[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----DEL., OHIO, NEV., USA
rhalperi at smu.edu
Tue Jan 10 11:33:55 CST 2012
Gattis makes final plea for life ---- Clemency decision to be made later this
As convicted killer Robert A. Gattis approaches his execution scheduled for
later this month, defense attorneys pled with the Delaware Board of Pardons
Monday to show mercy and recommend that Gov. Jack Markell commute Gattis’ death
sentence to life in prison without parole.
More than 50 people gathered inside the tight confines of a Vaughn Correctional
Center meeting room in Smyrna to hear testimonies from the defense and
advocates for Gattis’ clemency as well as the Attorney General’s Office and
Gattis, 49, was sentenced to death for the 1990 murder of his former
girlfriend, 27-year-old Shirley Slay.
The Board of Pardons hearing comes after 20 years of state and federal court
appeals. According to testimony, Gattis shot Slay between the eyes at close
range on May 9, 1990 in her New Castle apartment. The day she was killed, Slay
told those close to her she planned to end her six-year tumultuous relationship
Earlier in the night, Gattis confronted Slay, became enraged and beat her
before fleeing. She called police, who told him directly to have no further
contact with her. He returned that night, however, with a shotgun and shot Slay
between the eyes at close range.
Gattis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Jan. 20.
Defense Attorneys John Deckers and Karl Schwartz argued Monday that clemency
should be granted much in part due to the brutal physical and sexual abuse
Gattis suffered as a child at the hands of his father and stepfather. The
attorneys maintain that evidence of this abuse was never heard by the jury that
recommended the death sentence or the judge who imposed it.
“The jury didn’t know that children who were exposed to this kind of physical
and sexual abuse have difficulty maintaining intimate, trusting relationships
or coping with emotions, stress and anxiety well into adulthood,” Deckers said.
“This is not an excuse, but it is an explanation.”
Gattis’ attorneys also argued that their client showed complete remorse for his
actions and has since rehabilitated himself.
Chancellor Leo Strine Jr., a member of the Board of Pardons, questioned Gattis
and his attorneys profusely about whether the shooting was an accident, which
Gattis insisted at trial.
“It was no accident,” Gattis told Board members Monday.
“I’ve tried to change, to be a better man than the man I was when I shot
Shirley,” Gattis said as he addressed the board. “I pulled the trigger. I can’t
take that back. I can’t change what I did, but I can try to change myself.”
Among Gattis’ family who spoke in support of clemency were his sister, Wanda
Lee, and his 2 sons, Marcus and Robert.
“He’s there to listen,” his son, Robert, said. “He never said he was upset or
angry at us. Something that he always told us that stuck with me was ‘We share
the same name, but we don’t have to share the same mistakes.”
While there were many in attendance to offer their support for Gattis and to
show their objection to the death penalty, others were there to urge the Board
of Pardons to let the death sentence stand.
Among those in attendance were Shirley Slay’s family and friends, who also
addressed the board.
Shirley’s brother, Walter, said his sister was his best friend and that she
could “light up the world with her smile.”
“Me and you went at it a lot about my sister,” Walter told Gattis. “She loved
you and love’s not supposed to hurt … I pray every day that maybe one day I can
forgive you but that day is not today.”
Shirley’s mother, also named Shirley, spoke about the impact her daughter’s
death had on the family, especially on the late Shirley’s daughter, who was
only 11 years old when Shirley was killed.
“Her mother wasn’t there for her 16th birthday,” Shirley said. “She wasn’t
there for her Christmases or for her graduation.”
Tragedy struck the Slay family again, Shirley’s mother said, when her
grand-daughter was killed in an auto accident a few years later.
Shirley’s family asked the Board of Pardons to “do the right thing.”
“This has got to stop,” Shirley said. “Twenty years has to be long enough to
wait for some closure in our lives.”
Under state law, Markell cannot commute Gattis’ sentence without a
recommendation to do so from a majority of the five-person board, which is made
up of elected and appointed officials. Other members include Secretary of State
Jeffrey Bullock, State Auditor Tom Wagner, State Treasurer Chip Flowers and Lt.
Gov. Matt Denn, who serves as the board’s chairman.
A decision will be made later this week and submitted to the governor in
writing, said Denn.
