Lethal injection: can pharma kill the death penalty?

A recent problematic execution by lethal injection has reignited the debate about the ethics of using medical products to kill. In October, Oklahoma prison inmate John Marion Grant was executed by a lethal injection. Strapped to a gurney, Grant convulsed and vomited – highly unusual for the procedure – after being given midazolam, a sedative and the first of three drugs that are usually administered for lethal injection. Grant was declared unconscious around 15 minutes after receiving the first injection and died roughly six minutes after that. Extreme shortages resulting from the EU’s and pharma companies’ anti-execution moves have seen states seek alternative supplies illicitly from overseas manufacturers , obtain them from less-than-reputable compounding facilities and manufacturers , and experiment with alternative drugs and untested combinations . Now, this botched procedure – Oklahoma’s first lethal injection in six years after a spate of flawed executions in 2014 and 2015 – h

Iran | Iran Human Rights Calls for Fact-Finding Mission into Arman Abdolali's Case Amid Statements of Witnesses Being Ignored

Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO); November 24, 2021: The father of juvenile offender Arman Abdolali who was executed today has told Iran Human Rights that he believes invisible hands worked to ensure the truth about his son’s case were never revealed. According to Kamyar Abdolali, there were two witnesses in the case that the court refused to even consider.

Kamyar Abdolali said: “I shouted about all the flaws in the case. I had talked to domestic media but some people said that publishing them may provoke the victim’s next of kin to not agree to forgiveness.”

Iran Human Rights calls for an impartial and independent fact-finding mission into Arman Abdolali’s case. “First and foremost, Arman was executed for a crime he is alleged to have committed when he was under the age of 18, which is in breach of international law. But more importantly, Arman was deprived of the right to due process and a fair trial. There was no incriminating evidence against him, his sentence was based on confessions extracted under torture. In light of statements by Arman’s father that witness testimonies and key facts were ignored, an independent fact-finding mission must be established to hold the real perpetrators accountable,” said Iran Human Rights Director, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

Arman’s father says that he had refused to talk to international media, placing all faith in the Islamic Republic’s justice system. But justice did not prevail for his son because “invisible hands worked to ensure the truth about Ghazaleh’s fate were never revealed.” 

The ambiguous case of Arman and Ghazaleh

In 2013, when Arman was 17 and his girlfriend Ghazaleh 19, she disappeared after they got into a fight. Upon arrest, Arman was held in solitary confinement for 74 days where he confessed to the murder. He was subsequently tried and sentenced to qisas (retribution-in-kind) based on the confession, without taking into consideration that he was a juvenile offender. Days prior to his scheduled execution in January 2020, Arman’s lawyer found out that Ghazaleh had been issued with a leave of absence by her university and her insurance policy had been renewed and used them as evidence to request a retrial.

However, statements and documents submitted by Arman’s lawyers were ignored in court investigations. Armans’ father told Iran Human Rights: “We had two witnesses who saw Ghazaleh after the alleged murder date. We presented their statements to the court but they mockingly said, ‘you can buy witness statements for 50,000 tomans.’ You should’ve at least investigated them, either they were telling the truth or lying, but we would know either way. They hanged Arman but what will you do when Ghazaleh turns up one day? Is this what they call (Imam) Ali’s justice system?”

“I didn’t want to talk to foreign media. I was thinking of my country’s reputation and dignity and I still do. But I have to speak up so other children and youth don’t fall victim in the same way. I had talked to domestic media but some people said that publishing them may provoke the victim’s next of kin to not agree to forgiveness. I am certain that invisible hands worked to ensure the truth about Ghazaleh’s fate were never revealed,” he added.

It should be noted that Arman’s lawyer had previously pointed to the fact that the pull-up bar Arman had confessed to using as the murder weapon had also never been examined by the police. 

How a juvenile offender was executed

Arman Abdolali was born on 9 March 1996 and was 17 years old at the time of the alleged murder in 2013. 

United Nations Human Right Experts including the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran urgently appealed to Iran to halt his execution on October 12 and demanded that Iran stop sentencing children to death.

