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Texas: Gov. Abbott should grant death row inmate Rodney Reed a reprieve, before it’s too late

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Convicted murderer Rodney Reed is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Nov. 20, but Gov. Greg Abbott has the power to stop it.
As it stands, there’s no indication that Abbott will. He has only stopped one execution since becoming governor 5 years ago.
Reed was sentenced to death in 1998, after being convicted of the brutal 1996 rape and killing of a 19-year-old woman from central Texas, Stacey Stites. And though the governor has yet to weigh in on this specific case, he supports capital punishment, as do most voters in the state. According to a June 2018 poll from the University of Texas/Texas Tribune, fully three-fourths of Texans strongly or somewhat support the death penalty.
But the question at hand has nothing to do with the death penalty, per se. Granting a reprieve would simply be the right thing to do — and a necessary precaution against the doubts that would linger, if Reed is executed as scheduled.
Reed has consistently maintained his innocence, and legitimate questions …

Belarus hands down 3rd death penalty this year

A Belarusian court has handed down its 3rd death penalty this year, the Belapan news agency reports on Friday.

Belarus remains the only European country that still uses the death penalty and repeatedly comes under harsh criticism from international organizations. In 2012, the country executed the attacker who bombed the metro in Minsk in April 2011, and his accomplice.

This time, the Gomel Regional Court has sentenced a 25-year-old local resident for murdering a female student. He was convicted of murder committed with extreme cruelty.

In his final statement, the murderer asked for forgiveness from the victim's mother. Meanwhile, his attorney noted that there is no direct evidence of the individual's guilt, except the fact that he gave himself up and gave testimony.

The court has established that the victim was attacked as she approached her apartment building around midnight on Sept. 19. Her attacker was armed with a knife. The student died from a massive hemorrhage after receiving 102 stabs. The defendant said his actions were motivated by an insult voiced by the victim.

A few days ago, the Grodno Regional Court sentenced a 23-year-old man to death for murdering 2 people.

In April, a man was sentenced to death for murdering his cellmate in prison while serving a sentence for previous crimes.

Source: Rapsi News, June 14, 2013


Belarus : refusal to cooperate triggers renewal of the mandate by the UN Human Rights Council

The United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus and expressing deep concern at continuing violations of human rights in the country.

In strong language, the resolution urges the Government of Belarus to immediately and unconditionally release and rehabilitate all political prisoners, (...) and to put an immediate end to the arbitrary detention of Human Rights Defenders, arbitrary travel bans (...) aimed at intimimidating representatives of the political opposition and the media, as well as human rights defenders and civil society.

"The Council sent the clear message to Belarus that its systematic refusal to cooperate with the UN only demonstrates its total lack of will to improve its human rights record. My colleague Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced to four and a half years of imprisonment at a high security prison camp, is still waiting for Belarus to fulfill its international obligations which state that he should be immediately released" said Viasna Vice-President Valentin Stefanovic.

The resolution, presented by the European Union, was adopted by a majority of 26 members states, against 3, with 18 abstentions. The support for this resolution has proven broader than that for the last resolution on Belarus. Countries from all regions, including Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mauritania and Peru added their votes to the European and other Western states', giving strong cross-regional support to the resolution.

The Council nevertheless failed to address in strong terms the issue of death penalty in Belarus and settled for a minimalistic approach to this matter, noting the attention paid by the Special Rapporteur to the issue of death penalty and not condemning the use of capital punishment, and death sentences in Belarus, while another death sentence was pronounced yesterday.

Source: fidh.org, June 14, 2013

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