(source: Dover Post)
Powell's death sentence appealed----Attorneys say trial judge should have
allowed change of venue
Attorneys for convicted cop-killer Derrick Powell, in an attempt to keep him
from being executed, are renewing arguments previously rejected by a Sussex
Public defenders Bernard J. O'Donnell, Nicole M. Walker and Santino Ceccotti
have filed a motion with the Delaware Supreme Court in part charging that the
trial should have been moved out of the county because of publicity and that
the judge erred in allowing the death penalty to be on the table.
The appeal to the state Supreme Court is automatic in all death-penalty cases.
Powell, of Cumberland, Md., fired the single shot that killed Georgetown
Patrolman Chad Spicer on Sept. 1, 2009.
The bulk of the motion is devoted to the change-of-venue dispute, taking up a
full third of the 28 pages of legal arguments.
It cites "inflammatory and sensationalized" media coverage, as well as intense
public interest around the county in Spicer's death, as making the potential
jury pool biased.
"Powell's real trial occurred in the days, weeks and months following the
tragic events of Sept. 1, 2009, when Sussex Countians were exposed to a media
blitz never seen before," the attorneys wrote.
The motion cites a poll showing at least 94 % of eligible jurors knew something
about the case. The poll also showed at least 69 % believed Powell was guilty;
an almost identical percentage believed he could get a fair trial.
Superior Court Judge T. Henley Graves rejected the change of venue before the
The motion also cites a California case in which a man was granted a new trial
on a charge of killing a police officer because his counsel did not vigorously
seek a change of venue. That case similarly involved significant pretrial
publicity and community interest.
In their police cruiser, Spicer and his partner, Cpl. Shawn Brittingham, chased
Powell, Luis Flores and Christopher Reeves through the center of town after
hearing a report of shots fired at a McDonald's. The motion suggested an
alternative explanation for Spicer's death -- the possibility that the gun sat
on Powell's lap and went off after the police cruiser collided with the fleeing
Powell's attorneys claimed that Graves refused to instruct the jury that it
could consider a second-degree murder charge, which hinges on criminal
negligence, instead of first-degree murder, which hinges on recklessness.
Attorneys also argued:
--That police should have tested the clothing worn by Flores and Reeves that
night for gunshot residue.
--That Graves erred when giving the jury's 7-5 recommendation for the death
penalty "great weight" in his decision, saying that courts are no longer
required to give that level of consideration to a jury's choice.
--That the death sentence was disproportionate to other cases in which the jury
was split 7-5 on a recommendation. Other cases in which death was imposed
involved brutality, multiple victims, a home invasion or burning of a body,
The state and federal appeals take about 10 years on average. If the death
sentence is overturned and the jury's guilty verdict remains, Powell will serve
many years in prison. Graves sentenced him to a total of 82 years for other
crimes he committed the night Spicer died. The jury convicted Powell of
first-degree murder in February 2011. Powell's attorneys argued that the jury's
split verdict -- finding him guilty of 1 count of murder but not guilty of
another -- prevented Graves from imposing a death sentence, calling the verdict
Death row inmate Gattis seeks reprieve: This 'is not who I am'---- New evidence
of abuse suffered by convicted killer a focus in defense
Convicted murderer Robert A. Gattis admitted for the first time Monday that he
intentionally killed his former girlfriend in 1990. But he also told the
Delaware Board of Pardons that they will be putting the wrong man to death if
they execute him next week.
"I'm not the Robert Gattis that killed Shirley Slay. That is not who I am now.
I am the Robert Gattis who has two sons I love and respect," he said at a
hearing Monday at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. "Killing me now
would be killing the new guy, not the old guy. The old guy is gone."
The board, a panel of five men, is considering whether Gattis, 50, should die
by lethal injection as scheduled on Jan. 20 or whether he deserves mercy and a
sentence of life without parole.
A judge and 10 out of 12 members of a jury -- 20 years ago -- ruled Gattis
should die for his cold-blooded execution of 27-year-old Slay at the door of
her New Castle-area apartment on May 9, 1990.
Gattis said Monday that what prompted him to change were the words of his
victim's mother in the newspaper 20 years ago.
Shirley Slay's mother -- who is also named Shirley -- said Gattis' comments to
a jury and apology were "just words."
"And I wanted to do something about that," Gattis said. So he made an effort to
change, to be a positive force in the lives of his sons, his relatives and
inmates he met to steer them away from the path he took, he said.
