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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 …

Saudi 'blasphemy' tweep Kashgari released

Saudi authorities jailed him for nearly two years without trial for his tweets

Riyadh: After nearly two years in prison, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday freed a young Saudi writer whose tweets on the Prophet Mohammad sparked a conservative furore and an international manhunt.

Hamza Kashgari, 23 when he was jailed in February 2011, walked out of prison around dawn on Tuesday, a close friend of the family said.

Kashgari tweeted for the first time since his imprisonment at around 8am local time (0500 GMT): “Mornings of hope...souls that live and never die. Thanks to God.”

Kashgari’s lawyer, Abdul Rahman Allahim, confirmed the release in another tweet.

A writer and newspaper columnist in the Saudi city of Jeddah, Kashgari in February 2011 tweeted a series of comments reflecting meditatively on the human side of the Prophet, and imagining a meeting between himself and the Prophet.

Religious conservatives in the kingdom called the tweets blasphemous. Clerics — one of whom posted a video on YouTube of himself weeping at the perceived insult to the Prophet — called for Kashgari’s death.

After fleeing Saudi Arabia to escape death threats, Kashgari was arrested in Malaysia. Saudi authorities jailed him for nearly two years without trial.

There was no immediate government comment on his release on Tuesday.

The episode signalled both the vast divide between conservative and liberal factions in Saudi Arabia, and the growing importance of Twitter and other social media in Saudi Arabia to marshal support for causes on both sides of the political spectrum.

Source: Gulf News, October 29, 2013

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