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Innocent on Death Row? New Evidence Casts Doubt on Convictions

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Rodney Reed’s death sentence was suspended. But researchers say other current cases raise similar doubt about the guilt of the accused.
The number of executions in the United States remains close to nearly a three-decade low. And yet the decline has not prevented what those who closely track the death penalty see as a disturbing trend: a significant number of cases in which prisoners are being put to death, or whose execution dates are near, despite questions about their guilt.
Rodney Reed, who came within days of execution in Texas before an appeals court suspended his death sentence on Friday, has been the most high-profile recent example, receiving support from Texas lawmakers of both parties and celebrities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian West, who urged a new examination of the evidence.
Mr. Reed has long maintained that he did not commit the 1996 murder for which he was convicted. And in recent months, new witnesses came forward pointing toward another possible suspect: the dead…

Iraq executes 6 people despite moratorium calls

BAGHDAD, Oct 4, 2012 (AFP) - Iraq executed six people on Thursday despite calls for a moratorium, a justice ministry official said, bringing the number of people put to death this year to at least 102, according to an AFP tally.

One of the six was among 23 inmates who were recaptured after a prison breakout in Tikrit last week, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Of the 102 prisoners who escaped from the jail north of Baghdad, 47 had been sentenced to death as members of Al-Qaeda front group, the Islamic State of Iraq, the interior ministry said at the time.

Executions this year have already far outstripped 2011, when Iraq put 68 people to death.

On Aug.27, Iraq executed 21 people in a single day.

The executions have sparked calls for a moratorium from the UN assistance mission in Iraq, from Britain, the European Union and human rights group Amnesty International.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed shock earlier this year at the number of executions, criticising the lack of transparency in court proceedings and calling for an immediate suspension of the death penalty.

Source: AFP, October 4, 2012

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