Gattis' two sons, 27-year-old Marcus and 29-year-old Robert Jr., both pleaded
for their father's life at Monday's hearing.
"One thing about him, he never scolds me," said Marcus Gattis of his father,
who had been diagnosed with anger and rage issues.
Robert Gattis Jr. said that his father has told him on many occasions, "We
share the same name but we don't have to share the same mistakes."
But the woman who spoke those words that Robert Gattis said spurred him to
action 20 years ago repeated her assertion at the hearing Monday that what
Gattis said now and then were "just words."
Shirley Slay said she and others repeatedly warned Robert to stay away from her
daughter. "I said, 'If you ever hurt my child, one day you are going to pay.' "
And today is that day to pay, she told the panel, with her husband, Willie, by
"My daughter was a good child; she happened to fall in love with the wrong
person," Slay said, adding when a parent loses a child, it gets easier but it
never gets better.
Slay then talked about 20 years' worth of missed Thanksgivings and how they had
to raise her daughter's daughter, who died several years ago in a car crash.
Slay said she has accepted what Gattis did but has not yet been able to forgive
"You had no right to take her life," Slay told Gattis. "When you took my child,
you took a part of me."
Slay concluded by telling the Board of Pardons that 20 years ago, her family
was promised justice and they are still waiting for closure.
"I'm asking you all to do the right thing," she said.
If a majority of the five-member board -- which also includes Chancellor Leo E.
Strine Jr., Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey W. Bullock, State Auditor Tom
Wagner and State Treasurer Chip Flowers -- recommends a commutation to life, it
would then be up to Gov. Jack Markell to decide. Markell could accept the
recommendation and stop the execution or allow it to go forward.
However, if a majority of the board recommends against commutation, Markell
would have no power to grant leniency. At most, Markell could delay the
execution by 60 days.
As far as anyone on either side can recall, the Board of Pardons has never
recommended clemency for any death-row inmate.
The cornerstone of Gattis' plea for clemency is newly discovered evidence --
which was never presented to the trial judge or the jury -- about the horrific
physical and sexual abuse Gattis suffered as a child and adolescent.
While a jury was told Gattis suffered from some physical abuse, neither they
nor a judge heard about the repeated rape and sexual assaults Gattis suffered
at the hands of relatives and others when he lived with his mother and
stepfather in Salisbury, Md.
Dr. Richard Dudley Jr. said Gattis' case was one of the worst he has ever
encountered in his work across the nation. This is not only because of the
volume and violence of the attacks but because Gattis, as a child, had nowhere
"He had no safe space," said Dudley, like with a grandparent or family friend.
And the structure of prison, meanwhile, has been calming for Gattis and allowed
him to order his life, Dudley said.
Deputy Attorney General Paul Wallace, however, expressed skepticism at the
evidence of sexual abuse in part because it was only brought forward now,
decades after some of the alleged perpetrators have died.
Strine at one point asked Gattis why he essentially concealed it all these
Gattis said he did not try to conceal it from anyone, but he also said he only
answered questions from his attorneys and did not bring it up on his own until
he was asked recently.
"I did not elaborate. I did not volunteer," Gattis said, adding even now, "It
is not the kind of thing you want public."
Gattis' attorneys -- John Deckers and Assistant Federal Defender Karl Schwartz
-- said at least two family members admitted to molesting Gattis and they had
corroboration from a number of other witnesses.
After escaping from the sex abuse and physical abuse from his stepfather,
according to Gattis' petition, he then had to endure more years of physical
abuse at the hands of his biological father, leading to suicide attempts.
At 15, the custody of Gattis was then transferred to a 3rd family, a woman who
was a "self-proclaimed psychic," according to the petition, who then also
engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with Gattis.
(source for both: The News Journal)
OHIO----new death sentence
Rayshawn Johnson sentenced to death
As the judge read Rayshawn Johnson’s death sentence Tuesday, Mark Piepmeier
stared at the murderer.
Piepmeier, the chief deputy Assistant Hamilton County Prosecutor, convicted
Johnson and won a death sentence against him in 1998. He had to seek the death
penalty a 2nd time after a 2008 appeals court ruled Johnson was guilty but
deserved a new sentencing phase.
Piepmeier was determined to see how Johnson would react this time after he saw
no emotion following the 1st death sentence more than a decade ago.