Arman was transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution on seven occasions prior to his execution in the early hours of this morning, which human rights experts consider to be an example of torture.

“As well as the aforementioned, Arman was transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for his execution on at least seven occasions and subsequently returned to his ward. Essentially, Arman was tortured to death by Islamic Republic officials who must be held accountable, particularly Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Head of Judiciary Mohsen Ejei,” said Mahmood Amiry Moghaddam.

Speaking to Iran Human Rights, Kamyar Abdolali said: “At 1.30 in the morning, they told us to go because the sentence wouldn’t be carried out. They tricked us and executed him a few hours later. They didn’t even let Arman say goodbye to his younger brother. They killed Arman in a criminal way. While the legal proceedings weren’t completed yet, they broke Arman’s neck in the morning, they strangled him and I’m sitting next to his body now.”

In an interview with Hamshahri newspaper on November 2, Arman had said: “Usually they transfer you for execution a day or two before the scheduled date, You’re cut off from everyone. You think that you won’t be alive in a day or two, or even in a few hours. Even today, I think I’m supposed to be transferred for execution again and I don’t know if I’ll be executed tomorrow or not. I’ve been transferred to solitary confinement in preparation for my execution five times. And once two years ago. They even took me to the gallows but officials were able to gain an extension from Ghazaleh’s parents (his alleged victim) moment before the execution was carried out. Every time I’m transferred for execution, I think it will be my last time.”

Condemning Arman Abdolali’s execution, United Nations Human Rights Office spokesperson Liz Throssell deplored his multiple transfers for execution and called on the Iranian authorities to halt all executions of child offenders and immediately commute the death sentences against them, in line with the country’s international obligations. 

Source: Iran Human Rights, Staff, November 24, 2021

Arman Abdolali executed dastardly despite international outcry

The authorities of clerical regime hanged Arman Abdolali this morning, November 24, 2021. The execution took place in Rajaei Shahr (Gohardasht) Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran. Arman’s family did not have the chance to visit him for the last time.

Arman Abdolali was transferred to solitary confinement on Sunday, November 21, 2021, to prepare his execution after eight long years in prison.

Over the past few months, the authorities took Arman to solitary confinement 7 times pretending to want to execute him, a practice which is intended to torture the prisoner.

The death sentence was carried out while there were many ambiguities in his case and despite international and domestic outcry to stop it.

Amnesty International called for a halt to his death sentence.

Amnesty International had earlier, on 11 October 2021, warned of the imminent execution of Arman Abdolali and called on the Iranian regime to suspend the sentence. Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, called on the authorities to “immediately halt all plans” to execute Abdolali, saying the use of the death penalty against people who were under 18 at the time the crime was committed is prohibited under international law and constitutes an “abhorrent assault on child rights.”

The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court in July 2016. The trial and appeal verdicts both noted Arman Abdolali’s allegations that he was held in prolonged solitary confinement for 76 days and repeatedly beaten to “confess”, but no investigation was ordered and the “confessions” were described by the court as “unequivocal”, the rights group said.

Arman Abdolali was first sentenced to death in a grossly unfair trial in December 2015 after being convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Ghazaleh Shakour. The court relied on torture-tainted “confessions”, in connection with the disappearance of his girlfriend in 2014, according to Amnesty International.

Born on March 9, 1996, Arman Abdolali was under the age of 18 at the time of the alleged crime.

“I was a child at the time. I made many mistakes, but I did not commit any murder,” said the prisoner, who spent 8 years in prison on death row.

According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which the Iranian regime is a signatory, the death penalty should not be imposed on persons under 18 years of age. However, the Iranian regime carries out the largest number of executions of juvenile offenders.

While condemning the execution of juvenile offender, Arman Abdolali, Iran Human Rights Monitor calls on the UN Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, and all human rights defenders, to take effective measures to save the lives of death row prisoners in Iran.

The dossier of human rights violations in Iran must be referred to the UN Security Council to hold the clerical regime officials accountable.

Source: iran-hrm.com, Staff, November 25, 2021

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

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