Texas: Rodney Reed granted indefinite stay of execution

Stay of execution came just hours after parole board unanimously recommended 120-day reprieve
The Texas death row prisoner Rodney Reed was granted a stay of execution on Friday, 5 days before he was scheduled to be put to death for a murder he insists he did not commit.
The Texas court of criminal appeals blocked the execution indefinitely and sent the case back to the trial court in Bastrop county, where Reed was sentenced in 1998 for the murder of Stacey Stites two years earlier.
The court had previously rejected multiple appeals, but Reed’s lawyers argued that fresh evidence bolstered his claim of innocence. 
They said in a statement that they “are extremely relieved and thankful … this opportunity will allow for proper consideration of the powerful and mounting new evidence of Mr Reed’s innocence”.
Millions of people, including a clutch of celebrities, have rallied behind Reed’s cause, helping to generate momentum and public attention as the execution date of 20 November loomed an…

Denmark Stops Aid to Iran’s Fight Against Drug Trafficking

Iran Human Rights, April 9: Danish government has decided to cut its aids to Iran’s anti drug program says a Danish newspaper today.

Denmark is one of the several Western countries aiding to Iran’s war on drugs. The aid has been given through the UN agency "United Nation’s office for drugs and crimes" (UNODC).

Many of those [sentenced] in Iran for drug related charges are executed. According to Iran Human Rights’ recent annual report on the death penalty in 2012, at least 76% of all executions (438 out of 580 executions) in 2012 were based on drug related charges.

In the past few years several human rights organizations have urged the UNODC and the donor countries to stop contributing indirectly to the increasing number of the death penalties in Iran.

According to Reuters, quoting the Danish newspaper Politiken "Denmark has the past two years given five million dollars annually to a counter-narcotics program in Iran."

“During the same period, the Iranian authorities executed hundreds of suspected drug offenders, and on this basis, Development Minister Christian Friis Bach (R) has now decided to immediately discontinue support for the program”, reported Politiken Tuesday.

“It is a signal to Iran that the use of the death penalty is unacceptable and something that we in no way can vouch for”, he told Politiken.

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, the spokesperson of IHR welcomed Denmark’s decision and said: "We still haven’t heard the details through official channels, but given that the news is true, we are very glad and hope all the countries giving aid to the UNODC cooperation with Iran will follow Denmark’s example. This aid should go to programs promoting the human rights and not to programs contributing to the death penalty".

Source: Iran Human Rights, April 9, 2013

Denmark ends Iranian drug crime support

The development minister, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale), has decided to cease providing financial support to a United Nations anti-drug programme due to revelations that Iran has been using the programme to execute hundreds of criminals every year.

“It’s a signal to Iran that the implementation of the death penalty is unacceptable and not something we can be involved with,” Bach told Politiken newspaper.

Via the Foreign Ministry's aid organisation, Danida, Denmark has contributed five million kroner annually over the past two years to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which among other tasks battles the drug trade in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. But with the news that the Iranian government has been executing hundreds of criminals as a result of the anti-drug programme, human rights organisations such as Amnesty International accused Denmark and other donor countries for indirectly sponsoring the death penalty in Iran.

Denmark had been expected to contribute a further seven million kroner over the next two years but an evaluation of the project last Friday prompted Bach to pull the plug on Danish assistance.

Click here to read the full article

Source: The Copenhagen Post, April 2013

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