“He’s never reacted in the past. Maybe at some point the enormity of what he
did will sink in. He just doesn’t care,” Piepmeier said moments after Common
Pleas Court Judge Ralph “Ted” Winkler followed the jury’s recommendation and
sentenced Johnson to death.
“He was not even flinching That’s what cold-hearted killers do.”
Johnson bludgeoned Shanon Marks to death in the bathroom of her East Walnut
Hills home in a Nov. 12, 1997, incident. Johnson, who lived in a house behind
the Marks house, said he went there to try to rob her but she put up a fight
and he beat her to death with a baseball bat. Then he took $50 from her and
left her on the floor for her husband to find more than eight hours later.
After confessing, he was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in
the 1st trial in 1998. But an appeals court ruled that Johnson’s 1998 attorneys
failed in the punishment phase by doing nothing to try to save Johnson from
death and ordered, in a rare move, that he be given a new trial but only on the
Johnson’s guilt or innocence was never at question in the second trial, only if
he would get a 2nd death sentence or life in prison.
“He knew the reality of what was going to happen,” Johnson’s attorney Will
Welsh said after the death sentence was announced.
“We’re not aware of any judge in Hamilton County ever overturning a
(jury-recommended) death penalty and we made him aware of that. It starts
Welsh was referring to Johnson’s appeal process that could last another decade
But Prosecutor Joe Deters believed Johnson’s appeals process will be much
shorter because it cannot take into consideration this time his guilt or
“I’m really optimistic it will move a lot faster,” Deters said.
Calling the murder “an obscene act,” Deters said “Hopefully, he’ll be executed
Johnson, now 33, was 19 at the time of the murder.
Winkler set an April 10 execution date but that is an artificial date because
all death sentences are automatically appealed.
Last inmates leave Nevada State Prison in Carson City; predates statehood, held
death chamber----The prison, parts of which predate Nevada’s statehood, is
being closed down in a move state officials say will save money.
The last inmates packed up their duffel bags Monday and were transferred from
Nevada State Prison in Carson City, a 150-year-old penitentiary that houses
Nevada’s execution chamber, license plate factory and once boasted its own
Most of the inmates that once numbered around 800 have already been moved to
other prisons. A handful of minimum-security prisoners were the last ones to
leave Monday, when they were shuttled into a van at a back door, then driven to
the main gates where their belongings, packed in a few boxes and duffel bags,
Once those were loaded, they were taken next door to Warm Springs Correctional
William Tungate, 45, serving time for possession of stolen property, had mixed
feelings about leaving.
“Where we were at was nice,” he said. “... Our freedom was a lot better here.”
Minimum-security inmates were housed in a dormitory-type setting, though more
serious offenders were in cells.
NSP predates Nevada’s statehood, having been established in 1862 when
territorial officials purchased the Warm Springs Hotel and 20 acres on the east
side of town.
When Nevada legalized gambling in 1932, inmates got to run their own casino,
the “NSP Bull Pen,” which operated until 1967.
But despite its colorful history, the prison’s structural problems are many.
During a Board of Prisons meeting last March, public works officials said 5
buildings were out of service because the housing units are either too small or
utilities no longer worked.
Plumbing in some units required guards to leave cell doors open so inmates
could use toilets down the hall. Leaking and corroded pipes were common, and
tunnels had to be hand dug beneath some units to access underground utilities.
“Obviously digging tunnels in a prison is not something you want to do,”
Department of Corrections Director Greg Cox said at the time.
And while Nevada’s only execution chamber is located at NSP, even that is not
up to snuff, failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act
requirements because of the rickety, metal stairs used to access the chamber.
Officials said a judge could bar executions from being carried out if witnesses
are unable to attend.
NSP was the site of the nation’s first execution in a gas chamber, when Gee Jon
was put to death in 1924 for killing a man in Mina. In 1979, Jesse Bishop was
the last person executed by gas before laws were changed requiring death
sentences by lethal injection.
In all, 32 men were executed in the gas chamber, and 11 more have since been
killed by lethal injection, the last one in 2006.
No executions are currently pending, and the death chamber will remain at NSP
Since 1928 every license plate in Nevada has been made at NSP, and that
operation will continue during the day while correctional officials decide
whether to move the factory elsewhere.
Officials estimated bringing the prison up to code would cost $30 million.
Moving the inmates to new, better designed prisons is intended to save about
$15 million over a 2-year budget cycle.
The Department of Corrections says a “decommissioning” ceremony is being
planned for March.
