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Texas: Rodney Reed granted indefinite stay of execution

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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…

Singapore executes 2 convicted drug traffickers

Singapore's Changi Prison Complex
Singapore's Changi Prison Complex
Two Singaporeans, Tang Hai Liang, 36, and Foong Chee Peng, 48, had their death sentences carried out today, on 18 July 2014 at Changi Prison Complex.

Both Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng were convicted of trafficking in a controlled drug and sentenced to death. Tang Hai Liang was found to have trafficked 89.55g of diamorphine and Foong Chee Peng was found to have trafficked 40.23g of diamorphine. The Misuse of Drugs Act provides for the death penalty if the amount of diamorphine (or pure heroin) trafficked is 15g or more. 15g of diamorphine is equivalent to 1,250 straws[1], which is sufficient to feed the addiction of about 180 abusers for a week.

A thorough review of the mandatory death penalty in our laws was conducted from July 2011. A moratorium on executions was placed while the law was being reviewed. The changes to the mandatory death penalty regime were passed by Parliament in November 2012 after a full debate, and came into force in January 2013. All persons already sentenced to death under the Misuse of Drugs Act by the time the new legislation came into force were given the opportunity to elect to be considered for re-sentencing under the new regime.

Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng had been accorded full due process, including the opportunity to appeal to the Court of Appeal and to elect to be considered for re-sentencing under the new regime. 

Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng both appeared in person before an Assistant Registrar in the High Court to confirm that they did not wish to be part of the re-sentencing process, and that they understood the consequences of their respective decisions. 

Both of them were represented by counsel throughout the legal process, and were also given the opportunity to petition the President for Clemency. 

Tang Hai Liang and Foong Chee Peng both elected not to petition the President for Clemency. An unsigned petition for Clemency was subsequently submitted on Tang Hai Liang’s behalf. Tang Hai Liang indicated that he did not wish to appeal for Clemency and that the petition had been submitted by his family without his prior knowledge. This petition for Clemency was turned down and his family was informed of the decision.

[1] This is estimated using a typical purity level of 4%, based on drug seizures in recent years. The number of straws that are actually made may vary according to the purity level of the heroin used in the straws. 

Source: Central Narcotics Bureau, July 18, 2014

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