the court.

State prosecutors had agreed the evidence presented at trial had been wrong but urged the court to simply reduce his conviction to second degree murder. The court declined.

The case will now return to Kern County, where prosecutors will have to decide whether to retry Benavides in the death of Consuelo Verdugo, 21 months.

Benavides had been babysitting Consuelo in 1991 when he said she somehow got outside the Delano apartment. Her older sister had gone out to play with a friend. Benavides said he discovered the toddler injured near a carport.

Her mother, who had just left for work and was dating Benavides, returned home immediately, and the child was seen at three different medical centers before she succumbed to her injuries.

Benavides' defense lawyer argued that she might have been hit by a car when she was outside, but a forensic pathologist listed her cause of death as "blunt force penetrating injury of the anus."

In his habeas corpus challenge, Benavides showed that Consuelo showed no signs of sexual assault when examined at the first hospital where she received care.

Medical experts now attribute her injuries to repeated and failed efforts to insert an adult-sized catheter into her, rectal temperature taking, a paralytic medication and physical examination.

Nurse Anita Caraan Wafford, who helped treat Consuelo at the first hospital, declared that no one there noted any anal or vaginal trauma.

Dr. William A. Kennedy II, an expert in pediatric urology, said he believed "to a high degree of medical certainty" that Consuelo had not suffered anal or vaginal penetration.

"Consuelo's lack of rectal tone, initially attributed to a penetrating injury, was instead the likely result of paralytic medication she had been given, along with her extensive treatment and surgeries," Corrigan wrote.

Michael J. Hersek, interim director of the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, which represented Benavides, said he has consistently maintained his innocence.

"We are hopeful that the Kern County District Attorney will dismiss all charges against our client soon after the Supreme Court's decision becomes final," Hersek said.

Benavides served a total of 27 years behind bars, 24 of them on death row.

A spokeswoman for the Kern County District Attorney's office said Monday's ruling was being reviewed, and no decision has yet been made on whether to retry Benavides.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Maura Dolan, March 12, 2018


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but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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