What will become of the prison itself is unknown, but Warden Greg Smith said he
hopes it can be preserved as part of Nevada’s history.
He’d like to restore the home on the prison grounds where he warden lived until
the middle of the last century.
Inmate labor will be used to keep the property tidy.
“I think it’s our responsibility to maintain it,” he said.
(source: Washington Post)
USA (NORTH DAKOTA)----federal death penalty
Judge: Avoid unnecessary delays in Sjodin appeal
A federal judge called lawyers together from both sides of a North Dakota death
penalty case and urged them on Monday to work together to avoid unnecessary
Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., of Crookston, is facing execution for the 2003
kidnapping and killing of University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin, of
Pequot Lakes Defense attorneys have filed a federal habeas corpus motion,
considered the last step in the appeals process.
U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson on Monday set a July 2 date for prosecutors
to file their response to the 298-page defense document that claims, among
other things, that Rodriguez was mentally disabled and his trial team was
The judge told lawyers to narrow the scope of their arguments and group issues
together in cases where there’s overlapping evidence. Otherwise, Erickson said,
the families “have to suffer through this endless parade” of motions and
“I would like to see as few surprises as possible,” Erickson said.
Sjodin was abducted from the parking lot of a Grand Forks shopping mall in
November 2003. Authorities said she was raped, beaten and stabbed. A jury
sentenced Rodriguez to death on Sept. 22, 2006.
It was the state’s 1st federal death penalty case and resulted in tougher laws
for sex offenders.
Rodriguez, 58, is being held on death row at a federal prison in Terre Haute,
Ind. His habeas corpus appeal was filed by attorney Joseph Margulies, a
Northwestern University law professor who has represented several death row
Margulies told Erickson it’s a difficult case that will become more complex as
lawyers tackle the issues. He said he wants to sit down with Assistant U.S.
Attorney Keith Reisenauer to hammer out a schedule to argue evidence in the
“I don’t even want to put a date on what that might be,” Marguiles said.
Reisenauer said the July 2 deadline to finish the government’s response might
be ambitious, but told Erickson it’s important to “get the ball rolling” so the
case doesn’t get bogged down with hearings.
Linda Walker, Sjodin’s mother, attended Monday’s hearing. She said in an
interview afterward that Rodriguez’s appeal contains “excuses on his behalf
which are disturbing in so many ways,” but said she expects him to exhaust all
“It all seems so surreal,” Walker said outside the courtroom where Rodriquez
was convicted and sentenced to death. “There’s not a day that goes by when I
don’t think of Dru.”
Rodriguez lost an appeal with a 3-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals, in a 2-1 vote. He asked for a hearing in front of the full court,
which was denied. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.
Erickson met behind closed doors with lawyers after the hearing to discuss
issues that have been sealed from public view. The judge scheduled the next
status hearing for Aug. 20.
(source: Associated Press)
US condemns Iranian death sentence for American
The Obama administration flatly rejected Monday that a young Iranian-American
man used a family trip to Iran as cover for espionage, after Iran issued the
1st death penalty against a U.S. citizen since the Islamic Revolution 33 years
The United States suggested the decision was a political ploy.
In a case that will surely heighten tensions with Tehran, Iran charged Amir
Mirzaei Hekmati with receiving special training and serving at U.S. military
bases in Iraq and Afghanistan before traveling to Iran on an intelligence
mission. A court convicted him of belonging to the CIA and trying to
incriminate Iran in terrorist activity, according to a state radio report
The United States denied the accusations. The State Department called them a
"complete fabrication," and White House spokesman Tommy Vietor added that
"allegations that Mr. Hekmati either worked for or was sent to Iran by the CIA
"The Iranian regime has a history of falsely accusing people of being spies, of
eliciting forced confessions, and of holding innocent Americans for political
reasons," Vietor said in a statement.
The case sheds light on the legal but risky travel of U.S. citizens to Iran,
common among many first-generation and second-generation Iranian-Americans but
a practice largely hidden to the larger American populace. Thousands are
believed to make the trip each year, although the State Department lacks firm
figures because people must travel through third countries, and most dual
nationals enter the Islamic republic using Iranian passports.
The State Department has warned that U.S.-Iranian citizens are not necessarily
safer than others from the threat of arbitrary arrest. Spokeswoman Victoria
Nuland said the U.S. has issued a series of travel warnings for Americans, with
specific references to those holding both U.S. and Iranian citizenship.
"We urge Iranian-Americans to take particular care," Nuland told reporters.
Because Iranian authorities do not recognize dual citizenship, they treat any
such people arrested as they would other Iranians. The latest U.S. travel
warning says Iranian-Americans face "the risk of being targeted" by Tehran and
notes that "Iranian authorities have detained and harassed U.S. citizens of
The 28-year-old Hekmati is a former military translator who was born in Arizona
and graduated from high school in Michigan. His family is of Iranian origin,
and Hekmati claims dual citizenship. His father, Ali, a professor at a
community college in Flint, Michigan, has said his son was visiting his
grandmothers in Iran.
The Marine Corps said Amir Nema Hekmati served between 2001 and 2005, including
a deployment to Iraq in 2004 and a stint at the military language institute in
Monterey, California. The Marine records do not indicate any deployment to
Afghanistan. It was not clear why the middle name was listed differently.
Behnaz Hekmati, Amir's mother, said in an email to The Associated Press that
she and her husband are "shocked and terrified" that their son has been
sentenced to death. The verdict is "the result of a process that was neither
transparent nor fair," she said.
Her son did not engage in any acts of spying, or "'fighting against God,' as
the convicting judge has claimed in his sentence," she said. "Amir is not a
criminal. His very life is being exploited for political gain."
He said he had also worked for the military's Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency and for Kuma Games, which he described to state TV as "a
computer games company which received money from CIA to design and make special
films and computer games to change the public opinion's mindset in the Middle
East and distribute them among Middle East residents free of charge. The goal
of Kuma Games was to convince the people of the world and Iraq that what the
U.S. does in Iraq and other countries is good and acceptable."
The company's website describes it as a specialist in episodic games, in which
the story line of ongoing games develops like television episodes. Several of
its products are war-themed.
Espionage charges against Hekmati are similar to previous prosecutions against
Americans who were sentenced to jail time and later freed, including an
Iranian-American journalist in 2009 and 3 U.S. citizens detained along the Iraq
border. Iranian prosecutors, however, had stressed Hekmati's links to the U.S.
military in calling for capital punishment.
State Department officials said they were unaware of any previous death penalty
sentence to an American in Iran.
Nuland said officials still were trying to learn details of the sentence. If
Hekmati indeed was sentenced to death, she said, the U.S. would condemn the
verdict "in the strongest terms." But she refused to comment on what other
measures the U.S. might take in response.
Iran and the United States currently are locked in a period of intense
hostility, a situation that augurs poorly for a quick release for Hekmati.
The Obama administration has approved new sanctions against Iran over its
disputed nuclear enrichment program, specifically targeting the Islamic
republic's central bank and its ability to sell petroleum abroad, although the
sanctions have yet to come into force. Iran has responded with warnings to
American vessels against entering the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway
that carries to market much of the oil pumped in the Middle East.
With the 2 countries also at odds over allegations that Iran has supported
international terror, American officials worry that Hekmati's case may become a
political tool for the Iranian government.
Having imposed the worst possible sentence immediately, Iran could now seek to
drag the case out. In past cases Iran has held out the possibility of releasing
American prisoners on humanitarian grounds, presumably in the hope of gaining a
counter-concession from Washington. September's release of a pair of American
hikers held captive by Iran for 2 years is the most recent example.
Obama approved the new U.S. sanctions against Iran on New Year's Eve, despite
his administration's fears they could lead to a spike in global oil prices or
cause economic hardship on American allies in Europe and Asia that import
petroleum from Iran.
The measures affect foreign financial institutions doing business with Iran's
central bank by barring them from doing business in the United States. They
would apply to foreign central banks as well for transactions related to
The sanctions will not take effect for 6 months. The president also can waive
them for national security reasons or if the country in question significantly
reduces its purchases of Iranian oil. The State Department says it is trying to
implement the law in a way that maximizes pressure on Tehran while causing
minimal disruption to the U.S. and its allies.
The White House said the U.S. would work with its diplomatic partners "to
convey our condemnation to the Iranian government."
Swiss diplomats, acting on behalf of the United States because Washington and
Tehran have no diplomatic relations, have tried unsuccessfully to gain consular
access to Hekmati. Because Iran does not recognize Hekmati's U.S. citizenship,
it has refused to grant access.
(source: Associated Press)
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